Today I had training for summer camp. Older Boy was with Babysitter Z and Younger Boy was still at Daycare Friend's house when I left.

Babysitter Z picked up Younger Boy after he and Older Boy played catch with a baseball for TWO HOURS. They all had an amazing day.

The three of them went to the park and shot baskets, had lunch at Wendy's, and played soccer in the backyard. When I got home Mentor R had just picked him up and they had just finished fixing the dented return air vent in the hallway. Older Boy installed it.

Older Boy had decided while I was gone that I should buy him an aluminum bat....RIGHT NOW. Shockingly this is NOT going to happen. What person in their right mind would buy someone who punches walls a bat? The fact I would not take him to buy one RIGHT NOW caused SIGNIFICANT anger. He was punching the wall in the hallway and banging his head on the wall in his room. He could NOT calm down. We had implemented a rule that when he needs to cool down he MUST stay in his room. He did that. Babysitter Z and I sat in the living room and talked while he continued to rant and cry in his room. That is a difficult part of the new strategy. Finally he calmed down and I went to talk to him. Babysitter Z stood in the hallway, because he was unsure that the anger was controlled. I explained that I love Older Boy, but I need him to be safe in my home. I also explained you cannot have everything you want right when you want it. Sometimes you have to wait and sometimes you never do get the things you want. This was not an acceptable answer and just made him more angry. Babysitter Z stayed until Older Boy was calmed down. His parents raised an AMAZING man.

I actually had a dinner party to go to on Saturday night and Babysitter J was back for the evening. The first part of the evening was smooth...the second Younger Boy got home and Older Boy immediately started his intimidation tactics. She got them to play soccer in the backyard and Older Boy became FURIOUS when Younger Boy kicked the ball to him, but he had to chase it. He was convinced Younger Boy did it on purpose and went in the house screaming and beating the walls. He went to his room. Younger Boy went to his safe place downstairs. Over the course of Older Boy's tantrum though Younger Boy locked himself in my car. When I got home Babysitter J was just getting Younger Boy out of the car.

The boys went to bed and I talked to Babysitter J about her upcoming trip. I really like her...she is becoming a good friend. God has blessed us with some wonderful people to help with child care!!
Tonight Younger Boy was spending the night over at Daycare Friend's house. Babysitter J was home with Older Boy.

I teased him about them going out "on a date" to Pizza Buffet. She took him out to dinner and before he left I talked to him about the proper manners you use at a restaurant.

When I got home I heard about how he had a great night with one exception...he was lying on the floor under the table the entire time at dinner. Babysitter J dealt with it as well as could be expected. She basically told him that if he was really on a date he probably wouldn't be going on a second one!!
This afternoon was both enlightening and heartbreaking for me.

Older Boy and I met with his tutor this afternoon. She had him answer a few questions to get a feel for his language skills and then she had him build with legos while the two of us talked.

She spent a lot of time reviewing his IEP and neuro-psychological evaluations. Her analysis surprised me. According to the reports Older Boy likely doesn't really understand spoken language. She said what likely is happening is that he is listening to the inflection in my voice and knows that I am asking a question. He always answers "no". He then waits for my reaction and then keeps or changes his answer based on that. She also suggested he probably has a pat answer for questions with certain words in them. This makes sense to me, because anytime I ask him about dinner he says he wants french toast. She suspects that at some point in time he figured out this is an appropriate answer to the question.

He is very low on the language cognitive scale....very low. She suggested that our home might be a lot more peaceful if we used picture cards for communication, because he scores high on visual cues.

I am frustrated that it took nine weeks for someone to tell me this, but even more frustrated that no one has ever known it before me.

It made me realize that I need to show him more grace. That is a tough pill to swallow. He hasn't been understanding me and I have been getting frustrated with him, because I thought he was being purposefully defiant. It is amazing how different it feels with just a little bit of perspective.

I hope things can get better....I really do. Now at least maybe we can have the right tools and learn to work with them.
Younger Boy is mad this morning, because he HATES his caseworker and he ruins everything he ever wants to do.

What he really meant is he is mad because he is going to his first ever sleepover tonight and he can’t leave until he meets with his caseworker.

I explained you cannot hate someone after meeting them one time and that the Bible says we should love our neighbors. That did NOT go over well. I was also able to give my "famous" camp speech about how sometimes in life you have to do things you don't want to and the only choice you have is your attitude. I continued on with "you can pick good or you can pick really is all up to you". I also explained if you cooperate with your caseworker the meeting will go faster.

Pray both boys are agreeable during the monthly service coordinator visit. If Older Boy causes it to go late I predict a HUGE MELTDOWN in our future!
Tonight Babysitter Z came over to get to know the boys and see their interaction at home. When he got there Older Boy played soccer with him in the backyard until dinner. Younger Boy didn't want to. I asked him if he wanted me to tell Babysitter Z that he is anti-social. He quickly said "yes". It was quickly followed by "What does anti mean?".

All three of them played Mario Cart on Wii for the majority of the evening. It was a good way to exhibit the behaviors Babysitter Z will get when he spends the day with them. He witnessed fighting, swearing, being in each other's personal space, and oppositional defiance disorder at its finest.

We talked for a while after the boys went to bed. I think Babysitter Z will be amazing with them. He really has a heart for kiddos who are hurting. A HUGE bonus is that the boys seem to really love him!
Today I got Older Boy's school progress in the mail. It talks about missed assignments and work not turned in. What? He has three study halls and never brings anything home. Perhaps I am being duped...I don't really know.

I am going to spend tomorrow trying to figure it out!
Today when I picked Older Boy up from daycare he was furious. He had therapy this afternoon and apparently his therapist wanted him to talk about his past. I don't think she scored any points with him. What she got was a resultant self-stabbing with a pencil and a complete shut down.

Younger Boy went to Good Friend's house for the evening, because he didn't have Youth Group. He had fun there playing on her elliptical machine. When he got home he was EXHAUSTED.

Older Boy and I had a great talk in the car. He told me he doesn't think he will ever be a good brother. I told him I think he will, but that it takes work to be good at any relationship. He said that he just gets too angry to be a good brother. I told him that he has so many people praying for him and his anger. I also told him that I am working really hard to help him, because I love him. We talked about how it is his job to take the help people are giving him, because that is how it is going to get better. He started to cry.

Please pray for Older Boy. He wants so badly to have a good relationship with his brother, but he hasn't had great relationship examples. Pray their relationship will heal and that they can stay together long enough for that to happen.
Mentor R came over after the family team meeting and helped Younger Boy with homework. They literally worked on homework for three hours and didn't get it all done. Mentor R kept him focused and there was NO screwing around. I can't figure it out. Why is there so much homework?
We have a rule in our house that you cannot do anything "fun" in the evening until your chores and homework are done. Is this too much to ask?

The reaction I got this evening from Older Boy would indicate that I am COMPLETELY unreasonable when asking him to make his bed and pick up his dirty clothes. I think I may have also asked him to take the trash to the curb. Clearly I am unreasonable....right?

He was slamming his door and swearing under his breath...and VERY close to a consequence. If only the consequence chart was DONE!!
We had our first family team meeting this afternoon. I was impressed with everything that was discussed, decided, and implemented.

We need to develop safety plans for our home when the boys are acting out. Each person needs a role in the plans. For example…what does Younger Boy do if Older Boy is acting out and vice versa?

A chart of consequences will be created and hung in a prominent place in our home. The consequences will be created with input from all three of us. I think this is really going to help us out because then there will be no question what will happen if you have certain behaviors.

We will pursue a CTA coming to our home to work with Older Boy on behavior management. It was unanimous that this would be of great help to us. In addition to this Therapist is going to give us a referral to a psychiatrist. Family therapy is going to move to a clinical setting so the boys know that we mean business and aren't so comfortable.

The boys need to spend more “alone time” and do separate activities. This isn't that easy to do in a single parent home, but we are going to utilize the mentors to help with this.

Older Boy will attend summer school. He is NOT going to be happy. He has already stated his case to me on more than one occasion that it is completely unnecessary.

Older Boy will be pushed with higher expectations at daycare. They are going to lower their tolerance level for the “playful” disobedience and work with him on proper respect. If this transition goes well he will move to the higher functioning classroom in the fall.

I agreed to use more respite time. Everyone on the team is concerned that I don't have enough breaks from the boys and that I am going to get burned out. I have such mixed feelings about this. I have to figure out a way that this is going to work for them AND me.

I was THRILLED with the meeting!!
Today was one of our best days. Granted it started off a little rough when Older Boy nearly missed the bus. Honestly he could get up at 3AM and still nearly miss the bus. I think I am going to put together an “order of events” for him for the morning…maybe that will help him and also make me seem a little less like I am “always” telling him what to do.

Younger Boy was a little bit grouchy because of the eating sprees during the night. He needs more sleep.

When I picked them up both boys were in a good mood. We got home and ate dinner and Younger Boy worked on homework.

Babysitter J was there for the evening while I went to LifeGroup. The boys got off of the computer when she asked. It was a first. They now know exactly what the consequence is for not doing it. They must have decided they didn’t like it.

A tip to share…if you accidentally break a glow stick everything you touch will glow. This includes the back of the door, your pillow, pretty much anything. Just thought I would let you know in case you were wondering!!
Both boys take medications which have the side effect of appetite suppressant. Older Boy's medication seems to wear off around 6PM and he will nearly eat non-stop from that time until he goes to bed.

Younger Boy is another story. His doesn't seem to wear off until around 10:30PM. This is usually after he has been sleeping for about an hour. Poor little guy is up for an hour or so binge eating and then sleeps for a couple of hours and he is at it again. He worries that I am angry that he gets up in the middle of the night and eats. I told him that I am not. I would prefer he would eat more earlier in the day so that he could get more rest at night.

Please pray we can get this medication thing figured out. He is miserable and so tired because of it.
Easter Sunday…what a beautiful day!

The boys were so excited to get all dressed up for church. They had asked for shirts and ties to wear and Grandpa helped them tie the ties and showed them how to take them on and off without needing to retie them every time.

The boys got new Bibles with metal covers on them. They close with a magnet and so now those seem to be one of the coolest things in the house. They also got t-shirts with Bible verses on them. Younger Boy got Philippians 4:13 and Older Boy Isaiah 53:5.

The church service was AMAZING!!

Older Boy got angry when Younger Boy was going to Sunday school, because he wanted to go home. He ended up helping make coffee for the entire second service and had a great time. He is a really good helper and both of the adults he helped praised him for his good work and following directions.

We went home and had Easter dinner with Grandma and Grandpa. They came back from Lincoln to have dinner with us. The boys like spending time with them.

Afterward we went over to Mentor R's house to do an Easter egg hunt and hang out. Both boys learned how to mow a lawn and were actually FIGHTING over who would come over each week and do it for free. We’ll see how long that lasts.

We had dinner with their family and headed home for showers and bedtime.
We finished up homework and worked on Older Boy’s testimony for his baptism in a couple of weeks. He is SO EXCITED about it.

Praises to God for sending His son to die for us so we can live!!
The second half of the day was significantly better than the first.

We went to the grocery store...which is usually a catastrophe...and today it was actually pleasant.

Mentor R stopped by for a few minutes and then the boys kept working on their list of chores. Older Boy learned how to use the washer and dryer. He also washed the front door and the sliding door. Younger Boy vacuumed the entire house. Both boys helped clean the kitchen.

We did struggle a bit at bedtime, because Younger Boy doesn't like to stop playing games or using electronics when asked. I had to come up with a way to make this less of a challenge each night.

The boys are excited about church tomorrow. We are going to get up and go to the early service.
The morning started out OK. Not great, but OK.

I had made a list of things that needed to be done before we could do anything fun. Older Boy really wants to go to Gamestop to turn in a game that "makes him too angry".

Older Boy doesn't want to do anything on the list. Younger Boy vacuumed help fold clothes and took out the trash. I asked Older Boy what he was going to work on, because everything on the list has to be done before we leave the house.

"I'm not going to help." That is a choice. It is a choice with consequences though. Younger Boy and I don't care if we go to Gamestop and we don't care if we leave the house today.

While Younger Boy was vacuuming Older Boy stepped on the vacuum cord and Younger Boy asked him nicely to stop. I witnessed the whole thing. It wasn't instigated by Younger Boy. Older Boy told him to "F off".

Older Boy got a consequence for the language. It is getting worse...not better. The consequence resulted in wall punching, head banging, a completely bent (from kicking) wall register, door punching, and more head banging and punching a window. The violence continued for 20 minutes. I ended up calling Agency, because I literally didn't know what to do.

Their suggestion is to just make him stay in his room until he calms down. We are also supposed to ignore him.

He is convinced I am callingi 911 to make him leave. He is sobbing and screaming "I don't want to leave this house. It is the day before Easter."

Now we are 1 hour and 20 minutes later and he just came down to for the debrief.
Bedtime...should be relaxing. Not so much here!

Younger Boy went in the room first, because Older Boy needed to use the restroom. Older Boy left the restroom and entered their bedroom. Younger Boy punched him and Older Boy punched him back.

This resulted in both of them screaming at the top of their lungs "F You...go to hell!" "No you go to hell!" It continued on escalating more and more.

Younger Boy started to cry. Older Boy screamed "This isn't anything to f-ing cry about!" and stormed to the basement.

Younger Boy sobbed. I stayed in their room and tried to comfort him. Of course this caused Older Boy to yell "you always take his side" and just start sobbing in the basement.

Both boys were a mess and I had had it. Younger Boy went and apologized to Grandma and Grandpa for using disrepectful language and went to bed.

Older Boy continued to be disrepectful to me. We are working on debriefing after the meltdowns. With Younger Boy it goes much smoother. Older Boy doesn't accept responsibility for any of his actions. I gave him my observations of why he was mad. Of course I am WRONG!!

Finally both boys went to bed, but Older Boy continued to be disrespectful to me and tell me that he didn't have to do anything I said. Besides...he pointed out...Younger Boy lies and steals. I explained to him that you can't point out the faults of others unless you are perfect. He said he doesn't do anything wrong.

They went to bed. Since Grandpa and Grandma are here I am sleeping in the basement. About 15 minutes after the boys were in bed they came down and apologized for being angry and disrepectful.

After all of this it takes me FOREVER to go to sleep....
The day was a pretty good day. The boys had school and I took off work a little bit early to come home and get some things done in preparation of Mom and Dad's visit.

Mom, Dad, and I went and picked up Younger Boy. He ran to the car screaming "Grandma...Grandpa!" I loved that sight. We drove and picked up Older Boy. He had a good day and was in a good mood.

We were going to a restaurant for dinner so we had some pre-teaching in the car on the way to the restaurant. We came up with a list of things that were in appropriate in the restaurant...laying down in the booth, laying on the floor, walking around the restaurant, no yelling....those type of things. We also came up with a consequence for doing those things. The consequence was no Wii for two days (the boys consequence). It helped a lot, because I only had to give one warning...for laying down in the booth.

We went to the Good Friday service at Church. Younger Boy wanted to sit on the aisle so he could see the cross. Older Boy sat between Grandma and I. I love how many people know the boys and how the boys enjoy engaging in conversation with the people they know. The service was pretty powerful. At one point Older Boy leaned over to me and said "I think I am going to cry." Both boys took communion.

When we got home the boys played catch with Grandpa. When they came in they said that they only one who had all good throws was Grandpa. Younger Boy actually hit the deck with three of his throws....not really sure what went wrong there.

Grandma taught Younger Boy how to sew. He made some really "cool" designs on a dish towel with yellow thread. I explained that we aren't going to purposely make holes in things just so we could fix them!!

Afterward we (minus Older Boy) played CLR. He did sit at the table and watch and laugh. I'm not sure if he thought he wouldn't understand the game or what. We played a second game and he still didn't want to play.

Then it was time for bed....and that deserves it's own post.
Starting next week we are going to pursue psychiatric treatment for Older Boy. While he takes psychiatric medications he has never been followed on them by a psychiatrist. This makes me frustrated.

I have to wonder if we are in the best possible scenario. He takes a significant number of medications and I would expect better results.

Pray God provides a psychiatrist who is willing to work with us and not just give us more pills. Our prayer is this person would be willing to look at the behaviors and side effects we are currently experiencing and have wisdom and mercy.

God can heal all things and Older Boy also believes that. May we be able to find God's will in Older Boy's life and quality of life.
This morning started off really rough. I kind of figured it might, because last night I caught Younger Boy in a lie about his homework. Before he went to bed he was sticking to his story about his homework being in his room. When he got up I told him to bring his homework out when he came to the kitchen…knowing full well there was no completed homework. He had told the teacher yesterday it was at home, but done.

He came out to the kitchen and I asked where the homework was. He told me he couldn’t find it, because his room was too messy. I volunteered to help look for it. He became angry and locked himself in the bathroom and banged his head on the wall.

Older Boy got on the bus for school. I was REALLY PROUD of Older Boy, because he stayed out of the discussion. It is usually his impulse to jump in and parent. It is something we are working on…A LOT.

Younger Boy and I got in the car to go to Daycare. I stopped the car in the driveway and asked him why it is important for him to lie about his homework. First he told me that there were boys at his school who threatened to kill him if he does his homework. I asked if he had talked to his teacher about it. I also asked if those same boys went to his last two schools since he lied about homework there as well. He told me he didn’t and when I was able to present evidence that I knew he did he started to cry.

He asked why I didn’t believe him. We discussed that if you aren’t trustworthy people will question whether or not you are telling the truth with everything you tell them. I told him you have to earn trust back. He said “Everyone always tells me that.” He also talked about how he has tried before by doing all of the laundry and chores. I explained that trust can’t be gained through chores, but you have to be trustworthy.

Older Boy was SO excited about being able to help the soccer team. He got off the bus and gave Younger Boy and me a play by play of everything he helped with. I am super proud of him for being able to step outside of his routine and not have it ruin his day.

I had foster parent training tonight at the Agency. The boys helped with child care there. The providers told me they are perfect gentlemen and completely helpful with little kids. This is what I always observe as well. The Agency gave them each $5 for helping out. Now they will probably want to go every time!!
Tonight we had one of our best nights EVER!!

Older Boy and I went to Youth Group while Younger Boy stayed home with Babysitter J. Younger Boy's Youth Group is over for the school year.

Older Boy was so excited about going to Youth Group. He was chatting with me and joking all the way there. When I got out of my group he was chatting with Babysitter Z. He was telling him stories and telling him all about the stuff he wanted to do when Babysitter Z comes over.

He was making small talk and laughing and approaching people and staying engaged in conversation. Those are DIFFICULT things for him. I was so very proud.

I realized today that I am not doing a good job of parenting when he blows up. I need to do more debriefing when it is over to help him to recognize what his anger triggers are. I just am so thankful it is over that I don't want to deal with it. That is wrong. I need to continue to engage him and walk through it with him. This is a way I can help him through his anger and grief. We also need to pray when we finish debriefing. God can help him through this....He is the great healer.
This morning was GREAT!! Both boys were excited about their day. Older Boy is looking forward to the fact that we worked on his homework last night and got it all done. He was so proud of himself. He is also excited about getting to play soccer in PE.

Younger Boy was excited about seeing Daycare Friend this morning. Apparently they have been pretending they are on Facebook and he had a bunch of new "posts" he needed to do. He is a little worried they will have a substitute teacher in math today. She gave him a "slash" yesterday and broke his streak. He had four days in a row without one. A new record!!

The boys are officially signed up for YMCA baseball and camp this year. We are going to have a busy summer.

The trials of last night are fading in my memory. Thanks for all of the prayers.
After the difficulties of last night I didn't have high expectations for the morning. A couple of days ago we had to implement the "get everything together the night before" rule. We made it one day.

Today Older Boy nearly missed the bus. Not because he wasn't up in time, but because he was walking around flexing his muscles and saying "I'm cool". He forgot his lunch so I am sure he will be angry at me that he had to eat hot lunch. He hates it!!

Older Boy went with Mentor M this afternoon. They took a trip to Whole Foods and had a cookie. They also took some time to talk about baptism. Older Boy decided at Youth Group last week he would like to be baptized. Not sure what the outcome of the discussion was.

I picked Older Boy up from daycare and he seemed to be in a good mood. I went and picked up Younger Boy. It was Younger Boy's turn to sit in the front seat of the car. Older Boy left the daycare screaming about being mad...but in inappropriate language. After he got in the backseat of the car he punched the window, the door, banged his head on the door, banged his head on the seat in front of him, kicked the seat in front of him and banged his head on the seat in front of him. He was so violent I had to have Younger Boy go back into his daycare while I called Therapist. She was marginally helpful. The entire time he kept saying "I should just be dead". I was able to get his attention which was good, because usually when he gets like that he can't even hear you. I told him I loved him and that I didn't understand why he was mad. Could he just talk to me? I asked if he could tell me why he was mad. He started sobbing and saying he just didn't know why he was mad, but that he needed to apologize for scaring Younger Boy. The whole time I just kept praying for God to keep both of us safe. I can't say I think I was actually concerned for my safety, but I certainly wasn't comfortable.

This evening went fairly well. We had a dinner of french toast, scrambled eggs, and sausage. The boys ate....A LOT. They finished up their homework, took showers, and played a game of bowling on Wii. Everything is ready for the morning, too. I read four Bible stories to them, because we got a little bit behind. Younger Boy asked for a goodnight kiss. That was a first. He said it would make he sleep better. Now both of them are sleeping. I am going to be soon as well.
The morning was a little rough. Older Boy has to be reminded of EVERY task he needs to do to get ready for school. My morning consists a lot of the following phrases: “Are you dressed?” “Did you brush your teeth?” “Did you take your meds?” “Why aren’t you dressed?” “Please get your shoes on.” “You are going to be late for the bus.” “Where is your backpack?” Everything has to be repeated over and over. We tried a checklist. That infuriates him. If he has to do a checklist that is “bad parenting”. What it does is hold him accountable for getting everything done. This way he can blame me.

Younger Boy was looking for the EXACT pair of pants he wanted to wear. He had to go to the laundry room. I went in the laundry room after he did to throw in a load of laundry. I was surprised to find laundry detergent running down the front of the washer and dryer and all over the floor. I asked why he was messing with the laundry detergent. I found out he wasn't messing with it, but he was trying to figure out how it worked. Also, he didn't get it on the floor only on the front of the washer and dryer. Not sure where he thought it was going to go after it ran down the front of both machines. Tonight I think he will learn how hard liquid laundry detergent is to clean up.

I picked both boys up from daycare and took them home for dinner. They had a babysitter while I had LifeGroup. I came home early and both boys were still watching a movie. Makes me a little irritated, because it was 30 minutes after their bedtime. Babysitter #3 left and I tried to get the boys to go to bed.

We had a MAJOR meltdown. Both boys were screaming at the top of their lungs. It started with Younger Boy stopping in the middle of the hallway and Older Boy kicking him instead of asking him to move. It involved screaming, Older Boy locking himself in the bathroom, Younger Boy punching a wall, Older Boy banging his head on a door, and me losing my patience. The boys had to sit in the living room until they told each other they were sorry. They both have consequences as a result of their actions. Younger Boy immediately became very loving and manipulative. So…about two hours after bedtime both boys were FINALLY in bed.
The morning did not start off well. Neither boy wanted to get up for church. When they finally did get up they were mad at each other.

We went to first service and it was pretty uneventful. I had purchased Older Boy some “tangles” which is a type of therapy to control anger and fidgeting. He was so excited, because he didn’t even have to use them during the church service.

The boys went to Sunday school and Youth Group. This is where it went downhill. Older Boy thought Youth Group “sucked”. He used his tangles so much that they broke. This infuriated him. He chose to let it ruin the next three hours of his day. In effect he then chose to let it ruin the next three hours of our family time.

Luckily we had gymnastics and he seemed to perk up then. They did great there and they have both become incredibly helpful to the other kids there.

The evening was filled with dinner and homework. Bedtime was pretty much incident free.
I wasn't sure how today was going to go. Thankfully we had a lot of prayers being raised for us.

I took Older Boy and Younger Boy to visit their biological siblings who they haven't seen in about a year and a half. On the way there they were excited, but the closer we got the more stressed out Older Boy got. At one time when we were nearly there he was pounding on the dash and talking about how stupid his jeans are. I tried to get him to practice his coping skills, but he wanted no part of that!

The visit with Bio Siblings and Former Foster Mom went well. I was able to learn some things about family history and dynamics that help me to better understand the boys. I was also able to see some behaviors that hadn’t come out in my home yet. It was eye-opening quite honestly. At our home Older Boy is constantly controlling Younger Boy. During the visit this same behavior was present in Younger Boy and his attempts to control Bio Sister.

I expected the boys to be sad to leave. They weren’t.

I dropped them off at Mentor R's house on the way back into town. He wanted some help with yard work. I needed a break. In typical fashion they didn’t scream at each other or fight at all while away from home.

On the way home they were pretty sad about not seeing their siblings. It came out when they finally had a chance to sit down and think about it. Older Boy started to cry, because he missed them. They did go to bed pretty much without incident, because they were so tired from all of the manual labor and the stress of the day.
Tonight was the school carnival. Younger Boy invited Daycare Friend to go with us. I was a little bit apprehensive at first, because Daycare Friend seemed to be an obnoxious little boy. He isn't at all.

Daycare Friend's Mom left him at daycare and I picked up both boys. Mentor R and his wife went with us as well.

All three boys got air brushed tattoos that last up to two weeks. Daycare Friend got a dagger, Younger Boy got a dragon, and Older Boy got the word "Jesus".

We made our own pepperoni pizzas.

The boys went on some bouncy houses and then the two younger kids did the cookie walk somewhere around 50 times. This was VERY distressing to Older Boy. He was ready to go home. I explained that we would leave when Younger Boy and Daycare Friend were ready to go, because it was their carnival. This was NOT acceptable. The carnival was "stupid".

Daycare Friend ended up spending the night. In my opinion Daycare Friend could move in. What a kind, well mannered boy! At one point I told Younger Boy he could not take a 2 liter bottle of grape soda into the basement. He did anyway. I asked him to bring it up...THREE TIMES. Finally Daycare Friend said "You should just listen to your mom." grape soda in the basement.

They watched the movie "Yogi Bear" on pay per view and I went to bed. I found out in the morning that Younger Boy also ordered Tron and watched for about five minutes. That was an awesome use of $4.99. At least I had the parental controls on.

What a great day!!
So….last night during our THREE HOUR homework session we got a little bit off topic and had a discussion. The start of the discussion was whether Jesus was a legend or a hero. Both boys were stating their cases to each other and then I said I thought he was a savior. I had to also explain my argument and then we all agreed that he was in fact a savior. It was followed by “what about the Holy Spirit?” Is the Holy Spirit in me? How do I know? We then talked about Jesus dying on the cross for us and the resurrection. It is times like these that make all of the really tough times worth it.

Older Boy REALLY wants to be baptized. Mentor M is going to talk to him about it at their next mentoring session. Older Boy has such a child-like understanding of salvation that sometimes you just have to smile. He is convinced that 2 Corinthians 5:17 is his life verse, because all of the old abuse is going and now he has a future. Thanks for that Mentor M.

Younger Boy mentioned last night that even though he asked Jesus into his heart at RFKC that he walked away from that. He said that he prayed about it again and that sometimes he feels like he accidentally asked the devil in. I told him that isn’t true and that God loves him very much. He just needs to continue to listen to the Holy Spirit nudging him to do the right things and to confess when he chooses not to.

I had the MOST AMAZING meeting with Older Boy’s daycare over lunch today. They are actively participating in helping Older Boy and want to be part of his overall solution. She told me of SO MANY services that are available to us through the State and my agency. My question is why has no one mentioned these things to me before? Why am I struggling through homework EVERY NIGHT when I can have a CTA come and help us at least once a week? She had some fantastic suggestions for making family therapy so much better than it has been.
Today I am totally at a loss. I’m having a hard time not laughing at the absurdity I find myself having to address tonight.

Yesterday I got a call from Older Boy that he had gotten detention from his 8th period teacher and he would miss the bus. Before I could ask any questions he hung up. I called the school back to find out what time detention is over and was told 4:30pm. I made arrangements to leave work early to go pick up Older Boy from detention. At 3:15pm I got a call from Older Boy telling me he got out of detention early and I needed to come get him. I couldn’t leave then so I had to have Foster Care Specialist go get him and take him to daycare. When I picked him up from daycare I asked him why he was in detention and he said because he asked another boy to stop talking to him. This seemed absurd to me so I told him that he could have a free pass if he told me why he really had detention. He stuck to his story. I told him I was calling the school today to find out, because I wanted to hear the teacher’s side of the story. He told me that was “bad parenting”…his newest phrase. I asked why he had gotten out of detention early and he told me because the detention teacher had to leave to take her daughter to the hospital.

When I called the school this morning I found out that he did not get detention yesterday. It took the school and I all day to figure out what he had done after school. Apparently he helped the soccer coach with student manager duties. Tonight I will have to address this. Why would he choose to tell me he is in trouble vs. asking if he could stay late and help the soccer coach?

Younger Boy has a new habit of doing his homework in the evening and then throwing it away before gets to school in the morning. Why go to the effort of doing it? I am considering dropping it off every morning for him or scanning it in and emailing it to the teacher. Again…I can’t help but ask myself why?

Last night was family counseling….I wish I never had to go to that again!! All I can do is laugh about what got accomplished there.

Pray I can get through to these boys and understand what is going on….pray I give them mercy and grace and also that I don’t lose my sanity!!
We have a solution to homework time thanks to a strategy they use with Older Boy at daycare.

He has a “choice chart”. It is 20 things which are acceptable to me (and not disruptive to Younger Boy) that he can do while Younger Boy is doing homework. His job is to keep himself busy with things off the choice chart. It is mostly five minute tasks and he has to do a lot of them each day, but it seems to be working.
Wow…time sure flies!! It seems like I just wrote one of these. Actually I have started a blog and am working on getting everything caught up in it. From there you will be able to see what is going on with us.

The past week was good and also tough.

Something is going on with Older Boy and he is really out of sorts. He is spending a lot of time self-soothing. For him that starts with scratching his legs, back and head. When that doesn’t work he moves on to tying and untying his shoes over and over…tighter and tighter. If it still doesn’t work he will bite his left forearm or bang his head against a wall. He isn’t able to articulate what is going on with him. When I notice all of the scratching I will generally try to talk him through whatever is going on, but usually he will tell me he doesn’t know. I don’t know if that is true or if he just isn’t ready to talk about it yet. He punched a hole in the hallway wall on Friday night so if anyone knows a good drywall person we could use them!!

He was SO EXCITED yesterday, because we are going to be going to my sister’s over the 4th of July and they are getting tickets to the Cubs/White Sox game for all of us. He couldn’t quit talking about it and was writing down all of the information from the internet. It was so AWESOME to see him really grab a hold of it and go.

Younger Boy is having a tough time in school both with homework and behavior. We made a “deal” yesterday that he will do his best on both for the rest of the year. He is capable of getting straight A’s. He’s a smart kiddo. He just needs someone to believe in him and hold him accountable. It was encouraging yesterday to hear Donni telling him that he believes in him and he knows he can do it.

Both boys are likely going to play YMCA baseball….if I can figure out the Tuesday during the day games. Who has those?
I swear sometimes Younger Boy thinks I am an idiot. This morning when he was getting ready for school he "needed" to go in the garage. When I got out there to leave for work and drop him off at daycare I found all of the windows halfway open. I asked him about it and he said "You must have done that when you got home last night." Really? Then I looked up and the sunroof was open and the car wouldn't start. That was because "I" must have left it in reverse.

Tonight I had tickets to the musical, Young Frankenstein. Babysitter N was at our house for the evening. I was a bit unsure how it might go since Younger Boy had been up VERY LATE the night before.

When I got home I was saddened to hear Younger Boy REALLY struggled over the course of the evening.

He hid Babysitter N's cell phone and pretended she left it on his dresser even though she hadn't been in his room. He wouldn't quit playing computer games when it was time for dinner and as a result decided to throw a pizza cutter at her.

We can't lose Babysitter N....I have to figure out a consequence that is going to stick.