Younger Boy was trying to turn things around. He really was.

Since Older Boy had fallen asleep in the car Younger Boy asked if he could stay up playing until 9PM. I told him it was fine, but that he would have to watch the clock and get himself in bed. I would give him reminders.

At 8:59PM he told me he was going "almost done". At 9:05PM I told him that he had 5 minutes to get in bed or he would lose the privilege of staying up later than Older Boy for one month. He finally made it to bed at 9:17PM swearing he would get up on my first ask tomorrow morning.

Prayers I would stay strong and not let him stay up late in the next month. I want to keep my word.

Praises for a little extra time to get to talk to him tonight. He and I have been a little bit at odds lately.
It was HOT at baseball. When I looked at the weather on my phone it was 99 degrees with a feels like temperature of 107 degrees.

Babysitter N and her sister came to the games. They changed their plans for the evening so they could go. They are AWESOME girls.

We went out for ice cream afterward. Younger Boy got the most disgusting combination imaginable. He got mint and oreo filling ice cream mixed with heath bar and something else I can't even remember. YUCK!!

On the way home Older Boy fell asleep in the car.

Praises we have such good friends and that there was no rain so the boys could actually play baseball.
I still haven't heard the official outcome of either boy's allegation.

I am 99% sure I know the outcome of Older Boy's and that it was false. He was adamant he didn't do the alledged action. I believe him.

Younger Boy...I am 99% sure he did. He is struggling with truthfulness right now so it is hard for me to know. We are going to have to continue to talk about it.

Prayers I would have the wisdom to know what to say to the boys.
This morning we had to address the behavior for last night.

Older Boy apologized. Younger Boy apparently didn't do anything wrong.

Younger Boy forgot about his DS consequence and asked where it was. When I explained that he lost the privilege for the day he locked himself in the bathroom screaming about how stupid it is.

I think both boys will write apology letters to Babysitter J tonight when we get home from baseball.
Tonight I had training for camp. Babysitter J was back. They had a bad night.

Babysitter J dropped Older Boy off at baseball practice and took Younger Boy to pick up dinner. Younger Boy locked himself in a fast food restaurant for 20 minutes because he felt like it. Babysitter J couldn't do anything about it and couldn't get the attention of anyone working to help her. She called me.

She got Younger Boy out, went and picked up Older Boy and went home. Neither boy would listen.

Younger Boy wouldn't get off the laptop so he SLAMMED it shut when she told him (for the fourth time) his time was up.

When she finally got them to bed and Younger Boy decided to sing at the top of his lungs...for an hour. Older Boy got fed up with it so Babysitter J let him move to the basement couch. Younger Boy just kept singing.

I feel bad. I don't know what to tell her. They are getting worse with her. I guess that means they feel comfortable with her. She is getting similar behaviors to what I get.

Prayers she will continue to babysit at our house.
Today we had family therapy. I am changing my mind about it. I think Therapist is helpful. I wish Older Boy was more receptive to the help.

Today we were talking about how timeouts work at our house, because Older Boy had requested to Therapist that we start using them at our house. We talked about the two we had since he made the request. He tired of talking about it and declared us done.

He proceeded to clean all of the mud out of his baseball cleats onto the carpet. I told him I needed him to do that outside and he needed to stop and focus on therapy. He chose to go in the kitchen to continue to clean the mud off his shoes. I continued to remind him he was not following directions. Therapist asked him to stop. I gave him a timeout. He chose not to go. I explained that we couldn't leave for baseball until his timeout was complete. He kicked the timeout wall. I asked why and he ran out the front door and around the house and hid under the deck. Therapist and I had to tell him he was wasting our time by not properly doing the timeout. He went back in. Sat down. Yelled about how stupid timeout is and then punching his head a bunch of times.

Finally he calmed down and did the timeout.

Afterward he talked about how we were wasting his time by having him do a timeout. Therapist explained that it was his behavior that wasted the time.

Prayers he is understanding this and that it makes him think before reacting.

Praises Therapist was able to see this happen. Up until now I have only described the behaviors to her. It will give her a better indication of how to help.
Younger Boy got a consequence last night for not following directions. He lost the privilege of using his Nintendo DS for one day.

This morning when it was time to go to daycare he snuck his DS into the car. I asked him to turn it over to me. He did, but immediately started screaming about how it isn't his fault he doesn't follow directions. He began punching the car window and kicking the seat in front of him and screaming that he wasn't going to daycare without his DS.

He told me he promised his friends he would bring it. I explained he chose to not follow directions. He got out of the car at daycare and sat on the curb, screaming and crying about not going to daycare. As a result he lost another day of the DS privilege.

He ran into daycare screaming how much he hates me. I am now officially a parent.

Prayers he will start to understand people are held accountable for their actions.

Praises I didn't give in.
Today there were allegations against both boys at their daycares. I want to give them both the benefit of the doubt, but honestly neither of these things is outside the realm of possibility. Both things are things which have happened in the past.

I just want to throw up.

Pray the boys would understand right from wrong and make good choices.
Today Older Boy is having his own pajama party. Not because there is a pajama party, but because he got up 45 minutes before we needed to leave this morning, but didn't have time to get dressed. All he was able to accomplish in that time was taking his medication and packing his swim bag.

I reminded him every five minutes of the four things he needed to do before we left....take his medication, pack his swim bag, get dressed, and pack his lunch. I took pity on him and packed his lunch.

When there were five minutes left and it was still apparent he was NOT going to be getting dressed I told him he would have to wear whatever he was wearing when it was time to leave.

He wore pajamas. He told me no one would notice as I drove him to daycare. He doesn't typically wear red fleece pants with white stars on them, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. The second we walked in his classroom one of his classmates yelled out "Hey Older Boy...nice pajamas!"

Praises for patience. In the past this might have made me crazy. Now it isn't the end of the world...he is clothed.

Prayers for him learning the responsibility of routine. It is a life skill he will one day need and he really struggles to figure out what it is he needs to do.
Babysitter J was with the boys tonight while I had LifeGroup.

I was disappointed when I got home, because she reported Older Boy had not listened to anything she had asked him to do. She also said Younger Boy did EVERYTHING she asked him to do.

Prayers we can figure out how to be more respectful to our caregivers. We need babysitters. They are getting frustrated. us to learn to be respectful and follow directions.
Today we did a craft day for teenage camp. There were five women at our house working on craft projects. The boys did GREAT! They entertained themselves for about four hours....WITHOUT FIGHTING.

They were responsbile for teaching everyone how to make duct tape wallets. It was a job they took quite seriously, especially Older Boy.

I am proud of them.

Praises for a peaceful, respectful day.
Older Boy's tutor is trying to build a relationship with him. Tutoring Agency and Tutor B are amazing. Tutor B has recognized that Older Boy doesn't like to do anything new OR anything he doesn't think he was successful at in the past. When we say doesn't like to in Older Boy's world that means completely shutting down. It means not looking at you and basically pretending you haven't asked him to do something...or that you even exist.

Tutor B took Older Boy miniature golfing today...with Younger Boy...on her own try to help build the relationship.

Tutor B is just another part of this God story. She was randomly assigned to our case...through the randomly assigned agency. She goes to our church. She is a youth group leader just like I am. She is friends with Younger Boy's baseball coach.

I love how God keeps showing us that His hand is all over this and He is in control.
Today is our four month anniversary of the boys living here. God has us on an amazing adventure together.

We celebrated by eating at McDonalds...their choice...and renting a movie and a game from Redbox. Also their choice.

I have a lot of thoughts as I reflect on the last four months...the boys are like different kids. I am a different person. I see God in a different light.

Praises for family. Prayers for our family as we continue on this adventure together.
This morning as I was getting ready to leave Older Boy decided that he was going to tell Younger Boy what he would be doing all day.

I kindly told Older Boy he needed to stop...after Younger Boy told him to stop.

Older Boy chose not to stop. I told him he needed a timeout for not following directions. This is closely related to the point system both in telling Younger Boy what to do and not following directions.

Older Boy chose to remove his shoe and throw it at the wall.

I explained he could get himself to timeout or I could take him there. His choice, but it was time for him to go. He finally got himself there. It wasn't pretty.

When he got there it took 15 minutes for him to calm down. Daycare had advised me to tell him "you are wasting my time" when he chooses this behavior. Once he had settled down and I started counting...his choice...about halfway through he chose to yell "this is not my fault" and "I didn't mean to throw my shoe". I didn't engage in conversation. This resulted in "I knew you hated me and just want me to leave". One day I hope he realizes that if that were the case he would already be gone.

I keep wondering if he will ever realize that if you use the timer it will actually only be five minutes of timeout.

Older Boy told me he changed his mind. He doesn't want to use timeouts at home anymore.

Unfortunately we are going to...I think they will work.

Praises for a behavior strategy that is working.

Prayers I will continue to have the patience and follow through with the timeouts.
I have needed a break for a while.

Babysitter J emailed me earlier in the week after being out of town for a couple of weeks. She was back and was wondering if I thought I would need a sitter anytime soon.

I IMMEDIATELY told her I was going to see if I could schedule three appointments, but that I would LOVE for her to babysit from 11am - 6pm.

I had a relaxing time getting my haircut, a pedicure, and a massage.

When I got home Babysitter J had cleaned the house for me...I was incredibly touched.

Thanks for Babysitter J. The boys love her and so do I.
It rained all is canceled again.
Older Boy decided he wanted to do time outs, because they work for him at daycare. I went to daycare this afternoon to learn the EXACT process...what words do I use, where does he sit, how does it work, how do they tell him to go...etc. Older Boy is very literal so the details are very important.

My training came into practice tonight when Older Boy decided he was going to be disrespectful when asked to do something. It is exhausting to have someone reply to you "that's retarded" or "that's bad parenting" every time you ask them to do anything.

To my surprise Older Boy went immediately to the agreed upon place when asked to do a timeout. He did not calm down...which is a requirement...for the actual timeout to start. I have a hard time believing you when you SHOUT "I am calm".

Finally he calmed down and I started 5s. I learned from daycare that they take as little or as long as they like between the counting based on the actions. His other option is the timer. Daycare says he always picks counting. They think it is because you have to remain engaged.

I think this will work. I believe the challenge will be actually having him go to timeout when asked.

Praises for daycare. They are helping more than words can say.
CTA came over tonight. She was going to take Older Boy to the pedestrian bridge and downtown slide. He didn't earn a single point on his reward chart so she didn't take him. I thought he would freak out, but he didn't. He seemed to understand.

She gave him two weeks to earn 10 points. I would hope that will happen since he can get four points a day.

Younger Boy was disappointed, too, because he was looking forward to doing something just the two of us.

CTA did a good job of explaining why they weren't going and that there are consequences for your actions.

Praises for CTA and her sticking to it.
Today we had to reevaluate the pay scale for both boys. There are a number of questions you have to answer rating on them on different items. It is obviously a subjective process. Zero points means that you basically have no needs other than shelter and food. The maximum number of points is 60.

The last time they were rated the boys were a 41 and a 29. The agency takes into account all of the services you are helping them with as well. We changed the boys to a 47 and a 42. Not really sure what this will result in.

It was definitely an interesting exercise to go through.
Younger Boy got hit in with a ball in the shin tonight at practice. As soon as we got in the car he was blaming it on his teammate who "pushed him" in front of the ball. Not true at all...I saw the whole thing happen.

Younger Boy was screaming at me telling me it was all his teammate's fault.

It is moments like these where the blaming comes out.

I explained his teammate wasn't anywhere near him so he didn't push him. I witnessed the whole thing. I explained sometimes you get injured in sports and it isn't anyone's fault. It just happens. I explained I had no role in it so it wasn't fair to me to be yelling at me.

The misdirected anger and blame is something very ingrained in both boys. I don't know if Younger Boy understood what I was trying to tell him, because he just shut down and wouldn't look at me. This is his typical behavior when he knows his thinking or actions were I have hope.

Praises for teachable moments.

Prayers for a quickly healing shin. There is a large bruise there.
Older Boy had the early baseball game today. I had told him on Wednesday night he was going to need to take his baseball stuff with him to daycare or there was NO WAY we would make it.

I totally forgot about it this morning. I went home at lunch to try to gather it up really quickly and take it with me so we wouldn't be late for baseball. I couldn't find anything! Not uncommon, because we have stuff EVERYWHERE these days. I wasn't looking forward to "making him late".

I went to pick up Older Boy and he had his uniform on...all the way down to his cleats. He did admit that he forgot his sliding short. I told him I was proud of him for remembering the parts he did remember, because I didn't even remember.

He did so well at his game. I had to drop him off, because Younger Boy had practice at the exact same time. He hung out with his favorite teammate afterward for about 10 minutes until I got back to get him.

I told him when I dropped him off that he would need to remember all about the game since I wasn't going to see it. He was excited to tell me all about it. They won. He apologized for not remembering the score. He walked and got a hit. He was the first batter. He played right field. Pretty good memory of details for him.

Praises he had a good time at baseball and was able to be responsible for himself. He isn't far from being able to "live on his own" in age. Any positive steps toward responsibility are HUGE!!
Tonight Counselor Friend J came over to help figure out how to make duct tape wallets. We are going to do them as a project for activity centers at teen boy camp.

We found an instructional video. Counselor Friend J made leopard print, Younger Boy flame print, Older Boy hot pink, and I made turquoise. It was a good test to see if the boys at camp will be capable of being able to make the wallets.

What became very evident was the emotional and maturity levels of the boys in relation to each other. Both boys were working on wallets with us. Older Boy struggled a lot and Younger Boy didn't have much trouble. Younger Boy was able to do the steps after watching the video just once. In fact in many cases he was able to "work ahead". Older Boy struggled just to keep the tape from sticking together. He got frustrated easily.

To his credit Older Boy did not give up. When he first moved in he would have yelled about how it was stupid, thrown the roll of tape, and gotten mad. Last night he simply asked for help. He didn't always remember to say please, but he asked for help. He even thanked Younger Boy when he offered to help. This is generally cause for an explosion.

It was a blatant reminder of the paths these boys are on. It was a beautiful reminder of the little steps forward we are making.

Praises for progress.
Older Boy had baseball practice tonight at the batting cages. He loved it! He wants to go back for one of his rewards for earning points.

Younger Boy and I ran errands while Older Boy was at practice. We laughed a lot. It made me realize I need to spend more one on one time with him. Older Boy is so needy it makes it difficult.

Younger Boy helped pick out all of the duct tape for activity centers at camp. I say all of it, because we need 310 yards. He also helped pick out some other craft items and was really patient.

We saw a priest in his full outfit and Younger Boy was fascinated with him. He talked to the priest for about five minutes and told him he was doing an important job.

He and I are going to have one on one time this Friday so I asked him what he wanted to do. He wants to bake cookies....I'm kind of surprised.
We stopped doing family therapy last month. At least not with the full family. It wasn't going anywhere and all it was really doing was giving me and Therapist practice in de-escalating violent outbursts.

We are now doing family therapy with just me and one boy at a time. Typically it goes better. We have therapy with Older Boy three times a month and with Younger Boy once a month. Today it was Older Boy's turn.

On the way home so we could have therapy Older Boy was angry in the car. I had asked him a was tutoring? He answered rudely. In his therapy (with Therapist, daycare, CTA, and at home) that is unacceptable. I told him he needed to try again and he sat in silence. He then asked me a question and I did the same thing...just sat there. He blew up!! Of course I was purposely trying to make him mad. I explained that it didn't feel good when someone just ignored you and it was disrespectful. He told me it is not OK for adults to do that, just kids.

Lucky we have our topic for therapy. Older Boy is convinced that kids do not need to be respectful and adults have no choice. We tried to ask him what he was going to do as an adult, but we got the silent treatment.

He was coloring a picture in Therapist's coloring book during therapy. It is the easiest way to keep him semi-engaged in the session. When he was done he accidentally tore a small...REALLY small...piece off the picture when he was trying to take it out of the book. He banged his head on the wall and was FURIOUS. It was good for Therapist to see...frustrating for me to watch.

Session OVER.
Sometimes I wonder if I am making a difference at all in the lives of these boys. Quite honestly it is part of the reason for this I can look back and see where we were.

Today I got this unsolicited email from Older Boy's daycare. It made me realize what I am doing matters....even on the most frustrating of days. It is something I needed to hear today.

I just wanted to let you know Older Boy has made more improvements than I really thought he are to be commended on your efforts, patience, teaching, and communication with Older Boy (and Younger Boy). It takes a village and we are so happy to be part of that village for you and both boys.

When I read it now it makes my eyes tear up. I may NEVER see the fruits of what is going on in my life right now, but it matters to these boys and it matters to God.
Therapist, CTA, and I are working on a point chart for Older Boy. CTA came over tonight and asked how the week was going since we started the point chart. Older Boy has earned exactly ZERO points. We have been doing it for five days. There are four things he can earn points for. I am unsure if he doesn't get it or if he doesn't care...either way...he doesn't care.

CTA had him make a list of the things that make him angry. He came up with two...Younger Boy and drinking milk. She tried to probe deeper...she really did. She couldn't even get Older Boy to make eye contact with her. Clearly drinking milk is an irrational thing to get angry over. It doesn't matter who you are.

CTA had him make a contract with her. It involves what Older Boy's actions are going to be when he gets mad. He said he was going to leave the room. She challenged him on it. He doesn't currently leave the room. She made him sign his name to it. I explained it was a contract and in his terms if you sign it not doing what you signed is against the rules.

I laughed out loud when CTA asked Older Boy what genre of music he liked. Really, she thinks he understands what a genre is? Don't these people read the files or listen to what I tell them about communicating with Older Boy?

All in all though I really like CTA. I think it will do some good. It gives Younger Boy and I a break from the continual need to provide attention to Older Boy.

Pray CTA will learn better ways to communicate with Older Boy and find a reward system he cares about.

Praises CTA is an amazing lady who can provide a ton of good to our home life situation.
Younger Boy is worried Older Boy will have to go to a juvenile center. We talked about it after Older Boy fell asleep.

I did my best to explain in a child-like way that everyone is doing everything they can to help Older Boy. Tons of people are praying and tons of people are working with him. I explained that Older Boy needs to do his part, too. So far he isn't accepting much of the help being offered. I don't think he knows how. He shuts down at all therapy and zones out when anyone tries to talk to him about anything remotely corrective. We have a long road ahead of us.

I don't know how to calm Younger Boy's fears. I don't know God's plans for Older Boy. I told Younger Boy that for now...and always...we just need to pray for Older Boy.
Tonight the sirens were going off due to high winds and a possible tornado in the area. Babysitter M was with the boys at home.

I got home and they were all downstairs. Older Boy was completely covered in a comforter and had pillows all around him and over him. Younger Boy and Babysitter M were playing 20 questions.

Older Boy was completely freaked out. We were watching the news and he was concerned about where we lived and when Babysitter M was going to leave and if the pictures they were showing on TV were of our neighborhood.

He INSISTED we all sleep in the we are...Older Boy on the couch, Younger Boy on the floor in a sleeping bag, and me in the recliner. If that makes us meltdown free...we'll do it!!
We are really "lucky". We get to have two family team meetings a month, because the boys are disruptive at the meeting where all of the adults are present.

Tonight we had a family team meeting. It was just me, Service Coordinator, Older Boy, and Younger Boy.

Both boys talked to Service Coordinator for a while and then wrestled and chased each other through the house while I talked to Service Coordinator. This is pretty typical when she is is their typical stressed out be LOUD and ROUGH. I don't think she gets it and it frustrates her.

At least it is done for the month and we will all be back again at this time next month.
Thank you all for your prayers last night when we were really struggling.

Older Boy is extremely scared he is going to have to go to Boys Town or the juvenile detention center since he has to go to court. We talked about it when I picked him up from daycare and he asked me who was going to decide. I told him he has a big part in the decision with his behavior. Pray he understands that. His typical mode of operation is to blame everyone else for his situation. Pray that God’s will be done in regard to the help Older Boy needs. God knows the help he needs and in His timing He will provide it.

I asked Older Boy what he thought about maybe going to Boys Town. He said if he had to maybe he would "learn his lesson". I explained he can change his behavior while he lives with me and doesn't need to go to an institution BUT he has to do his part.

He doesn't want to talk about having to go to court. He doesn't want to talk about his violent outbursts. Quite honestly if we never had to talk about one again that would be perfectly fine with me, too!
Tonight was not fun.

We sat down to have dinner and I poured milk for the boys to drink. They hadn't had any milk all day and we drink milk with dinner at our house. Older Boy decided he didn't want to have milk. I told him he would have to drink at least half of it before getting up from the table. He started banging his corn on the cob on his plate and screaming that he wasn't going to drink it.

In the meantime Younger Boy drank his. This infuriated Older Boy and caused him to yell "You are a suck up and you are just trying to make me mad." Younger Boy replied by saying "I am just doing what Mom asked, because I want to leave the table." This caused Older Boy to pick up his plate of food and throw it across the kitchen.

I asked him to go to his room to calm down and instead he chose to punch the hallway wall and bang his head on his bedroom door...hard.

Last week when we were in court we had agreed that there would be a zero tolerance policy at my house for property damage and that it would result in a call to 911. Over the course of the week I have reminded Older Boy over and over of the consequence for violence, because we have been on the edge a number of times.

I called 911. The sheriff's department came to our house. Older Boy was screaming "I don't want to go to juvey. They'll kill me in there." The female deputy was pretty tough with him. She explained that he cannot go into a rage...ever. It doesn't matter what it is over. Did he get it? I don't know. She made a juvenile referral to court, because of property damage and because they have been here before. He was released into my custody.

Both deputies stood in the kitchen while Older Boy cleaned up the kitchen from the mess he made when he threw his plate.

After the deputies left Older Boy was remorseful and says that he can't not be violent. Right now I have a tendency to agree with him.

Younger Boy did great during the whole thing. He went to his "safe place" and hung out until the sheriff's department got here.

Coach Z came over later in the evening to offer moral support. I am thankful for that. It was a long night and Younger Boy was stressed out and didn't want to go to sleep.

I feel like I am failing Older Boy. I don't know what to do with him. I don't know that I can help him. I suspect there will be an assessment done to determine what kind of services he needs.

Pray for Older Boy. Pray for Younger Boy.
Today is Father's Day. We went to church and both boys really liked the guest speaker. Older Boy even went to meet him after church.

We came home to meet Grandpa and Grandma. They were here for the gymnastics exhibition. We went and had lunch at a mexican restaurant and for the first time both boys actually had mexican food at a mexican restaurant.

We did a little shopping for thank you gifts for the Coach Z and her assistant coach. The boys ended up picking out flowers. Older Boy picked both of course, because the ones that Younger Boy wanted to get were "stupid" and "retarded". Younger Boy just gave in, but walked away and wouldn't listen to Older Boy for the remainder of the shopping trip.

The gymnastics exhibition went really well. All of the kids did AMAZING and everyone seemed to have a really good time.

Praises for Grandpa on Father's Day. He is an amazing father to me and I know that he would do anything in the world for me. I love you Dad!!
We were supposed to have baseball games today, but both of them got rained out. We got to sleep in for a little while and just hang out around our house for most of the morning. It was good to have a little down time and the boys got along really well.

This afternoon we went to the gym for our exhibition practice. Practice went well and we got our uniforms for the performance. Both boys are excited about the exhibition and can't wait to show off their skills.

On the way home we called Mentor R to see if his daughter was still playing softball. They were already home so we ended up going to their house and the boys played in the pool for a couple of hours.

We came home and had dinner and went to bed.

It was a nice day. Praises for a peaceful, restful day.
After meeting CTA I have a completely new attitude about how it is going to go and my feelings toward it.

CTA is AWESOME! Her role will be to take Older Boy to do things and work with him on his behaviors while they are hanging out. Kind of like a more adult version of play therapy. Older Boy seemed to like CTA.

This will also give Younger Boy and I some time to hang out without the interruptions of Older Boy. Younger Boy doesn't get a lot of attention, because of the constant attention needed by Older Boy.

I am thankful for this additional service. Praises that it is different than what I thought it was and also prayers that it helps our family dynamic.
I had high hopes for the reward system...I really did. We didn't make it through the first evening without Older Boy giving a ton of direction to Younger Boy and when Younger Boy wouldn't do what he asked he got aggressive.

The boys had to be separated for the night. Younger Boy slept on the couch in the basement and Older Boy in their room.

Older Boy thinks it is unfair, but I explained that if you are the aggressor you have to stay in your room. He was threatening to punch walls, but he didn't. He screamed about how he isn't aggressive or violent and should get a point for the day.

He sobbed when he realized he wasn't getting a point and he was aggressive.

Every night lately with him has been a roller coaster. I'm not sure what to do with it.

Prayers for a peaceful bedtime tomorrow night. It is exhausting to everyone to have bedtime be so emotionally charged.
Tonight was a nice night for baseball. Both boys had games.

Younger Boy's team lost, but they are improving. At times they are somewhat reminiscent of the Bad News Bears. Younger Boy had a great catch when he was playing third base.

Older Boy's team won. They seem to be significantly better than the other teams in the league. They may be the most unorganized team in the league, too.

Younger Boy had a great time playing with Camper L who has a foster brother on Older Boy's team. I loved watching them. They just seemed to get along really well.

The weather was beautiful. Praises for nice weather and good friends.
Today was busy. Older Boy and I had family therapy with Therapist. This was the first of our new tries at family therapy. The meetings with all three of us were NOT working so we are going to do three with Older Boy and I and then one with Younger Boy and I. This is in hopes that we can get Older Boy to a point where he will be cooperative in therapy and we can actually all three work on things together.

Today we talked about having a reward system for desired behaviors. The four behaviors Older Boy is going to work on are:

1. Do not tell Younger Boy what to do (co-parenting).
2. Stop doing things when you are asked.
3. Do not have aggressive or violent behaviors.
4. Use your coping skills.

There will be a point system and associated rewards. I am hopeful this will help.

We plan to implement this with Younger Boy as well, but haven't had the behavior goal setting session yet.

Please pray this will help to tone down some of the behaviors we are currently experiencing.
Tonight Older Boy cried for over fifteen minutes, because Younger Boy wouldn't do what he wanted him to do. In the past this would have resulted in wall punching and screaming. Today it was crying. Body heaving sobs and wailing.

Younger Boy and I actually had no idea why he was crying until he came downstairs and asked Younger Boy if he still liked him, because "it sure didn't seem like it".

I can't tell if this is progress. I need wisdom to understand.

Prayers for wisdom and peace.
Today I had to go get Older Boy from summer school because he was "sick". This was a common occurrence during the school year. Not one time was he ever actually sick.

Today I think the issue was that he got in trouble yesterday at daycare for punching and kicking a wall when he was angry and one of his friends told him he didn't want to play with him anymore, because he is too bossy. Daycare Teacher S sent me an email about the whole thing. She said he was being very bossy and disrespectful of both peers and staff. This is something they have on his behavior plan for the next month. Hopefully this will help at home, too.

Since he came home sick from school he didn't go to baseball practice tonight and had to hang out in his room all day. Apparently all that makes me mean. He was really worried about missing baseball, but I wanted him to know that you can't skip out on a responsibility "sick" and then do something fun.

Prayers Older Boy will start to understand the things being taught to him.
Some of you might be aware there is another brother and two other sisters in the family Older Boy and Younger Boy come from. Other Brother has a significant number of health issues. He is on a ventilator, in a wheelchair, and is both blind and deaf. He lives in an amazing home where they are his guardians.

When we went to court on Monday we heard Other Brother was taken to the hospital over the weekend with pneumonia. He is with Guardian Dad. Guardian Mom and Little Sister are stuck in South Dakota.

Please pray for the family. The boys have been quite close to them since they lived there a few years ago and they are also the home to their siblings.
Tonight when I got home I was disappointed to hear the boys had been rude to Babysitter M and were arguing with each other. Not just your normal brotherly arguing, but screaming "I am going to kill you" and "Go to H***" at each other.

Before I left there had been a lot of arguing so there was a warning that there would be the consequence of losing your Nintendo DS for a week if I got a bad report from Babysitter M.

No one is going to be happy in the morning.

Prayers this phase of behavior is over SOON!!
We had court this afternoon, because Judge wanted to see the boys. They hadn't been there in about a year.

Both boys did fairly well. Judge did have to separate them at one point for messing around and not listening to him and also had to tell Older Boy to sit up straight.

He court ordered them to each read a chapter book by July 30, 2011, and to have it included in the monthly report for them.

We discussed school and he was VERY STRONG about doing your homework. He said if he gets a report they aren't working on it he will order it.

Otherwise things seemed to be going well. GAL is scheduled to come to our home after the Fourth of July and CTA will start this Friday. CTA is scheduled to be in our home for eight hours per week. I am working on my attitude toward this. We are barely home more than that and the whole things seems invasive to me. I understand the purpose is to help me, but I am having a hard time with it.

Prayers I will change my attitude about the CTA. We need help right now.
One of the people who live in this house smeared poop all over the outside of the toilet in the boys' bathroom.

I know this person did not do it. Older Boy says Younger Boy did it and, you guessed it, Younger Boy says Older Boy did it. Both boys are in trouble for it, because while I have my suspicions about which boy did it, I cannot say with 100% certainty.

We had a discussion about how disrespectful it is to vandalize my property. Our new rule is that when you vandalize my property you lose some of yours for a while.

Prayers that this type of behaviors STOP.
Tonight we had a blow-up. Younger Boy wanted to set the alarm clock in the boys' room for 6:14am. Older Boy wanted it set for 6:15am. This one minute caused a screaming match between the boys and Older Boy tattling on Younger Boy.

This in turn caused Younger Boy to swear at me...three times. Consequences all around.

Was that one minute really worth it?
It is SO FRUSTRATING to have someone in your home who is VERY IMPULSIVE and can't follow logic.

I just spent 20 minutes as a referee for an argument about Older Boy not wanting Younger Boy to do something while he was in the shower. He just kept screaming "it's not fair". He doesn't want to hear that he can do the EXACT same thing while Younger Boy is in the shower. He just screams that Younger Boy will be mad at him if he does that. It doesn't really matter what Younger Boy and I say.

He is now locked in the bathroom punching the wall...and hopefully eventually getting in the shower.

Prayers things will settle down and we will get MUCH needed rest tonight.

Praises for a MOSTLY argument-free day.
Everyone in this family is EXHAUSTED and everyone in this family is SICK. We are all sniffling and coughing. Younger Boy also has a sunburn. I don't think we are very fun to be around.

This morning we went to Church. Older Boy sat with Babysitter A. Younger Boy sat with Mentor R and his family. Since he went to camp Younger Boy knows tons of people who go to church. I think he said hello to nearly every single one of them this morning.

After church we went to Wal-Mart for groceries and Younger Boy wanted to spend his birthday money. I was really proud of him, because he volunteered to to split his money with Older Boy. No one argued at the store...a first.

The boys played together all afternoon outside and they just finished helping sort all of their camp laundry. They also REALLY want to wash the dishes. We'll probably do that after dinner...unless they forget they want to!!

Praises for another great day! Prayers for continued peace in our home.
Today I had training for Older Kids Camp. Both boys had baseball games. I dropped them off with Babysitter M at the baseball field.

Younger Boy didn't get out of the car this morning, because he wanted to hang out with me all day. I finally convinced him that he would hvae more fun at baseball than he would at camp training.

The boys came home excited to hang out together. We had a "family party" which consisted of a movie and dinner. The boys were exhausted so they took showers and went to bed.

They were getting along unbelievably. I think they really missed each other in the week they were apart. They have shown kindness to each other in ways that in the past would have caused someone to get mad and stomp out of the room or start screaming.

Praises for a good day. Prayers that it would continue.
Tonight I was talking to Younger Boy about his camp experience. We were talking about all of the cool friends he made.

I told him I met the girl I wanted him to marry and he did what any boy his age would do...said he isn't getting married.

He continued talking about all of his cool new friends and said "There was a cool girl. Her name was C."

I didn't have the heart to tell him she was the girl I chose for him to marry. She is a BEAUTIFUL little girl, inside and out. I was honored to spend time with her and I am glad he saw her beauty, too.

Praises for kiddos who cross our paths and change our hearts.

Prayers for kiddos who need someone to be on their team. C....I love you and I'll be praying for you!
We're home from camp.

All Younger Boy wants to do is sit beside me on the couch with his head on my shoulder. He has told me over and over that he loves me.

I was asking Older Boy what his favorite part of the week was and he said "Not missing you and Younger Boy". When I first went and picked him up he didn't even say hello to me. It took him over 10 minutes to acknowledge I was there. Now he is like a different kiddo. He keeps talking about being happy and also about how he missed us. He is doing the things I ask (not a usual occurrence).

Praises for family being back together...hanging out together...loving each other.

Prayers for all of the kiddos who went home to a place where they don't feel safe or loved.
I am calling Older Boy every night while I am at camp. Friend C tells me that he is so excited to get my calls every night that he can hardly wait.

Tonight Older Boy told me he laid on the floor today at daycare and cried, because he missed us. I have to be honest....I truly didn't think Older Boy was capable of that kind of attachment or emotion. I am thankful he was at daycare, because he feels safe there and he is able to show emotion there.

Praises for breaking down the walls of Older Boy. Even if it took going away to actually see the work that God is doing. Prayers for continued attachment and change.
Tonight was the camp birthday party. When Younger Boy was getting ready to get on the camp "limo" to leave he had a flower in his hand. He gave me his flower and then got on the "limo". As they started to pull away he yelled "Mom" and gave me the "I love you" sign and I gave him the "I love you, too" sign. I had tears in my eyes.

As I looked over I saw Camp Photographer tearing up.

Praises for Younger Boy being willing to tell me he loves me and still wanting to hang out with me.
Younger Boy and I are both at camp this week. I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of him wanting to talk to me or hang out with me. Before we left I decided I would follow his lead.

I was surpised on Monday afternoon when he came to the craft building and asked me to work on his crafts with him, because he "just wanted to hang out with me".

Over the course of the week he asked me to eat meals with him and sit by him and eat bedtime snack with him. At times I think it was frustrating to Mentor R, but here's the deal...Younger Boy hasn't always had a lot of adults in his corner and if he is asking me to do something and it isn't unreasonable...I'll be there. No doubt about it.

Every time he caught my eye at camp he would give me the sign language sign for "I love you". Melts my heart.

Praises for a kiddo who actually wants to hang out with me. Prayers for the kiddo back home.
After church I dropped the boys off at Friend C's for the day so I could leave for camp. It was really hard to say good-bye. Luckily I needed to go home and finish getting myself ready for camp so I didn't have a lot of time to be sad!

Praises for good friends who you trust to take care of your kiddos.
So...this morning we were packing for our week away.

We just had a hard time getting it together last night. It wasn't that much easier this morning, but I used a technique I got from Mentor M that he uses at home. Each boy would be assigned one task and then they had to "report back for duty". We made it into a kind of game.

At one point they were "at ease" and Younger Boy decided to throw a ball at Older Boy. Older Boy freaked out. I asked Younger Boy to apologize and instead he went in the laundry room and dispensed laundry detergent all over the laundry room floor. Not really what I wanted/needed to be doing this morning.

I wasn't sure we would make it to church. Things were just not going well. Finally the boys loaded the car with their stuff and we were off.

Prayers for...Friend C who is taking care of Older Boy all week. Also for a safe week at camp for everyone.

Praises for camp...a safe place where foster kiddos can go and feel God's love.
Tonight we (me, Older Boy, Younger Boy and Camper J) went to Caseworker Friend's house for dinner. She made spaghetti and we watched part of a movie.

Camper J wanted to do some dancing so she danced to Justin Bieber and Michael Jackson. She really wanted to hear "Thriller" so we watched the video on YouTube. Caseworker Friend and I laughed so hard during part of it, because she said "Did you hear that creepy voice?" We figured she was going to tell us who it was so we both asked "Who is it?" We laughed so much when she replied "some guy".

Camper J also gave Caseworker Friend some great advice when she said "if there is ever a zombie at your house run to Denise's".

The dance moves we saw tonight were a crazy combination of judo/karate or something like that, hip hop, and break dancing. We all laughed and laughed.

Praises for good friends who are like family and whole hearted laughter.
We had Younger Boy's birthday party at the Humane Society. It was a lot of fun. It was a great reminder to me of all of the AMAZING people we have in our lives.

We colored pictures of "animals" we created by putting the heads, arms, bodies and legs of animals on a single piece of paper. Some were very good and some were just funny. We also had a scavenger hunt around the buildind where we got to see all of the animals in the building. There were some adorable puppies, but we are NOT getting one.

Younger Boy got a gift that really touched me...a boy from church gave them his bike which is too small for him. He may have been more excited about giving it to them than they were to receive it. What an AMAZING heart that kiddo has!!

Praises for the amazing people in our lives. I can see how God has put each of you there for a purpose and we love you all!
Today both boys had baseballs games.

Grandma and Grandpa were here and so was Camper J for respite.

Older Boy's baseball coach told us to be there at 8AM....for a 10:30AM game. Really? We thought the game was at 8:30. Because, honestly, why would you have seventh and eighth graders be there two and a half hours before their game?

Older Boy's team won 13-0. He got a couple of hits. He played right field. A pop fly went to him and it popped out of his glove. I was super proud of him for not exploding when it happened. He felt bad for another kiddo that wasn't getting much playing time so he volunteered to sit on the bench during the last inning so the other kiddo could play. He told me about it after the game. What a thoughtful thing to do!!

Younger Boy's team won, too. Not sure what the score was. Younger Boy got upset when he struck out, but one of the coaches talked to him IMMEDIATELY about being a good sport. In the next inning Younger Boy made a solo double play while playing first base. He caught a pop fly and then went and touched the base, because the runner had ran to second base. He was THRILLED.

Grandma and Grandpa ran into an old friend from their hometown who lives here now. They spent quite a bit of time catching up with him. It was a good time killer for them during our two hour wait.

Praises for sunscreen since we were at the field all morning. Priases for Camper J having patience while watching game after game of baseball without complaining. Praises for Grandma and Grandpa helping get ready and taking care of baseball snacks.
Camper J is here for respite. She is such a sweet girl. She and Older Boy are getting along wonderfully. I was kind of worried about it, because he has a tendency to be rude to people...especially girls...his own age.

I hope she has a good night, because we are all VERY TIRED.
Because I wait until the last minute for everything and because we have been insanely busy we were at the sporting goods store buying baseball pants and cleats the day before the first baseball game.

It started off well. Younger Boy tried on his sliding shorts and baseball pants. Older Boy tried on a pair of pants that were too big. Grandma got the next size smaller for him. He was convinced those were too small.

Younger Boy and Grandpa went to look at the cleats while Older Boy had a complete meltdown in the dressing room. He was banging his head on the dressing room wall and when I asked him to quit he started screaming and crying. He tried to tell me he fell against the wall three times and he wasn't banging his head. Unfortunately I know the sound of head banging all too well and can easily identify it. He then was screaming about how I never believe him. I don't know what started it. Was it the baseball pants being too small? Was it the dressing room being too much like a closet? I just don't know.

Finally he came out of the dressing room and picked out his cleats. By then I was DONE shopping.

We went and had dinner. Older Boy had totally reverted to his five year old behavior. I recognize it now for what it is. When he is struggling he is back at the age when his initial trauma occurred. It is so hard to parent someone who is sometimes 13 or 14, sometimes 4 or 5.

Praises Mom and Dad were with us at the store. I couldn't have done it by myself. It is too exhausting.

Prayers one day things will just go a little bit smoother.
Clearly I have lost all of my mental faculties.

I volunteered to respite for a 14 year-old foster girl from tonight at 8PM until tomorrow night at 8PM. This isn't just any 14 year-old girl. This is a girl I know from camp. She is usually in a cabin with Coach Z. She is a sweet girl, but she is a handful. I originally thought it would be just as easy to take her to everything we have going today and tomorrow.

I am praying we are able to have a good, restful night. Mom and Dad are here, because Younger Boy's birthday party is tomorrow afternoon. They are going to catch the boy's first two baseball games, the birthday party, and help us do some packing for camp. At least I won't be by myself trying to get all of this done.

Friend T has volunteered to come over Saturday to help us out if we need it. I'd like to think we won't. I'm certain we will.

Pray for a peaceful night.

Praises for my AMAZING parents who didn't chose this journey with me, but have jumped on board and are helping a ton.
I knew this was going to be coming....pressure to decide if I plan to adopt. It is an agenda item for the family team meeting on Thursday.

Foster Care Specialist says that you have to foster six months before you can adopt out of the system anyway, but Service Coordinator wants to be able to have you signing the adoption papers on six months to the day.

Foster Care Specialist and I are talking about it. I am praying about it.

I could use a lot of prayer for clarity and God's will in this.
Today Younger Boy would not leave for daycare until he had his nicest outfit on and his hair spiked. This is the same kid who insists on wearing the same thing to daycare days in a row if I will let him.

On the way to daycare he told me that there are new kids in his class. Two of them are girls. I get it! Good thing he doesn't own any Axe body spray.
Saturday's baseball practice (which we would have missed) got rained out.

Older Boy was in a REALLY irritable mood when I picked him up. He was screaming and swearing about his shoes. I had to ask him to settle down more than one time. Finally I told him he would not be able to help with Younger Boy's baseball practice. First he told me he had to be able to, because I couldn't leave him home alone. I explained that I could just drop off Younger Boy and we could come home and then go pick Younger Boy up. When he realized this he immediately began crying and screaming "I'm sorry." I told him he could earn it back if he stopped screaming and got in the car the first time I asked.

We finally got in the car to go to practice...both boys. Practice went fairly well.

We got home and Older Boy went straight to bed. He was EXHAUSTED.

Younger Boy threw a fit and told me to "F off", because I asked him to please ask before he played with my laptop. We had a long discussion about being respectful. I told him he could treat me disrepectfully if I treated him disrepectfully. It seemed like he actually got it. Ever since then he is kind of a new kiddo. I want to think I am not being manipulated...I am going to hope that.
Today we are starting our summer looks something like this:

6:15am - Get up
6:39am - Bus picks up Older Boy for summer school
6:45am - Drop off Younger Boy at daycare
7:00am - Work
4:00pm - Leave work
4:10pm - Pick up Older Boy
4:40pm - Pick up Younger Boy
5:00pm - Eat dinner
6:00pm - Baseball or Family Therapy or both
7:45pm - Showers and bedtime

Next day do it all again!!
Would you believe both daycare and I had to bribe Older Boy to clip his toenails? He literally could have clawed his way up a tree.