Jul 03, 2012 | posted in Authenticity, Personal, The Journey To YOU | 32 comments

34 things. From my heart to yours.

There are cooler things than the internet.

Sometimes listening to the sound of the rain on the pavement is the best music there is.

Sticking your nose into a pile of warm laundry, fresh out of the dryer, reduces anxiety.

Cell phones are pretty lame.

God loves you. A lot.

Television is NEVER cooler than being outside.

Good fuel = happy living. (Trash in, trash out. Mind, body, spirit.)

True friendship is better than therapy. (Or at least the VERY best alternative.)

A good night’s sleep is totally underrated.

This too shall pass.

Be where you are. (Aka try to do something in the past, try to do something in the future: YOU CAN’T.)

Meditation is more powerful than you could ever imagine.

Kindred friendships exist in places and packages you’d never imagine. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover (or it’s Twitter avatar).

Deep breathing should be celebrated as a consistent part of one’s daily routine.

Life is short. LIVE it well.

Anxiety and worry are useless, unproductive and downright dangerous. LET GOOOOOOOOO.

Worry is nothing more than praying for what you don’t want.

You can heal.

Eye contact with actual humans is waaaaaaay cooler (and more emotionally satisfying) than text messaging.

Plus, text messaging when you’re around living, breathing human beings just makes you lame.

Being in the ocean is the best practice in mindfulness there is.

It will all work out.

We could all live with about 3/4ths less junk.

Purging clutter does wonders for the creative soul.

There’s nothing quite as reassuring as getting up early to watch the sunrise.

A good nickname goes a long way.

Be nice.

There is enough to go around (more than enough, really).

Water a plant. It does something inexplicable for the soul.

Letting people in isn’t as dangerous as you think. It’s actually pretty miraculous.

Life is too short not to get rid of your baggage.

Complete faith and total surrender are mighty powerful things.

It’s never to late to change your ways, to heal what you’ve broken, to try again.

No one’s life is as clean, pretty, or perfect as it appears on their blog.

Jun 21, 2012 | posted in Inspire, Personal, vacation oahu | 17 comments

The Road Less Traveled.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this. . .the long way, the road less traveled, the river deep, the valley wide.

So many things in our life have taken us, well, the looooooong way. The mountains have been higher and the valley’s lower and wider than I could have ever anticipated (in my wildest of dreams). But in retrospect, this really has made all the difference in the world. I’ve seen more, I’ve done more, I’ve learned more than I ever could have otherwise. The lessons have been as deep as the mountains have been high.

You want shallow lessons? You take the easy way. You want surface level understanding and fulfillment? Short cuts will serve you well.

I don’t want these things. I don’t.

The trick (and yes, there really is one) is letting go, leaning in, and not wasting your life in worry, doubt or fear. As long as you’re tuned in, and committed to what’s truly best for you (not what you WANT, or think you NEED, but what’s best), everything really does have a way of working itself out. (Yes, even THAT. You know, that thing you’re worrying about right this very second? Yes, even THAT will work itself out, in the perfect way and at the perfect time for you.)

Someone I really love once said, “You must learn to walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness; then the light will appear and show the way before you.” And I believe him. With all my heart.

PS. Love this pretty little stretch of highway between Wahiawa and Waialua.  Kaukonahua Rd takes just a little longer than the “standard” route through the pineapple plantations (Kam Highway), but it’s soooo totally worth it.

PPS. This post took a thousand years to write. 3 kids, one frazzled momma, a studio apartment, and all kinds of sleep deprivation. . . snerk. SOS! I’m d-d-d-drowning. Can’t wait for Richie to get here next week!

Jun 16, 2012 | posted in Personal, vacation oahu | 15 comments

That’s not really a thing, by the way. The road to Waimanalo. Well, yes it is, but nobody calls it that. What I’m referring to is the stretch of Kalanianaole Highway that runs between Hanauma Bay and Waimanalo. So beautiful. SO. I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s a short drive that runs right along the water, and you’ll die it’s so gorgeous. The color of the water is amazing island wide, and no matter what, but there’s something about this particular stretch of water that is somehow even MORE breathtaking (and most especially on a sunny day). Be still my soul. Granted, today, we went VERY late in the evening (inches from dark), and it was still breathtaking.

In winter months (Nov-April), this is a WONDERFUL place to look for whales. I don’t know that I’ve driven this stretch once during that time frame when I haven’t seen at least water spray, and more often than not, I’ve seen a full breach!

These images don’t really highlight the beauty of the drive. . .this was more a 3 minute, impromptu, Grammie, Pop and boys family portrait session. :) But it really is as amazing as I say. Cross my heart.

Ummmmmmm, we actually saw mountain sheep (or goats??). I didn’t even know those things existed in Hawaii. I’ve never seen anything like it in 12 years on the island. I didn’t get a picture. . . we were WAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY to far away for my 24mm lens. Apparently, there’s a farm around there. I don’t really know for sure (just Googled and that’s my best guess).  Anyway, Lincoln and Pop thought they were especially neat. See:

These two, loving each other, is like my favorite miracle of all time. Times 73 (at least).

Raleigh was over it, fast. (Punk.)

Below: ugly picture, that I still love.

And isn’t she lovely?

Oh, and by the way, Ken’s Bakery in Waimanalo is pretty darn famous. I’ve never been, but everyone raves. A good day of amazingness might be snorkeling at Hanauma and then a trip to Ken’s bakery. (Just don’t go on a Tuesday, because Hanauma is closed.) Ok, last thing, promise. Hanauma is wonderful, but CROWDED. By far the most famous snorkeling on Oahu, but be prepared to share your fishies with 9 zillion of your favorite strangers.

Jun 15, 2012 | posted in Personal, vacation oahu | 5 comments

Sunset at Shark’s Cove. Remember this post, from over a year ago? Same place pictured above.

Jun 13, 2012 | posted in moms best, parenting, Personal | 8 comments

Summer Bucket List Challenge!

Sincerely, what greater memories do you have from your childhood than those of summer fun?? Sure, Christmas is great, birthdays are a blast, but SUMMER?? It can’t be beat. Otter pops, starry nights, the smell of campfire, sleeping in, staying up late. . . oh. I could go on for days.

This is why it’s so vitally important to me to make summer GREAT for my family. I’m completely committed to making this summer a time of family togetherness, bonding, love, healing and rejuvenation. This is MY time. The rest of the year, my boys spend 6 hours, every.single.day, away at school. They go to an excellent school, mind you, with exceptional teachers and friends, but they are outside of my  . . . um . . . bubble of motherly adoration, love and protection?? for SIX hours a day! I see summer as my time to love on them like ca-razy, to remind them just how special, amazing and downright AWESOME SAUCE they really are. (Not that this kind of loving-on-ing is reserved exclusively for summertime, obviously not, but this is my chance to make the love and praise and sense of absolute belonging totally INCESSANT. And I plan to!)

The Norton family has joined The Happy Family Movement’s Summer Bucket List Challenge and this is our list!

I’ll be posting an Instagram image every time we complete one of the items on our list (NatalieNorton on Instagram or follow on the web here). If at the end of the summer, July 31st for us (I know, right?!), you notice that we’ve missed something on our list, email me at aloha@natalienortonblog.com, and the first 5 people to call us out will get a $25 iTunes gift card from yours truly. How’s that for committed?!

Want to participate in The Summer Bucket List Challenge with the Norton’s, the Solar’s and other awesome families across the globe? It’s easy, enter here (the Solars are giving away all kinds of exciting prizes all summer long)!

Once you’ve entered, join me in posting all your shenanigans on Instagram, be sure to tag your instagram photos #summerbucketlist and at the end of the summer, I may just decide to feature my favorite image(s) here on the blog. . . I may even decide to give one lucky family an exciting little gift. :) Lots of ambiguity here, no? I guess it’s all dependent on just how exciting all y’all decide to be! Prizes, should there be any, will be awarded for fun and creativity. . . it’s not about crazy pants activities, expense or being elaborate. I’m all about simplicity, real life and HAPPINESS!

Enough talk! It’s time to fight against TV, video games, the internet and even friends (we all know we compete with our kid’s friends for their attention ALL.SUMMER.LONG). I hope you feel as empowered as I do to  get out there and make this summer your best yet!