Christmas Card Fail?

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It’s almost Christmas card season. How does time creep up on us! I never sent out photo Christmas cards (except for one of Scottie, my sweet doggie that passed a few years back) until I was married with my own kids. So far, we’ve had a few years to do this and EVERY YEAR December 1st hits and we haven’t started a thing. I’m also dealing with a little extra issue here: we don’t have Huck all the time or every weekend. Part of blended family life. So, we need to try and schedule the family shot around his schedule.

Needless to say, I thought it’d be great to try and set the timer on the camera, all jump on our unmade bed (cause we got a new headboard from World Market, so I thought it might make a decent, clean back drop!) and get some quick shots last weekend. But, best laid plans of mice and men… well, you know.

Hard to get all the kids to cooperate at once. So, we have some memories of the day, but not sure it makes for a pleasant card. Funny, maybe. At least I’m thinking ahead and starting early!!

Have you thought about your cards yet? Do you plan on sending any? Do you use candids throughout the year, or try to take an actual family group photo? Or have a theme? Sorry for the barrage of questions! lol

For those of you asking on my stories, I’m adding info on my dress and some other info below.

  1. Fall floral dress with see-through overlay 2. booties 3. Looney Tunes sweatshirt (similar to Huck’s) 4. RL polo (similar to Hayden’s) 4. Exact Headboard (loving it)

Also like the idea of the white booties with buckles showed in the picture. You just may see me wearing these very soon;) Love how the booties makes a vintage-type look feel so modern.

Off to finish some work. I’m viewing the Lifetime movie we just completed tonight. Eeeep!

Also, thanks to everyone that commented about my auditions last week. I will take ALL the good vibes. Hope all of you are having a great week….

it is feeling like fall here!

ps- adding a few other funnies below.

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Homesick. Bear with me here....

 Fall 2017. Did that year go by fast?

Fall 2017. Did that year go by fast?

SATURDAY 22ND 6PM:

I miss Hayden. I chose to take this film far away, so it feels wrong to now complain. I enjoy getting to work and am grateful. Perhaps complaining is not the right word.

Joel and I can talk all the time… communicate as often as we want (until recently, but that’s due to weather, see below). Huck has two homes. We don’t see him all the time; that’s our reality right now as a blended family. But, Hayden is just a toddler. We spend an incredible amount of time together. This time apart is out of the ordinary for us.

Question for parents: how old were your kids the first time you left them for an extended amount of time?

 The days are long, but the years are short. A year ago this month, @Ographr took this shot.

The days are long, but the years are short. A year ago this month, @Ographr took this shot.

I think if I’m honest with myself, it feels like I’m missing out on these days with him; I feel guilty. Did I make the wrong choice? Every time I find myself missing him, it translates to guilt in the pit of my stomach. Serious separation anxiety. Hayden IS with my parents and sister. That part is the good news. He is bonding with them and literally having a blast: walking in the rain (fully clad with the cutest frog rain gear you’ve ever seen-see below), searching for lizards, playing with Betty the Bunny. My family is keeping him stimulated and smothered with love! But, I am up here in Canada far away from him. Hearing him say “Hold you, Mama…hold you” through the phone breaks my heart. For months he’s heard me say, “Want me to hold you?” Hence the “Hold you, mama.” 

I was kind of doing ok emotionally until today. Last night, a tornado hit Ottawa. Our production is right in the middle of it. I was downstairs near the hotel lobby waiting for one my producers and wardrobe for an intense, long fitting where we would decide on outfits for each remaining scene for my character Connie. There were other visitors in the lobby around the same time. In a chorus type melody, each phone began to sing the chime of a weather alert. One after another updating each of us of the danger heading our way. The news had a headline saying: TAKE COVER. STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS. A TORNADO IS YOUR NEAR VICINITY. What??? The other locals and desk clerks laughed. They said authorities loves to alarm citizens about tornados, but nothing ever happens. 

About five minutes later, through the large glass entry way doors, we saw the tree across the street leaning so far over on its side, it looked like a cartoon. The street lights flickered, then went out. Inside our hotel, the same thing happened. Zap! Darkness. It seemed surreal for a second. I thought to myself… oh geez, we’ll have to wait for a few minutes before the power returns. Well, that was over 24 hours ago.

While we are all safe, we have been without electricity. No one knows how long till it resumes. It’s mayhem here. Few stores or restaurants are open. The ones that are up and running are packed with lines out the door. Once I was able to charge my phone, cell service has been so spotty (and forget trying to get wifi), it’s been very hard to communicate with my husband and family. Currently, I am in a different section of the city writing this, charging my phone and hoping to get some food. Unfortunately, nothing is available near my hotel and since the refrigerator is out…you get the picture. Some of the headlines on the news say this area looks like a WAR ZONE. It’s sad. I feel for these people that are having to rebuild their lives and homes. And my understanding is that many are injured. The school where we’ve been shooting this film caught on fire and has extensive damage. 

No one has died, at least no reports I’ve heard. I thank God for that. And our production crew is safe and sound. So, all in all…. there is nothing more to say. 

Except, I always have one more thing to say, so… I guess it feels as though things can happen anywhere at anytime. My phone isn’t working- I can’t get the videos my parents are sending of Hayden. I know it sounds silly in the grand scheme of things. It’s only been 24 hours. People and families go through real troubles everyday.

I was scheduled to have five days off starting today. My plan was to be on a plane to Texas to see Hayden. And Joel was looking into meeting us there briefly until he was back in LA with Huck. But, alas, this force majeure has altered schedules and I am now shooting during part of that time. 

Hug your loved ones extra tight tonight. 

UPDATE SUNDAY 23rd 11AM:

Power is back on!! Wifi is still spotty, but I can find certain spots now to FaceTime with Joel and Hayden. I got a flutter of photos and videos from Joel (he is visiting his 89 year old grandmother!) and my family. 

The schedule had to be altered for production, but they’re on top of that figuring out new locations, a new school, what needs to be reshot… a lot of juggling. 

Thanks for letting me vent. I’ve received a few DMs or comments from people responding to instastories/posts about being away from Hayden. Your encouraging words help! I especially appreciate personal stories of your own experiences. Working mom stories, travels, etc. I

SECOND UPDATE: Omgoodness!!!! As I was finishing the update above, the fire alarm in this building went off! We were all evacuated temporarily. Kinda crazy. All was taken care of and we are back in our rooms, but wow. (see instagram stories)

SO…. I repeat. Hug your loved ones. Call your loved ones. And also—- I appreciate you all for reading this far! Much much love.

xo

AAJ

My last update..! I saw notes on instagram asking where to get this frog rain gear from the instastory….so, I said I’d add it to the blog post. He is 2 years and 5 months and the 2T fits perfectly. Size 7 shoe.

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frog umbrella











Could I love anything more?

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I was recently at an event where I was asked by several other mamas if Joel and I are considering having another baby. It's a common question, I know. I get asked it a lot. It's such a cliche, but I can't imagine loving another child as much as I love Hayden and Huck. I loved the time with Huck (and loved him) so much before Hayden was even here.... now that I have these two, I can't fathom another little baby! So, I'm interrupting the wellness posts (and looming other posts on work) to ask y'all about this cause it's just on my mind.

Before having Hayden, I used to think it was so silly for parents to say they couldn't comprehend loving another child as much as they loved their current ones. Well, my mind couldn't comprehend something that sounded so ridiculous. You just do, I thought to myself. My parents had three kids. My best friend has four kids. All kids are loved immensely. 

But, I get it now. It's not that you think you wouldn't love them as much, it's more about spreading your attention. This time with Hayden alone is so special, I want to love him and teach him as much as I can. Hayden is the only child often. Huck is in school and with his mom when he is not with us. But we do everything in our power to make the most of every minute with Huck. 

I do believe the concern of spreading yourself too thin is legitimate. Do you? I don't work outside of the home everyday, so that's a plus. Who knows if it's in the cards for us to ever expand the family, but I'm hoping you will share your thoughts if you have more than one child...or a blended family. My guess is that most of you will say things evolve organically, the way God intended. 

 photos by  @ographr

photos by @ographr

*Jumper is on sale for $47. CUTEST cut out back. (I'm wearing a strapless bra). Really a great buy. I plan on adding a sweater (when it finally cools down here) and boots for a transitional look. 

On a different note, I plan on sharing more about the StarFish Project soon. Their mission "restores hope to exploited women in Asia." They provide life-changing opportunities through  Holistic Care Programs and social enterprise where women create beautiful jewelry and become managers, accountants, graphic designers, and photographers.

I am happy to support companies that are in the business of helping women and giving back to their community. I'm wearing these delicate dangle earrings here. FYI: the packaging is so sweet, with a note from the woman that made them. 

xoxo

AAJ