Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Somebody pinch me.

When the sun rises tomorrow morning it will be September 1st and the Reds could be leading the National League Central by as many as 7 games. 

Call me crazy, but this team reminds me a bit of the 1990 Reds that I remember so fondly.  A team of destiny? 

For right now, I am just going to enjoy the ride and hope they keep winning and make it into the playoffs. 

Usually this time of year is met with great anticipation (unwarranted anticipation at that) for the upcoming Bengals season as the Reds are quite often mathematically eliminated from the playoffs by early September.

This year is certainly different. 

The Reds are streaking, the Cards are tanking, there is still the anticipation of what may become of this year's Bengals squad, but the focus is on the boys of summer.  Parker wakes every morning and asks who won last night and then he calculates how many games they are ahead of the Cards.  I have yet to watch a snap of Bengals preseason action (which probably isn't a bad thing...there isn't much worse than preseason NFL football). 

Times have been finally been good for us Cincinnati sports fans.  Now let's hope that the Reds don't lay the same egg that the same egg the Bengals did earlier this year in the playoffs (that is, if they make the playoffs).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Public Service Announcement

If you, or anyone you know, are missing any silly bands, they may be on Parker's wrists.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Together at last.

Lleyton strung together five very good days at daycare, so as promised he got his extra special prize this evening. 

He obviously loves his new buddy, as is evident in the video and picture above, but it didn't take Swiper long to jump into action.  At first glance, you might think the picture below is Lleyton giving his new buddy a kiss, but you would be wrong.  That is Swiper trying to swipe Lleyton's lips.  Our little man was able to fend him off before the fox was able to run off with anything that wasn't his.

Lleyton has a firm grasp on his new little friend right now as he lays in bed asleep.  He was fearful that if he let Swiper lay with him without holding him tight, he might swipe something from his room while he slept.

Needless to say, after a rough couple of days last week, we are very proud that our little man was able to turn it back around and behave like the sweet little boy we know he is.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The boys and their Snuggie.

Look who's behaving...

I am very happy to report that Lleyton has behaved properly over the last two days, which means he earned the right to have his babies back.  By the looks of this picture, he missed his babies and was pretty excited when they reunited.

We celebrated his good behavior by taking the kids to the park this evening.  We were pleasantly surprised to find that tonight was a special night at the park we go to, and the belle of the ball was a big, huge firetruck.  Needless to say, Lleyton was elated.

He ran directly to the truck and said to the first fireman he saw, "I like your firetruck."


Our time at the park was well spent.  Lleyton channeled his inner Carson Palmer before each of the kids took their talents to the swing set.

We have been encouraged by our little man's behavior, but we aren't allowing ourselves to get too excited about him getting his very own Swiper on Friday, because who knows what may happen over the next few days, but I am rooting for him because I can't wait to see him with his new best friend. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ace in the hole.

Lleyton had a very bad week in daycare last week. 

He has long struggled to listen very well, but that was about as bad as it got...until Thursday.  With one swing of a chair that happened to hit best friend in the head, he went from the lovable, sweet kid that has a remarkably short attention span to the future mixed martial arts fighter that likes to hit his friends over the head with chairs and has a remarkably short attention span. 

Not good.

The worst part was that after the long talk with had with him on Thursday evening, and after threatening to take his new Carson Palmer jersey, and his new shoes, and all of his babies if he hit anyone the next day, he was back at it again on Friday, as he hit another one of his friends. 

Not good.

What to do?  We have decided to incentivize good behavior, so we have told Lleyton that if he is able to behave like we expect him to behave for five straight days he is going to earn a very special prize. 

I am so hopeful he is able to behave.  For a few reasons, not the least of which is that I think the other kids in the room would enjoy not being hit in the head, but also because I know he is going to lose his mind when he sees the extra special prize. 

What is it? 

Our ace in the hole.

Swiper the Fox

The kid goes nuts over Swiper.  He sees him everywhere.  It's not uncommon that Sara or I have to corral a fictitious Swiper from Lleyton's room and take him to the basement before our little man is willing to lay his head down to sleep. 

He sees him when we are out to dinner. 
He sees him when we are driving. 
He sees him at Parker's games.
He saw him in Disney World. 

Swiper just can't seem to leave him alone...and now he could have his very own Swiper to join the one in his imagination. 

If he behaves. 

Check back on Friday night to see if our little man behaved for five straight days.  I am hopeful.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Today is the day Parker has been looking forward to.  He's officially in the 1st Grade...and he got to wear his new shoes for the first time, and tonight he gets to introduce his Grammy and Pop to Ethiopian food. 

The excitement was palpable last night as he helped Sara load his backpack and bake cookies, and I wish I could have captured a picture of his face this morning when I told him about our special guests joining us for dinner tonight, as he got that wry look on his face, grinned ear to ear, and exclaimed "YEAH!". 

Lleyton didn't want Park to be the only one lucky enough to wear a backpack to school, so he threw his on as well.

Generally, for every smiling picture there is a silly picture.

Even though the focus of this morning was on Park's big day, the boys never let a morning go by without showering their little sister with affection.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Who Dey!

It's that time of year. 

The expectations are high in our house (I am prepared to be disappointed). 

Can you guess what the boys are trying to imitate in this picture?

If you guessed that Lleyton is a baby cheetah and Parker is a tiger you would have been right (although with current state of his teeth, I think he may look a little more like a piranha).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fun in the sun.

With Sara heading back to work tomorrow after a long stay at home with Addy we wanted to treat the kids to a special weekend.  Our options were a quick trip to Chicago, an overnight at an indoor water park, or stick around here and hit up the aquarium and spend some quality time at the pool.  We chose the latter. 

We dropped the boys off at daycare on Friday morning because neither boy wanted to miss the morning of fun each of their rooms had planned, so Sara and I picked them up just after lunch and we headed down to the Newport Aquarium.  The boys loved it, and I think Addy enjoyed it as well, as she got to ride on my back due to the fact that strollers aren't allowed in the aquarium until 4pm. 

Our favorite parts were:
Lleyton - the big, huge, giant turtle
Parker - sharks
Addy - TBD
Sara - otters and penguins (she couldn't decide)
Me - jellyfish

Lleyton was very concerned about the scuba divers who were swimming with the sharks.

Here is the aforementioned big, huge, giant turtle.

After our enjoyable tour came to its conclusion we ventured home so that Addy could take her much needed nap before we headed to the swimming pool for dinner.  The boys love showing off their skills for all of the coeds at the pool (by boys I mean Lleyton). 

Our weekend of fun continued yesterday as we spent some time on the lake that Grammy and Pop live on.  The boys served as armed security guards during the cruise portion of our trip before jumping in and swimming with the fish. 

They have been wanting squirt guns for a long time, and lucky for them, Sara found a couple on clearance at Target.  They had a blast during squirting some unsuspecting rocks along the banks of the lake.

Not unlike most days recently, it was very hot yesterday.  Hot enough that even the deer were seeking refuge from the heat.

Our everchanging little girl.

What a difference 6 weeks, hundreds of bottles and countless kisses makes.

Addy in Ethiopia

Addy today

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I miss Ethiopia.

Videos like this one make me want to do more. 


Seeing someone like the lady in the video who has given up her life in the United States to move to Ethiopia moves me.  What can we do to continue to make a difference?  We won't be moving to Ethiopia anytime soon (although if we could move there for a year or so, we would), so we have been left to ponder how we can help those that need it most. 

I will never forget driving through Addis Ababa on our way to Addy's orphanage on our first day there during this past trip.  The rain was coming down in droves and we were along side a garbage truck that two young boys had jumped onto the back of.  Our driver said that kids often do that in hopes that when the truck stops they can find food or anything of value amidst the trash.  The boys couldn't have been much older than Parker.  It was heart breaking. 

I miss Ethiopia.  I would go back tomorrow if I could.  I want to be able to spend a week or two there doing whatever we can to help.  As I have said many times, my favorite part of our trips to Ethiopia has been the time we were fortunate enough to spend in orphanages.  Seeing the smile that results from giving the kids a sucker or showing them their picture on a camera is awesome. 

I find it interesting that I can always seem to come up with what I deem the right words to describe the escapades that happen with our little ones, but when it comes to topics like my feelings for Ethiopia, I get writers block.  I can't seem to put together sentences that adequately convey my feelings for the people of the Ethiopia.

If you ever get a chance to go experience it for yourself, do it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Nikes and a buzz cut.

It's back to school time. 

Park is very excited about venturing into first grade, and he is even more excited about his new back to school shoes.  We took him out shopping yesterday afternoon following an open house at his school and we happened upon his dream shoes.  He likes his new shoes so much that he had me position them so that they he could see them as he goes to sleep...

I would have done the same thing when I was seven...heck, I would do the same thing today if I had shoes like Park's.  It just so happens that all of the cool shoes in the house now belong to the boys.   Such is life.

Along with back to school time also comes a haircut, and I can't say that Park likes his new do as much as he likes his new kicks.

The hairdresser got a little aggressive with the clippers, but I think he still looks pretty handsome.


Since the place where we shop for shoes was offering a second pair for 50% off, Lleyton lucked into a pretty cool pair of shoes as well.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Photogenic kids.

I take alot of pictures.  

The camera that we bought before going to Ethiopia to pick up Parker was the best investment we have made in a long time.  Of the thousands of pictures I have taken over the last couple of years, some of my favorites were taken during our recent trip to Bloomington.  Sorry to bombard you with the pictures, but I can't resist.

If I tell Park I want to take his picture, more times than not he assumes this pose.  Not the most manly looking of poses, but he thinks it looks nice.

Of the 150 pictures I took in Bloomington, there were a handful of really good ones, and there were another handful that just make me laugh looking at.  Like these where the boys are doing their best to get Baby Sister to show those pearly whites.

And I not sure Lleyton is going to approve of this picture being published, but I have to do it.  After all, he was just doing what any good big brother would do and showing Addy how to work a pair of high heels.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Attention Brad Stevens and John Calipari...

Parker and Lleyton made their first official campus visit to IU this weekend and they really liked what they saw. 

We were in Bloomington to visit our friends, Rob and Rachel and their little guy Nolan, and I wanted to show the kids my alma mater while we were there.  In the back of my mind I was hoping this visit, along with the IU jerseys that our friends Brian and Kim sent the boys, would solidify IU as Parker's favorite school.  That didn't quite happen, as he still ranks UK #1, but IU has jumped up to a tie for #2 with Butler.  Baby steps. 

Our visit included a quick drive through campus as I served as a personal tour guide for everyone in the car and we found a few minutes to stop for a a few photo ops in the Arboretum, under the Sample Gates, and on Kirkwood Ave.

Here is a possible glimpse into the future as Lleyton hangs out on Kirkwood.  For those not familiar with Bloomington, Kirkwood Ave is home to a few of the most popular establishments often frequented by thirsty students.  In the background you can catch a glimpse of Kilroy's and the Upstairs Pub. 

And here is maybe yet another glimpse of the future as Lleyton sprints through the Arboretum in the direction of the business school.  I can imagine Lleyton schooling some folks on Court 1 at the HPER only to realize that he is running a bit late for his class, leading to a scene not much unlike this one.

The kids were also nice enough to sit still for me for just a couple more minutes while I snapped a few more pictures. 

As much as I enjoyed showing the kids IU, the highlight of the trip was certainly the time spent with the Blackwells.  The boys had a great time hanging with Nolan, and Parker honed his skills at the card game War by taking on Rob and John and usually coming out on the smiling side.

By the looks of this picture, you might think that our boys bored Nolan to sleep...

...but this one was taken a moment later.