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    Two Months of Motherhood

    My husband and I are two months in and we’re doing alright!

    The first month of motherhood was so lovely.* There was a lot of adrenaline, quality time with family and friends, and parenting things to discover. I was no longer pregnant so I could finally consume things like sushi, deli meats, and craft beer. I lost a lot of weight, too. Plus, there were so many baby cuddles!

    The baby cuddles are so, so, so much fun.

    So many baby cuddles.

    The second month was pretty tough, I’ll confess.

    In month two, the adrenaline started to wear off and the sleep deprivation began sinking in. I was still recovering from giving birth and my back went out. So I’ve been in physical therapy twice a week. Plus, Derek went back to work so I was home alone a lot, trying to figure out how to care for our little one.

    But the real trouble was mostly thanks to this thing called colic. I’ve now read entirely too much about it. A colicky baby cries and cries; there’s no consoling her. It is absolutely pitiful, deafening, and heartbreaking.

    Colicky babies cry and they’re usually inconsolable. It’s so heartbreaking.

    As challenging as it may be to care for a colicky baby, it is a strong bonding thing between parents. We have been doing our best, and getting lots of tips from friends. And while discussing the colicky situation, we’ve gotten that look of understanding and empathy from so many parents. It’s like trading war stories.

    The colicky phase, thankfully, seems to be winding down now. FINGERS CROSSED. I’m so scared to even type these words in fear of it returning. (If you’re the praying type, keep us on your list?)

    Samantha is more than two months old. We’re all doing alright!

    So far, parenting has been a pretty wild ride.

    Seasoned parents are probably reading this and laughing at our innocence because I’m sure there are a thousand more challenges ahead of us. And as much as some things really stink (literally), there are these really beautiful moments that make it worthwhile. Like that first time she cooed or the time she smiled at me on purpose. Every joyful noise and smile completely melts my heart.

    Samantha had her two month wellness visit recently (photo below). My little one can hold her head up on her own, reaches for things, smiles at us, and loves cooing. She’s growing so quickly!

    Our girl is growing so quickly. I’m so in love.

    If you’re thinking about becoming a parent, I wish you well. I’m so grateful for the community of parents and parents-to-be that have supported us along the way! Use the comments below to share suggestions, questions, etc.

    What’s next

    Now that we’re in the swing of things, I’m slowly returning to work. (Since I’m self-employed, I’ve been working since she was one week old, however, I’m increasing my hours now. It feels really great.) What’s next, you ask?

    I’m so eager to work on my movies. I want to screen The Innocent AK, finish Good Thing, and get some new projects off the ground. There are a lot of fun conversations happening right now.

    The TriFilm Society is also growing. We’ve got an awesome social at Trailblazer Studios planned for Thursday, November 30th, 2017. (Get details / tickets.) I’m in the midst of gathering feedback and making plans for next year, too.

    Next year should be a lot of fun!


    *It really was lovely to welcome our daughter and learn the ropes as parents. But, unfortunately, my sweet little Louie passed away the week after we brought Samantha home from the hospital. I’m still adjusting to life without my dog, and I’ll always miss my boy.

    Photos from the hospital

    I’m a mom.

    That’s still sinking in.

    It’s so new, in fact, that typing the words feels like I’m writing fiction. Becoming a mom has always felt like a far off idea; something that’d happen one day. Until it happened.

    My daughter, Samantha, when she was one day old.

    Don’t get confused, though. Our daughter, Samantha, wasn’t a surprise. My husband and I were planning to have kids; it’s just wild when stuff like that actually becomes a reality. Ya know?

    Derek, Samantha, and me in the hospital one day after she was born.

    It takes a while to get adjusted. Then again, I don’t think you’re ever really ready for a period of growth or change. How can you be ready since it’s the experience that changes you?

    Samantha and me in the hospital in September 2017.

    That’s why I always say you should go make movies instead of simply dreaming about it. You learn so much with each experience. You’ve got to go through it to see how you’ll react, learn, and grow.

    Pregnancy, giving birth, and motherhood have been changing me. It’s been a wild ride. I’m so thankful to be the mother of this little one.

    More photo-filled and film-related posts coming soon!

    Saying farewell to Louie

    Last month my family said farewell to Louie.

    Louie was my shadow for almost exactly 10 years. My sister found him at the Wake County Animal Shelter in Raleigh, N.C., in 2007. I fell in love with him immediately.

    My dog, Louie, who was adopted from the Wake County Animal Shelter in 2007.

    Louie was diagnosed with cancer in 2016. We found out he had cancer the weekend of my wedding anniversary. Every day since then has felt like the greatest gift to spend with him. I’m so thankful he put up such a good fight and stayed by my side the entire time I was pregnant with Samantha.

    Louie in a bow tie

    Dogs are such special creatures.

    They love their humans unconditionally, which is a rare and wonderful thing. They bring us so much peace, joy, and happiness. But they also teach us really important lessons like patience, forgiveness, and acceptance. My boy taught me so much.

    Louie was such a beautiful being; I feel lucky to have known him.

    My sweet little Lou taught me so much about loyalty, our energy, and selfless love. He spoke such volumes with those sweet, soulful eyes. And even though his flatulence could clear a room and he always sat a little too close for my comfort, I feel like I’d give anything to have him here with me again.

    I had hoped – by the time I had worked up the courage to post this – that I’d have much more beautiful words to share with you. Something more poetic and life affirming.

    But I’ve got nothing.

    A lot of emptiness exists.

    It’s been a difficult time.

    Try me again in a few weeks. Months. Years. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll have some wise words to share about the love of a good dog.

    For now, all I have to offer are shoulder-shaking sobs.

    Introducing Samantha Payne

    Two weeks ago, my daughter was born.

    It’s a pleasure to introduce you to Samantha Payne for the first time.

    There’s a lot of stuff to share but a very limited window in which to write, work, and post in these early weeks. With little sleep, lots of tending to the little one, and adjusting to life as a family of three humans we’ve got our hands full. I’m so very grateful that we’re surrounded by kind, loving, and generous loved ones to make this time in our lives so enjoyable.

    Please stay tuned. I’ve got a few baby-related posts in mind for those who are interested in following along. As always, we’ll get back to more film-related posts soon enough.

    Hug your loved ones and treat them well, my friends.

    Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu

    I’ve listened to this audio so many times.




    When David Shiyang Liu put out the typographic video of Ira Glass talking about storytelling, I got a little obsessed. I wasn’t the only one; it got shared and shared repeatedly a few years ago.

    Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu. Watch here.

    Today I rediscovered it, and wanted to share again with y’all. Because the message is still really relevant and the video is (to me) timeless in its design.




    Glass talks about our ambition, taste, and skill level. When we first start out, our work isn’t so good. But that’s why we need to keep creating, so that we can improve.

    Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.

    — Ira Glass

    If you’re getting started as a film or video maker, keep going.

    Even if your work disappoints you, that’s a sign that you’re improving.

    Don’t quit.




    Every time I make a movie or video, I use the opportunity to continue honing my craft. I want to be a better storyteller and leader. It’s a fearless, exhaustive pursuit – even after 10 years of making movies.

    I’m figuring it out and fighting my way through it, too.




    Want to keep listening? There are four videos posted here. The quote in this post is from the third video.

    Reminder: TriFilm Society Fall Social

    Reminder! The TriFilm Society Fall Social is on Thursday, October 26th. I’m so excited about it.

    The TriFilm Society is an organization I started in 2009 with the goal of helping film and video makers in the Triangle stay connected to the resources, connections, and opportunities they need.

    TriFilm socials are unique networking opportunities that happen once per quarter in the spring, summer, fall, and winter. We provide food, drinks, and door prizes for guests. Announcements about what’s happening in the film and video making industry are shared about halfway through the event.

    Read through the FAQs: trifilmsociety.com/socials.

    Want to attend?

    Advance registration is required since we provide food, drinks, and door prizes. Tickets are $25 for guests, and free for members of the TriFilm Society. (Not a member? You can join now for $20 / month.)

    Want more info?

    There’s plenty of info on the TriFilm site about socials, what to expect, how to prepare, and where to find us that night. It’d be such a pleasure to see you there!

    Sign up for free email updates from TriFilm: trifilmsociety.com/email-list.