Monday, February 28, 2011


I had been craving a vacation. My body was aching for one and I didn’t care where it was or how much it cost.  I just knew there would be a beach, tanning lotion, and sun bathing involved.  This winter has flown by only because I am a mother to a toddler and time simply can’t slow down to allow me to capture all the little moments of joy that Addisyn has brought to my day -to-day.  Don’t get me wrong, I love every minute of being a mom, but a small getaway for even a day or two would be just right to revive my motherly soul so I can jump start into spring.


Talk about spiritual intervention. This past Thursday, my friend Angela asked if I was going to a Women’s Retreat that was being sponsored by our sister church. I thought about it (quickly) and responded by saying that I wouldn’t be attending because it was too last minute.  An overnight stay without Addisyn would require a lot of mental preparation that I just was not geared up for.  Despite my best effort to dodge the weekend retreat plans, Angela wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.  Steve was on board and assured me that absolutely no planning was involved.  It literally took me packing one duffel bag of clothes and toiletries and I would be ready to go. So I said, “Yes!”…but leaving my motherly responsibilities was going to be harder than I thought.

 It was mere moments after deciding to join Angela at the retreat when Addisyn started getting sick from a stomach virus that had been going around.  That night I was up changing sheets and pajamas in between holding her close to my chest and consoling her until the worst of it had passed. I didn’t want to leave her the next day, but I prayed that she would be okay and Steve reassured me that everything was going to be fine.  The next morning she woke up being her normal silly self and even had more of an appetite than I had expected. I was ready to go. I knew I needed the rest and I am always up for a soul fulfilling weekend.  It wasn’t going to be the warm beach, but it would be relaxation.

It turns out God had bigger plans. You see, I live a life that brings me great joy and everything in my life has been nothing but a blessing from Him. And I have ALWAYS believed that God knows the deepest desires of my heart more than I know my own.  This weekend was a great example of that. Within one conversation about my past to my friends Angela and Nicole, I began to cry. I realized that there are some parts of my past that I hadn’t forgiven myself for and, without knowing, it became a weight that rested at the bottom of the deepest valley of my heart. This weekend was all about me realizing that God uses even my failures for His glory and that there is no valley in my heart that God can’t be even deeper still, lifting me up.  I know that God has awesome things in store for me and He was doing His work so that I can be open to His plans in the future. I wasn't even slightly expecting a weekend this revealing, but I am going into this week (my birthday week and the big 3-0) feeling uplifted. 

*Deeper Still is a song that I was introduced to by an amazing artist that was at the retreat. The song really hit home for me. Her name is Caitlin Jane and you can check her blog out here.


    *I love this Pier. Need engagement pics?? This is the perfect place to take pics.


God Bless Nicole and Angela. I made them pose for some BFF pics during our free time on Saturday afternoon. My lovely friends, thank you for being such beautiful people inside and out :-)







With Love,



And it wouldn't be a complete blog post without a pic of Addisyn. She totally knows what to do with this...


Friday, February 25, 2011

One More for Love The Story: Chapter 11 - Smoke Pit Stories

“You won’t believe what Melissa did today.” I said to Sergeant Morey while we were standing in the smoke pit waiting for the truck to come by and pick us up. We had made it a post roll call habit to share stories about our courting counterparts. Today, I had a doozy.

“Oh, I’ve got one for you too.” Said Sergeant Morey, after a drag of her cigarette.

“Ok, here we go.” I said and began to tell her a story that still baffles me today.


Melissa was twenty years old and had graduated as an honor roll student from Milford High School. I had secretly always questioned her honor roll credibility. That was until one day at her parent’s house I casually asked if she had any high school memorabilia lying around. I played it off like I wanted to know who she was in high school. Her parents were more than happy to show off the old honor roll certificates and reports cards they had kept in a box in their basement. They bragged about Melissa’s active involvement in the schools media and pep rally programs. Even after facing the hard proof that she had been recognized for her outstanding academic performance, I still felt like something wasn’t adding up.

One night Melissa and I were hanging out at the house just joking around and watching some T.V. when I decided to reveal to her one my most impressive talents.

“I have a gift that not many have.” I said to Melissa.

“Oh and what is that?” She asked sarcastically.

“I can name all fifty states in half a second.”


“Yeah, put on a helmet because I’m about to blow…your…MIND.” I said, then cleared my throat and let her have it. “NYAAH!” I blurted incoherently. She and I both laughed for a minute.

“Good one, but you forgot three states.” She said.

Quick wit on this one. I thought to myself and let out a chuckle.

“What?” She said with a short giggle. “There are fifty-three states.” I gave this comment not even a full chuckle, it was more like a chuc – pause-awkward silence.

“Wait, are you serious?” I said feeling the conversations jovial mood turn somber faster than Seabiscuit on steroids. I could tell by her facial expression that she was upset that I had laughed at her. In an honest effort to turn this all around I asked, “What are the fifty-first, fifty-second, and fifty-third states?” Hoping beyond hope that she would come back with something like: Guam, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C.

“I don’t know, but I know there are fifty-three states.” She was getting defensive, but I tried again to resolve this with logic.

“How many stars are there on the American Flag?” Clearly this would steer our conversation back in the right direction.

“What does that have to do with how many states there are?” Fail. “I’m calling my mom!” Her defensive demeanor was rapidly escalating to angry as Melissa began to dial up her mother on her cell phone.

“Melissa. Even if your mother says there are a hundred and fifty-three states, that doesn’t change the fact that there are only fifty.” This wasn’t much help. I made a note to myself that sarcasm plus increasing anger equals full blown anger...good to know.

“Hey mom it’s Melissa.” I watched and listened intently to Melissa’s reactions waiting for her jaw to drop at the revelation that there were only fifty states; at which point I could hammer it home with hard earned ‘I told you so’. “Fifty-one?” Said Melissa. “Ask dad, you gotta ask dad.” She said.

“Fifty-one? Fifty-one? What episode of the twilight zone am I in?” I thought to myself, waiting for Melissa to relay her father’s answer.

“Fifty-three! Yeah, that’s right mom. No, it’s not fifty-one, it’s fifty-three. No problem, I’ll call you back later.” She hung up the phone and looked at me with an arrogant smile. “I told you so! See, fifty-THREE.” I couldn’t believe I was actually having this argument.

“That doesn’t prove anything.” I said as calmly as I could; trying to suppress the emotional mixture of being annoyed, frustrated, and bewildered. Of course my first thought was to ask the “Google” machine. Surely in all its internet glory it could guide us through this labyrinth. However, because I didn’t have the internet at my house, I made a decision that I knew would result in countless years of ribbing and friendly ridicule. I decided to call Ben.

“Melissa, I am going to call my friend Ben. He graduated from a prestigious college in California called U.C. Berkley.” I noticed myself talking down to her like she was a young child. “You shouldn’t need a college degree to know how many states there are, but can we both agree that a person with an undergraduate degree from a nationally recognized university would know how many states there are?”

“I already know how many states there are.” Her arms were crossed. Any chance of recovering the conversation (or the day for that matter) were long gone. “There are fifffff…teeeee…three.”

I dialed Ben.“Hello.” Said Ben in his contagiously upbeat voice.

“Hey Ben.” I said with a sigh. “I know the question I am about to ask you will sound ridiculously elementary, but please just answer honestly so I can get this behind me.


I could picture my pride packing its suite case and looking up at me like, “Well Steve, it was a good run. See you in a few years” then putting on its short brimmed hat, popping in a cigar and walking out the door for a long vacation.

I let out a long exhale. “How many states are there in the United States of America?” I asked, feeling the utter destruction of my intellectual credibility.

Without hesitation, Ben said, “Steve, how many stars are there on the American Flag?”

“There are 50 stars, one for each state and thirteen stripes, one for each of the original thirteen colonies.” I threw the last part in as the first step of a long journey out of this embarrassment.

“Then you’ve answered your own question.” He said in an exaggerated tone of eureka.

“Ben, I’m trying to win an argument here. I need you to answer this question directly. How many states are there in the United States of America.”

“Steve, there are fifty states in the United States of America.” He responded with a full helping of sarcasm.

“Thank you, I will call you later to explain.”

“Later buddy.”

I hung up the phone and turned to Melissa. “Fifty…there are fifty states.” I said, in disbelief that I had to justify this fact by calling Ben, but relieved that the argument was finally over.

“That doesn’t mean anything.” Said Melissa, defensive. “I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.”

My frustration, confusion, and blood pressure shot up like an Apollo astronaut on a mission to mars. Ben was the best resource I had. If he wasn’t good enough, then this argument was never going to end. I turned toward the door and left the room.


My story had drawn quite a crowd. By the time I finished, Sergeant Morey and a small group of others were laughing and looking at me in disbelief.

“That can’t be true.” Said Airman York, who had joined the story about half way through.

“I swear that’s exactly how it went down.” I said and looked at Sergeant Morey who was just recovering from a long laugh. “Ok, what’s yours?”

Just then one of the blue bread trucks arrived. “Sergeant Morey! We got a comm nav write-up on two-seven. Let’s go!” Yelled Sergeant Fox out the driver’s side window.

Sergeant Morey looked at the group and said, “let’s just say it took one of us forty-five minutes to do their hair before going out last night and it wasn’t me.” We let out a group chuckle as she got onto the bread truck and drove away.

Monday, February 21, 2011


For the record, I am crazy about my husband. Some days it is easy to get caught up in the routine of my schedule and feel as though I don’t have the time to show or tell him that being his wife makes me the richest woman in the world. Sometimes the day slips by so quickly and I just don’t do it because I unintentionally put daily frustrations before him. And if that kind of thing happens for a week or two, I begin to feel a part of me is missing. He is the metabolism for my day to day life and has the uncanny ability to turn a bad day or week around with the simplest of conversations. His witty jokes are infectious and his goofy personality is insanely adorable. So it doesn’t shock me that this week I saw my deliciously adorable, goatee adorned husband walking up the driveway to my parent’s house in Virginia when he was supposed to be in Delaware. And if that didn’t boost my metabolic rate, he walked in the door with the rest of my family and a couple of my closest friends ready to throw me the best surprise birthday party that I could have ever wanted. Right when I thought I was about to walk out the door to do two photo shoots, I found out it had all been a ploy to get me to Virginia. He knows me to be an intimate person: a small party surrounded with family and a few friends was puurrrfect!

Thank you to Steve, my amazing family, and wonderful friends for helping plan a wonderful day that made me feel incredibly special and loved. I hope I can return the feeling one day in the near future 

P.S. I am not officially the big 3-0! It is actually a few weeks from now which is why this surprise went off without a hitch. I had no clue!




Steve and I taking a unique opportunity to get a few shots together.




Yay! first mini photo shoot of many with my sisters...They try to pretend they don't look good, but they are naturals. Thank you Kim and Kelly Jo for showing me all this love. You guys are the best :-)



I have the biggest laugh ever...take a look at this picture and next

My best friend Stacy, has a beautiful laugh and she cracks me up pretty much ALL the time.


Us trying to think of good BFF poses...I think this works!


The other part of Stacy her!


In true competitive form, our whole family tried to play Minute to Win It. However, we got stuck on the golf ball stacking game and after an hour, Jon finally one.


And a blog post wouldn't be a blog post without Addisyn pics aka CRAZY HAIR!





With Love,

Stacy Hart

Friday, February 18, 2011

Photog Friday: RAW and being cool

Let me begin by saying that my workflow process is not perfection. I am still adjusting and finding new ways to be more efficient for me and for my clients, but the bit of advice I am giving today will always stay the same...

Are you ready for it?...

Go. RAW. Now.

I first started shooting in RAW because another photographer told me to do so. He gave me a list of reasons why it would be beneficial to me, none of which made any sense at the time, but it sounded technical enough so I listened to him. I didn’t even know the benefits of shooting in RAW, but I knew I was cool doing it. Yep! Shooting RAW makes you cool too.

I digress.  Well, sort of...this still sort of has to do with being cool. Say you are at a photo shoot and you have Auto White Balance set because you are jumping all over the place and don't have the time to adjust the White Balance each time. You get home, load your pictures, and notice that a number of your pictures have a very serious "cool" tone to them (meaning blue color casts). If you shoot in RAW, you load the picture in your RAW conversion program, hit the WB that gives you the correct temperature. Then WALAH! You have saved your photo and been awarded major cool points for saving multiple pictures.

Is your picture a bit underexposed? If you shoot in RAW you can adjust your exposure post processing with no loss to the data you have captured on your camera sensor and without compressing the file and losing details. Of course, your ultimate goal is to try to get the correct exposure every time, but using the RAW program to adjust two to three stops will not hurt the picture.

The thing about shooting in RAW is that it gives you the opportunity to get the best possible picture post processing out of each shot.

Disadvantages to shooting RAW: it uses more space on your media card and because the image is not compressed, the colors come across less vivid and more flat than they would in JPG.

Take a look at my before and after. This picture was a bit underexposed and a little too "cool" for my liking.

and this is how I corrected it in RAW.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Rocks

My day rocked.

I have a confession to make. This was the first V-day that Steve and I have celebrated. Why do I feel guilty about saying that? I think I even shocked myself by writing those words, but it is true.

A few years back, I told him that I am incredibly in love with him ALL THE TIME that I don't think we need to spend the money on another holiday (our birthdays are three weeks away). I also told him that I buy Russel Stover box candy like every other week while grocery shopping so receiving candy from him would be the same as buying me a pound of chicken: useful, but not romantic.  Well, four Valentine's Days have gone by and we haven't participated in all the hype...until today.

Umm...hello... This is what I was missing? Earth to Stacy--- this holiday rocks! (Not that I ever doubted that a holiday entirely about love wouldn't rock.)

Here is my day and why it, well...rocked :-)
Steve wakes up at 6:00 am to find a bunch of sticky notes with all the reasons why I love him stuck to the bathroom mirror in the form of a heart and he loves them. This makes me happy.

I wake up at 7:00am, grab Addisyn and Sir Oinks-A-Lot, and watch Finding Nemo with her in bed until 8:30

Steve finds a love letter in his wallet and lets me knows he loves it...I smile to myself knowing the importance of making him feel special.

Addisyn and I have a mini morning photo shoot






2-14-2011-9 c

After her nap we have lunch, make dad a card from Addisyn, go on a run, and even play outside...



Leaving touches of important messages anywhere Dad will see...


Then we get dressed and get ready to go shopping. We have a delicious meal to prepare for Steve.


And then dad comes home and we eat. And. It. Is. Good!




and then we exchange gifts...


And Life is good because put simply, Love Rocks!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

One More for Love The Story: Chapter 10 - Good Night

“Dude! How was your Christmas break?” asked Bobby as I entered the break room on my first day back to work.
“Brutal bro.  Melissa and I broke up on Christmas Eve.” I responded sitting down at the computer next to his.

“Are you serious? So I guess it was like the worst Christmas ever.”

“Not exactly…”

I went on to tell Bobby how I’d found out Melissa was cheating and how I felt more relieved than saddened by the whole experience.  By the time the story was over, I was fully logged onto my work computer, checking my email and secretly wishing I could check my new MySpace account to see if I’d been friended by any of the local ladies. 
Even though I was single and internet mingling, I was excited to be back at work.  I was sure that Stacy and I had both opted to take Christmas break off and not the New Year’s break, which meant she’d be back at work the same night I was and I could not wait to tell her the latest and final story in the chronicles of Melissa.  Just as the thought had entered my mind, a civilian mechanic named Gordon, who was better known for spreading rumors than for troubleshooting aircraft, sat down next to me and began to log into a computer.

“So Hart, did you hear about Sergeant Morey?” he said, giddy with gossip.

“What do you mean?” I usually didn’t encourage his story telling, but if it was about Stacy and had any truth to it, I had to hear him out.

“You mean you don’t know?” he asked, reminding me why I don’t like to talk to him.

“Just tell me.” I said, impatiently.

“She’s getting deployed.” I paused, stunned.

“How do you know?” I asked, flustered.  “How’s she gonna close on her house?”

“I heard the shift chief talking about it.  I guess she’s been trying to get out of it because she has to close, but they’re sending her anyway.  She does not want to go.”

“I’ll bet she’s devastated.  She really wanted to be here to close on that house.  What time’s she coming in tonight?”

“Coming in tonight? She leaves for the desert in two weeks.  She’s on leave then she’s on a plane to the sand pit man.  We won’t see her for another five months at least.”

“Five months?” In disbelief, I immediately logged off the computer and went on a hunt for information from a few more reliable sources.

After checking with the shift chiefs and supervisors, I found out that everything Gordon said was true.  Stacy was on leave until a few days before her departure, just enough time to out-process and get on a plane going over the ocean.  She had put a tremendous amount of time and effort into having her new house built and was devastated by the idea of not being able to close and begin to create a home with her own personal decorative touches.  But, when it comes to the military, her time had come and there was nothing she could do but accept her fate and step on that plane…it’s what she signed up for.
I felt numb.  If I would have known the last time I saw Stacy I wouldn’t be seeing her again for almost half a year, I would have at least told her goodbye.  I would have told her how much I appreciate her friendship.  I would have told her how the nights we worked together went by in a flash while the nights I worked without her dragged on for hours on end.  I would have hugged her. Not a romantic embrace, but a hug to tell her to be safe and to come home in one piece.
I had never been deployed and was afraid of the things I didn’t know.  I had no idea where she’d be or what she’d be doing.  I didn’t know what kind of danger she might be in or how close to the war zone she’d be. All I knew was…she’d be at war.

I had heard enough stories to know that most of the assignments for aircraft mechanics were at an airport away from danger.  But, many times to get from the hotel or barracks they used for lodging to the airport would require a convoy or travel through towns where stopping was not an option.  The vehicle went full speed from point A to point B, and improvised explosive devices (IED’s) were a constant threat.  Many of my fellow military co-workers had informed me of how far away from the action they were and how being deployed was no big deal, but for every five stories of safety there was one story of mortar rounds going off so loud they would shake the barracks like an earthquake.  

My thoughts were in a tail spin.  I began to envision what Stacy would be telling her family while they were sitting around the dinner table on the last week before her deployment.  Was she scared?  Or was she playing it down like it was going to be no big deal?  I felt cheated.  I was aware enough of the dynamic of our relationship to know that even though she was a big part of my life, I was a small part of hers, but why didn’t she tell me?  I had to find out from Gordon in the break room?  She couldn’t have sent me a text? Or given me a phone call?  It wasn’t fair. 

That night was one of the longest nights of my life.  I cycled between selfishness and worry until I eventually coped with the idea that what was done was done, there was nothing I could do to change things, and the sooner I realized that her world didn’t revolve around me, the better off I’d be.
On my drive home that morning, I made a decision that the best thing I could do for myself was not to think about it and move on.  My thoughts were tied to my emotions and I wasn’t doing myself any favors by spending my emotional energy on a woman who was in a relationship and would soon be thousands of miles away.  This approach seemed to work until one night when I was out looking for love on the Dover bar scene; I ran into Chris Bollard.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Treasure Chest

When I was in the second grade, my teacher had a toy treasure chest that was filled with treats and fantastic goodies. Every Friday, if we practiced appropriate second grade behavior throughout the day, we were able to pick a new treasure from the chest to take home. All of us could sense when the time was coming. We waited not so patiently at the edge of our seats right before the announcements came on and before we gathered at the door to walk out to our bus. Mrs. Esther would call us one by one to pick from the treasure chest as we all remained eager with anticipation.

This week was a “treasure chest” week. It was a week filled with little moments of anticipation, pleasant surprise, excitement for the future, and contentment that we made the right decision. It was a week full of not so random blessings that have made my priceless faith in God, richer than before.

Our family decided about a year ago that Steve would not be reenlisting for another four year term in the United States Air Force. It was a hard decision, but it was based solely on the fact that no potential six month deployment overseas would be worth missing the growth of our family and the bond we currently have. We know that many families have served great military careers and survived through many deployments, but for us this wasn’t a question of survival, it was a decision toward growth.

* the last week he will be wearing this uniform :-(2-07-2011-14

And so it began…the job hunt! And it was rough to be honest. There was stress and there was worry and there was great concern that Steve wouldn’t find a job...and that was just the part I played. It was scary for me to go from the security of the military to the unknown of living the civilian lifestyle. I have been attached to the military practically my whole adult life and I knew we could be throwing ourselves into the ugly pit that is our country’s 9.8% unemployment rate. There was daily and nightly prayer until, this past week, Steve was offered a position that he couldn’t turn down. It certainly isn't Steve's dream job, but after we talked about what it would mean for our family to take that position, everything just started falling into place and the waves of peace began crashing down. God has plans for us in Delaware and we are both very excited to see how we will be able to help our community as official “Delawarians”.

And now for a treasure chest of Addisyn pictures…

This one is for Uncle Jon because ever since he taught Addisyn to stick her tongue out, you can rarely find her with it in.


Addisyn learned how to hold crayons and color this week. She loved it!





She has developed quite the silly personality. She enjoyed walking around the room with a straw in her mouth because she saw that it made us laugh.




She also combed her hair all by herself~


And we discovered some curl in her hair. I get to look at this little girl with blonde curly hair and bright blue lucky am I?


She makes us laugh and smile daily...


She is our little cuddle bug...


and she is our treasure...


With Love,


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