Monday, June 30, 2008

summer treats

My flowers blooming around my house.....

Watching the kids and Baby Connor playing together

Camden's reaction to Matt
(she hadn't seen him since she was 3 months old....she wanted to kiss him and let her hold him, so sweet!)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Am I an assertive person?

I usually think I am. I think of myself as confident, decisive, and thoughtful about my actions. I usually let all of those around me know how I feel about a situation.

But put me out in a public situation and I don't necessarily think that is always the situation.

Last night I went to a book club with some neighbors and friends to a local restaurant. The book club had some great conversation but seemed to be overshadowed by the poor service at the restaurant. (and I picked the place, great)

We were not checked on for drinks, the food was way overdue, and the server just left in the middle of serving us (without telling us). It was indeed a fiasco. But did I speak up, No! Never!
I sat and watched a couple of the neighbors deal with the situation with such boldness and confidence. And thank goodness they did or we would still be waiting on our drinks.

So there goes my "I'm a bold, confident woman theory."

In that situation, or any other dealing with the public, I always smile politely and say "No problem" and then I would whisper to the person beside me, "This service is lousy." Maybe I need to start voicing my opinion to get what I want and not worry about hurting someone's (whom I don't even know) feelings. Matt is always urging me to speak up in these situations......I usually let him be the bad guy instead.

The ironic thing is that I was just lecturing my mom about this same thing last week. Except her situation dealt with someone she knew. I said, "Well, if you want something you just have to speak up and let them know.......or they won't know they're stepping all over you."

Unlike mom, I can usually tell those I know what I want. Which I don't think makes me the better person here? Shouldn't it be respectful to those you love and speak out when you're in a public service situation.

So, I just have to accept......I'm not always assertive. I guess my mom taught me to be kind to others in every situation (which I try to do, even more so as I get older).

So next time I'm out, with poor service, I'm sure I'll still just smile and say ,"That's fine" even when it isn't.

Does that make me a saint or a wimp?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

crafty katie

Katie, who is often said to be just like me, is also a great lover of crafts. Since she was 3 years old she would sit still with me for at least an hour to do crafty things. In her perfect world ( and mine ) we would sit around and make arts and crafts all day.

After I stopped to get her to take on our Kentucky trip she asked me, "Do Zander and Kaya go to preschool yet?"
I replied, "No, they stay at home with me. Which do you think would be more fun, Katie?"
Katie answered, "Oh, I would always want to stay at home with you. Then we could do crafts at least 3 times a day."

Yes Katie, in a perfect world, we would.

Here she is in her craftiness in Kentucky while Zander and Kaya took their naps. Unfortunately, we only had time to do it one time a day on our trip.

Painting a Watercolor Masterpiece

Making bracelets with her new jewelry-making kit

Painting aprons with Aunt Korisa

Cross-stitching with Grandma

Monday, June 23, 2008

ask, and ye shall receive

Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:24)

I often find it hard to know what to ask for though......
But God is always listening and answering, even when you didn't certainly put your request into words.

The past week I went to Kentucky with no agenda or schedule.....just play the piano and lead the music in Bible School. I decided to just let the week pass and go with the flow. My mom and dad had things planned for us and I knew the kids would enjoy it.

And God took my week of no planning and turned into one that answered the requests my heart was seeking.
* A week of pure, exhausting play with my two little ones and my sweet little Katie
* A week filled of pure joy when singing and praising while in church
* A week of surprise encounters with family and friends that I was aching (but did not think it was timely possible) to see
* A week of simple quiet in the country with my parents
* A week of watching my children interact with other children that they grew to love
* A week of pure outdoor beauty (isn't the waterfall above amazing)

Thanks God for listening to my heart and answering my prayers.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

kentucky fun

It is so nice to be away from home and life at times. Especially when you go back to your childhood home.

I brought Kaya and Zander along with my "niece" Katie to Kentucky for the week. The kids and I are enjoying being pampered and spoiled by Grandpa and Grandma. Yesterday was a fun-filled day...full of country walks, gardening, fun driving, and plenty of snacks.

I love having this time to savor the country....without the everyday stresses of life.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

father's day crafts

It is always impossible to think of what to get for my dear hubby.....who has everything he wants and hates things that clutter.
So, I made shirts for the kids in his honor. And he loved them.

The hardest part of this craft was getting them to both look at me at the same time to take a picture.

Finally, after a promise of a lollipop, I got this pose. I am definitely not above bribing.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

like a movie

Do you ever get the weird feeling that your life could be a scene played out in a movie?
The really mushy feel-good scene......where everyone sits back and dreams that life could only be so perfect.

For me, that happened last night.

Matt was out playing racquetball so I had bedtime duty to myself. I usually take Kaya up first while Zander watches Handy Manny or plays downstairs and then I repeat the process with him.
Last night, however, I had the inkling to do something different.
It was a dark, stormy night and I wanted to put on my pajamas by six and just relax (although I often, and usually do that even when it isn't dark and stormy......just trying to set the stormy mood). So I suggested that instead of reading 3 books each to them separately lets grab a pile of books to read together in mommy's bed.
The kids were getting ready to put on their jams too and decided they wanted to trade. I think it is remarkable that they can now wear the same clothes, Kaya's jams actually fit Zander better than her. So I let Zander put on her least girly ones (I refused his request to wear the princess jams) and Kaya donned his Cars Movie pajamas. This just set the mood for the two of them to be silly.

They ran, they screeched, they jumped on the bed, they giggled........they just loved each moment of each others' company.

I finally convinced them to calm down and read. They enjoyed reading "by myself, Mom" before I started narrating the stories. I love holding them both in my lap and reading to them as I kiss their soft little heads and cheeks.
What a wonderful life it is......

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

this week's menu

This week I am gathering my recipes from All Recipes. This site is one of my favorite cooking resources. You can sign up for The Daily Dish which is an email recipe each day. When I see a recipe that I think sounds interesting, I add it to my online recipe box.

The cool thing about this site is its ease of use. Yesterday I went into my online recipe box, selected some recipes for the week, and the site made a shopping list for me automatically to use this week.

Now that is an easy timesaver......I may be using this more often that some of my cookbooks when my time is slipping away.

Monday, June 9, 2008

sweet southern sue

Sometimes we are blessed with rare, wonderful friendships. The friendships that you know will last forever......through all of life's joys, dramas, and sufferings. I'm so glad I have that gift in my friend Sue.

Eight years ago we started working together as 5th grade teachers. I was in awe of her talent as a teacher and crazy about her way to make me feel so comfortable and happy all the time. We soon became close buds. Luckily, our husbands seemed to really enjoy each other too. So we had the perfect couple relationship going on.

And less than a year after we meet.....they decide to move. Not across town, across the country (well, rather up the country). I remembered going to see them the day they left and was teary-eyed knowing this wonderful friendship would more than likely fade.

But true friendship always prevails.....

We stayed in touch through email, phonecalls, packages, cards, and the always wonderful visits. It seemed our friendship not only stayed strong but grew stronger through the years, regardless of the distance. Our families expanded and our hearts just seemed to grow with each new addition.

And heart is giddy with excitement.....they are moving back to the South. After 7 years of a long-distance friendship, we are close again!!! We won't be 2 days worth of driving away, only a little over an hour. This is the best summer treat ever !!!

Welcome back to The South, Nelsons......We're so happy you are back.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

loving the library

We had great fun at the library this week. It all started with a carnival. I bravely took the kids to this very crowded event. Here we are in the jam-packed room.

We were all piled in together to watch the magic show. The kids loved it and still talk about the rabbit.

The library also had face painting and balloon animals in addition to the show. At the end of the event we picked up our summer reading logs in hopes of getting to the coveted Level One prize....the construction paper butterfly that goes on the tree. Zander talked about it for days and was so excited when he reached that level.

Yeah!!! We reached our goal and have butterflies on the tree!!!

We ended our second trip to the library this week with some quiet reading on the train. I'm glad the kids love books as much as their mama!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

new blog

Yes, you may notice on the sidebar that I have started another blog.

I have been up & down about am I doing the right thing by being so adamant that the kids stay at home with me until kindergarten. After much thought and prayer, I've made peace with myself and my choice. This is what works for me, for now anyway.

It is so hard being a mom. Being judged for doing something or not doing something. It is hard enough without the opinions of the professionals, the media, the other parents, family, etc, to further confuse you.

So, here is my site. Nothing groundbreaking. Just activities that I will try to post a few times a week that I do at home with my kiddos. This blog will be less personal than CraftyKorisa---basically a guide for educational, fun activities to do with preschoolers. My kids will, of course, still be on it since they will be the ones participating. I'll just basically be describing the activities however. Don't worry, I will include any funny stories about anything they do still on my CraftyKorisa site. And I'm sure the pictures will still be cute for those of you that read CraftyKorisa just to "oooh & aaah" over Zander and Kaya!

I know other moms are out there like me. Just trying their best to be the best mom they know how to be. I hope I can offer some inspiration and encouragement!

So here goes.....check it out if you wish!

Just click here, 2 Tots 2 Teach

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Before our walk to the park this morning I told Zander, "Go put a hat on so we can shade your face from the sun."

This is what he was wearing when he came downstairs.

I guess I need to be specific the next time and request a "summer" hat.

a train lesson

The past few weeks have been so simple, but so profound for me. My greatest teachers, Zander and Kaya, of course. I know I said previously my brain had turned to mush but maybe I'm just taking the time to really listen to them.

We have a train track that crosses a main road about 5 minutes from our house. In the more than 2 years that we have lived here I've never seen a train actually go across it. That doesn't seem to diminish the joy of seeing it though for Z & K. Anytime we get close to it Zander starts saying, "Train Track mom, Train Track mom." Kaya then repeats, "Train Track mom, Train Track mom."
Also, anytime we come home from that direction Zander repeats over, "Are we going to see the traaaaiiiin traaaack?" So, as you can see, the train track causes great excitement in my aging Acura.

Yesterday, amazingly, as we were driving to Babies R Us and Barnes & Noble, I saw the train crossing sign start to lower. I, excitedly saw to the kids, "Look up ahead at the train tracks!!!". So we rolled to a stop, turned down the radio, rolled down the windows, and waved at the train as it passed.
The kids were more than happy about this surprising treat in the middle of their morning. Zander kept asking, "What's in that one mom?" and Kaya over course repeated, "What's in that one, Mom?".
Now at this point in my life, as anyone who has been around children knows, am quite exhausted by the thousands of What? Why? Where? questions thrown my way during the day. When I know the answer I'll tell him, until he asks the same exact question 2 seconds later, and sometimes I simply say "I don't know, Zander."
But due to this special train moment I thought I could play along....Thinking of The Little Engine that Could, I would say things like, "Maybe there are toys on that one." or "I think there are good vegetables and fruits for little boys & girls" and their favorite, "Probably candy, like lollipops."

Since our train viewing probably lasted 5 minutes, we had much to talk about.
Zander suddenly made the connection that he had ridden a train, at the zoo. I was amazed that his little 2 1/2 year old mind remembered all of this from a month ago. He started telling me all of the following, non-stop. (This is as close as I remember it, this is the longest story I've ever heard from my sweet little guy.)
"Mom, we rode on a train at the zoo with Grandma. We went in the zoo and saw ducks. No, they weren't ducks because they were pink & orange. What were they mom? (I said, flamingos) Yeah, mingos. Then we saw some pandas, Kaya loves pandas. (Kaya then says "Panda Bear mom, Panda Bear mom".) We rode a ride then we rode a train with grandma. We pet animals with Grandma. Then we saw the birds. Then we went and bought a Panda hat. (And Kaya says, "Panda Hat, YeeHaw!").
Amazed, I said, "Wow Zander that is right, you are so smart for remembering."
He answered, "Maybe we go to zoo another day mom and ride the train."
"Yes, Maybe we can."

After the zoo story, the train viewing is coming to the end. I glance over at the two cars beside us. You can tell one man is just disgusted that he had this unwelcome interruption to his day. The lady beside us is cussing into her cell phone.
I just look back at my two kiddos and smile and I look up and say a thank you prayer to God.

Thank you so much for this interruption and train lesson in my day.