Feature: Care2Rock

 

I am SO excited to share today’s feature with you. In fact, I’ve been excited to share this for WEEKS!

If I can sum it all up in a few words, here is what I would say:

Music Lessons. Online.

Healing.

Foster Kids.

Of course, you know I am NOT a woman of few words, so let me hash it out for you!

Care2Rock is a new company that just launched! Through their online presence, they offer music lessons. Lessons include guitar, piano, songwriting, voice, strings, percussion, brass and woodwinds. Lessons are with a private instructor through video chat and are anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour long. One lesson can be booked at a time, or a regular lesson time can be chosen and a monthly rate applied.

Lesson rates are:

30 mins: $32

45 mins: $40

60 mins: $48

 

And now do you want to know what my favorite part of this company is? The fact that they DONATE free lessons to children who are in foster care!!! Music has been proven to help children deal with emotions and is a healthy outlet for dealing with circumstances that are otherwise out of their control (this describes every child in foster care). Students who take music lessons are more likely to excel in school, more likely to see college as an option, and more likely to see that they are important, they are special, and they matter to someone.

You guys.

WHAT A GIFT. 

WHAT A GIFT TO THESE PRECIOUS CHILDREN WHO ARE IN FOSTER CARE.

Here’s how it works. A music teacher working for Care2Rock is payed for their hours of teaching and then they donate their time (and skills) to give a free lesson each week to children in care.

Alright, so how do we know that this is legit? Well, Heavenly had the awesome privilege to take two lessons through Care2Rock. Guys, she LOVED it. L O V E D it. She was on cloud 9 and couldn’t stop talking about her private lessons. Her instructor, Maria, was excellent and within 1 minute had figured out what level Heavenly was on and what she needed to work on. Color me impressed. Seriously. I stood outside her door with tears on my cheeks listening to their lesson. The fact that there are people in this world who see needs and step up to meet those needs? Now that is beautiful. They say foster care is so full of brokenness, and I couldn’t agree more. However, sometimes in the midst of that broken, we get to see the most beautiful things. I know it’s “just” a music lesson. But hear me out…it’s changing lives. CHANGING LIVES.

 

So how can you get involved? 

Well, if you don’t have foster children and you are interested in music lessons for your children (or yourself!) I would HIGHLY recommend booking through Care2Rock. The instructor that we experienced was excellent and was obviously a professional musician!

If you do not have children at all and are not interested in music lessons, you can still get involved with Care2Rock! You can donate a lesson to a child in need by simply paying one of the teachers to give a lesson to a child in foster care.

If you are a music teacher and would like to get involved, you can be used!

And if you do have a child in foster care, I would encourage you to get them signed up for this FREE opportunityFilling out the form is very simple and the benefits are immense!

 

Isn’t that so fabulous? I seriously love companies that I can truly get behind. Do you have any questions? Comments? Thanks so much, Care2Rock for taking the time to love on our foster kiddos and help them through the power of music!

 

AND GUESS WHAT? Care2Rock generously offered The Glorious Mundane readers $10 off their first lesson! Just enter GLORIOUS10 in the code section of checkout! Anyone who books a lesson using this code will be entered to win a free month of lessons in June!

 

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24 Hours Kid-Free in Cincinnati!

 

A few months ago, my Dad and Mom offered their grand parenting services so that Theo and I could get away for 24 hours. We took them up on it and planned a date! Unfortunately, a couple things changed and we ended up having to switch dates and locations, but that was FINE! We were kid-free for 24 hours!

We wanted to get away, but stay somewhere fairly close so we wouldn’t have to waste precious time driving far away. We settled on Cincinnati because it’s only an hour away and has lots of everything!

We had found out just a few days before that we were expecting our little surprise baby, so I was kind of still reeling and in a bit of a fog. I was also feeling terrible and that was the worst. The last time Theo and I had a night without kids was when I was pregnant with Kiah…two years ago. I was pretty disappointed that I was feeling so gross on our one and only night away!

We stayed at a hotel about 20 minutes outside of Cincinnati, and we enjoyed the stay. There were a few things that were kind of strange and the hot water did not get hot, so I give it 3.5 stars, but it met our needs perfectly fine and the price was right around $100 so we will not complain about little things when it was well within our budget!

We stopped at the hotel first, then headed to downtown Cincy to find something to eat. We decided to walk across the Purple People Bridge into Newport, Kentucky to find some food to eat. It was a GORGEOUS 75 degree day and the perfect weather for a walk across the bridge.

  

 

We wandered into Newport and struggled to find a place to eat. There were a few options, but none seemed appetizing to me. We almost chose a fish place, but I wasn’t sure if I could stomach the smell so we ended up choosing a restaurant and not really loving it. We managed to be seated next to a very boisterous birthday party who took a billion selfies with their phone cameras practically hanging over our table. It was loud, the food took forever, we saw our server only twice (when she took our order and when she dropped it off), and I wondered if the restaurant was a Hooters wanna-be based on the uniform that all the girls were obviously required to wear (not the male servers, mind you). Anyways, it was not the right environment for what we needed so we got out of there as soon as possible and headed back over the bridge.

We went straight back to the hotel and crashed for the night, watched some TV and went to bed.

We slept in a bit, got some breakfast at the hotel and then headed back into Cincinnati. We wanted to spend the whole day exploring but also knew that I had my limits (and they already weren’t stretching far beyond breakfast). It also was supposed to rain all day, so we knew that might change some plans. We decided to head to Findley Market and we both LOVED it.

 

The trees were FINALLY in bloom! It took a few more weeks for the blooms to come to Dayton!

I loved seeing some of the murals in downtown Cincy!

It started to downpour, so we all ducked inside and it was crowded!

Findley market reminded me of the rest of the world. All kinds of sights and sounds and smells and exotic things.

Look at all that bacon!

Veggies!

Plants!

Us! After walking all around Findley Market I was done for the day. Just done. We needed lunch but I was just dragging and wanted to climb into my bed at home. It was raining and so we ducked into a restaurant that appeared to have no name- we just wanted to see what it was. We were whisked immediately to a table and seated when we found out that the restaurant sells Pho. I had no idea what that was, but my life is forever changed.

Nothing, literally nothing I’ve had in all three of my pregnancies tasted as good as that broth. I didn’t even care for the meat or the noodles but THAT BROTH.

One other thing that I really wanted to do before heading home was hit up Jungle Jims. Jungle Jims is a store that sells food from all over the world. They have different sections dedicated to different regions of the world and it’s so much fun to look around and remember different things that we have tasted from different places.

They had a whole shelf of bug food- bug lollipops, bug candies, bug chips, and just plain bugs.

Next we stopped at the fruit section and laughed at all the different kinds of fruit- this one was called Ugli Fruit! Ha!

We had fun reminiscing and sharing some of our adventures around the world (Theo has been to 16 countries and I’ve been to 15!)

We bought some guavas, saw some ostrich eggs for $70 a piece, browsed the aisles and then headed home.

24 hours in Cincinnati was a lot of fun! Next time, let’s do it without morning sickness in tow!

13 Weeks (Baby #3)

 

I’ve considered not writing this post.

It seems like…too much. Too vulnerable. I worry that writing it and hitting publish will bring a lot of judgement or criticism.

But I just cannot seem to be able to write anything else until I am able to get this out, and process it all through writing.

I want to go ahead and give what is commonly called a “trigger warning” here: I am 13 weeks pregnant, I know that this little life is a blessing, but I’ve struggled a lot mentally with this unexpected pregnancy. If you are someone who has struggled to become pregnant and you struggle a lot with the pain of another woman being pregnant, you may want to skip this post. Again, I share that at the beginning because I do want to be sensitive to feelings and different lifestyles and know that even if I write with the best of intentions, sometimes my words can lay like bombs in the hearts of another.

I am a little over 13 weeks pregnant today! I guess that means that it’s time to start doing my typical weekly updates, huh?

Today marks the first time in 13 weeks that I have taken an actual photograph of my pregnancy. Yikes.

We found out we were expecting on March 27, 2018. I sobbed to Theo in the bathroom, shaking, apologizing, sinking to the floor. The rest of the week I was completely numb. Then the morning sickness hit. Hard. I was sick and nearly bedridden for the next eight weeks. Every time I told someone about our pregnancy, I burst into tears. I was embarrased.

Now let me explain. It’s not that I didn’t want more kids. It’s not that I’m terrified of labor, delivery, postpartum, and having four kids (although all those things do bring unique fears).

It’s that prior to March 27 I was so overwhelmed in life with my current three that I feel like I was drowning. Seeing a positive on that pregnancy test made me feel like someone had tied a stone around my ankle, and it was finally the last straw that would pull me down. Here Theo and I have been in a tough season with our foster situation, Theo’s job, our two kids. Recently, we have started asking so many people around us for help. It’s humbling to be in this position, and then to have to tell those very same people that I was now pregnant on top of it all?  I was terrified. Again, not of labor, delivery, another child…but mostly of morning sickness. I begged God to please spare me this time, but it has been my worst pregnancy yet.

A few weeks into this pregnancy, it dawned on me. I’m literally going through the entire grief cycle. Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. I’ve read that the cycle doesn’t necessarily follow that exact path, and some of those big feelings come back around once or twice (I’m looking at you, depression and anger) before acceptance finally occurs.

And the most overarching feeling I have on top of this grief?

Guilt.

How can I feel these things when so many women long for a baby? When so many women would gladly take alllll of my symptoms for the baby growing inside me? When I am strongly pro-life and yet here is this life inside of me that I just cannot seem to bond with over the anger, denial and depression? Is this normal? I’ve never even heard of anyone else dealing with these emotions, so surely I’m in the wrong. How can I feel GRIEF in relation to a pregnancy?

ANYWAYS. Here I am today at 13+ weeks and just now have some pictures to show of my pregnancy (cue: denial…if I don’t take any pictures, it’s not happening, right?). But I know that the healthy thing that I need to do is go through it, so I am going to work on posting my regular pregnancy updates again. I am not sure that I will be able to do weekly, but I will at least commit to taking weekly pictures and possibly posting them monthly.

Size of Baby: The size of a peach!

Weight Gain: None. In fact, I’ve lost a few pounds.

Symptoms/How I’m Feeling: See entire post above

Sleep: I sleep just fine, it’s my kids who need to work on this one! Haha!

What I Miss: I’ve been missing the idea of all that is to come. We had some fun plans this summer since we now have all walkers in our family, and I’m missing all the ideas that I have to say goodbye to (roller coasters, backpacking, etc).

Cravings: Nigerien food. Fanta Orange. Spicy food. Sour cream with ranch dressing as a dip for my carrots. Carrots. Lemons. Cinnamon Toast. Ice cold water. And that list right there consists of everything I’ve eaten in the last ten weeks.

Aversions: Food. The thought of eating. Anything sweet.

Worst Moment: The endless sickness. I have nothing else to say about that.

Best Moment: Hearing the heartbeat.

Exercise: Unless laying on the bathroom floor writhing and moaning or crying buckets of tears counts, NOPE. I’ve started going for daily walks now that I’m feeling a bit better. I’m hoping to be able to start running or at least some sort of real workout soon.

How the rest of the family feels: We told the kids and they are very excited! Well, Kiah has NO CLUE. Tera is thrilled and tells me everyday how big my tummy looks. Heavenly is really excited, but also a little bit nervous about how I’ve been so unlike myself. It’s been really hard to be that consistent adult that she still so desperately needs while being so, so sick. Theo is also really excited and I don’t know what I would do without his excitement and support. I know this first trimester has been really hard on our entire family, and that also adds to my guilt. I want to be up and functioning again and being the Mom that holds the family together. It’s very humbling to be in a position where I’m not fully reliable. But overall, everyone is really excited and that’s helpful to me.

Thanks for following along, guys, and for your encouragement and support always. It means the world to me.

5 Things I Do to Hit the Reset Button

Right now, I’m in a little bit of a funk. Perhaps it’s this insanely long (and cold) winter. Perhaps its the fact that we are coming up on one year with Heavenly, and nothing has changed since day one. Perhaps I’m just tired and a bit stressed and lonely. Maybe I’m struggling with some borderline depression. 

Whatever it is, I’ve got to hit that reset button. It’s nothing crazy, but several times a year I reach a point in my life that a reset just has to happen.

I mostly wanted to write this post to share how I do hit that reset button. As you all know, we don’t have a lot of money nor do I really have the capacity to take a longer period of time away from my kids. That means that all the things I do to hit reset are things that can be done for nearly free in the comfort of my own home while still completing my mothering and home managing duties.

  1. Take a Break from Social Media. I find that as I sink farther and farther into being overwhelmed, I turn more and more to social media. I turn to it to numb me, to encourage me or to tell me my worth. Unfortunately, none of that actually works, and it usually makes it worse. Sure, taking a break from social media means that I lose followers and I lose my spot in the algorithms, but I have found this to be my single most effective way to hit reset. I usually go off social media for a weekend, a week, or a whole month. Have you tried it before?
  2. Find a Book I Love. I love to read, but I don’t LOVE every book I read. Sometimes I find that I just need to put down whatever book I’m working through and pick up a book I LOVE. A book that I don’t want to put down. Usually, for me, this needs to be a novel that I can just read and relax with. A self-help book is probably not what I need in this time!
  3. Clean, Organize and Purge. There is something about taking just five minutes and organizing a space that makes me feel like I may just have my whole life together. Honestly, I want to clean my entire house and get rid of so much stuff, but if I start with just one small shelf at a time, eventually my whole house will be clean. My goal for Spring Cleaning this year? Empty one shelf/drawer in each room of the house.
  4. Get Outside. This one is cliche and everyone says it, but it really is one of the easiest ways to hit refresh. Now, I know…this one is weather dependent and I’m not a happy camper about that. However, if the weather is over freezing, I know that I can bundle my kids and take them out for just a few minutes. If the weather is nice, I love planning an entire morning or afternoon outside. Sometimes, for me, I need to make the time and space to just go for a walk or a run all by myself. Sometimes getting outside means just walking to the mailbox and back. But even that small amount of effort helps so much!
  5. Do Something for Someone Else. Honestly, this season of life has me somewhat overwhelmed. It seems that all I do is take care of others. I take care of my officer. I take care of my kids. I take care of a foster kid, for heavens sake! I feel burnt out with taking care of others. But sometimes it takes stepping out of my little zone and realizing that there are still people out there who could use my help, and maybe even the help of my kids. It can sometimes be something as simple as writing a card and sending it in the mail. Or sending a friend a text to see how they are doing. It might be more involved like bringing a meal to someone in need, or serving at a church function or a homeless shelter. Sometimes taking that break from our busy life and focusing on someone else is exactly what is needed. It helps me to take the focus off myself and put it on someone else. Then, when I come back to my own life I am abundantly thankful for what we have.

And with that in mind…I’m going to follow my own advice. I’m going to take a little break from social media and even from blogging for a while. I’m not sure how long. It could be one weekend and not even noticeable. Or it could be a month or a season or just until I finally feel like I’ve hit reset on my thoughts and emotions. I’m going to get outside and do things for others and just rest and remove myself from the comparison trap that social media often is. Don’t worry, if you need to get ahold of me, I will still be reachable by email or phone!

I also would love to hear from you. How do you hit the reset button? What types of things do you cut out or add in in order to restore some rest and order from the chaos? Obviously, we would all love to take a tropical vacation without kids, but that’s just not a possibility, so let’s stay realistic here. When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, what do you typically do to overcome that?

 

And the Radio Silence is because….

Well, folks.

I sure didn’t think I’d be writing this post!

But here we are.

That’s right.

I’m pregnant.

Remember that time at the beginning of this year when I said 2018 was the year that we finally had no big changes planned?

And then God laughed. And planned a big change. And I just have to shake my head and laugh along with him because I sure wouldn’t have picked this way as MY way. But here we are, and I know in my head (still working on the heart) that God’s ways are far greater than mine.

Our precious, unexpected blessing is due right around Thanksgiving.

I’m sick as a dog (how sick are dogs, really? I bet I’m sicker than that) and just over 10 weeks along.

I have a LOT to write about in regards to this…ALL of this. It’s been slightly overwhelming, especially with the morning sickness and keeping up with three kids. But I’ll just keep this short and sweet.

I appreciate so much your patience while I’ve been completely out of commission!

And, I appreciate so much everyone who is along for the wild ride with our little family on this little blog.

Buckle up, it’s about to get even wilder!