Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,my family,NCA — admin at 2:28 pm on Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Enoch graduated KINDERGARTEN this year!

At first we thought that only Jared & I would be able to attend but then we found out that he could bring 10 guests!!

He read a story about a wet goat!

He counted to 100 by 5′s!

He did a report on bees & where they live & how they sleep & what they eat!

He told his teacher a secret – but he doesn’t whisper very well!!

Mom-mom & Bacca came!! Pa & GG came!!

His teachers – they ARE amazing women! And Mara came too!


Enoch. Your name means dedicated. And you are VERY dedicated. You are a ball of energy. You ask ALL the questions. You help. You feel all the feelings.

I’ve loved watching you grow and change this year!!




This guy – he has short legs like his dad. But he REALLY wanted to climb this.

And then he lost his shoe. And I laughed. And I took pictures. And then I helped him up after he got his shoe.

But. I laughed.

Can you find the Enoch guy!?

I noticed birds building a nest on our light. We have LOTS of great nest spots on the back deck. But NOT here. So I put a snake up. But they didn’t care. The tin foil worked!

Boxes from the FOOD PANTRY!! Imagination!!

Enoch’s favorite snack – dry elbow noodles!! I find them EVERYWHERE!



We got LOTS of apples at the FOOD PANTRY so we made apple crisp!!

This guy – his mind RACES!! He’s getting stuck & obsessed again. It’s how his anxiety comes out. So we’re all working together.

And I can honestly tell you that the majority of our time together is joyful!

THAT PICTURE – can you HEAR his laugh!? It’s my new favorite!!

What are YOU doing to spend your days!?


Filed under: an hour in the life,baby barden,bardenisms,creek exploring,family,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family — admin at 11:30 am on Monday, April 20, 2020

Which one will win!?

He looks VERY nervous!

SNAKES!! Thankfully I’m not afraid of snakes – because we’ve run into LOTS of them!

We lost a car – and the boys tried their hardest to find it – BUT I had to stick my hand in that hole and search for it!


Mom – will you hold my hand!? YES SWEET BOY!! Because one day – you won’t ask me!

Throwing cars off the waterfall – finding the small silly things during this crazy time!

Another snake!!


Enoch said – Mom!! This looks like a tiny little honey bee nest. It’s so cute. Can you press it in a book so I can give it to the girl I’ll marry someday!?

And then my friend Ericka told me about Trypophobia!? Have you ever heard of that!?

ONE MORE POST about our day!!


Filed under: an hour in the life,baby barden,bardenisms,chef fitzgerald,family,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family — admin at 4:57 pm on Sunday, April 19, 2020


I wonder if the memory will always be so vivid in my mind. We were at after school care playing with classmates. The breeze was blowing and spring was on the horizon.

The governor called for all PA schools to close for 2 weeks.

We went to my parents that night. I had a wedding reception Saturday. I stocked up on groceries – those that I could – before coming back home Sunday evening.

It’s been a little over a month. A month of distance learning. Almost a month of Jared working from home. A month of virtual playdates.

A month of changes. A month of less spending. A month of less income. A month of social distancing.

I decided to carry my camera with me earlier this week to document our day.

Toys that have sat in the corner are being played with.

GAMES. Carcassonne. RAT A TAT CAT. Scattergories. DOMINOES!

Enoch and I were on a team for Scattergories and our letter was L.

Enoch – we need to think of a word that starts with L – something that you are afraid of.

Losing you mom. CUE THE TEARS.

Enoch – we need to think of a word that starts with L – something in this room.


I asked the boys what words they wanted to put in our windows. Since everyone coming into town sees our house FIRST.

My mom made us some masks. And Enoch reminds me EVERY SINGLE DAY that he wants to go to Wal*Mart and get a TIME WATCH as soon as we are allowed.

Most days – I wake up and put on my robe. It’s chilly downstairs but our boys run hot. Clothes are optional at this point.

Our kitchen table has been reserved for SCHOOL. Thankfully we have an additional laptop that Fitzy can use while Jared works.


Helpers. Little chefs.


It’s been a hard financial hit for us. I can’t work and Jared is working but not at full salary. BUT LOOK AT OUR FRIDGE. It’s full.

And so is the freezer. Because of food pantries & school lunch programs!!

We brought the basketball hoop to the kitchen since Jared is working in the playroom.

So. We do schoolwork and we play games. And we do dishes. And we listen to music. And we watch TV.

And we go outside. We play in the ravine.

We give accidental crazy haircuts. And keep them. To embrace our weirdness.

We race cars.

We play.

Stay tuned for the rest of our day!!


Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,love,mini session,my family,my town,portraits,silhouette — admin at 11:25 am on Tuesday, October 22, 2019

When the sun starts setting earlier – I need to be with you beautiful people before Jared gets out of work.

Jared’s parents live right next door & while they are still here and not traveling the winter away – they keep the boys for us.

She LOVES the silhouette shots and had been asking to fit them in somewhere – but my late fall schedule was completely packed!!

Unfortunately – someone had to cancel because their son was pretty sick and needed to recuperate.

So I scheduled a silhouette session for them!

She had asked if I would bring the boys along – I had planned to surprise them anyway!!

It’s a BIRD!! It’s a PLANE!!



He wasn’t scolding him – but it sure looked like he was!!




They said – can you get a picture of us fighting!?


THANK YOU for watching those sweet boys while I take photos of beautiful people!!!! WE LOVE YOU!!


Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family — admin at 11:57 am on Monday, August 5, 2019

I had a wedding last weekend – did you know that I LOVE weddings!?

I was charging batteries and checking over my equipment and Enoch wanted some pictures taken!

And now that I have this BRIGHT kitchen and a WHOLE LOT of space – I didn’t even have to ask him to move to the living room!

He’s lost his two bottom teeth and those two top teeth and just hanging there!

Sometimes I forget that he’s only 5 – closer to 6 than not – and then sometimes he feels so little still!

THERE’S the REAL smile!!

He starts kindergarten soon – THREE WEEKS!!

I remember trying to figure out what grade Fitzy would be in when Enoch went to kindergarten – and HERE IT IS ALREADY!

We’ve had such a fun summer and I plan on doing ALL the fun things with the three weeks we have left!!


Do you have a youngest kiddo at home going off to school this year!? What will you do with your time during the day!?


Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,family,friends,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family,my town — admin at 11:42 am on Sunday, July 28, 2019

We showed up a little early for Missy’s session – so I took advantage of having my camera with me!

I LOVE coming to the playground and chasing your kids around – getting them in action – the BEST way to shoot – in my opinion!

We met up with Sierra and her kiddos for ice cream – and I took advantage of having ALL our kids together!!

8 – 3 – 8 – 10 – 6 months – 5 – 7 – 5!!

This mom thing – it’s not easy – and having a tribe – it helps SO MUCH!!!

Missy and I were close and we knew Sierra – but one day about two years ago – Sierra told me she wanted to make an effort to get to know Missy & I better – she needed a few 3 AM friends and she was hoping Missy and I might be those friends. And sometimes it’s hard to bring someone else into a close relationship – and people ask how we manage it.

We try. We make an effort. We are CRAZY busy – we all work – we all have family and other friends we spend time with – we sat down to try and figure out a time we could all have a sleepover for a weekend – and it was OCTOBER 26th before 2 of us said YES – we are FREE!! But the third wasn’t – so we said – let’s come back to this later. But sometimes it’s – hey – wanna do dinner NOW!? What are you doing in an hour!? We help each other. We encourage each other. We love each other and every kid in that picture – I love them. Missy loves them. Sierra loves them.

I love that our kids love each other. That this big group of kids – do they argue!? Yep. But do they love each other!? ABSOLUTELY!!!

I love you guys – SO MUCH!!!



Filed under: baby barden,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family — admin at 11:33 am on Tuesday, July 9, 2019

After the mini sessions – I took some photos of MY kiddos!!

We did our own creek exploring before the sessions and the boys asked Nan to go with us. She owns the property that I use for sessions sometimes – and it has an AMAZING creek!!

We spent an hour and a half exploring and then the boys stayed with Nan and Gordon to have dinner!

This guy – he’s super silly!!

Sometimes I still can’t believe that I’m their mom! And that they’re 8 and 5!

This guy – he’s growing up SO fast!!

The boys took some pictures of Jared and I – nearing our 15 year anniversary!

I really do believe that you MUST have family photos every year – but even if you don’t get professional ones – make sure YOU get in front of the camera – not just behind it!


Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,family,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family,my town,NCA — admin at 1:25 pm on Monday, June 24, 2019

Enoch went to preschool last year – for one day a week once March came around – so I could go back to work as a secretary for our contractor!

He went to school this year – three days a week – and he loved it SO VERY MUCH!

His 5 1/2 years have FLOWN by!! I can remember wondering what grade Fitzy would be in when Enoch went to Kindergarten – and it’s HERE NOW!


This year they came dressed up as what they want to be when they grow up!

Enoch wants to be a basketball player then retire and be a farmer!!

My sister surprised Enoch and brought Jack to graduation!!

Enoch received the PRAISE & WORSHIP award!! He LOVES to sing his little heart out for Jesus!


I’m sure you’ve read about the journey with this guy. Parenting is an amazing – beautiful – exhausting – frustrating thing!

And we’ve had our hard hard times with this guy. Partly because he’s a strong willed one. Enoch means dedicated and he certainly is. Determined. Stubborn.

School has been so good for him and for me. We can spend our days together actually enjoying each other instead of fighting.

In August – I wasn’t sure we would both make it out alive. He defied everything I said. His eyes burned with anger at me. He woke up telling me how much he didn’t like me.

He screamed and threw himself. He yelled and hit. He told me he hated me and cried. I cried. It was so very hard.

School started and we weren’t together 24/7. I wasn’t telling him no ALL THE TIME. It helped.

But what also helped was just old-fashioned determination and love.

I loved him. I cried as I held him while he kicked. I cried as I told him no over and over again. I cried as I followed through on the threats I made.

If I told him no video games – he had no video games. And when he begged for video games – I still said no. Lots of times – it’s so much easier to just say YES – have it already and stop asking me.

But that teaches kids NOTHING. Well – except that the more you ask – you’ll eventually get what you want – just wear people down. Mom’s word means NOTHING. THAT is what you are teaching them.

I told him I loved him when he told me he hated me. I hugged him when he kicked me. And did I mention I cried. A lot.

I’m fully convinced that he was growing in August – and his little body and especially his little brain didn’t know how to deal with SO MUCH growth in such a short period of time.

It hurt. He was hurting physically and emotionally AND he was hurting the person he loved the most. Because I am his safe place. And he knows that I will always love him – no matter how mean and ugly he is to me.

And my job is to love him and teach him. Not to tolerate the bad behaviors but to figure out WHY they are happening in the first place.

So we pushed through and cried and prayed and cried and endured. Because there’s nothing else I can tell you we did except endured. Fought the hard fight.

And in the end – we made it. And we aren’t just surviving anymore – we are thriving.

The other day I was helping him put his shoes on and he stopped me and said – MOM. I know you and I see you. And I just want to tell you that you’re the best mom I’ve never seen (he means ever but he says naybe instead of maybe and adds an n to the start of ever almost every time and I love it) and I love you. And you’re my best mom because you help me through my frustrations. Thank you mom.

I cried. And I hugged him and said – THANK YOU BUDDY. I thought that maybe God gave you the wrong mom because I couldn’t help you. And he said – oh no mom. You help me so much and God gave me the prefect mom for me. And we hugged on the kitchen floor and cried together. But not because I couldn’t do this anymore. Not because I didn’t understand this little boy in front of me. Not because the frustrations were spilling over. Because we made it to the other side of the ugly.

And I’m not naive. I’m not dancing because the hard things are DONE. OVER. CONQUERED. They’re not. They will still come. There will still be ugly times when he is growing and his brain is trying to figure this whole thing out. I’m praying for the teenage years – because that testosterone flowing through those veins – whew. Jesus help me. Help him.

But right now – we’re in a good place. A GREAT place. We had dinner with some friends the other night – and they haven’t seen Enoch lately – but had been in our lives on a consistent basis in August and they saw that Enoch. They saw the tears. They heard the cries for help – from him and me. They prayed with us and for us.

And she cried with me at dinner. She saw a little boy changed. She had brought basketball cards for them and she asked her son to put them behind his back in each hand. Then the boys had to pick – but which one would go first!? So I told him it was paper – rock – scissors. And Fitzy won and got to pick first. And Enoch last summer would have screamed and thrown himself and hit his brother. It would have been a half an hour to get him calmed down again. But he said – okay. And he patiently waited for his turn. No screaming. No tears. No hitting.

And I’m not saying that I am the perfect parent. I know exactly what to do EVERY time. I am the parenting model to follow. Nope – not saying that at all.

What I am saying is – I did it. I said what I meant and I meant what I said. I told him no and he didn’t get the marshmallow at the end of the night because he cried about it and asked over and over.

In fact – he got marshmallows taken away even longer. And when he asked that next time – he didn’t like the answer but he got it. No means no. And no amount of crying and begging will get you anything except more days without marshmallows.

We just had an amazing weekend. We hung out with our friends Friday playing in the creek for hours. Getting muddy and dirty and making rock paint. Going to a baseball game.

Creek exploring with dad and swimming with our friends Saturday afternoon. Family movie night and tossing the baseball around in the backyard.

Church and a birthday party and meeting the new baby cow. Creek exploring with Nan and hanging out with her while the night cooled off.

While we were creek exploring last night – Enoch told me he loved me about 2 million times. He told me how much he loved that I got excited because he learned how to swim. How much fun he had with his friends creek exploring and at the baseball game. How much he loved playing baseball with our family. And what are some things he can do to be nice to others.

He’s thanked me for helping him when he is hurting. When he is frustrated.

He still gets mad when he doesn’t get his way – but he hasn’t said he hates me in a VERY long time. And I still get mad when I don’t get my way – so …

MOMMAS – if you are going through the hard parenting things right now – KEEP ON. Keep setting and KEEPING boundaries.

And remember that God didn’t give you the wrong kid. He didn’t give your kid the wrong mom.

He’s shaping your child AND you – maybe you a little bit more even.

YOU CAN DO IT. YOU WILL MAKE IT. It’s not easy. You will cry. It will hurt. But the beauty from pain is more than worth it.



Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,just because,kiddos — admin at 3:15 pm on Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Can you believe that Fitzgerald is EIGHT!?

Here’s the post when Fitzy was BORN!!

Fitzgerald – you bring such light to our lives.

You are passionate and sensitive. You are thoughtful and driven. You are silly and sometimes stoic.

I cannot believe that you are EIGHT!

You love basketball. You love helping. You love your grandparents.

You are smart and kind. You love your brother and your friends. You have such a kind heart – just like your dad!

I cannot WAIT to see what you do in your life – in your school – in your town – in your world.


Next Page »