Yesterday we wrapped up our second week of homeschooling. 

Well, it’s kind of the third week for me because Clayton happened to be out with a cold and sinus infection the week prior to school closing… just my luck.

I have talked to many friends and other parents who are feeling incredibly overwhelmed, not only with the work load but with the amount of pressure their child’s school is putting on them. I have heard from multiple parents they have been threatened in letters and emails home that their 5 year old will not progress to the next grade level if the work sent home isn’t completed on schedule and up to par. 

Hearing this just made me feel so sad for the children and families who not only feel the weight of that on their shoulders, but also the ones who aren’t capable of doing it. 

I’m currently homeschooling my two older kids (8 and 5), an advanced second grader who does a lot of third grade work and my preschooler who needs to be ready for kindergarten in the fall.

We are fortunate enough to be a part of a school that has been more amazing during this time than I could have ever imagined. They are open for conversation, they are asking for opinions. They are going above and beyond for their students and families, all while letting us know they do not want any family to feel stressed or frustrated by this process. This warm, empathetic vibe allows me to take a deep breath and a step back as needed to make sure we are doing what is right for our family. 

So I thought I would share what we are doing over here.

When this started I knew I had to keep a schedule because otherwise my kids wouldn’t take it seriously, nor would they get out of their pajamas all day. Clayton would literally lay on the couch for 12 hours and Charlie would eat every snack in the pantry. I had to implement some order or it would be a free for all and total chaos! 

The day before we started, I went over my expectations for them. They need act like they do at school- respectful, kind and courteous.

My son attends a Montessori school, and is very conscientious so I know he is capable of working independently, being productive and self directing his education. I wanted to keep this same momentum and so my goal was to encourage him to work in a flexible and creative work cycle. The independent work is also important because I also have a baby to care for who needs a lot of my time, in addition to all the regular day to day cleaning, cooking, etc. 

The first day was a little wonky. I didn’t really know what to do, they didn’t know what to do. My son just kept complaining he didn’t have his works aka Montessori materials. He just wanted to read the same Dogman book like 800 times (in his head 🤔) and call it a day. 

I grabbed the book Charlottes Web and told him to read it out loud to his sister, 1 chapter a day. Then he needed to discuss to make sure his sister understands, write sentences about it after each chapter and they could watch the movie when they finished.  Whew. That took a little load off. 

By the end of the day we had paperwork, notebooks, pencils, etc covering the dining room table… which by the way is our only table. 

Something had to change.

I went online to Michaels, bought this rolling cart along with two tackle boxes and some organizing bins that were all half and did curb side pick up. I stocked it will all of their work plans, tools and supplies. Another tip I have is that I set a reminder on Alexa for every weekday at 9am to tell the kids to start school work, that way it isn’t me telling them to get to work every day and they do it on their own. Although sometimes they pretend they didn’t hear it. 

After this I wrote out our schedule, which is as follows:

8:00-9:00 is their time to get dressed, eat breakfast, use their iPads and relax a little. I do not allow video games because it is too much of a fight when it’s time to get off. 

9:00-12:00 is their morning work cycle. During this time I expect them to do some form of independent work. Clayton needs to choose a math work, read, and write in his notebook. For writing he usually either chooses to do bare bones sentences or answer questions about Charlottes web but he could make up a story if he wanted. 

This work block is not limited to these subjects though. He can choose to do anything educational or helpful… go outside and find things in nature, clean out the dishwasher, put a puzzle or Lego together. As long as he is making an effort to educate himself in a productive way then he gets to choose. Obviously Charlie doesn’t have as much required work. She does practice writing her letters in her workbook but spends a majority of her morning drawing or creating. 

When the morning work block is over they clean their stuff up, load it in the cart and put it away. 

From noon to 1:00 is lunch and outside time. This ranges- many times it goes until 1:30… it’s basically whenever I need to put Colby down for a nap. 

From 1:00 to 3:00 while Colby is napping they have quiet time. During this time they can read or use educational technology.  Clayton logs on to the online programs offered through the school district. He watches social studies related content, history or science. Sometimes he likes to watch earth odyssey which is also fine. Charlie plays on ABC Mouse during this time, but that’s not to say I haven’t caught her watching liv and Maddie on occasion. 

After Colby wakes up they go back outside for a while or play barbies, watch tv, etc. At 4:00 if they have been productive, not fighting and done something helpful, Clayton is allowed to use video games and Charlie can watch her YouTube videos, which has always been the rule here (no technology between 10-4). 

Reading back through this, it all sounds so easy. I assure you it is not. We have good days and we have bad days. On the good days my kids only bicker a little, work independently for a period of 15 minutes before getting distracted and then need to be redirected. On the bad days, they fight non stop. They are constantly bothering each other, whining and being defiant.  Even on the good days we have arguments and tears about it. 

All of the stress of this is amplified by having a very needy 18 month old who often follows me around fussing and tugging at my legs. 

I have explained to Clayton that this is not summer break even though it feels like it. That kids all over this country have to be homeschooling, or worse, have parents who do not care about them or their education and fall more and more behind every day. I told him that this is not easy for me either and I need his cooperation to make it as happy as possible. He gets it, yet I still get told I’m “the worst” and “the meanest” accompanied by eye rolls and grunts an average of 5 times an hour. 

I know that what goes on at my house is not perfect by any means. But I’m trying, and they are trying. My hope is we all settle into a groove and there end up being more good days than bad and that my children dont feel the enormous amounts of anxiety that I do and don’t remember this as a stressful time. 

I will continue to post about more specific works that the kids are enjoying. For now I am going to leave you with a portion of an email from our school principal, because I think everyone needs them, opposed to the type of emails some schools are sending out. This is how you know you’re in the right school family. 

I came across this online and thought it was wise, so I share it now:

"The world feels scary right now. Rather than allow your kids to absorb your fear and angst, let them remember these weeks as the time their parents cut loose and let them have video game marathons. Let them make fun meals. Let them stay up late.Allow yourself to be a little more wild and care free within the walls of your 
home. Don't let this time become a childhood trauma."

Ultimately, the goal of the work we are sending home is to keep kids connected to learning. We do not want to stress or overburden students, parents, or caregivers.


Supplies Links

Rolling Cart

Square trays

Rectangular trays

Tackle boxes

Clear bin

 

Clayton said something the other day that really took me by surprise and made me pause. We were talking about a project he was short listed for and a callback that he had been preparing for for the past 3 weeks. It was going to be last Friday but got bumped. I suggested to him to say a prayer about it. He said “No, I’m not going to I don’t want to jinx it”. I told him praying doesn’t jinx things. He said “Mom, every time I work hard and really want something to happen and pray about it, it doesn’t happen”. This instantly made me sad- that he associates praying and seeking support from God with being a jinx, “bad luck” and negativity. Determined to prove him wrong, I told him I’d say prayers- I know he could play this role in his sleep he’s been preparing for so long, they will of course love him.

I realize it may seem silly to some to pray for something like this. And you don’t have to tell me that there are far greater prayers going out… especially during times like these. I get it. 

But I don’t think that makes any prayer less significant than another. And when the hard work and investment put into roles  feels really important to this 8 year old, it’s worth some prayers. 

So when I encourage him to pray for comfort and Gods will, it makes me really sad that he doesn’t find that in prayer and actually feels the opposite. How do you teach a child that even when you give something 110% and pray to God for it to happen and it doesn’t, time and time again, that it’s not the praying or God that is at fault. That we don’t get to blame things on God. 

This is a hard lesson. And to be honest I don’t know the right answer because even as an adult I have fallen to my knees and questioned “why Lord?” 

And now yesterday, I was told the callback he’s been preparing for, for nearly a month, cut him- to save time with shutdowns and filming right around the corner. So when he said to me: “please don’t pray anymore mom you’re going to jinx it” …what do I say now?  

This is like a punch to the gut. I literally feel nauseas and starved for air.

These are the days that I hide in a closet and scream and cry because I know I’m about to break my child’s heart…again and when I do I will have to be strong for him, encouraging and most importantly positive.

I have to tell him how amazing he is and how some kids don’t ever even get a single callback let alone as close as he has come. I have to talk about all the maybes- like maybe they wanted an older or younger kid or Maybe they wanted a quirkier kid or one with freckles or a southern accent. Maybe the kid who got the part has been doing this for years and never booked anything and this is his big pop. I have to tell him we should feel happy for the boy who got the role because he’s been working really hard too. 

I have to tell him how wrong he is when he says he feels like he’s not good enough and he is never going to book anything and hug him while he cries. 

Then there are days like this one when I just don’t say anything and hope enough time goes by that he will forget about it. 

Clayton feels every emotion so deeply. He doesn’t let anything role off his shoulders easily.

I don’t have all the answers, hell, I don’t know that I have any answers- especially when it comes to the right way to handle so many disappointments. I’m sure that replying to agents and mangers and saying wtf?! and telling them how pissed off I am is probably not the appropriate response, and I’m sure they’re thinking I’m a loon at this point but I AM pissed that production doesn’t care about kid’s feelings and that’s considered “business as usual” especially in times like these when maybe these kids are already feeling stressed and scared and could use something like acting to take their mind off things instead of make them feel worse. I AM tired of breaking my kids heart. I AM terrified that no matter how much my child loves everything to do with acting and being on set he will choose to leave the industry before getting his big break because he’s tired of working his butt off and ending up in tears, and…that he’ll end up regretting it. 

I don’t claim to know much about this industry. Every day and every experience is new to me. I try to be open and absorb as much knowledge as I can. I do know it’s hard AF in every imaginable way. And I know people think my kids not an actor because he hasn’t booked anything- I see the eye rolls, I hear the scoffs and I feel how our friendship has changed because of the jealousy. Regardless of what anyone thinks- He is an actor. He proves it every day. This is what the acting journey is. And I don’t say any of this because we aren’t extremely thankful for all of these opportunities and people on our team, because we are. We are so incredibly thankful. I say all of this because this industry is so overly glamorized. The allure of being an actor or model is based on an illusion…that you just book a movie and are famous over night. It doesn’t work like that. Sorry. And as I’ve promised all along, I have no intention of sugar coating what this experience is for us, and for others- whether it’s what they’re posting or not

Clayton had the opportunity to work on The Righteous Gemstones, which premiered last month on @hbo

This was by far NOT the most featured job he has had… but it was definitely one of the most fun! We stopped doing background work a while ago, but this opportunity arose and I’m so glad we hopped on board. Clayton got to hang and work alongside some of the most brilliant comedic actors in the biz who also happen to be incredibly kind and welcoming and down to earth and pretty good at flossing 👌🏻 

You could watch the whole season and you probably won’t even realize you have seen him! His role was the body double for Abraham Gemstone played by the very sweet Gavin Munn

So you may ask, what is a body double and why do they have them? 

A body double is used often for children. This is because there are so many strict laws regarding children in this industry, and the amount of hours they can work each day is one of them. Also, the amount of hours they are on set calculates how much time they have to be working with their set teacher also, so to fit all of this in, in a single working day is a struggle.

According to NY and CA labor laws, a child 6-8 years old can be on set a maximum of 8 hours a day, but working no more than 4, with the remaining 3 hours spent with the set teacher in school and an hour of rest.  At the age of nine those times increase by one hour and it stays that way until fifteen years old.

Under the age of 6 the hours are significantly lower and if you’ve ever spent time on a set, you are well aware at how slow things can move. This is why twins/triplets are often used as babies or at such a young age. 

There are also many more specifics to this- how long the child has to wait, what time frame they can work in (no later than 12:30am on non school nights for example) and there has to be a full 12 hours between they time they finish on set and when they can film again the following day. 

These are just a couple of examples of the extensive labor laws, which are in place to protect our children. So as you can see, in an industry like this, using a photo double for a child is necessary or filming would take forever. 

So in steps the body double. 

What does the body double do? It takes the place of the main actor in a scene where the main actor may not be as visible. 

So to be more clear, Clayton filmed scenes portrayed as the main actor while the camera focus was typically elsewhere. Maybe you only see the back of his head, maybe he’s blurred out or maybe he’s too small to make out the face… however the editing goes down, you will likely never recognize him in this particular role. 

There is a misconception that a Body double is the same as a stand in. It is not. A body double is not a stand in unless specified otherwise. A stand in literally stands in the place that the actor will be filming and runs through the scene while the crew is working to get the lights and cameras set up accurately. The stand in is never filmed in the final edit unless they’re used as an extra as well, in a scene with a huge crowd. 

Clayton was so excited every single time he was called to set, he didn’t care that no one would see him or his name, he was having endless FUN and that’s what is important when you have a young child in this business.

You let them steer the ship.

 

 

We came home earlier than anticipated from L.A. 🌴 In the first two weeks of being signed on the west coast, we had 5 audition requests and 2 other print castings for Charlie. I had no idea how fast things would take off and I’ve been completely blown away by how hard our manager is working for us and rooting for us. 

The second week of June I got the call that Clayton was hand picked and requested by the casting director for a series regular on a long time running tv show. And when CBS calls… you go! 

His audition was on a Monday, we would find out Tuesday Or Wednesday if he was selected and filming would start on Thursday, then continue regularly for the following month, until taking a hiatus.  Obviously this left me no choice but to bring Charlie along too. 

Needless to say He didn’t get the job. It was down to him and another boy and sadly for us they decided to go with the boy who had more credits. So after hitting a couple more auditions we headed back home.

Y’all, This industry is so crazy and until you’re in it, like really fully immersed in it you just have no idea. I sure didnt. I never knew how the industry worked, what any of the lingo meant or what the the laws are that vary from state to state, about work permits or how damn hard these kids work. 

Did you know there are 25,000 agency repped child actors in L.A. alone. For every available job, the casting director is receiving thousands of submissions. If you get asked to self tape, that’s exciting. If you get an audition- that’s a big deal. If you get a call back- amazing. If you get whittled down to a handful and get to audition in front of producers it’s huge. Huge! 

It’s OK to not get the job. Thousands of kids did not get the job. We should be proud of The fact that our child even has an agent or The fact they have been requested.

And YES the process is frustrating and it sucks at times. And YES Clayton gets bummed out, and YES he feels defeated (questions that come up a lot), especially not getting picked on an opportunity like this one because he truly does grasp the gravity of these opportunities. 

BUT I remind him about all of the things above, and that all of those no’s are just stepping stones to the yes that awaits him.

If you follow any industry kids on social media, you probably see a lot of #bookedit or #directbooked and it may make you feel like you’re not stacking up.

Or, you may see kids who have booked a lead role after their first pilot season or within a few months of even starting the acting journey. But none of this is the norm.

The norm? The norm is what you don’t see plastered all over social medial. The norm are the kids who work their asses off for years, honing their skill, taking acting classes or watching videos of techniques and ways to improve. Spending hours studying and Learning pages of sides, multiple times a week. Completing self tape after self tape after self tape. Or the kids who go through multiple auditions just to get the tiniest part. For example the kid playing with super hero toys at the end of Shazam. Do you even remember which scene I’m talking about? He didn’t even get a line….But i bet that kid was SO freaking excited and proud to get that role, as he should be. THIS is the norm. The kids who go unseen.

We want to teach our kids if they work hard they can do/be anything they want to be, but as a parent this industry really makes you question that sometimes. At least for me it has.

It’s hard. It’s hard to see your child feel disappointed. It’s hard to see them work so hard and be so eager and then get turned down. All we can do is fill their cup with positivity, and reiterate that doing their best and having fun is the only thing that matters. And word of advice- if they aren’t having fun then it’s time to rethink the path they’re on.

 

 

 

We celebrated world oceans day partnering with charleston surf rider and love beauty planet to clean up Folly Beach!

We also made sure to fill in people’s holes to help the sea turtles make it to the water!

 

 

We had such a great time and collected 225lbs of trash!!

After the clean up there was a fun celebration at Chico feo featuring two sisters karaoke.

If you missed out on a beach clean up today, make sure to follow surf rider for upcoming events and check out the project tenlittlepieces on instagram … where you can commit to picking up 10 pieces of trash each time you’re out and about!

 

This girl is always keeping up with the big kids and she is always getting hurt, somehow…falling, tripping, crashing at least once a day. I’m so thankful to have found PATCH biodegradable bandages from Grove Collaborative

 

By now we all know how bad straws and plastic bags are, but did you realize that most bandaids are made of plastic? The adhesive sheet of a band-aid is usually made from a type of plastic, either PVC, polyethylene, or polyurethane. Plastic band-aids don’t break down; they are single-use plastic items and just think about how often they fall off while playing- in the ocean, on the playground, etc. Not only are these bandaids not biodegradable, they are also not sustainably made, with all of the chemicals used. 

PATCH Organic Biodegradable Coconut Oil Adhesive Bandages are designed for kids to help aid and soothe minor bumps, grazes and scratches. The gauze is enriched with the goodness of Coconut Oil to assist the natural healing process. PATCH are non-toxic and made with super soft and strong certified organic bamboo fabric and gauze with hypoallergenic pressure sensitive adhesive. Everything about these bandages is biodegradable and compostable. The tube is made from recycled cardboard and printed with natural color dye. The sterilization packaging is made from plastic-free rice paper and the strips are made of compostable bamboo fiber. HOW AWESOME! Not to mention their panda design is super cute!  We are obsessed over here with all the amazing things from Grove !! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀

Click HERE to make the switch to another eco friendly product!! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 

We had a sunrise family photo shoot this morning on Sullivans Island with Babiators, for their Spring & Fathers Day campaign with photographer Elizabeth Ervin

 It was beautiful out and it is always SO fun being able to work together as a family. I love every minute of it. 

Here are some behind the scenes photos, I can’t wait to see them all!

 

I don’t often talk about New Years resolutions, because I find them hard to keep. I love the idea of a fresh slate, and making an effort to feel happier, healthier, stronger, better in general but for me, making these resolutions and not keeping up with it creates a lot of anxiety, and guilt so therefore I don’t usually make them. instead I just try to implement the changes all through out the year.

The only resolution I have ever made was in the fifth grade to stop eating meat. I was 10 and my mom was like, “ok, do whatever you want” probably thinking it wouldn’t last. Here I am 24 years later, still not eating meat.

 

This year, my “resolution” is to reduce the amount of plastic I use in my every day life. I have of course been doing things for years, like asking for paper bag instead of plastic, but for example i’m really bad at remembering reusable bags. So my plan is to just do better, in any way I can.

ill be sharing some of my favorite ways to reduce plastic coming up on the blog, so if this is something you feel passionate about as well, stayed tuned!