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...


Curse You Aeolus

In case you don't know who that is, he's the ruler of winds in Greek mythology.  Why am I cursing a dude that may or may not have ever really existed?  Well, I'll tell you.  Christmas Eve (and day for that matter), Daddy had to work at the fire station, so Nicky, Blitzer and Bailey and I piled into our SUV and drove down to Nana and Pop's for the holiday (Daddy flew in to join us on the 26th).  A winter storm blew in the night before we left, and it was super-cold outside and pouring down rain when we left the house at 6:15am.  Waaaay too early to be driving if you ask me, but I figured we better get out of town because the rain was supposed to turn into snow around 9am...and it did...Dallas had a white Christmas for the first time in 80 years!  Anywho, as we drove further south, the rain let up, however, the wind seemed to pick up as the morning went on.  As nice as it was to be driving our SUV so that everyone was comfortable and we had room for all our crap, I sure wished I had been driving my car.  I could barely drive faster than 50 mph at times, for fear we would fly off the road!  I white-knuckled it all the way to San Antonio, and by the time we got to Nana and Pop's, my arms felt like I had been arm-wrestling a tornado for 5 hours!  To put it mildly, it sucked.  Nicky sat in the backseat playing with his most annoying sounding ziploc bag toys, watching movies (thank goodness for portable dvd players...and bless you Uncle Brent - that's been the best Christmas present we've ever received!) blissfully unaware of what was going on around him.  I have to give the little guy some props - he was awesome in the car - only one minor incident...he tore a hole in his ziploc bag and wanted me to "tape it"!  If every long-distance car ride could go that well, we'd drive the little booger everywhere!

The drive home wasn't that bad either (no more wind thank goodness, and I didn't have to drive!).  That is, if we don't mention the fact that it took us about 8 hours to get home (not sure how...we did stop to shop at the outlets, and we had dinner, and there was a little bit of traffic...but still...that's a long time for what should be a 4-ish hour drive.).  We also somehow managed to forget to pick up my car from the airport.  Neither of us even remotely thought about having to get it all day, and to add to the hilarity, it wasn't until we drove into our driveway and opened the garage door that we realized we had forgotten it!  I'm blaming Aeolus for that one.

Want to know what the most annoying sound in the world is?

This plastic bag.  That's what.  And not the sound of the noise-making toys inside the bag, cause I can tune those out, I'm a Momma to a preschooler afterall.  Just the bag.  The sound this bag makes while it's being rummaged through.  The sound it makes when it's just being grabbed; squeezed; zip-locked; moved from side to side; put in the mouth (because for some reason, EVERYTHING goes in Nicky's mouth these days); whatever.  The fact that this bag was in existence in the back of the car in Nicky's hands while we drove down to San Antonio was the most annoying thing EVER.  It might also have had to do with the fact that we were driving in the rain, and extremely strong winds, and my nerves were completely shot, but wow - it almost put me over the edge.  I consider myself quite organized, and I love nothing more than putting smaller items into bags so that when put in a bigger bag they're easier to find.  However, I might need to re-think this tactic in the future.  If somebody out there would please create a sound-free bag for the storing of toys while on the go, that would be great.  Thanks. 

Oh Baby

Nicky and I stopped to go potty while we were driving to San Antonio for Christmas.  While in the bathroom, Nicky saw the baby changing table thingy and asked "what dat? dat for baby?".  I told him that yes, it was for babies and that was where Momma's and Daddy's would change babies' diapers.  He then says "i want baby."  "You want a baby?!", I replied.  "yep.  i want baby.", said Nicky with a big smile.  "I don't know about that buddy" was all I could think of to say at that moment.  Luckily, that was the moment Nicky decided to stick his hands all over the filthy changing table, wall and trash can in one fail swoop, causing me to freak out, thereby changing the subject.  Whew. 

Sidebar...why, oh why, must little boys put their hands all over EVERYTHING in the bathroom?!  So disgusting!  I freak out every time and scream "Don't touch that!"  "EW!"  "That's yucky!"  "Put your hands in your pockets and don't touch anything!"  This is why the taking of the child to the potty is Daddy's job.  I just can't handle it.

On the way home from San Antonio, the three of us were standing in line at a store.  We had the following conversation: 
Nicky:  i want a baby.
Daddy and I looked at each other with "huh?!" looks.  (Daddy had not yet heard the story from the Starbuck's potty.)
Daddy:  You have a baby; you have Felix.
Momma:  Yeah, and Lenny, and Shamu, and Bevo, and...
Nicky:  no.  not dat babies.  a baby.
Daddy:  Not a chance.
Nicky: oh.
Daddy and I exchanged a "wtf?!" look and changed the subject. 

Keep in mind, Kris and I have both agreed that Nicky will be an only child.  We had pretty much agreed on this before we brought Nicky home - Kris wanted 2 kids; I wanted none...1 is a good compromise!  Then there's the infertility factor, not to mention the fact that we had to take out a loan for the little Russky.  When you add it up, we can't afford more than one child.  Plus, I'll say it, I'm selfish.  I like to go and do things and see things and travel and eat out.  And call me crazy, but I like to do these things with my family - having more kids would mean we'd have to cut way back on the fun stuff.  Unless they start paying firemen a heck of a lot more, there would be no way we would be able to enjoy our current lifestyle if we added to our brood.  I'd have to quit my job to stay home...and unless staying home means laying around and watching tv all day, and doing generally nothing, then being a stay-at-home mom ain't gonna happen! 

So, my dear son, you can want a baby to your heart's content.  And, I understand your want, but, it's not gonna happen.  However, getting a puppy is a viable option...and if we gang up on your Daddy, we might have a chance!


Random Nicky

Daddy drove Nicky home from school in the snow today, and they had the following conversation:

Daddy: How was your day?

Nicky: (nothing but the sound of crickets chirping from the backseat)

Daddy: What did you have for lunch?

Nicky: (nothing but the sound of crickets chirping from the backseat)

Daddy: Were you sweet to your friends today? (i.e. did you bite anyone today?)

Nicky: i sorry. i don't want to talk. i lookin' at da road.

Hmm...either he didn't have a good day, or he was completely mesmerized by the snow...I think I'll go with the latter.  At least he was polite!


Best Snack EVER

This year Nicky and I made White Chocolate Christmas Chex Mix and put it in little gift boxes to deliver to our neighbors. I am completely unable to follow any recipe - I tend to add/change/delete ingredients to suit my liking - and this one was no different.  Instead of white chocolate I used almond bark, and instead of peanuts I used cashews (a far superior nut if you ask me).  I also added mint extract for a little "umpf", and let me assure you, it definitely makes this mix fabulous!  I made an extra batch, and figured we would take it to Nana's house for our Christmas gathering, however, at the rate Kris, Nicky and myself are going, there will be none left!  I almost brought it to work today to overnight to Nana just so we would keep our hands out of it!  It's soo good - something about the sweet/salty/minty/chocolatey combination is so addicting.  In fact, I'm posting this at work and all I can think about is going home to have a few bites (yeah right...more like several handfuls!)!  Nicky loves to "help cook" so it was a fun thing to do together, and the end result was delish - we will definitely make this snack an annual tradition!

(sidebar: If you notice in the picture above, Nicky's right hand is on the counter - exactly where I put it.  He accidently got some of the chex mix on the counter, floor, and on his hand.  He became very upset and concerned about who was going to clean it ("bliter get it?"  "man get it?" - not sure who this "man" is, but at some point we told him a "man" was going to clean up a mess somewhere, and that is now his go-to person for the cleaning up of messes).  I tried to explain to him that it was ok; I would clean it up in a minute; not to worry about it; etc.  Since he had some on his hand, it became completely immobile, and he just stood there with it sticking straight out like he was Bob Dole or something.  So I put his hand on the counter - where it stayed, in the exact position in which I placed it, until I was done taking the picture and picked it up to wipe it off.  Unfortunately, we're constantly reminded that you can take the child out of the orphanage, but not the other way around.  You see, growing up in the orphanage you have 2 outfits...and you do NOT get them dirty.  Any time Nicky gets dirty, he obsesses until he's clean...as if he's going to be punished.)

Hold up - this post was supposed to be fun, and somehow it went in a different direction there for a minute.  So, um, to sum up:  getting dirty is ok; cooking with Momma is fun; and Christmas Chex Mix is da bomb! :)


The Trains at NorthPark

A few weekends ago we took Nicky to see the Trains at NorthPark Mall in Dallas.  As a female, I'd have to say the trains were impressive.  As a dude, well, I'd probably tell you they rocked!  Nicky and Kris both seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves; I seemed to just be along for the ride. 

I tried to be overly enthusiastic for Nicky's sake, but I just lost steam after the first 10 minutes of standing in one spot looking at the same scenery and the same train coming and going (Nicky didn't want to move onto each next train set - once he was looking at one, he was there until we peeled him away.).  Now, this is not to say that it wasn't worth the money spent on the tickets, or the time we spent driving to the mall and fighting for a parking spot, because it was definitely well worth the time spent together.  Best of all, I convinced Kris to follow me into The Gap, and he was the best husband in the world...he allowed me to browse as he chased down, and entertained, a rambunctious 3 1/2 year old. (I became the proud owner of 2 turtleneck sweaters, one button-up shirt, and an awesome plaid skirt!)  We finished off the excursion with the purchase of a lemonade and sugar M&M cookie for Nicky...so, we were all satisfied!  However, I did tell Kris that going to see the trains could be a father-son trip going forward; it could be "their thing".  As much as I want to be the "cool mom", I'm just not as into trains as I tried to be, and there are some things that are better left to the male species.  Besides, since they would already be at the mall, they could use the time to buy my Christmas presents!  Kris agreed, so it looks like I've scored an afternoon to myself next year!  Yay!  It's a win-win!

(Nicky's so fascinated by the trains, he can't take his eyes off them!)

Jack's Missing!


Random Nicky

Nicky:  (out of the blue) i an ogre.

Momma:  You are, huh?  Are you Shrek?

Nicky:  yeah.  i shrek.  you donkey!

Momma:  Oh, that's fun.  (wait...did my son just call me an ass?)


"i no wanna be big no more"

The other night we all went to Target for a bit of grocery shopping.  Kris got Nicky out of the car and we were walking to the front of the store.  Nicky asks Kris to carry him.  Kris tells him "No, you need to walk."  Nicky responds "caaarrryyy mmmeee.  my kneee hurrrttsss!", with his arms reached out as far as he can reach for Kris to pick him up.  Kris begins to walk much faster.  Nicky runs after him.  Hmm...your knee hurts, huh?

We finished our shopping, and as we were checking out, Nicky asks me to hold him.  I told him "Not right now buddy, I'm trying to pay for our groceries.  Stand with the cart like a big boy."  Nicky says "i no wanna be big no more.  i stay little."

Oohhh...THAT'S why your "knee hurts"!  The truth is, you know you're getting bigger and we won't (cuz we can't) carry you around as much anymore, so you think if you say you're hurt, then we'll oblige!  And, you miss the closeness you feel when we're holding you and constantly giving you all our attention.  Well, why didn't you just say so?! 

The Dreaded Stomach Bug

Last Saturday, Momma and Daddy were all geared up for "Parent's Night Out", hosted by Nicky's preschool.  It's a wonderful night, (which happens only once a month, and due to Kris' fireman schedule we hardly ever get to partake), that we can take Nicky to his school for the evening for a minimal cost, and we get to actually have a grown-up night.  We had the evening all planned - a movie date, then a few drinks with friends.  Unbeknownst to us, there were vastly different activities in store for our day.  That morning, Nicky was extrememly whiney, nothing held his interest for very long, and he just followed my every move, so naturally, I thought "Oh great, it's gonna be one of those days."  I finally got him to lay on the couch and watch some tv, when he popped his head up and said the dreaded words "momma.  i frow up."  Here's what followed:

me: What?!  You did?!  Where?! (rushing frantically to the den where he was laying on the baby blue couch, which is on an off-white rug...seriously...wtf were we thinking?!)

Nicky: not yet.  i gonna.  (while just sitting calmly on the couch.  um...GET UP!  GET UPGET UP!)

me:  Ok...let's get up and go to the bathroom.  (um...while we're still young!  let's move it...move it...move it!)

me:  Aw man.  It's ok buddy.  It was an accident.  Let's get you to the bathroom and clean you up.  NOOOO!  Blitzer!  Do. Not. Eat. That!!!  (all said while gagging and thanking God that none of the Frankenberries ended up on the couch or the rug...all over the hardwood floor, but not the couch or rug!)

So, I made Nicky a cozy pallet on his playroom floor (which he thought was great fun), accompanied by a trashcan lined with shopping bags, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, Lysol spray and wipes, and a sippie cup of water.  I had a whole process in place by the time Daddy came home from the office.  Those that know me well, know that vomit is my LEAST favorite thing in the world!  So, sitting with Nicky while he was throwing up (poor baby had nothing in his belly and couldn't keep even the simplest of things - water - down!) was a huge challenge for me.  There were several close calls where I thought I was going to join in on the puke-fest.  In fact, as I was cleaning up the Frankenberries, I was gagging so badly that I kept having to run to the other side of the house to escape the smell.  Nicky came up to me at one point, rubbed my back and said "aw.  you frow up too momma?".  So sweet!  He's the one that can't stop throwing up, yet he's concerned for my well-being!

Needless to say, we did not make it to Parent's Night Out; thankfully, Nicky stopped throwing up by 7pm.  Sunday morning I asked him if he wanted some breakfast.  He told me "i want cereal.  but i eat diffrent cereal!"  Good choice son - we will NEVER eat Frankenberries in this house again!


Thanksgiving 2009

Ok, so...yeah...now that next week is Christmas...I suppose I should finally write about Thanksgiving!  I just haven't been in the blogging mood, and now that I'm so far behind, other things have happened since that need to be mentioned.  So, here goes...

As I said before, we went to El Paso for Thanksgiving to visit Granny and Poppa.  This was Nicky's first trip to west Texas, and since he doesn't yet have the capability to string together sentences which always make a ton of sense, I'll say it for him..."it was a fun trip, but the next time we go, can we please fly instead?!"  Wow.  10 hours in a car with a 3 1/2 year old.  I know our parents did it all the time when we were little.  But, jeez.  That's a long time to be in the car as an adult!  Thank goodness for portable dvd players!!!  And, it's a good thing we have a decent-size vehicle (Pathfinder), because 1.) although we were only going to be gone from home for 4 days, we packed as if we were never returning; and b.) I was able to slip back and forth between the front and back seats with ease!  It seems as though Nicky kicks the back of my seat a lot less when I'm sitting next to him...hmm...coincidence?  I think not!

Thanksgiving day, we decided to take Nicky to the parade in downtown El Paso.  We arrived right at the start time, and since we placed ourselves at the ending spot, we didn't miss a thing.  Of course, we stood there for an hour people-watching (WOW), and never did see any of the parade itself.  Granny, however, who stayed at home to prepare our yummy Thanksgiving feast, watched the parade on tv (smart lady, that Granny), and informed us that it would be a while before the parade made it our way as they were still close to the start-point after an hour!  Needless to say, we went home...but not before we took a few pictures...

Nicky & Poppa "in" the parade...

We all pitched in to help Granny with the last-minute dinner details.  Here's Nicky (looking oh-so-thrilled - in his defense, he had just gotten up from his nap) making the ice-cream (for our dessert - although would've made an excellent gravy!)...

After dinner, we all piled into the mini-van (which Kris threatens to buy me as my next car, and although they are quite comfy and roomy, I swear to never own one) and drove around in pursuit of Christmas lights.  We were surprised to find that not many people had decorated yet, so the lights of Juarez were the highlight (pun intended) of our journey.  (those of you oh so lucky to receive a Christmas card from us this year are getting a sneak-peek of this year's picture).

Our cousins Becky, Mike and their daughter Erina joined us for the holiday.  Nicky had them eating out of the palm of his hand by the end of our trip!  Or, as the photo below suggests, he also had them feeding him...

...and building tents with him (thanks Erina!)...and reading books to him...and playing cars with him...and you name it.  Noooo...he's not spoiled at all!

The day after Thanksgiving, we went out for Mexican food.  Mike ordered an Arnold Palmer, and apparently our server didn't know what it was (must have been the language barrier) - half lemonade/half tea - all in one glass.  Instead, a lemonade and a tea were delivered to the table, and in order to achieve the drink he was hoping for, Mike had to double-straw it!  Check out Nicky's face while viewing such a sight...

We drove home during the late afternoon/evening/night, thinking that Nicky would sleep some of the way (nice thought, but didn't work too well).  Before we left, we tried like crazy to wear the little Russky out.  We all played in the backyard with Nicky, having him run around chasing a ball...that is, until someone - who shall remain nameless, ahem, Daddy - knocked it over the fence into a neighbor's yard, causing a full-on melt-down.  All of that, and a full belly, and he still only napped for about half an hour!  Oh well...like I said, thank goodness for portable dvd players!  Here's a sweet picture of Nicky and Erina before we left...

And a picture of Nicky with his Granny & Poppa...I took about 10 pictures before I could get one of Nicky looking at the camera, smiling, not playing with his shoe, etc.  What is it about trying to get a toddler to look at the camera and smile on cue?!  Why is that such a hard task?!  Sigh.

Here's the best picture from the whole trip.  Nicky experiencing his first side-of-the-road potty break!  Nicky and Daddy both giggled like school girls the whole time Nicky peed!  The next time we stopped to fill up the car, and to go potty, Nicky asked "i go pisca in grass?".  He was actually disappointed when we told him no.  I don't get what all the hype is about going pisca outside...I guess you have to have a penit to understand!

We hope you and your families all had a Happy Thanksgiving...I know we did!

Nicky the Vampire

I guess with all the vampire craze these days, Nicky decided he didn't want to be left out.  Me, I'm more "Team Jacob"...goodness...have you seen the boy sans shirt?!  Anywho...I digress. 

So, I get to Nicky's school last night and I walk into his class and find him sitting at a table playing with some "friends".  The teacher (a sub, not one of his regular teachers) comes up to me and tells me that Nicky has been sinking his fangs into his friends (ok...she really just said he's been biting his friends, but it's more fun to say it my way).  This is the first we've heard of such a thing, so I said "Biting?!" (as if I didn't hear her correctly).  She nodded and said "Yes, yesterday he bit one friend on the arm, and today he bit another friend on the leg".  I then looked at Nicky and asked "Nicky, have you been biting your friends?".  At first he looked at me with an "uh oh...I'm busted" kind of look; then it changed to a smirk accompanied by a slight giggle.  I didn't know what to say - I just looked at him dumbfounded.  The teacher said "Oh yes, this is what he does when we tell him not to bite - he laughs at us."  She went on to tell me that he then receives a time-out and they talk to him about the behavior.  I told her we would talk to him about it, and apologized for his actions (not sure why I apologized...my chompers didn't meet with my friends' flesh, but I just felt that I should). 

When we got home I asked Nicky why he was biting his friends, and of course I got the "i don't know" response (seriously, did I really think he would give me an explanation?!).  I asked him who he bit on the arm and he told me "alexandra"; I asked him who he bit on the leg and he told me some name (a boy's) that I couldn't understand.  (he's an equal opportunity biter at least)  As if to say "i've already been punished for this, so can we move on and can i watch tv now?", he tells me "i sit in time out".  Ok...but...we're still gonna talk about this mister!  I asked him if his friends bite him (which I know they do, as he's come home with huge, red, mouth-shaped marks on his hand, arm, and forehead - interesting spot to gnaw on, but hey, I guess you just bite whatever you can get hold of).  He told me that yes, his friends do bite him.  I asked him if it hurts and does he like it when his friends bite him.  He told me that, yes, it hurts and no, he doesn't like it (well, I'm glad we cleared that part up - I was worried there for a minute!).  So I told him biting is not something you do to your friends and to please not do it anymore because it hurts and is not nice (yeah, so there!).  I tried to explain that when you're upset or frustrated with your friends you need to just use your words, or go tell a teacher (great, now I'm creating a tattle-tale...).  I may have then added, for good measure, "Santa doesn't bring presents to little boys that bite their friends" (Is that mean to tell him?  I don't know, but at that moment I felt it might give me some leverage).  I mean, what is it you say to stop a child from biting?

Well, my answer was in Parents Magazine - this month's issue had lots of advice on the subject - how'd they know?   Anyway, it basically said to do as I did (sans the Santa comment I would suspect) - don't make that big of a deal about it (I WAS rather calm while speaking to him...may have had something to do with the glass of wine I had with dinner), and to acknowledge that him being frustrated led him to bite.  Yay!  I did those things!  The question is, will I receive a report that Nicky's played another game of Twilight at school today?  I hope not...wouldn't that be somethin' if my words really sunk in?!  Sigh...I can dream, can't I?


Ladies Man Part 2

I was all geared up to blog about Thanksgiving tonight, that is, until I had the following coversation with my son.  It was way too, well, too I don't know what, so I had to share.  It went a little something like this...

I had just given Nicky a shower and was putting his pj's on him.  He had chosen a lovely pair, which he received as a hand-me-down from his cousin Brenden, that had stripes and a small car embroidered on the left breast.  After pulling the shirt over his big head, Nicky tells me there's a car on his shirt.  He then giggles and says "there a car on my boobeet!".  I just nodded in agreement.  He then proceeds to tell me "i go see boobeet morrow" - very matter-of-fact.  I just continued dressing him without really much more than an "umm hmm".  Nicky, with a huge ear to ear grin, emphatically says, "i go see boobeet morrow!  eat pizza!"  It was then that it dawned on me.  He wants to go back to the grill and bar, Third Base.  You see, it was 'bikini night' when we took the little pimp ladies man, and Nicky much enjoyed checking out all the hot, YOUNG chicks.  (I'm pretending that Nicky was the only male at our table that enjoyed the scenery that much...Daddy definitely only has eyes for Momma!)  Needless to say, I really didn't know how to respond to his request.  The more I tried to get him to pick out books to read, the more he kept telling me what he wanted to go see.  I somehow managed to steer him back to books/bedtime.  I always thought I wanted to be one of those moms that their son wants to talk to about girls, etc...after my first dose of such a conversation (and keep in mind, he's only 3 1/2!!!), I think I've definitely changed my mind!  Does he have to grow up?!


Forklift Nicky

This year we went to El Paso for Thanksgiving to spend time with Granny and Poppa.  Nicky is all boy and loves trucks, "diggers", tractors, etc.  Every "digger" we drive by Nicky will shout "i drive that digger!", so he was especially excited about this visit because he was promised a trip to Poppa's work, where he would drive a forklift and "big truck"!  It was a beautiful sunny day, although a bit chilly, so Nicky donned his new gloves Granny found for him (technically they're gardening gloves, but, they did the trick - they kept his hands clean and warm) - they have dinosaurs all over them, so Nicky was excited to wear them.  He's still a little goofy about wearing gloves...he will sit with his hands in the air, as if unable to move them, until he is distracted by doing something where he is forced to use them.

We got to Poppa's work and Nicky made his rounds flirting with the girls in the office, then it was down to business.  His face lit up and he was so excited he could barely contain his enthusiasm!  He was stuck to his Poppa like glue, not wanting to miss out on anything.  Here's a picture of Nicky and Poppa after climbing aboard the forklift...

Check out the smile on this kid as he "drives"...he was definitely an expert by the time we left.  He loves to push buttons and figure out how things work.

Here's Nicky lifting an empty container.  Once they got it up in the air, they drove around a bit - Nicky pointed and said "look momma!"  Made me think of the athletes that say "hi Mom" when interviewed on tv! 

I think Nicky was more impressed with the driving and the pushing of buttons than actually doing any "work".  As they were lifting the chassis, several "big trucks" were pulling into the lot.  Nicky's attention quickly turned to them, and he waved and said "hi" to the drivers.

Nicky preparing to drive the "big truck"...

Here is a picture of 3 generations of handsome Johnson boys...

As we left Poppa's work and were securing Nicky in his car seat, he announces "i go poppa's work morrow".  I think it's safe to say he was quite impressed and thoroughly enjoyed himself!  Thank you, Poppa, for the fun day!


Momma's Birthday...

And I'm not telling how old I am...and if the question arises, I'll say "27"!  (tee hee hee!)  I have to say, as far as birthdays go, this was one of the best ones I've had yet.  It's really the first one I've celebrated with Nicky, as last year he had only been with us a few months and didn't understand it at all.  This year, on the night of my actual birthday, Kris and Nicky took me to dinner at a yummy German restaurant (Bavarian Grill), and since we had just finished the Vegan Diet, we were able to enjoy rich creamy sauces and our favorite - CHEESE!!!  Nicky was thrilled by the "choo choo" that runs around the ceiling of the dining room, so Momma and Daddy were able to sit back and enjoy the evening without having to constantly entertain Nicky.  I was even serenaded by the accordian-playing one-man-band (the "Anneliese Polka Song"), and had a special "happy birthday" song played on some Alpine bells!  Nicky sang me "happy birthday" several times throughout the day, and gave me a new pair of soccer sandals (I wear them around the house and had just torn my pair of 5 years in half).

The following evening, Nana and Pop joined us for a fun weekend.  Nicky got his "big boy bed"; Pop, Kris and Nicky went to tour the new Cowboys Stadium (Pop's a huge Cowboys fan); Momma and Nana had a fun girls-only shopping/lunch day; and we all enjoyed some delish Turkish cuisine (we lived in Turkey for 2 years when I was growing up, so we consider ourselves expert judges).  Nicky decided that his favorite part of the meal was Momma's dirty martini (the olives to be exact), and couldn't keep his eyes off it!

If turning another year older means I have to celebrate with such good company, then I suppose having a birthday isn't all that bad afterall!  (I could do without the new wrinkles though!) 

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