WAITING ON BABY GRACE

This guy – and his crazy hair!!

THOSE EYES!!

He LOVES his baby sister!!

I mean – I know I’m biased because she’s my bestest – BUT – SO BEAUTIFUL!!

It was a chilly afternoon – BUT – the pictures MUST GO ON!!

SERIOUSLY!! GORGEOUS!!

MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE!!

GORGEOUS!!

PERFECTION!!

THAT FANTASTIC LIGHT!!

Missy & Cody – I know you know how much I LOVE YOU GUYS – but I’ll say it again – I LOVE YOU GUYS!!

I cannot WAIT to meet this little girl!!

CELEBRATING GRACE ELIZABETH

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,expecting,friends,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,parties — admin at 12:08 pm on Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Have I mentioned that my dearest best friend is having a baby!? I think I might have!

Aiden couldn’t WAIT to help open ALL the presents!!

HOMEMADE BABY BLANKETS – THE BEST!!

That guy – he kept everybody laughing the entire time!

I am NOT a party planner. It’s NOT my thing! Turns out – it’s NOT Sierra’s thing either!

BUT – WE DID IT!!

MISSY – I CANNOT BELIEVE SHE IS GOING TO BE HERE SOON!!

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!!

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’RE HAVING A …

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,bardenisms,expecting,friends,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my town,newsworthy — admin at 10:56 am on Wednesday, August 15, 2018

I say WE because I feel like it’s “my” baby a little bit too! Actually – I know a few others that might say WE too!

I’m sure you’ve read about my best friend Missy! I met her because of this little page RIGHT HERE! She saw a blog I posted from someone on FACEBOOK and realized we both had great dane puppies!

We got together for a few puppy dates and grew closer through our shared struggle – infertility.

I took their family photos and we talked about how hard it was to be happy for other people that were expecting. Other people that got to hold their babies.

How SO VERY HARD it was to hope.

She would read my blog and call me and SOB! WHY DO I ALWAYS SOB WHEN I READ THIS!

That’s how we became friends. Because I was open and honest and raw and vulnerable.

Missy & Cody needed to use the amazing technical miracle of IVF to conceive. The day after Fitzy was born – Missy stopped in to see me on her way back from the fertility clinic. They were pregnant!

They had several embryos fertilized in the early months of 2011 – and while more than one was implanted – only Aiden stayed. I was ending my miracle pregnancy and she was starting hers!

About 4 years ago they had more embryos implanted – but those babies didn’t stay here on this earth.

Missy & Cody have BEEN THROUGH IT. Not just with infertility and multiple losses but the “normal” stuff life throws at you and even some of the “not-so-normal” stuff.

Missy prayed. I prayed. We prayed. So many people prayed. For their family – for their marriage – for their journey.

Did you know that Jesus is RIGHT THERE? WITH YOU RIGHT NOW? You only have to reach out your hand and your heart and say – YES! PLEASE! HELP ME!

Cody discovered that truth recently – and it TRANSFORMED HIS ENTIRE LIFE!!

I have very rarely been able to WATCH someone be completely transformed because of asking Jesus into their life – AND IT IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!

Grace. Upon grace. UPON SO MUCH GRACE.

Missy & Cody had their last set of embryos in storage and they prayed. Was the time was right – do you stop freezing them? While they are only TINY TEENY little embryos – they are indeed very alive.

So – no. They didn’t stop. They had three implanted earlier this spring.

Missy traveled to Syracuse several times over the course of a few months – and she asked me to come along on one of those trips!

SEVEN WEEKS PREGNANT – and you CAN SEE A HEARTBEAT! YOU CAN HEAR A HEARTBEAT!!

Grabbing a snack via IV! IVF is no walk in the park! Shots. Hormones. SO MANY SHOTS!! Hopes. Disappointment. More shots. Hormones. Exhaustion. Tears. Miles.

Three little babies were implanted and ONE stayed.

This time – Missy has been SO VERY SICK!

And she went and got herself a full-time job and we don’t get to spend nearly as much time together as we used to – but being involved in the details of this baby – MEANS SO MUCH TO ME!

SO VERY VERY SICK – ending up in the ER for fluids. A little bit of a scare in losing this baby. It’s been a dramatic few months!

YESTERDAY “we” found out whether this AMAZING little soul was a boy or a girl!

I went with them to the ultrasound yesterday morning to take some photos!

It’s hard to make out – but that is a profile! 20 weeks old – not even a pound yet. And you can see the 4 chambers of the heart. You can see the arms. The fingers. The legs. The eyes. The little mouth yawning. ALL THE THINGS!

Aiden got his very own picture of his new baby! AND had to keep a secret – ALL DAY!!

LOOK AT THAT FACE! THAT SMILE!

THEY KNOW!! WE KNOW!!

CAN YOU TELL? DO YOU KNOW?

We stopped for brunch on the way home and Aiden helped me in a cute little picture of what his new baby will be!

BUT – the four of us were sworn to secrecy until last night – WHEN EVERYONE WOULD FIND OUT!

SHHHHH!! AIDEN – you can’t tell anyone!! YOU ARE ALMOST DONE KEEPING YOUR SECRET!

IT’S A GIRL!!!

They MIGHT be a little excited!

Missy’s mom might be a little excited!

We ALL might be a little excited!

And we all know that this sweet little girl NEEDS a girl-friend in this group of boys!

SUCH A CELEBRATION OF LIFE & LOVE & SO MUCH GRACE!!

Find your tribe. Keep them close.

Jared snapped that one of Jose – SURPRISED MUCH!?

MISSY – I LOVE YOU SO VERY VERY MUCH! Thank you for asking me to come along on this journey with you! EVERY STEP OF THE WAY!

GRACE UPON GRACE. SO MUCH GRACE UPON GRACE!

REPTILAND

Filed under: bardenisms,family,friends,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family,my town,newsworthy — admin at 11:44 am on Monday, August 13, 2018

We spent Friday night with Matt & Johna – getting ready for the boat regatta (that rhymes!) and then we spent Saturday racing and hanging out in the rain rain rain!

On Sunday we went to REPTILAND for their DINOSAUR DAYS!

SPITTING DINOSAURS!!

Enoch KNOWS that there’s a person in there but it’s still a little creepy!

A GIANT SNAPPING TURTLE!!

Those birds – getting them to sit on a stick was QUITE THE ORDEAL!

Macy got TWO on her stick!

I love his I’M SO EXCITED BUT I CAN’T REALLY SMILE face!

THE HAPPIEST BOY!!

We had a FUN-FILLED weekend with our dear friends! We can’t WAIT to go back to the campground this fall!!

CARDBOARD BOAT REGATTA

Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,family,friends,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family,my town,parties — admin at 10:27 am on Friday, August 10, 2018

We painted the boat. We went to the movies. We went back to camp to get READY FOR THE RACES!!

Enoch and his little friend raced together in their blue race-car!

THE MACY FITZGERALD!!

Macy & Fitzy were the ONLY kiddos in their age group to have TWO in the boat!

Those kiddos – they paddled their hearts out. They knew they wouldn’t be first – but they didn’t cheat the course. They did it exactly how they should have.

THEY FINISHED! TOGETHER! With burning thighs and smiles and laughs – they FINISHED! AND – NO WATER IN THE MACY FITZGERALD!

I COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE PROUD!!

IT RAINED. It rained all morning and cleared up JUST IN TIME to race – and then the rain rain rain came down down down!

Kids with shoes on the wrong feet – I LOVE IT!

LOOK AT THE DRIPPY JUICE! WATERMELON MIGHT BE THE BEST THING ABOUT SUMMER!

This girl – she’s a DEAR ONE!!

THANK YOU Matt & Johna for a FANTASTIC WEEKEND! We can’t WAIT to spend some time at the camp ground this fall!!

NATURE IS TOUCHING ME

Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,family,friends,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my town — admin at 11:35 am on Wednesday, August 8, 2018

My friend Johna LOVES camping! Their campground holds a cardboard boat regatta and they invited us to come along!

Fitzy LOVES Macy – they get along so well! They decided to race together in a boat!

Which means that Matt made the boat!

Fitzy LOVED hanging out with Macy and her friends and going around the campground – like a big giant kid!

They decided to name their boat The Macy Fitzgerald – which sounds like a VERY fancy boat name!

Fitzy had said that naming a boat the Titanic would NOT be the best idea!

We called it a night – but you’ll see the BOAT RACE in a few days!

LAND OF LITTLE HORSES

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,baby barden,bardenisms,farmlife,friends,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family — admin at 11:06 am on Wednesday, July 18, 2018

I’m sure you’ve read about my friend Trudy. We met when I went to college in Philadelphia. She was my RA and took me under her wing. I was so very homesick and she was so very supportive.

I transferred after one semester but we stayed close – thank GOODNESS for email and IM – in those days!

Trudy lives in Virginia about 7 hours away. When I got married – she was there. When she got married – I was there. But that time – I was IN the wedding AND photographing it. So – my friend and fellow photog Megan Hampton came along with me. Fitzy was 6 months old and Megan was pregnant with her first!

Jared and I met Trudy and her husband in Lancaster three years ago – but – she has TWO sweet boys now and I haven’t met them.

Megan and Trudy have stayed in touch over FACEBOOK and we messaged one day that we should meet halfway – in Gettysburg – at a place called Land of Little Horses!

Monday morning we piled our 5 kiddos in Megan’s van and started our 3 hour tour!

This guy – he has always reminded me of Fitzy – and seeing him in person – made it all the more true!

He is such a sweet pumpkin!

I mean – LOOK AT HIM!!

And this little pumpkin – she is SUCH A DOLL!

It was an UNBELIEVABLY hot and humid day. But when you make plans in advance THREE HOURS AWAY – you keep them!

THOSE BOYS TOGETHER!! OH MY HEART!!

That guy lounging on the bleachers – he is cut from the same cloth as my Enoch guy.

It’s absolutely wonderful having a friend like Megan who I love and respect who happens to have a son just like mine.

I can text her – tell her my frustrations about the stubbornness and the dedication of that sweet boy and she very much understands.

BROTHERS!! 13 months apart!

Typically the horse rides are outside – but thankfully they decided to hold them IN the arena!

We saw a horse that could ADD and stomp out the answer with his hoof!

This guy – he wanted to take this little horse home in our car! ALL THE LITTLE HORSES actually!

THOSE CHEEKS!!

Trudy and her boys left mid-afternoon – because as you mommas know – wrangling a one-year old and a two-year old in nearly 100 degree weather is EXHAUSTING and the kiddos get EXHAUSTED.

We hung out for a little bit to pet some horses!

He is very seriously trying to figure out how to smuggle those 2 horses home.

This guy loves his animals too!

This guy does NOT do well in the heat – but we made sure to stay hydrated and take lots of shade breaks!

ONE LAST PICTURE before we make the drive home!

And one stop at RED ROBIN to fill our bellies! YUM!

Megan – thank you for being adventurous and awesome! I LOVE YOU!

Trudy – thank YOU for making that trip with two kiddos – LITTLE KIDDOS! YOU ARE AWESOME!! I LOVE YOU!

WHAT DOES YOUR FRIENDSHIP LOOK LIKE!?

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