Monday, December 10, 2012

The Norton Babies Visit Santa

We went to Bass Pro Shops to visit Santa on Saturday.  While we were waiting in line, Claire was so excited to see a nutcracker.  She really wanted her picture taken with him.  I LOVE this girl!!photo(153).2

Norton Babies and Kris Kringlephoto(149).2


Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmastime Is Here!

The Norton household began putting up Christmas decorations the first weekend in November.  Our fresh greenery went up this past Monday.  Here are some pictures of our beautiful house decked out in its finest.063



Our stockings – handmade by Nanny067


Claire’s room036



Cale’s room035





The kids’ bathroom051




The rest of the house – The photos this month include our Christmas picture from the first year we were married and every year since including this year’s, pictures of our kids with Santa and pictures from Steve’s and my childhood Christmases.071







Totes containing Christmas stuffed animals, Christmas-themed toys and Christmas books097

Our tree – with every present bought and wrapped and placed underneath095

Merry Christmas with love from the NortonsChristmas 2012


Thanksgiving was at our house this year.  We had 12 people in attendance – MiMi, PopPop, Nanny, Aunt Fran, Adam, Shannon, Analise, Allie, Claire, Cale, Steven and me.  We had a ton of food, and it was SO yummy!  After lunch, we went over to MiMi and PopPop’s house and put up their Christmas tree and decorated their house for Christmas.  It was so much fun to work on it all together.  Afterward, we went back to our house for dessert and naps and a game of cards.  We had a great time!

Analise, Claire and Allie showing off the pilgrim hats they madeThanksgiving

During the month of November, most of my friends on Facebook were posting 30 Days of Thanksgiving.  I saw many blog posts from friends and family giving thanks for all of their blessings; and I kept thinking that I was certainly one of the most blessed of them all.  I have been trying to come up with a blog post that would express my heart of gratitude, and yet I can’t seem to find the right words.

How does one begin to thank the God who created the universe and everything in it for all that He’s done in my life?  I can look around my Thanksgiving table and start a list.  He healed my mom of breast cancer, and she’s been cancer-free for 20 years!  I remember standing by my aunt’s hospital bed while she was in a coma, and the doctors telling us that they didn’t know if she would wake up or not.  But she did.  God made sure of it.  And I’ve always wanted a sister. To satisfy that longing, God gave me Shannon.  She is one of my very best friends as well as being the most amazing wife to my brother and an extraordinary mother to my nieces.  We truly love each other like sisters.  We laugh, cry, fight, tease and love through everything life throws at us.  My precious and beautiful nieces who were rescued from uncertain futures and were lovingly placed into my family are such incredible gifts that I cannot begin to express my love for them in words.  I could go on and on about how wonderful each of them are and how precious they are to me.

I could look within the four walls of my house and thank God for the walls themselves – for the protection they provide, for the adornment that covers them.  I could thank Him for everything inside – the comfy bed, the cozy couch, the dining room set I got for my birthday the first year Steve and I were married, etc.  I could thank Him for the dishes we eat off and the Christmas dishes that are used only once or twice a year and the Fostoria that we inherited and treasure, using only for special occasions.  I could thank Him for the dishwasher, washer, dryer, vacuum, garage door opener and all of the other appliances that make my life easier.  And what about the TVs that provide hours of mindless entertainment and educate my kids via cartoon characters and stream the church service into my house when I’m unable to actually attend service in person?  And the toys – the piles of cuddly stuffed animals that bring comfort in the night to my children, the cars, the books, the baby dolls, the blocks, etc. – what of them?  How do I begin to thank God for the overabundance of “things” in my life?

And how do I even begin to express gratitude to the Creator for my beautiful family?  I honestly thought I would never get married.  I had resigned myself to that fate and had even grown comfortable with the thought.  I made big plans for my life.  But God had a different idea.  Just when I thought I had my life all figured out, he introduced Steve.  Steve came in like a knight in shining armor (or a bull in a china shop depending on your perspective) and changed everything.  He loves me like no one has ever loved me before.  He is kind and patient and tender and caring.  He is everything I wanted and everything I need.  He is my perfect match – my gift from God.  And when the doctors told me that I would never be able to conceive a child, God responded by giving me Claire.  What a miracle she is!  And what a blessing!  I have never laughed so much in my life.  She brings me such joy!  She is beautiful beyond words.  She is kind and compassionate.  She is tenderhearted and inquisitive.  She is extraordinary!  And then God gave me Cale!  My handsome little man who loves life and giggles all day long.  He is so affectionate and snuggly.  He is amazing!  How do I begin to tell God just how thankful I am for these wonderful people?

My life and my heart are filled to the brim and running over with blessings.  I have so much to be thankful for.  I am blessed more than I could ever ask for, think or even imagine.  The only lack is the ability to express my gratitude in words.  All I can say is, “Thank You!  Thank You, Father, for being so kind.  Thank You for caring about every tiny detail in my life.  Thank You for loving me.  Thank You for sending Jesus so that I could have life – an amazingly, incredibly, magnificently abundant life!  Thank You for all of it – all that I am, all that I have and all who I share it with!  I will declare Your marvelous works!  You are so good to me.  Thank You!!”