A Christmas Story (2009)

This year we spent Christmas in Ohio with Craig’s parents. We were a little weary about the long drive, as last time we made this trip it wasn’t very fun. But, we had something up our sleeves that we hoped would help. This past Thanksgiving my brother and sister-in-law gave us their old portable DVD player that Erika and Emerson used prior to their new car that has one built-in. We bought a few Sesame Street DVD’s that we thought Dagny would enjoy. When the moment of truth came, we were excited to see Dagny’s reaction. She loved it. Portable DVD is a godsend when you go on long trips and your child is in a car seat. Love it, love it. Can’t recommended it enough.

Dagny enjoying her DVD player (taken on my iPhone)

So, with that said, the trip was smooth, with no issues at all. What a difference six months and technology makes.

When we arrived, Tim, Craig’s brother, was also there. He flew in from Texas a few days before. It was so wonderful seeing him again. Dagny just adores her uncle, all she wanted to do was be held by him and look for Benny, the family cat. Here are some photos of them playing.

“I’m going to get you”

Lily enjoyed herself too. She loved to look outside and see if she could get a glimpse of the deer, that are frequent visitors in the backyard.

the visitors

Dagny enjoyed Grandma reading to her, actually more like quizzing her. Dagny loves to be quizzed. The new thing she has been doing for a few weeks now, is answer for Bear. We have to ask Bear the questions and she responds for her/him.

Grandma and Dagny

Here is Dagny sitting in her Grandma’s rocking chair from when she was a little girl. So sweet.

pretty girl

Here, Dagny looking at the ornaments with Uncle Tim.

Tim and Dagny

We had a wonderful Prime Rib dinner with all the fixings. Yummy.

Here are the two brothers looking at Little Miss D.


The Johnson men.

the Johnson men

Here we are.


Dagny wasn’t very into opening gifts. She just didn’t seem interested. I am sure that will change next year. But, when she did open some, she was SUPER slow. Every little piece she ripped off, she walked it over to her Grandpa, which was very cute.

opening gifts

The big gift that we Santa got Dagny was a kitchen set. When we got home Dagny found her kitchen set under next to the tree waiting for her. Here she is seeing it or the first time.

Dagny with her kitchen

Santa, Aunt Edit and Uncle Emeric had a conversation because Dagny got play food, an apron set, and a shopping cart filled with goodies. Dagny is in imagination heaven.

ready to cook
Hot Pancake

In case you didn’t know there lives an Elmo fan in this house.

someone loves elmo

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.


Christmas Tree ’09

Up until now Craig and I didn’t put a Christmas tree up if we weren’t going to be celebrating it at home. Neither one of us grew up putting a tree up right after Thanksgiving. It was usually during the last week of December that we enjoyed our trees. Actually, the Hungarian tradition was to wait for the Angel to bring it on Christmas Eve. I remember waking up as a little kid on Christmas Day and seeing a beautiful tree all decorated with all sorts of presents underneath it. Living in America for most of my life, some traditions got replaced with new ones. So, we decided that Dagny should have her own wonderful memories of the wonderful smell of a live tree, the beautiful ornaments that all have meaning behind it, which I can’t wait to share with her when she gets older, and the colors of Christmas.

2009 tree

I can’t tell you how wonderful it was for all three of us to go out as a family this past Sunday and pick out a tree and then decorate it. I am a firm believer of having your child be incorporated in things, but with full understanding of their limitations. I get, that she doesn’t get that we were picking out a tree or what the purpose of ornaments are. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun. We had a blast playing peek-a-boo (perhaps her favorite game at the moment) as we went from one aisle to another looking for a tree.

having fun
having a blast
pretty girl

Later on in the day, Dagny helped with putting some of the ornaments up, I gave her the ones that were non-breakable and she loved doing it for about five minutes. Then she left to play, but kept coming back to put more up. So, I do get her limitations, but those five minutes are what it’s all about. I cherish those moments and I hope one day she will cherish them as much as I do.

helping mommy

Last year I got this Swedish Nativity set to tap into some of Craig’s Swedish heritage. When I saw this, I fell in love with it right away. I just love the simple design. I think it’s beautiful.


Before we started to work on the tree, Dagny found the snow globe. Wow, I didn’t expect her reaction. She just watched it and kept asking us to shake it so she could see the snow.

This is Craig’s favorite shot of it.

Craig’s favorite

This is my favorite.

my favorite

For dinner I made my very first Chicago deep dish pizza from scratch (from the dough to the sauce). The reviews were all good by the masses.

deep dish pizza

It was a busy Sunday, but wonderful. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I will end this very long post with a shot of our middle child.

ho ho ho

Love to all.


Happy 17th Birthday, Erika!

Dearest Erika,

Happy Birthday!

You are the first person that I have witnessed time passing by with every birthday you celebrated. I was old enough to really appreciate you being born, but young enough to get into the mix with you. I was in High School when you were born and here you are graduating this year and going off to college.

These past 17 years have been so amazing because I have had the privilege of knowing you. You are such an amazing young woman, with an amazing heart and soul. I have enjoyed so much of our time together, and I look forward to getting to know the young woman you will become in the coming years.

You are and always will be my girl.

pretty girl

We love you.

Barbara, Craig, Dagny, Agi Mama, Maxie, and Lily

Our Day

Dearest Dagny,

One year ago today, your Dad and I stood in a Russian courtroom and heard the most beautiful words we have ever heard; that we were your parents and you were our daughter.

That day only rivaled our first meeting when it came to our emotions. I remember waking up that morning and thinking that this day forever will change our roles in the world. Nerves weren’t an issue for me at that point, that came later in the day. I was as calm as a nail, which is out of character for me. I am usually the nervous type. But, I knew that you were our daughter and the Judge would see it that way too. As we waited to be called into the courtroom, one of our team members, Vlad, wrote up a request in Russian to the Orphanage Deputy Director requesting permission to have custody of you for the 10-day waiting period. I remember your Dad and I signing it and thinking, “WOW, she might be in our arms today forever.” That was very emotional. While we were in the courtroom and we were waiting for the Judge to come to a decision, I was sitting next to your Father holding his hand and looking forward. If I would of looked at him, I think I would of lost it. The Judge came back and we stood up, and she made her ruling that we were your parents. There was a big lump in my throat and tears rolling down my checks. It was the happiest moment in my life, Dagny.

After court we drove back to the Orphanage to see you and to drop off the Deputy Director. At this point we still didn’t know if were taking you back to the apartment with us. When we got there you were taking a nap and all we knew was they were getting you up. The next thing we knew they were asking for the clothes we brought along just in case. As they were dressing you, your Dad and I were watching. You were so tiny and all ours. That is when the nervousness kicked in for me. I was a Mom and I was now responsible for another human being. It can be a little overwhelming. Up until then our mind was about the adoption process and how to bring you home. When we got through court and all worries were done the reality that we were now parents set in. When I looked at you, all I kept thinking was how lucky I was to have such a beautiful daughter and you were put on this earth for us to be your parents.

After they bundled you all up, we walked out of the orphanage with you in our arms. You were closing that chapter of your life and we were doing the same. We were now beginning the most beautiful thing, a family, our family.

This first year went by in a blink of an eye and I realize the years are going to continue go by that way. Everyday I try and take a moment and just look at you and soak it all in. You have grown so much in one year it’s unbelievable.

Just know how much me love you and how much happiness you have brought into our lives.

We love you very much.

December 1 2008

Riding away
With Mommy

December 1 2009

Today with your buddies
one more


Mommy and Daddy