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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Performing during the holiday season

Walking around in a costume through a shopping center gives you a really unique perspective on how people view and interact with the world. I just completed my contract as a Merry Maker with RWS and Associates at Westfield Brandon Center. It has been fascinating to see people's reaction to us spreading the cheer of the holidays.

Our basic function as Merry Makers is to perform in two different shows and spread merriment and cheer through random acts of kindness. It a very fun job and since Christmas is one of my favorite times of year, this is an ideal job for me during the holiday season. Not only do I get to perform, it's my job to spread the holiday spirit through giveaways, story times, Elf-ercise, mistletoe stick and a caroling. It is a blast and the cast I am working with is a joy to be around.

Throughout the season, there are have been thousands of different interactions with the shoppers at the mall. I have probably said "Happy Holidays" 348, 296 times in the past four weeks and everyone one of those has had a recipient on the other end responding in some way.

There are four main ways people interact with us:

1. Avoidance

2. Polite acceptance

3. All-in loving it

4. Rude comments (these were rare)

Oh! And people hitting on us. How could I forget the fun that was (eye roll)?

The first is a result of shyness, people on a mission to accomplish things, and not wanting to be sold anything. As someone who very much identifies with the last two, I completely get it. And I respect people who react this way to our slightly over the top personalities and happiness, because they know that for whatever the reason, they do not want to interact with us. And I would never want to make someone uncomfortable. But at the same time, would it kill you to say, "Happy Holidays" back?

A little shout out to the BEST vendors in the mall! They gave us a home to perform our show and were abundantly kind and our biggest fans. Thanks to Curtis, Alexis, Josh, Jay and Eric!

Most people fall into the second type of interacting which is a polite acceptance of whatever we are doing, whether that is a watching our show, "Joy: The Gift of Christmas" or accepting a free chocolate or smiling back at us when we compliment their festive sweater. These are great and make up the bulk of the interactions through out the day.

We handed out hundreds of chocolates, coffee mugs, bottles of water, tote bags and reindeer ears. It was a fun way to bring a little sunshine to someone's day as they did their holiday shopping.

My favorite interaction is the full-in loving what we are doing as Merry Makers. They will join in caroling with us, dance along, ask for pictures with us and just smile from ear to ear. This is the best kind of customer to interact with all day and they give us that extra pep in our step to go out and do it all over again. Most of the people that fell into this category were kids and their parents.

A lot of what we did as Merry Makers is geared towards children, so it makes sense that they would enjoy us. The best interaction was a little 3 year old boy named Ezra who was so overcome with infatuation that he continually hugged me and planted a big 'ole kiss on my cheek after we finished a show. Poor guy got a face full of sweat, but he didn't seem to mind one bit.

And let me take this moment to brag on my amazing cast: Ryan Caudill, Steve Austin and Sarah Katherine. We all got along so well and made quite an amazing group as we dealt with all the different types of interactions we encountered in our four weeks together. I wouldn't mind one bit if we all did this again next year together. I couldn't have asked for a better team to spend the holiday performing with and spreading cheer.

This was a wonderful experience overall, but I am truly glad to be home with my family now that my contract is complete and just rest in the familial love!

p.s. Did you know I have a separate website for my acting? Check it out!

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