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: family,holiday,just because,my family,parties — admin at 12:31 pm on Wednesday, January 2, 2019

If you didn’t know – we live right next to my husband’s parents. And a few houses down from them – Jared’s uncle & aunt!

Marilyn asked if I would take a few photos of the four of them together for Christmas!

Brenda & her brother!

MAKE SURE YOU GET THE PICTURES!! MAKE SURE YOU MAKE THE TIME for the people that you consider dear to you!!


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 caamano,family,farmlife,holiday,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family — admin at 12:59 pm on Monday, December 10, 2018

It’s rare that my sister AND her hubby get to come home – so we grabbed a few shots of their little family!!

Jack Jack – I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! Samm & Xavier – I love you guys too!!


Filed under: baby barden,baby caamano,family,farmlife,holiday,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family — admin at 11:14 am on Thursday, December 6, 2018

We didn’t think my brother would make it home for the holidays this year – but he did! His wife stayed in Ohio and worked but he brought the kiddos out for Thanksgiving!

On Wednesday night – Thanksgiving Eve – Jared & Fitzy were in Cleveland for a BASKETBALL game!! They stayed at the Westin and had a GREAT time!

BUT – my controlling momma heart was kind of FREAKING OUT a little!! I wasn’t able to really breathe until they pulled in the driveway! WHEW!!

They got in a little after 2 on Thanksgiving and grabbed a plate of food and then opened Christmas presents!!


Enoch 5 – Fitzgerald (who is asking to change his name to just Fitzy) 7 – Rowyn 7 (soon to be 8) – Jack 3 (so close to 4) – Judah 6 – QUITE THE CREW!

That’s only the 23rd gun to add to their collection!!

Rowyn wants to be an ARTIST!! BRING ON THE PAINTS & CANVAS!!

Judah – have you been noticing his faces!! They are the best!

Jack calls me Daniel – and Samm loves it! It IS pretty adorable!


My sister is OBSESSED with the poop emoji – so my dad got her a special gift – PASS THE POOP!!

And every year we have to line the kiddos up and get the NEW picture – they are growing TOO FAST!!

We had a GREAT Thanksgiving with our families!!


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: baby caamano,family,farmlife,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family,portraits,samantha — admin at 12:18 pm on Saturday, November 17, 2018

My sister came home for a long weekend in October.

We had an eventful Saturday – making glass pumpkins – going out for pizza AND Iron Kettle Pumpkin Farm!

Her hubbie wasn’t able to get away from work – but we needed some new pictures of Jack!

He’s gonna be FOUR after Christmas – CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT! FOUR! I seriously feel like I was JUST driving to NJ to be there for his birth.

I love that one!

His one front tooth is longer than the other – significantly longer – it’s ADORABLE! I LOVE IT!!

That Fitzy guy & Jack – they are kindred spirits!

Jack recently started speech therapy – he has quite the speech delay. Fitzy was in physical therapy when he was about 16 months old because he wasn’t walking yet. Jack walked late too.

My sister. She is calmer – gentler – more patient – much more chill than I am. Less selfish. She doesn’t have an agenda she “needs” to complete everyday.

She has literally soaked up every single moment of motherhood that she could.

Anyway – back to the speech therapy. She also made an appointment to get him into a child development specialist – with a RIDICULOUSLY long waiting period. MONTHS & MONTHS.

She had that appointment on Halloween – or right near it. She called me – and said – she said that Jack is on the Autism spectrum.

I listened – which is hard for me – something I am constantly working on. I asked how she was. Good. He’s a great kid. He’s gentle. Calm. Chill.

We had talked about it a while ago – years ago. The way he handles things – that’s the best way I can describe it. He’s so specific.

We’ve watched Jack while Samm & Xavier went out to dinner – once. He knows his trains. He is pleasant and sweet. Gentle and loving. The only time there’s any issue – when he has to share something or when something doesn’t go the way he wants – which is pretty normal – and not just for toddlers!

Fitzy is VERY specific about times. Being late – unacceptable. He lined his toys up. Sorted them. OVER & OVER & OVER again. Jack lines all the things up – always.

Enoch gets VERY obsessed about sorting his basketball cards. He was VERY obsessed with Red – she’s a bully – she pushes the other cows around.

Jack is considered very high functioning on the spectrum. I told my sister – I can’t say I’m sorry to you. Because there’s nothing wrong with him. He’s not broken. He doesn’t need to be fixed.

Some things are going to be harder – YES. BUT SO MANY THINGS ARE HARDER ALREADY. Life is pain. But there is so much beauty from pain.

He IS amazing. He WILL be amazing. And his mom and dad ARE AMAZING!! And remember – AMAZING means so many different things. We have to change OUR thinking.


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: 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!!


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!

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