Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,baby barden,bardenisms,birth,expecting,just because,kiddos,love,my family,my town — admin at 12:59 pm on Sunday, January 27, 2013

Recently I had to purge my life of FACEBOOK for a month. There are SO many reasons – FACEBOOK being a giant time waster – ignoring my child – ignoring my house – ignoring Jared – caring too much what people thought (which is something I’ve never dealt with) – and jealousy.

Jealousy was a BIG one. I really really really want to be happy in the house we live in. It’s slowly coming along. But I was getting VERY jealous of our friends that have the houses they loved – finding houses the loved. Cus in my mind the grass is ALWAYS greener – and usually on FACEBOOK you only see the grass is greener parts of life. It was bringing me down – not at the fault of any of our friends – totally mine.

Oh – and babies. While I truly love and feel called to pray for my mommas in wanting and being connected to them through FACEBOOK – I was getting really jealous of friends that were having blessings (and angry with the ones that complained about it) – so I needed to remove myself.

I’ve since rejoined the world of FACEBOOK – but I use the “remove from news feed” button. A lot. I understand that it’s not the BEST way to get over my issues – but it’s a start. A start to focus on the blessings that are in my life. Right. Now.

2012 SUCKED – basically like every other year it seems. But it really sucked. Such is my life – is what I tell Jared. He hates it. But sadly – it’s the truth. People have asked me why I stand by my faith in God when everything just seems to be craptastic. Why do I keep giving when it seems that all I get is more crap.

If this is the fate I have following God and giving – I’d hate to see what lies ahead without.

This year my goal is to count my blessings – not my sorrows – cus there will always be sorrows – but I really want to focus on the blessings. If that means that I have to take a FACEBOOK break – so be it. If that means that I have to write our blessings down – one by one – and put them in a jar – it will happen.



Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,family,friends,holiday,just because,kiddos,love,my family,my town,newsworthy — admin at 1:11 pm on Saturday, January 26, 2013

When I was little – we had a box counting down the days to Christmas. Every day after school – we would run up to the house and open the little box. CANDY! That’s all we would do. Eat the candy and replace the box at the top of the tower – waiting for tomorrow!

At MOPS this year – we made little advent calendars – with boxes. I wanted to do more than just count down the days with candy – which Fitzy doesn’t really get much of anyway. My friend Ericka shared her #25daysofgiving list with me and I added some of our own!

I want to keep Christmas sweet and simple. I want it to be about giving – NOT getting. I want Fitzy to learn this at a very young age. I can’t wait till he is old enough to suggest his own acts of kindess! I can’t wait to hear what comes from his sweet little heart.

I’ll give you a rundown of what we did for #25daysofgiving –

1. CHRISTMAS CARDS TO SOLDIERS – one of my clients is a soldier. He just so happened to be gone this Christmas – so we sent him a little love – in a card!

2. FOOD TO LOCAL ANIMAL SHELTER – we dropped off a laundry basket and some treats for the animals!

3. DONATE ITEMS TO PREGNANCY CENTERS – this is the one I didn’t get to do. I contacted someone but still haven’t heard back from her. So I took the items I was going to donate to the GOODWILL instead.

4. ANGEL TREE – we picked a little girl from the angel tree at wal*mart and shopped for her!

5. DONATE CRAYONS AND COLORING BOOKS TO HOSPITAL – this was fun! Fitzy took the coloring books and crayons into the office and gave them to the secretaries!

6. DONATE ITEMS TO GOODWILL – I’ve been trying to purge our house and lives of all things we don’t need. It’s coming along. I took a few boxes down to the GOODWILL store in town!

7. DONATE ITEMS TO HOMELESS SHELTER – We have SO many blankets and pillows that have lost some of their oomph. I collected them and gave them to the homeless shelter in town.

8. HOT CHOCOLATE TO BELL RINGERS – this one fell on a not so chilly night – but the bell ringer was very appreciative!

9. CHRISTMAS CARDS TO STRANGERS WITH $ IN THEM – this was AWESOME! We put $10 in 5 different Christmas cards. One of my favorites. We gave the first card to a couple who tracked us down and told us they didn’t need it. I told them to pay it forward – it was in their hands now. The second was to an older man who let us cross the aisle in front of him. I think – we can’t remember – the third card was given to a younger girl with two little babies standing in line. The fourth to a woman and her little boy. The fifth to a college girl standing in line. She opened the card and screamed! Jared thought I put more than the $10 in! It was beautiful and humbling to do this for strangers!

10. HOT CHOCOLATE TO CROSSING GUARDS – unfortunately – crossing guards are out when Fitzy is napping – so this one is still on my TO DO list someday while I’m out running errands and can catch one!

11. COOKIES AND COFFEE TO POST OFFICE – I took some chocolate covered cherries to the USPS office to thank them for all they do every day. They were a little perplexed!

12. COOKIES AND COFFEE TO MAIL DELIVERY – we left a box of chocolate covered cherries and ribbon candy for our mail lady – we got a nice card the next day!

13. COOKIES TO GARBAGE MEN – we wrapped a box of chocolate covered cherries and ribbon candy in a bow with a Christmas card – hoping they would know it wasn’t garbage!

14. PAY FOR SOMEONES MEAL – we went to Papa V’s for dinner and three men held the door for us. I said to Jared – let’s pick them. I grabbed their waitress and gave her $40 telling her that we were going to pay for their meal and anything that was left was her tip. We ran into the owners of the restaurant (we go to church with them) and Fitzy ended up hanging out at their table quite a bit. We saw another friend there and chatted – keeping us at the restaurant while our guys were still at their table. The waitress came out and thanked them for coming and told them that their bill was taken care of. WHAT! But who? She leaned in and said – the table next to you. They turned around – shocked. We told them that it was #25daysofgiving for Christmas. They told us they were in town picking up one of their son’s from college – from North Carolina. It meant so much to them! When we left the restaurant – our bill had been taken care of too!

15. QUARTERS AT LAUNDROMAT – I left $10 in quarters in the machines at the laundromat in town – I got quite the array of looks!

16. QUARTERS AT GUMBALL MACHINES – we don’t have gumball machines at wal*mart anymore – so I left $10 in quarters at the vending machines with the little stuffed animals. When I came back out of wal*mart – Jared told me that an older man had taken all the quarters and played the machines. ALL OF THEM. I said – maybe THAT is what he needed today!

17. FOOD PANTRY – we donated some cupboard items to the food pantry in town!

18. COUPONS AT GAS PUMPS – we had some coupons for free things at SHEETZ – so we taped them to the gas pumps!

19. COOKIES FOR NEIGHBORS – Jared’s aunt and uncle are our down-the-road neighbors – so I left them a container of Christmas goodies!

20. GOODIES TO POLICE OFFICERS – I ended up dropping off a box of chocolate covered cherries at the State Police office.

21. VOLUNTEER AT NURSING HOME – my friend Missy brought her little guys along with me for this one! I had made some pictures for Fitzy to hand out – the residents really liked that! We walked around and let the little guys say hello and work their magic!

22. LEAVE A TIP THAT EQUALS THE BILL – our waitress that night was pretty cranky – but we left her a $30 tip anyway! Maybe she really needed it!

23. COOKIES TO LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENT – thankfully someone was there when I knocked on the door!

24. LEAVE QUARTERS AT CAR WASH – we decided to skip this one – the car wash didn’t seem to give-to-the-needy – so we left $10 in quarters at the laundromat again!

25. $ AT GAS PUMPS – I took sticky notes and attached them to $5 bills we taped to the gas pumps at SHEETZ. On them I wrote – if you need it – take it – if you don’t – leave it – bless – be blessed.

We are going to do something very similar to this every December – and July – #25daysofChristmasinJuly – wanna join?


Filed under: babes,baby barden,bardenisms,holiday,just because,kiddos,my family — admin at 1:02 pm on Friday, January 25, 2013

Fitzy turned TWENTY months on the 28th of December! CRAZY!

He loves to play with his little farm set from gramma and grandpa!

Fitzgerald is beautiful. Fun. Kind. Tenderhearted. Smart. Sweet. He has quite a vocabulary – expanding from last time to bubbles – beach – blue (he calls everything blue but can pick out blue objects) – eggs – water – hot – brrrr (and he puts his hands together at his chest and shakes) – he knows his animals and his body parts. He can understand and answer yeah or no to almost any question you ask him. He says pretty please – thanks – and gives hugs and kisses goodbye – and sometimes just because. He is wearing almost 3T everything and size 6 and 7 shoes. He is finally sleeping better – we took the front off his crib and moved it right next to our bed – and last night (I wrote this on January 2nd) he slept there from 9 to 7 – AMAZING and the first time EVER. EVER.

We love spending time with him and helping him learn and grow. In 4 short months he will be TWO. I cannot believe that this little miracle baby has grown so much in such a short time. We are blessed.


Filed under: babes,baby barden,bardenisms,holiday,just because,kiddos,my family,my town,scenery — admin at 12:53 pm on Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We got a GIANT snowstorm Christmas night and the next day! Thankfully we were snowed in all nice and warm with gramma and grandpa – even though they are only right next door!

Jared’s cousin Alyssa is in Florida and had a special request for a bulb in the snow!

I love how they turned out!

Fitzy was READY to go OUT – even though momma tried to get some pictures first!

He wasn’t too sure what to do with the snow – or how to move!

Thankfully gramma LOVES the snow!

So thankful for our little miracle!


Filed under: babes,baby barden,bardenisms,family,holiday,just because,kiddos,my family — admin at 1:06 pm on Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Since we celebrated Christmas together a little early – we spent the night at Jared’s parents Christmas Eve – and the next two nights! Fitzy LOVED being spoiled with love from his grandparents!

This little yard sale find was a GREAT Christmas present for Fitzy! He would love us ALL to climb in!


A little kitchen for Gramma’s house! 

He LOVES his BUZZ LIGHTYEAR sweatshirt!

OH MY WORD! That was last Christmas – so little and bald!

One year later with his monkey! He has gotten TOO BIG!

Nap time with gramma!

Cuddling with daddy!

Last year with our baby!

This year with our big boy!


Filed under: babes,baby barden,bardenisms,holiday,just because,kiddos,my family,newsworthy — admin at 1:00 pm on Thursday, January 17, 2013

We celebrated Christmas morning on Sunday the 23rd with our little family! Fitzy came downstairs with a big smile on his little face when he noticed his gifts!

My brother and his family got him the clothes in the car! We got him the little car cart – which is already too small for him – NUTS! We were hoping to use it this summer – but he is a giant child! I took some of the books he got at baby showers and put them in the little black bag and made him that stuffed rooster! The little animals and toy cars were from wal*mart on the dollar shelves! Every time we go to wal*mart I would get one for him to play with at the store then put it aside for Christmas. He isn’t overly interested in the animals yet so I put them away again for his birthday or next Christmas – same with the books. He got two stuffed Scentsy animals – an elephant and a lion to go with his monkey from last year! The cow blocks are a little set with other farm animals on each side! He loves to match things – so I thought this would be perfect! A frosty ornament and a little oven with baking utensils completed his Christmas!

Christmas – in terms of gifts – was simple and sweet. We did the #25daysofChristmas #25daysofgiving the whole month – which worked out awesome! We had so much fun blessing people all month long! I can’t wait till he is older and can give his own ideas on how to give!

Oh – I forgot the little box of dinosaur magnets! I order diapers from and I always need to spend $7 more for free shipping – so I stock up on little things he needs throughout the year or little gifts for his birthday or Christmas! There is a little farm set of magnets I plan on getting next time! He LOVES the dinosaurs! We go through them several times a day – matching them to the box and learning their names!

He LOVES that car!

I wanted a picture of him with his monkey to compare to last year – but he was being silly!

We went to church that night – all fancied up!

Christmas this year was beautiful and a little sad. We missed sharing it with Enoch – Joy – and little baby Lewis who would have been hanging out in my belly – but we were surrounded with so much love.


Filed under: babes,baby barden,bardenisms,holiday,just because,kiddos,my family — admin at 1:03 pm on Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My parents got for a little kitchen set for Fitzy – just because! He loves it!

I call him Remy – or little chef! He helps me make eggs in the morning – add spices to dinner and LOVES to make cookies!

I have two cameras that broke – a REBEL and a 40D. I got the REBEL fixed and use it around the house now – which is nice to just have a quick camera to grab! The 40D however would have cost A LOT more to fix – so I decided to make it a toy for Fitzy!

He LOVES it! He goes around the house pointing it at me and saying CHEESE! Where do kids learn these things? I never say CHEESE for a picture!


Filed under: babes,family,holiday,just because,portraits — admin at 12:38 pm on Monday, January 14, 2013

I met Lisa at our MOPS group! She has a little guy a few months younger than Fitzy!

OH MY GOODNESS! I love that shot in the chair! How cute is he?

LOVE LOVE LOVE those ones!

I love love LOVE those ones too!


*X* has a newborn picture on this piano! I couldn’t wait to get an updated shot to go right next to it!


I LOVE those last two shots! Holding momma’s hand and being held in her arms – there is nothing better than THIS!


Filed under: babes,baby barden,bardenisms,just because,my family,newsworthy — admin at 12:21 pm on Friday, January 11, 2013

I can’t describe it – I’ve always had an awesome view of myself.

HA. Totally turned you off already right?

Hear me out.

When I was little I was goofy and awkward – weren’t we all? But I mean really goofy. I had – and still have – a fabulously awful head of hair. It’s thick and curly and unruly. It was usually styled into a lovely feathered bob or a crazy awesome mullet. Trout was a lovely last name to carry around as a middle school girl. Awesome. I was always a little thicker than most girls – but not fat by any means.

I’m not sure why I didn’t think I was fat – when I was definitely bigger than most of my friends. When most of my very thin friends complained about being fat – when they were not even close. I guess I always knew that this was my body and I was going to be in it for a while – so I needed to love it for what it was.

And my Aunt Lori. From a very young age – she spoke love and encouragement into me. She told me I was beautiful and that I was worth it. She taught me to never let someone else determine my self worth. That Jesus held my heart.

I was the girl with all the guy friends – the tall goofy girl. With all the cute skinny friends. The girl that the guys called to say – hey – what does Sara think about me? Does Jamie think I’m cute? You are SUCH a good friend Danielle. Really? When was it going to be MY turn?

Aunt Lori would say to me – you can have a boyfriend any day of the week Danielle – you are worth it – BUT do you want to lower your standards? And while that advice crept out of my head at times – I usually lived my life by those words. Did I want to give up what I knew I was worth just to have a boyfriend? No way.

And while I was never the girl that got the guy that was way out of my league (in terms of coolness) – I was the girl that held my head high. I was the girl that was taller than all the other girls – and most guys – and managed to be awesome at it. I was a nerd. I may have been lame – but I was awesome at being lame. At least – I was in my own head.

One of my favorite teachers pulled me aside my senior year and told me what one of our classmates had said about me. He said – “you know – Danielle isn’t like the other girls. She doesn’t take crap from people and doesn’t let it get to her when people put her down. She stands up for what she believes in – and while I don’t share those beliefs – I respect her for her that. Cus I don’t know if I could do it.” That meant so much to me. So I WAS making a difference in taking a stand. I was being myself and standing out. Awesome. Now – that guy is one of the guys that gave me the most crap in high school – but I never let him get in my head.

Thankfully – Jesus was hanging out in there. I truly believe that my Aunt Lori was divinely chosen to be my Aunt. She was chosen to speak life into me and encourage me to be myself.

My sister and I used to call each other fatty – for one reason. We were not fat. And we were surrounded by girls that were not fat – thinking they were fat. Calling themselves fat. Obsessing about being skinny. It was totally foreign to me. You are BEAUTIFUL – why do you think you’re not?

I’m reading a book called – God Loves Ugly by Christa Black – it’s given me some insight as to why those girls didn’t think they were beautiful. It’s what prompted this post. I don’t know what it’s like to be an insecure girl. Until last year – I got a bad dose of it (which I am now cured of) and I totally didn’t like being in my own head. I couldn’t imagine living my WHOLE life that way.

I write this to tell you – YOU are beautiful. God made you with a specific purpose and plan in mind.

Having a positive self image does wonders. While I don’t think that I am exceptionally beautiful – I carry myself like I am. While I KNOW that I don’t have a gorgeous head of hair (like my ridiculous sister) – I do the best with what I have. While I am NOT the skinniest I could be at the moment – I dress to enhance what I have. My sister has lost over ONE HUNDRED pounds – and has inspired me. While I don’t need to lose a ton of weight – 25 to 30 pounds would be awesome. Then I would fit in my size 12’s – and that would be awesome. Not because they are 12’s. It has nothing to do with the number. Not because I would love to be 160 lbs. It has nothing to do with the number. I feel GREAT at 160 and I LOVE my size 12’s. What do I need to do – not eat like I’m never eating again. Stop drinking soda. Eat the right portions. Have an apple for a snack. Drink lots of water. Have willpower – when I get low – I call my sister.

I don’t write this to toot my own horn – to be conceited. It’s not my intent at all. I write to encourage you. Encourage you to LOVE YOU. I’m not saying I’m perfect. I have faults. LOTS. And I am always working on them – kind of – at least trying to – asking God to show me what I need to work on. Which again – is A LOT of stuff. I write this to tell you that how YOU feel about yourself makes all the difference in the world.

Be sure of yourself. Know that God delights in His creation. YOU ARE HIS CREATION. He delights in you. He has placed you in the lives of those around you for a reason – to be a light. SHINE THAT LIGHT.

There are LOTS of things I don’t like about myself. My crazy hair. The fact that I wear glasses. My giant feet. How I tower over everyone. My flat butt. My horrid skin. Now – you’re saying – those things aren’t true Danielle. But they are what I see is wrong with me – if I let myself get that far. But the truth is – I don’t. I don’t dwell on the things that I can’t change. I cannot change anything that I just mentioned. Not one. Why dwell on it. Instead of being sad about the things that I don’t like about myself – enhance the things I do – and then the things I don’t – don’t stick out so much.

Are you an Aunt Lori in someones life? Strive to be. My aunt wasn’t blessed with daughters – she has two awesome sons and a fantastic daughter-in-law (and two sweet grandsons) – but she poured into me like I was her own – which I was – in family and in Christ. Did you have an Aunt Lori in your life – thank her (or him) – for investing time and love into you. Pay it forward. Encourage and build up.

It makes all the difference in the world – I know – and people will notice your confidence and presence. Not your giant feet. Unless they are shoe shopping with you.


Filed under: babes,family,friends,holiday,just because,kiddos,portraits — admin at 12:57 pm on Thursday, January 10, 2013

I cannot believe that little *E* is ONE already!

He is one of the miracle babies we prayed for and I just adore his little face!

The best Christmas present EVER!

The day after our session – Melanie and her little family said goodbye to their puppy Oakley. I’m so happy we were able to get some pictures with her!


Santa BABY!

*E* – I know you are too little to remember her much – but Oakley LOVED you! I can’t wait to see you with your new puppy in a few months!

Sweetest boy!

My favorite shots of the day!

*E* – I just love you so much and am so happy you are here! HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET ONE!

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