Filed under: portraits,seniors — admin at 12:34 pm on Sunday, December 17, 2017

Liz LOVES photography – and could not WAIT for her senior session!

These pictures are certainly making me miss warmer days!




Liz – thank you SO MUCH for asking me to take your senior pictures! YOU made my job easy!

Whatever you decide to do – DO IT WELL!


Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,family,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,portraits — admin at 12:01 pm on Friday, December 15, 2017

I took Sadie’s senior pictures – a VERY long time ago – or so it seems!

I also took Forrest’s senior pictures – an almost equally long time ago!

And now – their baby boy!

Isn’t he a DOLL! I can’t believe it’s been a WHOLE year since I photographed him as a brand-new baby!


Sadie – thank you for asking me to photograph this little guy! You are a FABULOUS MOMMA!


Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,family,friends,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family,my town — admin at 12:32 pm on Thursday, December 14, 2017

Every year – for the past 4 years now – Missy and I get the boys together and create a glass pumpkin!

I’m not sure we’re really prepared for 18 years of glass pumpkins – but we WILL do it – somehow!




The three best friends that ANYONE could have!

Because getting pictures of this one with his momma is a hard thing to do – I snapped just a few!

EVERYONE should have a Missy to do life with!


Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,family,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,portraits — admin at 12:11 pm on Wednesday, December 13, 2017

I am SO HONORED to be YOUR photographer for all the things. For all the years!

I didn’t photograph Heather’s wedding – but I have been photographing them since their little-now-big *S* was nestled in her tummy!

This sweet girl – *J* – her eyes just sparkle!

Those tiny baby moments that are all too easy to forget! Those newborn days and nights are long and hard but fly by SO VERY QUICKLY!

Now this little sister is a BIG sister!

Focus is overrated! Sometimes – the blurry and grainy ones are my FAVORITE!

LOOK AT THAT LITTLE GUITAR! And those curls! And that smile!

Lifestyle sessions – my absolute FAVORITE sessions – look at all the little details – the seemingly unimportant moments.

Moments that you miss when you watch your children. That’s what I’m here for – to capture EVERY LITTLE THING!



Heather & Melvin – thank you SO VERY MUCH!

Your sessions are always some of my favorite ones!

You just – do what you do – and let me me follow you around with a camera – it’s the ABSOLUTE BEST!



Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,family,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,parties — admin at 12:08 pm on Tuesday, December 12, 2017

I’ve been taking Autumn’s pictures for … honestly – I’ve lost count how many years!

I always look forward to seeing her family every year – and THIS year – I would be seeing her TWICE!

I CANNOT stop laughing at that picture! PURE JOY!



Autumn – thank you for asking me to capture your beautiful moments!

Those boys – they are certainly special!


Filed under: love,marry me,wedding — admin at 11:25 am on Monday, December 11, 2017

I’ve heard LOTS and LOTS of speeches over the years – but this might have been the BEST ONE EVER!

Beautiful and inspiring. I told their mother that I hoped my two boys had the bond that these brothers have – because it’s AMAZING!


That shot on the right – while I was editing – I FELL IN LOVE WITH IT!

The last dance with your son – walking away and leaving him in the hands of another. It seemed appropriate that it was out-of-focus. MY NEW FAVORITE!



I couldn’t decide – typically a photo just SCREAMS black & white – or I mentally shoot it in black & white – but THIS one – I absolutely LOVED both!

The LAST shots of the night – they ALWAYS hold a special place in my heart!

Melissa & Spencer – THANK YOU SO MUCH for asking me to spend the day with you!

And Melissa – thank YOU for asking me to capture the monumental moments of your life!


Filed under: love,marry me,wedding — admin at 11:37 am on Sunday, December 10, 2017

GORGEOUS! People often tell me – I’m not photogenic. And I hardly EVER believe them!

HAPPY couples ARE ALWAYS photogenic!



This might be my FAVORITE spot at D’Vine!

Not photogenic? WHAT!!


This was a last-minute decision – to go IN the barn – but I’m SO GLAD WE DID!


I’ve done this shot – YEARS AGO – STILL a favorite!



Filed under: love,marry me,wedding — admin at 1:03 pm on Saturday, December 9, 2017

I met Melissa YEARS ago! She was one of the first faces of barden photography!!

I took her senior pictures and then her engagement and THEN her wedding!

It was a GORGEOUS September day! I LOVE getting ready shots – they might be some of my favorite ones to take!




Most of the time – you can’t plan the perfect picture – you just happen to see it.

Those mother-of-the-groom moments – make me cry EVERY SINGLE TIME!

Stay tuned for their portraits!




Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,family,farmlife,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family — admin at 11:11 am on Friday, December 8, 2017

It was a busy BUSY fall! I have about 53 sessions waiting to be blogged – and since sessions are slowing down – I JUST started preparing them!

We spent A LOT of time with my parents this fall – at the farm!

Enoch ADORES my dad and wakes up at 5 AM to sneak downstairs and cuddle with him! And ask to go feed the cows. And ask about going on a bear hunt.

And one September day – they went on a bear hunt – we just waited until a more reasonable hour!


They didn’t find a bear – but we did see a deer and helped Pa get his hunting paths ready!

As I type this – it’s cold and snowy – and I am MISSING THOSE COLORS and the warm – longer days!


Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,baby barden,bardenisms,family,just because,my family — admin at 1:50 am on Thursday, December 7, 2017

Did you know that? Would you expect that?

With me – what you see is what you get – ALMOST always. Very nearly always.

Last week – we went next-door (my in-laws) for the evening. I made dinner and took it over.

Back up a second – it’s been a VERY long time since I blogged – and an even longer time since I WROTE a blog. A post without pictures – even though I have a list of ideas in my notebook. BUT – winter is a slow season for photography – so I have the time.

In September – my father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer. He’s had Leukemia since 2004 – but this was different. And he’s getting treatment and fluids and rest and they aren’t globe-trotting like they usually do in the fall – so we are taking December to be next door as much as possible.

SO – Friday night – I took dinner over and brought Fitzy’s homework – his spelling words – so that Bacca could help him study. And when I told Fitzy it was time to study – he told me no. When I told him again – he said NO. And when I told him ONE MORE TIME – the crying and screaming and fit-throwing ensued.

And I was NOT having it – so I tried to “reason” with him – which of course – made things worse. So I took him downstairs.

And I may have yelled at him. And I may have really never yelled at him in front of my in-laws.

Jared gets really really uncomfortable when the kids misbehave at their house. It’s that fear of his – of getting in trouble and not pleasing all the peoples.

Now – we all know that each child is different – right? And according to my mother-in-law – Jared didn’t really ever act up or throw a fit or misbehave like our kids do. However – we also know that comparison is the thief of joy. And comparing kids to each other or to their mom or dad or cousin or uncle – doesn’t do anyone any good. ESPECIALLY the kiddo that we are trying to raise as a confident member of society. So – even if Jared didn’t act this way – our kids do – and they’re not going to magically stop acting up because their dad didn’t. They’re also not going to stop acting up because I told them to. Unless there’s a magical serum out there that I’m missing – I don’t know how to make my kids listen to me all the time – and honestly – even just some of the time.

And here’s the thing – we’re not raising “yes men” – we’re raising independent thinkers – strong men of God – boys who go against the grain of society. SO – we shouldn’t be surprised when they question the things we ask them to do. Unfortunately – kids can’t trust all the people in authority – and I don’t want my kids to do all the things simply because all the people told them to. HOWEVER – I DO want you to have your grandfather read your spelling words when I tell you to.

So – Jared came downstairs to deal with Fitzy because I was clearly getting nowhere and slightly out of control. I’m still trying to figure out what works with this one. And the little one. SO – both of them. And since that night – I’ve been a little more in-tune to their hearts – which is a good thing.

I came back upstairs and my MIL (you remember that I love her and respect her dearly) said something like this to me – you can’t do that. You can’t yell at him like that – I … I just know that you can’t do that. And I think I said – well – I know that you mention spanking and that isn’t an option and doesn’t do anything but escalate the situation for both of us – so … I don’t know. I’m failing at this thing with both of them right now. I don’t know. I just don’t know.

And I went in the dining room to put dinner out – and I turned around and she was standing right there and said – I’m sorry – I guess I shouldn’t have said anything. It’s not my place I guess and I should have just … I don’t know. (Lots of that I don’t know going on all around if you haven’t figured that out) And she cried. And I hugged her and I cried. And I said – look. I know that you’re coming from a place of love and concern and you’re not criticizing me. I know that I’m not supposed to yell. Almost every day I wake up and say – today I am NOT going to yell. I can do this. I really can. And then – I fail. I know that you love me and just care and … I don’t know. So she prayed for me and I prayed for her. About all the things. About how it’s hard right now. Life is just really hard right now.

And Fitzy came upstairs and we sat on the stairs and cried. And I asked him to forgive me for losing my temper and for yelling at him and for being mean. And he forgave me and hugged me and kissed me. And he asked if I would forgive him for yelling and screaming and telling me no and being mean. And I forgave him. And he did his spelling homework with Bacca and we ate food and we laughed and we loved.

And I share this with you – because this is what family CAN be.

And can I tell you – I actually feel … better. Better knowing THAT real and raw moment is out there. And better knowing that my MIL cares enough about me and my babies to say something. As uncomfortable and painful as that might have been. I haven’t been a MIL yet – so I can’t say – but I’m sure it was uncomfortable and painful. BUT – she said it anyway. She took the risk – BECAUSE OF LOVE.

And while I write this – it’s Wednesday night – AND I HAVE NOT YELLED AT MY KIDS SINCE THAT NIGHT. Now – I’ve been firm and a little stern – but I haven’t yelled.

And I’m exhausted.

To back-up again …

A few months ago my sister sent me an article – something about – when my anxiety comes out as rage – or having a rage problem – something. So I texted her back – do you think YOU have a rage issue? And she said – DO YOU think I have a rage issue? Well – no – I don’t. So I got it – point taken. That’s for me. But maybe RAGE is too harsh a word? I was slightly … injured. Not offended – because can a truth offend you? I suppose maybe it can – but I knew there was truth to that article. OUCH. But again – RAGE? Rage is HARSH. So – I was telling my friend Sierra about it – and now – when the kids are being crazy and I might be losing my patience a little – I’ll look at her and say I DON’T HAVE A RAGE ISSUE! DO I? And it helps me to remember that I really do and to bring it down a bit. And I admitted to her – as hard as it was – that my go-to disciplinary tactic is intimidation. That’s painful to admit. But – there it is. And I’m willing to bet that many of you use intimidation as your go-to tactic – or perhaps I’m wrong. I STILL think RAGE is a little harsh – but … there it is.

I once said something about our childhood being fun – and my sister and brother may have said something like – if you think fun is being bossed around by your older sister – then yeah – YOU had fun. I am a recovering perfectionist – almost totally recovered actually. The kids decorated the tree this year and I didn’t move a single thing. Fitzy and Enoch both pick out their own clothes when they want to. I like being in control – I LOVE being in control. I work on this though. I’m always working on this.

So – back to being exhausted.

I run on fast-forward most times. Taking time to “rest” is hard for me. Always moving. Always thinking. I brought a notebook to a friend’s house last week while we watched a show together – not to take notes – but to work on my to-do list – because just sitting down and watching TV – isn’t in my wheelhouse – always multi-tasking. This is NOT the greatest when it comes to parenting. While I am still trying to figure out exactly how to parent these sweet miraculous boys – I do know a few things.

Fitzy does best with time. Time to calm down and think. He says things in anger that he doesn’t mean or even understand most times. BUT – I have my OWN timeline that I want him to adhere to. And when I push that on him – he pushes back and he’s stubborn and I’m stubborn and when I look at myself after those moments – I’m trying to “win” a fight with my small child. Not being a loving and responsible parent – but just focusing on MY feelings of control and intimidation. But- I really don’t WANT my kids to be afraid of me – not even in the least bit. I want to be a safe place for them to run to – ALWAYS. And intimidation certainly does not breed safety.

Enoch does best with slowing down and getting on his level. Instead of saying – do you need to have that toy taken away? do you need to sit by yourself for a little bit? I have been saying – do you need a hug? The first few days he looked at me like I was crazy – and it broke my heart. Because that wasn’t the tactic I normally took. But he said yes. And we hugged and talked and he was able to use his words to tell me what was wrong. A few days ago he looked at me – scooted closer and said – you are a good momma mommy. And I cried. And he asked if it was a happy cry or a sad cry. And today he told me he was proud of me for being a good momma. He really really needs words of encouragement – Fitzy does too – along with Jared – and I’m working on that more – for all of them. It’s always been easier for me to praise the kids – they are kids – they need it. But Jared does too – and that took me a while to get – and sometimes I still miss the mark.

This evening was the first time I raised my voice pretty loud – ENOCH! To get his attention – to stop doing the thing that I have already asked him to do three times. And it hit me – I have to get up and go to him – not yell AT him from another room. And I remembered why I feel so exhausted tonight. It’s been nearly a week of intentional parenting – and it’s … selfless. (And I’m pretty selfish – gross) It’s taking time to pour into their little hearts and souls and lives – it makes me sad that it’s so hard for me. Putting my agenda aside – and listening to their needs and wants and not my own.

We are raising little boys to be mighty oaks for Jesus. And while I know that starts with us – sometimes I don’t really take the severity of that call to heart.

I’ve spent nearly a week really contemplating and purposefully parenting – and it started with my MIL purposefully parenting – me.

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