Sunday, September 27, 2009

Question and comment of the day.

As I have previously mentioned, Parker is very inquisitive as of late. Today's question of the day was, "Why does my tongue move every time I talk?". That was one of approximately 500 questions he asked today, but by far the most memorable.

Today's comment of the day came from Lleyton. This evening was the first time in over a year that I have been legitimately excited about being a Bengals fan. Carson Palmer had just led a 4th quarter drive in the waining seconds to elevate the Bengals past my least favorite team in sports, the Steelers, and I was standing in front of the TV with my arms outstretched in the air as if I had been on the receiving end of Carson's strike to Andre Caldwell to win the game. At that very moment, without prompting, Lleyton began to chant "Bengals football, I no care! Bengals football, I no care! Bengals football, I no care!".

This outburst came from the child that was welcomed into America on that frigid January afternoon in 2008 wearing a Carson Palmer jersey.


I was, and still am, speechless.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A little slice of Americana

The arrival of the last weekend of September always brings with in Fall Fest in Lawrenceburg. Fall Fest is Americana at its finest. The combination of free country music (Willie Nelson himself headlined last night's lineup), fair food, free carnival rides, and airbrushed tee shirts brings people in from far and wide, and we wouldn't miss it.

We ventured over this afternoon and the boys loved it. They rode rides, played games, ate funnel cakes, and showed off their temporary tattoos.



Sidenote: Our first stab at potty training has led us to reward Lleyton with a temporary tattoo each time he goes to the bathroom by himself. As you can see from his well decorated abs, he is enjoying going to the bathroom.

Here are a few pics of our boys enjoying Fall Fest 2009.







It's pretty amazing when I sit and think that less than 4 months ago Parker was living in an orphanage in a very remote village along the Ethiopian and Sudanese border and today he was enjoying a festival in my hometown in Indiana. The magnitude of the change that he has endured is mind boggling. Although the transition has been difficult at times, I must say it has been fascinating as well. The boy just soaks up everything around him and won't stop asking questions. He must be the most inquisitive person ever. His language has progressed much faster than we could have imagined and he is now ever beginning to learn how to spell words (he has mom, dad, pop, and Parker down pat).

He told us today he was interested in going to college at either Butler, Tennessee, or Indiana. We will probably hold off on gathering applications, but I am considering urging him to attend Tennessee, as I wouldn't mind being a fixture in the Vol Navy on those sun kissed autumn afternoons in Knoxville.

Goodbye SUV. Hello people mover.

After toiling over the decision over whether to ditch Sara's SUV in favor of a more family friendly vehicle, we made the plunge. As difficult of a decision as it may have been, I think it was for the better. In case you haven't shopped for minivans as of late, they are expensive, so we opted for more of a wagon/van sort of vehicle. The boys are really enjoying their newfound space which includes a DVD player/lifesaver.

Now our fleet (2 cars) consists of a station wagon and vanlike vehicle. I think that offficially means our 20's are behind us and we are in full parental mode.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

FFA

After seeing how much fun Lleyton and Parker had yesterday during our visit to Grandma Susie and Grandpa Don's farm, I am thinking we should look into getting applications for the FFA (Future Farmers of America, for those of you outside of Indiana and Kentucky). Here are some pictures from our visit. As will be clearly illustrated in these photos, we had a blast! Happy Birthday to Grandma Susie.





















We couldn't visit Kokomo without finding time for some quality fun with Grandpa Paul and Grandma Monica as well.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Sunday lunch to remember

One of Lleyton's best friends at daycare happens to the beautiful daughter of an Ethiopian couple that lives near us. They were so gracious as to invite us over for a traditional Ethiopian meal yesterday for lunch, and it was fantastic!

I highly recommend you try doro wot if you are ever at an Ethiopian restaurant. It was superb. Also on the menu was kitfo. Parker always asks for injera and kitfo. Kitfo, in its most popular form in Ethiopia is raw ground meat, but our host served it cooked, thinking that Sara and I might like it better that way. Well, as we quickly learned, Parker likes his raw, because he was unwilling to try it due to the fact that it had been cooked.

Joining doro wot and kitfo on the menu for lunch were a spinach dish, a pork dish, and a cheese popular in Ethiopia. Again, Sara, Parker, and I loved the food and can't thank the family enough. We will certainly return the favor some day soon and have them over to our house, but as I told them, I can't promise near as good of a meal as they served us.

Along with affording us the opportunity to love and nurture children we would never would have known or met, adoption has also introduced us to people and cultures that we also never would have met or been exposed to. That benefit has proven to be very enjoyable with both Lleyton and Parker's adoptions.

I don't proclaim to be the most religious of persons, but what a blessing these children have been in so many ways. We have known from the day we decided to adopt, but days like yesterday clearly illustrate and reinforce how fortunate Sara and I are to be able to have brought Lleyton and Parker into our growing family.

Alot of people tell us how lucky Lleyton and Parker are to have been adopted by us, but I have to say that Sara and I are the lucky ones.




Lleyton and Liya enjoying each other's company while the mommy's and daddy's partake in an Ethiopian feast.

Sorry for another open mouth shot, but here is Parker enjoying the doro wot, which includes hard boiled eggs (that's what he is eating). The doro wot is the red, stew like item on his plate. He also has injera (rolled up), kitfo (looks like taco meat), and the pork dish.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Future small business owner?

After having almost completed our downstairs flooring project, we decided we wanted to have our upstairs carpet cleaned as well. With that, came the realization that Lleyton is very intrigued by carpet cleaning vans, hoses, sprayers, pumps, you name it, anything carpet cleaning.

Here he is sitting outside this afternoon watching the carpet cleaning van as it sits idle in the driveway pumping whatever it pumps through those hoses into our house.



We have always said he has housekeeping in his blood, jockeying in his blood, and gymnastics in his blood. Come to find out he may also have carpet cleaning in his blood.

America needs more small business owners, so if 20 years down the road you call on Ritzmann Brothers Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning, you will know that the dream started on this beautiful September day.

Friday, September 11, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

...or Melkam Addis Amet, as they would say in Ethiopia.

Today is New Year's Day in Ethiopia, and to make it even stranger, today is New Year's Day 2002 in Ethiopia.



Ethiopia still follows the Orthodox Julian calendar which consists of 12 months of 30 days and a 13th month, Pagume, of five or six days, depending on whether or not it is a leap year. The Ethiopian calendar is seven years and eight months behind the Gregorian calendar, so September 2009 is Meskerem 2002 in Ethiopia.

Enkutatash (Ethiopian New Year) is an important festival in the lives of Ethiopians. After three months of heavy rains the sun comes out creating a beautiful clear fresh atmosphere. The highland fields turn to gold as the Meskal daisies burst into flower. When Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, returned to Ethiopia after her famous visit to King Solomon, her chiefs welcomed her forward by giving her "enku" or jewels. Enkutatash, which means "gift of jewels", has been celebrated ever since in spring. Meskerem is seen as a month of transition from the old year to the new. It is a time to express hopes and dreams for the future.

Who knew writing this blog would have been so educational for me, and hopefully those of you who are reading this.

So take a moment today and join us in the celebration. Enkutatash doesn't come with college football or even a day off of work, that will come in a few months, but it does come with a great opportunity to keep Parker's heritage strong. As we were told in Ethiopia by many people, don't let him forget Ethiopia, and we won't. Ethiopia is alive and well in the Ritzmann household.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Glimpse into the future

Due to Lleyton's petite size, we have always said that he may be well suited to be a jockey. By the looks of this, we are liking our prediction.



Sara and I made a trip up to Chicago this weekend, without the children. We just went for one night, but it was quite relaxing nonetheless. The boys we afforded the opportunity to spend some quality time with Grammy and Pop in our absence. Time with Grammy and Pop meant a visit to one of the local horse tracks, plenty of time in the convertible, and staying up later than usual.

Rumor has it, Parker was handicapping the ponies from the minute he walked into River Downs. If he were of age, he would have put $2 on #9. When asked again tonight who his favorite horse was, he said "Number 9, I LOVE!." Good thing he didn't make that wager, as #9 ended up finishing 4th.

Here they are watching the horses head to the post. As is clearly evident in this picture, Lleyton has his head on a swivel, probably keeping his eyes peeled for pretty little girls, but Parker on the other hand, is intently watching the horses to see which one has the most impressive gait.



After a morning of betting horses, there's not much better than dropping the top and taking a quick snooze as the wind blows through your hair.