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...


"i need dat pone"

The other night, I needed to pick up a few things, so Nicky and I headed to our local "Wallyworld" (about my least favorite place in the world - but - sometimes you just can't beat their low prices).  Luckily, I didn't need to get much, because that kid was like an octopus!  Even though I had him safely stowed in the cart, he managed to grab just about everything in sight; and if he didn't pull it into the cart, he was pointing and asking me "what dat?  what dat?".  As I made it to the check-out line, Nicky helped me unload the cart, then proceeded to study all the items stores like to put at the check-out in order to entice you into spending even more money.  It was then that he spied a toy cell phone and announced "i need that pone!".  (yes...need, not want!)  Keep in mind, the little booger has 2 toy phones, 1 toy blackberry, and my old cell phone already.  I, of course, reminded him of this fact, only to be told "i frow dem in trash.  get new pone."  Hmm...well, that is one option; and at least he seemed to recognize that he couldn't get another one since he already had several in his posession.  Regardless, it's clear that he has come down with a "case of the gimmies"!


Big Boy Bed

Nicky's long legs were starting to hang off the edge of his little bed, so we figured it was time to face the facts that our little russky is growing up, and promote him to a "big boy" bed.   He's 40 inches tall now - which means he's grown 5 inches in just over 1 year!  Funny thing is, when random people see him standing by Kris they always say "wow - you're tall just like your daddy".  We just smile and nod; because the fact of the matter is, he is tall just like his daddy!  It's amazing how many physical features of his are so similar to ours.  He has my long torso and hair color; Daddy's height, cute gap between the front teeth, and wild cowlick.  But I digress...

Nicky's Pop provided him with the best gift ever - a hand-crafted wooden boat bed!  The theme of his room is sailboats, so we thought it would fit in perfectly.  We built it up about 3 weeks before the new bed's arrival, and every time he would talk to his Nana and Pop he would say "you come to see me?  bring me new bed?  new piiiillowwws.  new baaanket."  (he hasn't mastered the letter "l" just yet...and tends to draw the words out when he doesn't have many words to say.)  The new pillows and banket, er blanket, are actually from his GG from last year, but he's just now grown into them.  As soon as Pop's truck pulled up, Nicky was in motion, "helping" to unload the bed...

There were still a few minor things to tend to before bringing it upstairs, so Nicky checked it out in the messy garage.  Funny thing to note - there's a tag on the mattress with bright colors, and Nicky was much more interested in checking that out than the bed itself at first...not sure he really knew what to think since it wasn't in his room yet!

Sunday evening, Daddy and Pop worked their tails off to apply the finishing touches, and get the bed set up in Nicky's room.  Here's the finished product...

Getting a little nudge from some friends...

Nicky talks about his "new bed" every chance he gets, and you can see the pride beaming from his cute little face.  Thank you, Pop, for making him the happiest little guy ever.  To think, just over a year ago, he was sleeping in a room such as the one in the picture below...(taken from http://www.johnkaplan.com/pages/russia1.html).   And now, he's sleeping in what is undoubtedly, the coolest bed any little boy could have.


Poopin' USA

Ok...so this one's probably a little crass...but it's definitely silly! And it's not like Nicky's not smiling in the pictures...he definitely knows how to enjoy a little "relaxation" time!  Here's the little dude partaking in said relaxing, across the USA...

Mi Tierra restaurant, San Antonio...(why is it that as a kid, any bathroom is fair game? and - why does it always have to be right in the middle of dinner?! can't they do it before or better yet, after?!)

Home Turf...check out the book he's reading - "Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood" - dang it!  He's gonna learn all our parenting secrets!

Yes, Pop, I do realize that Nicky will grow up one day, and he may not be so happy that I have shared these pictures with the world. You can help him get me back all you want! All I have to say for myself is this: we have had to tend to so much booty of his in this last year, that we deserve a good laugh!

And, Nana, I do so enjoy your idea of framing and hanging these pictures in one of our bathrooms...you might be onto the next trend in bathroom decor!

I'll leave you with this quote by Harry S. Truman..."Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day".  That is one smart, smart man.


Ladies Man

Sooooo...... yeah, um....where do I begin? Annaliese has been harassing me for months to help contribute to this blog. As most of you all know I'm not a talker (and apparently not a blogger), but this may have been one of the funniest things I have ever seen. So I have decided to share.

Last night after a long month of being vegan we decided to go out for dinner. We went to a local bar and grill called Third Base in Frisco. Little did we know that it was bikini night (actually, Kris did mention it was bikini night, but then told Gina and I that he was just joking...umm hmm...sure you were, husband!), so all of the waitresses were wearing bikinis. I picked Nicky up from school and met AJ and our friend Gina at the restaurant. Nicky and I sat down and he started scarfing down the cheese pizza that momma had already ordered for him.
As AJ has mentioned before, Nicky likes him some "boobeets" (his pronounciation). Shortly after we sat down, one of the waitresses walks by our table. Nicky's eyes got really big and he stared her down. He spun around in the booth to get a good look at her rear and almost fell out of the booth. Momma had to grab him by the shirt to keep him in! This continued throughout the meal. Every waitress that walked by got the same treatment. He couldn't get enough. They all thought he was the cutest little guy (which of course he is, but I'm biased). He had them wrapped around his little finger. Here's a picture of the little rascal checking out one "unassuming" waitress, and subsequently getting embarrassed when she caught him looking...
On the drive home this is the conversation I had with my son:
Daddy: "Nicky, what were you staring at while we were at the restaurant?"
Nicky: "um...girlz boobeets and um...belly and um...face."
Daddy: "Did you like them?"
Nicky: "Yes!!!" He said with a big smile on his face.
Daddy: High Five

Question: Is it okay to call your 3 1/2 year old son a pimp?

If so, I would have to say my son was a pimp last night.

If not we will just have to go with ladies man.

Spitting the Dummy

The tantrums are out in full-force in the Johnson household. Oh my goodness are they C-R-A-Z-Y, crazy! Apparently we're not alone...I found an thread on google called "My 3 1/2 year old is trying to put me in an early grave"...I feel that pain! So, here we are at 3 1/2, and oy vey, is he spitting the dummy! (I stumbled upon that phrase and thought it was pretty funny...much better than the average American phrase: "temper tantrum".) Pretty much anything Nicky can balk at, he does: going to bed; brushing his teeth; getting dressed/undressed; leaving the house in a timely manner; getting into his carseat; following directions; going potty...even when he definitely has to go; washing his hands; getting out of bed; cleaning up his toys. Um...yeah...pretty much everything in our daily routine can lead to a knock-down, drag-out, kicking and screaming, throwing of toys/books/whatever's in the hand, full-on outburst! Here's a picture of one of his new habits while throwing such a fit...

Not sure why, but he's taken to burying himself under things - the front door mat; rug in his room; and as in the picture above, Blitzer's bed! He's also a big fan of the "trantrun" - the act of performing a hissy fit while on the go..these are quite comical, and tend to send me into fits of laughter, which helps to calm Nicky - or at least it stops the tantrun momentarily.

Kris and I are taking a parenting class at Nicky's school, based on the Love and Logic method. It's pretty interesting, and seems a bit ridiculous at times, but...it works! The premise is to give empathy first, then hand over a consequence for the negative behavior. It also stresses the importance of giving the child choices: "would you like chicken or chicken?". Ok - so that one sounds pretty silly, but if you ask Nicky what he wants for dinner, his response is almost always "chicken"! So, I show him two types of chicken (grilled and nuggets) and let him choose. We also say "would you like to do x now, or in one minute?", to which Nicky replies "one minute". Ok, one minute it is...and magically, one minute later, he complies! Who knew?! There's also no issuing of warnings with this approach - he knows the rules of the house, and will say them at will, so if he's not obeying them, action should be taken immediately (redirection or consequence). I'm surprised that just following these few steps, has actually changed his reaction to things. The key to all this is to reign in the sarcasm (apparently children can pick up on this), and to remain calm - easy as pie...yeah, right. Keep your fingers crossed for us folks! I've said it before...and I'll say it again...Serenity Now!


Blog Rewind

I'm a little behind on my blogging, so I am going to back up a few weeks and talk about a fun, busy weekend we had with Nicky. Daddy worked at the office Saturday morning and was off all day Sunday, so we were blessed with his presence for (almost) two full days in a row, which NEVER happens! Nicky and I did have some business to take care of before all the fun...grocery shopping...ugh! This task has never been a favorite of mine, and at times, it's extremely less enjoyable with a fussy toddler in tow. Luckily, we only had to hit up one store, and I put Nicky to work opening the plastic produce bags for me, helping pick out vegetables and "watching the cart" for me...seemed to make him feel useful and like a "big boy".

Before we headed out to the store, we had a ball playing in Nicky's bedroom. Since we converted our office into his playroom, he spends much less time in his room than ever before. His bedroom is upstairs, so it makes it difficult to spend a lot of time up there while also trying to get things done around the house. So we try to have a "change of venue" at least once each weekend and it not only changes things up a bit, but it makes it seem like the toys that live in his room are always new!Our grocery trip was over in no time, so we had some time for a little pumpkin painting. Here's Nicky in one of Daddy's old shirts getting ready to paint...he thought it was pretty silly to walk around in the "dress"!
We don't do a lot of artwork at home, so it was interesting to see his "style". Unless I turned the pumpkin for him, he painted in one spot, over and over. It's almost as if it doesn't occur to him to paint in the other areas - as if it's not allowed. So sad that he's so regimented...I attribute it to the orphanage life. I think we'll make art a bigger part of our weekends, so he can learn to have a bit more fun with it.
Momma and Daddy purchased a new dresser from Ikea...love that place! So Sunday morning, after a much needed lie-in and breakfast in bed (cereal...how fancy!), Nicky busted out his toolbox and set to work putting it together with Daddy.
Sunday afternoon, my cousin Stefani from Tales of a Tattered Suitcase, came over to play with Nicky while Momma and Daddy went to see a movie - "Couples Retreat" - pretty entertaining, and just what we needed! Thanks for entertaining the little dude for us, "Aunt Neffi"!
And that concludes my blog in rewind...now onto more exciting topics, like our new favorite past time in the house...tantrums!


It's Official...I've Lost My Mind!

As a mom, I do as other busy moms: multi-task. This morning was not unlike any other weekend morning. I was getting my grocery list together, starting a load of laundry, drinking my coffee, and making a bowl of cereal for Nicky. Well, look closely at the picture below and see if you can spot the silliness...
Yep - I gave my son a fork to eat his cereal! The funniest part is, Nicky even said "i got fork for cereal?" And, since he sometimes confuses objects he sees/uses every day, I corrected him, saying that it was a spoon - and had him repeat the word (the "s" and the "p" are disastrous together for him)...which he did so perfectly! Moral of the story - wise up Momma, slow down, and have a little faith that the little guy is starting to "get it"! (ps...check out his "proper" form in holding the fork! the OT sessions are starting to pay off!)
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