Monday, November 29, 2010

Thankful for the Firsts

Last year I celebrated Thanksgiving with almost my whole extended family. We gathered around shrimp dip, a turkey fryer, green bean casserole and football games on T.V. and stuffed ourselves. When we thought we couldn’t possibly eat any more, we traded in the buttoned pants for comfortable sweats and picked up where we left off. Two days later, all the women in my family decorated the house, prepared more yummy food and celebrated that we were all going to be meeting Addisyn Faith in about a month. I remember thinking that being blessed with my fist child and having family and friends there to celebrate was the epitome of Thanksgiving. I didn’t think it could get any better…but it did.


This year our family has so much more to be thankful for. Steve and I have enjoyed more blessings in the past ten and a half months than in both of our lives combined. This is because even an ounce of love radiating from our little girl is enough to fill our hearts for a lifetime. It’s that powerful and has motivated us to love inspirationally and wholeheartedly. During a holiday season of gift giving, reaching out to others, and visiting with family and loved ones, I think of all the children who are not able to experience love from their family. Just the thought of this makes me hold my angel a little closer and hug her a little tighter because I know the greatest gift Addisyn will ever receive in life is the love from her family. That is why this Thanksgiving was beyond special for us. Addisyn experienced incredible love from a family she had never met. After ten and a half months, she was finally able to meet the rest of the members of her California family (Nana has flown out to Delaware to see her twice already) consisting of: Aunt Kasie, Uncle Matt, cousins Treydan and Matty, Uncle Robbie, and Pape for the first time. And so, this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all the “firsts” in her life.



Like her first family trip to California and her first time on an airplane


and her first Thanksgiving



I could kiss these cheeks all day!!!




and the first time she played with her cousins Treydan and Matty






and the first time she was able to meet the whole California family that love her so very much



and her first time wearing camouflage





and the first time she saw some live farm animals





And some other firsts that we get to share with you this week:

Addisyn’s first sign that she has learned is the word “MORE”

Addisyn’s first kiss given to her dad on Sunday morning

My first give away:
I am thrilled to be able to start doing give aways on my blog. As most of you know I am a bit obsessed with crochet hats and hairbands. Shauna is the owner of Bouquet Beanies and she is offering one lucky commenter the beanie hat below. She can make it for newborns up to adult sizes. Comment on my post below between now and Thursday at 6pm Eastern time and your name will be entered into the give away. The winner will be announced on Thursday at the end of Steve's blog post.  For more information on the item and Bouquet Beanies, click here


























With Love,

Stacy Hart


Thursday, November 25, 2010

One More for Love The Story: Chapter 2 - Stacking the Odds

Six a.m. came early that next morning. Drained from jet lag and late night television (Home Improvement reruns are my weakness), I forced open one blood shot eye to see the blurry, but accurate, 6:20 a.m. staring right at me proving the old adage: “hit snooze once shame on me, hit snooze twice wake up in a spastic frenzy!” Like anyone who has ten minutes to be out the door, I started to mentally separate the needs from the wants of my morning routine. Here we go.

Shower: want. They make some pretty high powered deodorant these days. I spread some on and moved to the next item. Shave: need. Blasted military regulations. Brush teeth: need. Ok, these two needs could both be done in the bathroom. Better yet, they could be done at the same time! Too risky. The chance of confusing my toothbrush for my razor was too high in my groggy state. I settled for an electric shave and some mouth wash. Uniform: need. Iron uniform: want. Boots: need. Shine boots: want. At 6:30 exactly I was headed down the hallway toward the check-in counter meeting minimum uniform requirements in every category.

Selena was waiting for me at the check-in counter, on time. I knew she was completely aware of my appearance and probably thought I’d slept on a card board box with my head next to a dumpster last night, but I didn’t care. Who was I trying to impress? If there was one thing I was keenly aware of in the military it was the guy to girl ratio. Depending on the career field, some of the ratios are as follows:

Medical – 3:1

Admin – 4:1

Maintenance – 50:1

I know, it looks sexist, but those are the breaks. Most women who join end up in medical, dental, finance, and admin while very few land with us in maintenance. Also, it didn’t help matters that Selena was maintenance and married which meant, assuming there was going to be at least one other female in the squadron of any shape or size, there would be ninety-nine other guys in the pursuit. These are guys who had been there for years, putting their respective plans into action and at different phases of the relationship building process. I was outnumbered, unfamiliar with the territory, and most likely the lowest ranking person there. Needless to say, my motivation was as worn as my uniform.

When we got to the squadron Selena took me through a side door of the two story main office building to report in. After a quick check in, as we walked down the hallway, Selena explained to me that we would be going out to the flightline which was where the planes were parked for maintenance while awaiting future missions. Then she directed me to wait by the front door once we got outside while she went to check out a tool box.

Once we got outside, Selena left for the tool crib and I did as I was told. Standing by the front door, I got my first look at the flightline. It was as if everything was put on fast forward. There were large, light blue bread trucks that sped around a loading area stopping in front of each of the two massive buildings in the loading area. At every stop, a set of airman would file out of the back of the truck carrying tools and test equipment while another set would file onto the truck carrying equipment of their own. Coming in from every direction I could hear the keying of walkie-talkies and fluent speaking of the phonetic alphabet. At the end of my scan, beyond the loading area, directly to my right, I saw two of the massive C-5 Galaxy aircrafts parked side by side on the flightline. I was completely intimidated. Not only did I have no idea what was going on, it just hit me that I would be responsible for maintaining the largest aircraft in the Air Force…where do I hide?

With a sudden onset anxiety attack, I pinned myself against the wall. Hey, maybe if I stood there long enough I would blend into the brick like a chameleon to a branch. I was wearing camouflage...come on nature, give me a chance. As you can probably guess by now, I started listing ways I could get myself off of this base, back to California, out of the military, and in a job where people’s lives weren’t depending on the success of my technical aptitude. I’d make a great T.V. critic; wonder if they’re hiring. But, before I could manage one decent plan of escape, a light blue bread truck stopped right in front of me. The back door flew open and out jumped Selena.

“Come on Hart, let’s go!” She yelled.

With no time to think, I jumped in the truck, put my head down, and grabbed a seat at the rear of the vehicle on one of the two long benches that ran across the walls. There were other people talking around me, but I continued to keep my head down. I didn’t want to risk them asking me a question that I would, without a doubt, not have an answer to. I even tried not to eaves drop, but as they continued to talk amongst each other I couldn’t help but over hear a female say she had recorded an audition tape for the show Survivor. I lifted my head slightly and glanced up to see a woman I would never forget.


* Tune in next Thursday for Chapter three and to find out the give away winner. The give away item will be announced on Monday's post.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

One More for Love The Story: Chapter 1 - Orders to Dela-where?

You see girls...nagging does work! I asked Steve like a BAZILLION times to write a short story for Addisyn (and the rest of our future soccer team) about our love story. He enjoys writing like I mentioned here and I think our love story pretty much ROCKS like I mentioned here.  Plus, I think it is a very cool legacy to pass on to our children as they get older. Wouldn't it be great if they knew how it all got started?

Leave it to me to push this one off on Steve.  There are a lot of details that I have yet to mention to you that Steve will tell you about (from his perspective of course) and I love that my man remembers and cherishes the same things about the beginning of our relationship, but words it a little more eloquently than I would. Go ahead, babe!

P.S. A new chapter will come out every Thursday to bring the blog post frequency up to TWO a week...(whoah...who is motivated now?)


One More for Love The Story

The Air Force is a gamble. You might think you have a choice, but ultimately whatever the Air Force needs you to do or wherever the Air Force needs you to be is what you’re doing and where you’re going. Period. I understand this calling now and am proud to serve my country, but in 2003, when I joined as a young and na├»ve 21 year old, I was caught thinking I might have a say in my future.

It was the second week of Basic Military Training (BMT) and I probably had a combined total of 35 hours of sleep since I’d arrived. I was waiting in line with the rest of my flight to fill out a piece of paper which was accurately labeled a “dream” sheet. That’s right…waiting. The less exciting side of BMT is standing at attention for hours with your eyes straight forward and hands pinned to your sides waiting to fill out ten minutes of paper work. Normally, I would use these precious hours to continue my training in upright, wide eyed slumber, but not today. I knew the selections I put on my dream sheet were going to be those that molded the future of my Air Force career. When I finally got to the front of the line I was wired and ready to go.

There were two sets of lists in this process. The first was a list of five military jobs I would like to have. It’s not exact, but my list went something like this:

1) The guy who trains the Astronauts

2) The guy who plays video games like in the commercials

3) The guy who wears a ten foot tall robot suit like in the video games

4) Maybe just the guy in the commercial pretending to play video games?

5) Top Secret Detective

I turned the list into the powers that be, spun the wheel of Air Force placement and…I was coded as an aircraft avionics specialist. Bummer. I know it sounds cool, but it doesn’t have the same pizzazz as a top secret video game expert who gets to moonlight as an astronaut training robot detective now does it? Air Force – 1, Steve – 0. The second list was the actual dream sheet. Here I was to list five places where I would like to be stationed. Even though my job wasn’t what I’d expected, at least I’d be living in style. Let’s see if they can get it right this time…my list:

1) Hawaii (let’s face it, there’s a base there and it would be awesome)

2) California (I’m from Cali and was feeling home sick already! Wouldn’t have minded to be back home with the fam)

3) Italy (enough said)

4) Florida (I’ve never been there, but heard Will Smith sing a song about Miami that made it sound dynamite)

5) Guam (Ok, I didn’t know where this was at the time, but it was so much fun to say that I had to put it on there)

I handed in the list and awaited the results. Drum roll… Survey said! – Dover, Delaware. Ouch. That stings Air Force…I trusted you. I need to be honest, I didn’t know where Delaware was either (thanks fifth grade geography, what happened to you?), but I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to feature Miami or Will Smith so I was completely devastated. How could my dreams of commercial stardom in Honolulu rise and fall so quickly? Air Force, what did I ever do to you?

After completing basic training and my four months of technical school (none of which involved even the slightest bit of sleuthing), I caught a plane out of Dallas headed into Philadelphia. I was met at the airport by a pleasant Senior Airman woman with a sweet smile and a comforting demeanor. She was stationed at Dover and had volunteered to pick me up from the airport. Her name was Selena. When we got into the city of Dover, she showed me all of the places I would need to know.

“Ok, Steve, this is the bar where everyone meets on Thursday nights.” She said, as we passed a restaurant that looked like a small house. “This one by the lake is where all of the college kids hang out on Fridays and have trivia night if you’re into that.”

At that time of my life I was into that, but I wasn’t into being in Delaware. I smiled and nodded at each of the venues, but inside I knew they wouldn’t be featuring anything with bead throwing or cruise ships so I mentally checked out. Of all the places I could have gone, it looked like I’d be letting loose in the house that Abe built or on the shore of Lake Boredom. After our tour of the town, Selena finally took me on base and dropped me off at billeting. I would be staying in a hotel room for a couple of days because the squadron was still working on getting me into a dorm.

“See you at 0630 at the check in counter. Work starts at 0700. Welcome to Dover.” She said and drove away.

There I was, finally at my mandated duty station with nothing to my name, but 50 bucks in the bank, a suit case full of uniforms, a gym bag packed with clothes, and a pocket full of shattered dreams. After I checked into my room and unloaded my belongings (which took all of about five minutes), I lay atop the covers of the stiff hotel mattress with my fingers crossed behind my head. I tried to recall the series of decisions from my California enlistment to my flight into Philli. I remembered saying goodbye to my mom with tears in her eyes and hoping she would understand that I had no other choice but to leave the mess I’d made and find a new beginning somewhere else. I thought about the dream sheet and how much better life would have been if I was lying on a hammock in Maui drinking a Mai Tai. I even thought about my friends back home and wondered how often I’d get to see them now that I was on the other side of the country. As I looped the timeline in my head, one question that continued to resurface was, “Why the heck did I end up in Delaware?” … Little did I know that tomorrow I’d meet the woman who would be the answer to that very question.

Come back this Thursday for the next chapter of One More for Love: The Story. God Bless - Steve

Yay to my mini photo shoot from this afternoon - Brittany and Christian are a married couple and are totally in love. It was so much fun hanging out with them this afternoon and I am so excited about these pics!

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With Love,

Stacy Hart


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Monday, November 15, 2010

Lesson Learned...and then some

My camera broke this week (which is kind of like having your building collapse in an ordinary small business). And not in the, “I am an enthusiast so although very annoying, I can wait for two weeks for it to be repaired kind of way”. Nope! It broke in the, “When I got home I sat on the edge of the couch and sobbed like a crazy woman because I am in the photography profession and can’t afford for this to happen” kind of way. I was at the end of a photo session for a friend and her three adorable winter clad boys when it just blacked out. As if it weren’t upsetting enough that I couldn’t photograph any more of those rosy little cheeks, I found out that I had to send my camera in for repair with no estimate of turnaround. I went from slightly stressed to a huge wreck in .0568 seconds. My husband was calm (kudos to him because I was a mess). He gingerly printed the UPS label, took his time to package the camera nice and neat, and then went for a leisurely drive to the nearest UPS center. Me? I couldn’t catch a positive thought if it whipped out a shiny silver pot and hit me over the head with it! This was the third lesson I have learned in the Photography industry. The first was to always have a media card backup and never place the used one in my pocket before I go on a carousel. The second was to always have a backup battery. Are you sensing a theme here? Yes, backups of everything! (including a camera) Luckily for me, I have amazing friends and they all came running to my rescue at a full sprint. Upon disclosing my panicked/crazy woman status on Facebook, I had three friends offer up their cameras in the interim and I was able to take pictures at a friend’s baby shower.

Although I started my weekend off with a break down (and that is putting it lightly) it played out quite nicely. I was surrounded by love and families all weekend. Most of my family gathered together in Fairfax, Virginia to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday. As we sat around the table in the middle of the busy restaurant, I had a moment. Oprah would call it an “Ah-ha” moment, but I call it a “thank the Good Lord for blessing my life” moment. I remember it in explicit detail. Addisyn was sitting on my lap chewing on a baby spoon and reaching for everything in her sight. The restaurant noise was muffled and faded into the background of our dinner conversation. I glanced up after having kissed my little girl on her head to join in one of the numerous conversations going on around the table. When I looked up, I caught my dad’s eye and saw a very familiar look. It was the look of peace, contentment, and love…I knew in that moment, we were having the same experience. I smiled quietly to myself enjoying the wave of peace and leaned over to give Addisyn another kiss. Maybe one of the greatest lessons I have learned in life is the importance of embracing the love of those around you.



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With Love,



Stacy

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P.S. A new and upgraded camera has been purchased so now I will have two!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sneak Peeks

Because it is Monday Night...
Because I have three photo shoots to edit...
Because I should no longer neglect my husband...
Because I am participating in a silent auction for a great organization ...
and Because I have a baby shower to prepare for this weekend...


This will be a short post, but please enjoy my sneak peeks to a couple of the photo shoots I did over the weekend and a few shots of my baby girl.

Hmm...I think I will start with those first. Just because I can and I can't resist sharing those sweet little cheeks with you. Happy 10 months, Addisyn!

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This face is what I get to wake up to every morning. It makes all the 4am wake up calls sooo worth it!
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Why hello big girl!

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And I was able to meet little miss Hannah. She is full of spunk and loves posing for the camera

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Simon says, "Strike a pose!"

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And now, I would love to reintroduce you to my beautiful sister, Kim and my future brother in law, Patrick. Loving Couple. Wonderful Family. Beautiful people.

Engagement Pics Nov 2010- Washington D.C

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He proposed to her in front of the Capitol Building

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Pit stop at an Irish bar called the Dubliner, their rehearsal dinner locale.

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Love,

Stacy

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