*T* FAMILY – PART ONE

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,expecting,family,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,portraits — admin at 11:05 am on Friday, August 31, 2018

Missy & Cody have been getting family pictures EVERY year for the last several years! It’s one of the things that started our friendship!

I couldn’t wait to do their pictures time time! WITH A BABY ON BOARD!!

I was trying to tell him that his sister would be named Danielle – he was NOT having it!

Nearly every time I see him – he says – BECKY! I LOVE YOU!

Remember my name is NOT Becky! HA! DANIELLE!

MY FAVORITE SHOT!! That sweet baby girl – being born into such BEAUTIFUL GRACE!!

She’s only halfway done cooking – so we’ll do BIG BABY BELLY maternity photos later this fall!

MISSY – do you work out?!

SWOON!! I LOVE THOSE SHOTS!!

I think Missy is a vampire and doesn’t really age! NO WAY she has an 18 year old!

STAY TUNED for the rest!!

*M* FAMILY – PART TWO

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,family,farmlife,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,portraits — admin at 10:53 am on Thursday, August 30, 2018

AREN’T THEY ADORABLE!!

EVERYONE wants to hold the baby!

I can’t believe this peanut is ONE already!!

THANK YOU SO MUCH for asking me into your lives year after year! It’s such an honor to hold your memories in my hands!

*M* FAMILY – PART ONE

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,family,farmlife,just because,kiddos,portraits — admin at 10:52 am on Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Have I mentioned that I LOVE coming back to families year after year?

BECAUSE I DO!

And I LOVE when the kids are already warmed up to me!

The baby and the oldest – the bookends.

SO SWEET!

AREN’T THEY A GORGEOUS FAMILY!!

DAD & HIS GIRLS!!

Those boys – they have to stick together!!

I LOVE THOSE SHOTS! BLURRY & ALL – focus isn’t everything!!

Stay tuned for the rest of their session! I’m working on taking LESS pictures and having a few less favorites to show you – but it’s not working out too well!

A NEW START

Filed under: family,friends,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,love,my family,my town,newsworthy,word of God — admin at 11:18 am on Tuesday, August 28, 2018

If you read THE baby announcement – you know a little bit of Missy & Cody’s journey.

Cody recently encountered Jesus and it’s been AMAZING to watch his transformation!

He made the beautiful decision to be baptized!

So – I’ve known Sierra for a while now – since she and I were pregnant with Asa & Enoch – but only in the terms of yeah – I know WHO she is.

But – we’ve grown closer over the years. Her husband and Cody have gotten pretty close – starting with their shared love of ALL things car-related!

Missy & Sierra have gotten close while their husbands were growing their friendship.

Jared & Cody & Jose all get along really well. Sierra & Missy & I all get along really well. AND our kids LOVE hanging out with each other. WIN WIN WIN!!

Jose and our pastor Mark were in the water with Cody!

Everything was going smoothly – Cody got a little choked up giving his testimony – but nothing too weepy for the crowd – until …

Jose started to pray – then Cody was crying – I was crying – Missy was crying – and I’m guessing a few other people were crying!

Cody didn’t really care whether Sierra wanted a wet hug or not!

The ONLY blue-eyed kiddo IN THE BUNCH!

That guy – so much going on in that head of his. And Asa JUST turned FIVE! Enoch will be FIVE in November!

The ONLY GIRL in the bunch! FOR NOW!

CODY – I am so thankful to walk this journey with you and your family! I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW MUCH WE LOVE YOU!!

STROHECKER VISION CARE

Filed under: just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my town,promotional photography — admin at 2:55 pm on Monday, August 27, 2018

Missy works for Strohecker Vision Care AND we go to church with Bob Strohecker AND swim at his pool ALL SUMMER LONG!

Friday – August 17th – they held a KID’S DAY! AND I brought my camera!!

Dr. Strohecker was feeling brave! He took all THREE of those boys to the bank!

Strohecker Vision Care – for ALL your vision care needs!!

DOOR PRIZES!! FACE PAINTING!! FREE SAFETY GLASSES!! POPCORN!! BURGERS & FRIES!!

Remember that blog post about giving the kid a lollipop? Do you see the TWO lollipops in Enoch’s mouth!!

Fitzy didn’t WANT to bring a stuffed animal in for a vision check – that’s just silly! BUT – he had a TON of fun after finding a stuffed animal at the clinic!

FREE vision screenings for ALL your favorite stuffed animals! Even James – the random bear hanging around the clinic!

I LOVE THAT SHOT!!

Enoch was VERY concerned about Mr. Grinch’s eyes – but Bob was more concerned about his HEART! It’s too small!

I LOVE THAT FACE!!

Mr. Grinch had his pupils dilated – so he needed special glasses for a little while!

THAT BEAUTIFUL CHILD!!

THANK YOU STROHECKER VISION CARE for the AWESOME afternoon!

ENOCH GUY

Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,family,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family,word of God — admin at 12:55 pm on Sunday, August 26, 2018

This guy. He is GO GO GO – but I think I’ve mentioned that.

He loves fiercely. He also fights fiercely.

He was having a rough time at Fitzy’s business fair.

Really – when it comes down to it – he wants what he wants when he wants it. And when he doesn’t get it – watch out.

Yelling. Kicking. Baby talking. I hate you. You’re the meanest mom. You look stupid. Your hair is stupid. Blah blah blah. I’m never going to wal*mart again. I’m never eating food again.

I think you get the idea!

HARD. It’s been SO VERY HARD. I have yelled – which is something I try so hard not to do. But let’s be honest – when you’re getting screamed at – your initial response is to scream back – at least mine is.

Intimidation is my go-to tactic – being super real and honest here. UGH.

I’ve cried. And cried. I’ve hugged. I’ve kissed. I’ve made him sit. I’ve made him stay – while he kicks and screams and calls me names. I’ve spanked – which i HATE.

And when I make a threat. I do it. I’ve taken things away. I’ve encouraged. I’ve cried. I’ve prayed. I’ve asked him what’s going on.

He tells me that I don’t listen to him. I don’t understand him. I don’t even know him.

And five minutes later. He comes up to me and apologizes for being a jerk. For being mean. For being rude. He tells me he loves me. He asks for snuggles.

At the business fair – he wanted a brownie. No. They are not for you. I brought a different snack for you. Cue the throwing himself – in front of Fitzy’s table – while he’s trying to make a sale.

Cue me picking him while he kicks me. Screams at me. Tells me he hates me. I cry. I speak calmly and tell him why he cannot act like that.

You are allowed to be angry. You are allowed to be sad. You are allowed to be mad. You are even allowed to not like me right now. FEEL THE FEELINGS.

BUT YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED to hit me. To kick me. To call me names. To hit your brother. To throw yourself. We have to figure out a way for you to get your anger out – without hurting people and without hurting yourself.

And I’ve heard it. He just needs a good spanking. Spanks might work for some kids. This one hits back. And wonders why he’s getting hit for hitting someone. That’s not right. And how many times do you spank. How hard do you get? It’s not something I can do. Because while his anger boils over – so does mine. And I can’t keep hitting him more and harder.

Right now – as I’m writing this – he’s breaking down.

The business fair was Thursday – August 16th.

Today it’s August 21st – Tuesday. This REALLY angry behavior started after we got back from the ark – around the 14th.

Our conversation at the moment -

E – so mom – you’re telling me that I can’t get any cards at wal*mart but Fitzy can.

Mom – Enoch – what did I already tell you? What did we already talk about. I told you that if you continue to be mean and rude and hit your brother – you will not get anything at the store.

E – NO NO NO NO!! But I was nice after you told me to be.

Mom – yes – after I told you that you wouldn’t get anything because you were mean to me. You told me that you wanted me out of your life. That means you want me to walk out this door and never come back.

E – You’re the worst mom I’ve ever seen.

Mom – Enoch – I love you.

E – screams. cries. says all the mean things. growls. grunts. (while cuddling with me even though he doesn’t want me in his life and thinks i’m the worst and meanest mom.)

SO – Jared’s mom was at the business fair. I’m not a grandparent – obviously – but I’m told – and have witnessed that it’s different with your grandkids. Enoch needed to sit in the yard by himself while he screamed and kicked and yelled and grunted because I couldn’t hold him down anymore and won’t. But ask a grandparent to sit by and let him be alone. I don’t know many that can do it. I know that my parents have a very hard time too.

The whole thing SUCKS. It’s so VERY VERY HARD. However – kids need to figure it out and learn – it’s not all about you. You cannot continue to act like this. But I cannot hold you down every moment. And we cannot stay in our house all the time. So the judgements come. The stares happen. The tantrums happen. And we all try to navigate the best we can. Failing and sometimes feeling like maybe you will have a tantrum free hour ahead of you – but never really feeling like you’re winning.

And I know what you might think while you’re waiting in line behind me. Just buy the kid the dang lollipop and he will stop freaking out. Just let him get the gum and he will stop screaming. JUST GIVE HIM WHAT HE WANTS. Just give him a brownie. Just let him stand where he wants.

Yes. That will stop him crying. For the moment. But the kids are not in charge. They don’t get to set the stage. Letting him have all the things – eat all the foods – watch all the videos – drink all the soda. That’s not helping him. It’s hurting him. And I know that some people would argue the opposite – just let them have the treat. It won’t hurt.

You don’t have to go home with them.

CHILDREN – PEOPLE – need boundaries. Limits. ALSO – SAY WHAT YOU MEAN AND MEAN WHAT YOU SAY.

If you threaten a child with a paddle – you BEST use that paddle the next moment they do what you told them not to. If you don’t – then your word means nothing.

If you tell your child that they can’t have anything else to eat until lunch if they choose to not finish their breakfast – you better not let them have a lollipop because you went to the bank. And if you happen to run into someone or go somewhere and they offer your child something to eat and your child says – yes but mom says no. And you explain why – THE NEXT TIME THE KID ASKS FOR SOMETHING TO EAT – you don’t say – oh honey I would but you have to ask your mom. You say – no. You don’t say – I would let you but your mom says no. SERIOUSLY!? Thanks for the support.

So – let me get back to the initial post – it’s a hard season (only a week or so but it feels like months) and I might be a little passionate and EMOTIONAL about this whole thing.

Jared’s mom took Enoch home with her. As much as he needed to stay and figure out the boundaries and expectations – and when your kid is hard – it’s not realistic to just send them away and make it all easier. BUT – I guess if you want to take him and it can be a little easier to breathe and focus on the fair – sure. He’s having a hard time – I’m having a hard time. IT’S ALL SO VERY HARD.

She kept him overnight and I got him in the morning. Within 25 minutes – we were both sobbing. He was reminding me that I was horrible because I wouldn’t let him watch what HE wanted. Eat what HE wanted. Do all the things HE wanted when HE wanted.

And then he fell asleep. THIS CHILD THAT DOES NOT NAP. NEVER SLEEPS IN. GETS UP TOO MANY TIMES TO COUNT IN THE NIGHT.

I think – we hope – that he’s growing. Changing. Shifting. Please oh please – let that explain this challenging time.

And I remind him (and me) that God SPOKE your existence before we even thought about you. He said you would come. You would be a boy. We would name you Enoch. It means dedicated. YOU ARE HERE FOR A VERY SPECIFIC REASON. YOU HAVE A PURPOSE. YOU WERE CHOSEN TO BE OUR SON. I WAS CHOSEN TO BE YOUR MOM. (even though sometimes I’m sure God must have gotten this all wrong.) I remind him. I remind myself.

THAT FACE – how can so much little sweetness be so mean and irrational?! UGH – as much as this whole thing is so hurtful and frustrating and humiliating – for me – there’s a bigger part of me that is hurting for what’s going on inside that sweet baby boy!

And this – this one might be hard to read – please trust me that it’s hard to TYPE and put out there for the WORLD to see. I’ve said this to my mom. My MIL. My dearest friends. The women at MOPS. Parents – who might get it.

HOW CAN YOU NOT LIKE SOMEONE THAT YOU LOVE WITH YOUR ENTIRE BEING?

When you’re hoping to get pregnant – hoping to have a baby – hoping to be a parent – these are NOT the parts you dream about. Or even think about.

BUT REMEMBER – that deep and lovely dark – we’d never see the stars without it. Life is mostly about what happens when the hard things come. Who do you reach out to – who reaches back. How hard do you fight for your love and your family and those little souls God entrusted you with?

AND THIS IS REALLY HARD. And I know – I know. This too shall pass – I KNOW. But right now – it’s not passing – it’s digging in and staying. And while I know that we will make it and be more beautiful because of the pressing and the grinding and the shaping and the crying – I also don’t know that we will all make it through. Make it through to send this strong boy on his own in the world with the qualities that are ever so frustrating at this moment – but will be so useful when he’s out making is own way and questioning all the things just because someone said BECAUSE THIS IS THE WAY IT IS.

Make it through to stand at the doorway and look at Jared and say – I’m not ready. I need more time. It went too fast. I’ll do it all again. Rewind.

Because right now – these days are so very long. And so very hard.

I wrote this post last week – today it’s the 26th and that picture was taken yesterday afternoon.

This guy has slowly been getting “better” – he held my face and told me that he was sorry that he was so mean to me. So sorry that we was such a jerk. He told me that I was the best mom in his whole world. We danced. We raced. We hugged. I told him that he had TWO more jumps on the bounce house. He told me – NO. I told him that he had one more jump left – he told me NO. BUT – he did come out – he didn’t hit me. He didn’t tell me that he hated me. He didn’t throw himself on the ground.

We reached a really really low point last week – and it’s been getting better. And better. And better. I ordered a book about explosive children. And we’re waiting to see what preschool does – when we won’t be with each other ALL THE TIME. And if we need to look further and get him and us some professional help – we’ll do just that!

These moments are not what I envisioned when I dreamt of motherhood. I’m a great mom – even when I’m not. The things he told me are not true. I’m not the worst. God didn’t make a mistake in giving Enoch to us.

If you’re having an especially hard time in motherhood right now – YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Find your tribe. Find the people you can be raw and real with.

And if you need somewhere to reach out – email me. I know it helps when you really realize that you’re not the ONLY one dealing with the hard things.

AND REMEMBER – you are always always ENOUGH – ALWAYS! With Jesus – you are ALWAYS enough – especially when you’re certain that you’re NOT enough!

FITZY’S SWEETZ

Filed under: bardenisms,chef fitzgerald,family,FITZY'S SWEETZ,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family,my town,newsworthy — admin at 11:41 am on Friday, August 24, 2018

Fitzy has been working on a business plan throughout the summer!

He decided to name his company – FITZY’S SWEETZ!

I made him some business cards!

He is specializing in dairy-free brownies & desserts!

A fellow MOPS mom – Rachel – started a Young Entrepreneur Group in Wellsboro this summer and Fitzy was so excited to join!

We waited until the WEEK of the fair to make brownies! You gotta have FRESH brownies for the fair!

MINT & REGULAR! He priced the mint a little higher than the regular since we used essential oil for the mint brownies!

STAR WARS BROWNIES!!

I don’t eat chocolate – but let me tell you – they SMELL SO AMAZING!!

He didn’t count how many he started with – but it was a FULL table!

He was SUPER EXCITED ABOUT HIS FIRST SALE!

This guy – it was hard for him to understand that he couldn’t do ALL the things that he wanted ALL the times that he wanted to do them.

It was a good thing his bike was in the car!

CARICATURES!!

I ABSOLUTELY ADORE THAT RENDITION OF HIM!

Beaded jewelry – slime – cookies – brownies – rock pets – charms – seashell jewelry – old bottles – painted tattoos – caricatures – SO MANY AWESOME little businesses!

AND the kids got to be a part of the Wellsboro HOMEPAGE broadcast!

RACHEL – thank you SO MUCH for putting on this fair! We cannot WAIT to come again next year!

CREATION MUSEUM

Filed under: bardenisms,family,friends,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family — admin at 10:56 am on Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Creation Museum is about 45 minutes north of the ARK – so when you go to one – you might as well go to the other!

The Creation Museum was even harder at keeping Enoch’s attention! It was a little bit of a rough day!

They advertised an encounter with one of the animals from the museum!

We looked EVERYWHERE for this place – and then it was just a couple of geckos – that you couldn’t touch. Just watch. The boys were NOT enthused!

IS THAT RICE? ON A ROCK?

BABY DINOSAURS!!

We were surprised by how pro-dinosaur the ARK ENCOUNTER & the CREATION MUSEUM was!

Which made me QUITE HAPPY!

The dark side of Noah’s ARK – the people left behind. Ugh. Another part of the story you don’t really think about!

And when the ARK came to a stop. Can you imagine the thoughts when they first stepped out? It’s just US. Just 8 people. And a bunch of animals! (Also – did the animals STILL talk at that point?)

That guy – he fell asleep – he was DONE! So was Enoch!

FRIENDCATIONS ARE THE BEST!!

Look at me boys! Hey! Guys! BOYS! LOOK AT ME!!

I LOVE THOSE SHOTS! Those Barden brothers!

THE RAIN! IT CAME DOWN IN SHEETS!

But – I’m not a regular mom – I’m a cool mom!

We drove for a few hours and then stopped for dinner – then drove a little but more – and stopped for the night!

Enoch wanted to read his devotionals – just like you do MOM!

I didn’t have the heart to tell him that his book was upside-down!

That guy – he’s been putting us through the paces this past week and a half – but I’ll write more about that in an upcoming blog.

Find good friends. Friends that will love you and hug you and call you out. Friends that will help you. Friends that will love and discipline your children. Friends that will drive over 8 hours to see the ARK with you. Friends that you can journey through life with. Keep them close.

Friends – WE LOVE YOU!

THE ARK ENCOUNTER

Filed under: bardenisms,family,friends,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family — admin at 11:30 am on Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The boys had a few things they REALLY wanted to do this summer.

Taking a trip to Noah’s ARK was one of those things!

I mentioned it to Missy and she said – OH OH OH! We want to come too!

Our boys LOVE spending the night in hotels! We drove ALL DAY to Kentucky – and those boys – they were awesome!

When this guy is up for a quick photoshoot – we do a quick photoshoot!

We are up early in the morning anyway – so we got an early start!

Imagine what you MIGHT think the ARK will look like – the massive size – the biggest you can ever imagine.

THEN MAKE IT EVEN BIGGER!!

That GIANT leaf!!

When you drive over 8 hours – you get the cheesy pictures!

I will say this – the ARK isn’t really for the little guys. Enoch is GO GO GO anyway – it was rough reminding him to wait and stay. And read. And wait. And read. Be patient.

It’s so crazy to SEE the ARK! Think about all the things that you don’t realize when you read the Bible.

They were on the ARK for 5 months – if I remember right. Where were the animals? In pens? Crates? What did they eat? Where did ALL the waste go? Did they fight? Did they reproduce while on the ARK? What did Noah and his family eat? The constant noise! The constant SMELL! How LONG it took to build the ark. Cut down the wood – transport the wood – put it together – seal it. BUILD ALL THE THINGS. PREPARE ALL THE FOOD!

And satan – I bet he wasn’t in the form of just a regular old garden snake. ALSO – ANIMALS SPOKE? Was Eve like – WHOA! WHAT! YOU SPEAK? Or did all the animals talk to them? Did she tell Adam that the serpent spoke to her and he was all – EVE! You CANNOT just tell people you can understand serpents! They’ll think you’re a PARSELTONGUE! ARE YOU A PARSELTONGUE!? (For those of you that don’t get that – it’s Harry Potter!) And he forgot to leave out that you will not surely die a physical death RIGHT NOW. But being removed from God’s paradise – that’s still a death.

And Cody’s shadow was PERFECT at that moment!

Have you seen Night at the Museum? The models and miniatures reminded us so much of that movie!

This one – we might not be building golden snake statues – BUT – what are we worshipping? (Speaking to myself here too!)

The company that built the ARK replica took advantage of the unmentioned parts in the Bible – giving names to the nameless – giving the characters a little backstory. Creative freedoms. They had a little movie about Noah and an interview with a tabloid newspaper – cus Noah was CRAZY! And people LOVE to hear all about the CRAZIES!

This is also interesting to me – the flood happened. It’s fact. I believe it. And I realize that not EVERYONE believes the Bible as truth – but it didn’t REALLY hit me until walking through the ARK. Would you go there and pay the price to tour if you didn’t believe? If you didn’t think it was truth? A part of history?

That serpent – there he is again.

THAT’S A DOOR! THE DOOR!!

Jared & Enoch are on that wall!

Mining for FOSSILS!!

MOM! I don’t think these goats are real – they MUST be fake! They don’t even MOVE!!

This yak – he heard Cody coming – and CLIMBED up his fence to see him!

Not just SEE him – KISS HIM!!

Tune in tomorrow to see our trip to the CREATION MUSEUM!!

WE ARE FAMILY

Filed under: baby barden,baby caamano,bardenisms,family,farmlife,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family,my town,samantha — admin at 11:39 am on Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The boys LOVE G & Pa – and they REALLY love it when Jack can be there too!

That last week in JULY was heavenly for them!

That picture on top – PURE JOY!

LOOK AT THAT BIG GUY! These babies – they need to SLOW IT DOWN!

G was NOT home when she said she would be – so we had to call her. And I love that my sister has our mom in her phone as MY MOM!

BABY KITTENS!!

DO YOU SEE HIS FACE!! He wants a kitty or a puppy SO VERY BAD!

I mean – LOOK AT THAT FACE!

SO SAD!

Enoch was WORKING OUT HARD!!

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