RYAN & AUTUMN

Filed under: expecting,just because,love,portraits — admin at 12:34 pm on Saturday, November 22, 2014

Autumn and my brother went to high school together – so I’ve known her for a while!

I shot their wedding two years ago – and now their anniversary!

And a surprise! A sweet baby to join the family!

Those are my FAVORITE shots!

OH! And those!

You guys are AWESOME! I am so excited for you both!! Thank you for asking me to capture this AMAZING time in your lives!

Tune in tomorrow to see their reveal!

BABY *A*

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,expecting,family,just because,kiddos,love,military,portraits — admin at 10:58 am on Thursday, August 28, 2014

I LOVE this family – but you all knew that!

And baby makes FIVE!

Honestly – LOOK AT HER! So beautiful!!

OH MY WORD!

Nicole & Dustin – we love you guys dearly! I can’t wait to watch *A* grow!

TWINS

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,birth,expecting,family,just because,kiddos,portraits — admin at 4:56 pm on Monday, August 25, 2014

I was SO excited to photograph TWINS!!

And grab a few shots of their older brother!!

A sweet moment between a momma and her boy!

I LOVE that picture!

*K* was very excited to “cheese” for me!

OH MY HEART!!

While I loved the shots I got of the twins – I knew I needed some more of them together.

So – I came back the next week and we took these -

Can’t even stand it – just the most adorable little faces!

This is one of my favorite pictures – EVER! I love how gently Kelli is touching their faces – lulling them to sleep. Sweetest momma moment ever!

And because I love it SO much – in color too!

Such sweet boys!

Kelli & John – thank you SO much for welcoming me into your lives to capture your sweet boys!

 

WAITING ON BABY *A*

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,expecting,family,just because,kiddos,portraits — admin at 11:39 am on Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I’ve been taking pictures of Nicole & Dustin for over 4 years! CRAZY! I’m so excited to photograph their little GIRL soon!

See you guys in August!

BABY *M*

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,expecting,family,just because,kiddos,love,portraits — admin at 10:55 am on Tuesday, July 22, 2014

You might remember this family from here & here – SUCH a gorgeous family!

They added a third little girl to their family in June! She is SO sweet and tiny!

SWEET SISTERS!

Sweet sister moments! I cannot wait to see you guys in December – it will be here before we know it!!

TRADING SILENT NIGHTS

Filed under: babes,baby caamano,bardenisms,birth,expecting,family,just because,love,my family,portraits,samantha — admin at 1:18 pm on Sunday, July 13, 2014

FOR A BUNDLE OF JOY!

AHHHHHHHHHH! I am SO SO SO SO SO excited that my sister is having a baby!

Fitzy HAD to share in the news!

I cannot WAIT to see if she’s having a little boy or girl! I guess GIRL! And I guess that her name will be Danielle! ;)

*K* FAMILY – WELCOMING BABY *A*

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,expecting,family,just because,kiddos,love,portraits — admin at 12:09 pm on Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sweet little *A* is such a darling babe! I love getting to know my clients and coming back to photograph each new stage of their lives!

I couldn’t decide between color and black & white – so you’ll get them both!

Honestly! Look at her – so sweet!

I ADORE that shot!

SURPRISE! Such a cute idea!

I can’t wait to see you guys for Christmas photos!

*C* FAMILY – WAITING FOR BABY

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,expecting,family,just because,kiddos,love,portraits — admin at 2:09 am on Sunday, July 6, 2014

I LOVE this family! Kelly & Joe have been clients for years! I cannot WAIT to photograph their sweet little girl!

LOVE LOVE LOVE those shots!

I love those shots too! Perfection!

Thank you SO much for asking me to capture these moments!

WAITING ON BABY

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,birth,expecting,family,just because,kiddos,love,portraits — admin at 1:08 am on Monday, April 14, 2014

I’ve taken photos for the *K* family for 3 years! So crazy! Their little guy *L* is going to be a big brother in a few weeks!

HONESTLY!

Be still my heart – I ADORE that shot of *L* hugging his baby!

And these – sigh. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

The shot on the right is one of my new favorites!

Lauren – I CANNOT wait to meet your new little one! Thank you SO much for asking me to capture these moments for you!

LIFE AS WE KNOW IT

Filed under: bardenisms,expecting,family,just because,love,my family,newsworthy,the marriage fight,weight loss,word of God — admin at 7:42 pm on Thursday, April 10, 2014

I haven’t written since Enoch was two weeks old. WHAT?! And now he’s almost 5 months old. Crazy.

When he was a little over two weeks old – I noticed some blood in his stool. I tried not to freak out – but I knew that wasn’t normal. Nor was solid poops for a two week old. Crap. Literally and figuratively.

Turns out that it was suspected he had a milk protein allergy – which is different than being lactose intolerant. So we switched his formula – but he still wasn’t happy – there was still blood in his stool. Poor guy. He would cry when he ate and struggle to poop. He woke up every hour and a half to eat and eat and eat and cry and cry and cry. It was heartbreaking and exhausting. I cried and cried and cried.

At my 6 week appointment – the doctor suggested we switch him to a different formula – Elecare. It’s expensive – but worked! And is working wonderfully! He started to shoot off the growth chart and his whole demeanor changed! He’s doing very well on the new formula and we will introduce cow’s milk to him at 1 and see how he does!

He’s a happy beautiful baby – except for when he’s not! Happy – I mean – he’s always beautiful!

The transition from 1 child to 2 – has been … interesting. Difficult. Exhausting. Yes – rewarding. The lack of sleep has been the hardest part. Oh – and the – how do I do this whole 2 kid thing! That’s been the hardest.

I suppose we are doing fine – both kids are loved and happy. They are growing and fed.

As a first time momma – I felt very confident in my mothering abilities. With Enoch – I feel much less confident – and I’m not quite sure why!

Fitzy is fantastic with Enoch. There have only been a few occasions where he bopped him on the head and when I asked why – he said – cus I need you momma. Then just ask for me sweetie. Okay momma. He comforts him when he cries. He loves to make him laugh. He asks for him in the morning and rubs his little fist all over his face. He asks where he is when he’s not in the room. He can’t wait to help him learn – everything!

As I sit here typing this – almost 5 months after becoming a momma of two young boys – it’s getting easier. Easier in that their naps are usually timed together and I can get editing and my emails and bills done in the afternoon. Easier in that Enoch fits on my hip and is starting to interact more. Easier in that Enoch is sleeping longer periods (not through the night by any means – but I don’t think that was a blessing that was intended for me) at night and I’m not absolutely exhausted all the time. Easier in that I’m not yelling and breaking down two to three times a day (or more) while Fitzy consoles me and says – be happy momma. I just make you happy momma.

My confidence is coming back – slowly. But I feel like I forgot EVERYTHING about raising a baby. I told Jared – if I had birthed another 2 1/2 year old – I’d be set – but this? I don’t remember this. When do they sit up again? How much food does he eat – and when? Is he supposed to be drooling all the time? Why won’t he stay asleep? What do I do with him all day? It’s the weirdest thing. And with Fitzy – ugh. My heart was hurting so much for this little boy that had his momma all to himself. We went to the store – played puzzles – did play-doh – crafted crafts. You name it. And now – I have this little guy to tend to and Fitzy wants me too. And I understand that we are teaching them to be independent and successful on their own – but my word – he’s not even 3 yet. He’s still a baby. Why must he grow up so fast? I would catch myself saying things like – WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT? YOU KNOW BETTER. But ya know what – he kinda doesn’t. He’s just a toddle still. And I’m in no way excusing bad behavior. Believe me. And he’s still learning. And I’m learning.

And the lack of confidence and exhaustion spiraled out of control. The hurts of the past few years crept up on me. I’ve been angry. Frustrated. And I’ve held onto it – because it’s easier than facing the truth. That my heart needs to change. I have ridiculous expectations. I have control issues – which I’ve always said. But it’s time to face the truth. I’m not happy. I’m overwhelmed and let down. I’m demanding and impossible to please. My bitterness and hurt started to spill out of me and onto others.

We’ve had a rough year – again. And Jared is doing great. Really. But when I can’t keep a lid on my own crazy – he spirals. And believe me – I have my own crazy. I need to remember that things don’t have to be done now. That when Fitzy says – momma – play with me – I need to really get down on the floor and play with him. When he has a story to tell me – I need to listen like it’s the most important thing I’ll ever hear – because it really is. I need to remember that babies cry and fuss and I’m not doing something wrong. When Enoch won’t go down for the third time and just needs to be rocked – instead of crying and getting frustrated – just hold him and rock him. It will be gone before I know it. When Jared says I’m sorry. Take it. Don’t make him say it again and again. Punishment. It’s a hard one for me – if you’ve hurt me – then you need to spend some time being hurt. Ugh. Even typing those words makes me sick. But it’s how I feel. I can forgive you for hurting me but I am on the ready for it to happen again – so – what good is that. Instead of living in the past and bringing it up every single day – move forward. In God’s love and grace. When Jared was in the hospital – I prayed and asked God to show me what He wanted me to know. What I heard was that HE needs to be the center and source of my joy. Not Jared. Not Fitzy. Not Enoch. Sure – they will bring me joy – but God needs to be the ultimate source. Because nothing – NOTHING – in this life is mine. My husband – these sweet babies – nothing.

It was time to address some issues – face to face. So I did. We did. And forgiveness always wins. Love always wins. When you let it. God is always there to hold your heart in His hands – but when you’ve placed it in a prison – He won’t force His way in. You have to make the effort – make the choice. And airing some hurts and asking for and giving forgiveness has made all the difference.

And God loves me. And wants the best for me. And He knows the best – although I think I do. I think that closing the door to my feelings and living in anger is best. It’s not. And I know that – but it’s what protects my heart. Because I’m tired. Tired of hurting and suffering. But God wants to take that hurt and make it into something beautiful. And I can’t stop living a joyful life because of fear.

Because of some issues we’ve had in the past and some issues that were brought to light over the summer – it’s been hard to trust. It’s been hard to get that trust back. It’s been really hard to get to a place in our marriage where we are happy. And by we – I mean me. Jared is trying. But I expect more. I expect him to be what I think he should be. When I should be encouraging him to be what God has for him.

In March – at a MOPS meeting (that I didn’t want to go to) the topic was on marriage. Intimacy in marriage. Something that has been a struggle for me lately. The challenge was to be intimate every 72 hours. Make a point to make it happen. For 30 days. And see what happens.

Pornography is a horrible awful thief. Of joy and trust and love. It takes something that should be beautiful and wonderful – a deep connection between a husband and wife – and makes it ugly and hurtful. Bitterness is the root. A root that has taken it’s place in my heart and spread. And it’s starting to affect more than just me. My husband. My sweet kids. My joy. It has stolen my joy and replaced it with bitterness. And I’m done. I want to look forward to intimacy with Jared. I want to WANT to be close to my husband. When it comes time – I get nervous. The little voices in my head say – he doesn’t deserve this. You should wait longer. He should have to wait longer. Because that’s what pornography does. It kills. It kills marriages. For me – it kills the want to be intimate with my husband – because all I can think about is what he’s done. Not what he’s doing. The man he is now. The man he wants to be. The man he is trying to be.

And what I need to do is not speak over those voices in my head – but let God. Let God heal my hurts – let God be my trust. It’s been almost a month since we started the challenge – and with a few missed nights due to the demands of raising small children – we’ve made it. And while the beginning of the month started out rough – it’s gotten better. And like anything – it’s not happening overnight – but instead gradually. My attitude has changed and every day I am stopping in the midst of a trial to make a decision (or trying to – sometimes word vomit just pours out) and really think about what I’m saying. What I’m doing.

So – I’d like to tell you that life is getting “easier” because E is getting older – but it’s also getting “easier” because I’m trying to choose happiness over pessimism – which is hard for me. It’s hard for me to not expect the worst so that I won’t be let down. It’s hard for me to believe that God does indeed have good things for me when so much hurt has happened. And while I want to raise my boys with a sense of reality – I also want them to have hope. And not just a hope because we are supposed to hope – but a real honest to goodness HOPE. A hope that leads their steps and their lives. And I need that for me. For us.

And it’s not about an easy life. It’s not about a normal life.

When Enoch first came home – I felt so guilty. Guilty that Fitzy wouldn’t know the love that he did. Guilty that Enoch wouldn’t have the attention and love that Fitzy got when he was a baby. That Fitzy wasn’t my one and only during the day. That my heart wasn’t big enough to hold the love for the two of them. I was a fantastic momma when it was just Fitzy – but with Enoch in the picture too – I felt less than fantastic. How on earth do I give them both the love and attention they need? I cried. A lot. And Fitzy was such a sweet little guy. Don’t cry momma. I make you happy momma. All the time. I yelled. I lost my patience. A lot. Poor little guy. This is my sweet boy and I am hurting his sensitive spirit. So I would hug him and cry and apologize. And he would grab my face and say – I love you momma. I forgive you all the time.

Looking back over the past few months – I don’t know how we made it. Well – God. Just like over the summer. It’s always – but God.

So – every day I am making an effort. To keep the past in the past. To accept an I’m sorry. To trust my husband. To take a deep breath and not overreact (that one is really really rough). To make sure to spend time with just Enoch and with just Fitzy and with the two of them together. To spend time together as a family. Read the Bible (I’m horrible at making that a priority). To give up control. To forgive. To ask for forgiveness. To live my life in reality instead of on Facebook. Some days are better than others. Some worse.

Life as we know it – has changed. Again. And it will again tomorrow. Jared and I talked about how we haven’t enjoyed having two sweet babes as much as we thought we might. How it’s been harder than we thought. How I’ve cried and cried and wondered how I’m going to do this. And do it right. And that sweet little boy reminds me of God’s love when he holds my face and says. I forgive you momma. All the time.

 

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