Month: August 2012

  • There Was Once a Garden Wedding…



    follow this post here.



    And so it’s part two of the wedding, way back in June!
    I am so excited to finally have the pictures uploaded and ready to show you!
     [And edited a bit too, but that sounds funny for me to say since I just take pictures for fun.
    Talking about editing makes it sound like I think I'm a professional or something, and I so am not.]
    It’s been something on my want-to-do list ever since the day after the wedding.
    Three babies, a crazy summer, Zoe starting K-5, and numerous other things have almost brought blogging to stand-still for me.
    But even if I never blog again,
    I am determined to show pictures of one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever been to!

    Let me introduce you to

    The Wedding of Kenneth & Ervina
    ~ a garden reception ~

    This wedding was so special. From the calmness of the bride the week of the wedding,
    to the many people that helped set up the reception, to the fun bridal party ~ it was just beautiful in every way.

    Ervina was a bride unlike almost any I’ve ever seen.
    Her prayer was that her wedding and week of the wedding would not be a crazy and stressful time,
    as weddings can often be, but that it would be a time of peace and joy.
    And her prayer was answered.
    Ervina was radiant, refreshed, and peaceful the whole week.
    I’m her sister, and to say that I didn’t see her stressed for a moment is saying a lot.
    Her peaceful spirit carried over into all areas of the wedding.

    The morning of the wedding dawned clear, bright, and perfect as anyone could wish.
    And really, the whole day was simply perfect.
    The ceremony was like a worship experience,
    and the sweet presence of Jesus was so clearly evident that day!

    Because of how the day was planned with the photographer and everything else, it was such a relaxed morning.
    The bride went running early in the morning, and returned for some quiet time with Jesus before the day began. ♥
    Some of her friends brought her Starbucks coffee as she was getting ready,
    and another brought souffles from Panera for the bridesmaids!
    Goodness, it was fun.

    Shoes – purchased from
    Embellished with flowers and feathers by yours truly

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    Dress Sash
    Francesca’s provided part of the inspiration with the cream flowers,
    and I filled in with the white, lace, and bird cage veil netting.

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    [goodness, not to draw attention to it or anything, but i'm rather in awe of her tiny waist!]

    My grandmother helped me finish up the last stitches. These hands are precious…

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    Beautiful bride’s bouquet.

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    The Bridal Party went to a beautiful old train station for the pictures.
    Most of the pictures I have from there are thanks to a friend of the bride who snapped a few for me.

    Ervina had an assortment of flowers for the bridesmaids to make their own bouquets the morning of the wedding!
    I thought it such a lovely idea. Each bouquet was so unique, and reflected the style and personality of each bridesmaid.

    My sister Jana ended up making mine for me ~
    in between helping the bride with hair, french manicure on her toes,
    my two girls with curling irons for their hair and getting dressed, my own self to get ready, I didn’t have a moment to spare that morning!
    I loved the bouquet she made for me. Peonies are one of my very favorite flowers, and I had several of them!

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    The bridesmaids were asked to wear lace, in shades of cream, ivory, or soft pink, and could make them any style.
    Ervina’s dress was lace also, so the only thing she asked was that they be knee-length to set her own dress apart.
    The dress I made from a sheet and a piece of lace from an antique shop turned out rather to my liking,
    although making it in my two-week postpartum state for the wedding at 5 weeks postpartum was rather a challenge.
    [can we say that crunches began in earnest two days after the baby's birth, and other forms of exercise began much earlier than usual?]

    The shoes were also our own choice. 
    Remember the shoe dilemma I posted about before the wedding? So many pretty shoes, and I can only pick one pair?
    I went a bit more fun and choose the cream with polka dots. I’ve worn them quite a bit since, so I think it was a good choice.

    So many darling shoes!

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    The Bride & Groom

    The day of being a bride… it’s a day that is gloriously wonderful, a dream come true.
    Ervina was radiant and gorgeous.
    Kenny’s eyes said it all as he looked at her ~ this man adores his bride.

    The Groom & Groomsmen

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    Bridal Party

    This is the only picture I have of the whole bridal party, so forgive the blurry, not looking, etc. etc.

    Bride & Sisters

    These two are the best friends in the world.


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    A light-hearted moment.

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    Father. Mother. Third Daughter. Third Son-in-law.
    [except we don't call them in-laws in our family. we just call them brothers.]

    Mother. Daughter.

    The Barkman siblings

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    Sister with Big Little Brothers.

    Sisters again!
    This may or may not be one of my very favorite sister pictures ever.

    The Barkman Family, now with three married daughters!

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    [edit: HOW could I forget to add that this particular flower girl was found in the swimming pool by Rachel Beachy and husband,
    during the reception?? Fully clothed in flower girl attire and all. Thank goodness for friends. :) ]

    Flower Girls and Program Attendent

    The Yoder Family ~ Groom’s family

    Again, the only picture I have of the whole family. Sorry you all!
    [is it better to not show it at all or to show it with half the people hidden?]

    Kenny and his four beautiful and sweet sisters.
    I don’t know who is more lucky – Ervina, to have them for sisters-in-law, or they, to have Ervina for a sister-in-law.

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    The dashing Mr. & Mrs. Good

    Kenny’s nieces

    beautiful sisters~

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    Jillian, darling flower girl

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    The most darling little two-year old boy present [nephew of the groom]

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    The Reception was held on my parents’ beautiful property underneath a tent large enough to hold 350 people.
    It was gorgeous, it was simple, it was breathtaking.
    It had a feel of elegant and royalty, but with the ease and enjoyment of a garden party.

    I think I especially enjoyed it because our very own wedding was set in this exact spot seven years ago.
    A big white tent was set up in the meadow,
    the grounds were meticulously prepared by mom and helpers for months before,
    and it was just a magical feel about it ~ both our wedding, and Ervina & Kenny’s!
    Being there in that place with a wedding brought back so many special memories!

    Ervina & Co. (meaning friends, family, & relations) helped create an outdoor seating area.
    It was Ervina’s brainchild, and we enjoyed helping far too much.
    Part of my wedding gift was the ‘Mr.’ and ‘Mrs.’ and ‘happily ever after’ pillows I made for them, which they used at the seating area.

    The sofas and chairs were picked up at yard sales and second-hand stores, with the exception of the white sofa.
    This beautiful vintage sofa my mother found for free beside the road!
    It was missing legs, but that was easily remedied for the occasion.
    I gave my family strict instructions never to part with the sofa.
    I will carry it upon my back, from Pennsylvania to Georgia, if need be,
    before they are allowed to sell it! :)
    That’s how much I love it.

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    The guest book signing area, complete with Claudia’s vintage record player
    that was actually playing as guests walked through and signed.

    My husband helped create a doorway going from the outdoor seating area to the tent reception,
    from beautiful old doors from Kenny & Ervina’s actual house that they had bought and were remodeling.

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    The guestbook, ideas by Ervina, carried out by Jana.

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    During their nearly two years of dating, Kenny & Ervina wrote many letters to each other.
    They chose to do this rather than emails, for the sake of old-fashioned communication,
    the fun of getting real letters in the mailbox, and having the hand-written notes.
    If you notice, the top letter went all the way to Cambodia,
    and it was not the only one Kenny sent during Ervina’s 3 months there the summer of 2011.
    There were a  bundle of letters at the wedding, but securely tied with ribbon lest guests think they were free for the reading. :)

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    A chalkboard timeline of significant events of their relationship.

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    Refreshements before the meal included make-your-own yogurt parfaits,
    and three kinds of drink: iced coffee, strawberry lemonade, and sweet tea.
    I’m not sure if the drinks were the hot item or if the guests kept returning for refills or because of the adorable straws in blue vintage jars.

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    My husband Ben and daughter Olivia, with my brother James.

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    Table Arrangement Details

    The guest tables were set up in long rows, with white tablecloths and linen runners placed on top of them.

    The centerpieces were wildflowers and flowers from friends’ gardens,
    snipped and set in glass vases of all kinds - Ervina found them all over at thrift stores and goodwills.
    It created such a symmetry, and yet diversity, that was gorgeous!

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    Soon after Kenny & Ervina’s engagement in October, Ervina and Claudia began collecting plates and goblets for the wedding.
    Not just for the bridal party, but for all 350 guests!
    It created such an elegant atmosphere with the real china, and yet the uniqueness and diversity of the plates made it fun and relaxed.

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    As for favors, Ervina and some of her friends made strawberry jam and put it in small glass jars, embellished with lace and twine.

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    The Bridal Table was similar to the guest tables,
    but with all white and green arrangements, chargers, selected plates & goblets, and cloth napkins.
    There was a gentle beauty that was breathtaking about the day, and about the reception, and particularly this table.
    It was such an honor to be seated there!

    We made the lace hoops from lace Ervina collected throughout her engagement and from large embroidery hoops,
    and hung them alternating with glass jars with candles.

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    Our own little family. ♥


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    And thus concludes the day of loveliness…
    May their marriage be even more beautiful.

    To see more images, visit the photographer’s website here.
    Tori captured some beautiful exquisite pictures of the day, and her style of photography is so natural and creative!
     If that post receives 25 comments, Ervina will be enter a drawing for a big enlargement, so comment away on there! :)





  • Tidbits & Snippets


    The computer is propped up on the butcher block countertop in the kitchen,
    providing me with Fernando Ortega while I’m attempting my baking day.

    It’s not every week [or every month, for that matter] that I designate an entire day to baking.
    But, you see, there is a long-anticipated weekend with extended family in the lovely region of southern Ohio this weekend,
    and there is much preparation to be done.

    The kiddos are writing on the kitchen chalkboard, as I write,
    fulfilling what I hoped for and envisioned when we were designing the kitchen.
    Baby is in his bouncy seat, playing with his little toys
    [since when did 3 month old boys become old enough to play with toys already?].
    Cinnamon rolls are baking in the oven and spreading an old-fashioned aroma throughout the whole house.
    I should learn to love baking, if just for that smell. :)

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    [Zoe's rendition of the alphabet, by herself]

    Adding to the “mmmmmmm” factor in my kitchen there is also Pam overspray on my floor,
    singing a duet with flour-dusting beside it.
    There are dishes overflowing my sink, cookie crumbs on the floor from sneaking kiddos.
    There was both a spider and a roach the size of small dogs in my kitchen this morning that I killed with fervor.
    I do think I will need a deep-cleaning when this is all over!

    This summer has been one-of-a-kind in its busyness.
    While I’m not even sure what all has made it seem the dizzy merry-go-round that it is,
    I do know that simply having an infant that eats every few hours is one of the things,
    along with 3 family weddings since March,
    and a major bathroom remodel at school that we’re partially in charge of and provide much manual labor for.

    For once I may have a short and sweet little post on my blog. :)
    This is just a little popping in to say ”hello!”

    My sister has been begging for pictures, and said I can just put up a few and say, “Each picture is worth a thousand words.”
    So, this is for her. :)
    One of these days, if I ever attempt a catchup, there will be an overabundance of both words and pictures.
    Just a warning/brace yourself. :)


    She’s a little monkey.
    How one little child can melt me in a puddle one minute and exasperate me so completely the next,
    I’m not sure. I do know that we adore her, and we can’t imagine our family without her.

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    huddy 1

    I caught this picture one Sunday afternoon, just wanting to capture the sweetness of them napping together.
    Baby gave me a little smile in his sleep, which absolutely slayed me.

    It’s so hard to believe this little guy just turned three months old.
    WHERE did time go? WHAT happened to my baby??
    People guess him around 6 months old already, and that’s his clothing size
    [although I try to squeeze him into 3 month clothes that are too cute to pack up already].

    It’s funny, how when you have a baby that is small and petite
    you think she’s just absolutely perfect and adorable and you’re so proud of her littleness.
    And when you have a baby that is on the top of the charts and fast outgrowing clothes and gaining weight
    you think that is perfection, and you couldn’t be more proud.
    I’ve had it both ways, and both ways are so perfect.
    It makes each one so unique, so original. I love it!

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    He’s still a little baldy, with just a few hairs sprouting a’top his little head.
    With my girls I would just wear hats and headbands to draw attention elsewhere.
    This little guy? Well, let’s just say he and Mr. Clean would be good friends on appearances. :)

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    Ben stopped me while I was mowing on Saturday and said I needed to take a picture of Hudson.
    He had taken him outside with the rest of us, and Hudson fell asleep with Zoe’s thoughtful props.

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    Nearly every day I think about how perfect Hudson is for our family.
    Before he was born I just couldn’t even imagine our family with a boy.
    Of course I wanted a son one day, but after two girls, we just kind of seemed like a girly-girl family.
    I grew up with four girls all in a row, and thought that was perfect.

    It’s just so beautiful to see how God hand-creates each family.
    To be so unique, so original, so perfect for them. Girl, girl, boy. It’s perfect for us.
    Even though I still hope for my four girls some day. And a brother for Hudson. :)
    I suppose we’ll wait and see what God’s Perfect for us is.


    We spent a day with Anthony & Jana one weekend, since they live only a few hours from us now!
    We visited their charming little southern home, enjoyed Jana’s good cooking,
    and had fun with family because so close for the first time since I moved here 6 years ago!

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    ^^ this is what they could be like in seven years, we told them, if they follow us. :)

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    Olivia sure likes her Uncle Anthony.


    Zoe turned 5 the end of July, and we celebrated with a day and night at the ocean. [more pictures later]

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    [Little dresses compliments of Auntie Ervina. Next time, find one in my size, please?]

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    Ben turned 32 last week, and we had a little in-house party, with in-house people only.
    Because of our busy summer, and being gone so much in the evenings,
    he requested that we have no guests but just enjoy a family night. We did that.

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    Birthdays mean you pick the menu.
    Husband chose Taco Salad.
    Really? He’s too easy to please.

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    On his birthday with the three kiddos.

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    Something so important to us, but hard to make happen. Especially since Baby #3.
    Such an event calls for dressing up, and a picture to remember it by.
    Oh, and a tripod, since there was no Zoe around to take a picture.

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    We celebrated seven years in June, and I have to say, this past year has been my favorite yet.
    God is so good to us. He’s so faithful to redeem, to continue to work in us despite our weaknesses.
    And marriage is worth fighting for!
    I’m so humbled when I realize that my marriage isn’t just about Ben and me -
    it’s about being given the sacred opportunity to showcase Jesus Christ to the world.
    I read This Momentary Marriage by John Piper within the past year or so,
    and marriage has taken on a whole new wonderful meaning.

    And now the dishes are washed and food in the freezer. I find myself humming along to “Arky Arky”
    which the kids requested during their visit to the kitchen and I forgot to change the music afterwards.
    Sometimes I think being a mom is like being given a second childhood. :)

    Wishing you all a beautiful week!
    ~ clarita