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...


Nicky's Test Results

We went to see Nicky's GI doctor this past Monday and I'm happy to report that everything seems to be good to go as far as his guts are concerned! We are definitely very happy about that and thankful that he doesn't need any major procedure to straighten him out. So - what's with all the explosions? The doctor seems to think it's a combination of "Toddler's Diarrhea" and "withholding". He said to continue with the probiotics, as this is know to help with issues regarding Irritable Bowel Syndrome & malabsorption. The thing that gets me (other than the actual explosions themselves!) is the fact that most doctors think that "toddlers diarrhea" is caused by an excessive intake of juices (especially apple & pear). Well, those of you that know me, know that I am not a fan of giving Nicky juice & the only juice he does get is the V8 Fusion (because it claims to have a full serving of fruit & veggies per serving). So, we're going to water down the juice we do give him & push the water. I guess I'll have to talk to his teachers again about not giving him as much juice. The doctor also said that the explosions could be a residual effect caused by the parasite he had when we first returned from Russia - it could have done a bit of damage to his guts & it will just work itself out eventually. As for the withholding, well, unfortunately we'll have to wait that one out too. He said not to push "ocaccalo on the potty", but to just reward him excessively (gotta love cheering for poo!) when he does happen to go on the potty.
Now, you may be asking yourself, what's with the picture of the pink dinosaur?! Well, that was the "prize" Nicky picked after visiting with the doctor. I just had to post a picture of it because Kris' oh so favorite color is pink!!! Well, not exactly, it's actually the complete opposite! He can't stand it, so when Nicky chose the pink one I just had to rub it in! :)
Happy New Year!


Austin Matthew Sutten

A few posts ago I mentioned that one of our friends had their baby, very prematurely (he was due at the very end of February). I can now make the announcement more official & say that it was our friends Ramsey & Shelly Sutten. I am very happy to announce that everything's going well so far! He's a little fighter and is making progress every day. When he was born (12.18.08) he was 16 1/4 inches long & 2 lbs 10 ozs. He's now 2 lbs 13.9 ozs, so he definitely has a long way to go, but the important part is he's thriving! There's even a picture on their blog (http://austinmatthewsutten.blogspot.com/) of him giving "the bird"...too funny! He's already just like his mommy & daddy :) They are able to go up to visit Austin for feedings and "touch times", but they don't get as much contact with him as would be ideal and it's been tough for them to leave him each day. I couldn't even imagine having a baby, yet not really having the baby. Please keep them in your prayers as the new year approaches.


Nicky's 1st Christmas

Well...maybe not his first Christmas ever, but his first as a Johnson! As I mentioned in a previous blog, they celebrate the Russian Orthodox Christmas in January & their jolly man is referred to as Father Frost. Kris' parents (Granny & Papa) arrived the afternoon of Christmas Eve and Nicky went to work decorating cookies with his Granny.
Later that evening, we put out cookies & milk for Santa and some carrots for his reindeer. I think Nicky was most excited to get to eat a cookie for himself!

Kris came home from work early Christmas morning and we woke Nicky up at 7:25am - proof that he doesn't quite "get it" just yet! We looked at the evidence that Santa had, indeed, visited us (cookies were eaten, milk drunk & carrots nibbled upon).Then the three of us checked out our stockings to see what Santa brought. Nicky peered into his, saw his stickers & "lips" (chap stick) and was good to go!

One of the wrapped presents in the stocking made noise and he recognized the Elmo song, so he ripped the paper off that one.
We handed him another one that was wrapped & he said "don't want it"! Too bad we didn't get that on video...we could use it against him in the years to come!

After stockings we ate breakfast then proceeded to sit by the Christmas tree and open all the other gifts.

Nicky would open one, play with whatever it was, then lose interest.
We started opening presents around 10am & he still had a pile waiting for him after nap time! He finally opened the last one late in the evening. I'm sure next year will be the opposite...he'll wake us up at 7am and he'll tear through the presents with gusto!

Some of his favorite gifts were a pair of gloves he insisted on wearing right away (from Granny & Papa)...

A pair of sunglasses he refused to take off all day (from Granny & Papa)...

An Elmo "see & say" (from Santa)(notice he's still wearing the sunglasses)...

and a Little Einsteins piano (from Aunt Caroline & Uncle Brent)(you can just call him "Nicky Wonder!)...
The rest of our visit with Granny & Papa was spent playing and hanging out. Momma & Daddy actually got to spend a little time alone & even got to go see a movie! We walked through Deerfield (the neighborhood next to us) to see all the Christmas lights. We had a record high on the 26th here in Dallas...it was in the 80's! Crazy! Last week we had freezing rain & snow and we started out this week in the 20's! Gotta love Texas weather!

Thank you so much to everyone who helped to make Nicky's 1st Christmas memorable! He loved all his presents and we appreciate all your thoughtfulness! We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!


Gingerbread House

My friend Veronica (or as Nicky says "Onca") gave us a Willy Wonka Gingerbread House kit for Christmas this year (it contained a full pound of candy!). She thought it would be something fun for us to do & would maybe occupy Nicky's attention span for more than 10 minutes. Well - it did to that, however, I have to say, it's a good thing I didn't become an architect! I should have thought ahead and put the house part together before I sat Nicky down to do the decorating. The icing that comes in the kit, although very tasty, is not very good at holding the house pieces together! I managed to get the walls up without too much of a problem, however the roof turned out to be rather tricky. So with my left hand I held the house together, and with the right hand I iced the different parts of the house for Nicky to decorate! Quite comical, actually, especially the part when the whole thing came crashing down! The look on Nicky's face was priceless! I felt so bad; but once I got over the shock of it all, told him it was ok, gave him a few more pieces of candy to sample, and let him proceed in decorating the piece of the roof that survived the fall, all was good in the world again. Even though our house might not be showcased on any HGTV show, I have to hand it to Veronica - the purpose of the mission was to occupy Nicky's time & it did just that!
Here are a few pics of the disaster...
We started out so strong...all prepared for our masterpiece!

Nicky's face after "the fall"...

Nicky after realizing the fun wasn't all over...

Nicky decorating the roof...

Merry Christmas everyone! I'll post pictures of Nicky tearing through his presents on Christmas morning later this week!


Upper GI Scan

Daddy took Nicky for his upper GI scan today. After the crazy Saturday we experienced with Nicky (tantrum city & time-out central) I feared for Kris' sanity while they were at the hospital. Well, my fear was ill-founded - Nicky was the model patient once again! He drank the barium with gusto & asked for more! What the?! We can't get him to eat his dinner, but serve up some barium & the kid's all over it! The testing took a few hours, as they had to x-ray the barium as it made it's way through his upper "guts". Nicky sat quietly, watched tv and played with his puppy "Marley" (which he received after being a good patient during the barium enema)(he took him to this appointment too - that's him in the picture above). The radiologist told Kris that everything appears to be normal, which is great! However, that means we have a long road ahead of us trying to figure out what all the explosions are about! :( The doctor did run some blood tests, but we're still awaiting those results. We'll know more of what our game plan is when we visit with the doctor next week. But for now - we're thrilled that his little guts aren't twisted in knots and he's otherwise healthy!


The Johnson Week in Review

There isn't really anything major to talk about this week, but I thought I would jot down a few things.
  1. We've now been home for 3 1/2 months and have run the gamut of emotions. We had a lovely "honeymoon" period followed by a less than exuberant period of him yelling at us, throwing tantrums & hitting us. Then we had a nice breather, where things were nice and almost relaxed at the house. We're back to the wonderful hitting & screaming of the word "no" and constant tantrums. I recently read an article in Parents Magazine that said the average toddler will argue with his parents between 20-25 times an hour! Well, they must've been a fly on the wall in our house when they did that study! Even though the word means the same thing, I kinda preferred it when he still said "nyet". I don't quite know why I liked it better...maybe because then I could still think "poor little guy, he's still adjusting" or something along those lines. Now, it's just "typical 2 1/2 yr old" behavior.

  2. Nicky's little GI issue has not gotten any better. He was sent home from school on Tuesday for having 3 explosions within and hour & a half span of time. That made 4 for the day, only to be followed by 2 later in the evening/overnight. Now, that could've also been a touch of a little stomach bug that was floating around, but who knows! His doctor ordered some blood work and he will be having an upper GI scan on Monday - they won't put a scope down his throat like we originally thought, thank goodness. We're praying that they don't find anything serious. I'm inclined to think that some of the problem is that he's a "withholder", because he will at times tell us he needs to go, but other times will go in his pants & when asked if he did so will always reply "no"! Oy vey! Very frustrating! Hopefully, the doctor will be able to help us regardless of the issue.

  3. The Christmas holiday is almost here and I'm getting nervous as to how Nicky will react to all the hoopla. I'm afraid of overwhelming him and am thinking that we might start bringing out a few of the toys (that were supposed to be coming from Santa) this weekend. I think we'll limit the number of presents he opens on Christmas day and will give him his stocking, but we'll try to be more low-key about the whole thing. He doesn't really understand what the whole thing is about anyway, so this year can be our dry run & next year we can go crazy!
  4. Last item actually pertains to a couple that we are friends with. They had their baby last night, very prematurely, and I ask that you pray for his health and well-being. He's just a little guy and has a tough road ahead of him!

Here are a few fun pictures of Nicky. He might act crazily at times, but man is he cute!

Nicky & his SSN card...more & more American every day!

Nicky trying on momma's glasses

Nicky getting ready for bath time...can't get his shirt over his big noggin! (that means he must be super-smart since his head's so big!)


To Stitch Or Not To Stitch...

...That was our question Saturday afternoon. We chose the latter...not to stitch. Now, I'm sure you're wondering "stitch what, exactly?" Well - Nicky's lower lip, that's what. Nicky & I were heading up the stairs after lunch and we had a little accident. Nicky was upset with me because I wouldn't let him play with his lunch - how dare I actually want him to eat it! I told him he could eat or it was nap time. Although Nicky's decision wasn't nap time, it also wasn't to eat, therefore, up the stairs we went - with Nicky rebelling the whole way. As we continued up the stairs, Nicky slipped and down he went...on his face. He screamed out and when he tilted his head back, I saw his mouth quickly filling up with blood. There was so much, I couldn't tell exactly where it was coming from, so I rushed him to the kitchen sink and tried to determine the extent of the damage. What I found was a big gash along the inside of his lower lip on the left side. Even though I was shaking and freaking out internally, I managed to stop the bleeding and called Kris to get his professional opinion & to beg him to come home. Momma's not so good with the sight of blood and I wasn't sure whether or not we should rush him to the hospital. Kris came home and checked it out and we decided that Nicky would survive without stitches (he would probably pick at them & pull them out anyway). Nicky is doing much better today, although he has a nice fat lip and cut on the outside of his mouth. He's such a little trooper - he's acting as if it never happened! But, you bet momma won't forget & I was monitoring each step he took on the stairs when we went up for today's nap!


Happy Belated Birthday Great Granny!

We love and miss you and hope you had a wonderful birthday!

Perfecting the Drop-Off

It finally happened! A full week of drop-offs sans crying and tantrums!!! Nicky's been in school for 2 months now and this is the first week that he didn't seem to be as upset when we left him in the mornings. He is usually fine until we get into his classroom and herd him to the table so he can eat his breakfast. We've had a few days here and there that were better than the others, but never more than 2 consecutive days. We usually leave with him screaming and trying to clutch onto us as long as he can; there have even been a few days where he's thrown himself on the floor kicking and screaming. We know he settles down soon after we leave, but it still makes for a stressful drive into work. Funny thing is, even on the most difficult mornings, he is never ready to leave school when we come to pick him up! Lately, they have been playing "Mr Potato Head" in the afternoons and this seems to be a new favorite of his. And half the time he's just carrying the head around, without the features that accompany him! I guess it really is the little things that amuse kids. Let's just hope this week wasn't a fluke & instead it means we're getting more settled into our routine.
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