Above: me, wrapped in my swaddling clothes…

Hello friends!

I’m sorry I’ve been MIA this week.

I’m not going to color coat my life for the blogosphere… I’m in a genuine funk. I miss my brother, I miss my son and all this missing makes me feel like I’m quietly losing my mind.

Every time I close my eyes, vivid memories, horrifying memories flood my consciousness.

Showers are the worst; I didn’t realize how much deep, closed eyed thinking went on during showers.

I’d rather stay dirty, thank you.

I knew this anniversary would be hard, I just didn’t anticipate the person it would turn me in to. I’m grouchy and melancholy, and for the first time in a long time, I actually feel sorry for myself.

Bleh. I hate this version of me.

The happy news is that I respect myself enough to let myself ride this wave. One of the greatest gifts I can give myself through grief is the opportunity to simply be where I am, without frustration, without judgment.
Because this too shall pass.

It most certainly shall…


Note: blogged from my phone. Please pardon any crazy formatting or grammatical oversights… Muah!

click here to open post Dec 21, 2011 | posted in Personal | 23 comments

This year, in lieu of Christmas cards, I’ll be sending friends and family this spotty little video (again, I wholeheartedly own the reality that I am NOT a videographer–this is only my second attempt, so go easy).

The Back Story.

This year for Christmas we’re headed to Utah.

With all the luggage, all the gifts and all the humans I need to transport to make the season bright, travel was just turning in to a big, hairy nightmare. PLUS, we were originally planning to leave Sunday afternoon post church, but I came down with the plague, so  by Monday night, as we were still just sitting around waiting for mom to buck-up and DRIVE already, we decided to brighten up the evening (and lighten up the cargo) by having our first annual “Fake Christmas.”  BEST.IDEA.EVER!

We ran to Fry’s and bought a teeny tree, wrapped it with a half lit string of lights and some home made decorations, and went to town.

Relaxing, spontaneous, us*.

Merry Christmas to YOU!

I’m taking the rest of the week off; see you Monday! xo, N

*Side note: One of the things that is always tricky about Christmas is all the pressure to get everything just right. It’s also hugely challenging to keep everything in perspective and maintain the true spirit of Christmas–it’s even harder to try to instill that spirit in your kids! Jumping the gun and opening most of our presents early, alleviated any and all pressure about what the day should or shouldn’t bring, and freed up the 25th to be more centered on what Christmas really is all about. Don’t you worry, Santa’s still a comin’ to town, but his sleigh will be a whole lot lighter than usual.

Yes, you heard me. BEST.PRODUCTS.EVER. If you’ve got waves or curls, the DevaCare line of products will rock your face off. No frizz, lovely curls, happy face x 1,000.

Be ye forewarned, they’re s’pensive, like ridiculously so, but they’re also sincerely worth the cost. I figure, I NEVER spend a cent on my head: no color, rarely cut, etc, so I can afford to go hard or go home in the shampoo/condish department, yes? YES.

If you decide to splurge, but can’t swing the entire line, just opt for the conditioner. It’s fab. FAB.

xo, N

PS. I picked mine up locally at Ulta. Do they have Ulta in other places? The first I’d heard of it was when I moved to AZ.

I am so sick.

Like, the kind of sick that makes you wish you were dead.

The kind of sick that makes you pull the car over every half hour or so to take a quick cat nap so you don’t pass out and kill the cute little Christmas elves in the back seat.

The kind of sick that makes you climb into a shopping cart and make said elves push you around Toys R Us, because you sincerely cannot stand for more than 2 minute intervals. And yes, the other Toys R Us patrons really loved our little show.

Sometimes I forget how strange our family must seem to other people. . . we kind of just do what we do and never think a thing of it until we see someone else’s reaction . . . but I digress. . .

Richie has been out of town for the last week (aside from Wednesday night), so I’ve been flying solo with the crazies. Side note: check out this darling cell phone pic (Instagram: NatalieNorton, find me!) of the boys at their Christmas dance recital on Friday. Love them.

So today, Richie was home again (jiggity jig/huge sigh of relief), so I sent him to church with the boys, while I took a 4 hour nap. . . and after a full 8 hours of sleep last night, I’m very impressed with myself. The sleep was great (and the HUGE dose of Advil wasn’t bad either), but let me tell you the thing that rocked my world harder than anything else.

Hello, Columbia’s awesome baselayer.

Earlier this fall, Columbia Sportwear sent me a bunch of winter gear to review. Can I just say, I love working with Columbia?! Unlike other vendors that send me their products for review, Columbia has NO EXPECTATION whatsoever that I’ll blog or otherwise promote their products (which is good, because if I don’t love something, there is NO WAY I’m writing about it anyway). What makes Columbia even cooler, is that they SPECIFICALLY ASKED me that if I did decide to share my thoughts on the gear, that I would be completely honest (even if that meant a negative review). Gosh. Talk about integrity. What an amazing company they are.

Happily, I only have a 5 star review for them thus far.

Enter: The Baselayer. It’s essentially long underwear, only a thousand times cozier and not nearly as sticky and sweaty when you’re wearing it indoors. It has this weird, alien looking, metallic lining they call Omni-Heat® + Omni-Wick™ that actually works to reflect your body heat back to you in the areas you need it most and to wick away sweat in high-perspiration zones. Beyond all that, it’s comfy as can be, totally easy to move in, and has some kind of “antimicrobial treatment” that keeps the fabric feeling and smelling fresh through high exertion or when. . . saaaaaaay  . . . you’re sick and don’t shower or change your clothes for 3 days straight (whatever you do, don’t tell mim). What? Don’t judge. I said I was dying.

I have the bottoms pictured left as well as a matching top, that I’m not finding online. The closest match I’ve found is the Men’s version that has gray stitching instead of red. Richie has plain black. Sleek meets cozy. Love.

I’m probably the only psycho on Earth who would ever do this, but yesterday night I actually wore them outside (yes, JUST my baselayer). I had to run out to the car really quick and wasn’t willing to change my clothes. It was 35 degrees out, I had a fever of 102,  and guess what? I did not even feel the chill, not at all. Bam! You go Columbia, you GO! Thanks for swaddling me through this funk.

I’m excited to wear these bad boys (and the awesome jackets they sent Richie and I) skiing in Park City next week.

Wish me well. I’ve got to kick this thing by Wednesday morning or Christmas is ruined. RUINED I SAY!

xo, N

The road called “life.”

I’ve been thinking a LOT about life the last few days.

It never gets easier, does it? I used to think that I’d get to a point along the road of life when things would settle down, ease up, fall in to place. I’ve come to the realization that this kind of expectation is elusive. . .AND that it really doesn’t matter. The very second I let go of any and all expectation about what life should be (what I deserved it to be), the MOMENT I faced life with complete acceptance, no matter the circumstances, EVERYTHING changed for the better. It’s amazing what a small dose of humility and acceptance can do for a soul. Remarkable really. I am a happier human being (infinitely so), I am filled with an overwhelming sense of confidence and optimism for the future, and my heart is utterly at peace–all from simply accepting what is without anger, without offense, without regret, and then continuing to move forward in gratitude and faith. Ultimately it’s not about where you’ve been, or even where you currently are, life is about where you’re actively headed.

Lean in and enjoy the ride.

Now. . .

Funnies just for fun:

1. I recently decided that it was a good idea to iron the fly of my pants. . . while they were still on my body. This was, in fact, NOT a good idea. Not.at.all.

2. Lincoln has decided that his favorite word is “Sexy,” pronounced “Saaaaaxssssy.” Don’t worry, hearing him sing it to himself EVERY.WHERE.WE.GO isn’t at all embarrassing.

3. This morning, Cardon decided that he was going to stay under the kitchen table until we let him wear his pajamas underneath his school uniform. He outlasted me and went to school looking like a homeless marshmallow.

4. Christmas shopping is fun, aside from the fact that I get all teary eyed whenever I pass something that would be the perfect gift for a 2 year old boy. Oy.

5. The peppermint milkshake at Chick-fil-a is the second best thing that ever happened to Christmas.

aaaaand. . .

The Weekly Digest:

Because I want to jump up and down. . . and throw some dirt.
Curly Girl: the curly girl’s Bible.
The Higgins Family!
The Breathe Intensive | Las Vegas.

Have a beautiful weekend!