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...


my trip to the punkin patch

a few weekends ago my granny & papa came to visit me and after our big trip to the TX State Fair, we all went to the Big Orange Pumpkin Farm. it was way out in the country and kinda far from our house. i'm still not a big fan of long car rides, so my papa sat in the back and played with me to ease the pain. once we got to the farm, we got cups filled with food to feed all the animals. i was a little timid at first cuz the night before i got bit by that big ostrich when i was feeding him, so papa had to help me a bit. once i saw all the other kids doing it, i knew i could do it all by myself too.

after feeding a bunch of goats and some cows me, momma, daddy, granny & papa decided to ride the tractor hayride thing. that was fun stuff! it took us all around the farm and we got to see more animals, a barn and a pond. then we walked thru the punkin patch & there were so many punkins to look at, i couldn't stay focused! most of them were just my size, too, so i could pick them up all by myself.after that, i climbed on a big hay bale that looked like a punkin...i fed a big cow...
i sat on a big, red truck with momma & daddy...
then me and daddy went down a big slide!all in all, it was a fun day! when we got home, papa helped me put my punkin i brought home on the front porch. punkins are my favorite thing - this halloween holiday sure is cool!

smell ya later gators! :) nicky j.



Ok - so you're probably thinking that this is not the title of a post you'd ever see, but here it is. There won't be any pictures to accompany this one, so don't get too excited. Although, since family members will be reading this, I hope that the prospect of seeing either myself, Kris' or Nicky's "boobies" doesn't get you excited at all!

Now - for the point of this post... Nicky is a "boob man". Being a mother of a boy I have to admit I am a bit more modest when it comes to dressing/undressing in front of him. I tend to "hide" in my closet for the most part when engaging in these activities. However, this is not always a possibility. I figured that the time had come that he could see me (partially) undressed (think waist up). As I was taking off my shirt one day, with Nicky watching my every move, I noticed that his gaze stopped just above my navel and he got a silly smile on his face & stuck his tongue out to the side. (The tongue thing is his signature move, just like his Pop - it usually comes out when he's either concentrating on something, or when he's really enjoying something.) I think in this case it was probably both. I figured "what the heck" and told him "boobies"..."you're looking at momma's boobies" (we are, after all, teaching him English, so I had to expand on the statement). He thought that was just great and began saying "boobeet" over and over (he's got a little speech impediment so the "s" comes out like a "t". Later that evening, as Nicky was having his bath, he touched his own chest and said "boobeet" and once again, flashed a silly smile with the tongue sticking out! So I agreed and said "yes, those are Nicky's boobies". After his bath, I took him up to his room and began our lotion/ointment/bed time rituals and as I was rubbing the lotion on his legs I looked up to see him playing with his "boobeets" and then he reached forward, opened my shirt and requested "boobeet"! Oy! I thought, "I've created a monster!".

Nicky's since given Kris the same silly grin with tongue while looking at "daddy's boobeet" and all I hear while we're changing clothes or bathing or doing anything that might require a peek at "boobies" is an enthusiastic "boobeet"! I think I hear "boobeet" almost as many times in a day as I hear "nyet"! Last night I told Kris I was going to have to invest in some beads for Nicky to throw at me every time he requests "boobeet"! I should get something out of it, right?! Ah, the joys of parenthood!


The Tantrums...Oy The Tantrums! Wow - the "terrible two's" are in FULL force in the Johnson household! No matter what the question, the answer is always "NYET"! Sometimes immediately followed by a "Da", but always no first! Now I ask you, dear readers, what is the point of this crazy shenanigan? Just exactly what does a toddler think they are accomplishing when they engage in this practice? They're still giving in by saying yes eventually (or just following suit with whatever one asks of them). I'm baffled and amazed at the number of times we hear "NYET" on a daily basis. I've read about every article I can find on the internet and in the toddler books we own & most of them say the same thing "IGNORE"...Time Out is also very popular, as is Reasoning. The problem with the 2 latter conventions are as follows: 1. Sitting still (much less sitting still and quiet) is not possible; 2. Nicky doesn't understand English! Now - we do include the "reasoning" during & after the ignoring part, because after all, this will help him to understand English. Only thing is, he doesn't right now, so where are we getting with that?! I do very much enjoy hearing myself talk, so not all's lost! So - IGNORE. I probably say "IGNORE" as may times a day as Nicky says "NYET"!
Another baffling ritual now performed on a daily basis - the flailing on the cold floor, accompanied by the screaming. And all because we won't pick him up when he wants - ok, I can kind of understand that. But - the knock-down drag-out tantrum for (seemingly) no reason whatsoever?! That one gets me! I know, I know. Toddlers lack the ability to fully express their wants/needs, etc, so the whining & tantrums rear their ugly heads. Still - I'm surprised at the number of all out tantrums this kid is able to perform in any one given day...they look so tiring! You'd think just one tantrum would invoke a rest period.
The number one time we hear "NYET!"...Are you hungry, Nicky?...Do you want to have breakfast/lunch/dinner, Nicky? "NYET!" Always "NYET!". Usually followed by him wanting to sit in his chair and if it's a snack, will then eat. Meals - forget about it! Pushing the plate as far away from oneself as possible, before even testing out said meal, seems like it's the cool thing to do. Maybe more adults should engage in this practice as to manage their weight! I'm at the point of "why bother?". Why bother fixing a plate of food (of which I KNOW Nicky has eaten before & has enjoyed before)? Why worry that my child gets the nutrients he needs on a daily basis? "He'll eat when he's hungry" is my prevailing thought...I know he's not starving to death. How do I know this you might ask? Well, he's in the 75th percentile when it comes to weight and he eats SECONDS & sometimes THIRDS at school!!! No wonder he's not hungry!
After trying several methods, in an effort to give Nicky "power over food" (what the heck?!), I have issued a "cease fire" when it comes to meals. I don't understand WHY this has become an issue, but apparently it is a battle momma & daddy will NEVER win, so it's not worth us trying. Interestingly enough, last night's "fix my own plate & but nothing for Nicky, then sit down and eat without him" method actually worked! He freaked out & begged for a plate of food and when I gave him some, he began to eat without any prodding...until he had trouble spearing broccoli with his fork, and asked me for help. Once I said I would help, he was all done and didn't want to eat anymore. Note to self...don't help no matter what!
Some days I really miss that quiet little guy that showed no emotion at all in Russia. Well...on the other hand, I do quite enjoy the kisses that are given out at random, so I guess we'll just have to take the good with the bad! Only 6 months until he turns 3! (all this craziness will end then, right?!)


my visit to the TX State Fair with granny & papa

this past weekend my granny & papa came to visit me all the way from el paso. my momma & daddy told me that's a really long way away...thank goodness they came here to see me, cuz i don't like long drives. anyway - when i woke up from my nap on friday, i got a big surprise! not only did i get to see my granny again, but i got to meet my papa! it was so exciting! we all got in their van and went to the texas state fair - i didn't know what that was, but everyone sounded so excited to be going, so i went along with it. my papa sat in the back with me and played with me so the drive didn't seem too long. when we got to the fair we got to look at some animals. there were bunnies, goats, llamas (just like in one of my books "llama llama red pajama"), zebras, some big cow things and an ostrich that bit me when i tried to feed him! yep - the ostrich bit my finger...no wonder my daddy doesn't like those things! after all that i got to wash my hands - that's my favorite thing - i don't like to get dirty at all. then we went to ride a few rides - that was awesome! i rode a balloon thing that spun around and went up & down with my daddy, then a train thing with my papa, then my daddy took me on this really big slide! then came the games - i wasn't that interested in them, but i got some fun prizes when daddy & papa played them for me. i got a stuffed pig, a dog that looks like blitzer (by the way - i've given up on that whole "sabaka" word - it's too hard to say!) and a little lion. i got to try cotton candy & then momma & daddy gave me chicken fingers & french fries with my favorite thing ketchup for dinner! on our way out of the fair i got to see this big dude ("big tex") that talks and then we went into a tent that had tons of cars! i loved that part!!! if you'll notice - there aren't any pictures to go along with this post - that's cuz momma forgot her camera & she had to buy a weird one to take pictures with and she didn't get them developed yet - whatever that means! i don't really believe the thing she was using was a camera thou - you couldn't even see the picture after that flashing light thing went off! hopefully momma will get the pictures and i can send them out later.

smell ya later gators! :) nicky j.


Nicky's 1st Day at Parker Chase Preschool

October 14, 2008

Well, the day has finally arrived! Nicky's 1st day of school went off without a hitch! Kris and I both got him up to get ready for the big day & we kept telling him about going to "school"...not that he knows what that means, but it was fun to hear him say it back with enthusiasm! His version comes out more like "cool", but hey - school is cool! He tried putting his backpack all by himself...
So daddy helped him a bit...
We got to school & Nicky walked in with confidence! We went to his classroom (Lower Preschool) and found his teachers, Miss Tulana & Miss Pearl outside with his other classmates. As I spoke with one of the other ladies to make sure we got all our paperwork correct, Kris handed Nicky over. Miss Tulana took Nicky's hand and took him over to a group of kids and gave him a shovel-thing to play with and he was good to go! We waved "bye" to him and he just gave us a funny look...I don't think he quite understood that we were leaving him to stay there for the day.
I picked him up and his teachers told me he did great! When he saw me he ran and picked up a few toys that were on the playground and he started putting them all away. He even yelled at a little girl when she dumped them out! Miss Tulana said Nicky is like a tornado when it comes to clean-up time & he was used as the example to entice the other children to follow his lead! I told him to tell Miss Tulana "good bye" & he immediately stuck out his kissy lips! :) He even gave 2 of his classmates hugs as we were leaving!
Day 2 at school was more fun. He went right to his class and didn't shed any tears. He ate all his lunch, didn't have any accidents & played well with the other kids. He didn't nap, so he was a bit grumpy with momma & daddy after I picked him up...grrrr! We figure with all the excitement and change, we'll give him a little leeway! :) All our fears of him thinking we were "abandoning" him have definitely been assuaged. We are both thrilled & shocked that he is doing so well!

Nicky's 1st Trip to San Antonio

This past weekend Kris and I took Nicky to San Antonio to visit his Nana & Pop and to meet his new extended family. Kris had to work at the fire station on Friday, so in order to extend the time in SA, Nicky and I drove down on Thursday afternoon. The trip that typically takes 4-4 1/2 hours ended up being 6-ish!!! Oy vey! Not a fun trip whatsoever...Nicky was tired of being in the car after 30 minutes - all toys had been thrown on the floor and the screaming/crying had ensued! We stopped for lunch, thinking "great - we'll fill his belly & he'll want to nap!"...didn't happen - unless you count 25 minutes a good nap! Nicky mostly entertained himself by singing songs, which consisted of the limited words in his vocabulary - machina, sabaka, momma, dada, ay yi yi (not sure how to spell that one!), ball and various caveman-like grunts. Now, when I say "singing", what I really mean is saying each word over and over (at times yelling them at the top of the lungs) in a sing-song manner! Needless to say, the hour it took to get through Austin brought about tears and shot nerves to Momma. But - we finally made it and the trip was a lot of fun for all!

Top 10 Fun Things to do in San Antonio While Visiting Nana & Pop...

1. Visit the San Antonio Zoo.

Feeding the Ducks & Fish with Nana

Petting the Goats with Nana
2. Swing in the backyard.

3. Meeting Nana & Pop's Friend & getting fun stuff.

4. Meeting Great Granny & getting fun stuff.

5. Meeting the Mills Family.

Aunt Marsha, Uncle Edward & Marshal

Great Granny & Aunt Pam
6. Getting more fun stuff.

7. Swimming!!!

8. Meeting Great Nana.

9. Meeting Momma & Daddy's Friend Marissa.
10. & most of all...Getting to spend time with Nana & Pop.
Luckily, the trip home wasn't as long as the drive down to SA. Nicky slept for about an hour and since there were two of us, he was well entertained...it will be a while before I try to make that trip by myself again! The sun was in Nicky's eyes, so he covered his face with Daddy's hat!
Thank you for all the gifts and for the fun times! Nicky had a great trip & we can't wait to see everyone again!


For the Ladies

hi - it's me nicky!

i just wanted to let you hot ladies know that althou i put on a few pounds the last few weeks, i'm not gettin' soft. it's all muscle weight & i'm keepin' my little body in shape with this cool thing my momma & daddy have.
my "fred flintstones" walk at a brisk 1.3 mph and burn 11 calories in 5 minutes! i even keep my abs rock-hard doin' sit-ups with momma! i've also decided to drink my milk again - i went off it for a bit, but momma says i need it to build big muscles & strong bones. i also like to exercise by chasing blitzer & bailey around the house and playing ball with momma & daddy. i'm in training for my upcoming visits to some punkin patches. if i wanna catch me one of 'em punkins, i gotta get in shape!

smell ya later gators! :) nicky j.

ps - i learned my middle & last names today! thanks, pop, for making the letters to hang in my room! :) (this having a family stuff is pretty cool!)


30 Month Check-Up & More

Yesterday was a busy day for Mr Nicky. We had a visit from a lady who works for Early Childhood Intervention - a program that assists with children who are considered to be "at risk". "At risk for what?", you might ask. Well, in Nicky's case developmental and speech delay. The program only covers kids until the age of 3, and that's only 6 mos away, so we wanted to take advantage of it while we could. She did the initial in-take and evaluation, and will return with a speech therapist on the 13th to do the full assessment. If Nicky qualifies, which she seemed to initially think he would, then they would visit with Nicky anywhere from once a week to once every two weeks. The good thing is, Kris and I would not have to miss work as they will visit Nicky at his preschool! Keep your fingers crossed that he is accepted. I think him learning how to better express himself with words, and being able to express his wants & needs will help a TON with the recent tantrums and whining!

The fun didn't stop there for the day! After a much too short nap, Nicky and I went to meet his new pediatrician at the Medical Center of Plano. Nicky is such a good patient! He is so still when being measured (35 1/2 in), weighed (just over 31 lbs), and poked/prodded! He's gained over 2 pounds since we got home! Kris says it's all in his "Fred Flintstones"! :) After a bunch of paperwork and a good look at the little guy, the physician told me of the few immunizations she believed Nicky would need. The kicker - I would be the one to hold him down while the 2 nurses simultaneously "stuck" him 2x each! Oy! I am so not a fan of needles & seconds before I was to do the restraining of my son, I got a flu shot! I have to say - we both did pretty well. I was a bit shaky (nerves a little on edge), and started crying when Nicky screamed in pain as the nurses plunged the needles into his little legs! He recovered quickly as one of the nurses gave him a maraca thing (thanks...like we needed another toy that makes noise!).
Today Nicky is being pretty dramatic about the pain in his right leg (must be the one he got the flu shot in - my arm is pretty sore too). He's limping and keeps rubbing it with the cutest frowny sad face you ever saw! He even rubs my arm and says "owie" with the same face!

We're going to one of our friends' daughter's 1st birthday today, so I hope his little leg "heals" before then, or we could be in for a long, dramatic night!


Words to Know When Traveling to Russia

Kris and I by no means learned how to speak Russian before we embarked upon our whirlwind trip to the motherland. I studied the Cyrillic alphabet over and over before our first trip. I figured I may not be able to pronounce the words, but at least I would be able to transliterate them (take the letters from Russian and change them to English). Come to find out, a lot of the words in Russian are actually English words, just written in Cyrillic! It became a game for me; I got so excited when I was able to actually read a sign, and even more so when the word I was translating turned out to be an English word!

A few key phrases that we did learn to butcher, I mean, to say were: Hello (privyet - means "hi") & good bye (easy version - paka paka); please (pazhalsta) & thank you (spasiba); yes (da) & no (nyet) (we know this one very well now, thanks to our oh so sweet toddler!); and so forth.

Below are a few of the other words we learned to recognize & say. After the picture will be the Russian (transliterated) word, then the word in English, then the word according to the Johnsons! After being in a foreign country for so long, not understanding much around us, we got a bit silly and made up little things to keep us occupied! Plus - it's just kinda fun & making things up to go along with the words really helped us to learn better.
Russian: Apteka
English: Apothecary/Pharmacy
Johnsons: Alpha Pi Teka (the second letter in the word "Apteka" is a "p" and to me it looks like the "pi" symbol.) This became one of our "sororities"...like I said - we got a bit silly! The Alpha Pi Teka's are the sisters to the Kappa Alpha Boobs Epsilon's you'll meet a few pictures down. They're the "good" girls.

Russian: First word: Bar; Second word: Kafe
English: First word: Bar; Second word: Cafe
Johnsons: 1st - Bap; 2nd - kappa alpha boobs epsilon
Explanation: It's kinda fun to really butcher a language, even thou one knows the proper pronunciation sometimes. This was one of our faves...Bap! It's more fun to say "lets go to a bap tonite", than to a bar! Now the second "Kappa Alpha Boobs Epsilon", well, that was the "fraternity" that got it all started! When I was learning the Cyrillic alphabet, the way I learned the letter "f" was to call it a "stick with boobs", thus the fraternity had it's beginning. The guys in the Kappa Alpha Boobs Epsilon house, we decided, were the good guys; the jocks; the ones everyone wanted to hang out with (brothers to the Alpha Pi Teka's). (we had a lot of spare time on our hands while we were awaiting our little one!)
Russian: Vodka
English: Vodka
Johnsons: Bodka (gotta butcher this one...and it's best to say with a deep Russian accent)

Russian: Cankt Peterburg
English: Saint Petersburg
Johnsons: Cankt Peterburg (butchering, again, but this word was a must to learn, seeing as thou that was the city we spent the majority of our 3+ weeks as transplants)
Russian: Kassa
English: Cashier
Johnsons: Well...use your imagination as to how we said this one! :) (think back to "Peter" and "Mockba" bellies!)

Russian: Carl's Jr
English: Carl's Jr
Johnsons: Kris' burger joint (he said it tasted pretty much like any old US burger...I took his word for it!)

Russian: Vihod
English: Exit
Johnsons: Enter (nothing too exciting about that one)

Russian: Vhod
English: Entrance
Johnsons: The Beta Chi Ode's (the last letter in the word is a "d" - to me it looks like a "house" and the Russian word for house is "dom", so we referred to the letter "d" as the "house".) (This was our second sorority, and the sisters to the fratboys of C T O Pi...yet to come. They were the more rowdy girls on campus.)

Russian: STOP
English: STOP
Johnsons: C T O Pi's (This was our 2nd fraternity - they are the guys you would drink & party with and most likely get into trouble with on campus)
Russian: Makdonalds
English: McDonald's
Johnsons: Mc Households (see above re: the explanation of the letter "d"; McD's is a "household name", even in Russia, so it just makes sense!)

Random Words to Know When Traveling to Russia:

Russian: Bank
English: Bank

Russian: Supermarket
English: Supermarket
Johnsons: The Cypermapket (it's just more fun to say it that way!)

Russian: Megafon
English: Megaphone
Johnsons: Megaphone...this was our cell phone service provider, so we thought it was fitting to have a picture of the advert.

Russian: Moskva
English: Moscow
Johnsons: Mockba (again, we enjoyed butchering the language!)

Russian: Akva Minerale (name brand of the water) (Boda = Water)
English: Bottled Water
Johnsons: Much needed staple to avoid both "Peter" and "Mockba" Bellies

Russian: Restoran
English: Restaurant
Johnsons: Pectopah (literal translation...aka butchering)

A Few Pectopah's to note...

TGI Friday's
Starbuks Kofe
English: Starbuck's Coffee
Johnsons: Lifesaver; nectar of the Gods; yummy; etc

And last but not least, the place we all need to visit at least once a day...

Russian: Tualet
English: Toilet
Hope you all enjoyed our little lesson of the Russian Language! I'd have to say, reading signs here in the US is a much easier task, althou, not as fun!
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