Monday, May 31, 2010

A room fit for a princess.

Sara has worked long and hard on Addis' room, and I think she did a fantastic job.  

My favorite part of the room is certainly the tree that Sara hand painted on the wall.  Along with the tree, she also painted three birds and we found a few decals that helped complete the room.

No room would be complete without a bookcase to house all of our favorite childrens bestsellers.

This canvas artwork was made for us by a very talented adoptive mother who sells her work on etsy.

We wanted to make sure the boys didn't get confused about whose room this was, so we put Addis' initials on the wall.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Harvoth Ho Down 2010

My sister and brother-in-law throw quite a party every Memorial Day weekend.  Sara and the boys and I made the trip up to Indianapolis this weekend so that we could be there for the festivities, and we weren't disappointed.

After you see a couple of the pictures below, you will understand why I am considering lobbying for a name change.  After experiencing what we did yesterday evening, the Harvoth Hose Down seems to be just as fitting.

The party included more food than they had counter space to handle, enough cold beverages to keep even the thirstiest party goers satisfied, live music by a an up and coming musician in Indianapolis, a bounce house for any children willing to risk their limbs by getting in at the same time as Lleyton, and last but not least, a sprinkler.  Sounds harmless...a sprinkler.  Well, here is what you get when you get Lleyton, Parker, and their cousin Nick together around a sprinkler...

Early on

Getting muddy

Getting muddier

Downright filthy

Time for the hose down

After corralling the boys into the tub and threatening immediate bedtime if they come within 10 feet of the mud again, we were able to get back to the party and catch up with friends and family we don't often get to see. 

Speaking of up and coming singers, no party would be complete without hearing a rousing rendition of the Poison classic Every Rose has its Thorns by my brother-in-law Andy. 

And before I go, just in case Brad Stevens (Butler basketball coach) is reading this, Parker has yet to commit to a college, so if you are interested in landing a top recruit from the class of 2022, shoot me an email.  Don't let UK beat you to the punch (please).  Take a look at this jump shot and hopefully you will agree with me that he would look pretty good in Butler blue. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New pictures of our baby girl!

Our agency director arrived in Ethiopia today and her first stop was Miskaye, the orphanage that serves as home to our beautiful daughter Addis.

I am awestruck just looking at her.  In my humble opinion, she is stunning.

How about that hair!  I am clearly going to have to come to terms with my dislike for lotions and creams.  I think taking care of that head of hair is going to be a chore, but a chore that I am willing to tackle.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How many 6 year olds know what a rhombus is?

With Parker's Kindergarten graduation rapidly approaching, it's hard for me not to reflect on the amount that our young man has learned this school year. His progression over the last 10 months has been nothing short of remarkable.  Entering school in August, he was just learning how to really speak English and count to 10. Today he is reading, writing, and grasping addition and subtraction more each day.

The kid is smart. He is beyond smart when it comes to certain things.
He loves math. He loves shapes.

Take a look at this drawing he made the other day.

putgn = pentagon
rubs = rhombus
scwir = square
trpsoy = trapezoid

What's even more impressive to me than him just knowing what a trapezoid and rhombus are, is that he often thinks about each shape and which ones make up the things he sees and uses everyday.  As he was riding in the car with Sara the other day, he described what shapes he would have to use to draw a shoe (he would start with a rhombus, then draw a rectangle with a smaller rectangle on top of that one, etc).  Do many other 6 year olds think like this? 

Since the time we met him, he has been intrigued by shapes and math.  Before he could count to 20, he was picking out octagons, hexagons, and other shapes that I had to Google to see what they were. 

I must say, last August I wasn't sure how he was going to do in school.  We were still in the midst of some major behavioral issues that I feared were going to show up in school, his English wasn't great, and his social skills were lacking, but he has done GREAT. He is learning every day.  He has behaved beautifully (all greens) and he has really enjoyed every aspect of being in school.  I think the social aspect of school took awhile to develop as he was pretty tough to understand until recently, but that part of school has come along well over the past 2 months.  He was invited to his first birthday party this week and it was so enjoyable watching him playing with all of his buddies.

Parker's Kindergarten year has been great for all of us (except for the part where he became a huge UK fan).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Goodbye Jack...

Is it too late to rename Lleyton?

How does Kiefer George Ritzmann sound?

No show has ever captivated me like 24. I am trying to pull myself together as the series just ended.

Jack Bauer will be missed.

Future American Idol contestants?

Both Lleyton and Parker chose to make their worldwide singing debut by belting out a classic ditty.

A song that never gets old.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Budding singers?
Future stars?
Or a couple chips off the old block? (Sara doesn't think I am a good singer. For the record, I totally disagree.)

You be the judge.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Unorthodox, yet effective.

Parker's baseball skills continue to evolve. 

Check out this unorthodox approach at the plate. 

Maybe he is on to something.  If you let the bat go at impact, it could distract the opposition just enough to beat the throw to first base.


Thanks so much to everyone that has reached out to us in the last few days and during our long wait for Addis to officially become a part of our family.

The emails, calls, and comments on the blog have been very much appreciated. Sara and I are so thankful to have had such great support over the last 18 months.  From deciding to adopt again, to our decision to adopt Parker, through our difficult times after arriving home last summer, and through our long wait and the uncertainty surrounding Addis' case, the support we have recieved has been everpresent.  

We consider ourselves very fortunate to have wonderful families, great friends, thoughtful coworkers, and countless adoptive families that are there if ever we need anything.


Reality is setting in.

It wasn't really until last night at dinner that reality truly set in that in a short number of weeks we will have Addis home.  We are very excited about it, but now the nerves have kicked in too.  How is our transition going to go?  How attached is she to her caregivers?  Do we have everything we need?  Do we have time to get everything that we don't have?  When are we going to travel?

The boys don't seem nervous at all.  They are very excited about having a sister.  They can't wait to show her her new room.  They can't wait to kiss her goodnight.  They can't wait to shower her with attention. 

She is in for real treat with these two.

As of right now, it looks like our Embassy date will be either July 1st or July 15th.  

More details to come...

Restaurant Review: The Melting Pot

Sara and I have been promising ourselves that we would get a babysitter and go to The Melting Pot for over a year and a half and last night we did it. 

What better way to celebrate a new addition to our family than by sharing in a delicous 4 course meal. 

For those that haven't eaten at a Melting Pot, or other fondue restuarant, stop what you are doing and go now.  You won't regret it.  The food is awesome and seemingly limitless.

Here's what you can expect from a meal at The Melting Pot:

Course 1:
Cheese fondue - We went with the Wisconsin cheddar, with which you dip fruits, vegetables and bread into.

Course 2:
Salad - I went with the California Spring Salad and it was great.  I am not much of a salad guy, but I could eat this salad everyday.

Course 3:
Coq au Vin cooking style - This would be the entree portion of the meal.  We opted for the meal that included filet, sirloin, chicken, shrimp, and vegetables.  Each bite seemed better than the last.

Course 4:
The piece de resistance, Chocolate fondue - We don't vary when it comes to this course.  Our staple has always been the original, which is milk chocolate and crunchy peanut butter (we step it up a notch by asking for an additional scoop of peanut butter).  I could eat it with a spoon, but don't have to because they give you bananas, strawberries, pound cake, brownies, rice crispie treats, marshmallows, and cheesecake to dip in it.  UNBELIEVABLE!

This isn't a restaurant that is going to take over for the Rio Grande as a weekly stop, as it is pretty expensive, but for those special occasions, I would rather go nowhere else.

It's one of those restaurants that you go to and wish it was socially acceptable to wear sweatpants to, because by the time it is all said and done you will beyond full and yearning for the comforts of an elastic waistband.

I told the server as we were leaving that we may adopt again, just so we can celebrate with another memorable meal at The Melting Pot.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The wait is over!

Sara and I are thrilled to announce that we now are the parents of a beautiful little girl!

Addis Lidya Ritzmann

Here is the picture that we fell in love with eight months ago (and a few more). 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Looking forward to Friday.

Could we be in the home stretch towards becoming a family of five?  I certainly hope so. 

The path that led us to where we are today has been nothing short of amazing.  Over the last three years Sara and I have been places and met people that we never would have had we not chosen to adopt. 

We made that choice in December 2006.  About 13 months and three trips to Russia later we arrived home with Lleyton.  Our dreams had come true and the experience along the way led us to yearn to adopt again.

Not too long after bringing our little man home we decided it was time to add on.  After another unsuccessful round of fertility treatments, we made the decision to adopt from Ethiopia.  Our hope was to add an infant girl to our roster.  We applied and were approved to adopt up to two children from Ethiopia, but we had never planned on, or expected to adopt more than one.  That was until we came across the picture of Parker on the internet.  His pictures captivated us, and the videos we received of him sealed the deal.  We made the decision to adopt Parker and then an infant girl.

We arrived home with Park in early June of last year, and as was well documented on this blog, we instantly encountered the toughest stretch of our lives.  After successfully navigating our way through the toughest of times we alerted our agency that we were ready to consider a referral for an infant girl beginning in October. 

Then came October 5th.  An email came from our agency with a picture that will always have a spot in my wallet.  A picture of our little girl.  We accepted her referral and instantly fell in love, just as we had done twice before. 

Month after month went by without any progress with our case.  Throughout those months, we continued to get new pictures and videos of our little girl, and with each one came a greater yearning to get to Ethiopia and bring her home.

Well, here we are, four days away from what will hopefully be another one of those days that we will never forget.  Come this Friday morning I hope to be able to report that our journey to becoming Baby Sister's parents has finally been completed.  The most recent word from our agency is that we are looking good for this Friday.  I know they shouldn't be, but our hopes are high.  We are ready to add our little girl to the family.  We are ready to add another swing to the playset outside. 

These boys are ready to be big brothers to a beautiful baby sister.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hands full.

I think we may have our hands full with these two gentlemen in the future. 

The idea that it is not nice to stare has yet to sink in with these two Casanovas.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Thinking ahead.

One of Parker's assignments for Kindergarten this year was to memorize his phone number, address, birthday, and a few other important items (he passed with flying colors). 

Because we don't have a home phone, I had him just memorize my cell phone number.

This morning on the way to school he was reciting my phone number to me when he asked what his mommy's phone number was.  I told him that he didn't have to memorize that just yet.

But he was persistent about wanting to know her number as well, so I asked him why he felt that he needed to commit both of our numbers to memory.

His answer:  So he can call both of us when he goes away to college.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

May 21

Our new court date is May 21. 

Our fingers are crossed, but our expectations are not high. 

Ethiopian elections are taking place on May 23.  There was quite a bit of civil unrest following the last elections, so our fear is that with our court date being so close to the election, our case may be postponed until after the vote has been taken. 

Hopefully that fear is unfounded and we become Baby Sister's parents in less than 2 weeks.


Before heading out the door to Bob Evans for a delightful Mother's Day breakfast, the boys gave Sara a very nice card and a gift they knew their mom would like.  And she did, but I think her favorite gift of the day was this one from Parker:

What better way to say Happy Mother's Day than by giving your mom and autographed baseball. 

I am pretty sure that ball is going to find a home on Sara's desk at work. 

The next Joe Morgan?

Had someone told me that Parker would be referred to as the next Joe Morgan after his second baseball game I would have laughed out loud and invited that person over to play catch with our big man.  But that is exactly what has happened.  Parker had his first game yesterday and his second game today and he is somehow a defensive wizard.  During today's game, two hard hit balls were hit in Parker's direction at second base and he snagged both of them without so much as a bobble and quickly beat the runner to the base to record an out.  If someone had a camera on me at the time they would have captured an ear to ear smile, as I was quite proud of my guy. 

Six weeks ago the boy had never worn a baseball glove and today I had someone tell me that he was meant to play baseball.  That comment, as well as the Joe Morgan one, are a bit extreme, but his development has been pretty remarkable nonetheless.

We were very happy to have Grammy and Pop at the game to witness Parker's wizardry, but also to help occupy Lleyton.  The little man does not like not having access to Parker for an extended period of time.  There was more than one occasion I had to intercept him before he ran on the field yelling, "I want to give Parker a hug!"

The field both of Park's games were at is adjacent to a very large, overgrown area that Lleyton loved.  He must have seen Swiper a dozen times over the course of the two games.  Here he is trying to  bait him out of the weeds and brush with his baseball.

Parker's game is a little one dimensional right now, as his offensive prowess has yet to reveal itself.  That being said, he did make contact twice during yesterdays titanic struggle, highlighted by an RBI double down the first base line to end the game.  The talent is there at the plate, it may just take a few more practices before he is completely comfortable standing up there facing the pitching machine. 

After yesterday's game, as soon as Lleyton was allowed on the field, he took off.  He couldn't wait to race Parker around the bases.  The race wasn't totally fair, as Lleyton chose to skip 2nd and 3rd base, but he looked good doing it.

A few weeks ago I figured that Parker's games were going to be tough to watch, but after this weekend I can't wait until next Friday night when he laces them up again.  Go Bats!

Friday, May 7, 2010

The wait continues...

We recieved word this morning that we did not pass court today in Ethiopia.  Details regarding why are sketchy at best right now, and we have not been informed of when our next court date will be. 

Hopefully we will have some more clarity about our case sometime soon.

Thanks for checking in.

Monday, May 3, 2010


What better way to spend a birthday than with your family at the Magic Kingdom.

We were up early again today so the boys had plenty of time to serenade their mommy before we headed out the door for every kid's favorite place, Disney World.  I should have taken heed of the advice I read on the internet, get there early b/c it will take between 45 minutes to an hour to just get from the parking lot into the park.  We did finally get into the park around 9:45 and we were instantly in love the place.  I had no idea how spectacular the Magic Kingdom was.  Articles on the internet and guide books from the library do the place no justice. 

We started our day with the mandatory photo ops in front of Cinderalla's Castle. 

Then we were off to Fantasyland where our first stop was at the It's a Small World Ride before settling if for Mickey's PhilharMagic 3D show.  Both were fantastic.  The Dumbo ride we read so much about had quite a line, so we decided to bypass it and make our way into Mickey's Toontown Fair to meet the man himself.  I was a bit discouraged by the length of the line to meet Mickey, but it was well worth it.  The boys loved meeting Mickey and Minnie, and Sara and I loved witnessing it even more.   Lleyton must have yelled "HI MICKEY MOUSE!"  10 times while waiting less than patiently as the couple groups in front of us got their pictures taken with the famous couple.

We made our way through Tomorrowland, stopping for a quick lunch before heading back towards Mainstreet USA to find a treat for Sara's birthday while we searched for the perfect souvenir for the boys and Baby Sister.  We successfully found each item we were looking for. 

Tip:  If you want to get a picture of your kids with Mickey ears on without buying the Mickey ears, take their picture in the gift shop while trying them on.

As our long, very hot, day was winding down, we had the good fortune of finding the perfect vantage point for the parade through the park.  Again, the boys loved it!  What a flawless production it was. 

I am not much of an amusement park guy, but I could spend days with Sara and the boys at Disney World.  They got me, hook, line and sinker. 

After leaving the park, we came back to our condo for a quick scrub down before heading to Downtown Disney for Sara's birthday dinner.  T Rex did not disappoint.  The boys are big fans of dinosaurs, so now they have a new favorite restaurant (sorry Rio Grande). 

Our evening came to a close with a visit to Legoland (awesome store) and a stop back at Ghirardelli for some ice cream. 

Here are a couple very cool Lego creations.

What a day.  We had a blast.   The boys and I were so happy to be able to spend all day with Sara on her birthday.  Eight years ago I fell with love with Sara for alot of reasons, and as I sit here today I love her for many more reasons, not the least of which is because she is such a fantastic mom to our boys. 

Sara, the boys and I love you to death, and can't wait to add a little girl to our roster.  A little girl that will undoubtedly fall head over heals for you as well.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!


I can't end this post without sharing a picture of the boys tonight while Sara was reading them their bedtime story.  Cutest kids ever.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Swiper sighting at Disney

We were out the door this morning at about 8:30 so that we could arrive at the Animal Kingdom shortly before it opened.  Per the recommendation of pretty much everyone we have spoken to, we went straight the African safari. It was fantastic.  The only problem was the my camera lense was too foggy to get any good pictures.  The safari took us through the African plains where along the way we saw huge crocodiles, elephants, giraffes, a lion, gigantic hippos and rhinos, and many others.  It was a great way to start off the day. 

Lleyton had his eyes peeled during the entire safari, as he was determined to find Swiper amidst all of the other animals.  As we rounded a corner heading towards the giraffes, to the delight of the family in front of us he exclaimed "I see Swiper!  Swiper, no swiping!"

Other highlights included our time spent at the petting zoo. 

Here is Lleyton giving one lucky sheep an eye exam.

Here is Parker showing Lleyton how to properly pet an animal.

It is really hot here today, as it was yesterday, so we took every opportunity we could to get inside to cool off while posing for pictures. 

The boys certainly enjoyed the Animal Kingdom, but I am not sure Lleyton enjoyed our time there anymore than the time he spent jumping on Mommy and Daddy's bed before they left.  You be the judge.

We are now waiting for Lleyton to wake up from his nap so that we can head down for our maiden voyage on the pirate ship in the pool.  The boys have been looking foward to swimming for weeks.  Lleyton has been asking any stranger that is willing to listen to him if they would like to go swimming with us. I don't know who to expect to see when we get down to the pool, the server from BW3's, the retired couple sitting behind us on the tram, and/or the guy that had the good fortune of sitting next to our little man on the plane yesterday.  All were personally invited to join us.