Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Love lets the other win

"The wise and loving thing to do is to start approaching your disagreements with a willingness to not always insist on your own way. That's not to say your mate is necessarily right or being wise about a matter, but you are choosing to give strong consideration to their preference as a way of valuing them.

Instead of treating your wife or husband like an enemy or someone to be guarded against, start by treating them as your closest, most honored friend. Give their words full weight.

If it doesn't matter in the long run -- especially in eternity -- then give up your rights and choose to honor the one you love. It will be both good for you and good for your marriage."

Today's Dare: Demonstrate love by willingly choosing to give in to an area of disagreement between you and your spouse. Tell them you are putting their preference first.

Steve and I don't disagree very often. Perhaps it's because Steve exercises this regularly. He doesn't insist on having his own way. He usually puts my preferences first. I wonder if there might be things he's giving up simply because he doesn't want to bring up something that could cause a disagreement. I must admit that I am unaware of these things, if they exist at all. Perhaps they don't exist, and our lives and marriage are as perfect as we think they are. I think I will leave this for Steve to answer.

As for me, well, I've already 'fessed up to the one area of contention in our marriage, at least from my point of view. I give in to Steve's preferences, and we visit his family several times a year. It's still not in my list of places to spend our vacation time, but I love my husband. He loves them. So we go.

(Side note: Regarding my previous post about Steve's family, I'm still working on the bitterness; but I have improved. I suppose a lot of my frustration comes from not knowing how or why they hated me from the beginning. Six years later, a lot of hateful and hurtful things have been said and done; and I find myself feeling at a loss for how to move forward. Prior to meeting Steve's family, I knew of only a handful of people who disliked me. I knew exactly why they disliked me. I did something that caused it. I understood it. There was a how and a when and a why to it all. When I met certain members of Steve's family, they hated me immediately. I didn't understand it then, and I understand it less now. Since I don't know what caused it, I don't know how to fix it. Additionally, I can't make sure that my daughter won't do the same thing. And there's the rub - how do I teach her not to offend them when I don't know what I did to offend them? How do I protect her from receiving the same treatment I have received? So there you have it. I'm not angry and do not want to argue with my husband about whether it's right to expose our daughter to such people. I am, however, an extremely protective mama who wants to make sure that my baby knows nothing but love in her life at this early and tender age. How do I do that?)

Steve - I love you. I will go where you go. I'm still working on the "your people will be my people" part. But I love you. With all my heart. Unconditionally. Forever.


Steve here --

I know GASP! Amy has been doing such a great job of posting lately -- then there is me, not so much.

It's funny, not to make you gag or anything but if you could pick out the poster couple for a marriage made in Heaven I really believe that ours is it. I don't know why some people have chosen to do or say things against Amy, I cannot really do anything about them. We can choose to be happy, we can choose to let it go, we can choose to protect ourselves and our family and we can choose to not let others affect our happiness -- they don't have that right!

I chose a LONG time ago (before I ever met Amy) that my family would always come first. More over my Wife would always come first. Her concerns, her desires, her happiness and her needs would always come first. I remember deciding that I would never argue -- I'd simply give in. It's just not worth letting silly things come between us.

This isn't to say that in the heat of some moments I don't express my opinions and thoughts, but I always do my best to yield to Amy's wants and desires while expressing my preferences so that she can decide how she wants to proceed.

I'm getting better and recognizing her subtle hints -- 'Don't you think we should paint the wall red?' Translated roughly means PAINT THAT WALL RED, NO OTHER COLOR WILL DO -- IF IT ISN'T RED I'M GOING TO SCREAM!!! As time goes on I'll get better at these hints but for now I'm still working on it.

I can't define a moment that I 'gave in' to avoid argument. But I would give in on anything -- my job, my happiness, my comfort, my anything -- for Amy.

I love you, Babe! -- Thank you for being my Wife!!!


Claire's First Trip to the Zoo

Steve had to travel to St. Louis, MO for work over the weekend. His boss gave him Monday off, so we decided to take Claire to the Saint Louis Zoo for the day. We had so much fun!

First stop was the Primate House. Claire loved the monkeys. It was very difficult to take pictures of them. Here's the best of the bunch.
This giraffe was up close and personal. I didn't get the picture taken until he was walking away. At any rate, Claire loved the giraffes too.
checking out the chimps
penguins (Again, it was difficult to take pictures indoors.)
The Butterfly Wing was one of Claire's favorite exhibits. Several of them landed on her. She loved it.
Norton Family Day at the zoo
The hippos were very active. They kept swimming right next to the windows.
"Isn't this wonderful?!"
riding the zoo train
Claire's momento from her first trip to the zoo
driving home
A giraffe and Veggie Tales - what more could a girl want?

We had a wonderful day together. Claire loved the animals. I think there will be many more trips to the zoo in our future.


Claire and I just simply could not wait until September (when Matt, Randi and Kenley will visit Oklahoma) to get our hands on Kenley. So last week we flew to Philly to see our newest girl.

Meeting Baby Kenley
Just beautiful!
Aunt Randi and Claire reading a book together
Claire showing Uncle Matt one of her favorite toys
The new McComber family - party of three!!!
Watching Veggie Tales with MiMi in the hotel room
Hitching a ride with PopPop
Claire loves her Uncle Matt
Claire LOVES Kenley. She thinks that Kenley is her baby. (In this picture both are being held by Randi's mom, Roxanna.)
kissing Kenley
We had a wonderful time in Pennsylvania. We went to Shady Maple Smorgasbord to eat breakfast one morning and saw some of the beautiful Amish country.
We were so glad we got to meet Baby Kenley and had a wonderful time with Uncle Matt, Aunt Randi, Baby Kenley, MiMi and PopPop. For more pictures from our trip, check out Uncle Matt's blog.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I am in love with my wife today more than ever. She is a wonderful Mother to Claire and a wondreful Wife for me. She takes care of every tiny detail, she is beautiful, brilliant, attentive, kind, patient, and thoughtful!

I appreciate everything that she does for our family every day.

This weekend was wonderful we spent some time in Houston, St. Louis, and Memphis! Claire took her first trip to the Zoo where she had a hopping good time (pics to follow soon).

Today Amy is going shopping, and pampering without Claire - I've taken the day off to take care of Claire and give Amy some time to take care of Amy. Hold her to this, ask her how it went - sometimes she forgets to take time for her - at the moment she catching up on her sleep but soon she will be painting the town red!

Look forward to a picture post from Claire's seven state tour in seven days coming soon!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Love cherishes

Husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. --Ephesians 5:28

"When you mistreat your mate, you are also mistreating yourself. Your lives are now interwoven together. Your spouse cannot experience joy or pain, blessing or cursing, without it also affecting you. So when you attack your mate, it is like attacking your own body.

It's time to let love change your thinking. It's time for you to realize that your spouse is as much a part of you as your hand, your eye or your heart. She, too, needs to be loved and cherished. And if she has issues causing her pain or frustration, then you should care for these with the same love and tenderness as you would a bodily injury. If he is wounded in some way, you should think of yourself as an instrument that helps bring healing to his life.

Don't let the culture around you determine the worth of your marriage. To compare it with something that can be discarded or replaced is to dishonor God's purpose for it. That would be like amputating a limb. Instead, it should be a picture of love between two imperfect people who choose to love each other regardless.

When you look at your mate, you're looking at a part of you. So treat her well. Speak highly of him. Nourish and cherish the love of your life."

Today's Dare: What need does your spouse have that you could meet today? Can you run an errand? Give a back rub or foot massage? Is there housework you could help with? Choose a gesture that says "I cherish you" and do it with a smile.

When Steve and I got engaged, we agreed that divorce is not an option. When we got married, we took vows that said "till death do us part." We meant it. We mean it still. We will continue to mean it.

I can't imagine my life without Steven. I don't even want to try. I do my best on a daily basis to treat him well. I want him to know that he is loved.

As for the dare, some of these seem a bit redundant for me and Steve. On a daily basis, if Steve sees that I'm tired, he'll entertain the baby and let me do something just for me. If I notice that he's a bit stressed or preoccupied with work, I give him a massage. We both cook, clean and do laundry. We both take care of and play with Claire. We make a good partnership. We work together to keep our home a peaceful, safe, happy and loving place to be. Dares like this one are difficult to say we've completed. I suppose I could point out that Steve took out the trash last night, gave me a massage and played with Claire. I did laundry and cooked dinner and cleaned the kitchen. All of these are normal, everyday events in our household. We take care of each other - always.

Steve - I love you. I cherish you. I am so glad you're mine!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Our Little Monkey

Claire showing off her new jammies
Just showing off
Happy 13 Months, Baby Girl!

Love is unconditional

"The only way love can last a lifetime is if it's unconditional. The truth is this love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love. Instead of saying "I love you because..." you say "I love you, period."

Today's Dare: Do something out of the ordinary today for your spouse--something that proves (to you and to them) that your love is based on your choice and nothing else. Wash her car. Clean the kitchen. Buy his favorite dessert. Fold the laundry. Demonstrate love to them for the sheer joy of being their partner in marriage.

Steve cooked one of my favorite meals for dinner and allowed me to relax and just play with Claire. He also cleaned the kitchen after dinner. (Steve enjoys cooking, but his schedule has not allowed this in quite some time. It was nice for me to have a break while someone else took care of dinner and the cleanup.)

I gave Steve a massage and allowed him to relax without running any errands or performing any honey-dos. Our schedule has been so crazy the last couple of months. It was nice to just take it easy.

Steve - I love you, totally, completely, unconditionally. I chose you to be my husband, and I choose you still. I will choose you again tomorrow.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!!!

Steven, you are the most wonderful husband in the world; and you are the most amazing daddy! I love watching you care for and play with our daughter. I love listening to your voice as you read to her, pray for her and teach her new things. You are so kind and loving! We appreciate all that you are and all that you do. We love you!!!

Father's Day 2010
Steve is sporting his Daddy's Day gift from Claire - a new tie!
More Daddy Day celebrating this afternoon with a dip in the pool - so refreshing!
And just for fun - a video of Claire walking around our apartment (still using a toy for balance - she'll be taking steps on her own in no time)

Saturday, June 19, 2010


We Nortons have been very busy lately. We finally have internet access in Memphis, so hopefully we'll get around to updating the blog a little more often.

First order of business, a welcome to Kenley Laura McComber, born Thursday, June 17, to my younger brother, Matt, and his wife, Randi. Isn't she lovely? MiMi and PopPop are driving to PA to visit their newest granddaughter (#4). They opted to drive through Memphis to spend some time with us. I planned to take them to Marlowe's for some delicious BBQ, but it wasn't open. We ended up across the street at Church's Chicken instead. Oh well. We had a great time even if it didn't include delicious BBQ. (Steve got stuck in a meeting at work, so it was just me and Claire.)
After Steve got out of his meeting, Claire and I picked him and took him to the park to enjoy some chicken.
Claire loves to stand. It's hard to keep her seated most of the time. (She also has a new tooth! Steve and I noticed it tonight while we were brushing her teeth before bed. It's almost all the way through. We have no idea when it started poking through since she's never fussy or sick when teething. She now has seven teeth!)
Claire is also very busy/nosy. She gets into everything these days. Here are a few pictures I took when she didn't know I was watching her dig through my purse.
Emptying out Mommy's purse is so much fun!
We went garage saleing this morning to find some furniture for our apartment. Instead, I found this little goodie. It retails for $130 at Babies R Us. I got it for $12! It had hardly been used. What a steal!
In an attempt to help Claire gain weight, we are feeding her anything and everything she will eat. She has a few new favorites - Fruit Loops...
(Fruit Loops and milk make the best breakfast!)
(Claire loves to share!)
...and pizza!!!

Life is good! We're staying busy and are enjoying Memphis. Steve loves his new job. Claire is growing and learning and becoming more beautiful everyday.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tutu Cute!

Thank you, Shari, for making Claire this adorable tutu for her birthday! It's so cute, and she loves it. We love you guys!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Love makes good impressions

"You can tell a lot about the state of a couple's relationship from the way they greet one another. You can see it in their expression and countenance, as well as how they speak to each other. It is even more obvious by their physical contact."

Today's Dare: Think of a specific way you'd like to greet your spouse today. Do it with a smile and with ethusiasm. Then determine to change your greeting to reflect your love for them.

Steve and I greet one another with a kiss and a hug and a smile every time we see each other. We also part with a hug, a kiss, a smile and an "I love you." So we had to spice it up a little to meet this dare. Steve greeted me with a dance. I greeted him with two clicks, a wink and a twirl. The point is that we love each other like crazy, and we're happy to see each other after any time apart.



It's funny how cute Amy is. We truly did do a good job of greeting each other in a special way today. We never let an opportunity pass to at least smile at each other. When passing we make it a point, no matter how busy we are, to acknowledge each other. That may be nothing more than a smile, but more often it's a kiss, a greeting or a quick makeout session!

Aside from the everyday greetings, this day really was special. Amy was especially enthusiastic, and when I delivered news over the phone that would usually get her down, she cheerfully exclaimed -- OKAY!

I love you babe! Thanks for doing the Love Dare with me!


Friday, June 11, 2010

Love is not jealous

"Because love is not selfish and puts others first, it refuses to let jealousy in. It leads you to celebrate the successes of your spouse rather than resenting them. It is time to let love, humility and gratefulness destroy any jealousy that springs up in your heart. It's time to let your mate's successes draw you closer together and give you greater opportunities to show genuine love."

Today's Dare: Determine to become your spouse's biggest fan and to reject any thoughts of jealousy. To help you set your heart on your spouse and focus on their achievements, take yesterday's list of negative attributes and discreetly burn it. Then share with your spouse how glad you are about a success he or she recently enjoyed.

Both Steve and I burned our negative lists before we left for Memphis. We threw them in the chiminea in the backyard. It was very ceremonial. LOL

I am so proud of Steve's receiving a promotion at work. He is highly favored by his boss and co-workers. Steve is very organized and has great ideas for improving processes and procedures. He's very easy to get along with and acts as a peacemaker in the office. He presents solutions to problems rather than creating bigger ones. He is wise in decision making. He treats his superiors, his peers and those who work for him with genuine respect. He is very impressive.

And because Steve is all of these wonderful things, I get to stay home and take care of our house and raise our baby. Steve is an amazing husband and a good provider. He seeks wisdom from God and follows his heart. I trust him completely, and I know that he will do everything he can to take care of me and Claire.

I love you, Steven. More than anything. You are wonderful! I am so blessed to be your wife. Thank you for marrying me. I love the life we share together! I am so proud of you!


My turn

Amy is a great Mommy to little Claire -- she is a natural, and I honor her position!

I am so thankful for Amy -- she cares enough to stand up for our family no matter the circumstance

She is passionate about us and all things in our lives, she is driven and motivated

She is kind, pleasant and vibrant. People love her -- they are drawn to her. Amy is very sweet, gentle, happy and a sheer joy to be around.

Amy is beautiful -- her beauty is endless both inside and out! I fall more in love with her every day.

I love being with her, I love that she misses me when I'm gone, I love that she wants to be with me -- most of all I love that she said 'YES! YES! YES!'

Thank you for marrying me sweetheart -- thank you for being sweet to me!


The Move to Memphis

Last weekend we rented a trailer and loaded up for the nine-hour drive to Memphis (with stops, it took a little longer).

Beginning the load
We left at 4:00 a.m. the next morning.
Loaded to capacity
Goodbye, house.
Claire is definitely a morning person, even at 4:00 a.m.
Ready for a new adventure!

Checking out her new crib
First order of business - dump out the toys! Now it's beginning to feel like home.
After unloading, we headed straight to Wal-Mart to get some basics. We headed directly to the back of the store where my loves grabbed a jug of water and a jug of milk and started drinking. We had to pay for empty containers when all was said and done. The checker seemed shocked and asked me if I knew they were empty. I assured her that we were the ones who emptied them. I'm guessing this doesn't happen very often.
A look around at our new place...
This is what you see when you enter the front door. There's an entry closet on your left and a hallway on your right. The doorway to our room is just around the wall on the left.
Once you enter the living area, you can see this. Our dining area is in the middle with Claire's play area behind. The kitchen is open with lots of storage.
Our room
Claire sleeps in our closet. Don't worry - she likes it.
To the right of the front door is our office area. The open door is the guest bath.
Another view of the hallway - At the end of the hall is Matt's room. Matt is another manager who works with Steve. He's our roomie. The open door on the right is his bath/guest bath. The double doors on the back left open to our laundry room. The front door on the left opens to a very large hallway closet that we are using for a pantry and a place to store board games.
Claire seems to really like Memphis. She's settled in quite nicely. Here's a pic of her watching Veggie Tales while I walked around taking pictures.
As yet we do not have internet in our apartment. It was supposed to go in on Monday, but I am delayed in Houston. Hopefully we will get it hooked up by the end of next week. In the meantime, I will try to put a few pictures of Claire on here this weekend to hold you over.
Memphis is hot. In fact, I think it might be even hotter than Houston. The heat index in Memphis yesterday was 108. It actually felt cool when I got back to Houston yesterday evening. How crazy is that? I don't think I've ever arrived in Houston and thought it was a refreshing change. Weather aside, I like Memphis. I think this is going to be a great year full of exciting new adventures.