Long time, no blog

It has been a while since I posted. Mostly because there hasn’t been much happening. But I wanted to send a quick update.

Last week and the week before Tyson didn’t have any auditions. Although he did have one last Friday.

It picked up this week. He had an audition yesterday and today. I had been told that it can be like feast or famine. One week you’re busy like crazy with auditions. And the next week you’re waiting for audition emails to come in…and…

Nothing.

Fortunately, all of Tyson‘s auditions have been close to where we live. Anywhere from four minutes away to 25 minutes at the most. Which is fantastic! Especially for same-day audition calls, like yesterday. I received the text and email about 1pm…for Ty‘s call time at 4:55.

Tyson continues to take his private acting classes, and group acting classes of improv, on-camera practice, singing instruction and hip-hop. This Sunday he’s taking a three-hour workshop on auditioning for feature films. In July he’s taking a voiceover workshop every Saturday. He’s excited for the voiceover. He doesn’t seem as into the singing and hip-hop, but he is wanting to try it, which is good.

Every morning as part of his routine he goes over all of his acting notes, practices tongue twisters and cold reading, and works on whatever script he may have an audition for. He says he’s still loving it!

I’ve had several people tell me I should get Ariel into acting. Somebody shared with me a couple of talent management companies that focus solely on booking children (including babies) for background roles. So we’re currently in the process of getting Ariel signed up with a company! It’s cute because she is so excited about it.

In the meantime…

Hanging out at the pool catching California rays is a regular pastime for us. And look who was there the other day…

chuy

Chuy!!!

 

Tyson booked his first LA project!

Tyson booked his first LA project!

Tyson’s acting career is slowly starting. He had two auditions last week.

First audition |
Tonight we discovered that Tyson is a finalist with a couple other boys for the part! We should find out within the next couple of weeks if Ty got the role. *fingers crossed*

Even if Tyson doesn’t book this audition, the fact that he was chosen as a finalist is VERY ENCOURAGING. It provides validation that Tyson/we are doing something right.

Second audition |
He booked it!!!

It was a small project and he filmed it this past weekend. [I can’t give any details about the project due to the NDA we had to sign…which is pretty standard.] It was his first job he has booked since we moved to LA about a month ago.

Tyson had the TIME OF HIS LIFE. He LOVED every second of it.

I had the pleasure of taking him and being on set with him. It is PRICELESS to see Tyson so happy and in his element.

Ty mom selfie
Ty enjoying his life and “work” in sunny LA.

Because, really…how many of us can really say we LOVE what we do for a living?

I don’t think many of us. And if there’s any way I can help give that AMAZING REALITY to my kids, I will do it.

I enjoyed myself, too. And got to be an extra in the background along with a few other moms for a couple of scenes! 😛

I met other moms who had their kids on set. We had great conversations. I learned about other projects their kids worked on. We learned about each others’ journeys on how each of us ended up in LA with our kids in the acting industry. And I learned some tips and tricks of the trade.

One of the main traits I noticed among the moms I spoke with (including myself ) was our positivity and life philosophy of not settling, and following your dreams. Even if it requires sacrifice, it’s worth it. One mom I met was from Texas where she had quit her stable government job after 20 years to support her son in his acting dream by moving to LA.

Some would say she’s nuts. Just as others have told me. 😉

I say she’s a HERO.

Because she left her stable, predictable income and benefits. Because she left her comfort zone. Because she was not willing to stay with the status quo. Because she wanted her kids to be happy and be exposed to opportunities that would help them thrive in something they enjoyed and were skilled at. Because she knew life was too short to have regrets. Because she did what many others wouldn’t do.

Because it was scary, and she did it anyway.

That’s courage. That takes serious guts.

Because you know — whether all your dreams come true or not — you will be forever changed.

Because there’s no way a brave journey you decide to embark on can NOT change you.

rise to glory meme

And it’s not about taking the leap, then seeing if you’ll sink or swim. It’s about taking the leap, plunging in the water…and learning how to float. And letting the current take you wherever it is you’re meant to go.

I believe taking a leap of faith includes following your heart, sending love and kindness to the world, working hard, expecting the best, but ultimately not being attached to the outcome. Trusting that everything will work out as it’s supposed to for our highest good. And understanding that the results may or may not be what we originally hoped for.

People mistake taking leaps of faith as black and white. People tend to think that if things don’t work out the way they dreamed that they would, that they failed in realizing their dreams. I don’t believe that at all.

Our dreams move us in a direction that we’re supposed to go, then…that’s it. It starts you on a path. Nothing more. Because as we move along on our heart’s journey, we change. When people change, dreams change.

Faith is not hoping you won’t sink. Faith is not hoping you’ll be able to swim.

Faith is following your heart and not worrying about the outcome of your leap.

DIVING

The sun will come out…tomorrow.

The sun will come out…tomorrow.

First, the rain…

Moving to California has not all been fun and games. As with any major move, we have definitely run into our share of storms.

For example, AT&T messed up our appointment to get cable and Internet installed. So we have been without cable this entire time. (They come tomorrow…finally.) Unfortunately, I missed the Dancing With The Stars finale and The Bachelorette premiere. {I know, I know…silly, first world problems.}

Wayfair accidentally shipped our bar stools we ordered to our old address. Although it appears the bar stools never showed up there either. (As far as I know, it’s still a mystery between Wayfair and Fedex.)

Without the bar stools, we have had no dining room furniture. So the kids’ table has been a big tupperware bin with a lid on the floor, with a sheet over it and the floor to prevent spilling on the living room carpet. Jack and I have been eating on the couch using our ottoman/coffee tables, or standing at our bar.

DMV

The California DMV has been a NIGHTMARE. There are SO MANY people here! I have been to several of LA’s DMVs three times now…one in Hollywood, one in Van Nuys, and one in Glendale.

And I get the pleasure of going a fourth time tomorrow.

California requires a TON of information and actions on our part.

VERIFICATION
We have to get our cars “verified” by the DMV in which we park our cars in “verification lines” so the DMV can check some things on your vehicle and fill out a form for you to show DMV your car has been verified.

I got our Volvo (convertible) verified already. It took about 50 minutes waiting in line in my car. We (or, rather, Jack) still have to do our Escape.

SMOG CHECK
We have to find a place (typically a car repair shop) to conduct a smog test on our vehicles, and make sure we get that paperwork to DMV, too.

DRIVERS LICENSES
We have to get California drivers licenses…in which they require ALL sorts of documentation.

{Not to mention that ALL of these activities cost money!}

CAR REGISTRATION
And we have to register our cars…and if it’s past 20 days since we became residents of California, we owe a penalty.

We may owe at this point.  😐

This guy’s post on his CA DMV experience had me cracking up. It’s SO TRUE.

Then, the sun…

Last weekend was Memorial Day weekend. I would consider it our first “fun” weekend in which we finally ventured outside of our apartment to do something recreationally.

Our first social engagement
On Saturday we met up with a cousin and his family whom we had not met before. They live about 40 minutes away in Venice. We got to see their 1950s home that they’ve remodeled over the years into a chic, modern, functional family home. {So CUTE!} They took us to a yummy restaurant called Lemonade {so GOOD!} for lunch, then we walked among all the fun shops.

lemonade

Concert
Saturday evening Jack, the kids, and I drove to Thousand Oaks (about 40 minutes away) and watched the Celtic Woman concert. I had bought tickets several weeks prior, knowing we’d be living in California by Saturday. I bought them with the justification that we {okay, mostly me} needed something to look forward to once we moved to California.

celtic woman

It was the kids’ first concert, and they did great. Ariel was fascinated by all the lights and the ladies’ dresses. And when she heard a song that she knew, she would excitedly tell me that she knew that song.

Tyson got a little bored after the first half. And toward the end Ariel got a little restless, but they were quiet and respectful the entire two hours. Afterward, Ty did admit to me that he “kind of” enjoyed it.  😉  It was great sharing a lovely evening of song and beauty with my family.

Griffith Park
Sunday I worked on chores and paperwork, then we took the convertible and visited Griffith Park for the first time. The park is about 10 minutes from our apartment and it was perfect weather.

griffith park 1

We drove around and explored the park first. The LA Zoo is located there along with observatories to view the Hollywood sign and other attractions. We found some green space to throw our frisbee and fly our kite. It was a lovely afternoon and probably the most active I’ve been since our relocation to California. It felt really good just to be outdoors, move my body, and play with the kids.

Pool time
Monday, we hung out at the pool all afternoon. The kids love it. They have beach balls and kick boards they play with. Tyson has been working on his hand stands. Ariel uses arm floaties to stay afloat. The gym looks out on to the pool, so Jack squeezed in a workout. And I LOVE that I’m getting tan again.

Bring on the sun!

Tyson’s “Firsts”

Tyson’s “Firsts”

Tyson’s FIRST in-person audition
Tyson had his first REAL in-person audition a few days ago. Ty met with the writers and producer for this small role in a short film. It seemed to go well. They called me in afterward and asked me some questions in regard to when Ty would need to be filming, location, etc. (which is encouraging)!

Tyson had another audition last week for a series regular role in which he submitted a self-tape. His private acting coach facilitated it. (She’s amazing.) I then sent it to our manager to submit it. Both Tyson’s manager and agent responded to me that they were very impressed with Ty’s audition and that he did great.

Even if Ty doesn’t book these jobs (which would be totally normal being that he’s just starting out here in LA and doesn’t even have a demo reel yet!), receiving that feedback from such experienced professionals in the industry is very encouraging.

Tyson’s FIRST LA group acting classes (and FIRST singing class!)
Tyson starts group acting classes this week. Tuesdays night are IMPROV & SINGING and Wednesday nights are ON-CAMERA practice. (Tyson’s manager and agent referred us to this particular acting school.) He is a little nervous for the Improv/Singing class, but knows he needs development in this area and wants to improve. I actually think he’ll enjoy it more than he thinks he will.

He has two more Saturdays of his commercial workshop, and he continues to see his private acting coach. To ensure Tyson continues practicing this summer, we established a routine for him: Read his notes (out loud), practice his tongue twisters, practice cold read, then work on acting homework and/or any scripts he has auditions/jobs for (which includes conducting scene study questions for each scene).

Tyson’s FIRST LA head shots

Tyson’s final head shots are done! Our talent manager chose five photos to use to submit for jobs/auditions and his resume. You can view his photos here!

 

Getting established

Despite the lessons learned, we are pleased with our apartment. For a two-bedroom, it’s considered large for this area (and our price range) at 1,137 square feet. We did such a good job downsizing before we moved that we actually are not too tight on space. In fact, I have more kitchen cabinets here than I did in our Sunriver home!

We have a decent sized living/dining room. We opted out of buying a dining room table to allow us to have more living space.

ExteriorBuilding02_2

We gave the kids the big bedroom. And it’s big at 19 feet long. And having the kids sleep in a bunk bed makes the room even more spacious! We bought desks for both kids to do their school work and art. The desks fit nicely in their bedroom along with their television and xBox. Jack’s art table fit in there, too. Basically, one half of their room is their “bedroom,” and the other half is the family’s “work space.”

And the kids love all the amenities…two pools, hot tub, several business rooms with technology and WIFI, a couple of recreational rooms (kitchens, pool tables and big screen televisions included), great gym, outdoor BBQ area with big screen television and outdoor game area with pool, ping pong and foosball. (Ty was thrilled when our leasing consultant gave us the tour.) I’m hoping all this will help make up for the kids not having a yard anymore.

pool 2

Security is tight (which is great!) with cameras everywhere with gates all around the perimeter. Only residents can access the building and the subterranean parking garage (with key fob and parking sticker…in which the automatic gate will open for your car to enter once a scanner on the ceiling scans the sticker residents put on their windshield).

Around the block is a Ralph’s grocery store, RiteAid, and a plaza that contains Jamba Juice, Starbucks, Togo’s Sandwiches, Baskin Robbins, and a few other stores. We walked to get groceries the other day. Very convenient. We are looking forward to do more exploring of the area once time allows.

Ty was able to have his first private acting lesson in person with his acting coach last Monday. He said it was so much better in person versus Skype.

On Wednesday Ty got new headshots done by a photographer his talent manager referred us to. I can’t wait until they’re done! There were over 500 photos taken. Our talent manager is going through them to pick out the top 20. She is looking for photos of all kinds of emotions.

SNEAK PEEK!!!

Ty had a lot of fun at his shoot. He wore about 10 different shirts. Per our manager’s request, I had laid them out and took pictures of each piece of clothing and sent them to her for her feedback. Based on her recommendations, I took out a couple  shirts, and hung the rest in a garment back for Jack to take with Ty.

 

plaid Ty
Proof 3 untouched

Toward the end of the shoot, the photographer had some film left, so he grabbed Ariel and took a few shots of her with Ty. Jack told me that evening that Ariel did so good! She followed every direction the photographer to a T! When he asked her to stop smiling, she did it. When he asked her to tilt her head slightly to the right, she did it. The photographer was amazed. I asked Ariel that evening if she enjoyed getting her picture taken. She did. Maybe it’ll soon be time to see if she would enjoy acting classes, too?   🙂

Ariel Ty sad

 

Ariel Ty happy

Per our talent manager’s recommendation, we signed Tyson up for a commercial workshop. For four Saturdays he’ll get commercial training at a casting studio in Hollywood (which is five minutes from where we live). Ty had his first workshop yesterday. He loved it and learned some great stuff. He came home talking about what he learned and showed examples.

Admittedly, this week of transition has been intense for me. We’re still working on getting settled. Just so many changes, so things just don’t feel normal right now; therefore, I don’t feel normal. I don’t like that feeling. I know it’ll get better. I’m assuming it’s like this with a lot of people when they move to a totally different place with a different “feel” than what they’re used to. Fortunately, my family helps me stay grounded. That’s where my focus is. 

 

 

 

 

We moved! And lessons learned.

As you can probably imagine, we have been BUSY. We moved out of our Oregon home, and made the three day/two night trip to LA, arriving last Friday. Since then we have been unpacking, organizing and buying necessary furniture. We left several pieces of furniture (including all of our beds) in our Sunriver home for vacation renters.

 

ikea
Burbank’s IKEA is the largest in the nation!

On our trip down, cool occurrences included…

 

  • We lucked out with perfect weather for the move.
  • We passed a bald eagle perched on a tree on the right of the highway.
  • We passed through California’s animal and agriculture inspection once we entered the state without a hitch. (We were unaware and completely unprepared for this inspection. There’s a story behind this that I won’t share publicly, so let’s just say I’m convinced there was some divine intervention.)

 

ty jack ketz ariel
Posing in front of Mt. Shasta. With Ketz.

 

Our trip held no catastrophes, but several lessons were learned.

We BARELY got all of our stuff into the 15-foot Uhaul we rented that Jack drove with Ty. Jack did a great job playing Tetris with our belongings when packing the Uhaul.

Then we stuffed the trunk and interior of our Volvo that we were towing on the back of the Uhaul.

Lesson learned | Make sure to check the clearance of the vehicle you’re towing before renting the auto transport so it’s not too low and scrapes. Use two 2 x 10s to lift your front tires even if the Uhaul employee says you probably won’t need them. It doesn’t hurt. Just do it.

—————–

I drove our Escape with Ariel in her car seat behind me. In that vehicle we stuffed our suitcases, along with our zoo.

Two cats, 10 fish and our gecko, Ketz, and their necessities for the trip.

 

ariel ketz ty
Ariel’s ready to go with her DVD player in place. Ketz seems to be enjoying the DVDs, too.

 

Lesson learned | Don’t ever let the cats out to roam the hotel room. Keep them in the bathroom. Or else they could end up hiding out in the big empty box under the queen bed. In which you will then have to have someone lift the mattress so another person can grab each cat as they are trying to escape their fate of being in their cage in the car. (That fiasco took about 20 minutes out of our tight schedule.)

——————-

When we arrived at our apartment complex, our leasing consultant greeted us. Parking our caravan was difficult. Both sides of the street are lined with various apartment buildings with cars parked all along both sides of the street.

 

caravan
The Whelchel Caravan

 

Lesson learned | Trying to turn around a 15-foot Uhaul – towing an auto transport – in a crowded side street – with a dead end – in LA – is not the best way to make friends.

——————–

Fortunately, our apartment is located next to an outside exit so we didn’t have to travel too far moving in our furniture and boxes. During the three hours we moved in, Ty had the job of holding the heavy door open for us. The kids were troopers. They did great. At one point the kids took a break sitting on the lawn between the sidewalk and our apartment building.

Lesson learned | Don’t let your kids play (or even walk!) on the grass of “pet-friendly” apartment complexes. We discovered the reason the grass is so green is because it’s turf grass. And the reason Ariel said her hand smelled like pee after grabbing some accent gravel is because the turf grass is the animals’ toilet.

Speaking of toilet…

Lesson learned | When moving into a new home, always bring toilet paper with you. Chances are there won’t be any toilet paper in the bathroom. And you won’t have any idea what box you packed your toilet paper in.