Sunday, March 31, 2013

our first easter as a family!

so. funny story. chas and i totally thought last sunday was easter until about 4pm that day. 

i had made deviled eggs at midnight the night before, we got dressed up for church extra fancy, were surprised when no one mentioned easter during church, called chas' mom to tell him we were on our way for dinner, and were confused why his mom said she had forgotten we were coming and that she didn't really have anything prepared for dinner except for maybe some grilled cheese sandwiches. ... when we called my mom to ask if we could come to dinner because the thought of grilled cheese on easter was kinda depressing and we had our deviled eggs all ready to go and share with everyone... that's when we were finally clued in. 

"'s not easter, sam." 


we had a good laugh about it and decided it was just "preaster." 

so today is easter! and we look even more easter-y than we did last week (on preaster)!

we took these family pictures outside our house after church to document our first easter together as a family. sometimes hero gets in a really great mood when we pull the camera out and, happily, today was one of those times. i mean, just look at her face in all these shots! sorry for the overload of pics but there's no way i could decide which ones to leave out of the post. so just ignore us and look at those sweet, sweet cheeks! 

love her and love my little easter sunday funday family! 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

new film! baby austin [birth story]

just finished up this birth story last night! i'm really, really loving working on these little films. it's amazing to see how every woman's labor and birth experience is totally different yet they are all equally  incredible.

cute ashley was a TROOPER during her labor and how much do you love her reaction when she realizes her baby's been born!? her husband, ryan, was so sweet and calm the whole time. really adored this couple.

hope you enjoy the film!


email for info on birth story prices and availability

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


this little documentary makes my heart sing!


brian kershisnik is one of my favorite artists.

over 7 years ago, i had the amazing opportunity to be in a figure painting class that he taught at byu as a visiting artist. i remember how all of us students would set up our easels in a huge half circle, with the model in the middle. brian would sit off to one side, at the front of the room, and play his guitar and sing his songs for us while we painted. in those moments, i wasn't sure life could get any better. and, to be honest, it's probably still in my top 5 most wonderful moments ever.

chas also loves brian and his work. so does his family. and my parents.

a few weeks ago, we all went to a fun little art show were a few local artists, including brian, were selling their original art for $100 or less. i had to throw a few elbows, but chas and i were able to snag not one, but two, really great original brian kershisnik artworks! they now hang in our living room and make us both very happy. it's a pretty fun thing to own original art by an artist who you truly admire and know personally!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

archie ries [birth story] & a new website!

a few days ago, my newest nephew, archie, joined our family. i was so honored to be there to capture his arrival and make this birth story film!

i've said it once, and i'll say it again: women and their bodies ARE AWESOME.

we're thrilled with how this video turned out and are excited to be able to start offering birth story film services for mommas in utah! this is such a great way to remember every little detail of a miraculous event that happens so quickly and then it's all over.

contact us at for more information on birth story films if you're interested!


i'm also proud to announce that after what seemed like 24 hours of hard work, i've got a brand new website for our little film company up and running! i love how it all ended up coming together and the details we were able to include about the different film services we offer.

feel free to take a look around. there's lots to explore!


it's freezing here today so we're getting cozy and eating deviled eggs that i made at midnight last night. easter is the best excuse to eat mashed up egg yolks and mayo...mmmm! :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

story of my life (part I)

a few weekends ago, i had the privilege of hearing c. jane kendrick speak at a small conference for women. one of the things that really stood out to me in her keynote address was her discussion about the need for us women to have some kind of venue in which we can share our stories.

this is my story.


when i was twelve years old, at the start of my seventh grade year- first year of jr. high school- my family moved from utah out to new york. we lived in a small town called eastchester, just right outside of manhattan.

eastchester was comprised of probably 80% italian americans. i didn't even know it was possible for twelve year-old girls to be so curvy, so "developed," and have such beautiful, long black hair. but after my first day at eastchester middle school, i soon realized that not only was this possible, but it was the norm and my freckled face, fair skin, and scrawny prepubescent body was...wrong. not only did i stand out physically from my peers, but i was also a mormon- the only mormon at my new school. my peers either had no idea what "mormon" meant or they assumed i had three moms, grew up on a farm, and should have long braids. instead of being curious or respecting me for my religious beliefs, i was immediately stamped as the weirdo. one of these things was not like the other and, for the girls of eastchester middle school, i became the target.

my family stayed in new york for four years, moving back to utah at the end of my sophomore year of high school.

for four years i sat quietly at the lunch table with a group of girls who seemed to barely tolerate my presence. i had absolutely nothing in common with these girls. nothing. at times i would try to pipe in and participate in their conversations (when they weren't obsessing about their favorite soap operas- which was rarely). i, however, would almost always get eye rolls or passive-agressive rebuffs in return ("ummmm...Anyways!"...).

and then there was the blatant teasing. it happened all the time and they usually didn't even care to be subtle about it. i was made fun of loudly in the middle of classes, in the hallways, and at the lunch table. (i truly despised lunchtime.) i was left off of invitation lists and passed over for weekend activities. to be honest, though, even if i was invited, i probably would have declined. at the age of around thirteen, these girls were experimenting with drugs and sexual favors for boys.

some of these girls, these "friends" of mine, were worse than others. some of them were just out-right brutal to me. girls can be so, so very mean.

the glimmer of light in all this? there were three girls at school who were actually kind to me.

lindsay was beautiful and tall with golden auburn hair. of irish heritage, lindsay was one of those girls who everyone doesn't realize how gorgeous and sweet she really is until post-high school. janine was a feisty, stalky italian-american. she was loud, very wild, but also compassionate. and, finally, rafaela (or raff, as we called her) was a punky brazilian babe. raff listened to obscure music and didn't seem to care that she was different than everyone else. i loved that about her.

the irish girl, italian girl, brazilian girl, and mormon girl. we were a pretty quirky bunch. we actually didn't hang out lots outside of school. our friendship, to me at least, always felt more like a "let's just get through one day at a time together" at school kind of thing. although i never felt super close to these girls, they were the closest thing i had to friends for four years. and for me, that was enough to help scrape by every single day.

the important thing during these years was that i didn't go down without a fight. early on, my dad sat with me one evening at home. i was crying, yet again, and i think my parents just didn't know how to comfort me anymore. their once bubbly, out-going, happy daughter was slowly shutting down. for fear of being mocked, i had learned that it's best to just be quiet, never say anything, and count the minutes until the school day was over. silence and only passive participation was becoming my only means of self-protection in the battleground that was eastchester middle school and then high school.

my dad told me that i needed to focus on everything that was within my power, everything i could do, to make my situation better. he gave me a journal and together we decided that every single day, i'd come up with a goal for myself. something small and simple. every night, i'd record in my journal how i did on my goal for that day and then write a new goal to be focused on for the next day.

"say hi to someone new." "focus on the positive." "smile at that girl who was mean to you last week."

i did this almost every single day for four school years. i poured out my little heart into that journal every night and, every night, there was often crying. focusing on my goals every day didn't make everything better- far from it. it did, however, allow me to feel just a little bit of power because i had something proactive and positive to try to get done every day. so even if "spam!" was whispered and snickered by everyone in history class that day, i had managed to meet my small, personal goal. although the daily mocking was painful and humiliating, the fact that i had achieved something good that day- that was most important.

i still have my journal in our living room bookcase. the binding is almost completely busted open and the cover is worn. i can write a book about surviving a divorce but i can't flip through that journal without breaking down in tears and being overwhelmed with heartache.

heartache for that girl who, at such a young age, went through so much, for so long. heartache for that girl who never, ever gave up- who never turned to drugs, alcohol, or sex for acceptance and approval. heartache for that girl who felt alone and beaten down for four long years. heart ache for that girl who grew to rely on her heavenly father and her parents for love and support.

heartache for that girl who, after four years at war, came home a very different, very changed young woman. some changes were for the better. but some were for the worse. and it's those changes that slowly snuck up and began dictating the choices she'd make in the future.

>>> be continued. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

i (phone) spy

follow along @samajama

so either instagram is slowly killing this blog OR keeping it alive. i'm still not completely sure. it's just so much easier to document life this way than to always be lugging around a DSLR. i'm ok with it if you are! 

p.s. my sister is having her baby tomorrow AND i get to film her birth story!! i am so excited for it all i just might explode. keep your eyes peeled for the video coming soon! 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

he works hard for the money

over the past few months, chas has been able to travel around the country filming for different clients. this is a great little video showcasing some of the amazing footage he was able to capture with his good friend and coworker. be sure to keep your eyes peeled for chas chasing the birds on santa monica beach  and snowboarding...i mean...working hard on the park city slopes!

sometimes i can't believe that he actually gets paid to do this! it makes me so happy for him and just a liiiiittle bit jealous :)

so proud of my man behind the camera!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

and, just like that, my quality of life skyrocketed

this weekend, we finally became a two-car family!

after nine long months at home all day, i can't even tell you how happy this makes me. i'm proud of us for making the sacrifice of choosing to pay off loans for the first three years of our marriage and go without a second car but now my time has come! hero and i have some wheeeeeels!

so i'd like to introduce you to our new car, muddy buddy. mud bud is a 2010 kia soul with...wait for it...houndstooth interior and a dvd player! i'm obsessed.

it sounds silly but it's crazy how happy having access to a car everyday is making me. like when friends invited us to the zoo this friday, i didn't even have to think twice or try and work out a way to get there. i could just say "yes, we will be there!" right away :)

and today, as soon as hero wakes up from her morning nap, we're heading out to grandma's house! waaaahooo! vroooom vroooom!

(i need to get out more. clearly. good thing i finally can!)

Monday, March 11, 2013

dear hero,

you're over nine months old now! everyday it seems you're turning more and more into a big girl. you've been pulling yourself up onto your knees and, recently, have been standing too! this weekend, we finally lowered your crib and got you a big girl sleep sack that you can't pull off during your naps. you look so sweet in that huge sleep sack.

yesterday, while daddy was working on your crib, i had you on my lap in the rocking chair and was reading you some books. you kept turning your head to look back up at my face again and again. you had the most loving expression, staring straight into my eyes and down into my mommy soul. it really felt like you were telling me, over and over, how much you love and appreciate me and the way i take care of you. i think your daddy could feel of your love, too, and we were so grateful for that special little moment with you and your good, good spirit.

now that you're a big girl, you are obsessed with eating all your big girl foods. you pound baby food, yogurt, and anything else we give you- all while happily bobbing your head to a music beat that only you can hear. i'm so glad you're such a great eater but a part of me wishes i could feed you bottles forever. there's something about holding you close in my arms and watching you drink your milk that i will always love.

you've always loved all your cousins but, recently, have started forming a very special, very cute little bond with your older cousin, banks. a few days ago, grandma card was babysitting you both and you guys played and played and played together for four straight hours! banks is so gentle with you and loves to try to sit in your lap and lets you tug a little at his hair. your aunt sarah and i are pretty excited for you guys to become great buds over the years with lots of play dates!

you still love your dad more than anything and always have so much to tell him about as soon as he gets home from work. you two sit together in your room and with your sweet "oooos" and "ahhhhs" and the occasional yell, you talk and talk and talk to your dad. but you like to keep this time with him private. whenever i try to peek in through the cracked door, you quickly turn your head to the door, fall silent, and don't start up again until i'm gone. i don't mind too much. i get plenty of time with you during our days together and am glad that you love your alone time with daddy.

i love you so much, hero.


p.s. the monthly pics of you on your favorite blanket? yeah, i kinda fell off that bandwagon. sawies. :)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

cousin love

hero loooooves her cousins. this is my sister's little guy, banks. these two are getting to be so funny and cute together. we were at my mom's house earlier this week when things got even more fun than usual :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

big day

today i officially submitted my manuscript to a publisher! and, let me tell ya, it was a really, really good feeling. the only bummer is that apparently they are a bit behind so i shouldn't expect to hear back for about five months. quite the prolonged anticipation, huh!? in the meantime, i'll be submitting it to another publisher so keep your fingers and toes crossed for me that my book will strike a cord with someone!

thank you for all your love and support throughout this whole journey. i think about you, my blog friends, so much in all of this and really hope i can get a published book to share with you all someday!

Friday, March 1, 2013

book update

hey everyone!

sorry posting has been preeeetty sparse lately. but i have a good excuse :) i've been working tons on my book! after shelving it for almost a whole year (sheesh!), i'm back at it with renewed motivation and a determination to get this thing on the road to publication! the manuscript isn't perfect but i feel like it's finally in a good enough place to start sending out to potential publishers. (yikes!)

so right now i'm working on putting together a cover letter, synopsis, and filling out submission forms. you'd think that getting a completed manuscript finished and ready to go would be the hard part- and it is. but i guess i had fooled myself into thinking i was mostly done. ha! these submissions materials are just about killing me! mostly because, at this point, i'm just so excited to getting this thing out the door and moving forward and feel impatient with having to write more and more about my book when the book itself is finished.

ok. enough griping. i really am so, so grateful and happy to finally be at the place where i'm filling out these forms and writing cover letters. the finish line (at least for now) is in sight!

all this is super exciting but also a little bit scary. sometimes it's hard not to have self-defeating thoughts about all the "what ifs..." like what if no one wants to publish it? what if i decide, instead, to run a kickstarter to help raise money for self-publication and no one wants to donate to the cause? what if it does get published and no one wants to read it? what if it gets published and i realize i'm not satisfied with it?

silly thoughts, i know, but they're there at times.

ok. enough with all the discouraging self-talk. time to start focusing on what's real and positive! i'd better get back to work and try to make some good stuff happen! have a great weekend.