The day we met

Day 1 

It was raining outside as I stepped out of the dorm room. I wasn’t a college student yet, just a visitor. But it felt fun to play this role for the week I was visiting my high school best friend at her Florida college. We were going to meet a group of guys and play in the rain. I think the consented game was football. I’m always game for a raucous adventure and the rain has always been a favorite of mine, so it seemed like the perfect way to spend the afternoon.

Green eyes framed by dripping wet perfect ringlet curls looked at me as I stepped out of the door into the drizzle. This small statured young man caught my attention as the group of girls converged with the group of guys headed to an empty field for what was sure to be a messy time. His smile and attention was obvious, but I was only there for a week of fun. So I focused on the task at hand, which was football. The rain mixed with dirt felt soothing on my freshly sunburned legs from the beach day earlier that week. We all laughed and ran through mud. And I found out his name. Craig.

A friend grabbed my camera and snapped a picture of our muddied and smiling group. In the picture, you can see he’s smitten and I’m beaming.

Day 2 

After flying across the world, adjusting to a new time zone, checking into my dorm and attending orientation for the wierdos who started college in January, I sought out my high school best friend. This had been the college I wanted to attend since I was 14 and just because my best friend had made it her’s first did not deter me. She graciously shared the place she called her intellectual home and gave me a tour.

On our trek around campus we stopped at the gym. Inside the noisy building I spied familiar bouncing curls dribbling athletically down the court and taking a shot. He spied my friend and came over. “Oh, are you visiting again.” “No.” I said, “I go here now.”

Day 3 

We met to play checkers in the campus cafĂ©. Instead of playing the game, we spent the evening trying to contort our faces into the silliest expressions. We were laughing, flirting and memorizing every inch of the other’s face without ever touching. It was the innocent sweetness that comes with first getting to know one another. The smiling eyes, flushed cheeks and excitement of the introduction to another soul.

Day 4 

We just had to read the book. Our lives were missing out on a vital cultural phenomenon. That’s what she told us as we settled into the common room loveseats we had pushed together to make our “couch cocoon.” And page-by-page, we began to read out loud the very first Harry Potter book with Craig, myself and Karen snuggled up. At the chapters end we switched the reader. Hours and hours we spent on those couches reading book after book. Craig ended up doing the best Dobby voice and he was always passed the book when Dobby had something to say. He and I sat next to one another as we read. The light brush of our hands sent chills through my body. Just being besides someone felt electric and tantalizing. There was such electricity in the air as we sat and read.


Day 5 

Valentine’s day on my first semester in college came with an unexpected surprise. Waiting in my mailbox was a small gift that spoke, “I am known.” It was the largest bottle of Hidden Valley ranch I had ever seen, accompanied by a card with two dogs on the front that read, “I like you so much, I’m surprised my tail doesn’t go flying off my butt.” Signed, Craig.  This platonic gift and card looked ridiculous to everyone else in the mailroom, but to me it looked like an invitation to pursue something more.

Stay tuned for more of the story!

p.s. photo by Emily Rose Portraits and she has great pricing for everyone starting at just $100.

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I can only do 1 thing at a time.

Females are known to be able to multi-task. It's kind of our claim to fame. Our brain allows us to check Facebook, ride a bike, breastfeed a child and recite a nursery rhythm all at the same time. It's almost like a superpower to make up for the painful process of carrying and birthing kids. Almost.

But this female is built differently. Sure I can watch the kids, bake cookies and wash dishes at the same time like any housewife, but when it comes to bigger multi-tasking, count me out. Unlike a lot of females, I am extremely task oriented. Sometimes to a fault. A lot of times my brain favors the task over relationships with people. Weird, I know, especially because I am an extrovert. So being able to juggle many tasks at once should come naturally to me, but it strangely doesn't.

Instead, my brain only fixates on one goal, objective, project at a time. 

Examples: this blog or my acting career or selling our house. Only one thing at a time. Which is probably pretty obvious since I haven't blogged since January. But as we start to live and dream again about the future, I've needed this blog less.

This little corner of the internet will always be there for me to share, vent, be humorous, but it won't take the place of truly living. And for awhile, it did. But not anymore. Now, after 3 years of being on hold, we've hit play.

So what's new for The Acting Mom? 

I have an agent! Yep. A real live talent agent and talent agency. I'm acting professionally again after seven years of doing it for fun (which I will always do!) and loving doing what I truly feel made to do. Have you found that thing that makes you feel like you are putting on a custom built glove? That's acting for me. I can take all the countless auditions, rejections, and all the other unglamorous stuff they never talk about on the Tonys or Oscars for those glorious moments of stepping into a story that moves everyone who sees it. It feels like breathing again and I am breathing deeply.

We have decided that while living in a 1,200 square foot house as a family of 6 can be done, we would rather not. So we are working towards putting our house on the market and buying another one with more square footage and more land. Bring on the buyers for this house and bring on the great steal of a dream house for the Barber family!

Thanks for being along the ride of The Acting Mom journey. I can't wait to see where it takes me next! And if you want to keep up with my professional journey as an actress, check out my website

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Time stood still {2 year adoption anniversary}

When we decided to adopt we didn't realize that time would stand still for two full years. The rest of the world continued to spin, but we didn't move a day. Every day was the same. The stress was immeasurable. Craig and I reeled and clung to one another as we ran the daily race of parenting and living. And it all blurred together into this timeless vortex that was our lives.

Lots of people told us it would be hard and we completely believed them. But when you are walking it day in and day out you can't remember what anyone said or didn't say or suggested or I-told-you-so-ed. You were just surviving. We cocooned ourselves (like our adoption classes and adoption agency told us to) to give the boys a stable, simple life the first six months and this isolation only added to the strange space-time-continuim we felt. As the first year home rolled into the second year home, we didn't see an end in sight, which made it even harder.

The boys were making progress in attachment and reaching developmental milestones, but Craig and I couldn't see the trees for the forest. We walked on, drinking coffee, consuming unhealthy amounts of junk food, and binge watching Netflix after the kids were asleep. To call our life "living" would be inaccurate. One foot in front of the other was the mantra.

Then we hit the two year mark of adding Andrew and Simon to our family and something changed. I was working during the holiday season, we were joyfully adding new holiday traditions and the Barber family was thriving. We began to feel a sense of rest, as if the adoption vacuum that had sucked us up in January 2012 had finally decided to spit us out again. And for the first time in three years, Craig and I could breathe again.

And what do you do when you breathe again? You dream. 

This new year holds the promise of so much for us. Our lives are beginning again as a complete and functional family of six. There is anticipation in the air and the joy permeating our house is infectious. The two years of working diligently day after day seems to be ending and our hard work is showing it's fruit. And it is sweet.

Andrew and Simon show affection to us and their siblings. They express emotion, communicate their desires and share many jokes. Their appetites are healthy and their imagination is vivid. And boy, can they climb, jump and run! They embody everything a healthy three year old should be and we are so thrilled! What parent would ask for more?

We all still have our days of troubles and tantrums and turmoil, but it is less frequent and more easily tended to. This is what I envisioned when we adopted. These sweet moments and long hours of parenting come to fruition. Two years later and life is starting to feel normal.

In November 2012 we flew around the world and made two strangers our sons. 
The oddness and wonder is not lost on me. 
Love (and years of hard work) builds a family.

p.s. Read our 1 year adoption anniversary using YouTube videos or our Gotcha Day post.

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