Formerly known as "Cruzers in Korea"

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Getting Down

Wednesday, December 28, 2011 0

Monday, December 26, 2011

A New Addition to "The Pose"

Monday, December 26, 2011 0

This is a first.  Mom Cruz has joined the rest of the Cruz's in "The Pose!"  Here we are in front of Elvis Presley's Mansion at Graceland.  Mom has graced us with her presence, traveling all the way from the Philippines to spend time with her kids and grandkids.

Yes, some small corrections are needed with her knee bending and head positioning, but hey, she's joined the club.  Although not perfect, she entered the arena and will never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.  Besides, this picture was mere seconds from the tour bus running us over.  We had to take it with a quickness.  Not bad for a pressure filled picture.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Flashback Friday - Miami Christmas

Friday, December 23, 2011 0
A Cruz gathering during Christmas 2007 in Miami.

Our 2007 Christmas was definitely memorable for a number of reasons.  Although we were visited by the Grinch, we still had a great time.  Clink on the link for the full story:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Total Randomness - LaFonda

Thursday, December 22, 2011 0
LaFonda Restaurant during a trip to San Antonio

Kip waiting for LaFawnduh

Kip and LaFawnduh

Our neighbors as Kip and LaFawnduh

Peter Fonda

Jane Fonda

LaFawnduh and a witch

A witch and Jason

Jason in space

Jane Fonda in space

Peter Fonda spaced out

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What You Got There Coach?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 0

I had the pleasure of coaching Jake's baseball team this past spring.  It's a really nice baseball league run by Bellevue Baptist Church.  I highly recommend it.  Everyone gets a chance to play, the atmosphere is comfortable, the kids learn about sportsmanship and it's a lot of fun.  We do a prayer at the beginning of games, we don't keep score and there's always a juice box and snack at the end of every game.

So here was the awkward parenting moment.  When I popped open the trunk to pull out the baseball gear for a Saturday morning game, I forgot about the refreshments still in the trunk that I had grabbed the day prior.  To be clear, the cervezas were for a work function and not a juice box replacement.  I don't always drink beer, but when I do...

Wordless Wednesday - The Ceej

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Flashback Friday - Cruz Family Christmas

Thursday, December 15, 2011 0

Christmas at the Cruz's while living at Hewitt Farms Navy Housing in Norfolk, Virginia.  My best guess is 1978 or 79.  I think we still have the set of bowls Dad used to put over our heads when cutting our hair.  Good times.

The annual Christmas letter is coming by the way.  I think.  I probably need to write it first.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Tragedy

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 0

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Flashback Friday - Aunt Annie & Uncle David

Thursday, December 8, 2011 0

This is in front of our house during Aunt Annie and Uncle David's visit to San Diego back in 2001.  At the time, I was a flight instructor with VS-41 at Naval Air Station Coronado.  CJ was three years old.  You couldn't ask for better family than Aunt Annie and Uncle David.  They broke the mold on these two.  Just really great people.

This past weekend, Aunt Annie and Uncle David celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  As a nice keepsake, they were given a compilation of memories.  Family and friends wrote down their favorite memories of the lovable couple.  Here's what the Cruzers submitted:

Dear Aunt Annie and Uncle David,

We wish we could be there with you at the Anniversary Party.  You are both so special to us.  Below we have each shared some favorite “Aunt Annie and Uncle David Memories.”  Happy 50th Anniversary!!  You two are a shining example to us.


Carol, Chris, CJ and Jake 

Jake:  I love making strawberry milk at Aunt Annie’s house.  It’s really speciaI because I don’t get to drink it at home.  I like playing with Aunt Annie’s toys and she has the cuddliest blankets.  I like sitting with Uncle David in his big chair and watching Sponge Bob.  I like it when Aunt Annie hugs me.
CJ:  I like how Aunt Annie is always so nice to everyone.  She knows how much I love Golden Flakes and always has a bag waiting for me when I come to her house.  I think it’s awesome that Uncle David is so cool with all the kids.  I love watching iCarly with him.  When I was little, I loved playing on your big deck out back, and I loved playing with all the other kids.  I feel like I’m at home every time I’m at your house.  Thank you so much for all the wonderful memories that you’ve given us over the years.

Chris:  I first met Aunt Annie and Uncle David in 1992 as a young spy with the Philippine Intelligence Agency on assignment in Alabama to infiltrate the deep south in order to procure secrets on country living and SEC football.  Just kidding.  It was with the Chinese Intelligence Agency.

From that very first 4th of July celebration, you’ve both always been so kind and full of love towards me – even though I was, you know…Navy.  I remember an apron-clad Uncle David behind the smoky grill and the American flag, armed with a spatula and tongs - and not smelling one bit like a Bud Light.

Your wonderful home has always been a place of comfort.  Full of laughs, love and good eating.  The only challenge with the food was carefully navigating through the Walker refrigerator and not knocking everything over.  As CJ once said, it’s like Jenga in there!

Some of you might’ve seen the recent commercial about the Alabama work force and how a lot of the core workers are retiring.  The young folks need to step up and take their place.  Well, Uncle David, because of the strong man that you are and how hard you work for your family, they’ll need 3 or 4 guys to take your place.  I have so much respect for you and your work ethic.  You’re still working harder in retirement than some people that are still on the work force.

We were so happy to have you guys come all the way out to California to visit us.  I know that was challenging for you, what with all the liberals out there and all.  I’m also glad you got to meet my brother Beanie during that trip.  He still gets tickled because you thought of him on his birthday and sent him a card with $10 in it so he could get a hamburger.  He was in the Army doing some tough duty in Haiti at the time.  You definitely lifted that soldier’s spirit.  But that’s one of your specialties isn’t it – lifting people’s spirits?

You’ve always been there for us.  When Carol’s father passed, you were there.  When Carol got hit by the van in Pensacola, you were there.  When Carol walked down the aisle to marry a studmuffin of a man, you were there. 

You were there when CJ was born.  You even cooked up a massive amount of chicken and rice soup to hold us over.  We loved it but dang, you cooked up enough to feed the entire Navy Fleet.  We still have some in our freezer.

And Aunt Annie, you are always prepared.  Who can forget that one time when we were driving and the car accidentally flew off the overpass into a deep ravine and we were trapped by our seatbelts upside down with water closing in to drown us?  If it wasn’t for those needle-nose pliers and the sawz-all that you had in your purse, we never would’ve made it.  If I had to guess, your middle name is McGyver.

There are many more memories to add but I’ll stop there.  I’ll simply close by saying that you two are some of the best people on this entire planet.  Happy 50th Anniversary.  We love you!
Carol:  Oh my, so many wonderful memories!  Where do I begin?  For as long as I can remember, Aunt Annie & Uncle David’s house has been one of my favorite places in the world.  As a kid, I couldn’t wait to walk and meet Angela half way at the church and head over to your house.  It was entertaining, fun and always loving under your roof.  You two probably thought you had 6 kids instead of 3 with all of the time that the 3 youngest Harmons spent at your house. 

Aunt Annie, it was always so much fun going places with the Walkers.  You would pile all of us kids in the back of the car and head to town.  There would always be a wet washcloth in a Ziploc bag just in case we needed it and inevitably you would have to yell “DUCK!!” at some point in the car ride so you could see out the back window.  We were well trained and when we heard the urgency in your voice, we all hit the deck.  From our speed reading classes at the University to trips to Zayre’s, it was always fun, and I have to admit that I thought it was pretty cool when I was mistaken for one of your kids.  Maybe the brown hair had a little something to do with it.  : )  And how could I not mention how much I LOVED your wieners and potatoes for dinner.  One of my all time favorites!  I was so happy when I saw that recipe in the family cookbook.  Here’s an oldie for you… When you guys were still living in the old house I loved standing in the closet with the heater next to the kitchen.  That was a happy place on a cold day!  Aunt Annie, I can remember you leaned against one wall and I would lean against the other.  Both of us just listening to the hum of the heater and soaking up the warmth.

Uncle David, you should be listed in the “Best Dad/Uncle Hall of Fame” for taking Angela and I to all of those concerts!  From Sting in Birmingham to Bruce Springsteen at the Omni in Atlanta, they were certainly memorable.  I still laugh at how you tricked Angela and I into thinking we were half deaf after one of our concerts.  You were kind enough to stop on the way home to get us something to eat.   We were at Krystal if I remember correctly.   Little did we know that you were whispering when you spoke to us.  Our ears were ringing like crazy and we couldn’t hear a word you were saying.  Thankfully you didn’t keep us fooled for long.  It was quite a relief when we heard your big laugh come rolling out.  And how could I forget sliding off the back seat of that burgundy Ford LTD.  You are a man that knows how to keep a car clean!  Those back seats were so polished with Armor All, it was hard not to come sliding out.  And you can drive in reverse faster that anyone else on earth!  I was so amazed by that when I was a kid.  Don’t go trying to break your record with the school bus now. 

From spending countless days with you two as a kid, to Uncle David giving me away when Chris and I got married, and Aunt Annie coming to be with me when CJ was born, you’ve both been a rock in my life.  When I think back, there are more memories than I could ever put on paper.  Thank you for sharing yourselves and your love with me.  You both have made me a better person.  I love you with all my heart!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 2

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

Saturday, December 3, 2011 0

It was unseasonably warm in Alabama this past Thanksgiving day.  The sun was shining bright on these lovely ladies.  Behind them is the field goal post that Uncle Don put up so the twins, Trent and Austin could get some practice in before auditioning for Nick Saban.  After the overtime loss to LSU a few weeks ago, we heard the University of Alabama was in need of a kicker.

The young cousins having fun in the back of Clyde's new truck.  

Zack, Jake, Lori and Cooper.  Can you guess which one loves lemons?

Remembering Grandmother and Grandfather on Thanksgiving.

After attempting a few field goals myself, I have a new found respect for kickers.  The next day, the inside of my left leg was wobbly like a newborn giraffe.  Trent and Austin were both booming them with accuracy.

Prepping for the Black Friday sales.  We forgot our pepper spray.

So here's Carol putting the kibosh on Jake riding in the back of the tractor, at least while another six year old was driving.  On cue just a few minutes later, CJ comes toppling out of the back of that thing as it took off for its next fun ride.  Carol's spider sense is still working.

One difference between the Thanksgiving gatherings I experienced growing up and the gatherings here in Alabama is the turkey.  When you have big gatherings like here in Alabama, it's much easier to have the turkey already carved up and ready to eat so there's not a huge wait when it's time to grub down.  The bird is already sliced up and on a platter.  There's only one catch with that though.  There's no magnificent golden brown bird to gawk at on the dinner table.  You know us filipinos.  Taking pictures of food is in our DNA:

See what I mean?  This is from a couple of years ago at our house in Miami.

No matter how the bird is prepped, we're really gonna miss these Alabama Thanksgivings since we're probably moving next spring.  Such is the life of a Navy family.  Wherever we celebrate Thanksgiving next year, I'll make sure to take some pictures of the food.

Here's a short Thanksgiving video that Leenie put together.  Hope you had a great Thanksgiving too.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Flashback Friday - Christmas

Friday, December 2, 2011 0

There's nothing like breaking bread with your family.  Today's flashback rewinds to last December when all of the Cruz siblings made it to Tennessee for Christmas.  With plenty of food, fun and laughs, it was an awesome time.  Lee was the winner last year in the big news department.  He announced at this very table that he and Cathy were expecting a baby.  It was a happy night.

We're looking to get together in Tennessee again this December with two important additions - Mom (coming all the way from the Philippines) and little Samuel, the newest member of the Cruz family.  The swine intake will be tremendous.

As the dreaded New York Jets linebacker infamously said in last year's playoffs after beating the Patriots, "Can't wait!"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Clean Deck

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 0

Sailors are funny.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tom's Bar-B-Q!

Monday, November 21, 2011 0
A little something to wet the appetite of our upcoming visitors this holiday season.  We're expecting my Mom and my siblings to visit us here in Memphis over Christmas break.  Mom is coming all the way from the Philippines.  Dad couldn't make it because he has that thing at that thing.

One thing you can be sure of when the Cruz family gets together - we always get our pork on.  So when Tom's Bar-B-Q was featured on one of my favorite shows, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Carol and I just had to go.  Check out the video:

It's a very unassuming place.

I'm guessing Guy Fieri had something to do with the recent addition to the place.

Brisket and rib tips make for a heck of a lunch. 

The sweet tea was SWEET.  Even going half and half with the sweetened and unsweetened tea was a little too much for me.  I was reminded that "you in the south now, boy!"

Beware of any BBQ joint that doesn't have a chimney stack. 


That meal hit the spot for me.  I'm much more of a carnivore than Carol.  She gets easily skeeved out by jiggly pieces of fat.  Me, I'm not afraid of taking a bite and having a vein or chunky piece of cartilage biting back at me.  

Okay.  So this was not my best moment but I think it's a good indication of how much I enjoyed the meal.  Carol tried a piece of my brisket.  She liked it but she trimmed part of the fat off and laid it to the side to throw away.  When she wasn't looking, I grabbed that piece of heavenly goodness and stuffed it down my pie-hole.  I just couldn't let it go to waste.  Needless to say, Tom gets two two thumbs up.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Future Aviator?

Saturday, November 19, 2011 0

Another flyer from the Cruz ranks?  We'll see.  On a related note, Jake recently asked about how much money Walmart cashiers make.  Who knows what the future holds?

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like naval aviation is in CJ's future because he's partially color blind.  Not a good thing aboard an aircraft carrier.  Knowing that it's not an option for CJ kinda bummed me out a little bit to be honest with you.

But hey, aviation, cashier or whatever the boys choose to do - I just hope they enjoy doing it with a passion.  And make enough money to move out of the house.

Working Out Together

Carol and I have a long history of working out together.  You might remember this one:

Working Out

Well, we're at it again:

I think it might be time to start working out with CJ too.  Maybe he can count my pushups or something.

Purple Heart

Jake and his Purple Heart

Friday, November 18, 2011

Flashback Friday - Spreckels Park

Friday, November 18, 2011 0
Hanging out at Spreckels Park in Coronado, CA in August 1999...

...and again in Oct 2011

They grow up quickly!  That's CJ by the way.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

San Diego!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 0
One of the challenging things about being a beach bum living in Tennessee is... wait for it... no beaches.  So for Fall Break, we cashed in some frequent flier miles and headed to sunny San Diego.

San Diego has been one of our favorite duty stations.  Coronado is so nice that the President and his family (the Clintons at the time) vacationed there when I was a flight student.  There's incredible Mexican food, awesome weather, beaches, Coronado, the Gaslamp District, Pacific Beach, La Jolla, Sea World, and a ton of stuff to do.  Yup, it costs an arm and a leg to live there but man is it nice.

Doing the pose on Coronado Beach.  As you can tell, Jake got a little chilly.  This was on the Navy base.  They're building a new Navy Lodge which I'm sure will get a lot of business.  We stayed in their new cottages on the beach.  Highly recommend them.  Gotta book it early though.

It was great to be able to attend Lex Walker's change of command ceremony where he took over the reins of the USS STOCKDALE.  The Walkers lived across the street from us here in Tennessee.  Here is Ryan pinning on her dad's command pin.  Very nice moment and a really special day.

In the STOCKDALE wardroom with its newest Commanding Officer.

Balboa Park.  CJ remembered one of his favorite things about the park - the big rice crispy treats we'd get after visiting the model rail museum.  Because he was such a big fan of trains, that was a regular outing for us.

CJ doing his best Beretta impersonation.  I'm probably dating myself with that reference.  Robert Blake anyone?

Spreckels Park in Coronado.  CJ played in this park as a little two year old.  Every Sunday during the summers, Coronado would have their concerts in the park.  Not a bad way to spend a Sunday evening.

We got to visit with the Maves!  It was good catching up.  Doc was the Flight Surgeon for the Airwing back in the day when we were still allowed to roll videos at Foc'sle Follies.  We served together aboard the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON.

Legoland with the Walkers!

Bunch of daredevils!

Sea World!  No trainers were eaten that day.

La Jolla Cove.  The sea lions in the background remind me of what I want to do when I retire.

Jake thought it smelled funny near the sea lions.  He was right.

At the Coronado Ferry Landing with downtown San Diego in the background.

Amy and Carol right before Lex's ship sailed by.  It was great spending some time with Team Walker.  We miss our neighbors.  

So it was really good escaping the arduous 60 degree weather in Tennessee for the perfect 63 degree weather in San Diego.  I have a feeling this wasn't our last trip to San Dog.
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