Hi there!  I'm Caiti and I am a wedding & portrait photographer living in Prince George, Virginia.  I am a music loving, doughtnut eating, coffee drinking, mama of 2.  This is the place where you can come to see my latest work with my beautiful clients and learn more about me, my husband, and our sweet babies.  Take a look around and enjoy! 

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Personal

March 5, 2017

My baby is 6! How did this happen?

I remember every thing about the day we found out that this little girl was in my belly. I remember it like it JUST happened!  But somehow, it was 6 years and 9.5 months ago that we found out. How in the WORLD has that much time passed? When you get pregnant, every one tells you that they grow up too fast. Before you know it they will be grown…blah blah blah. THEY AREN’T KIDDING!!! This is a FACT! You might feel like it took forever for you to “grow up” or whatever, but…to your parents…it was literally like 5 seconds. That is how I feel about Hayley turning SIX. Let me say that again…SIX!!!  That may not seem like much of anything to you, and if that is the case, then you probably aren’t a mom.  And that is totally okay for you to think that way, but I am over here trying to hold back tears because I kind of wish she was still a toddler. I wish she hadn’t grown up so fast. I wish that I had savored it more, ya know? I know she isn’t like 18 or graduating from high school or getting married or whatever…I get it! She is only 6. But, let me tell you what, even six feels just so grown up. She seems so big to me. She IS pretty mature, for her age. She has an older ‘attitude’ about her, and by attitude I mean – that girl is all sass and emotions!  She is 6 going on 16…..so yeah..I kind of wish she was still a toddler. haha!

The day we found out we were pregnant (with who we would come to find out was Hayley), we were at the beach with my parents, siblings, and nieces & nephew. I remember laying on the beach that day saying “Ugh, I have such bad cramps!”, assuming that I was about to have a very unpleasant visitor (that is so TMI, and I am sorry!). A couple hours later, I started doing the math in my head and realized I was actually a few days late. I immediately mentioned it to Anthony and he said we needed to go buy a pregnancy test!  We told the family that we were going to run to the grocery store to grab a few things we were low on and grabbed a test while we were there. I took it as soon as we got back, while everyone was getting ready to go out to dinner.  I remember just standing there in the bathroom. I was so anxious. I was doing all I could to keep from completely breaking down!

You see…it was almost exactly three months, to the day, that Anthony & I had gone in for an ultrasound at almost 10 weeks pregnant. We saw that little baby on the screen, looking like a gummy bear with little arms & legs barely sprouting out. The ultrasound tech was so sweet to me, knowing it was my first pregnancy. She got really quiet…then reached out and put a hand on my arm. She said “I see your baby, but I do not see a heartbeat. Let me go get another tech.” She walked out and I couldn’t breathe. No one prepared us for this. This was not a thought that ever crossed my mind. The other tech came in and she told us the same thing – she couldn’t find a heartbeat. Our original tech, with tears in her eyes, started explaining to me that I was having a miscarriage. She had just experienced one a few months prior, as well. She left the room and I lost it. But you know what, people flooded us with love and encouragement, because this is not some taboo subject. So many amazing women have miscarried so many precious babies, and while it is incredibly tragic, they were there to help us emotionally get through it. And, God answered our prayers and blessed us immensely just a few months later!!  That little angel baby is always in our hearts and we mourned his/her lost very tragically.  However, I know that sweet thing knows nothing but Jesus (and that makes me happy)!

Back to Hayley! So, I sat there, in that bathroom at the beach, watching the seconds tick away until I could look at the test. And there it was – PREGNANT!!  We were so overjoyed and so terrified!!  Within seconds of seeing that positive test, my sister walked in the room and she immediately knew what we were doing!!  She was SO happy!  Our whole family was! So many loving people had been praying for healing and for a beautiful baby to join our family.  Our prays had been answered and we had our rainbow baby!  Cue lots and lots and lots of vomiting, swollen everything, and 9 months of not having a clue what was about to happen!

Here is where people go deep with birth story information….I will spare you.  Moving on.

This girl has changed our lives in the best ways possible! She is such a bright light!  She is sweet, caring, emotional, smart, witty, sarcastic, silly, sassy, carefree, clumsy, and so full of love! She loves to read and draw.  She loves dolls, calico critters, and playing anything that involves some SERIOUS imagination!  Hayley keeps us all on our toes and sometimes makes me want to pull ALL of my hair out! Girls are tough….I know because I remember myself as a child & a teenager…but its a whole new thing when you are RAISING a girl. Some days, I don’t know how I am going to do this, but I know God gives me the strength (and patience) I need every day. He also – somehow – makes me love her & her brother more and more every single day.

If parenting has taught me one thing, it is that I honestly do not know anything.  You can think you have it all figured out and then, BAM, you get hit with a curve ball!  One thing is for sure though – it is the most beautiful & rewarding thing I have ever, and will ever do.  To love something with all you have, until it physically hurts, knowing they could never make you NOT love them, is incredible!  It is the closest I can get to understand (even slightly) how Jesus loves me.

We are SO blessed to have Hayley Rae in our lives and these past 6 years have been nothing short of amazing! I love being her mom and can not wait to see the young lady she becomes.

Here are a few pictures from this past year of her life that show off who Hayley is and what she loves. Most are iPhone photos sooooooo no judgement (haha)! Why is it so hard for photographers to take legit pictures of their OWN family?

Hay loves to draw and we discovered Art For Kids Hub on YouTube this year!  Game changer!
Caiti Garter Photography, Personal Post, Birthday, Hayley Rae,
Just running around a Busch Gardens, looking like a teenager!  Why doesn’t she look so grown!?
Caiti Garter Photography, Personal Post, Birthday, Hayley Rae,
Mason is her very best friend…whether she knows it or not….and they ADORE each other!  Melt my heart.
Caiti Garter Photography, Personal Post, Birthday, Hayley Rae,
Such a little mama, all the time!  Caiti Garter Photography, Personal Post, Birthday, Hayley Rae,
Hayley loves clothes and loves dressing like the “older kids”.  I love it too!
Caiti Garter Photography, Personal Post, Birthday, Hayley Rae,
Oh yeah, she started Kindergarten this year so that was a big deal!  She has gone from wanting to be a police officer to wanting to be a lifeguard.  I’m not sure which one I prefer.
Caiti Garter Photography, Personal Post, Birthday, Hayley Rae,
Just being cute & sassy.  When she feels really cute, she wants me to take her picture.
Caiti Garter Photography, Personal Post, Birthday, Hayley Rae,
The beach is her all time favorite place – as it should be!  She has asked to live there and I haven’t ruled it out!
Caiti Garter Photography, Personal Post, Birthday, Hayley Rae,
Caiti Garter Photography, Personal Post, Birthday, Hayley Rae,
Caiti Garter Photography, Personal Post, Birthday, Hayley Rae,
Hayley’s Trolls party was yesterday (that blog post is coming soon) and she had the best time ever!!
Caiti Garter Photography, Personal Post, Birthday, Hayley Rae,

I want to leave you with a little excerpt from a note I wrote to Hayley. I have written her random notes in a journal since she was born.  This one was from a note I wrote her right after she turned 3. This is a legit look at motherhood at its finest!

“HayRae,
You are driving me CRAZY! Some days, I really do not understand you. You are 3 going on 13. I can not handle it. Something has got to give, girl. It is kind of fascinating though….you are being so sweet and cute, yet so disobedient & selfish at the same time. I want to scream at you, then kiss you. It is EXHAUSTING. You are exhausting. But I LOVE YOU!!!! And I am simply crazy about you! You are my world and always will be!”

That may sound a little extreme, but that is a real deal look at parenting….especially parenting an emotional little girl! Can I get an AMEN?!

Here is what it says at the beginning of her notebook:

You are my princess & warrior
You are little but you are strong & fierce
You are beautiful & brave
I love you baby…to the moon & back.

Thanks for reading about my beautiful birthday girl!

  1. Mai

    March 6th, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. <3

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