Dear Mushka,

Marriage: An 9 Year Interview with Robert & Katie

Marriage: An 9 Year Interview with Robert & Katie

We just celebrated our nine year wedding anniversary and did a little interview on Instagram. 

Here are the Q&As, with a few extra details!

How do you handle marriage during the newborn season?

Robert: It's okay to be in survival mode! Don't romanticize it, newborns are hard. Say "I'm sorry I was exhausted and missed you in that moment." Trust that tomorrow will be better and work towards that, over time. 

Katie: Catch each other in the small moments and say "I see you and I love you!" Also important is to take your thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) instead of dwelling on how x y or z isn't fair. Satan loves to make us think we're alone and justified in our anger and bitterness. Fight against that and praise God for every good and perfect gift instead!

Also, think on Philippians 2 and the example of servanthood we have in Christ. He suffered far more than we are with a baby, and he still humbly poured himself out for others. We have the same power of the Holy Spirit inside us- pray for that strength and ability!

How do you handle date nights?

Robert: Date nights are important- we've done them with varying frequency over nine years (every Saturday was a goal at one point)- but they aren't a silver bullet. If you aren't loving each other well during the week, your one date night isn't going to fix it. 

Katie: During this lenten season, we stopped watching TV at night. That redeemed time has been so good! We've connected on a deeper level, had conversations we weren't making the time to have otherwise, and have gotten just as much out of that time (or more!) as we would have on a date night. 

We do have a goal to find a sitter we love and trust, but we also find value in getting takeout and snuggling up for a movie after the boys go to bed.

Our favorite way to spend a date night is getting errands done (truly, we have fun together) or going out with friends.

Tell us about working together!

Robert: We work very well and very poorly together. Ha! Katie is particular about her schedule and to-do list. If I try and go into her office and talk when she's trying to work, she's going to get frustrated. 

Katie: We were having the same argument over and over again. I'd put the boys down for a nap and be ready to power through some work. Robert would see that the boys were down and naturally use the opportunity to come chat. It wasn't working and we had to communicate our needs and potential solutions. 

But we do love working from home together! The flexibility is how this family functions so well. And we've also learned that it's best if we have separate roles in this company so we aren't stepping on each other's toes. He handles his things and I handle my things and then we meet in the middle to talk about them/ encourage one another/ offer insight and advice when it's asked for. And only then ;) 

Do you do Bible Studies together? Spiritual leadership?

Robert: We don't. We know ourselves- we read at different speeds, need different things out of the word, and could potentially turn it into a competitive sport. Instead, we both read separately and then tell one another about what we've read and learned.

If you want your husband to have more spiritual conversations with you, be willing to have spiritual conversations with him. Love what you're reading so much that you just have to share it. 

It's also so important to communicate what you need. If something isn't working or you'd love a family devotion time or whatever, tell him! Kindly, of course, but he can't read your mind. 

Katie: Being "head of the household" doesn't mean that it's solely Robert's job to begin every discussion. Primarily, I need to be in the word and in prayer. Then at the dinner table or in the car, we can share what we're reading and how God is growing us. 

It's not my job to be the Holy Spirit in Robert's life. I don't need to nag him to read his Bible- how ineffective is that! Instead, I excitedly share what I'm learning and spur the conversation on. 

I've also learned to respect the specific giftings he's been given. Instead of trying to make him more like me, I want him to be more like Jesus. So I try to highlight his strengths and come alongside him in his weaknesses. This goes both ways. 

Robert: A huge thing you can do for your husband is pray for Godly men to speak into his life!

(Robert meets with a friend every Friday to talk about the book of Hebrews + life. It's been so so good for him!) 

How has marriage changed in nine years? 

Katie: I learned how to apologize. I was prideful and defensive when we got married and didn't have a clue how to humble myself enough to apologize. Robert showed me Jesus by initiating reconciliation, even when it wasn't his responsibility. His love offered me opportunities to grow and improve in a safe environment. 

This is a huge part of how we do marriage and parenting- creating a safe place to become more like Christ. 

Robert: I learned to assume the best about Katie and give the benefit of the doubt. I'd been creating these worst-case scenarios in my head that involved her trying to make me angry, but the truth is that she was just tired/ unaware/ human.

An additional note to my single friends:

Don't look for perfection in a spouse; look for desire. We were not these people when we got married and I hope we are additionally sanctified nine more years down the road. On our wedding day, we were two people committed to following Christ and growing more in our relationship with him. And that is all that matters, ultimately. He'll grow you + take you where he wants to!

Gifts for Caregivers and Teachers

Gifts for Caregivers and Teachers

I know how it can be a struggle to find meaningful, personalized gifts for all of the amazing people in our lives so today I’m sharing some gift ideas for caregivers and teachers!

The Lantern Necklace

The Lantern Necklace comes with a verse that says “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” I love this one for teachers because they are definitely a light to our children and a lot of teachers and caregivers like to sing “This Little Light of Mine”.

I think it is so perfect for them! It comes with little copper beads inside and it’s really beautiful.

The Harvest Necklace

The Harvest Necklace comes in nine different colors so you’re able to pick their favorite color or even the school color. It is paired with Galatians 6:9 and the necklace provides the imagery of pieces of fruit being strung together to create something beautiful.

This is even a great gifts for mothers because raising children is really hard work and sometimes it can feel so tiring and we so often just long to see the fruit of our hard work. It serves as a reminder that if we keep at it, God promises that some kind of fruit will come.

I love adding this note:

Thank you for working steadfastly to grow fruit in these children, even on the hard days. I am so grateful!

The Gentleness Necklace

The Gentleness Necklace is great for a younger teacher or caregiver. The tassel is such a gentle, sweet pendant for a reminder of the verse it is paired with. It’s a calling to be gentle and humble. 

Some Other Pieces: 

A Promise Pack -- truth for them to put on their desks and in their cars

The Precious Tee -- because they absolutely believe these lyrics

The Goodness Necklace -- because raising children is a good work

Welcome Cru! + Adoption Tips

Welcome Cru! + Adoption Tips

Our third son, Cru, was born last week and we are thrilled to have him in our arms.

You can read about our past adoption experiences in these blog posts. For this third adoption, we used Faithful Adoption Consultants again. I highly recommend them or a similar route if speed is a priority to you. We went active around Valentines Day, were matched five weeks later, and held our son two weeks after that!  

You can also follow my personal IG account along here

Many of you have asked for adoption tips beyond choosing an agency so here are a few things this three-time-adoptive-mother would recommend as you prepare to bring your little one home. 

1. Rent an Airbnb as you wait out ICPC. A hotel gets old fast. If you can find a place with a kitchen, living room, and bedroom you'll be able to spread out, avoid eating out so much, and feel more like you're at home while you await the clear to head back to your home state. Ours was just $10 more a night... very worth it.  

2. Pack those little things babies need when they come home from the hospital. A baby thermometer, vaseline for post-circumcision, a nail file perhaps? Of course, a Target or Wal-Mart is probably close by, but if you don't have to buy a duplicate, why do it? 

3. While you're at it, pack a variety of clothing sizes for your little one.  Because my other two boys wore them for multiple weeks, I only brought newborn clothes and as it turns out.. baby number came out too big for them! I had plenty of the next size up at home and kicked myself for not bringing a few of them. Lesson learned! 

4. Bring comfortable, realistic clothes for yourself. This is not the time to look fancy and dolled-up. You might not have delivered a baby, but your emotions have gone through the ringer. Lay low, enjoy being cozy (and make-up free!) while you're away from the company of your friends and family. 

5. Take advantage of the time you have in a different city. Travel all around the state you're in-- for our second son we visited the Red Rocks in Arizona and for number three we planned to go to Waco (hello, Joanna) until we got the clear to come home earlier than expected. 

6. Likewise, enjoy parenting with just your spouse and new child. Did you leave other children at home? Soak up being a parent to just one newborn-- what a unique bonding experience! Go out to eat with your husband before your child gets too old to do so, snuggle up on the bed and watch a movie in between feedings, go for walks, do a little reading!

Miscellaneous Dear Mushka Pieces You Didn’t Know About

Miscellaneous Dear Mushka Pieces You Didn’t Know About

Today I’m sharing a few Dear Mushka products that you may not know we have. Watch the video to see the pieces or read through them below!

The first are some add-on’s that you can add to basically any necklace you already have. These are perfect for necklaces with little hanging pendants to make them extra customizable.

The No. 139 Collection

We currently offering birthstone pendants as part of our No. 139 collection as bracelets, earrings and a necklace. They are little glass stones for each of the months of the year.

You have the option to add a birthstone pendant to almost any piece for a pop of color. They look especially good on long necklaces like the Plume Necklace.

Other Additions

Other great options include initial pendants, hearts, arrows, rings, pearls and Keeper tear drops to any purchased piece - you can find them here.

Our Trio Necklace comes with three rings but I love the idea of adding as many rings as you need to represent children, friends, etc.

I love adding a pearly on basically anything for a little extra feminine touch.

For these extra add ons you simple add your necklace and add on to your cart with a note to seller on the view cart page that tells use what to add to which piece for you💕

Replacement Chains

You’ll probably need us to fix a broken chain, if this happens simply pop us an email or purchase a replacement chain.

We also have chain extenders available if you’d like to add an extra 2-3” to your necklaces. It’s super simple to add! Just attach to the back and put your necklace back on. You’ll soon be able to add a clasp to a long necklace, too. This is also helpful for layering necklaces.

I’ll be showing you all some more of the custom designs you all create as they go out on IG stories because you are all so creative and create the most beautiful pieces that are so meaningful. I know these jewelry pieces are extensions of your hearts❤️

Easter Basket Ideas (that focus on Jesus)

Easter Basket Ideas (that focus on Jesus)

While there is nothing inherently wrong with candy or bunnies, Easter is about abundantly more than what our culture has made it. 

If you're set on creating an Easter basket for your child, here are some ideas that can keep the focus on Jesus and spur on sweet, Gospel conversation!

1. Resurrection Eggs-- My boys can't wait to break these out every year. We usually start them 12 days before Easter (one egg per day), but if you don't have a set they'd be a wonderful thing to include in a basket this year to talk about all morning long.  

2. The Child Pack-- If your kids don't have Bible verse cards, this is the sweetest beginner pack made just for them. As soon as children can talk, they can memorize verses and these are perfect ones to begin with. Plus, they're adorable (if I do say so myself!). We have a few hanging in our boy's rooms :) 

3. A Cuddle + Kind Doll-- Every purchase provides 10+ meals to children in need. This could open up a conversation about how we use our blessings to serve others, or to prompt prayer for those who have less than you do. 

4. A Garden Tools Set-- Perhaps with some seeds, too. As you plant, you can talk about how God brings life, created all things, faithfully grows us, etc. 

5. A book like this one or this one-- Snuggle up and read about Jesus together, or even consider reading one of these around the lunch table with family & friends! 

6. A Jesus-Focused Activity Book-- Maybe with some new crayons, too.

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