click here to open post Jun 13, 2012 | posted in Personal | 5 comments

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Doesn’t summer look delicious??!

Oh, by the waaaaaayyyyyyyy…

My lap top crashed today. Insert huuuuuge, ginormous, teary eyed, snotty nosed, hairy-as-heck frowny face: here. So bummed. So.

Hoping beyond hope that when I take it in to the apple doctor tomorrow, they’ll be able to repair it. I’m not worried about data. I’m totally backed up. I just reeeeeealllllllly don’t want to have to buy a new computer.

At all.

Meh. What will be, will be, right? No use worrying over something you can’t do a lollywaggle about.

Enjoy these beautiful clouds over Waimea Bay, and every one of my fingers are crossed that I’ll be back again with real posts in the next day or two!

PS. Cardon’s new thing is making an INCESSANT farting sound by blowing air out of his floppy lips (does that explanation make a lick of sense??). “Frrrrrrrrrrrr frrrrrrrrrrrrrrr frrrrrrrrrrrrr,” all.day.long. All I can figure, is that from a sensory stand point (SPD, remember) it must be calming. Anyone out there have any input for me?? I’m about ready to crack. Going bat-freaking-crazy listening to this all day long!!! Snort.

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And PPS all images were taken with the self same phone from which I’m posting this very post. Technology is so amazing…when it WORKS. ;)

click here to open post Jun 11, 2012 | posted in Personal | 28 comments

This is my mom.

Her name is Annie.

But we call her “Grammie” (and my kid’s friends call her “Auntie Grammie”. . . because it’s awesome. . . and because I make them).

She’s brave. She’s generous. She’s kind. She’s FULLLLLL of joy and light and perfect empathy and unconditional love. In complete sincerity, she’s unlike anyone you’ve ever known. These aren’t simply sweet birthday words from a loving daughter. Truly, ask anyone who knows her. She’s exceptional. Completely and totally so.

We love you, Grammie!

Love,

Alllllllll of us

PS. Lincoln: “I love Grammie, because she’s really nice, and she lets us visit her, and she lets us be her grandkids.”  Cardon: “I love Grammie, because she’s nice, and ’cause she loves me.” Raleigh: “I love Grammie because she’s AMAZINGLY nice and she helps us with EVERYTHING.”

Cardie,

I love everything about you. From the freckles that softly brush your nose, to the way you sing yourself to sleep. I love the depth of your soul and your complete clarity surrounding what matters to you and why. I love the way you love me. I love the way you live simply to be loved, cherished and understood. I love how hard you work. I know “it’s” infinitely harder for you than many. Your mommy recognizes this, and son, your response to life fills.me.with.pride. I LOVE YOU. I hope to be just like you when I finally grow up.

I hope you enjoy these images of you, simply being you; I hope you can see and feel the ABSOLUTE JOY in every one.

I couldn’t separate you from the ant hills. You were completely memorized. You noticed everything wonderful. . . about an ant. “Mommy, look how STRONG they are!” “Mommy, look how they stay in a line when they walk!” “Mommy, what would happen if I put my finger in their hole?” And oooonnnnnnnnn and oooooonnnnnnnn. You care about every detail of this beautiful world we live in. Gosh, I love this about you.

You made mommy jump too. . . and of course you insisted on taking pictures. It hurt my back. But you still made me do it twice, so you could get the perfect shot. You’re hard to turn down, son. This will bless you someday. I’m confident enough of this not to squash it out of you. . . even though it certainly doesn’t seem to bless me, today. ;)

You love sand. Every day, you come home with 2 shoes and 2 pockets fulllllll. :) And every day, you dump it all over my hard wood floor. I even love THAT about you. (Sort of.)

This is my favorite picture of you, ever (maybe):

Your spirit has been bigger than your body since the day I first held you in my arms. No doubt about it. Here’s proof of what I’ve seen in you forever:

Happy birthday, my Cardie boy. “Whatever you say, I love you more.” ~M

click here to open post Mar 26, 2012 | posted in giveaway | 77 comments

Post Edited to Include:

The winner of the customized watercolor painting from Birds of AshMae is Brooke. She said, “I have been thinking about this all morning. I would love to have one of these. I think I would want one of my family. My 2 1/2 year old son passed away last summer and we have only 2 pictures of all 5 of us together. Im thinking that or just my 3 boys together. Ashley truly does beautiful work.” This was deeply touching to Ash and I. One of the primary reasons I keep up with photography, even as my life gets crazier and crazier, is because images MATTER. They bless lives for years (generations) to come. Just ask Brooke. She knows. Congratulations Brooke! Your comment doesn’t link anywhere, so please contact me at aloha{at}natalienortonblog{dot}com to claim your prize. xoxo!

Ash has extended the deadline for custom orders! She’ll be accepting orders for customized paintings until 4/6/12 (this Friday). They’re so insanely affordable as far as customized art is concerned! I keep telling her she’s GOT to raise her prices! But she’s more concerned with blessing lives than making moola. Go figure. ;) Love her face off. Such a quality soul! (Perfect Mother’s Day gift, hello!)

Hello friends!

Happy Monday to YOU!

If you’ve followed my blog for more than 5 minutes, you’re very familiar with the art of the beautiful Ashley of Birds of Ash Mae (also check out her LDS temples here and wonderful blog here).

Ashley’s art fills my home (I’ve got FOUR of her paintings up on my walls).  I simply can’t seem to get enough! Here‘s my favorite painting I’ve commissioned Ashley to do for us. I have it printed on a 20×30 canvas. Love. You can pick one up here.  (Um, it’s only $15 for an 8×10!)

Well, my friend, today is a happy, happy day, because you can enter to win a customized watercolor portrait for your very own home, FREEEEEE!!

To Enter:

1. Simply comment below (by Friday 3/30) and tell Ashley and I which portrait you would submit and why.

That’s all you have to do to enter. :)

But if you’re awesome, you’ll head on over and “like” Ashley’s awesome Etsy Shop here. It won’t increase your chance of winning, but it couldn’t hurt you either (know what I’m sayin’? Mmmm hmmmm. ;))

The Loot:

The winner will receive 1 customized portrait of up to four people (winner must pay 15.00 for every person/pet portrait from photo above 4). All Ash needs is your favorite photo to work from! Even a simple snapshot will do!

Good luck!

I hope YOU win!

Top L to R: Laie Temple (commissioned) | SLC Temple | Gav and I (commissioned)
Bottom L to R: My boys meeting Baby G (gift from Ash post tragedy-painted from a cell phone pic) | blue horse | boy and his dinosaur (buying this one for Cardon today. It’s magic.)

NOTE: AFTER APRIL 1ST, ASHLEY WILL NOT BE ACCEPTING PORTRAIT ORDERS FOR SIX MONTHS WHILE SHE WORKS ON SOME OF HER OWN PROJECTS. IF YOU’D LIKE A PORTRAIT (AND YOU DON’T WIN ONE FROM HERE, OF COURSE), BE SURE TO ORDER BEFORE THEN! ASHLEY CURRENTLY HAS 10 SPOTS LEFT.

Congratulations to Teresa Peschke! You win. Tada!

First things first.

No, Cardon does NOT have a bowl cut. But since he’s a total spaz (times infinity) about getting his hairs cut, we let him walk around (and be photographed) looking like he IS in fact sporting a bona fide, 1990′s, bowl-doo. (However, I also let my kids dress themselves, which is infinitely more embarrassing than the hair situation, so at least there’s that. . . or . . . gosh, there’s that too?! I’m not sure which best fits.)

Check out (and enter to win) this amazing “Adventure In A Box Fort Kit” from The Happy Family Movement!

H A N D. S E W N. Yes, for serious. This activity was the most fun we’ve had together as a family in months (and SOOOO Much easier to clean up than the traditional “raid the linen closet” fort variety).

PS. Be sure to check out the ever inspiring HFM Blog and their fun family product center which includes a KILLER Roadtrip Adventure Guide (take it from me, it takes roadtrips from hair splitting, to side splitting, in no time flat).

We may have spent more time throwing, wrestling around with, and rolling ourselves up in the pieces than we actually spent building with them.

Boys. Enough said.

I don’t know WHAT came over Lincoln that night, but GOSH, he wanted to be in every.single.shot. Luckily he’s so stinkin’ adorable  . . and charming, and handsome, and funny, and irresistible, and cute, and PERFECT . . . in every.single.way. That little boy owns my heart.

Enter to win a Fort Kit from HFM!

1.  Comment below. Easy as pie.
2. To earn another entry for yourself, simply Facebook, Tweet, or blog a link to this post, come back and comment telling me you’ve done so, and BAM! You’re entered again!
3. Have a happy day!

ENTER BY FRIDAY, March 23rd. Winner will be announced shortly thereafter. Monday? Probably. But you just never know about these things, do you?