That is what is upon us. Having children makes this time of year The Most Enjoyable Time of the Year. With the weekend before Christmas comes the Ritzmann Family Christmas Get-together. This year the event was held in Lawrenceburg at my Mom and Dad's house. The boys had a ball with their cousins. On Saturday morning, the whole crew come over to our house for a brunch, which, in my opinion, was wildly successful. Sara and I brought our Overnight French Toast Casserole recipe out of hibernation to everyone's enjoyment (at least that is what they told us). Diane brought a couple egg casseroles, Mom came through with her blueberry coffee cake, and mix a few mimosas in there, and it was a brunch for the ages. Not to mention there wasn't one spat amongst the cousins (not that I would expect there to be any).
Here are most of the little ones enjoying the food.
Lleyton enjoying a little flight time at the hands of Pop.
After brunch, the rest of the crew retreated back to Grammy and Pop's house, while Sara, Lleyton, Parker and I stayed back to get a little rest before enjoying the evening's festivities.
After a bit of rest, Lleyton and Parker got their first taste of Christmas presents as the opened gifts from our friends Jeff and Maren. If their reaction to these presents is any sign of how excited they are going to get on Christmas morning, we are in for a real treat. Thank you Jeff and Maren, your gifts were very much appreciated.
The festivities at Grammy and Pop's house were great as well. Megan and Jason cooked up their now famous Italian Beef. Throw in some of Diane's corn casserole and Emily and Andy's soon to be famous macaroni and cheese, and we were ready for another meal fit for a king. If you are like us, and always wonder what the best way to try to get a moment or two of peace to have a meal, you may want to try this...
Put a little Dora on the portable DVD and eat until your heart's content.
Following dinner, it was gift exchange time. Will, the oldest of the grandchildren, served as Santa Claus, as he handed out the presents to all of the other kids.
Here are the three Kindergartners anxiously awaiting the gifts. Parker seems to have a little politician in him with that thumbs up move.
Here are Cole and Avery patiently waiting their turn to open a present.
I called my sister Emily this morning in an attempt to get a feel for when she thought she might have a child. Not because I wanted to pry into her personal life, but more importantly I wanted to see how long I am going to have to hold onto the present that she and Andy gave Lleyton before I wrap it back up and give to her child. Can you imagine how much noise Lleyton is going to create with these instruments?
Just kidding Emily, Lleyton loves it, and as we all saw first hand on Saturday night, he is one heckuva musician. The kid is a natural on the harmonica.
Thank yous all around to my family for such a nice day. It is just going to be awesome watching all of these kids grow up together. They don't get to see each other as much as I would like, but when they do, they make the most of it.
As the night winded down, I caught a nice moment between Pop and Lleyton. It looked like something out the movie The Godfather.
After all of the festivities had slowed down, and yes, there was another mini-dance party, we packed up and headed home. This week includes our traditional Christmas Eve trip to Kokomo to spend time with Sara's family, then back on Thursday night for our preparations for Santa's arrival on Friday. Friday should be a day full of fun. Following that, Grandfather Frost is said to be making a visit on New Years Day (Russian tradition). Then we are traveling to a get together in Louisville on January 9th to join about fifty five of our closest Ethiopian adoptive family friends for an Ethiopian Christmas meal. To top it off, we have a Russian Christmas celebration in Indianapolis on the January 16th, in which hopefully we will be able to rendezvous with Lleyton's little buddy from Samara, which is always a great time.
Throw all of these festivities on top of a Bengals playoff run, and we are in for a real treat.