My firstborn is fiercely #independent. Love her to bits. #latergram #julyphoto366 Things have been challenging to say the least around here. Mostly due to my being at a complete loss for how to deal with the anger/disobedience/tantrums of my 5-year old. Things come in waves with her and recently has been a bit of a tsunami in the attitude department. I am trying so hard to give her grace and to bring the Gospel into my parenting as much as I can but it is a hard job. Add to that a two-year old who is suddenly a Two-Year Old and a baby who is switfly leaving babyhood (no!!) and entering toddlerhood (I'm not ready yet!) and my plate is quite full.

I'm prepping for homeschooling (Gigi will be going to a charter school two days a week) and while I am super pumped about choosing curriculum and all that, I admit I'm a little concerned when I think of the challenge that lies ahead.

The life-saving thing is that Hallee is finally sleeping through the night, in her own room. Yay! And that means I have my mornings back. Or rather, I could have my mornings back, if I was disciplined enough to take them back.

Enter the #hellomornings challenge. I have been a part of this challenge for the last two years, off and on, and it has been a huge blessing. I just signed up for the fall challenge and I am excited to be getting back into the discipline of trying to get up for my kids instead of to my kids every morning.

I know for a fact I won't make it every day but knowing there is a group of fellow early-morning risers awaiting me on twitter helps (so does my prayer partner/kindred spirit who I pray with over the phone three mornings a week- more on that another time).

If you need encouragement and a bit of virtual-early-morning-fellowship. I encourage you to join in as well. There are groups across the time zones, on Twitter and on Facebook.

I've been only using my @simplehomemade Twitter handle lately but I will be using @NicoleakaGidget in the mornings as I connect with my group and get my day going. It's just a quick check-in, a place to share a verse or a prayer, just enough to get the blood pumping before I start my day.

If nothing else, with the challenging season of parenting I'm in, getting up early to spend time with the Lord and preparing for my day can only help me as I try get through the day with a more Gospel-centered heart for my children (and husband) and my community.

The No-Spend Month... It was a valiant effort... Until it wasn't.

Hallee's strawberries 'n' cream 1st birthday party