This afternoon we went boating with Mr.and Mrs. O and their family.

The boys had an amazing time on the tube and their smiles were a mile wide. We were out on the water for about four hours. They loved it!!

It is so awesome to have friends who will invite us to spend the day...who get the boys.

Praises for Mr. and Mrs. O. and a beautiful day on the water.
This morning during worship at church Younger Boy leaned over to me and said "I can't wait to go see Jesus in person".

How sweet!
This morning it was more baseball....early morning baseball. Since Older Boy only has four teams in his league we play the 8am game quite often...too often.

His whole team was pretty lethargic this morning. They ended up losing their first game of the season.

Younger Boy's game was at 1pm. We had some time to kill so we did the plant watering job and then went to Parables and Walmart. We needed birthday presents for party this afternoon and also Younger Boy needed a new swimsuit. Both boys did GREAT at Walmart. That never happens.

Younger Boy lost his game.

We headed to Friend L's birthday party at their lake cabin. The boys had a great time playing with friends in the water. Older Boy did spend some time sitting up by the cabin by himself. He didn't really give an explanation. He seemed kind of angry, but if he doesn't want to talk there isn't much I can do.

Afterward we headed home and headed to bed. Another nice...relatively peaceful day.
Tonight we had baseball games.

It was a good night for baseball. The weather turned out to be beautiful.

It has been a really long week....really long.

Hopefully we aren't too tired tomorrow since it is a late night.
Tonight I had good discussions with both boys.

Younger Boy and I talked while Older Boy played outside. He hasn't been eating and he has been really irritable. I asked him what was bothering him, because Therapist had told me that he was uncooperative at therapy the day before and had covered his face the entire time she was trying to talk to him. He started out by telling me he was just tired. I explained that we could go to bed earlier so he wouldn't be so tired. That changed the course of the conversation. He admitted he is worried about Older Boy having to go to the juvenile detention center. He also said he is worried that he will have to leave my home, because of Older Boy. He is tiring of Older Boy's behavior and wishes Older Boy didn't copy him on everything he did. He also wishes Older Boy didn't lie about Younger Boy's behavior.

I assured him that I do not intend to send him away and that I would always be honest with him. I explained that Older Boy's behavior is tough right now, but I am still not going to ask that they leave. We agreed to try to talk every day. He seemed more at ease when we finished talking.

When we got home Older Boy had consequences from his behavior at daycare. I asked him to write letters of apology to Daycare S and Therapist for making them chase after him. He was NOT happy about that. I told him it wasn't a choice and he wasn't going to do anything else until he got it done. He begrudginly sat at the desk and pounded his pencil, but he did it.

He then came upstairs and wanted to watch TV. He isn't watching TV for a week as a result of his behavior the night I had to call 911. When I told him he wouldn't be watching TV he ran to his room screaming about how it isn't fair. He didn't punch anything (that I know of).

When he calmed down I asked him to sit and talk to me. I asked him what happened at daycare. He told me he didn't know. I told him that wasn't good enough. He said he was mad. I asked what he is mad at. He said he is mad that he is in foster care, mad that he doesn't get to live with all of his siblings, mad that he has had to move so many times, and mad that he is stupid. Finally...the truth.

We talked about how Younger Boy's dad used to yell and scream for no reason and get really mad and punch things. I asked if he thought he was like that. He said he thought so. I asked if that was what he wanted to do. He said no. He said Younger Boy's dad used to get mad at things that didn't matter. I asked if he thought he did it. He said yes. He said he wants someone to help him.

Younger Boy was in the room for the discussion about his dad. He said he doesn't want to be like that either.

I explained that is what therapy is for. To help get rid of some of that anger, but for it to go away you need to talk about it. It is Therapist's job to help with that. He has to talk to her and cooperate.

He agreed to talk it out from now on. So did Younger Boy.

I FINALLY feel like we might be getting somewhere....FINALLY.

Pray for wisdom and patience for me as we continue to navigate this messy past of theirs. Pray for healing and understanding for the boys.

Praises that even though yesterday was hard...really hard...good came from it.
Older Boy is now back at his daycare center. He ran about 20 blocks and was on the other side of a major street when they were able to stop him.

He received a lecture from the police who picked him up and returned him to the center. He is still in the process of decompressing and then they will talk to him.

He will sign an agreement with them about what is acceptable behavior and that he will not leave the center again. If he does we will have to find a new place for him to go.

He will no longer be able to do his therapy at the center. I’ll have to figure out when we are going to do it in the evenings…pray I can figure it out and find a place for Younger Boy and I to go so they can have their sessions.

Thanks for the prayers.
Please pray for Older Boy. Today I received a call that he was in therapy at his daycare and got upset and ran out of the building. His therapist and two of their staff trailed him, but the police were called to pick him up as a runaway. At this time the center is willing to take him back as long as he is not a danger to himself or others and keep him for the remainder of the day today.

Pray for his safety. Pray for his decision-making. Pray for his peace.
This morning I got a call from Older Boy's daycare. He is having trouble following instructions and is manipulating his caregivers. Any time he doesn't want to follow directions he starts to cry and says he misses his brother and sister. Every time he was supposed to go to timeout he does the same thing.

He did this at camp as well when he didn't want to quit fishing.

Yesterday at daycare he didn't want to listen so he ran out the front door and out into the parking lot. When he received a consequence for it he cried and sobbed about his brother and sister.

It is a manipulation technique. He does it at home, too. He never mentions them unless he is in trouble or is supposed to be doing something he doesn't want to.

I talked with the daycare and from now on we are both going to tell him that we will talk about his brother and sister as much as he wants to after he completes his timeout or the task he has been asked to do.

I warned daycare that this is when I get the most aggressive behaviors at home. She said they are prepared and are hoping them come out so he has to deal with them.

Yesterday he was purposefully picking fights with his peers and bossing them around.

Prayers Older Boy will start to "get it". They are concerned for him at daycare and the boys go back to school in two weeks. This behavior will NEVER be tolerated at school.
Today I got a call from Younger Boy's daycare. For the past two weeks he has been refusing to eat lunch at daycare. They have been able to get him to eat an apple each day, but that is it.

He is also starting to be very rude and having trouble getting along with the other kids there. Generally speaking he is fairly socially savvy and likes to be liked. This seems unusual for him.

Yesterday Therapist met with him there and they mentioned the eating to her as well. She tried to talk to him and he kept his hands over his face for their entire meeting. She wasn't sure what to make of it.

I am going to have a "date" with him to go school shopping in the next couple of days. I want to talk to him and find out what is going on. I want to stop the behaviors if he is worrying for some reason.

Prayers Younger Boy will talk to me.
Middle Brother's guardian called tonight. Middle Brother isn't doing very well. His feeding tube location is infected and they have been continually draining fluid from it.

She is going to talk to the nurses tonight to see if it is okay for the boys to go and visit him. His health is generally fairly precarious and if anyone is the least bit ill we can't see him.

I told both boys at the end of baseball practice last night. Baseball Coach prayed with them for their brother.

Prayers that Middle Brother is well enough for a visit tonight or soon.
Some of you are aware that Older Boy and Younger Boy have Middle Brother. His guardians have adopted Younger Sister and he lives with them. Middle Brother is both blind and deaf, has a ventilator, and uses a wheelchair.

Middle Brother has been in the hospital for a week now. He is not doing well.

Please pray for Middle Brother and that God would provide wisdom to the doctors and peace to Former Foster Family. It has been really rough on them.
Today Foster Care Specialist and Daycare D met with Older Boy. They had an hour long discussion about what happened last night.

Foster Care Specialist explained to him that if I have to call 911 again the police will fire me as a mom and he will have to move to jail. She also told him that if he moves to jail he won't be able to see the people who care about him anymore. He won't be able to see Younger Boy or Daycare D or anyone from one. She thought he got it.

He did admit to them that when he gets mad he hears voices in his head. Not schizophrenia type voices, but voices saying "Mom hates me." "Younger Boy hates me." "They want me out of here." "No one loves me."

Both people explained to him that you have to listen to the person talking to you and not to the voices in your head.

Apparently he cried while they were talking. I am supposed to follow up with him tonight to try to understand the plan he came up with for when he was angry. Both Foster Care Specialist and Daycare D told him he has to follow it. He has to start taking control.

Praises for people who love Older Boy and are willing to try to help him.
Older Boy got off to a bad start this morning. I had to go into his room ELEVEN times to get him out of bed. Even then he didn't.

Younger Boy and I went outside in the car, because by this time I was late for work.

Older Boy came out and was mad, because I made him go back and close the door to the house. Really? You were the last one out. He then proceeded to explain to me that Younger Boy should have the same consequences he does, because otherwise it is not fair. I explained that if Younger Boy stole something and had to go to jail Older Boy wouldn't have to go to jail. It's the same thing. He doesn't get it.

In the last 12 hours he has lost quite a few privileges. Younger Boy did not. It is going to be a nightmare to manage it.

I talked to Foster Care Specialist this morning and she suggested that when Older Boy starts yelling I should just go to the safe place with Younger Boy and not address Older Boy until he has calmed down. I haven't tried it before...maybe it will work. I am willing to try anything.

Prayers for peace at home tonight. Prayers for wisdom and understanding.
Older Boy received his last chance tonight from the Sheriff's Department. The next time I have to call 911 he will be transported to the juvenile center immediately.

I wonder if he will remember that when he is going into a fit of rage.

Tonight I asked him to fold a blanket. He thought Younger Boy should have to do it. He screamed at me about how I am not fair and I am ruining his life. I explained he needed to calm down and then get the blanket folded and put away. Instead he chose to punch the wall between the living room and the kitchen. Again I asked him to calm down and he went to his room and punched the door and his bedroom wall. He came back out to tell me I am not fair and that Younger Boy is my favorite, because I "never" ask him to do "anything". He kicked a box that was on the floor. He banged his head on the wall. He threw a gatorade across the kitchen.

I called 911. He got right next to me and was screaming at the top of his lungs about how I just want him to go to the juvenile center and that they will kill him in there. How I want him gone. How his brother wants him gone. How no one is listening to him.

Younger Boy went to his safe spot which just infuriated Older Boy.

The Sheriff's Department came to our house and explained to him that he has got to get his anger into control. How he is going to have to go to the juvenile center if they come to our house again. How he just needs to do what I ask when I ask. They explained how good he has it.

I talked to him when he calmed down and asked him what he thinks he needs to be able to get his anger under control. He said he needs to go to the hospital. Is he right?

Prayers for more anger control.
The state foster care system is a mess. At times it is hard for me to figure out who benefits from the system in its current mode of operation.

Would you consider doing some research and writing to your state senator for the rights of the foster kids and the rights of the foster parents? I have included three links for you to use to read about the changes in the system in the last year. I have also included how to find your senator and also a link to the senators on the Health and Human Services Committee.

I am working on my own letter. I'll post it when it is done.

Prayers for change in the system. Change which will impact the kids in a positive way. Change that keeps the interest of the kids in the forefront of the change.
So...I might be certifiably insane...I don't know. When I mentioned this to Foster Care Specialist she thought I was over tired and wasn't thinking straight.

For a few weeks now it has been on my heart to move to a bigger house so that I can take in more pre-teen and teenage foster boys. I truly feel like I should have the maximum number of them in my home.

As I write this I think back just six or seven months to when I was filling out my foster care paperwork and said that I didn't ever want to have any boys in my home who were older then eleven. I think God has other plans for me.

Pray for me as I continue to prayerfully consider how this looks in my life and seek God's will.
I picked up Older Boy from daycare and they said he had an AMAZING day. He is more joyful than he has been.

He was VERY ENGAGED during family therapy this afternoon. I NEVER thought those words would go into the same sentence. He answered all of the questions. When prompted to expound on his answers he did. He was still very literal. For example when we asked if he talked to any of the boys at camp he said no. Then I asked how he became good friends with D, another camper. He said "by asking him questions".

We ended the session with him telling me about how he is "stupid". He was pointing out all of the things he doesn't know. Therapist and I were talking about how no one can know everything and it is okay. It doesn't mean you are stupid. It just means you have more to learn. We are going to work on that next time.

Praises for an AMAZING therapy session. It was productive and we actually talked about things.
Younger Boy is going to have to do something different.

Every time he spends any amount of time with Mentor R he is AWFUL...completely AWFUL. I have talked to him each time he comes home the last few times.

This time he is just plain rude. He won't follow directions and he is picking fights with Older Boy. He is completely non-compliant. I don't know what to do. I would hate to tell him he can't spend time with his mentor anymore, but honestly it is ridiculous.

Prayers his behavior will improve in the next couple of days.
Older Boy is on fire for God.

It was so much fun to watch him at camp. He was dancing and singing. He was engaged. He prayed.

Don't get me wrong...he still has all of the same quirks, but this boy is singing along with the radio. I have never heard him do that. Now suddenly he seems to know all of the words to EVERY SONG!

I hope this isn't the afterglow of camp, but if it is...I'll take it for however long it lasts.
Today at camp I was surprised and I cried.

Baseball Coach J was the speaker at the teenage camp this weekend. He had asked Older Boy to give the first prayer in front of everyone at camp. I was unaware this had gone on.

When Baseball Coach J said "Older Boy, can you come up and pray?" a moment of panic came over me. I didn't know how he would respond. Could he do it? Would he do it?

Older Boy said the most beautiful prayer. It was articulate and well thought out. I cried.

Five months ago never in my wildest dreams did I imagine he would get to that point. Why didn't I trust? Why didn't I believe? God can do all things...and He is good...ALL THE TIME!!
First...thank you so much for your prayers. I received a lot of encouraging email and notes about today's Foster Care Review Board meeting.

It went well. I feel like I advocated for the boys and myself. I was honest about what I think works in our case and what doesn't. I was the only person on the case who showed up.

I said I don't think Older Boy needs higher level care right now. Five months isn't a good chance in my home. It isn't long enough to know how it is going or how it is ultimately going to go. It isn't long enough for so many just isn't long enough.

I also said I didn't think separating them is the right thing. I said I thought that it would send them the message that when things get tough you should give up and walk away. What would that teach them about love, grace, patience, and forgiveness? It teaches them that you don't have to work at can just leave. It does nothing for healing. In the words of one of my biggest cheerleaders "It does nothing to heal the hearts."

The board was receptive. I talked about my frustrations. How I think it is ridiculous that I don't have access to their health history when I am the one who is responsible for their daily well being. How I think there should be better training for what to do with tough behavioral kiddos in your home. How I think if I am responsible for getting them to school and making sure they do their homework I should be able to make educational decisions. I asked some questions which probably will get some people fired up on my case. I don't care...except that I don't want to lose the boys.

The board thanked me for my honesty and told me that in every report it said over and over what an amazing job I am doing with the boys. That isn't why I do this. I do this because, my heart breaks for the orphan and God asked me to.
Forty-four minutes of my life I won't get back. That is how long it took Younger Boy to calm down when he got a timeout.

He exploded like a powder keg tonight.

He was in timeout for screaming at me when we were talking about appropriate behaviors when Foster Care Specialist and Service Coordinator are at our house.

Both boys were HORRIBLE. They wouldn't follow directions. They wouldn't listen. They wouldn't answer the questions of either of their workers. It was not our best hour.

Older Boy did his issues. Might have been the first time ever.

Younger Boy beat his head against the wall. Kicked things and refused to look at me. I am pretty sure the banging his head against the wall was a mimic of Older Boy and not an impulsive reaction. I could tell immediately that it really hurt him when he did it, but I didn't say anything.

Younger Boy lost privileges. He says he doesn't care.

He screamed about how much he hates me. When the timeout was over I told him it was really hurtful and asked if he meant it. I explained you can't say things in anger that you don't mean, because you can never fully erase the hurt of the words you said.

Prayers Younger Boy can get his anger in control.
The boys were awful during the home visit with Foster Care Specialist and Service Coordinator tonight...completely awful.

A couple of things came to light though.

Older Boy admitted that when he is angry he has NO IDEA what he says or does. I tried to recall the events of the night before and asked him questions. Did you bang your head against the door? Did you cry? Did you punch the kitchen floor? He doesn't remember any of it. I am fairly sure it isn't an act, because he seemed truly shocked.

Both professionals suggested I try to video when it happens so he can see it. They were also trying to explain to him that I am not telling them these things to embarrass him or make him feel guilty. I am telling them because I am scared for his safety.

We talked about how all of that anger needs to come out of him and it would be easier if he would talk about it at therapy instead of letting it explode out of him when we don't expect it.

During the session I also told Younger Boy that I KNOW he is lying to me and that it is unacceptable in our house. We talked about how I don't feel like I can believe anything he says. He doesn't understand why. He is convinced he is not making a choice to lie. I don't know if it is going to change. I don't know that he realizes when he is doing it. I don't know how to make him stop.

Prayers for change. Change in how I perceive these behaviors so I am not frustrated with them.

Prayers for wisdom. Wisdom in how I deal with the behaviors as we work toward figuring this stuff out.
This afternoon I took Older Boy to a med check.

We have been kind of a mess.

Psychiatrist changed three meds.

We go back in two weeks.

Prayers we can tell which meds are working and which are not and that we can eliminate the ones that are not and are duplicates.
The Foster Care Review Board is a panel of volunteer citizens and professionals who review the cases and make recommendations to the judge regarding each individual case.

Tomorrow morning I meet with the Foster Care Review Board. I get my chance to say how things are going in our case. I get to say which people on our case are performing and which ones aren't. I get to talk about how I think things are going in our home.

There are two questions they have asked me to speak about. The first is whether or not I think Older Boy needs a higher level of care. The second is whether or not I think it is detrimental having both boys in the same home.

In some ways I am appreciative my opinion on these topics matters. In some ways it would be so much easier to just have someone tell me.

Honestly speaking the answer to both questions is I don't know.

I don't know enough about higher levels of care to know whether it would be helpful or detrimental to Older Boy. I do know that I am VERY DISAPPOINTED that the paperwork is still not done for him to receive DD services. If someone would do the paperwork he could receive them for the remainder of his life. I tried to start the paperwork, but Service Coordinator threw a fit, because by law she is required to do it. I started them nearly three months ago. There has been no progress. This topic will NOT go undiscussed at the Foster Care Review Board. Do I think DD services in our home is what Older Boy needs? Don't know. Don't know what they are or could be. Do I think he needs a group home? Don't know. Don't know how group homes operate. Do I think he needs a therapeutic foster home? Don't know. What would they do that I don't?

Should the boys be separated? I don't know. The ultimate goal of any kiddo in the foster system is permanency. Would they obtain it quicker separate than together? Probably. Should that be the determining factor? In my opinion, no. The determining factor should be maintaining their relationship and teaching them through the relationship. It needs healing. That won't happen in separate homes. Are they each others greatest instigator? Definitely.

The Nebraska foster care system is in the bottom two in the US and getting worse instead of better. You can find articles every where about kiddos who are "lost" in the system. That is Older Boy and Younger Boy. Not only are they victims of abuse at the hands of adults they continue to be abused by a system that just can't seem to get it right.

Perhaps I am seeing a new career as foster care advocate in my future.

Apologies for the rambling. I wanted to think these things through.

Prayers for wisdom in front of the board tomorrow. Prayers for clear thinking and appropriate words. Prayers for being okay with answering their questions with more questions.
Tonight we had a lot going on so we were going to drive through McDonalds for dinner.

Older Boy asked if he could have caffeine. I I do every time...that he cannot have caffeine, because it makes him agitated and it makes him unable to sleep. He threw a fit.

He banged his head against the car window and the car seat. He banged his head against his knee. He screamed. He cried. He tried to bargain. During this time I decided we would just eat at home. That created a whole new fit. A whole new set of screaming and crying.

The crying continued for over 30 minutes when we got home. He punched the wall in his room. He sat on the kitchen floor and screamed and cried. He was furious that all I kept saying was "I asked you to go to your room until you calm down." He screamed about how I wasn't listening and how much I hate him. He screamed about how much his life sucks. He screamed about how I want him to leave my house.

Really, over a Dr. Pepper?

When he calmed down I asked him about the fit. He was EXTREMELY compliant for the remainder of the evening. He said he didn't know why he got so angry. It was like someone lit a fuse and there was an explosion.

Prayers Older Boy can get his anger in control. He has a long way to go.

Prayers I can continue to remain calm and patient with the outbursts. It isn't ever easy.

Praises Younger Boy didn't also throw a fit when we didn't go to McDonalds.
Today we had family therapy. It was me, Older Boy, and Therapist. Older Boy started out the session very concerned about why Younger Boy doesn't have therapy. We explained that he does have therapy...just like Older Boy does, but that more importantly Older Boy just needs to worry about himself.

I thought we were going to have a break through today. I really did. We were talking about why Older Boy just assumes everyone hates him. We also talked about how sometimes when they are angry people say things they don't mean. I reminded him how when he gets mad he screams that I hate him. I asked him if he thinks I hate him. He said "no". He said he doesn't know why he says it. I reminded him he tells Younger Boy that he wishes they weren't brothers and that he hates him. I reminded him that he says he wishes he were dead and that he hates his life. We started talking about all of these things and then all of a sudden he said "I'm done talking."

Therapist and I asked if he wanted things to get better. He said "that won't ever happen". We explained for it to happen he has to do his part. He has to be part of the solution.

The session went downhill from there. He started talking like a baby and either arguing with everything that was said or giving answers to questions that were blatantly wrong.

We called him on it. He was really anxious for the session to be over. We made him go long for wasting our time with answers he knew was wrong.

Praises for a near break through. We are going to get there.

Prayers for a changed heart and an understanding Older Boy has control over his actions and words.

Prayers for wisdom on how to work with Older Boy and get through to him.
Daycare sent an email this morning saying Older Boy has an unhealthy obsession.

He and Tutor made a comic book last week. Older Boy wrote a story about himself going off to war and leaving a girl behind. He picked Tutor's sister. At the time he wrote the story he had never met her.

He also wrote an "about the author" section. This included his "life story". It is really disjointed and for the most part inaccurate.

Yesterday he met Tutor's sister.

Daycare thinks he is obsessed with her to a point that it is unhealthy. He didn't talk to me much about it last night when he got home, but he did want me to add her on Facebook as my friend so he could talk to her.

He can't have his own Facebook page. Service Coordinator said NO...absolutely not.

I'm going to have to do some questioning tonight. We have family therapy tonight...just me and Older Boy. I think it would be a good time to ask questions and discuss the appropriateness of his "relationship" with Tutor's sister.

Prayers for wisdom in the discussion.
Tutor took both boys today for an all day adventure.

She picked them up at church and took them to an indoor arcade for the afternoon and then to her parent's house for a BBQ and to play on the trampoline. They had a GREAT time. They both LOVE Tutor.

They played with dogs and rabbits. They played at the arcade. They played outside.

They came home exhausted!

Praises for a good day for the boys and a day of rest for me!! Praises for a support system who cares for the boys.
This morning I decided we would go to the late service at church. Might have been a mistake.

We got up relatively early and while I was taking a shower the boys got in a screaming match.

Allegedly Older Boy was hitting Younger Boy with a balloon sword and a cardboard cross. Allegedly Younger Boy said to please stop. Allegedly Older Boy did not stop. Allegedly Younger Boy called him stupid.

Older Boy came to tell me. Younger Boy was screaming "liar, liar".

I asked for both sides from the beginning with no interruption. We didn't get far without interruption.

Both boys ended up in time out. Not without Younger Boy screaming "I am not doing a time out where I have to see his ugly face."

Once the time out was over things were back to "our normal".

Prayers for them learning to handle their own squabbles without screaming and tattling.

Praises the whole thing didn't explode.
Today Coach Z and Friend C were here to help with crafts. When we wrapped up we decided we were going to go to dinner.

Older Boy chose the restaurant. It happened to be a place where there are games in the lobby. I told them they could take their own money, but the most they could spend was two dollars.

Older Boy didn't have any money. Younger Boy spent nine dollars, but SWEARS he spent two dollars. How do I know? Well he had nineteen dollars...all of which he owed me. I told him he had to give me the money that was left...which was ten dollars. I asked him how much he spent. He said two dollars and then began this HUGE story about how someone at daycare stole five dollars out of his wallet...which he doesn't take to daycare. I told him the math doesn't add up, because then he should have twelve dollars left. I told him he needed to be trustworthy and wouldn't be in trouble if he told the truth. I told him I was going to call the other boys mom and talk to her. No remorse...stood his ground.

I don't know what to do with him. When we got home I went in his room and the lock he "sold" was on his nightstand. I asked about it. He said the boy gave it back.

We are going to talk about lying tomorrow. We are going to talk about confessing when you are caught. We are going to talk about what the Bible says about being truthful and trustworthy.

I am going to tell him I know he is lying and that it makes me sad.

Prayers for wisdom during the discussion. Prayers for understanding. Prayers for raising a trustworthy child.
Last night Younger Boy knew where his baseball stuff was. This Older Boy's game was EARLY. Younger Boy couldn't find his stuff. When you can't find something chances are you will NOT find it while sitting on the couch screaming about not being able to find it. Objects don't just jump up and bring themselves to you.

Younger Boy went into the laundry room and was screaming about how he hates me and how he is not going to have any consequences and he doesn't have to listen to me.

In this house you can't go to another room and complain about someone. You have to talk to the person you are mad at.

We talked about how if you are making someone else late the consequence is that you have to wait that many minutes to start something you really want to do. That's fair.

Praises we got to baseball...without consequences...and on time.
We are getting ready for activity centers at boys camp at our house.

Tonight Younger Boy worked on the dog tag craft for camp. He seemed to like it...which is good since he is the target age for camp!

Older Boy watched a movie in the basement while we were working on projects. Both Coach Z and Babysitter N who were helping were amazed that he could do it. They have both been here in the past when he wouldn't. I don't see progress....I'm too close to it.

Younger Boy loved hanging out with us while we worked on projects. He laughed...A LOT. He got teased...A LOT. He seemed to love it!

Praises for progress. Praises for good behavior.
Tonight CTA is supposed to come over and hang out with Older Boy. Will she? Who knows? It is always a wild card. I think she said she would, but that rarely transfers into actual action.

I need to talk to her. I need to explain that we don't need her at random times. We need her at "trouble times"...first thing in the morning...transition times. No one has trouble behaving if we are just hanging out at home. Of course, we can't need to be drinking milk. Then all bets are off.

The jury is still out on whether or not having CTA is more helpful or more of a hassle. Kind of leaning toward hassle.

Prayers she will actually come over and hang out with Older Boy. He knows she is supposed to.
Tonight the boys both had LARGE cheering sections at their baseball games. My friend K and her three kids and Youngest Sister, her husband, and three kids were all there.

Both boys won their games. Younger Boy's game was S L O W moving....crazy slow. Older Boy's games are always much more exciting.

Brother in Law G got hit with a foul ball and almost hit with another. We all just decided it was in our best interest to steer clear of him.

Praises for supportive friends and family. They make our lives SO MUCH better. We are very blessed to have so many people in our lives who want to spend time with us.
I could cry...tears of joy.

This morning when I dropped Older Boy off Teacher S stopped me, because she had to tell me something. Generally speaking this is NEVER a good thing.

She wanted to tell me that yesterday Older Boy had two separate instances of demonstrating high functioning thought. The first two times he has demostrated it there in five months. Both times it was the same type of thought, but it is HIGH FUNCTIONING THOUGHT!! He realized that he and another boy were arguing and they were both partially right. He said "this part is right". Usually he would not take the time or understand that there was something other than all right or all wrong.

Teacher S told me on their original assessments they didn't think he had the capabilities of getting to a place of high functioning thought and they are surprised he has done it so quickly. I have known that, but honestly when they first told me I had no understanding of what it meant.

God is so good. Thank you for your prayers for both boys to become "typical". We still have a long way to go, but with God all things are possible!
Tonight Older Boy called T and told him that he and Younger Boy want him to be their dad...thanks guys!
The boys are now gainfully employed. They are members of the plant care team while J & K are on their cruise. They went over tonight for their training session. They will be paid based on the quality of their work.

It will be good for them to have something they are responsible for. It will also be good for them to understand how working for money works.

Praises for friends who trust us enough to let us take care of their things.
Younger Boy's daycare went bowling today. Younger Boy did not. He and another boy got in a fight and weren't allowed to go. Younger Boy backhanded the other boy in the face.

Daycare Owner witnessed the whole thing and said she was shocked how angry he got and how much he just EXPLODED. I'm sure it was minimal compared to some things I have seen.

I talked to him about it. We had another discussion about how it isn't acceptable to fight at daycare or school. It also isn't acceptable at home.

Both boys had to stay at the daycare while everyone else in the school age room bowled. I'm sure it was not a fun afternoon for him...especially since he forgot his DS today.

Prayers he can get his anger under control. Praises for daycare giving appropriate consequences.
Over the weekend I had a meltdown.

Admittedly I am exhausted and stressed out. My “normal” life is at a frenetic pace. Work which used to be my most stressful part of life is now like a mental break…and it hasn’t changed.

While I was at camp I struggled. Thursday night I cried myself to sleep. Friday morning I blew up at someone…it’s been a long time coming. Friday night my body was stuck in fight or flight mode with a complete adrenaline rush and I couldn’t relax. Saturday night the camp doctor gave me sleeping meds so I could just get some rest.

I now know what it is to be living purely on the strength God gives me. Every step I am taking is solely, because He is giving me the strength.

I’m not writing this to complain…I just want to be real. Never in the past have I admitted I am not a superhero. I am not. I need God's strength, mercy, and grace.
This morning was a blessing...

Older Boy woke up dry. He was THRILLED!

I went in to wake him up (not his strong suit) and he woke up immediately. The first thing he said to me was "Mom...I'm dry."

He is like a different kid today. He has really been struggling with behavior. This was totally stressing him out.

On the way to daycare I explained I will never send him away for wetting the bed, because I know he can't control it. He has PTSD and a kidney disorder. Neither of those are his fault. How can he be blamed?

I reminded him I love him and I don't want him to leave. He cried.

In the words of one of my campers from this past weekend..."You cry, I cry."

Praises for a good morning. Praises for a new sense of peace and confidence for Older Boy.
Today I bought pull-ups for Older Boy. I was a little afraid to talk to him about them, because it truly could go either way.

I told him I wanted to talk and I needed him to listen without getting mad. I asked if he had been wetting the bed. He said he was, but that he didn't know it was happening until the morning when he woke up. I explained we are going to start using the bed-wetting meds again, but it might take a few days for them to start working.

Younger Boy was shopping with me when I bought the pull-ups and I explained that we weren't going to make fun of it and we were going to encourage Older Boy. Younger Boy was awesome during the discussion. He said to Older Boy "they look just like underwear".

Older Boy was so relieved he was almost excited. He got the pull-ups out and thanked me for buying them.

I told him I can't help him if he doesn't tell me things.

Prayers the medications take effect quickly.

Praises for the peace of mind this gave to Older Boy.
This afternoon I had family therapy with Younger Boy.

Therapist asked Younger Boy how things are going at home.

We talked about things he is worried about. He told us Older Boy told him he is going to have to go to "juvey" and that he is really worried. Older Boy is wrong. I explained to Younger Boy that it isn't true. Older Boy is going to have to go to court and talk to Judge. Judge isn't going to be happy, but that doesn't mean he is automatically going to "juvey". That seemed to make Younger Boy relieved.

I asked him if he is worried he is going to have to leave my house. He said that he worries about it when Older Boy is not acting good. He said it makes him have bad behavior. He started to cry. I promised him I would always tell him the truth and that I wanted him to keep living with me.

He seemed to be much happier tonight and much more at ease.

Prayers we can keep our communication open. Prayers he can just be a kid. Prayers that he will understand how very much I love him.
This morning was NOT fun.

Older Boy would not get up. It took 45 minutes to get him out of bed. He lost the privilege of going to baseball practice tonight.

He banged his head on the wall, on the car door, and kicked the car seat. He screamed at me about going to practice.

He screamed about how it isn't his fault that he broke the blinds in his room when he was jumping on his bed. (I didn't even know it happened!)

Daycare is not going to be pretty!

Prayers for daycare. They are amazing and I certainly doing thank God for them nearly enough.
I came home from camp today....EXHAUSTED.

The boys waited up for me. Right when I came up the stairs Older Boy ran to me to tell me he loved me. Younger Boy also gave me a hug and siad he loved me. It is good to be home.

T had a good weekend with the boys. They had a pillow fight, went to baseball, went swimming, went to church, and had a great time. The boys love him.

T told me Older Boy has been wetting the bed at night. He even got him up during the night Saturday night to try to help him. I brings a tear to my eye that he would do that for Older Boy. Older Boy hasn't told me he is wetting the bed. I wonder if he doesn't want me to know because he has been sent away for this before.

Praises for T. He is an amazing man and an amazing friend.
I am leaving for camp today.

I dropped Younger Boy off at daycare and went in with him. Usually he does the passcode to let himself in, but I wanted to tell him goodbye and remind him T would be picking him up at the end of the day. He cried and told me he would miss me. Broke my heart.

I took Older Boy to daycare. As we were walking in I was reminding Older Boy that I was going to be going to camp that evening and T would be picking him up. He turned around and looked at me and said "What? No one told me."

Are you kidding me? I have been telling him every day for the last month for the sole purpose of this not happening. Why did he think T came over on Tuesday?

Prayers the boys have a good weekend with T and that the weekend goes smoothly for him.
Tonight we had a massive cleaning session at our house.

We learned a cleaning game from Mentor M. I assign each boy a task and as soon as they are done they come back and "report for duty". It makes it kind of a game and keeps them engaged. I have to tell them every single task one at a time anyway so why not have it be kind of fun?

They got all of their laundry put away and all of their baseball and swimming gear bagged up for the weekend. They also got their room cleaned up and also their bathroom.

It was a productive night. It made me feel better about leaving them for the weekend and turning my house over to T.
Tonight T came over to learn what he needed to know to take care of the boys all weekend.

We made dinner and went through our normal routine. The boys helped make dinner and clean up the house. They really like T. He is good with them.

We put the boys to bed and talked about the routine. Who you would call in certain circumstances and why? It is kind of a confusing mess.

We talked about how I am doing. It meant a lot to me. He encourages me. I am thankful for his friendship and thankful for his willingness to stay with the boys this upcoming weekend.
We had a family team meeting today. I was not looking forward to it. The boys' placement specialist from the heart gallery was supposed to be there. She wanted to understand their behaviors so she can recruit an "appropriate" adoptive family for them. I think it is unfair to me. I feel like it is pressure for me to make a decision about permanency. They are a "focus group" because they have been in the system for so long. From what I understand there will be a "push" to find them permanency between now and the end of the year.

It is too soon to know if I plan to keep them permanently. It is too soon to even be thinking about it. It is too soon to know if they even want to stay with me.

Please pray I will be able to take the time I need to figure this out. Pray there will be a clear answer from God what I am supposed to do and that I will listen and follow His will.
Today just feels like a Monday.

We had a hard time getting up...all three of us.

Older Boy had a bad day at daycare. He has started playing with dolls during his free time there. Inappropriately playing with dolls. They are just going to observe it for the next few days and see if the behaviors go away. That will give them a better idea of the best approach for dealing with it.

Younger Boy was fighting at daycare. Really?

Prayers we can figure out behaviors.
We are home from our holiday weekend.

Although it was really good to go to see Grandma and Grandpa it is always nice to sleep in your own bed again.

This evening we have just relaxed and worked on getting ourselves ready for excitement. A rarity for us.
Great Grandma turns 90 in November. She has invited everyone, including the boys, to her birthday party.

She started telling us about a letter we are going to get at the party. Apparently it is her last wishes to be buried within 24 hours of her death and have no memorial service. She doesn’t want anyone “wasting money on gas” to see her off.

Older Boy said “I don’t want you to talk about dying. We just met.” Great Grandma said, “When the good Lord is ready for me to make my journey I’m going to have to go. In fact we’re all going to go some day.”
Older Boy decided that we will have to go see her at her house before this happens.
Great Grandma taught the boys to play chicken foot. She plays every night with her sisters. The boys loved it. No one got mad. They laughed a lot. They had fun. Great Grandma tried to cheat and they caught her.

Praises for family. Praises for my grandma embracing the boys.
Today we had lunch with extended family. The boys got to meet Great Aunt A, Great Aunt D, Great Uncle D, and Great Uncle B. They also got to meet Great Grandma.

We had a great lunch and the boys enjoyed getting to know everyone….especially Great Grandma and the uncles.

The uncles hung out with them while they were lighting fireworks and helped them get the fireworks ready for lighting. They also talked to them about baseball and watched them practice pitching and catching.
They decided they would like to go visit everyone at their respective homes. In fact they invited themselves to everyone’s house and also invited everyone to celebrate Christmas with them.

I am thankful they enjoyed meeting everyone and that my extended family was able to meet them. Some of my relatives drove over 100 miles just to have lunch with the boys.
Younger Boy learned to play bananagrams today. I LOVE bananagrams. Older Boy HATES bananagrams!

We played with just the two of us. We played with Grandma. We played with Grandma and Great Aunt A. We played with Grandma and Grandpa.

He wanted to play nearly every waking minute. We are going to have to have a bananagrams party!

I don’t think I will tell Younger Boy that playing bananagrams is going to help him with his vocabulary and his spelling.
I hate fireworks. I think you should just start your money on fire. It is basically the same difference in my eyes.

I did give in and let the boys buy $8.00 each worth of fireworks. Why $8.00? Not sure.

We bought 20 smoke bombs, 3 rockets, 6 ground flowers, 36 snakes, and 200 black cats.

My hatred of fireworks did not change.
This afternoon we were going to do a good deed. Great Aunt A has a nest of snakes in her yard. They are not poisonous snakes, but she has seen multiple snakes at the same time on more than one occasion. She is deathly afraid of them. She said every time she sees them she nearly has a heart attack…literally.

The boys decided they could help her. They would catch the snakes and take them somewhere (unclear to me) and release them so she wouldn’t be scared anymore.

They went in her backyard armed with a plastic bag and a spade. They searched for snakes and snake holes.

I thought I would die laughing when Great Aunt A’s dog ran up behind Older Boy. He jumped about a mile high.

They found a hole which turned out to be a sprinkler head…luckily they didn’t dig it up.

No snakes…more searching tomorrow.
This morning we went with Grandma to the local farmer’s market. We walked since it was only a block from their house.

There were a few vegetables on display. The boys wanted to buy everything there that wasn’t a vegetable. Not sure what they thought we needed an apron with ruffles and pockets for. They were also really interested in a chair for toddlers…with Husker fabric on it. Really? Am I teaching them nothing? Also…last I checked there were NO toddlers in our home. Maybe we should get one though.

We did all (except Grandma) try goat burgers. I had the bratwurst flavored one and the boys each had Italian. We all thought they were great…however, not good enough to buy more!

The boys have decided we should go to a farmer’s market here….hmm…we’ll see.
We drove four and a half hours to Grandma and Grandpa's house tonight.

The boys did well. Both boys slept for the first two hours of the trip. It was peaceful.

The rest of the way here Older Boy insisted in being in Younger Boy's personal space. He ended up having a time out in the car.

We arrived late and the boys went pretty much right to bed.
Older Boy is having inappropriate behaviors at daycare. Every day this week so far.

Daycare is at a loss. He hasn't exhibited this behavior there before. They are going to try a few thing in the next couple of weeks to see if that changes things and then will decide the best way to address the behavior from there.

I asked Younger Boy if he is having inappropriate behavior when babysitters are at our house or in their room when I am not there and he said sometimes. The fact that I didn't have to explain what I was talking about made me know that he is.

I talked to Therapist and she has seen it too.

Prayers we can get these behaviors to stop.