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“The days are long, but the years are short.” – Gretchen Rubin

That, folks, is parenting in a nutshell. Though there are days as a parent that seem impossibly long, every time your child’s birthday comes around you can’t believe another year has passed so quickly. And then comes that most mixed of all days – the day they leave home. When one part of you is bursting with pride at what you and they have accomplished and one part is fighting every urge to try and squeeze your adult child into a pair of footie jammies.

That is exactly where the Garris family was when we took these photos just days before their oldest son left for college. You can tell from these pictures how deeply connected they are to one another and it was such a pleasure to capture them right as they begin this new chapter in their family story. And thankfully, for all the parents missing their babies as they head off to college, Thanksgiving is only 78 days away.

She loves Elmo, playing with her hair, and her Mama. She points like nobody’s business and can’t get enough of Dr. Suess. She’s Addi, and, if you ask me, she’s pretty amazing.

I think she officially won my heart when she wiggled out of her mom’s arms as soon as she got outside because she just couldn’t wait to feel the grass between her fingers. Or maybe it was when she reached out for me to hold her and then cried when I put her down. Regardless, I think it’s fair to say that Addi has won the heart of most everyone she’s come into contact with, except for maybe her fellow passengers on the plane ride home from Hawaii last month.;)Addi’s parents look at her with such love in their eyes and they have created a fun, welcoming, and beautiful home in which Addi can grow.

Justin and Beth, thank you so much for inviting me into your home to document Addi as she turns one. She is so special, beautiful, and fun and I know she gets that from you two! I hope these photos capture Addi and the adorable person she is at this exact moment in time, because as all parents know, it just goes by so incredibly fast.

Here’s Addi a few days shy of her first birthday …

They told me his nickname is “Mad Max” but I didn’t see anything other than a sweet, precious, wonderful baby. Max is 3 months old and beyond words adorable. He is strong, giggly, and so incredibly loved by his Mom and Dad. Oh, and the family dog, Oliver. He loves Max too. He loves him so much his new favorite hangout is right under Max’s crib. Yep, Max is one loved little baby and it is easy to see why – as you’ll see in the photos below, he’s utter perfection.

Melissa and Jorge, thank you so much for inviting me into your gorgeous home to photograph your family. You guys are amazing and even in the few short hours I spent with you I could just feel the love radiating from your home. I look forward to staying in touch and watching sweet Max grow!

I love the idea of eloping. Don’t get me wrong, I love big weddings that allow an entire community to celebrate love, but there is just something so intimate and romantic about the idea of whisking away and eloping. Since eloping couples are a little hard to find, Whitney Mittmann of Whit Mitt Design and Events and I decided to put together our own styled elopement! We set our elopement in the desert because we thought that added to the isolated atmosphere created by an elopement. Our beautiful friends, newlyweds Mark and Beca, agreed to model for us and we were so blessed to have other amazing vendors participate with us. This photo shoot led to the creation of some of my favorite photos that I’ve ever taken and I hope you love them as much as I do!

The amazing vendors whose work is featured below:

Photography: Megan Hartley Photography
Stylist: Whit Mitt Design and Events
Desserts: Sweet and Saucy
Florals: Art with Nature Floral Design
Make Up: Flawless Faces
Rentals: Found Vintage Rentals
Boutonnieres: Rosie as a Button
Cake Stands/Plates: Sweet and Saucy Supply

Now, the beautiful Mark and Beca! Their real life love for one another made the photos authentic and so special.

Whitney and her sweet husband, Mark, created this gorgeous background to serve as the ceremony site! How amazing are they?!

Kim of Art with Nature Floral Design put together all of the florals and I was absolutely blown away by her creativity and beautiful work! She also made the gorgeous floral crowns for the bride and flower girl! Thank you so much, Kim!

Even though it was an elopement, we still wanted to have a flower girl and ring bearer because … well, they are cute! They added such great energy to the shoot and are such sweet kids!

{Found} Vintage Rentals provided the perfect chairsĀ  for our sweetheart table and they also provided the yarn spools which gave the shoot just the vintage feel we were going for.

Beca looked absolutely gorgeous thanks to makeup by the amazing Flawless Faces! For all of my 2012 brides – book them! Seriously … they are the best!
This awesome cake from Sweet and Saucy Shop incorporated so many of the elements from the shoot – the desert color palette, the yarn details … I am pretty much in love with everything Melody from Sweet and Saucy Shop dreams up!
A million thanks to all of the incredible people who made these photos possible! It was such a great day spent exploring creativity with a wonderful group of people! Thank you!!!