Filed under: bardenisms,family,holiday,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,love,my family — admin at 12:46 pm on Tuesday, January 8, 2019

CHRISTMAS! Over & done with – ALREADY!!

Over Thanksgiving – Jared & Fitzy went to a Lakers game in Cleveland – so that was most of Fitzy’s Christmas present!!

BUT – he knew he would have a few gifts under the tree!!

Board games & basketball shoes & a HOT WHEELS set & more games. Books & socks & a watch.

We took Jared’s parents to Corning to make a Christmas tree or a snowman for Christmas! The boys picked trees – the orange one is Enoch’s!

Those Barden brothers. They are something else!

Enoch & Fitzy shopped at the thrift store shop their school held! Fitzy got his brother a floor puzzle – he got Jared a book & he got me two necklaces.

Enoch got Jared a book & me an ornament. They spent a total of $2.50 – it was THE BEST!!

After presents – we spent the morning with the neighbors!

Fitzy read the Christmas story this year. Sometimes I forget that he can read!!

The boys were QUITE surprised about their video games!!

We had a relaxing Christmas with our families! HOW WAS YOUR CHRISTMAS!?


Filed under: bardenisms,my family — admin at 12:58 pm on Monday, December 17, 2018

I am usually ON TOP of scheduling our own family photos – but this year – any day without rain was reserved for a client!

In October – I texted Megan and said – WHAT DO YOU HAVE OPEN!? Knowing full well that it might be NOTHING because October is THE busiest time of the year for photographers!

BUT – we found a date that worked for us AND her AND my in-laws.

BUT – it rained. These photos are IN the rain – but Megan is AWESOME – so we got two good shots!

We rescheduled our own family photos for one week later – HOPING & PRAYING for NO rain!

At this point in the year – with ALL the rain – that’s about the best you can hope for – just NO rain!!





THOSE GUYS!! I thought for sure I would be a girl mom – but those boys are my life!!

And I’m pretty positive I won’t be able to hold him like that much longer!


That family shot on the left!! PERFECTION!!

The boy that saw me. The boy that pursued me. The boy that asked me to share this amazing life with him.

This PERFECTLY describes our family!!

MEGAN!!! Thank you so much dear friend!


Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,just because,NCA — admin at 11:26 am on Wednesday, December 5, 2018

You would think that as a photographer – I wouldn’t order school pictures – but I do!

They crack me up!!

Those boys – OH MY HEART!!

Jared laughed until he cried when he saw Enoch’s! SO SILLY!!!


Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,family,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,parties — admin at 12:10 pm on Tuesday, December 4, 2018

NOVEMBER 19th! The day our baby turned FIVE!!!


He’s been talking about this cake for MONTHS!! A FERDINAND CAKE!!

And this guy – closer to 8 than 7!!



THANK YOU dear friends & family! THANK YOU for celebrating & loving our Enoch guy!!


Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,family,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family,portraits — admin at 12:01 pm on Monday, November 19, 2018

I meant to schedule our OWN creek exploring family photos this summer and then time got away from me! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!!

So we scheduled family photos with Megan at the end of October. But it called for rain. So we called them off. Then it was clear. So they were back on.

While we waited for Jared to get home – I took the boys out to get some photos!

FIVE. My baby is FIVE!! TODAY – HE IS FIVE!! Doesn’t he look SO grown up!?

And that Fitzy guy – getting closer to EIGHT every day.

Fitzy took that picture of me – it’s PERFECT!!

And those ones – I LOVE THEM!!

Enoch took that one of me & Fitz! With Jared being a creeper in the background!

And Fitz took those ones too!!

It’s a good thing I have super long arms!

He just gets more & more handsome! And he currently has a beard – with spots of grey in it – SWOON!!

And a shot of our japanese maple tree! I LOVE having them line our driveway!

The rain rain rain came down down down after all and we had to cancel the session that day – as she pulled into the driveway!


Filed under: an hour in the life,bardenisms,family,just because,newsworthy,word of God — admin at 11:44 am on Saturday, October 13, 2018

I had a session in August with a GORGEOUS family! They asked me to keep the family photos off the interwebs since they wanted to use them for CHRISTMAS!

And when I got done – they were some of my FAVORITE family shots! But – I couldn’t “show them off” – go figure!

I had a session in September with a family and they asked me to NOT post the photos – and … THEY WERE MY FAVORITE!!

But – since you couldn’t see WHO they were – I did post a few!

I REALLY REALLY hope they order a GIANT print of the dancing one!

ALL THIS TO SAY – who am I looking to get praise from?

Obviously my clients – at the end of the day – it doesn’t matter WHO might happen to “like” my photo if the client doesn’t love it.

Shouldn’t that be it? I could argue that in this business I NEED other people to see photos of families & seniors & brides & grooms & babies AND love those photos and therefore ask me to take their photos!

But what if the ONLY people who saw the photos I take were the people IN THOSE PHOTOS.

Would it be enough? Shouldn’t it be enough?

I post the photos I take because I LOVE THEM! I love the people in them. I love the moments I capture. The tiny details.

I believe that the unique eye God gave me is worth something.

Do you know what I love to do most to relax? Edit. (and binge-watch star trek series) but – EDIT. I love taking photos and I LOVE editing photos.

It’s relaxing and life-giving and inspiring and BEAUTIFUL.

Like I said – I believe that God gave me this gift. And I praise Him by using this gift. By giving you long-lasting memories – BEAUTIFUL long-lasting memories.

And really – at the end of the day – it ONLY matters if the person paying me LOVES their photos.

It’s hard being stuck in that place where I need other people to see and love my photography and ask me to photograph them BUT I need the people IN the photos to be happy with what I’ve given them.

When I have a FANTASTIC session and the only people that see them are the ones in them – it’s been hard for me to not show the world.

I get it. I respect that my clients don’t want their faces ALL over the internet.

I’m discovering that your (the general public) praise might be what I’m looking for.


A girl at after-school care asked me about shaving her head – because she hates her hair. People pick on her about her hair. And her teeth. And her weight.

I asked her – do those things bother YOU? No. But they bother everyone else.

LISTEN. People are ALWAYS going to tell what they THINK is wrong with you. I wish I could tell you that it will get better as you get older.

You can’t change other people. And while what they’re doing isn’t kind or right or good – you can only change YOU.

And Jesus LOVES you. And He would die for you OVER & OVER again. And He looks at you and calls you worthy. He looks at you and calls you BEAUTIFUL!


SO – if I’m gonna practice what I preach – I need to STOP CARING about what everyone might think about these pictures I take. STOP CARING about how many likes they might be getting.

STOP CARING that people might not see some of my best work. Because – the people who are hanging those photos in their house – LOVED THEM.

START REALLY BELIEVING THAT I AM ENOUGH. Because Jesus tells me that I am.


Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,family,just because,kiddos,my family,my town — admin at 11:05 am on Friday, September 7, 2018

Another summer – gone.

Thankfully – while it was happening it wasn’t quickly. We had a full & lovely summer!

But – like all great things – it must come to an end.

Enoch went to preschool ONE day a week starting in March – and he LOVED it! But NOW – it’s official!

He goes three days a week and spends two with me.

SIDE NOTE – those feelings he had toward me. Pretty much gone. He grew out of all his shoes almost overnight and ate EVERY THING IN THE HOUSE.

He’s still having a hard time with getting what he wants when he wants it – but – aren’t we all? He still thinks I’m a mean mom sometimes. He still gets angry. He still argues. But he’s not SEETHING MAD every time he looks at me. So – that’s a win.

He wasn’t in the mood to fill out a survey – which is why his favorite movie is DOG MOVIE and he wants to be whatever his brother wants to be AND a farmer.

Fitzy was a little nervous about second grade – but is REALLY LOVING it so far!

They wanted to pick out their own clothes. AND E wanted to GO. LET’S GO MOM!

And while I couldn’t get them in the same spot as last year – you can see the CRAZY difference just ONE year made – especially for that Enoch guy!

The first day of school – and into the second week – it’s all been GREAT!

And for the first time in SEVEN YEARS – I can edit & work & answer emails & blog for HOURS at a time – two days a week!


And on that second day of school – Enoch and I went up to the house that Matt is building – for some updated pictures – and mountain climbing!

How is the first week of school going for YOUR family?!


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!


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!


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!



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!


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!



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!


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

I LOVE THOSE SHOTS! Those Barden brothers!


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!

Next Page »