Monday, January 27, 2014

The latest...

So I know there's a way of organizing posts into nice little sections... need to figure that out.

This is a newsy post, mostly a record for myself so I have some context for my other posts.

The latest thing in the family is the ordeal of trying to get Ladybug's head taken care of before Squirt gets here in 14 weeks.  (Yes, he'll get another nickname once he arrives.)  At the moment, we have her on antibiotics, allergy medications, and must-be-made-of-gold ear drops in an attempt to clear up some sort of respiratory infection and rid her ears of fluid.  This is so we can then get clearance to have her put on a ventilator for her brain MRI.  She's been sedated 3 times before, but each time she's continued breathing on her own.  This time, though, I suppose because it is a longer procedure, the sedation is going to be deeper; they will actually have to insert an artificial airway and breathe for her.  When I found this out my mommy heart skipped a few beats, but then my medical side took over and realized it's okay.  This is what I'm told they'll be using, called an LMA (laryngeal mask airway); it's between a bag mask and full intubation. I've played with these in CPR/ACLS classes; fun stuff till it's real.
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/82527-overview#a09

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/82527-overview#a15
Basically, if she goes under and gets ventilation with any sort of cold/illness, it runs the risk of turning into pneumonia.  An adult can be told to deep breathe and cough; a toddler, not so much.  When I try to get her to cough on command, she gives me a little fake cough which doesn't do diddly squat for her lungs.  She's not been completely well since we landed in TN over a month ago, so as much as I want to hurry this along, I know waiting is probably best.  She certainly doesn't mind taking medicine; she loves the stuff, which is sort of disturbing actually...

The worst part of trying to get her well is keeping her from picking up any other germs.  There have been 3 cases of whooping cough confirmed in the county since January, and not vaccinating is pretty popular up here. (not going there not going there not going there)  We're vaccinated, but that can't guarantee 100% protection.  So basically we're going to be staying in for the next couple of weeks, which I hate to do but don't feel I have much choice about.  If I thought she wouldn't have been disappointed, I'd have kept her out of the nursery this morning at church; she's a creature of habit, though, so going to church and not going to nursery to play might have caused some issues. But no library story hour, no play group, no museum, no starting day care one morning a week like I was really looking forward to...

The reason behind all this, if anyone ever reads this that doesn't already know, is that we are looking for signs of increased ICP (intracranial pressure).  The best of the best doctor in the craniostenosis field gave me some suggestions for tests after I emailed him a brief history and some pictures and CT images of Ladybug's head.  One test, a basic eye exam, we do routinely anyway; another test, an rVEP, which is basically an EEG while looking at a specially designed moving pattern, can't be done in the state on pediatric patients.  So that left us with an MRI, which our "local" cranio doctor had also mentioned as a possibility at her November appointment.  I'm having our local pediatrician order the test since I haven't heard back from our "local" cranio doctor about the radiologist's opinion of the correct CT scan. 

I feel I'm walking a bit of a tightrope at this point... doing what I feel is best for my child while risking making medical professionals angry with me.  This is either going to cause them to respect me, or it's going to cause them to dislike me which may or may not spill over into their treatment of my child, possibly children if Squirt also has this issue.  The doctor I know I'm not making mad is in Dallas, and that's a bit of trek to make... but if that's the best person to treat our children, then we'll do it.  

But back to the increased ICP... I'm unsure just how much they can tell about that from an MRI.  I know they'll be able to tell how much space between her brain and her skull there is; how definite they are about how much there is supposed to be at this age I'm uncertain.  They will be looking specifically for a condition called a Chiari Malformation.  This is where part of the brain, the cerebellum, is pushed down into the spinal column area.  This is not a good thing... when you start squeezing the brain enough to cause that, you have issues.  From what I've read, this is prone to happen when the lambdoid and sagittal sutures are closed, which Ladybug's are at least partially.  Also according to my research, this can cause symptoms that can be mistaken for autism, and these symptoms can wax and wane depending on the ICP at the time.  Hm... sounds a lot like Ladybug to this mama.  I'm not positive she has this, but it's a big enough possibility that I feel this test really needs to be done.  
http://www.chiariinstitute.com/chiari_malformation.html

If something is found wrong on this MRI, it is quite possible that we'll need to act quickly to correct it.  Since I'm 25 weeks pregnant now, this is why I'm pushing to get this done ASAP.  If my child needs surgery, I need to be there with her.  But I'm 5 hours away from any place that could do anything she needs, potentially 1,500 miles from a surgeon who will do what she needs. And traveling after 34-35 weeks is pretty frowned upon... On one hand, I'm upset that we were shorted an entire month thanks to a mistake, but on the other hand, had the mistake not been made I might not have felt the need to even do this test without the "local" doctor saying we needed to do it. Once we're on the other side of this, assuming there is another side, I might go into more detail about just what I've dealt with in the last two weeks.  Suffice it to say for now, it's been ugly.  

So that's what has consumed me most recently.  Turkey is just along for the ride, using her grin to endear herself to everyone but fully capable of bursting into a full blown lay down in the floor kick her feet fit at any moment her will is challenged.  Every child is challenging in their own way... parenting is a wild ride!  And Squirt, as far as I know, is just hanging out, packing on ounces and inches, practising to be a soccer player. Hopefully I'll have packed on a few pounds myself at my appointment tomorrow; just hope I haven't overdone it and sent myself into GDM!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thoughts from Desperate: #1

* My sister-in-law recommended a book to me, and told me whatever I was reading, stop and get this book.  I told her I thought I could take a break from Bleak House, given that I've started that poor book 3 times now and just can't seem to get into it like I usually do Dickens.  So I went to Amazon and downloaded the book onto my Kindle.  It's more than I've ever paid for a Kindle book; I usually refuse to pay anything at all, at most 99 cents, but I've not even finished the book and I'm glad I spent the money.  There is so much going on in my life right now that I wanted to blog with a little more structure, something to give me incentive to do more than just rant.  So I hope to reveal a little of what the pages of this book have said to me, chapter by chapter, because it seems to speak right to, and from, my heart.


Section 1: The Dream Life... Altered
"Ideals and Going Under"

I reached the end of the chapter, and as much as I wanted to surge on to the next chapter, I read the verses and questions.  Often, I don't do this; I always plan on coming back to them, which I rarely do.  But this time, I took the few moments, thinking that these ladies know how busy motherhood is and wouldn't have just thrown questions and verses in unless they were really truly important to the message of their book.

And in the short time it took me to read the questions and verses, and then read the verses again, I felt tears running down my cheeks and falling onto my bulging belly.  Isaiah 41:10 has been such a vital verse to me since I heard its phrases sung in college, yet I had forgotten it in the last month.

I had been sitting there feeling anxiety creep its icy cold hands around my heart and start to squeeze.  A fellow cranio mom had suggested that I might want to speed along the process of getting testing done on my Ladybug.  I'd planned on trying to combine our trips so that we could make the five hour drive to Billings just once.  But this mom correctly pointed out that if something came up wrong, we'd need to move relatively quickly with surgery, and I wouldn't want to be in the position of needing to get my child surgery but not being able to travel because of my late stage in pregnancy or having a newborn.

So I mentioned it to the Mechanic.  And upon a minute's thought, he too agreed that we should probably move quickly.  I said I'd smooth it over with the specialist I was sort of bypassing by reminding him that I had more than one child to consider in the situation.

And I felt guilty.  And overwhelmed.  The two primary advisers who'd been commenting on our cranio journey each had a single child.  They'd been able to devote themselves fully to their cranio kid without worrying about any other children.  Yet here I was, facing trying to get Ladybug several tests before I was unable to travel, and trying to allow enough wiggle room so that if something was wrong we could deal with it before the new baby arrived.  And I recalled the last 3 weeks of pregnancy with Turkey, how miserable and incapable of doing almost anything I'd been.  And I remembered being in the grocery store just 3 days before having Braxton Hicks and realizing they were stronger and earlier than even with Turkey.

And that fear crept in.  What if I can't do this?  What if I can't get all these scheduled in time?  What if I have to make a decision about a major surgery too quickly because I'm rapidly approaching my due date?  What if we need to travel and I can't?  What if... and the various scenarios swirled through my mind.  And I felt so far from the medical services we need... five hours driving time with not a single McDonalds.  And I pictured myself waddling trying to get both girls into the nasty gas station bathroom with me because we have no other choice.

And yet... Do not fear. For I am the Lord thy God.  I will uphold you with My right hand.

He knows.  He may not be a mother, but He loves with a mother's heart, while still remaining God.  He knew when He created me that one day, I would walk this path.  That one day, I would face this seemingly impossible juggling act.  That one day, I would find myself burdened down by the weight of trying to decide what to do, when to do it, how much to push, all overshadowed by the fear of more mistakes.  That great weight of responsibility, that feeling of "I have to stay on top of it all, because if I don't something can get messed up."  And goodness knows I'm capable of messing up enough myself.  I thought I had a specialist eye appointment, and it was only after about 12 hours that I stood in a certain spot in the dining room and realized I'd stood in that exact spot and called and cancelled that appointment a month previous, thinking we didn't need it.

But He knows.  He's in control.  He has been in control, all along.  And He knows my tomorrows.  More importantly to me at this moment, He knows my child's tomorrows.  As I've pushed for answers, my anxiety concerning what might happen if we find answers has increased.  I've had nightmares of strokes in the surgical suite, of tiny wheelchairs and starting from scratch at age two.  I've had terrifying mental images of cradling my limp child.  I always thought I could cope with surgery just fine.  But now, just as we push to test to try to find out if anything even needs to be done, the worst case scenarios fill my head.  Because I know I'd blame myself.  I pushed.  I drove these people crazy.  And this is what happened.

But God knows her future.  He controls it, despite me, despite medical staff, and yet through me and through medical staff.  And I need not fear the tests.  I need not fear the answers they bring.  Or the answers they don't bring.  I need not fear treatments, or therapies, or years of continuing in this vast unknown of "is today going to be an awesome day or a day of throwing our head around, wailing, and being unable to communicate?"

God is capable of healing.  He could say the word, and all her challenges could be gone, instantly.  He could cause her to meet every developmental milestone, early even.  He could smooth those bumps and dips.  But He hasn't chosen to do that.  And while it sometimes makes me mad that He could "fix" all this and He keeps choosing not to, and it even seems like sometimes He keeps allowing more stuff to happen to complicate matters... His ways are higher than my ways.  Would I be forced to trust Him as much if Ladybug was just like Turkey?  I'd be forced to prayer, yes, such as "God what do I do with this temper?"  But that out of control feeling?  That feeling of complete helplessness, of doing all I can do and yet it still not being enough?  It takes a different kind of trial to get to that point.

And I know that God has more trials ahead of me.  Because this is how He sanctifies me.  This is how He teaches me.  And this is where those verses are so important... He will strengthen me.  He will help me.  He will uphold me.  Alone, this time by itself would undo me.  And the thought of even more trials to come could send me to the loony bin.  But I don't have to walk this motherhood thing alone.  I don't have to do it in my own wisdom, my own strength, my own abilities.  He gives me children.  Then He gives me grace to raise those children.  So many times I've looked at others and thought "I couldn't handle a child like that."  Yet... God gives me the grace for whatever child He gives me.  I don't have to handle it.

So when I shut down... when I just want to curl up under a blanket and hide... when I can't deal with another regression, or tantrum, or error, or dirty dish... when I think I can't take another day... I need not fear.  For I am promised help. Strength. And endless grace.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Superwoman Envy

Do you ever look at someone else and think to yourself, "What is wrong with me?  Why can't I be like them?"

And then do you find yourself getting mad?  At yourself?  At that someone else?  At some third-party that has nothing to do with anything?

I've had some moments of feeling pretty good about myself recently.  I've made some progress in some areas, took some action, got some results.  I had a little pride building up.  A little mom-pride.  Many other areas still need a lot of work, but I've kept my head mostly above water, sort-of, so I felt I could indulge in a little pat-on-the-back for myself.  I'd made progress, and that's what I cared about.

And then today, in church, I got smacked so far down in the ground you'd think a meteor had hit.

I didn't take it very well.  Why do they have to be so good and godly?  Why do they have to be involved in both home AND foreign missions at the same time?  Why do they have to make my life look so easy and me look so bad?  Why can't I just be surrounded by normal people, not these super-families?

Yeah, my attitude got pretty ugly.

And in the space of a few hours, I went through the gamut of emotions.  The anger.  The "woe-is-me I'll never amount to anything."  The "they're probably screwing up their kids."  The "I should be more like them."

But what finally occurred to me is, God doesn't call each of us to the same thing.  For example, Moses tried to do it all.  And his father-in-law very wisely said, stop.  Delegate.  Let someone else handle some of these needs.  In the early church, they realized the apostles couldn't do all the teaching and all the serving.  So they divided the church leaders and gave some the responsibility of teaching and some the responsibility of serving the widows and orphans.  God doesn't ask for us to do it all.  He asks us to do what He asks of us.  At this moment.  And He asks us to do it wholeheartedly, with His strength, to His glory.

Am I called to foreign missions right now?  To pray and support, yes, but to actually go?  No.  Am I called to foster children right now?  No.  I feel no call for that at all.  I feel pressure, that that's what good people do around here, but there is no call from God.  What am I called to do?  Right now?  To love my husband and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to my own husband.  That's it.  I struggle in many of these areas.  There is much work to be done in me.  And if I were to take on additional responsibilities, frankly, I'd be disobeying God, because I'd be forsaking what He has called me do right now.

That doesn't mean I won't eventually be called to something else, even if I'm not perfect in these areas.  I'll never be perfect.  But I'm pretty sure that when He does call me to something more, He'll give me the grace to continue with these basics.

Right now, I'm called to fight for my daughter's medical and developmental health.  I didn't ask for this job.  I didn't want this job.  I wanted healthy children.  But God gave me this job.  He allowed genetic problems, he allowed medical mistakes, he allowed my education, and he equipped me to fight and research on her behalf.  It's time consuming.  If I added additional "good things" to my plate I wouldn't be able to do this for her.  Does it sound as good as going on a mission trip?  No way.  Does it look as good as caring for orphans?  No.  But is it my call?  Yes.  And so does how it sounds or look matter at all?  Nope.

I have many other callings listed in those verses from Titus.  I only mention loving my children because I think that's the one I'm doing best, and frankly, the one I put the most energy into. =/  Those others... well... not doing so good in those areas, but they are important.  They are my job, right now.  So the comparing, the envy, the anger, the self-doubt... it needs to stop.  I need to focus on what I'm called to do, not on what other people are called to do.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Encouragement

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..


Go:

I so often look for encouragement from outside sources.  From other people.  Through text messages.  Phone calls.  Facebook.  And when people I know don't supply nearly enough, I go to people I don't know.  Blogs.  And more blogs.  The internet is full of sources of encouragement.  

Yet, sometimes, it's still not enough. 

And while this may not sound like the most Christian thing to say, I'm going to say it anyway.

Sometimes, the source of encouragement needs to be myself.  

Yes, I need to encourage me.  

By acting.  By changing.  By realizing no one can fix my problems for me.  No one can tell me exactly what to do.  Sometimes, I need to consider my options, make a decision, and act on it.  

I need to order that preschool workbook and commit to putting structure into my child's life and taking charge of her education, rather than just hoping everything works out. 

I need to e-mail that doctor and get that 3rd opinion, even when I know it may bring news I don't want to hear.  Or news that may leave me asking, how am I going to pay for this?  

And when I take action, when I take a deep breath and say here we go Lord, stop me now if this isn't what I need to be doing cause I don't know what else I can do... encouragement happens.

Because I realize, I'm not a little girl anymore.  I am an adult.  I am a wife.  I am a mother.  I am responsible.  I can be led by God, and I don't have to wait on someone else to tell me what to do.  Because no one else has walked this exact path I'm on.  I need to trust that God gave me a brain, and that He will guide me to what I'm supposed to do.  

And when I need to, I am capable of doing it.  

Stop.  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Consideration in an Online World

Many of you have seen it.  It's all over Facebook.

The picture of the dead baby.

Beautiful baby, yes.  Precious baby, yes.  Wanted baby, yes.  Human, yes.

Dead baby.

Folks, it's a DEAD BABY.

And almost every time I get on Facebook, there he is.

Cupped in someone's hands.

Dead.

Stop it.

Just stop.

Please.

The first time, okay.

The second time, this is getting old.

The third time, okay, I get the point, you're pro-life.

The fourth time, STOP IT!!!!!!!!  I WANT TO PICTURE MY BABY ALIVE, NOT DEAD, AND YOU'RE NOT HELPING!!!!!

I'm pro-life.  I'm very pro-life.  But folks... this isn't helping.

I've had the chance to converse online with women who are considering abortions at 23 weeks.  Where I'm at right now.  They are feeling their baby kick.  They are watching him/her move inside them.  They've seen the ultrasound pictures.  And it doesn't matter.  They know exactly what that baby looks like.  And it makes no difference to them.

Showing them a picture of a dead baby isn't going to make them change their minds about killing their babies.

Because these pictures are everywhere.  They're plastered on semi-trucks.  They're on billboards.  They're in OB offices.  We know what unborn babies look like.  You'd have to live under a rock to not know at this point.

If someone on your Facebook list has a chance of being impacted by this, they have a better chance of being impacted by a note from you.  By you going up to them in the store if you see them and saying, hey, we should get together, are you free this weekend?  And then talk about life.  And let them know you care.  And if there's something going on, maybe they'll open up.

In the meantime, there are women who've already aborted who are being hurt by this.  There are women who have lost babies to miscarriage being hurt by this.  There are women who are pregnant who are being emotionally disturbed by this.

Please, click the button that says "post link without a thumbnail."  One click.  The story gets shared.  The heartache doesn't.  If you want people to know about the beautiful picture, say something about it.  But don't force it on every "friend" viewing their wall at that moment.

Thanks, from a hormonal pregnant woman who is thankful her baby boy is practicing his soccer skills at the moment.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Shift in Perspective

After a month's absence from our church, we returned yesterday.  Travel, illness, and, to be honest, highs of -17 had prevented us from joining corporate worship.  Because consistency is so important, I feared we were in for a rough half-hour with the girls.  So during one of the early prayers, I found myself praying "Lord, please help them behave."

And then I paused a moment.  And realized what I had just prayed.  And what it said about my priorities.

And in that brief moment, I had a change of heart.  My perspective changed.  And I took back that prayer.  And I replaced it with this one.

"Lord, plant seeds.  Let something we say and sing here sink in.  Let them understand something of the love of God, of Your power, of Your mercy and grace."

They are more likely to absorb something if they aren't screaming, or aren't being carried out every 5 minutes because they're being disruptive.  But, that's not the point.  I don't bring them into church to teach them to behave.  I bring them in so they learn to worship.  I bring them in so they learn about God in a different way than they would gluing cotton balls on construction paper sheep.  And cotton ball sheep have their place, and once my preschool workbook arrives we're going to start making some of those cotton ball sheep ourselves.

Maybe, sometimes, I bring them in so I remember that my goal as a parent is more than just teaching them to behave.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Five Minute Friday: See

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. 2. Link back here and invite others to join in. 3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.. 


Each day starts the same.  A thump.  Hopefully some giggles.  Occasionally a wail.  And then I open the door and let them out.

I see droopy diapers and runny noses and messy hair.  So I deal with the droopy diapers and runny noses.  The hair... well, that just depends on whether we're going somewhere.  One climbs in her booster and announces "eat eat" while the other goes to the fridge and says "mi, mi."

We get breakfast, then they get down to play, and I see dirty dishes.  Food in the floor.  Lack of clean clothes.  So I tackle those tasks while they play dump the toys.  Eventually, it's naptime, and I see toybox explosion, and a lack of dinner prep, and exhaustion.  So sometimes I deal with what needs to be done, and other times I spend their nap studying the insides of my own eye lids.

And so every day goes... seeing immediate needs, and dealing with them.  Not a bad thing.  But sometimes, I remember there's a bigger picture.  Sometimes, I realize just how quickly time is slipping by.  I blinked and she's two.  I'll blink again and the unborn son inside me will be two.  A few more blinks, and they'll be in school.  And then gone.

And what will I have seen each day?  Will I only see the dishes, the laundry, the clutter?  Mostly nutritious meals, keeping them reasonably clean, providing developmentally appropriate toys... yeah, got that.  But what about other things?  Like actually preparing them for life?

That comes in bits and pieces throughout the day.  Every moment has a learning opportunity.  But am I so focused on the here and now survival that I forget to see the bigger picture of what I actually want them to learn?

So here I sit, waffling on clicking the order button.  Can I commit to this?  I don't want to spend my money and then have a workbook sit on the shelf and not actually do it.  But will it help me remember the bigger picture?  That each day is more than just survival.  That each day is a step towards adulthood.  Where they'll need to know that God is love, and He is risen, and that we are to give thanks with a grateful heart.  Where they'll need to know their ABC's which might require a bit more intentional teaching than I normally give.  Where they'll remember more than just mom constantly saying no, stop that, don't do that, but also Bible stories, story books, crafts and activities we do together.  Fun and learning together.  More than just survival.
Maybe.  I hope.  So do I take the plunge and commit to seeing the bigger picture?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

That Mother

"I'll become a skull CT, and you won't understand me," says Baby Bunny.
"If you become a skull CT, I'll learn to read you, so that I can understand you," says Mama Bunny.

I am looking at CT scans online, so that I can learn to identify a closed suture from an open one, and maybe even a patent suture from a non-patent one.

I'm sure this makes radiologists and surgeons cringe.  They go to school for 4 years, and then train for an additional 4-8 years to learn to read these things.  And this mother thinks she can do a better job than they can?

Better? No. But does that stop me?  Nope.  Because the only way for my child to get the care she needs, is if I know enough to question.  And if I do question.  And express doubt.  And get very specific.

I am becoming that mother.

In a perfect world, I wouldn't have to be that mother.  I could trust that everyone else cares just as much about my child as I do.  I could trust they're double checking names and medical record numbers and dates of birth.  I could trust they're keeping in mind the age of my child at the time of the test, not just her current age.  I could trust they're putting her as a priority.

It's not a perfect world.  In an imperfect world, boob enhancements and nose jobs take time and brain cells away from my child.  And mistakes get made.  Honest mistakes.  They happen.  I get that.  I worked in a doctor's office and know how things get lost, people get sick and take vacations, things get shuffled to the bottom of the stack.

And that's why I'm here.  That's why I'm that mother.  Because I want to know that my child is getting the best care she can have.  Because by trusting you, a human, I'm assuming you care just as much about my child as I do, and will be just as careful.  And while there's a time and place for that, this is not that time.

Hopefully this will make me a better and more understanding nurse in the future.  For right now, though... I pity the medical staff that treats my child, because they're going to have to deal with me, and I'm on the warpath for some answers.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Resolutions?

How are you doing on your New Year's resolutions?

I'm doing great!  Haven't missed a single one!

I also haven't made any. =)


Last year, I decided to be very intentional.  I'd read Emily Barnes' books, and I was determined that 2013 would be different.  So I wrote down a variety of very specific goals, and I wrote down specific ways to begin accomplishing those.

And by our first move in March, I'd lost those goals.  Not lost as in not kept them.  Literally lost the notebook and planner where I'd written them. Which is too bad, because I really liked that planner.  It resurfaced for a month or so during the summer, then got lost again in the second move.  I ended up making my own calendar for November and December, and I've ordered my 2014 planner.  Unfortunately, everything I order seems to go through Colorado, and everything that goes through Colorado gets delayed by weather.  Amazon two day shipping means nothing out here; it can take anywhere from 1-3 weeks, if it arrives at all.

But back to resolutions and goals.  It's not that there aren't a lot of things I want to improve, and I have ideas for how to improve them.  But I'm also realistic.  I have a two year old and a one year old.  Both very mobile.  Both very demanding in their own way.  And I'm almost 22 weeks pregnant.  So while I do need to exercise, and get organized, and manage our money better, and be a better wife and mom, and be a more faithful Christian, I'm also a very practical person.  I have my hands full with life as is.  I struggle to get through each day without losing my temper. And last years' detailed goal setting didn't work.

So how do I go about things this year?  What can I do differently?

Until I get my planners in hand, not much.  I've gone over and created a budget of sorts, which I'll then transfer once my planners arrive.  Whenever that is.

But there is one simple thing I can do, need to do, that I think will make a difference in just about every area I want to improve.

Getting up before my children.

Fifteen years ago, that seemed so simple.  I loved getting up before the rest of my family, seeing the sunrise before the bickering started.  I didn't understand why my mom didn't do that.

I have turned into my mother.  I don't want to get up in the morning.  I tend to lie on the couch (my bed until I stop coughing) until I hear the children making noise.  And then I lie there a few minutes longer in hopes they'll go back to sleep.  They never do.  So I get up, and hobble in to get them, stupid gout to thank for that.  Then, I try to make and drink my coffee.  And it's never fun to have to discipline before you even finish your first mug of coffee, even if it is decaf.  And I try to keep them from choking on my cough drops or dumping my water that I've left on the endtable.  And I try to check the weather while they get into stuff.  And I try to fix them breakfast while they're getting into the trash or getting upset over something.  And I forget to set the oldest on the potty because that's a new part of what should be routine, but I'm too sleepy to remember.

Peaceful moments?  Time to sit and study God's word?  Not on your life.  And if we have to be somewhere, oh my.

I remember a mom I greatly admire talking about how early she had to get up in order to be up before her early rising pre-schooler.  That was such a foreign concept to me.  But when I was in her home, I saw the fruits of her early mornings.  The well-worn Bible and study books on the end table.  The menu on the chalkboard.  The peace that was in her home.  I'm convinced that started in those early mornings, before her 3, then 4, then 5 children rose.

Such a simple concept.  Get up.  Yet SO hard to actually do.  We'll see, over the next month, if I can manage to do this.