We are a married couple who adopted our little Russky, Nikita {aka Nicky, Nicky noodle, little man, Nikoli, the Nickster, crazy dude, goofball, puppy love, etc...you get the picture!} from St Petersburg, Russia four years ago. Join us as we stumble through the joys and perils of parenthood, while our son teaches us a few things along the road...


Happy 4th Gotcha Day Little Russky!

this is the only "baby picture" we have of nick. he's about a year-ish old here & i found it on a random russian orphanage blog which showcases all russian children available for adoption to the russian public
holy moly!  i can hardly believe it's been 4 years since kris and i made the loooong couple of trips to st petersburg, russia, to meet, then bring home our crazy little man!  we knew our lives would be forever changed, but didn't quite realize that we, as individuals, would have to be the ones that would do the changing.  no one ever said parenthood would be easy peasy!  there have been plenty of times we've thought we were gonna screw up the dude...still do sometimes!  we certainly didn't have a clue as to what we were in for as new parents, but we've muddled through it the best we know how, and in the end we have bonded as a family, attempted to find harmony in the day-to-day, laughed, cried, snuggled, played, created, celebrated, mourned, learned from each other, and become more thankful for each other and everything we have.

we took this picture during our first to st petersburg to meet nick ...he actually smiled at us this trip, so we thought we were in like flynn.  trips 2 & 3...yeah, not so much!  he definitely let us know he wasn't happy about leaving the orphanage with us.
since i love me some lists, let's look at what nicky has accomplished in 4 years:
  1. left all he knew of home with a random couple of strangers who couldn't even speak his language
  2. toured st petersburg & moscow, russia
  3. flew halfway around the world & became a u.s. citizen
  4. was poked & prodded ad nauseum to ensure proper health {i will forever hear him crying "noooo cut penit!"}
  5. went on a super-duper family adventure to the florida keys
  6. had a fantastically awesome-tastic vacation in the virgin islands
  7. tested out some so-cal livin' in san diego
  8. road tripped to st louis, el paso & san antonio
  9. and most importantly ... became part of our forever family!
picture of the 2 texans & 1 unhappy little russky taken just after we left our court date, where we were officially approved to be the little dude's parents
of course these are only a handful of the firsts nick has experienced, but i think he's covered more ground than a lot of grown-up peeps have in a lifetime!  

1 very serious little russky...serious about the fact that he wasn't so sure about these folks everyone was calling "momma & papa"

he's quite the different child than the one that left baby home #1:
  1. he ditched his stoic outer shell 
  2. smiles & laughs easily and loves to be a goofball
  3. speaks ENGLISH!!! {maybe that one should be listed 1st?  but - i think i'd take a happy, smiling kid over a grouchy little man any day!}
  4. loves animals & adopted his very own pup
  5. he's more comfortable in his skin & has overcome most of his social anxiety
one of his 1st unsolicited smiles we got from him {taken at the kremlin}
and because i'm taking this time to rave instead of my sometimes ranting, here are a few reasons we love our crazy, loud, stinky, cute, non-stop-chattin' little russky:
  1. he's so stinkin' handsome & those lips...have you seen those juicy lips?!  oy!  wanna eat them off!
  2. somehow, despite all he's been through in his previous life, he's so very loving
  3. he always kisses my forehead when my head hurts
  4. if there's cleaning or working around the house to be done, chances are he's there asking to help
  5. although he can't always sit still long, when he does, he is one great cuddle-buddy
  6. he picks up dead bugs for me!  not the "walking" ones so much...but i'll take what i can get!
  7. he's forgiving & he bounces back

i'm not sure who saved whom when we left that orphanage 4 years ago.  i do know that even though we've had some days we wondered what the heck we were thinking, we take a deep breath, and remember all that we've learned about ourselves, good and bad, and we thank God we're together. 

♥ “Adoption is when a child grew in its mommy’s heart instead of her tummy.” Unknown 

xoxo ... liese f

Destin-ation Momma Birthday

{trying to play catch up around here, so the next few rounds of posts will be a little dated, but better late than never!}

last november we decided to head to destin, fl, for my birthday.  my friend wendy, who i know from my st louis days and now lives in north carolina, and her family were all heading to the beach to celebrate her brother's birthday so we decided to join the fun.  we spent just a few short days there, but it was long enough for us to decide that we could definitely get used to a little more fun in the florida sun in the future!  nick had a lot of fun playing with wendy's kids helen {they're the same age} and henry, and enjoying the sand between his toes.

all i wanted for my birthday was to have starbucks on the beach 
we got the cool parents award for not caring that they got their clothes wet!

our hotel was next to this restaurant that had live alligators & all nick wanted to do was hold him a gator.  here he is with "cupcake".
on the way home we decided to stop off for lunch in new orleans.  i've never been, and it's been on my bucket list, we were headed that way anyway, so, it was a no brainer!  we were there long enough for me to enjoy a hurricane, some beignets, take a mule-pulled carriage tour, get some beads {FROM A STORE!  get your head outta the gutter!}, and chow down on some po'boys while taking in the view of the mighty mississippi.  i would like to go back again sometime to do a little more touring, but i can officially say i've been there now!

what?  we have powdered sugar on our faces? where?!

poor little dude was plum tuckered out & crashed the second we got on the carriage

bring on the po'boys!
the mighty miss
it was quite the long drive, but way worth it!  catching up with old friends and playing at the beach is always a win-win.

xoxo ... liese f


Blitzer Joe

today we unexpectedly lost a member of our family...blitzer/blitzer joe/spots/blitzer the wonder dog/joe joe the crazy clown dog/sir humps-a-lot/blitzy/bitsir/blister/etc.  blitzer was kris's dog before we met, but it didn't take long for him to bury himself deep in my heart and soul.  taking him to the vet the final time was about the hardest thing i've ever had to do.  there doesn't seem to be an end to my tears.  i'm only thankful for the fact that nicky seems to be taking it pretty well.
here are a few (ok...a lot...i heart that dog!) of our favorite blitzer pictures in no particular order...

and to think...nicky screamed & hollered at the first sight of blitzer, never having been this close to
a dog
nick "walking" blitzer {he was so sweet &
tolerant of the russky's shenanigans}

resting his weary head...dogs are people too!

blitzer the wonder dog {told ya he was tolerant!} 
i'm pretty sure the look on blitzy's face accurately conveys his thoughts about this situation!

such a ruff life    

no matter how much nick pestered him, blitzer never held it against him

if you look closely, ollie is "holding" blitzer's paw.  i find it extremely sweet especially considering this was 3 days before blitzer left us.

rip buddy.  we love you more than words, and miss you so unbearably much.  we hope you're getting all the treats, smarties candies, and pizza crust up in heaven that a spotted wonder dog can handle!
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