Filed under: bardenisms,just because,newsworthy,weight loss — admin at 5:33 pm on Wednesday, March 27, 2013


It’s been 12 weeks and I’ve lost 24 pounds. Awesome!

I started at 190 and am now at 166 and holding steady.

I feel good. I am fitting in my size 12’s and my size 10 dresses. I’ve reached my goal – with 6 pounds to go!

I’m working on toning up and maintaining where I am right now – which might mean a standstill for a while – and I’m perfectly okay with that! Once nice weather hits and I walk more with Fitzy – I know it won’t a problem to shed those 6 pounds!

That’s my bridesmaid dress from 2006! SWEET! My wedding dress however – not happening for another 10 or 15 pounds.

And this lovely red dress – oh how I love it!

REMEMBER – you CAN do it! You WILL do it!


Filed under: babes,family,just because,kiddos,love,marry me,portraits,wedding — admin at 11:40 am on Monday, March 25, 2013

Taylor is one of my favorite people to photograph! I love being able to capture each step in her life – especially with Tom and little *S*.


Don’t worry – little *S* had his socks RIGHT back on after this shot!

I love when ideas in my head come out PERFECTLY!


This little guy gets his 6 month session next week – but I HAD to get a recreation of his newborn photo!

Thank you for asking me to capture this moment for you!




Filed under: baby barden,my family,newsworthy — admin at 6:07 pm on Sunday, March 24, 2013

Today is March 24th – your due date. Your birthday.

We miss you. Lots. Fitzy misses you. When he’s falling asleep at night he points at the ceiling and says – BOY. I asked him if the boy is his baby brother – he says YES! I have no doubt that he does see you. He talks about babies constantly.

I have no doubt he sees you and his baby sister and your big brother.

I imagine what today would be like. The anticipation. The pain. The relief. The joy. The love. Holding you in our arms and introducing you to all the people that already love you so. Watching Fitzy put his little hand at his mouth and say BA-BY! He would shower you in kisses – we all would. Would you look like Fitzy? I wouldn’t believe that you could be so tiny.

It’s not fair that the three of you are there and not here. But then again – from your point of view – you are in heaven. Literally. You have a big brother and sister to keep you company. You get to hang out with Jesus and angels all day – how much better could it be?

I just needed to jot you a little note and tell you we love you.

We miss you.

And happy birthday sweet son.




Filed under: babes,baby barden,bardenisms,just because,kiddos,my family,portraits — admin at 2:09 pm on Friday, March 22, 2013

I bought this cute little outfit for Fitzy when he was just a month old!

It’s a 3T set – and I can’t believe that he fits in it already – well – almost! I plan on using it for his 2 year pictures at the end of April! But I had to get some cute snow pictures!

Oh Fitzy – you hold my heart!

Fitzy – we love you SO MUCH!

*J* – 6 MONTHS

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,just because,kiddos,portraits — admin at 1:06 pm on Thursday, March 21, 2013

I took *J*’s newborn pictures in July – you know – when it was warm and lovely out!

Since his 6 months fell in the winter – we used the library at MU for his session – and it worked out GREAT!

Well – hello Mr. President!


Ashley – thanks so much for having me capture your little man! See you in April!



Filed under: just because,my town,scenery — admin at 11:48 am on Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,baby barden,bardenisms,expecting,just because,kiddos,love,my family,newsworthy — admin at 1:35 am on Monday, March 18, 2013

Four years. Four years ago today we lost our first baby – little Enoch. The darkest times of my life followed. I lost hope. I was angry with God. I questioned Him. I prayed. I cried. I asked. I hurt. He listened and healed. The process was slow – on my end.

He gave. He showered me with love and grace. He held me. Hurting and crying. Lost and desperate. I felt alone and forgotten. And He gave. It’s crazy.

I’m so thankful for that time. I’m thankful that I can be a shoulder for other women going through loss and struggling to have a baby. I wish I didn’t have a list. I wish I didn’t have 74 people listed – people who wanted. People who waited. People who are still wanting. And waiting. But the reality is – I do. They are there. And so I name them. I bold them and italicize them and write BABY after their names when their little ones come. I pray every day for them. And while I wish that they didn’t have to be on that list – I pray.

I wouldn’t change what happened. You’d think I would. But I wouldn’t even be aware of those 74 names is we hadn’t lost Enoch. I wouldn’t be aware of hurting hearts – praying for a baby to hold. To love. I’m blessed to pray for them. I’m blessed to be involved in their lives. I’m blessed to hold babies. Babies whose names have been always known to God. Prayers that have been whispered and cried and shouted and screamed and begged. Prayers that are now warm little babies. Beautiful babies. And because of this – I am blessed.

We wouldn’t have Fitzgerald if we had been given Enoch. We might have had another baby at the same exact time – but it wouldn’t be exactly Fitzgerald. And he is amazing. I cannot imagine my life without him in it. He has touched us in so many ways. And while I wouldn’t have known any different – I like to think I might have. I might know that he was out there. Meant to be ours but not with us. And I would miss him. Terribly.

On February 13th – it had been a year since our little Joy Christina left us for heaven. I didn’t write a blog. I remembered her and thanked God for the tiny time she was here. I was hurting then – a month ago. Badly – and while writing is therapeutic for me – I couldn’t sit down and talk about my goodbyes to her. It hurt too much. I wanted another baby so badly and to remember that she was taken too early – was too much to bear. So I didn’t. And I felt bad. Like she would be upset that I didn’t acknowledge her. But that’s silly. I know that she knows I love her.

And in a month – God has given me peace.

A week from today was our due date with our 4th baby – Lewis Samuel. And I sit here typing this – there are no tears streaming down my face. Not that crying would have been bad. But I’ve cried so much. I’ve missed so much. I’ve mourned so much.

And it’s time.

It’s time for joy. And for peace. And for rejoicing. And for that – I am glad.

Enoch – you are the baby that started it all. You were our first. And while I never saw you – not even on an ultrasound screen – I know your face. I love you dear boy.

Joy – you were a surprise. A joyous surprise. One that we never met. You would be 6 months old today. I imagine you with curls. And green eyes. I love you dear girl.

Lewis – I was convinced that you were a baby meant for my arms. We saw you on an ultrasound. Heard your tiny heartbeat. And still you left. In a week from today I would have been holding you in my arms – realizing that I’ve known your face my whole life. If we hadn’t lost Joy – we wouldn’t have you. And for that – I am thankful. I love you dear boy.

We miss you so much down here.

But I love that you are there.


Filed under: babes,baby barden,bardenisms,just because,kiddos,my family — admin at 12:39 pm on Saturday, March 16, 2013

At the end of January – Fitzy turned 21 months old – TWENTY ONE! (which is when I wrote this)

How on earth is this happening?

He can point out the colors – blue – black – brown – orange – pink – green. Sometimes purple and yellow! He can do puzzles almost by himself – we still have to help him fit the piece in – but he knows where they go! He can tell you YES and NO about what he wants or doesn’t. He LOVES his bottle. He LOVES Toy Story and Fraggle Rock. He goes around the house saying – I – E – O – T – U – A – P – he LOVES to read everything that has words. He loves to cook and help do dishes. He makes eggs with me in the morning and does laundry. He loves spending time with his grandparents. He does NOT love sleep.

OH MY WORD! I just love that little face!

We spent the night with my in-laws after I hit the gas hookup to our house. Yes. You read that right. Thankfully we weren’t blown up – but the fire department and the gas company came and our house wasn’t cleared until the next day.

Fitzy didn’t mind the time with gramma and grandpa – he could stay there forever.


I just adore him!

MY 375 POUND LIFE. NO MORE. (my sister samantha)

Filed under: bardenisms,just because,my family,newsworthy,samantha,weight loss — admin at 12:24 pm on Tuesday, March 12, 2013

As promised – my sister Samantha. And your questions.

How did you make the decision to lose? When was the moment you knew you were ready?

i was standing in line at Taco Bell with my husband, thinking how nothing looked good and i was just making another bad food choice. i weighed 375 lbs. i felt uncomfortable, huge and mad at myself. it was weird how it just hit me. i wasn’t working at the time and i said to my husband “once i get a job and we get a little more money i really want to look into diet programs, i’m so tired of being fat.” and he said “well, if this is something you really want then we will make it a priority and do it now.”

i’m lucky to have a husband who has always loved me for me no matter how fat i was. he never made me feel bad about myself. he’s always supported me and done his best to make me happy and make things happen. he’s always made me feel beautiful.

so anyway, he researched and called companies without me knowing. i wasn’t doing it because i was partly not wanting to give up the food that i love and comforts me and partly because i was thinking i shouldn’t waste money on an expensive diet program. he told me a little while later “i ordered nutrisystem for you, it should be here soon.” i was surprised and a little scared. but mainly thankful. he knew how bad i wanted this and he got the ball rolling for sure.

a few days later (if i remember correctly) my brother called me and asked if i could come to Louisiana to help them out while their precious baby Judah was born. i of course said “OF COURSE!” i flew down and had to squeeze myself into the airplane seat and couldn’t buckle the seatbelt. it’s super embarrassing. it was warm down there and i didn’t bring shorts because my legs were huge and ugly and i hated them. it was all i could do to keep up with my little niece and to get up off the floor after playing with her. that sweet little girl gave me a lot of reinforcement that i really needed to lose weight. i want to be a mom someday and i don’t want to be a mom who doesn’t have enough energy to play with and keep up with her kids. i was there for a week and i thought, man this week kicked my butt. i can’t imagine doing this every day!

so then a big motivator became losing weight for my future babes and for my nieces and nephews so i can be the fun aunt who wears them out! when i would visit my mom and dad’s house and little fitzy would point that sausage finger out towards the chickens and cows (his way of asking to take him out to see them) i would think oh man! it’s a long walk out there and he’s a heavy little guy! but i can’t say no to that face. so i would carry him out there and my back would be KILLING me by the time we got to the chickens. i would think to myself, this is not ok! i’m not that old yet! i have a lot of weight dragging me down and hurting my back and knees. where does it end!?!?!? do i wanna gain another 100 lbs and be completely immoble!?!?!?

so it started in a Taco Bell line and just snowballed into too many reasons to not do it! i was squeezing into a size 28 and it was getting harder and harder to find clothes. (i’m wearing a size 16 now)

How did you stay motivated while losing?

in the beginning it was pure stubbornness. i paid for this program and i didn’t want to waste money. (i have to insert something here. i thought that nutrisystem (or any diet program) was expensive. it’s not. it’s actually less or the same that i spent on food in the grocery store, drive thrus, going out to eat, a candy bar at the store, you know. and i’m investing in my health and future and happiness. so i’ll sacrifice other places if need be, although i haven’t really had to.)

i needed a plan to teach me how to change my eating habits. i felt like i really couldn’t do it on my own. well, i might have been able to but it would have taken a lot longer. nutrisystem has taught me a lot and it’s worth every penny i spent.

the first week i was CRANKY and probably mean at times (my poor husband). i was saying “why does food have to be my problem!?!?!? why can’t i just be normal!?!?!? xavier would say to me “would you rather be addicted to drugs or alcohol or shopping or anything else? everyone has their own problems and issues, don’t feel bad this this is yours. you can do it.”
i hate when he’s right! he was a big part of keeping me motivated. then it changed into seeing the scale move down. then starting to really feel better. then my clothes starting to get bigger. and thinking this isn’t so bad! i can do this! and not to mention by back and knee pain went away pretty quickly!a random stranger stopped me on my jog one day and told me she was proud of me. she used to be overweight too. so we had a nice chat and she told me to keep going! most recently, i just got back from visiting my brother and flew again. i fit into the seat with room to spare and could buckle the seatbelt and even had to tighten it quite a bit! and i’m much more active and able to keep up with my niece and nephews.
another big motivator is that i take a picture every monday to track my progress. when i feel unmotivated or defeated i look at my beginning pictures. YIKES! that shocks me back into reality! i think it’s important to be excited about the little things on the way to your goal.

What has been your BIGGEST motivator on your weight loss journey?

being a healthy, happy, active momma someday. i want to be a fun mom like mine was/is.

Have you ever hit a plateau and stopped losing for a while with out reason? If so – what did you do to push past that?

i have been lucky enough to not hit a plateau yet. i think it’s because i still have so much weight to lose. some tips though are eat high protein power fuels like chicken breast, salmon, tuna and such and stay away from the dairy proteins for a little while. some people don’t lose weight very well with lots of dairy. i’m one of the ones that it doesn’t effect. also, switch lunch with dinner. try some new foods that you don’t normally eat. i’m not a calorie counter but if you hit a plateau then you should keep track and make sure you’re within range. also, eating too little is just as bad as eating too much. i don’t get how some people think skipping meals or snacks or dessert is going to help them. it’s not. if you don’t fuel your body properly then it will hold onto every little morsel it gets.

Have you always had to struggle with weight? If not – when did it start?

i have not always had to struggle with weight. i was skinny until i was about 17ish i think. i started getting chubby and just kept getting bigger and bigger. i never thought about it or obsessed about it when i was skinny. i remember getting stressed out and turning to food.a “friend” was at my house for some youth group event and we were going to take a walk and it was chilly so she wanted to borrow pants and a sweatshirt. i gave her the smallest ones i had and she said “WOW THESE ARE HUGE ON ME!!! I LOOK SO FAT!!!” i didn’t say anything and just walked away feeling HORRIBLE about myself. she wouldn’t stop saying how fat she looked and how huge my clothes were on her the whole time. i remember feeling like crap and thinking nonstop about food. seems backwards huh? for the most part when you criticize someone about their weight, or any addiction, it just feeds it (literally in my case). i remember eating A LOT that night when everyone left. i also had another “friend” who made me feel bad about myself on quite a few occasions and literally laughed at me right in front of me. i used food to comfort myself quite a bit. if i could go back in time i would stand up for myself and kick those “friends” to the, don’t think i blame anyone for me being fat. at any point i could have stood up for myself, but i didn’t. i’m just saying be very mindful of what you say and how you say it. i’m angry with myself for not losing this weight sooner.

How has your view on food changed?

my view on food has changed drastically. i see it as fuel now (for the most part). i still have some rough days here and there where i just want a Pizza Hut dinner box TO MYSELF. but those days are getting further and further away from each other. sometimes i have a nutrisystem pizza to satisfy my craving, and sometimes i just fight through it. i feel like i need to do that to prove to my self i will live without it and i don’t NEED it.

Has it been hard?

it started out very hard and has gotten significantly easier every day.

Do you miss the food you used to eat?

i do miss certain foods sometimes. but then i remind myself that it will not get me to my goal and it’s JUST FOOD! it doesn’t have to control you. honestly, i still eat really yummy stuff that is healthy too. i don’t miss how food made me feel and how out of control it made me.

How do you plan on keeping it off?

i will never go back to the weight i was or even close to it. i will keep it off by making smart choices for the rest of my life. it certainly doesn’t end when i get to my goal weight. nutrisystem has taught me a lot about food. i’m super thankful for it! i will use what i learned with nutrisystem forever.

How do you feel? 

i feel awesome! i feel better every day.

Has it changed you completely? 

it has changed me a lot. changed how i feel about food, myself and my life. it’s given me a lot of confidence.

I really want to encourage and help someone I love to lose weight. How can I help them?

no one likes the food police. it’s annoying and rude for the most part. telling someone you shouldn’t eat that or that’s disgusting or do you know how many calories is in that!?!?!? you can’t and shouldn’t force or guilt someone into losing weight. it won’t work. and if it does it won’t last. i give advice or my opinion when i’m asked. it’s great to want to help people but there’s a line between helping and unwelcome pushing. guilting, pushing, shaming and a know it all attitude never helps. with anything. not just losing weight. be supportive and encouraging.

Samm with Fitzy in December of 2011.

Fitzy’s birthday – April 2012. (almost a month after ordering Nutrisystem)

THEN & NOW (now being a few months ago)



What is your goal weight? What will you do to celebrate?

my goal as of now is 175 lbs because that’s the high end of my healthy BMI. i might keep going once i reach 175. i’m going to stop when i feel good and i’m happy with how i look. i plan on enjoying life happier, skinnier and healthier. i’m going shopping for new clothes. and taking a trip to wyoming (where my heart will always be). but the trip might be before i reach my goal though.


i don’t want it to sound that it’s all been easy. it hasn’t. i still struggle sometimes. but i made the choice that i’m going to do this and it’s worth it.

i know we all do, but try not to judge someone. everyone has their own issues and struggles. be nice. uplift each other. people rarely change their lives for the better by being judged and ridiculed.

and to the people reading this who want to change, whether it might be losing weight or any other issue, don’t listen to those who put you down. 99% of the time they are the ones who have issues with themselves and try to make themselves feel better by putting others down. don’t surround yourself with people like that. really think about if they are your real friends, or family in a lot of cases. you might have to move on without them. i’ve certainly done it and i think it’s the best thing in a lot of cases.


Samm – thank you SO MUCH for opening up and sharing your story with us. You are SUCH an inspiration to me and so many others! We’ve shared your spreadsheet with 140 people. ONE HUNDRED & FORTY. OH MY WORD! I am CRAZY RIDICULOUSLY INSANELY PROUD OF YOU!

Samm is happy to encourage and answer any questions you might have. I text her quite a bit asking if this food or that food would be okay. If I’m eating out – I can have 3 pieces of pizza right (oh crap – just one?) Did you know that shamrock shakes have 530 calories in them? HELP ME! She’s been awesome. She can be there for you too. If you want to contact her – you can friend her on FACEBOOK or email her at satrout(at)!


Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,just because,my family,newsworthy,samantha,weight loss — admin at 1:38 pm on Monday, March 11, 2013

Thirty is my goal. But I’ve lost twenty so far. Pounds that is.

It all started when I said something to my sister about wanting to fit in my size 12’s. At that time she had lost 125 lbs in 10 months – so she wasn’t going to give in to my whining – not that I expected her to. She said – how much would you have to lose? I said – prolly 30 lbs. She said – so lose it. I couldn’t whine to her about the impossibility. I couldn’t complain about how hard it would be. Not to her. She’s turned her life around and has lost the equivalent to a Justin Bieber.

So we sat down and figured out a goal. Thirty pounds – by my birthday – May 26th. 20 weeks. 30 lbs. Totally and completely reachable. By week 9 I was down 18 lbs. I started at 190 on January 1st. My highest while I was pregnant with Fitzy was 238. I think I was at 215 when I left the hospital and then got down to 210ish by January of 2012 and 190 by January of 2013. Before I got pregnant I was about 185 to 190 depending. I don’t really know because I am not one of those people that weigh myself daily – weekly – or even monthly.

I’ve been in size 10 or 12 since I can remember. Like I’ve said – it’s not about a number. It’s about how I feel. I feel good around 160. I might hit 160 and try for 5 more pounds. Cus I really love my size 10’s.

Basically what I’ve done is not eat like a piggy pig – like I was doing. I’ll give you a typical day before and after Samm and I set the goals for me.


breakfast – an overflowing bowl of cereal with just as much milk OR 3 eggs and 2 pieces of toast with jelly and a big glass of milk.

snacking in the morning – goldfish here and there OR peanut butter chips and almonds or walnuts OR whatever else I would nibble on while getting Fitzy a snack.

lunch – the rest of leftovers from dinner OR a giant helping of pasta from the box OR a big sandwich and fruit.

snacking in the afternoon – the same as the morning.

dinner – big helpings of whatever we were having – cus it’s GOOD!

snacking at night – LOTS of popcorn OR ice cream OR cookies and milk.


breakfast – I split three eggs and an orange with Fitzy OR have a serving size of cereal with fruit.

snacking in the morning – yogurt OR a fruit OR a 100ish calorie something AND vegetables.

lunch – some of the left overs from dinner OR a sandwich with fruit OR some of the pasta Fitzy is sharing AND vegetables.

snacking in the afternoon – the same as the morning.

dinner – reasonable helpings of whatever we are having AND vegetables.

snacking at night – a calorie appropriate ice cream OR fruit OR a portioned amount of popcorn.

SERIOUSLY – mostly what I’ve done is just cut back on what I was eating. I’m aware of what I put in my mouth. I don’t deprive myself of things I would like – I just eat MUCH less of it! When we go out to eat – I order things on the low calorie end and eat only half of it. It makes a GREAT lunch the next day! I don’t eat tons of bread and appetizers before the meal. A piece of bread and usually no appetizer. And water and milk ONLY. I haven’t had soda. 

Samm had worked up a spreadsheet with the info she learned from Nutrisystem and shared it with me. I have it as a chart on my fridge – and I reference it often – but I don’t completely adhere to it. I just think about what I’m eating. At this point – I don’t have to put much thought into it anymore – it’s become natural.

When I reach my goal – I’ll bump up my calories enough to maintain. But I can’t go back to BEFORE. You have to understand that this is a LIFESTYLE change. You will have to change the way you think about food. The way you view food. Understand that it doesn’t have to control you. Samm has helped me to change those views. I would LOVE to talk about what those are – but she will cover that tomorrow!

I have to go back a little – you have to understand. I don’t pretend to know what it’s like to have an eating disorder – whether it’s not eating enough or eating too much. My weight gain over time is due to laziness – physically and in my eating choices. While I was a little too fluffy – I’ve never had to struggle with my weight. I don’t LOVE food. Cooking and eating are a chore for me. I would LOVE if I could eat a pill for my meals and get the nutrients I need. That would be fabulous. I can’t eat chocolate and as a woman I think that helps keep sweets under control – but I could be wrong. Please – don’t think – well Danielle – aren’t you lucky then. No. I’m not. While I don’t struggle with food – I struggle with anxiety and OCD tendencies. We all have something. And I write this to encourage you. YOU CAN and WILL do it!

Over the years Samm or Jared would say something about their weight and I would snap back with a – then do something about it! (I’m insanely sympathetic if you remember. Riiiight.) I didn’t understand what was SO hard about losing some weight. Just do it. So it was time to listen to myself since it was SOOOOO easy.

VERY VERY pregnant with Fitzy – by Aszur Photography

RIGHT after having Fitzy – by Bridget Reed Photography

Fitzy’s dedication – a month after his birth!

August of 2011 – oh my – that tiny boy!

January of 2012 – at the BRIDAL EXPO!

March of 2012 – a year ago.

April of 2012 – Fitzy’s birthday!

August of 2012 – by Megan Hampton Photography

January of 2013 – at the BRIDAL EXPO!

February of 2013!

March of 2013!

March of 2013 – 172 lbs.

These pictures are taken a year apart!

So was it easy? At first – not really. I wasn’t hungry but I did notice how many times I ate because I was bored or lazy. The hardest part was calorie counting – let me change that – being AWARE of calories. I would call Samm and say – DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY CALORIES ARE IN THIS? IN THAT? OH MY WORD! I had honestly NEVER noticed. I realized just how BIG my portions were. I noticed results really quickly – which made it easier to stick with. But I noticed I just felt better. I’m really surprised at how easy this has become once I made my mind up to do it! I could write SO much more – but like I said – Samm will be sharing her story tomorrow! I cannot wait for you to read it! I seriously couldn’t have done what I’m doing without her support and encouragement. SHE IS AMAZING!

Next Page »