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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Falling into place

We sold our Jeep today! Just in the nick of time!

We adjusted our move day back a day. We will still pick up the U-Haul on Tuesday, but we will use all day to load it and clean our house. Then we’ll drive away on Wednesday, and arrive at our new apartment on Friday, May 5. I will drive the Escape and Jack will drive the U-Haul, towing our Volvo on the back.

On May 8, Tyson will get to meet his acting coach for the first time face-to-face. (They’ve been doing classes via FaceTime.) Her studio is only a few minutes from our apartment. On May 10, Tyson is scheduled to get new headshots and photos taken, as recommended by Tyson’s talent manager. We need to take about 10 different outfits, so I need to get those ready this weekend. I plan to pack those separately so I know exactly where they’re at for his shoot.

Now that we’ll be living in LA, Tyson will be involved in much more acting development. Based on the recommendation of his acting coach, he’ll likely be in some sort of acting class five days per week. (Online schooling will be much more conducive to Tyson’s schedule…much less stressful.)

Yesterday, I received a callback from a job I applied for a couple of months ago that I really wanted. They are starting their week-long training class for new employees the week of May 8. They invited me for an interview on Monday morning May 8. Even thought it’s last minute, they are confident I will make a good fit. I’m so excited! Now I don’t have to take the job in Pasadena that I was dreading! This new job will offer me more time flexibility and the potential for a lucrative income.

We ran more errands today. We finally bought everything we needed for our soon-to-be vacation rental. I also bought several organizational items at Staples. Tyson’s life is going to be SO FULL, and he’s forgetful. He will need to learn to keep track of all of his appointments and school work due dates. So we bought a huge dry erase board calendar to record the family’s schedules (e.g. my work schedule, Ty’s acting classes, auditions, etc). We bought a smaller dry erase calendar that we’ll also hang on the wall that will only be for Tyson’s school work.

It’s amazing how things are falling into place. So far everything has happened that we have wanted to happen. Now we truly are excited to move to CA to see what else is in store for us. 🙂

Tomorrow is my nephew Ramsey’s 4th birthday party. The entire family will be at my sister’s in Bend. I’m so happy we’ll get to see everyone one last time right before we move. Even though we are excited to go on this incredible adventure, we will miss everyone dearly.

T minus 6 days

I had yesterday (Monday) and today off work to do move-related stuff. Over the weekend, I went into work Saturday morning for a few hours. I only have tomorrow and Thursday left.

Then I ran a few errands Saturday afternoon.

Sunday we sold the tent trailer! It ended up being a bit of a hassle, but it’s done.

We are still trying to sell the Jeep. Lots of interest, but the high mileage is scaring people. I’m hoping I won’t have to drop the price AGAIN. We’ll see.

Monday we stayed home and did more packing. I did laundry, and coordinated the bedding linens regarding what would stay for the vacationers’ beds versus what we’ll take for us in LA. Jack put together the new futon in the addition that will add two more spots for sleepers once our home becomes a vacation rental. (The more people you can comfortably sleep, the more rent you can command.) Last week Jack set up the television and Xbox (he found at Game Stop for cheap!) in the addition. Our house is looking great. It will make a great vacation rental!

The garage is cleaned out! Monday Jack moved all the packed boxes in our house ready for LA into the garage. They were in our way while trying to clean and organize the house into a vacation rental. This finally gave me space underneath Tyson‘s loft bed. We are putting a twin bed under the loft bed so it will act like a bunk bed for vacationers.

Jack and I got online and viewed the apartments at the top of our list. We took notes and numbered the apartments in the order we liked them. We called and applied for our TOP FAVORITE apartment, and we GOT IT! So all day today (Tuesday) we were gathering paperwork and running errands so we could provide the apartment manager everything they needed, including deposits and first month’s rent and copies of various documents. (They need a LOT of information in California to rent an apartment.)

What stinks is they could only push out our lease on the apartment four days. Which means we start owing rent April 29.

Obviously this means we need to move down there ASAP. So we now have decided on an official move date of Tuesday, May 2. We will arrive Thursday, May 4.

Our apartment is located in Studio City. It’s literally within walking distance of Universal Studios. How cool is that?! And there’s a park across the street. That feature really sold us on this apartment. Because the apartments in the area we were looking in – in our price range – did not have much (if any) green space around.

And for a two bedroom apartment, it’s actually bigger than many of the others we looked at. Most of them were under 1,000 square feet. Our apartment is 1,137 square feet! And the price was the same as the smaller ones we were looking at, so we are feeling very blessed right now.

Today we also secured renters insurance, submitted forwarding address information to the post office, signed and submitted our contract with the property management company who will rent out our home, went to the bank, went to Staples (to make copies), and stopped by Home Depot and Walmart.

I still have to call and set up all the utilities for our new apartment. And reserve our U-Haul. Since my last day of work is Thursday, I’ll have Friday to change our contact info with all of our utility companies and other businesses that mail us.

So much to do, so little time

So much has been happening.

I have one week of work left. And I still have a lot to get done.

We’re still trying to sell our Jeep and tent trailer. Some have been interested. Every few days I’m refreshing them on Craigslist and routinely dropping the prices.

Jack is doing a great job cleaning out and organizing the garage.

We continue to figure out our finances and budgets, moving things around.

We continue to pack boxes and our home is slowly evolving into a vacation rental. We had our meeting with the property management company we chose last week. We had to buy several items and shift some furniture around. Jack had to contact a hot tub company to set up a maintenance contract. It is taking a lot of coordination.

We are at the point where Jack and I are now seriously considering our apartment options. We have a short list of apartment complexes we’ve been keeping our eyes on. Any day now we plan to apply for one of them.

I’ve been in communication with the kids’ schools and tying up loose ends.

I’ve been researching education options for Tyson (and Ariel). We are seriously considering online school/homeschooling. I’m in contact with two different programs we are interested in. I’ve been in contact with a mom who moved to Sherman Oaks with her son last summer. She put him in public school, but was discouraged with how strict the school district has been with her son’s attendance when he had to leave for auditions. It was so bad she decided to enroll him in online school next year.

I am intrigued by the idea of the kids’ education being planned around our lives versus the other way around. As a society we are conditioned to plan our lives around the public school system of our kids being educated in a certain structure from eight to three Monday through Friday.

It’s time for us to think outside of the box.

I anticipate Tyson will be out of school relatively frequently. He may have an audition (or, better yet, an acting job). And I want us to be able to travel to Oregon regularly. After reading Burbank school district’s attendance policy, as often as I foresee taking Ty out of school, it just won’t work.

We discussed all this with Ty. At first he seemed reluctant, but then he started getting excited about doing school online, especially if it meant shorter school days.   🙂

LA is not my home

LA is not my home

LA is not my home.

Living here in Sunriver was my husband’s and my dream. Now we’re leaving. And even though we’re excited for the opportunities in LA, we are sad that we are leaving.

In LA there are people and cars everywhere. So much concrete and buildings, not many trees except for spindly palm trees, smog…and a severe lack of cozy, down-home feel.

In Sunriver we breathe mountain fresh air. It’s quiet and serene with fir trees everywhere, beautiful town structures, snow-capped mountains in the background, hiking and biking trails everywhere, the Deschutes River just steps away…and down-to-earth, peaceful people who know how to enjoy the simple things in life.


Maybe LA isn’t ALL bad. When visiting LA, I have noticed something…magical…in the air. The scent of dreams. Sometimes it’s so palpable, you can taste the confidence and excitement of believing you’re meant to be there for your dreams to come true.

LA is full of dreamers, doers, creators. Manifesters. People who are not afraid to share their light with the world. You see it and feel it. And among the dreamers we’ve met, they automatically carry a well of optimism and hope. They are not rigid and stuck in their physical reality. They live in a world of potentials. They are naturally open. Open to the possibilities out there for them.


Although I love the serene, peaceful atmosphere of Sunriver, I also love that creation energy.

LA is not our scene. But maybe I can bring Sunriver with us. Maybe LA needs some Sunriver peace and serenity.

And we can create a second dream home down there.

Because who says you can only have one dream home?


Moving forward

Things are moving along!

Jack has been working hard on cleaning out the garage and putting stuff in storage. We have been able to sell a couple items on Craigslist. We found someone to take the bearded dragons, and we have someone coming tomorrow to look at the tent trailer.

This week I also got in touch with another mom who moved down to LA last July with her son. It was great to be able to ask her questions. Her responses encouraged me greatly.

She mentioned that her son is in public school, but that they’re seriously considering homeschooling him next year with online school. That is something we had been considering for Ty, too. Apparently, on weeks when her son has several auditions, the schools aren’t too lenient with him being gone so much.

I’m headed to my employer’s corporate office in Salem tomorrow for a few days. I have some meetings to attend. It will be my last time over there.

It’s been almost two weeks now since I’ve given my resignation notice to my boss. The emotions I had swirling around that event have subsided. Now I find myself constantly thinking of the future and looking forward. Especially as more opportunities are already starting to show themselves for Ty as we get closer to living in LA. We have a self-tape audition we’re submitting today for a role that Ty is pretty excited about.

Next Friday is my flex Friday. I have several errands planned. We are also scheduled to meet with the property management company that will manage our house as a vacation rental.