STARTING KINDERGARTEN

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!!

HOW WAS YOUR SUMMER!?

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

FRIENDS

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!!!

 

JACK JACK

Filed under: baby caamano,farmlife,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family,portraits,samantha,top o' the hill — admin at 11:59 am on Thursday, July 25, 2019

Jack has a Christmas birthday – and winter in PA is usually NOT the best time to take outdoor portraits!!

So – we had a half-birthday shoot!!

Jack will be FIVE this Christmas! FIVE!? Gah. How is that possible.

Last year he was diagnosed with Autism. He had a pretty severe speech delay.

And now. NOW. I can’t get together with my sister and him without crying.

He talks SO MUCH. He understands SO MUCH. He asks SO MANY QUESTIONS.

Did you know that finding a therapy that works for YOU and YOUR child is THE KEY!!

Go with your gut – and sometimes you have to go with the gut of the people that love you and want the best for you.

Sometimes a diagnosis is TERRIFYING. The thought of a diagnosis is crippling.

And sometimes a diagnosis is THE KEY.

Jack is kind. Jack is empathetic. Jack is FULL of questions. And a while ago – he wasn’t.

And my sister cried because he wasn’t talking. And now we cry because he doesn’t STOP talking!!

This is where his mom & dad said YES – FOREVER!!

MY FAVORITE!!

NOPE – THAT one is my favorite!!

And one of us together – because I don’t think I have ANY of us together!!

I think he looks more like me than my sister – if he looks anything like anyone except his dad – because he’s his clone!

JACKIE BOY – we love you so much and are SO PROUD of all you’ve done and all that you WILL do!

FARM LIFE

Filed under: animals,baby caamano,farmlife,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family,my town,top o' the hill — admin at 12:29 pm on Wednesday, July 24, 2019

My sister came to visit in July – so we all stayed at the farm together!!

I posted a blog recently where Enoch helped my mom make food for Ebony and feed her. Jack hadn’t been able to help yet – so Enoch had to step aside – which was HARD for him.

You know what else is hard!? Navigating boundaries and relationships with your siblings when you all have kids and parent differently!

My sister lives 3 hours away and my brother about 6 – we live about 45 minutes from my parents. We see them quite often.

And when we are all visiting together – I have a hard time. Because I want to see my family and I want my kids to experience their cousins. BUT I also want my niece and nephews to experience G & Pa without my kids there monopolizing ALL the time and attention!!

SO – Enoch had a little bit of a hard time handing it over to Jack – because we are a selfish race!

AND – he ended up doing really well with the sharing! After his initial whining of course.

Jack is 13 months younger than Enoch – but they’re about the same size – the Trout genes are strong!!

THOSE GUYS – Jack only calls him Enochguy and Enoch usually calls him Jackieboy!

I LOVE THAT SHOT!! Makes me laugh every single time!!

That’s Red and her gorgeous little guy – Brownie!!

I hope we have a few more years with Red!!

Jack with his little arm around G – I know that everyone loves their mom – but our mom is AMAZING!!!

THAT FACE!!! Like I said – EVERY CHILD should grow up on a farm!!

That guy – look at how GROWN UP he is looking!!

THAT SHOT – I see teenage Enoch in that face!!

ALSO – if you need a cat – if you want a cat – DO YOU WANT A CAT!? My parents might have a few you could take!!

Do you drop off your pregnant cats at farms – PLEASE don’t.

We are NOT bringing a kitten home – but if we did – it would be that one!!

FARM LIFE

Filed under: an hour in the life,bardenisms,family,farmlife,kiddos,lifestyle,my family,top o' the hill — admin at 11:32 am on Sunday, July 21, 2019

I truly believe that every child should grow up with a farm!!

Ebony thinks that Enoch and Fitzy are her cow friends – or maybe she thinks she is a person like them!

That little kitten found a home a few weeks ago!!

THESE are the memories I put on my walls!

Enoch is VERY bothered by the flies that stay on Ebony – so he thought if he held on to her – they would leave her alone!

That guy …

They’ve stopped counting at 20 – because – farm life means an abundance of farm cats. Because people love dropping off their cats in the country.

That one – she is such a sweetie – and she already found a home!

That’s Red’s sister – Blondie. It’s how we decorate the farm – and my kitchen!!

FARM LIFE

Filed under: an hour in the life,animals,bardenisms,family,farmlife,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family,top o' the hill — admin at 12:19 pm on Saturday, July 20, 2019

My parents have a small farm – and Enoch LOVES the cows! He has loved them since he was a baby – even though their MOO scared him so much he shook!!

Right now they have a baby girl that needs bottle fed! E was SUPER excited to help make the formula AND feed her!

ALSO – if you want a little kitten – they’ve got LOTS to pick from!!

Her name is Ebony! Her mom kicked her in the head and wanted nothing to do with her – so my parents adopted her!

I rarely take REAL pictures of my kiddos anymore – it’s something that I struggle with – living in the moment or living behind the camera capturing the moment.

I’m so happy I pulled my camera out for THESE moments!!

LIFE WITH THE BARDENS

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!

FARMLIFE

Filed under: bardenisms,farmlife,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family — admin at 11:50 am on Tuesday, June 25, 2019

We’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for babies!!

AND WE HAVE ONE!! Red had a baby!!

My dad wasn’t sure if Red would have a baby since she’s getting older!!

And these barn kittens!! HE LOVES THE ANIMALS!!

We LOVE having a farm to love all the animals!!

ENOCH GRADUATES PRESCHOOL

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!

SINGING THEIR HEARTS OUT!!

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!

THAT SWEET SMILE!

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.

 

MAKING THIS HOUSE A HOME

Filed under: bardenisms,family,just because,my family,my town — admin at 1:28 am on Tuesday, May 14, 2019

You may have seen these photos already – from TWO years ago when Matt Neal Contracting, Inc. gave our house an amazing facelift!

We were going to tackle the back last year but then life happened. So – we did it this spring!

BUT – siding the back meant making the windows and doors what we wanted them to be long-term.

Which meant tackling the kitchen and the storage room that stood on the back of the kitchen.

Which meant combining those rooms together. Which meant a new foundation underneath the kitchen – because one didn’t exist.

Which meant looking at the roof – which needed to be redone.

Which meant new walls and flooring in the kitchen & new dining room.

Which meant a new stove since the existing one was hard wired into the floor. You get the idea.

Improve one thing and discover all the things that need to go along with that ONE new thing!

That has been our kitchen for the last 14 years – a kitchen that was claustrophobic. Dark. Depressing. Covered in carpet remnants.

AND NOW LOOK AT THIS PLACE!!

That’s the view from the corner of the storage room – now our dining room!!

And from the back of the house – a packed full storage closet. Cold and serving no purpose but to house stuff we didn’t need.

And the back corner – looking out into the door that led to the porch that we never used.

AND NOW – beautiful windows opening up to our BEAUTIFUL deck!!

We found LOTS of interesting things ripping apart this old house!

And the beauty from ashes – INCREDIBLE!!!

Our vaulted ceiling! ABSOLUTELY DIVINE!!

Matt had the idea of the exposed wood. The floating beam and the one over the door were from the old storage room!

The boards framing the door and the corners were something Matt had in his shop and fit PERFECTLY in this new space!!

And the wood at the peak – the barn boards that were holding up the west end of the house!

Matt made a counter/table from an old door in his workshop – turning my vision into reality!!

Do you see that light above the sink?! I’ve never had one!! It’s miraculous!!

Isn’t it ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!! I still can’t believe that it’s really real and really DONE!!!

AN AMAZING BEFORE & AFTER!!!

We are SO INCREDIBLY HAPPY with the finished product!!

Matt happens to be a friend of ours – and he’s done all the work on our house.

I can’t tell you how happy we are with his crew. Matt knew what I was looking for and several times made decisions that went above & beyond!!

I cannot believe that all the tools are gone. All the equipment off the deck. DONE.

In the span of a month (and a few days) (not including weekends and not EVERY day) Matt and his guys transformed our home into a thing of beauty.

THANK YOU!!

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