Remember this darling family? I know, how could you forget, right?! They were just as beautiful and charming as ever when I showed up (bright and early) to shoot their BEAUTIFUL new addition. Oh! He did my soul good. How could he not? Straight from the stork. . . he still smelled of Heaven itself. Enjoy!

This next one is DEFINITELY my favorite daddy + baby image of all time. No contest.

My wonderful Mother-in-law sent me this this morning, and I’m pretty sure I laughed for 5 solid minutes. I KNOW there are moments that each of us can relate to this. Don’t you dare try and tell me otherwise. Parenthood is a battle, and it’s not for the faint of heart.

The important thing, I suppose, is that we just keep getting back on the horse and trying again. . .  even if said horse just kicked in our teeth and stomped on our sternum.

All joking aside, I really believe that these kids (yours and mine) are remarkable little spirits, sent to us from God, and that they are capable of so.many.miraculous.things if we can just help them see their tremendous capacity and worth. It’s our responsibility to get up every morning and give them the very best we have to offer. Even when we’re exhausted to the core and in complete emotional deficit. All they need is our very best ;) . . . even if some nights that equates to cereal for dinner.

“Our very best” will fluctuate from day to day, and that’s OK. I really believe that ultimately parenthood life is all about LOVE, abundant and unconditional. That’s all any of us, grown or teeny weenie, are really looking for anyway. Someone to look into our eyes and to say, “I may not be perfect, but I love you, no matter what.”

click here to open post Sep 19, 2011 | posted in Inspire, Personal | 17 comments

Life is simply tumultuous.

When I was younger, I had the impression that you’d grow up, struggle some and then you’d eventually reach this space that where all the struggles of your past would culminate in a life of simplicity and ease. This is not the case. Part of living in a fallen world, I suppose.

But if you look at it from a different angle, it all makes sense. And I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

We all know I love to run (post coming soon, cross my heart and hope I never, ever die). But the question that bears answering is this, WHY do I love to run? Do I love to run because it’s easy? Because I’m so good at it that long runs fly by in careless ease? No. I run because it’s hard. I run because when I finish a long stretch, I feel like I’ve accomplished something significant. I feel stronger. . .  because I am.

I run because then, when life hands me a heavy load to carry, as it inevitably and consistently will, I feel up to the challenge.

I don’t run because it’s fun, I run because of the type of person running has helped me become.

If life were easier, where would the sense of accomplishment live? When would we feel the joy of overcoming the impossible? How could we ever feel the elation of a job well done?

In short, if life were all my adolecent self thought it would be, how could I ever hope to become more like Him? And ultimately, that’s what it’s all about, right?

The beautiful promise is that no matter how hard it gets, and it will be unbearable (and often so), we are promised that our burdens will be made light as we put our faith in His love.

click here to open post Sep 15, 2011 | posted in Personal | 14 comments

My house is unbearably messy. I’m tired beyond belief. But, I feel this responsibility to let you all know I’m alive.

So here you go. Truth. Dry, boring, unfiltered truth.

I’m not a very funny human being. Couple that with the fact that I have the memory of a goldfish and you’ll understand why I rarely try to relate the mundane details of my day. If I had an ounce of whit, I’d be all over telling you about the ins and outs of my everyday life. Alas. I feel like writing them poorly is worse than not writing them at all. Tonight however, I’m throwing caution to the wind and convincing myself that posting SOMETHING, regardless of how ridiculous may be, is better than posting NOTHING at all. I’m 97.8% certain I’m wrong.

First things first.

Can a mother pee? Like seriously. Is it too much to ask to enter the bathroom and take care of business uninterrupted? Even once? Apparently so.  A mother can never, ever pee in peace.

But the real deal today, was bedtime.

I’ve got a bed wetter. I get it. I love him. I don’t make him feel shame over it. It’s no biggie. We just do diapers at bedtime and deal with pee on the sheets when we have to. For some kids, it’s part of growing up. Fine. BUT my bed wetter goes bat wild for water every night at bedtime. So tonight, I pulled a Covey on him. “Son, are you beginning with the end in mind? What’s your end in mind? If you drink this much water before bed, you are in fact going to pee in your bed. Do you want to pee in your bed? Do you LIKE sleeping in your pee?” Him, “Sure! I’lllllll. . .haaaaaave. . . apple juice.”

Tonight was a Jack-in-the-box kind of night. Boys bouncing out of bed every which way, so I did what had to be done. I threatened the loss of Candy Friday*. . . in a very LOUD voice (with a big, ferocious scowl on my face-think Jack Nicolson with a pony tail + mascara).

The rule to maintain claim on Friday’s treat? Stay quietly in bed, no matter what. Simple.

“What if there is a FIIIIIIRE? Do you want us to BUUUUUURN?!”

Me: “Yes. If there is a fire, I would like you to stay in bed and burn. Any other questions?”

So, it’s working. They’re in bed. Halle-freaking-lujah. Now, I’m lying with the bed wetter, singing lullabies.

“Edelweiss, Edel-”

From down the hall:

“Maaaaam! Maaaaaam!”

Me: “Yes.”

Loooong pause. “Ummmmmmm. . . I love you.”

Yeah, nice try Brother. Me: “I love you, too. No more talking.”

And again:

“Edelweiss, Edel-”

“Maaaaaam! Maaaaaam! Come quick!”

I march myself down the hall, ready to pull out the big guns, like, you know, “You can’t drive until you’re 27!”

“Mom, if I catch on fire, don’t worry, I’ll stop, drop and roll.”

Nice. Thank you son.

Back to the bed wetter. “Edelweiss, Edel-” I hear the door to the bedroom creek. I look up to find.  . .

This. In my jeans and high heels, standing completely straight faced in the doorway.

In the sweetest voice ever, “Mommy, may I go to the bathroom.”

So I did what any responsible parent would do. I encouraged the behavior by getting out my cell phone and taking pictures.

The end.

*Candy Friday is a Norton family tradition. Since we don’t allow our kids to have sugary treats during the week, on Friday’s we take them to the grocery store and let them pick one treat to eat during our family movie time. It’s the best bribery tool, EVER.

I know. Seriously, right?! Who posts these kinds of images of themselves?

This is me, last year, running the Gunstock Half Marathon. It’s amazing to think that my journey toward running began almost exactly one year ago as I trained for this very race. “Life changing” seems trite. Running has revolutionized my entire existence. And no, that’s no exaggeration. It’s something I NEVER thought I could EVER do. NO CHANCE in H-E-double-hockey-sticks.  And yet. . . I did it. I did. And I haven’t stopped since.

It was really hard, but running taught me that I can in fact do things that are really hard, and they pay off. Ten fold (times a million).

Now, it’s difficult to imagine the pre running me. How did I combat stress? How did I manage anxiety? Nobody knows. The best answer would probably be, “not very well.”

I’ve been meaning to write a post on HOW exactly I went from couch to Gunstock, because it’s probably one of the very most frequently asked questions I get from readers. I was not a runner. At all. And now, I am, completely. And it’s nothing short of a miracle.  If y’all are still interested in hearing my system, because you can count on the fact that survival dictated I develop one, let me know. I’d LOVE to write that up for you! I’m passionate about helping others see that they can truly RUN, because heck, if I can do it, ANYONE CAN. For real.

The Gunstock Half Marathon and 5k is just around the corner (Oct. 15)! Register online, here. NOTHING you’ve experienced can prepare you for how good you’ll feel when you cross that finish line. (Even if you finish third from last, like me.) xx, N