I began a new routine in the morning with Shiloh called the "Morning Bucket." I gave her a sand pail of ours, asked her to decorate it, and explained the procedure the night before:
"In the morning before Daddy and Mama wake up, make sure to first go to your Morning Bucket. I will put special surprises in there for you, and a little snack too."
She liked the idea. The only problem was that she saw some of the special surprises at the store, since she was there as Michael and I picked them out. Therefore...she wanted the little ponies to play with NOW.
We waited until morning and they arrived in the Morning Bucket. They also came to church with us.
Now, Michael and I have about 20 more minutes to sleep in the morning...or at least minutes to not move and to think and pray. We were constantly tired and/or one of us was wrenched from sleep (usually me! No offense, Michael, but I had to pray a lot in order to overcome bitterness) so this works out much better!
My Morning Bucket ideas thus far...
*little toys like trucks (she picked them out!) and ponies
*Sweetheart candies (a real treat for Valentine's Day and are quite rationed. In this house, plain old sugar is very hard to come by.)
*stickers and little books we have around the house already
*Mr. Potato Head
Any more ideas?