oma + pop's muddigush party | personal.

Watching my parents become grandparents has been one of my favorite things about having a child. The rules really do go out the window, all the stuff I wasn't allowed to do or have as a kid, Quinlan gets without a second thought. Chocolate milk with dinner? Ice cream afterwards even though she didn't eat the dinner? Another sip of Pop's soda even though we just brushed our teeth? It's all on the table.

I've watched my Dad set up some pretty ridiculous get-ups for her sake, like the homemade zip-line that carries stuffed animals from the top of the refrigerator all the way to the living room floor. Or the Matchbox car ramp propped up against the side of the couch where he lays down his own life for her to ram the cars into because it's so funny to watch Pop flinch. My Mom called me a few nights ago and says, "I can't tell you what your father is working on, but it's ridiculous."

So we showed up at their house with instructions to bring "clothes that can get dirty and never clean again" and found this - a kiddie pool filled with top soil and hose water, formally known as Muddigush, and a collections of pie tins, cake pans, and measuring cups. Bless.

Now there's something you should know about Quinlan - she is cautious for an adventurous child. I can't figure her out. She's fearless but careful. She doesn't want to get near the mud, but she wants to laugh at you while you squish your toes in. But eventually, her curiosity gets the best of her and she starts slapping together mud pies and dirt cupcakes and other sorts of gritty gross deliciousness.

Oma & Pop, we love you. Thank you for giving her messy memories and happy afternoons.


the catering barn mechanicsburg, pa wedding photographer | matt + emily.

When Matt and Emily met me in Gettysburg for their engagement session in the spring, I thought they were nice. They were a little quiet, obviously sweet on each other and more than happy to have their picture taken, but I knew I was only scratching the surface. They told me about their wedding, it would be small-ish with no bridal party but full of friends and family. Emily told me how she snagged a beautiful barn (it really is one of the prettiest barns I've ever photographed in) and that she was obsessed with her gown - she showed me the stitched-in navy blue heart she cut out from one of Matt's uniform shirts above the hemline of her dress. I heartily welcomed her to the Police Wives Club but assured her the worries outweigh the perks (I think she'll be a great addition even if you can't get out of parking tickets).

One of the things that never ceases to surprise me about a wedding day is how it changes a couple in my eyes. That soft-spoken couple I met a few months prior was still there, but now there was an added dose of hysterical laughter coming from the girl's room; Emily was nearly splitting at the seams with happiness. She was completely relaxed - I told her I had forgotten there was no official bridal party, but she gestured to her sisters-in-law, her sweet Mama and mother-in-law, and said, "Everyone I need is right here." You just want to hug her. She's so down to earth, so invested her in the life she and Matt are building together, it's difficult not to want to be her friend.

Emily and Matt wanted to do knock out all the photographer pre-ceremony so they could head straight to the reception (this is an awesome idea for everyone involved - guests don't have to wait to enjoy the couple, the bride and groom can relax after the ceremony, family photos are done, etc.). I absolutely love a First Look - it really is a time reserved just for the couple, just a few precious moments to soak it up before all the hype begins and to kiss-kiss-kiss the person you love the most. Emily and Matt's was one of my sweetest I've ever seen. When I knocked on the guy's door to see if he was ready, the door swung open and Matt was standing right in the center of the room, fully dressed with an expression on his face that told me he had been ready to see Emily for some time now. There were tears and oh-my-gosh-look-at-you's and they are a cinch to photograph because they just melt together like the high-school sweethearts they are.

Their portraits are some of my new favorites - not only because the two of them together weave together seamlessly into each other's arms, but because it was thick as pea soup outside and my lenses were fogging up from the humidity and there were bugs everywhere and turkeys squawking at us from the barnyard and none of that mattered because...love always wins.

Matt + Emily! You two are a joy. Thank you for having me be a part of your beautiful wedding day and the start of your life together. Thank you for keeping this pregnant lady stuffed with barbecue sandwiches and making sure I had water and time to put my swollen feet up and for making me feel so appreciated. You're the best. xoxo.