Tuesday, July 14, 2009

RaKhem's 1st Bike Ride

Now I know what y'all are going to say, "Ra has not ridden a bike yet?" Well up until today, no he hadn't. He rode his "hot rod tricycle" all day long...but he has just received his first "big boy bicycle" for his 4th birthday and was able to ride it today. Now when I say "big boy bike", we are talking a 16 inch Spiderman Bike. It was recommended that (for his age range) that we purchase the "12 inch" bike, but have you seen this boy lately??? I have to literally convince people that he is how old I say he is. I feel compelled to carry his birth certificate around with me to validate my claims.

Well, we all know that Ra's birthday was last week...so why so long since he was able to finally ride it?! Well, little man is still adjusting to his pre-school, so he had a couple of rough days. We agreed that if he could straighten up his act that he would be able to ride his bike after school. Today was the day he decided to straighten it up. He had a great day at school, so he was able to break it in. He only fell down once and was a trooper the whole time (despite how scared he may have been to be so far from the ground). Plus he had enough padding on that he could have done some Mixed Martial Arts and still not have gotten scratched.

So here are some pics...enjoy!!!

Ra in a bit of a daze that he has finally earned the chance to take his wheels for a spin.

Daddy putting on the "battle gear"!

Slow and steady...

Gettin the hang of this whole brake thing...

I got this, Mom!!! Easy peasy:)

Until next time...
Des, Hasan & Ra

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Our baby is 4 years old...

Hello Fam,
I felt that it was way past time that we send you a little update on the child formerly known as our "baby boy". Four years ago on this very day, I gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. The doctor decided to induce me a month early due to Ra's size (at the time 7.6 lbs). Maybe this should have been a sign that we wouldn't have to be concerned about his growing milestones, but it wasn't. Ra is currently 51 lbs and 44 inches tall. Our 4 year old is almost 4 feet tall and shows no sign of slowing anytime soon.

He is currently in pre-school. He had some issues when we first moved. I think there were too many changes at on time: new city, new house, new bedroom, no friends, and then after 4 month mommy went back to work. He lost it. He began acting out at school and we actually had to find him a smaller setting with a stern teacher before he was banned from every school in the Central Valley. He is just now settling down a bit (finally). He is making friends and getting used to Fresno (mommy is still trying to do that). He is older now...so he has the chance to spend time with family (without mom and dad). Things are good.

This year, we decided to celebrate Ra's birthday with family and the 4th of July landed on a weekend, so we combined the two celebrations and it was great (exhausting, but great). On Friday (July 3rd) a group of us went to the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito, CA. It was a great place for toddlers and pre-schoolers (it may be a little slow for older children, but it works for 2-6 year olds). The children ran themselves ragged (Ra included). They climbed, painted, played instruments, danced, did experiments, chased each other around, etc, etc. So I've included some pictures of the festivities on Day 1 of Ra's Birthdayfest. Enjoy!!!

des, hasan & ra

Ra and Kylee chillin in a tree trunk looking mischievious:)

Ra and Kylee focusing hard on the Moon Sand.

Ra and Kylee making beauteous xylophonic music together.

Drum circle anyone?

The Cave Clan

Ra, Kylee and Natalie chillin in the tree

Bear hugs

Kelsey, Ra and Courtney

Aye aye, Captain!

All aboard!

Natalie and the crustaceans:)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sir Ra...

Hello All,
We know that Thanksgiving is just a couple days a away, but I (des) realized that we didn't post any of the cute pics of Ra from this past Halloween. So better late than never. Enjoy...

Yeah, he doesn't look to happy because he had to be dragged away from the playroom to get dressed:)

Sir Ra with his damsel in distress (his cousin, Natalie) before we all left to go trick-or-treating.

Out on the town. Ra was busy "protecting" his cousins Kylie (the mermaid) and Natalie (the princess). They were also chanting "hup, two three, four" all around the neighborhood. It was sooooooo hilarious!

Sir Ra finally warmed up to getting his picture taken, but he still refused to smile:)

If you look at the pumpkin on the right hand side, it says, "Obama 08". I thought that was cute.

Well, if we don't get a chance to say it...Have a beautiful Turkey Day!!! Until next time...

des, hasan and Ra

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

All patched up...

Well, I want to give everyone an update. There was no need for surgery. Yay!!! We went to the Orthopedic Clinic today to get the prognosis. RaKhem did, in fact, fracture his elbow but no bones were displaced. So the doctor removed the splint and replaced it with a shiny new cast. The crappy thing about today (besides worrying to death about whether Ra would have to undergo surgery) was that he was unable to eat anything after 8am, just in case he had to have surgery. He asked me about a thousand times if he could have some water, or a sandwich, or some chicken nuggets...I felt so bad. So, I fasted along with him, so it wouldn't be too hard on him, but I felt like I was starving him (God knows this child has not skipped a meal). We are to return in about 3.5 weeks to follow-up and see of he is healing properly. So all is well, RaKhem actually thinks it's kinda cool. We are cringing because he has turned into quite the weapon. So, don't be surprised if you see future blogs of the injuries we have sustained from his lovely new cast:) Until next time...

Des, Hasan and Ra

Monday, September 01, 2008

First Owwie!

In the past months (since January) you all have missed out on quite a few milestones so I wanted to fill you in on some of them. Ra is easily closing in on three and a half feet tall and weighs 41 pounds. He currently wears a size 6 in boys clothing and between a 13 and 1 shoe. Ra is completely potty trained (Thank God) and continues to eat like a horse. He climbs, flips and will talk your ear off, if you let him. On the not-so-bright side, Ra had some struggles with biting other kids. It would only happen when it came to sharing the tricycles at preschool. So, we have been working with our little vampire (no, I am not implicating that he draws blood) to be more willing to share with others. Hasan and I have received quite a few hints about having another little one soon (to be a happy addition to our little family, as well as provide some company for our not-so-little one)...we hear all of you!!! Trust me. We are mulling that over. On the other hand, Ra is very lovable and approachable to his peers (just don't take his trike). Well on to the story...this weekend Hasan, Ra and I decided to go to the African Marketplace and hang out for a bit. We shopped a little bit and hung out with his "Puttie" (Auntie Imani). Ra ate a snow cone (with the assistance of his mother), attempted to play in a jumper (with the encouragement of his auntie), pet a horse (he would not ride it though). He enjoyed himself...and then he arrived at the big jumper slide. He wanted to go in, but seemed apprehensive to go alone. Imani braved the slide with her nephew and he enjoyed it, but still wasn't sold on doing it by himself. There were some rowdy older kids doing flips and rolling down the slide...not paying attention to the smaller children playing below them. One little knucklehead got a little too rowdy and flipped down the slide and ran directly in to RaKhem (mind you this kid was about 8 or 9...if not older). The kid ended up kicking Ra in the arm on his way down and knocked Ra down pretty hard. Of course, RaKhem was hurt and stunned and shaken up. Initially, he started crying (which was expected), but he didn't shake it off like he normally would. He was inconsolable. We knew he got hurt, but he was able to move all of his limbs and he was walking without suport, so we assumed he was just bruised up a bit and a little cranky. We attempted to take him to the Petting Zoo to distract him a bit, but he was not interested...he just wanted to be held. We decided to leave the event and get some food so that Ra could possibly go down for a nap. We stopped for some dinner and he was almost to his old self, but he was nursing his right arm a bit. It hurt him to raise his arm and he was not putting any pressure on it either, but he still wanted to play and was climbing on darn near everything in his auntie's apartment. Eventually, we decided to return home (which entailed a lovely 3.5 hour drive), which put Ra right to sleep. When we got home, I got him ready for bed and there was no evidence of swelling or increased pain, so I put him down for the night...dumb move, Desiree. Ra wakes up the next morning and is unable to get out of bed by himself (like he usually does), but he is in good spirits. In changing his clothes, Hasan notices that there was swelling around his elbow. Long story short, we took him to Children's Hospital and he has a fractured elbow. Unbelieveable...he endured our ineptitude and managed to do it with a smile. What a champ!!! And he helped us unpack!!! Needless to say, we have to take him to an Orthopedic doctor on Tuesday 9/2/08, to see if he needs surgery or not. Please keep him in your prayers. Until next time...

Des, Hasan & Ra

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Moving on up...

Well as I mentioned before, we have relocated. Dr. T. Hasan Johnson accepted a tenure-track position in the Africana and American Indian Studies Department at Fresno State University. RaKhem and I are so proud and excited for him because after all of his hard work, he is finally doing what it is he was meant to do...teach!!! We decided to look for houses about a month before we were to move and we just so happened to visit Fresno during the hottest day of the summer (so far). It was 115 degrees that weekend...almost had us rethinking our decision to move:) After visiting 30+ houses in two days, we put in our apps for our top choices and actually got one of our top picks: a nice 3 bedroom/two bathroom home in a cul-de-sac situated in a nice neighborhood full of young families (about 8 miles from Fresno State). So now we are here unpacking and getting acclimated to the area (I'll have some pictures for y'all soon). RaKhem is slowly coming to grips that we have in deed moved to Fresno and he will not be seeing his friends J.J. and Nicolas on a regular basis anymore. He loves his new room and he really enjoys running up and down the hallway. Hasan is getting settled in his new digs at Fresno State and has already begun teaching classes. Pretty soon we will be sending you all an Evite for a get-together, so be on the lookout! Until next time...

Des, Hasan & Ra:)

Someone's 3 Years Old...

Hey Fam (and Friends),
Way back on July 8th, Mr. RaKhem Ajani Johnson turned three years old. I know that was almost two months ago, but we just recently got our internet hooked up, so I am now able to resume my blogging responsibilities. I keep harping on the subject, but time just flew by way too fast. I stare at this young boy and wonder where my little baby went. People approach me all the time asking me if he is four or five years old and I just look at them amazed because I don't want time to fly by any quicker than it already has. I politely let them know that he just turned three and they marvel at how tall or smart he is for his age. Anyway, we were in the midst of preparing for our move to Fresno (more on that later), so we did not go all out with his party. Instead, we had a quaint little party with his preschool friends and vowed to make it up to him when we are settled in our new home . We felt kinda bad because we didn't throw a big shindig for all of our family and friends to enjoy, but we still want you all to see the birthday boy on his special day. Enjoy!!! Until next time...

Des, Hasan & Ra

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Settled once and for all...

Now everytime a stranger, friend or family member see RaKhem it sparks a debate about who he looks more like...Hasan or I. Personally, I see a bunch of people in Ra's face (depending on his expression). Sometimes it has been Hasan's grandfather or mine, or a cousin...the list can go on and on. So, finally I have started saying that Ra looks like Ra...plain and simple, but I did think that it would be cool to see what you all think.

I thought it would be easier to compare RaKhem to pictures of Hasan and I when we were both his age. Personally, I think that Ra looks like Hasan when he was kid. Leave us a comment and let us know what you think. Until next time...

des, hasan & ra

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Meaning Of The Name...RaKhem

“The meaning of the name [RaKhem]? Well I'll tell ya
It means I find my mind can excel to
A greater type of thought, brought by the things that I've been taught
In relation to things that I rebel
To divine and combine with a sense of confidence
Accomplishments, are achieved off lots of gifts
But sloppiness, I could never tolerate it…”
-GURU of Gangstarr, “The Meaning of the Name,” Step into the Arena, 1991.

Many have asked us why we named our son RaKhem Ajani. In an age where names often have no meaning and are used to exclude people of color from jobs, schools, or even from purchasing real estate, why name your child something “ethnic?” Why constrict him to be viewed as strange or different from others for the rest of his life? Why didn’t you just name him John? I’d like to clear up why we named him the way we did. Frankly, we WANT him to be different from others. We want him to know that his parents believed that the very act of naming was such a sacred thing that we felt his name should say something about him and his place in the world.

Des and I believe that names have meaning, and that that meaning influences how a person navigates the world and we wanted to give Ra a name that would help him always know who he is. With that in mind, we waited several days to name him to make sure that our assessments of his personality in the womb were accurate—and they were. Ra was a born fighter whose desire to be here was like a bolt of lightning. So we only thought it fitting that he be named accordingly.

Starting with his middle name, Ajani, a Nigerian name that means “He who fights for what is his” or “He who wins the struggle” also means “of noble birth” in Sanskrit. Desiree carefully chose this name because of how he fought to be here, overcoming all of the obstacles that cost us two other pregnancies. And thankfully, he “won the struggle” after all.

In casual conversation, the spelling of his named is assumed to be the same as the famous rapper “Rakim” (from the Hip-Hop group Eric B. & Rakim), so people assume that we blindly named him after an artist we liked, but this is not the case. RaKhem’s name is “RaKhem Ajani,” which means a variety of things that both overlap and compliment each other. In Kemetic (Egyptian) lore, the sun god “Ra” is the descendant of Ptah, the god who “birthed” himself (or decided to exist) out of the Nun, the place of “blackness” –or Khem–where all ideas, principles, and concepts lie un-manifest. Thus, in Kemetic script, RaKhem is the “the divine light born of infinite possibility.” In other words, he chose to be what he is out of all of the possibilities available to him. In this sense, since Kemetic culture is the progenitor of the Hebraic Christian mythos, RaKhem also means “Christ-child.” In the following Aramaic passage from the Peshitta, RaKHeM is the word used for love, a verb meaning mercy, compassion, or love, depending on usage. In a dialogue between Simon Peter (Shimon) and Jesus (Yeshua), RaKHeM is translated "love." Thus, between the Kemetic and the Christian Aramaic, RaKhem, “Christ-child,” is fittingly synonymous with love, mercy, and compassion.

Lastly, the rapper Rakim’s name IS a part of my son’s name-meaning. Rakim was to Hip-Hop what Miles Davis and John Coltrane were to jazz. He innovated the art form and demonstrated a level of mastery that is still heralded to this day in Hip-Hop culture. Thus, in contemporary society, I chose him because although his name is a product of the Nation of Gods and Earths’ (Five Percenters) teachings, it has come to mean “mastery” in Hip-Hop culture. In an interview, Rakim comments on how he came to his name,

“RA means sun god. KIM was another word for Egypt. KMT. Sun god, land of the burnt faced people and KMT. Know what I mean? For some reason when I was going through the names and I didn't even know the meaning of the name, god. And I was like yo, I always wanted to be original. Rakim, I said, I never heard of no one with the name Rakim. So I said alright, this is me right here, know what I mean, and everything fell together because…[the] mathematics adds up at all times and it completes itself.” (Rakim interview-

Interesting how all things connect huh? Rakim chose his own name (or birthed himself). Anyway, my son’s name has meanings that intersect the ancient, the philosophical, the mythological, the contemporary, the revolutionary, and the spiritual. I wanted his name to connect the African with the African American experience simultaneously because his generation will have to maintain the balance between the past and the future. All in all, I hope his name will help him stay on his path to mastery—whatever that may mean for him.

Until next time...


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ra's got his own wheels now!

Hello Fam (and friends),
We just wanted to share this with you! Enjoy!!! And thank you all for such a wonderful Christmas. We love you!!!

-The Johnson's

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Hello Fam & Friends,
We hope everyone enjoyed Halloween this year. I can officially say that I am exhausted and relieved that it is over. Although RaKhem was the cutest pirate ever (aka Black jack Sparrow), I am sure glad it is November 1st. At first, Ra celebrated Halloween last week at his daycare. All of the kids got dressed up and played games and things all day. Then yesterday, Hasan and I took RaKhem to downtown Claremont to hang out with the other kids. We went to few houses and then that was all she wrote for Little Mr. Johnson. He fell asleep in the car on the way back home. To this day, he doesn't even know why he got dressed up in the first place, but he sure did enjoy himself. He sat patiently while I put every article of clothing on him (including long johns and other undergarments to keep him warm while we were out). He even cooperated while I put his beard on him. Don't laugh at the long johns because I felt it would be better than covering up his cute costume with a parka. Can you tell me what pirates wore bubble jackets in their day? No, I didn't think so!!! We walked around and let Ra socialize with kids his age and then we went to a sweet shop and shared a rice crispy treat (that was the closest thing he came to candy all night) we stopped at a few houses and then loaded him in the car to go back home. Before we even got down the street, I looked in the back seat and his little head was hanging to the side and his bandana had slipped over his eyes...he was knocked out! So much so, that when we finally got home I took off his costume, changed him into his goodnight training pants, and put his pajamas on and he still didn't wake up. Yes, I have skills at stealth clothing removal;). The only thing I didn't risk doing was removing his little beard. I thought that he would be okay until the morning. He was just fine.
Despite my exhaustion, it was so neat to see him walk, like a little man, up and down the street and engage with other kids with no assistance or prodding from us. He is becoming more and more self-sufficient and it is amazing to witness. He has definitely grown leaps and bounds from last year and we are just anxious to see what the years ahead will bring. Until next time...

des, hasan & ra

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Update...da da dada!

Hello All,
I thought that I would drop in real quick to give you an update on Lil (NOT) Mr. Johnson. I know in the last post I tried to estimate his weight and height, but now we have the official report=). I took him to his Well-Baby appointment today and found out that RaKhem officially weighs 35.2lbs (96th percentile) and he is 38 inches tall (99th percentile). He eats more than I do on any given day. I asked the doctor if this was normal and he said that RaKhem might be going through another growth spurt. He also told us that Ra should be as tall as Hasan (if not taller). I, for one, am definitely glad that Ra inherited the "tall gene" from Hasan because God knows that he would have had some issues if he grew to be my height (all 5'5" of me).

It's funny because Hasan and I have been talking about the prospect of having another baby in the not-so-far future, but I look at Ra and wonder if either of us have the energy to keep up. On weekends, Ra is up at the crack of dawn demanding food before I can even wake up all the way and he is running, bouncing, climbing, talking, singing, etc. until it is time for a nap. Then it starts up all over again. Can I get a breath??? And to go through this routine with two children, I would have to be in a constant meditative/sedated state. Despite all of this, I think we are still considering it...after some re-organizing and re-prioritizing, of course!

Last week, a woman from work (who just had her baby approx. 3 months ago) brought her son in to visit with some of the staff and I got a chance to hold him. Awwwwwwww!!! It was like old times with Ra, when he was small enough to fit in the crook of my arm. Now I am lucky if Ra can fit on the arch of my hip. To be honest, I think that I may be in some sort of amnesiatic (is that even a word) state because all of the bed rest, blood transfusions, doctor's appointments, etc. have all been pushed out of my memory. I think that is the only reason why our species has lasted so long. Because if every woman remembered every detail about the pregnancy and birth of their child, they probably would have gotten their tubes tied after the first one...just kidding!!!

Well, enough about us. RaKhem can now count to 15 by himself, knows most of his body parts, and can identify colors and shapes. We are starting on his ABC's but that is going to take us awhile, but he is already trying. He has increased his musical repertoire to include: Row, Row, Row Your Boat and 3 0r 4 songs from Jack's Big Music Show and Play With Me Sesame (a couple of his favorite shows). We are still working in the potty training thing. It's coming along a bit slow, but we are taking it one day at a time. I think that he is close, but what do I know?! Until next time...

des, ha & ra

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Two already?!

Yes Folks, it has in fact been two years since Ra graced us with his presence! We never knew how fast time could just tick away. Our not-so-little one has grown so much since we last wrote. He is approximately 35lbs. and over 3 feet tall. He wears a size 6 in clothing and 11.5 in shoes. We are in the process of potty training, as I write this, and Ra has successfully made it to the bathroom on two occasions. YAY!!! Underoos...here we come! He can also count to five by himself (and to 10 along with someone) and recite his colors and shapes. He knows all the parts of his face and most of his body parts and he can make you laugh on your worst day. He now wants to be more autonomous, so he attempts to put his own clothes on (except for his shirts and socks...although he tries). We thought that we would attempt to start his locs, but decided against it because he is way too fond of the sandbox and I wish I would pick grains of sand from his newly forming locs on a daily basis! So, we have decided to postpone that transistion until he is able to handle less boisterous sandbox play...thus the reason for his cropped do. I don't think RaKhem minds at all because it has been quite hot these past few weeks, so the less hair, the merrier!!! He looks cute no matter what...am I wrong?

Not to change the subject or anything, but do we have a doctor in the house? I think we do. Everyone, I think that congratulations are in order for Dr. Talib Hasan Johnson. He has successfully passed his dissertation defense (which was held on 7.12.07) and will be turning in his final draft next Friday. I am so proud of him (and I know that despite Ra's inability to say dissertation, he is just as proud of his daddy's efforts and HARD work over the past 6 years). Please join me in congratulating him on this extraordinary acheivement!!! CONGRATULATIONS, Dr. Johnson!!!

Until next time...
Peace & Luv,

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What a (little) man!!!

We hope you all had a wonderful Easter holiday…can you believe that we are almost into summer already? This year has flown by way too quickly. RaKhem has grown by leaps and bounds since we last wrote. He is now past the 3 foot mark (as far as height), wears 5T clothing and 10.5 shoes (and he won’t be 2 until July, folks). I have people coming up to me asking if he is 3 or 4…come on now! He talks up a storm and sings songs at the drop of a hat. Currently, his favorite song is “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” He is a BIG fan of Play with Me Sesame…Elmo is his homie! He has also taken a liking to Sponge Bob Squarepants even though we don’t watch it. Everything yellow IS Sponge Bob:).

Despite his size and “old soul”, he is still our baby! He still tries to throw temper tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. He is very adept at telling us no. We have been trying to encourage him to say yes and he outright refuses. He loves baths and loooong conversations with his older brother, Amaru (the dog).

Despite my denial about my baby growing up, the ugly truth is that Ra is no longer a baby. He has become our smart, inquisitive and handsome little boy (and I am kinda sad about that). He was supposed to stay smaller longer. I will get over it, but it is just so amazing to me that he is growing so quickly. He can feed himself with a fork and spoon. He can color. He can scale anything he puts his mind to...including people and he gives hugs and kisses when you are down (as if he knows what is going on). We are definitely looking forward to watching RaKhem blossom in the upcoming years and we hope that you take the ride with us.

Until next time...peace&luv!
des, hasan, and ra.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Don't Be Mad:(

Hello Fam and Friends,
Belated Belated Happy Holidays and Belated Happy New Year!!! It has been that long since we last spoke with you and I really apologize for not writing in so long, but let me explain before you get all mad. Usually when we update the blog we have cute pictures to accompany the witty writing, but our camera has died:(. Thus the reason why you haven't heard from us in ages. So for the time being you will have to endure my ranting sans cute pictures of the not-so-little one (but just know that we are working on that).

So, it has been a looong time. Ra is 35 inches tall (almost three feet already) and he weighs 32 pounds, but that may have changed because he was sick for a minute. He is wearing a size 9 shoe and is still hanging strong in his 4T clothing, but I am sure he will be making the transition into larger ones soon. His vocabulary has grown so much and he will soon begin his potty training...right daddy?!!! He has definitely been a blessing to my road rage because I really have to be conscious of the things that I say to the many stupid drivers in this world.

A lot has gone on in the world of RaKhem since 2006. Let's just say that he started this year off with a bang. Recently, we changed daycare providers and with that came the sickness. It happens...and we were prepared for it to an extent, but it just got a little out of control.

First, the little one got pink eye. So, I took him to the doctor and we got some antibiotic eye drops. Now why does the medical community think that eye drops are a good thing for an 18 months old? Do they think that children just sit still for eye drops to be placed in their eyes? Needless to say, we had to hold Ra down like he was a prisoner of war just to get one drop in each eye (and he screamed like we were beating him). We were supposed to do this 3 times a day! Excuse me!!!

Next, RaKhem started to get the sniffles with a little congestion...a cold (just wonderful)! We thought that we could handle it until he started throwing up and spiked a temp of 103 degrees. We tried Tylenol and Motrin, but nothing would work. Hasan and I took him to Urgent Care where we found out that he'd gotten an ear infection from his cold and his asthma was rearing it's ugly head. And to make matters worse, RaKhem smacked his head on the corner of the nurses desk causing his head to bleed. How does one get hurt at Urgent Care? Well, when the nurses finally got his temperature under control, he had a breathing treatment and he was released. So now RaKhem has an Albuterol Inhaler, eye drops, cough medicine, Tylenol, and Amoxicillin.

Well, enough of my complaining. We now have a healthy boy!!! Now he is drawing pictures and making macaroni paintings. So send good thoughts our way for a working camera, so that these entries will be chock full of cute pictures of RaKhem. Until next time...

des, hasan & ra

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Long Time No Write...

It has definitely been a loooong time! So much has been going on over here in the Johnson household that I don't know where to begin. First, we would like to wish you all a belated Happy Halloween. This year was Ra's first official Halloween (technically we could have taken him out last year, but he was so small and we didn't have a trick-or-treat friendly neighborhood, so it made no sense). This year, Ra was a Tiger, but he was a bit under the weather so we stayed in, dressed up and played games in the house. That made the most sense to us since Ra doesn't eat candy anyways (and mom definitely didn't need the spare calories lounging around the house).

For those of you that don't know, we moved into a bigger house...YAY!!! No more trying to crowd into a one bedroom cottage for Thanksgiving Gumbo. Now there are three bedrooms to congregate in (with carpet). No more hardwood floors!!! We love the way they look, but have come to realize that carpet is so much more family friendly. Last but not least, Ra has his own room (and he loves it)!!! Another great change is that I (des) am now working in my career...FINALLY! So new house and new job make for a nutty family:).

Well to update you on Mr. RaKhem's progress, he is now wearing a size 8 shoe and 3T shirts and pants (can we spell BANKRUPTCY)? His molars are just starting to break through and he is feeding himself with a plastic fork now. Only some things because mommy likes the current color of the carpet:). He dances to music and laughs a lot. He is learning new words left and right. Unfortunately, that means that mommy has to watch what she says in her little road rage fits because he already yells "move" when people are going too slow for mommy's taste. He has also developed his own little language that only he understands, but he expects everyone to pick up on...go figure! He is constantly perfecting his flirting technique and it works every time.

Well, now that everything (for the most part) is set up in the new house there is no excuse as to why we can't update you all on Ra's doings on a more regular basis. So be on the look out for more news on RaKhem Ajani. Love you all!!! Until next time...

Des, Hasan & Ra

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

This Just In...

Hello Fam & Friends,
Well, I just took Ra to his 1-year Well Baby Visit and I wanted to let you all know what we found out. RaKhem now weighs 23.9lbs, which is still a bit light for his height (but he is at least in the 50th percentile...meaning he is not under weight). He is 31.5 inches tall (the 85th percentile) and his head is 19.5 inches around. Don't laugh...it just means he has a huge (and brilliant) brain in there. Ra demonstrated his walking abilities to the doctor and commenced to open every cabinet in the examination room (don't worry nothing was in them). The important stuff is locked up in the top cabinets! Anyway, that was the fun part of the appointment. The not-so-fun part were the three immunization shots Ra had to have. Two in each arm and one in his right leg.

This was the hardest visit yet. After the first shot in his arm, his eyes welled up and he looked up at me as if to say, "why are you letting her do this to me?" It took everything I had not to cry, but such is life. Ra stopped crying about 10/15 seconds after the last shot. The doctor gave me a form to go get his blood drawn, but I didn't have the heart to put him through another needle stick (so we will put if off for a week). They say that a baby's coping mechanism for pain is sleep and I think I believe that. I put Rakhem in his car seat and two blocks later he was sound asleep...and he slept for three hours! POOR GUY!!!

Well, he has since recuperated from this little experience and was even feeling good enough to celebrate his friend, Alayna's, 1st Birthday Party. Ra had the opportunity to chill with his buddies, Alayna and Lucas, for a couple hours. Also, this past weekend, Ra had the opportunity to meet and hang out with his Auntie Detricia and his Cousin Ashleigh (who were visiting from Houston, Texas). Despite the crazy pictures, he had a ball! Let's see...that's all for now! So until next time...

Peace & Luv,
des, hasan & ra

Ps. Happy 13 months to Ra...YAY!!!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Look Who's Walkin'...

Well, the time we have all been waiting for has arrived...Ra is officially mobile (and not in that crawling way, we're talking about feet-flat-on-the-floor walking). Technically, Ra took his first steps at his birthday party (but mommy missed it, so it didn't count). His next steps happened at my friend Jennifer (and Josh's) house during a play date. They have a carpeted livingroom, so it made it more appealing to walk (and fall) on. Apparently, our hardwood floor is not that appealing...I don't blame him. Ra took a few steps across their livingroom floor and decided that was enough for the day (and would not demonstrate his skills for his own mother when she was trying to document the moment on film). Lil' Mess!!! Later on that week, he would stand, take a few steps and then sit down before he hurt himself on our unforgiving floor. But as the days passed, he continued to get more and more daring and would increase the amount of steps he would take before he would resign to crawling again. This past week RaKhem has decided to explore the wonders of walking around our livingroom unassisted by parents or furniture. Now, he still has a little way to go before he is completely comfortable being on his feet, but he is officially walking!

So now, our little baby is officially gone. He is now a little boy! He has (what he would consider) "real" conversations with people, he fusses when he is frustrated, he has become a little discriminate about the foods he eats (not too much though because mommy refuses to prepare multiple meals for the lil' munchkin)...he has just grown so much since this time last year! He is a bit more particular about who he goes to, but give him a few minutes to process the situation and he will be all right.

Oh, I forgot to tell you that Hasan and I had our first night out alone since Ra has been born (compliments of Auntie Imani). She came out a few weeks ago to celebrate RaKhem's birthday with us. She insisted that we go out and enjoy ourselves for a few hours while she stayed and spent some time with her nephew. At first, we were going to turn the offer down because we did not want the experience to discourage her from having any children of her own (just kidding). I guess I was just experiencing "Mommy Anxiety" because I didn't know if I had covered everything that Imani needed to know and I didn't want Ra to seriously act like a nut while we were gone. When I finally did get out of the house, we went to see Pirates of the Caribbean 2. I let Imani know that if she had any questions she could text message us on our phones. Best believe I had my phone in my hand the whole movie just so i wouldn't miss it vibrating. I was a bit distracted the whole time we were away, but I knew that Ra was in very capable hands. I JUST NEEDED TO CHILL!!! Overall, I really enjoyed the movie and the chance to spend time with Hasan without the little one in the middle of everything. So Imani...THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THINKING ABOUT US!!! We love you! Well, until next time...

Peace & Luv,
des, hasan & ra

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Happy Birthday to Ra!

Can you believe it has been a year? (NOTE: Don't mind the date of the post because I started writing this on the 6th but it is actually the 8th that I am finishing this entry). I am still amazed...and we actually lived through it. Preparing for RaKhem's big day had me reminiscing about so many things. Mainly about how long we waited for him to arrive. Now, I am not talking about the actual pregnancy. I am talking about the years prior to his arrival.

As some of you know, RaKhem was not our first attempt at getting pregnant. Actually, I got pregnant on our honeymoon (this was not planned), but after the shock wore off we embraced it. Unfortunately, at the three month mark I miscarried. Being use to the idea of being parents we decided to try again...and we were successful. After we passed the three month mark, we told everyone the good news. We were ecstatic! Then my Sickle Cell started to rear it's ugly head and I was in and out of the hospital. It was not a fun situation. I made it to six months and the unthinkable happened. I had just returned home from a hospital stay and was still trying to recuperate. It was a Friday, 9 o'clock in the morning and my water broke. Hasan had already left for work (at USC) and I couldn't drive so luckily our next door neighbor drove me to the hospital where Hasan and I were informed that there was no heartbeat. Everything, for us, stopped! To make a long story short, Anura Kai Johnson left us to join The Most High (she had bigger things to do). Needless to say, this was devastating and the healing process was a long and tedious one, but fours years later the wounds had healed enough to try again.

Now, my pregnancy with RaKhem was not an easy one (almost 6 months of bed rest, an at-home oxygen tank and IV, a home health nurse, monthly blood transfusions, and weekly doctor's appointments). I only spell all of this out because when RaKhem finally learns how to read, he will be forced to read that sentence everytime he wants to act up. Back to the story, we knew right away that Ra was a fighter and that this pregnancy would be different. He was energetic, aware, and had a sense of humor (he found it funny to tap dance on mommy's bladder in the wee hours of the morning). This is not to say that the thought of going through another pregnancy was not terrifying to both of us, but we had to try one more time. But this time we did not tell anyone what was going on until I was 6.5 months pregnant. We just wanted to be sure that we far enough into the pregnancy to be considered safe. So for those of you who thought it was personal...it wasn't.

All of this is to say that he is finally here now. And he has been this breath of fresh air for the past year and I am just so amazed (we are so amazed). It has been a long and bumpy road to get where we are now. Truth be told, I didn't know if we would ever be here...so many people said that it would not be possible, but God had a different opinion. We were blessed with a son...RaKhem Ajani Johnson. Anura will always be our first child and RaKhem will know all about her when he is able to understand. But truth be told, I think he already knows that she has been watching over him all this time. Overall, we couldn't be happier about this new addition to our lives and we look forward to the many birthdays to come!

Well, the party was a blast (although it did start a bit late...one hour. SORRY)! RaKhem had no idea what we were celebrating, but that was okay. He had a chance to hang out with a friend of his, Miss Alayna Mendoza. He got to flirt with some older women, open presents, play in the cake, and enjoy the company of friends and family. We enjoyed a good meal of Hasan's famous fruit salad, salmon croquettes, seafood gumbo, and birthday cake. Family and friends joined us from all over California (and across the country) and it wouldn't have been the same without them. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! Our family was definitely touched by everyone that came out to spend the day with us. And for those that couldn't make it we know that you were there in spirit (and we look forward to seeing you at the next one). Next time we will inform everyoneof the festivities way in advance...we promise!

RaKhem (and proud mommy) opening gifts.

RaKhem kickin' it with Uncle Jihad.

RaKhem spending time with his Auntie Imani.

RaKhem sharing his birthday cake with his daddy.

Until next time...
Peace & Luv,
Des, Hasan & Ra