Sunday, November 28, 2010

NKY family gathering.

Friends of ours graciously opened up their house this evening to host a gathering of local Ethiopian adoptive families. 

Lleyton was excited to see Liya. 

Addy enjoyed getting to hang out with a number of new friends.

How about this for a handsome group of kids.

Thanks so much to Helen and Ben for having us over.  As is always the case, the food was to die for, and the company was great as well.  Hopefully this will be the first of many gatherings for this group.

Homemade donuts.

In order to reduce the chaos that can at times take over our house on the weekends, we try to plan an activity or two that we can do with the kids that will both keep them occupied and entertain them. 

We stumbled upon this morning's activity while reading one of our favorite blogs last night.  Megan, who keeps us laughing and has been a source of quite a bit of good insight and ideas regarding sensory issues over at Millions of Miles, let us in on a recipe for homemade donuts and Sara gave it a shot this morning. 

Along with being delicious, they are very simple to make.  The best part of the activity was that Lleyton enjoyed the finished product, which is saying something because it is always a challenge to get him to eat.

On the other hand, it is not difficult to get Addy and Parker to eat their fair share, and this morning was no different.  Parker inhaled his chocolate glazed creation quicker than I could get the camera to capture his enjoyment, but Sara was able to catch up with Addy before she was able to finish hers.

Nothing brings a bigger smile this young lady's face than a delightful sweet treat.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Future EMT.

I have been compiling a list in my head of various professions that Lleyton has either showed interest in or that I think he would really excel at and a new one jumped to the top of that list this evening as I watched our little man resuscitate his newest toy.


Sara and I have countless things to be thankful for, but nothing more than these three.

(Lleyton was putting on a show this morning while listening to Raffi and acting like he was riding a huge wave.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sundays don't have to revolve around the hapless Bengals.

Who knew that beautiful Sunday afternoons in the fall were good for something else other than sitting on the couch watching the Bengals invent more ways to lose?

The less-than-lovable-losers were not on local TV yesterday thanks to their inability to sell out of tickets for the titanic struggle on the banks of the Ohio River with the Bills.

Sounds like a recipe for a fun family outing to me.

We loaded the kids in the car, picked up Pop along the way, and we were off to the Cincinnati Zoo. 

On the drive I over I polled the boys about what animals they were most looking forward to seeing.  The results:

Lleyton - Alligator (although he was very fearful of Addy getting too close to the alligators because if one were to bite her hand off she would bleed and she wouldn't be able to play with him anymore)

Parker - Meerkat

We were able to see a few alligators, but the closest thing we got to a meerkat was a few squirrels that were lurking behind the counter of the food stand that we stopped to grab a quite bite and a drink from.  Seeing squirrels frolic around near food prep areas can diminish even the hungriest patron's appetite.

Note to zoo management - Possibly consider the following revision to your website...

NEW Menu Items! Watering Hole - Located in Historic Vine Street Village. Choose from six different types of beer, soft drinks, snacks, freshly cut french fries, fresh chicken tenders, pub fried pretzels, and LIVE SQUIRRELS!

I digress.

Our time at the zoo was very well spent. 

Lleyton loved running from animal to animal attempting to communicate with almost each one using the animal's language.  I am pretty sure this white lion actually carried on some sort of conversation with our little man.

Although this polar bear was behind thick glass and under water, he had to hear Lleyton's very loud (ie. shrill) polar bear call.  He responded by putting a nice show for us and those around us (the polar bear that is).

I brokered a deal between Pop and Parker that worked for both sides.  Instead of Parker requesting that Pop read the description of every animal that we saw, it was agreed upon that Pop would read about any animal from Africa. 

For the most part Addy enjoyed being ushered around the zoo in her chariot.  It's tough to see many animals for her vantage point, but I think she was plenty entertained by Lleyton's  tomfoolery.

No offense to the very active polar bear, but the most entertaining animal sighting of the day had to be Lleyton chasing a group of sparrows that had quickly seized their opportunity to pounce on the granola bar that he had dropped onto the ground.  He was remarkably close to corralling a unsuspecting bird or two.  Although he unsuccessful in his hunt, trust me, those tiny little birds got grown man sized tongue lashing from our little guy.

Polar bears remain my favorite animal at the zoo, but that's not to say the inhabitants of Monkey Island weren't quite entertaining to watch.  I think they too may have been a bit spooked by Lleyton, as he was imploring them to jump into the water and swim over to him. 

While Lleyton enjoys talking to (screaming at) the animals, Parker would rather have his picture taken with them.  

I hope these boys never stop enjoying hanging out with each other as much as they do now.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Time flies.

Three years ago today was the day Sara and I met our little man for the first time.

Our lives forever changed as we walked into this orphanage and patiently waited in this room.

Our handsome little man was nothing short of very sad looking.

First family picture.

Here is a link to my post from a year ago today.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Addy's TOP 10 List

In getting know the Addster over the past four and a half months, that fact that she is opinionated and is not afraid to share those opinions is crystal clear.

Based on my unscientific research and personal experience with my strikingly beautiful little girl, I unveil to you Addy's 10 favorite things:

1. Sea Salt Caramel Truffle ice cream (TRY IT!)
2. Vanilla ice cream

3. Wendy's chocolate Frosty
4. Chocolate Goldfish
5. Whole milk
6. 2% milk
7. Lleyton
8. Peas
9. Mommy
10. Daddy

Sara and I have high hopes of moving up the list one of these days, but we are also realistic and don't know that the joy that she shows when we walk into a room will ever equal that of when ice cream comes out of the freezer.

Update:  The little Addster does indeed love her oldest brother too.  He is incredibly sweet to her, loves being right next to her, loves kissing and hugging her, and is always trying to make her laugh.  Lleyton, on the other hand, plays a little hard to get and I'm afraid that what might be what Addy likes so much about him.  I guess we have a few years to try to her leaning towards the sweet, caring, and nice boys.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Tensions are high in the Ritzmann household this morning. 

Kickoff is in less than an hour and Lleyton and I are at odds with the rest of the family.  The war of words that started this morning when Parker asked me why I would root for the Bengals when I already know they are going to lose will be decided on the field in Indianapolis this afternoon.

Who Dey.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Picnic in November

Thanks to the unseasonably warm weather we experienced today, we packed up the kids and a picnic basket and made our way down the road to Big Bone Lick State Park for a very enjoyable couple of hours this evening. 

With our kids, there is no such thing as a lazy Saturday afternoon.  They are nonstop action, so we try to get them out of the house as much as we can on the weekends.  It's quite refreshing to take them to a place with wide open spaces where Lleyton can run like the wind without the constant worry that he is going to run onto a busy road or do something else that could result in us spending time in an emergency room.  Big Bone is one of those places. 

We had a great time. 

Parker organized a mean game of Monkey in the Middle between he, Sara, and I, in which Sara really put her athletic prowess on display.   

Lleyton got to show off his best moves on the playset and he put on a clinic on how to throw a spiral. 

Addy took it all in while constantly laughing at her brothers, showed her stuff on the swings, and made her first trip down a slide which resulted in her discovery that she enjoys the taste of mulch. 

And I brought the camera...

What's tougher than getting all three kids to smile at the same time?  Getting all three to eat at the same time (Lleyton's not a big eater).

The passing clinic I was talking about.

Natural born athlete.  He catches the ball and his head is on a swivel looking for the defenders.

Just call her Tyra.

3 going on 40.

Tomorrow should prove to be an interesting day in our household. 

Colts vs. Bengals. 

Details to come...


Can you identify me in this picture? 

I happened upon this picture from the 2001 Dyngus Day celebration while I was waiting tables at Yogi's in Bloomington and showed it to the boys and asked Lleyton if he could pick me out.  Without hesitation he identified me as the man on the far right wearing the Michigan jersey.

To those of you that don't know me, I am the one on the far left. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010


To all veterans and active duty military personnel,

It is because of your willingness to serve our country that our children will grow up in the greatest country in the world.

Thank you!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Shame on Sony.

I consider myself a pretty easy going guy.  I don't get too worked up about things and rarely (very rarely) does anything I see on TV or hear on the radio really bother me.  One of those rare occasions happened yesterday and I feel compelled to tell you about it. 

Here it is:

Having researched that commercial a bit, it seems that the reaction to it has been mostly positive.  If you Google "Playstation commercial you're adopted" you will find the first two links have comments from numerous people saying how funny the "you're adopted" line is.  I couldn't disagree more. 

As parents of three adopted children, Sara and I work everyday to instill in our children that they should be proud of who they are.   We talk with Lleyton and Parker all of the time about Russia and Ethiopia.  Parker and I laid in his bed just the other night and talked at length about how special it was that he has lived in Africa and America.  How special he was because he has had two sets of moms and dads.  How special he was because he shares the same color skin as his mommy and daddy in Ethiopia. 

Somebody tell me I'm not crazy for being appalled that a company as prominent as Sony, manufacturer of Playstation, would put a line like that in a commercial (a high profile commercial at that).  I know the topic hits home with me more than most people, but I have to believe that even if I wasn't the father of three beautiful children who we adopted that I would still feel the same way.

The premise of the commercial is clearly that the family is trying to distract the person playing game.  They are making comments like "miss it", shaking keys, running a blender, blowing vuvuzelas.  How does the comment I am so frustrated with fit in anywhere in that commercial? 

Since when is being adopted something someone should be mocked for?  Call me idyllic, but I think adoption should be celebrated, not mocked.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Best buds.

4 months ago...


Addy used to put forth quite an effort to make it seem like she didn't like her older brother Lleyton, but now she just can't hide it anymore. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

We've got a walker!

Buckle your seat belts...our little spitfire is walking on her own two feet.

After showing signs over the weekend that she was quite interested in changing her mode of getting around, tonight was the night. 

Tell me this little girl isn't pretty impressed with herself.

Admittingly, this video isn't of her very first step, but in relation to the number of steps she is going to take throughout her life, I think capturing her second or third steps isn't bad. 

As entertaining as Addy is in this footage, I am equally as amused by Lleyton impersonating Al Bundy in the background while watching a movie.