There has been a lot of talk in our house recently about honor rolls. It is partially because Middle Boy made the honor roll at his school and it is partially because Younger Sister made the honor roll at her school.

Younger Boy came home today and announced "no one is on the honor roll at my school". Allegedly they have an honor roll, but no one gets good enough grades. He doesn't even understand the absurdity of this lie.

He recently realized that you can only get 16 "slashes" in a quarter and still go to the quarter party. He REALLY wants to go this quarter. We are four weeks in and he has 15 slashes. There are five weeks to go.

Pray for Younger Boy and his academics.
Tonight we had examples of what I am talking about when I mean the boys are being disrespectful.

This time though they were more open to that feedback and I tried to stop the behaviors BEFORE I was so irritated that I was over the edge.

It worked a little bit. It was still WAY TOO LATE when both boys went to bed and they were WAY TOO LOUD while I was trying to sleep.

We'll get there though.

Pray we can come to an understanding!
Tonight I ended up taking Younger Boy with us to Middle Boy's therapy. It wouldn't have been my first choice, but it was a good opportunity for the two of us to sit and talk.

Our talk wasn't anything like that of the talk between Middle Boy and me, but it was good.

I think Younger Boy really does want to be good and try, but he is just so accustomed to always being "bad" he doesn't know how to behave when things are going well for him. He is his own form of chaos.

There hasn't been a lot of accountability for him in his life. I am providing that and it is uncomfortable.

He wants to start trying, but he struggles with implementation.

Pray for Younger Boy to start understanding his self-worth.
I love Middle Boy's new therapist, Therapist L.

She has a master's in theology in addition to being a therapist. She uses Biblical principles in her therapy if the patient allows it. In Middle Boy's case I have the say in that, because I am the pre-adoptive parent. I say yes.

The therapy program is based on your level of participation. It is written to be a four to six month program, but there are kids who have been in it for two years. There is associated homework. You do individual and group therapy. You don't get introduced to the group until you are starting to be accountable for your own actions.

Therapist L interviewed Middle Boy. She called me in to fill in the blanks afterward. She said he is not taking any accountability for his actions at this time and left HUGE gaps in his story about why he is there and his history.

I need to send her all of the information I have.

Middle Boy asked how long I think he will be in the program. Honestly, I don't know. I suspect it will be longer than six months. He doesn't do well with being accountable for anything. I can't think of many times when he has been able to relate his behavior and take accountability for the outcome. I hope it isn't two years.

Pray Middle Boy takes this therapy to heart and actual applies it and doesn't simply "go through the motions".
I took an hour of vacation time this afternoon so Middle Boy and I could have a heart to heart.

We talked about what family looks like. We talked about each of our thoughts on the ideal family. We talked about expectations. We talked about needing to meet halfway. We talked about the way we talk to each other. We talked about our fears. We talked about how we know each other so well yet have such a hard time communicating. We talked about how our methods of dealing with the tough stuff are similar, but not helpful.

It was a good conversation. It gave me peace about everything that has been going on at home.

Praises for the ability to just talk.
As I think about our weeklong break I am apprehensive and optimistic all at the same time.

I am scared that we will take a week long break and come back and nothing will be different. I am also scared that the boys will decide that they do not want to live in my home.

My hope is this break will take us to a place where we can be a family who enjoys each other again. Where every interaction isn't ugly.

I truly feel that God put these boys in my life for a reason. I still want the three of us to be a forever family. More than anything I have ever wanted in my life.

As I sit here I am wondering if I am 99% of the problem right now. I have NEVER in my life had a relationship where I didn't get scared and push the other person away. Scared of the other person leaving so ultimately I made that happen. Maybe it is trust....I don't know.

Pray I can be at peace with God's plan for these relationships, because all things work together for His purpose.
I have decided to have the boys be gone for the week. We all need a break.

I feel horrible about the scheduling nightmare I am handing over to Mentor R and J.

The boys need a break. I need a break.

Praises for people God puts in our lives who can help us out when we are in need.
Mentor R and his wife offered to take both boys for one week to give us all a break from each other.

Honestly I don't know what to do.

Pray for wisdom for me.
The outcome of the lecture was that Younger Boy kept it together until 5pm and Middle Boy until 8pm.

The consequence now is that if you are not respectful you can stay in your room, because I only want respectful, caring, loving people as part of my family. If you are choosing not to be a member of the family that day through your words and actions you can hang out in your room by yourself.

Younger Boy "f-ing" hates the rules at my house. They are "stupid". He also plans to run away, because living with me sucks.

Middle Boy decided that the only reason he is disrespectful is because it is my fault. Not even sure how. Not even sure I care anymore.

Bedtime for Younger Boy was 9pm...actual time 11:200pm. Bedtime for Middle Boy was 10pm...actual time 10:50pm.

I can't continue to live the way I am

Mentor R and his wife have volunteered to take both boys for ONE WEEK where I won't have contact so I can decide how to move forward.

It is a kind gesture, but the logistics are super complicated with Middle Boy's probation.

Pray for me. Pray for all of us.
This morning the boys informed me they don't need a parent.

So...they are on their own. I dropped them off at church with $10 each and told them to get something for lunch and call me if they needed a ride somewhere and I would see what I was doing.

They immediately went to Mentor R and my friend, K, to see what they should do.

Mentor R gave them a LONG lecture on respectfulness. Both boys cried.

This goes much deeper than all of the nonsense that has occurred in the past couple of days. This goes to the point where I no longer enjoy being in my own home.

I am questioning everything about this journey and whether or not I even want to do it anymore.

Pray for wisdom as I decide what my life should look like going forward from here.
Tonight the boys wanted to watch a movie. Our cleaning lady wasn't here this week so we also needed to do laundry. I said that they could watch a movie if they helped with laundry while they were watching and made sure there were in bed no later than 11pm.

I helped with three loads of laundry, but I am still exhausted all of the time so I went to bed at 10:30pm again reminding them of the 11pm bedtime.

I was awakened at 11:40pm by loud noise and wrestling. I went in the boys room and told them to go to bed "right now". They said they were "putting away laundry and getting their clothes out for church".

At 1:20am they came in to tell me good night.

I am SO TIRED of the complete disregard for anything I say.

I need prayers for what to do. I don't think I am cut out to be a parent. I am tired all of the time. I'm angry all of the time. I hate how I have become.
I want to buy a new home. A bigger home. Our home is crowded. It is two bedroom and the boys need their own rooms.

We didn't have much going on today so we went to look at model homes.

Both boys did pretty well all things considered. I did a lot of pre-teaching prior to going in and offered a bribe of eating at their favorite restaurant if we could just get through the homes peacefully.

We toured six homes. I found one I would love to build. It is the same one I have wanted to build for over a year.

As we were driving home we were talking about what it would take to sell our house. How each day when we left it would have to be SPOTLESS. How when things happen they would have to tell me IMMEDIATELY so they could be repaired. Right now NO ONE would want to buy our home unless they were looking for a fixer upper.

Here's our list of TO DO before the house can go on the market...

1. Clean the boys bedroom wall where there was pooped smeared on it and repaint.
2. Figure out how to get trumpet oil, which is blue, out of the boys bedroom carpet.
3. Figure out how to get red ink our of the solid surface bathroom sink. We already know four things that DO NOT work.
4. Patch hole in bathroom wall where the door knob went into the wall after the stopper was removed and thrown away.
5. Patch hole in hallway wall where someone punched it.
6. Replace two doors where holes were kicked in them.
7. Replace two stairway spindles where they were kicked out and wielded as swords.
8. Remove carpet and repair subfloor where it was broken from someone jumping in anger.
9. Replace the living room carpet where strawberry syrup spilled in the middle of the night and the chair was moved over it.
10. Replace the basement carpet where grape juice was spilled in the middle of the night and a throw rug was put over it.
11. Clean the kitchen counter where grape juice permeated the kitchen counter from the same middle of the night eating binge.
12. Fix the blinds in the boys room where they were kicked and broken.
13. Fix the sliding glass door blinds where they were pulled down "on accident" during a wrestling match.
14. Remove the BBQ sauce that squirted all over the kitchen idea when or how.

We have our work cut out for us. I am ready to move, but we have to change out ways!!
Today I NEEDED a haircut. It had gone so far past wanting that I was nearly unable to see, because the front of my hair was so unruly.

We did another try with Babysitter J.

Both boys apologized to her for their last go around immediately when she walked in the door.

They were given strict instructions by me that they were to treat her better than they had ever treated another adult in their life or their would be consequences.

I actually felt pretty good about being able to leave.

Then I came home. While they did do "better" than the last time there was some disrespect that seems so absurd. Babysitter J needed to use the restroom. She went in and locked the door. Immediately both boys were outside the door banging on pots and pans screaming for her to come out.

I asked why that happened and what their "emergency" was. Middle Boy told me it was because Younger Boy needed to use the restroom. We have two and nothing has EVER stopped either boy from using the one in my room.

Babysitter J still hasn't quit, but GOOD GRIEF. I would have. It must be because I pay well!!

Prayers that both boys can understand that disrespect isn't cute or funny.
Today we got a letter in the mail that Middle Boy has made the honor roll at his middle school. He was surprised and excited.

As a result he gets to go to an academic achievement night at his school. I'm sure when the time comes he will not want to go, because it will be too embarrassing.

It might be the encouragement he needs in school. Middle Boy is smart, but TOTALLY lacks confidence in his abilities.

Praises for awesome surprises.
Over the last hour I have received multiple calls concerning T. In typical "lack of urgency" fashion his worker didn't look for placement until yesterday and today is the end of his two weeks at his current home.

I have also learned more of his behavioral concerns and his needs.

With another family...C and M...I have agreed to transition T to his new placement over the next week. I will work with C and M, from my foster care class, to figure out a schedule where T can be with people he knows while he transitions to his new home so it isn't traumatic for him. He will do visits with the new family, yet to be determined, while basically just sleeping at one of our homes. This is to ease the trauma he is put through in the transition.

The other option the worker had was to either send him to an emergency shelter, but they don't currently have a bed for him. This means he would be going to a psychiatric hospital because they do have a bed for him right now. He doesn't need to be there, but they have a bed.

This system is so broken. Both of my kids have been in this very situation. We want to be a part of his solution. He will not be moving in with us on a permanent basis. We need to just "be" for a while.

Continue to pray for T. Continue to pray for God's will to be done in his situation and that a family would come forward to help him in this transitional time.
This is the part of foster care I loathe. Completely loathe.

I know that T's foster parents put in their two-week notice 10 days ago. In the interim he has been staying with another emergency respite family who I know from my foster parent classes.

Yesterday I got a call from his agency. I haven't returned the call, because I am 99% sure they want us to take placement of T. The boys and I have talked about it at length. They have both been "that kid" they couldn't find placement for. They both like T. Honestly, they are both all for him moving in. Both of them for very different reasons.

Here are my concerns:

1. This is a third child in my care. A seven year old who would is less self-sufficient than the two I already have.
2. I can BARELY make it to pick both boys up by 6pm now. If we had to add a third stop before or after school it would be impossible.
3. Our schedule is busy now. I'm not sure we could add more services and meetings since this would be a third meeting of all kinds.
4. What are his behaviors? I've never seen much of anything, but we have only kept him overnight three times.
5. Our house is small.

Here is where I get confused:

1. I don't want him to have to go to a shelter. I know that is what happens for kids they can't find placement for.
2. He gets along with both boys and Younger Boy behaves significantly better when T is here. I understand the whole honeymoon thing.
3. There has to be a reason the current family is putting in their two week notice. I need to understand what that is.
4. My heart breaks for these kids. I feel called to have them in my life and through much prayer I feel like T is supposed to be with us.
5. I don't want people to think I am INSANE.

Pray for God's will to be done with the placement of T. If it is my home, pray that things will fall into place. Pray for T.
Tonight we had a family team meeting. Things have been out of balance at our house. I wanted to talk about it.

We talked about the responsibilities of being part of a family. We talked about how it doesn't make you entitled to anything, but it makes you responsible for doing your part.

We talked about how having a cleaning lady doesn't mean that you don't have to pick up after yourself and throw away your own trash.

I explained to the boys that their disrespectfulness is out of control. I asked them what they would do if they were Babysitter J. Would they come back? Both said no. I explained that we needed to have Babysitter J and Babysitter M. We are down to two. They are friends. They talk to each other. I explained that my expectation is that they would treat them with more respect than they would treat me.

We also talked about how right now we don't do much as a family even though we are together nearly every minute in the evenings.

We also talked about how the number of appointments the boys have in the evening are what drives our schedule. I don't see this changing anytime soon so when I look ahead and ask you to do something that you deem to be early it is because I am thinking about the "big picture". The boys don't really get that concept.

Both boys talked about how their days are stressful and even though they don't want to they take that stress out on me. Both boys were crying while they were talking about the stressfulness of their days. I explained that I, too, have a lot of stress. My job is stressful.

It was a good discussion. Probably should have happened a LONG time ago. I'm glad it did now.

Prayers for changes made as a result of the discussion. By everyone.
Last night was a LONG night. Very long.

Both boys were having nightmares and we were up the majority of the night.

Everyone went to bed on time and about 90 minutes later I woke up to Younger Boy screaming and crying. I went in to check on him and he was still sleeping, but screaming. I woke him so that he would get some restful sleep and we prayed for good dreams.

About an hour later Middle Boy was screaming "you have to stop" in his sleep. I went in their room to find him literally fighting his blankets and thrashing all around, but asleep. I sat on the floor of their room and prayed for both boys.

Shortly after that Younger Boy knocked on my door to tell me that he was having another nightmare and this time he couldn't save his brothers from their dad. Again, we prayed. He didn't want to go back to bed, so we set up an area on my floor where he could sleep.

Around 3:30am Middle Boy knocked on the door. He, too, was having another nightmare and didn't want to be alone in their room. So...other side of my bed...another campground.

It was rough waking up this morning. I am thankful the boys don't usually wake each other during their nightmares.

Prayers for peaceful, restful sleep...for all of us.
Younger Boy came to me this morning in tears. He has wet the bed for three nights in a row. I initially thought perhaps it was a puberty thing, but it is in fact urine.

He told me he has been thinking about things that happened to him at his last foster home. He has been talking to Middle Boy about it and wanted to tell me, too. Middle Boy had talked to me about it over the weekend, because he is worried about Younger Boy.

Younger Boy was afraid to tell me about the bedwetting, because he didn't want to get kicked out of my house. He believes (and I have no idea) that he and Older Boy had to leave a previous foster home due to Older Boy's bedwetting. He cried and cried. I told him he will NEVER have to leave here for something like that. He just needs to tell me so we can get his bed cleaned up so he has a clean place to sleep. I explained that it isn't a big deal, but that I wanted to try to get him help. He wants to wear pull-ups. I told him we can get some tonight.

Middle Boy is very understanding of these things so I am not worried about that.

Prayer for healing for Younger Boy. This really started around the time of the discussion with Older Sister.
Tonight I had my women's lifegroup. I have missed it VERY MUCH. I was really looking forward to the evening away and since the boys had done so well with the sitters on Friday night I had high expectations.

My lifegroup was amazing. The report when I got home wasn't.

Babysitter J was pretty open about the lack of respect she was shown. In my mind there is NO REASON anyone should call her a name other than J. They should also not use profanity or purposefully disregard anything she says.

As a reult there will be no use of electronics in our home this week by anyone other than me.

Babysitter J will be there again on Saturday to give it another go. I can't help but wonder when she is going to say "this isn't worth it".

Pray the boys can realize the disrespectfulness to adults has GOT TO STOP.
Tonight Younger Boy had homework to do. He wanted help, but instead of asking nicely he screamed "Help me now."

I sat down and told him I would be happy to help him if he could ask in a respectful manner. He couldn't. He just sat there with clenched fists and jaw. After about five minutes he again screamed "Help me."

I was still sitting there. I gave the same explanation. That I was more than happy to help, but he had to ask nicely and say please.

This went on for THIRTY minutes until he finally decided to ask me nicely.

We worked through the four math problems in ten minutes. So...45 minutes later we were done with homework.

Prayers for wisdom for me when it relates to homework.
I'm reaching my breaking point with Younger Boy.

After telling me repeatedly this weekend he had no homework some "magically" appeared. He also claimed to Mentor R all weekend that there was none. So as a result he was up working on homework past bedtime.

This morning he was tired and grouchy and didn't want to get ready. He was angry for a reason I don't even remember and threw his body back against the backseat of the car. The seat no longer will sit upright....or at least it appears to need repair in order to sit upright again.

I am just so frustrated with Younger Boy. After he threw himself against the seat he told me it is my fault, because I hate him. I do not hate him. I love him. I hate his behaviors. That's different.

I am nearing my breaking point though. Something has to change.

Pray for Younger Boy and his behavior.
Middle Boy and Younger Boy made a list of weekly and daily responsibilities for themselves. I had some input, but for the most part I let them handle it.

It includes things like brushing your teeth and showering. It also includes homework.

Allowance will be tied to performance on the daily responsibilities.

Tomorrow will be the first day.

Prayers that this will work and be a motivational tool for both boys.
One hour as a family at church. Is that too much to ask?

Every week one of the boys has to leave the service to use the restroom and inevitably does not come back, because they "sit at the back of the room".

It is frustrating to me. Apparently it is too much to ask to have an 11 year old and a 14 year old go for one hour of sitting next to me.

Prayers that we can work this out.
Younger Boy went to respite with Mentor R. He will be gone through tomorrow afternoon some time.

Middle Boy and I ran errands and also went to buy him some new clothes. He lost quite a bit of weight at the juvenile center so none of his clothes fit very well. We got a pretty good deal on his clothes. He is pretty easy to shop for considering he wants only sweats and jeans.

We spent the rest of the day at home since he only had a couple of hours out of the house due to probation.

He taught me to play football on the XBOX and we made some cookies.

All in all it was a good day.
Tonight I had tickets to a musical so Babysitter J and Babysitter M were at home with the boys.

They brought a REALLY COOL project to work on with the boys. They melted crayons onto a canvas with a hairdryer. It turned out really cool. Interestingly Younger Boy's turned out the best of all of them.

Middle Boy didn't seem too interested in working on it, but finally relented and made one.

They had pizza and played with Sophie. I think everyone had a good time.

Praises for amazing caretakers for the boys.
Tonight we helped with child care at my agency.

Middle Boy did an awesome job just entertaining a four-year old boy for the entire time. Honestly the boy was a complete handful and Middle Boy just played with him and kept him entertained. He seemed to have a really good time doing it as well. They played catch and built a fort. This four-year old didn't play well with the other kids so it was a blessing.

Younger Boy...a different story. He was annoyed with a six-year old girl who "wanted her chair too close to him". They were play fighting and then he got out of hand and slapped her in the face. He was SHOCKED that he got a timeout. Thought it was completely unfair. He then became part of the group receiving child care instead of helping.

The whole evening reminded me why I am NOT the foster parent of toddlers. There were 26 kids there. Almost all of them were under the age of 6. It was fun, but exhausting.

Prayers for all the kiddos and their foster families.
These days there is a common theme in my life coming from nearly everywhere I turn. That theme is this...when do you have time or take time for yourself?

Foster Care Specialist's only comment on my foster care evaluation was that I don't use enough respite.

Friends keep telling me that I don't get enough me time.

A friend pointed out today that her observation is that there are very few places where I don't have to be constantly "on".

I'll admit it. I don't take much time for me. Virtually none. I feel guilty asking for respite help, because I signed up for this...not my friends and family. I feel guilty, because I don't want the boys to think I don't love them or want to spend time with them. It is a pain to find new sitters for just a couple of hours away from home. The two I use are amazing, but they have lives, too. Everyone who comes in contact with the boys has to be background checked and that's a hassle. I guess I just feel like alone time for me isn't worth all the work it creates for me and so many other people.

I have to tip my hat to single parents. What they do day in and day out is nothing short of amazing.

I'm going to pray about this topic. It is such a recurring theme that I think a message is there, but I have to come to terms with it.

Pray for me, too.
I am actually sitting here crying tears of frustration.

There are four people I have come to appreciate and respect on this journey in the literally nearly HUNDRED people that are a part of these two cases. Four people who I feel like I can count on and actually build a relationship with.

Foster Care Specialist
Therapist A
Service Coordinator A
Therapist J

Late last week I found out that Service Coordinator A, Middle Boy's worker, had accepted another job. One down.

Today I found out that because of the type of therapy Middle Boy needs to fulfill his court requirements he can no longer meet with Therapist A. This means that we will no longer have family therapy with her. Two down.

Just now I found out that Foster Care Specialist has accepted another job in her agency and won't be working with us anymore. This one sucks the most. She has made me laugh when I feel like crying and brought me back to reality when my expectations didn't match what the system was capable of. She has been my biggest cheerleader and most importantly my friend.

As I sit here and write this I now know EXACTLY how kids in the system feel. I get why they don't bother to build relationships. As I sit here right now I wonder if I will feel like making the effort anymore. Honestly I don't have the energy anymore.

I don't like this...not one bit. What is next God?
Tonight I paused to reflect on this journey I have been on for the past year. Some of the reflection was caused by a question I answered on the returning staff application for camp..."Please share with us an area of spiritual growth or something God has been teaching you during the last year."

By no means is this list all-inclusive...but some things that come to mind.

1. A Parent's Love for a Child. I did not give birth to these boys, but I love them. I will fight for them, protect them, and love them. Everyone always says it is something you can't explain. I agree. It also gives me an understanding of God's love for us. Wow...He gave HIS SON for us. While I have a greater glimpse how much HE loves still blows me away.

2. Unconditional Love. In many ways this goes hand in hand with a parent's love for a child. I can't think of how many times this year I have said to one of the boys "When you do something that disappoints me it doesn't make me love you less and when you do something I really like it doesn't make me love you more." I love them unconditionally. Sure I have been disappointed and I have been proud, but my love for these boys hasn't changed. They have broken my heart and they have made my heart very full. example of how God feels about us.

3. I am not in control. I really truly thought there were some things that were within my control before this past year. Now I know that my actions may have an influence on outcomes, but ultimately I am nowhere near in control. Thankfully God is in control and He knows the big picture. Me...with my limited perspective...would have made a HUGE mess of very many things this year.

4. I need help. All kinds of help. I can not do this alone. I do not have the strength, wisdom, or actually enough of anything to do this alone. It is because of God that I can do this. He chooses the people he places in my life for this journey to help me along the way and He and His plan are the help that I need.

5. God provides what we need when we need it. I have so many examples of this over the past year. He has provided people, services, and even a shoulder to cry on all when I needed them the most. There have absolutely been times this year when I disagreed with God's timing, but ultimately He knows the best timing and I have seen that over and over again.

6. Sometimes God's plan doesn't make an earthly way. many lessons were learned in areas where things just didn't make sense to me. Why did Middle Boy have to go to the juvenile center? Why wasn't Older Boy able to get the help he needed when he lived at my home? Why does Younger Boy struggle with so many things? Why when things seem to be going well does there always seem to be yet another thing? Some things I will never understand this side of heaven, I just have to trust that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord.

7. All people are broken. I truly believed before that there were some people out there who had everything together. What I have come to realize is that those people...all people...are broken and need a savior.

8. Trusting God provides peace. I think back at my life over the years and how much energy I spent worrying...about everything. Throughout this year I have truly seen how learning to trust God has changed my perspective on this. Old me would have been even more of a mess during some of the things that went on in my home and with my boys this year. Growing me really believed that everything would work some way. Maybe not the way I wanted, but in the way God intended. That gave me peace.

9. I have a lot of ugliness inside my heart. This is one of the newer lessons I am learning. This is one of the harder lessons I am learning. I need to ask God to help heal this ugliness and help me to react less and love more.

10. I want to be a better follower of HIM and teach my kids to follow HIM. If I don't teach these boys anything else in life I want them to know...really know...about the gospel and how much God loves them.

11. I NEED to fill my own spiritual and emotional bucket with HIM. I was in a LifeGroup for part of the year and a study for part of the year. When things got really hectic at my house I stopped going. I realize now that this was the EXACT OPPOSITE of what I should have done. I should have made meeting with other believers who could and would lift me in prayer and keep me accountable through the tough times would have made the journey have a different perspective. Now I know.

12. This is EXACTLY where God wants me to be. I can see nearly EVERYTHING that has happened in my life in the last four or five years pointing to exactly where I am here and now...with exactly these boys. I hope that I can continue to recognize and FOLLOW where God wants me to be.
Life at my house is uncomfortable for me. I am learning and growing from it nearly every day.

There are so many things I am learning, but the one that I think makes me the MOST uncomfortable is talking through emotions.

I didn't grow up in a house where people talked about feelings. People didn't really show anger or frustration. Everything was just really neutral...or at least that is my perception. At this point in life I don't know if I view it as good or bad, it just is what is was.

Life at my house is NOTHING like that. So for really the first time in my own life I am having to navigate all of these things while trying to model the appropriate way to deal with them to kiddos who have not had the appropriate modeling in the past. I'm struggling. I am trying to give myself a break, but this is where I feel I am failing. I interact in ugly ways. I match ugly with ugly. To date I am not sure I started the ugliness, but I probably have.

I always apologize for ugly words that come out of my mouth. Usually it is words spoken in frustration and almost always when I feel threatened. That doesn't justify it.

Pray for me to be able to interact with the boys in a healthy way. For me to be able to model interactions including frustration and disappointment without being ugly. I still want to be real, but I want to model the way our Heavenly Father treats us...and I am currently so VERY FAR from it.
Tonight at bedtime Middle Boy was still texting. I told him I was going to take Sophie upstairs and then come back down and tuck him in. I told him that he needed to stop texting before I came back downstairs.

When I came back down he was still texting. I told him he was done. He asked if he could text good night. I said no and that I would take his phone and charge it. He covered his head with his blanket and wouldn't acknowledge anything I said.

I told him I loved him and started to go upstairs.

He told me he didn't understand why I was mad. First of all...I'm not mad. I'm parenting. I asked him to stop texting. He didn't so I asked him to give me his phone.

He said I didn't tell him to stop texting before I went upstairs. He said I didn't say anything. I told him that I did. He said, "That is your perception. Let me tell you what really happened." Seriously? I am NOT going to engage in this.

Middle Boy won't be texting at all today, because I am the parent and my reality trumps his reality.
Younger Boy had therapy tonight. He was really emotional during the entire session.

Therapist J and I had a long talk after the session. He said Younger Boy isn't making any connection between his behaviors and the way that people treat him. He doesn't understand why when he bullies a 5 year old girl at daycare that she doesn't like him. His feelings are crushed that she doesn't like him.

He doesn't understand why when his behaviors are less than ideal he gets consequences and is treated differently. His perception is that obviously the person giving him a consequence hates him, because it has nothing to do with his behavior in his mind.

Coupled with this right now is how emotionally fragile Younger Boy seems to be. He can't shake his perception that everyone either hates him or is disappointed in him and in his mind these are the same. Therapist J said he talked about every area of life...daycare, church, Mentor R, me, school, even Therapist J.

He isn't making the connection. Therapist J said they are going to focus on that for the next few weeks until he is starting to understand. There isn't much else they can work on if he can't make this connection first.

Prayers that he will understand that his behavior and the way people treat him are related.
This morning T and Middle Boy got up in great moods. T was laughing and playing and is honestly a joy to be around in the mornings.

Middle Boy wasn't quite that happy, but he got ready and didn't screw around.

Younger Boy was a whole different story. He didn't want to put his shoes on when it was time to go. Wasn't going to do it. Threw his shoes across the room, hit the wall, and tried to break a living room chair.

As a result Middle Boy was late for school.

Younger Boy said it was because I was treating Middle Boy and T like they were angels this morning and that I was treating him like "crap". I asked him if he thought his behaviors were any different than the other two. He said "no". I asked if anyone else threw their shoes across the room, punching the wall or tried to break the chair. He didn't answer.

Again I asked him why this was happening and this time it was because he hates daycare.

Honestly I am nearing my wits end with him. I am doubting if I can handle his behaviors for the long term.

I need prayers for wisdom.
Tonight Younger Boy told Service Coordinator and Mentor R that the reason his behaviors are so bad is that he wants to see Older Boy.

The reason I say this is alleged is because every time I have mentioned calling or visiting Older Boy he doesn't want to. Even when I am already talking to Mom J.

Granted this is the first time that he has ever been without at least one of his siblings and it has to be hard that they are all together.

I agreed to sibling visitations twice per month, but all of them are going to need to be at the home of Mom and Dad J due to the medical conditions of Middle Brother.

I am concerned about two things. One...the amount of time these visits are going to take. About 12 hours a month for us if you include driving time since it is over 100 miles round trip and two...this isn't the cause of the behaviors.

Prayers for visitations.
It wasn't chaos in a bad sort of way...just a this is insanity sort of way!!

Here is how tonight went...

I picked up both boys from their after school programs and went home.

Mentor L was waiting for us to take Middle Boy out for dinner. Younger Boy and I went to dinner at a restaurant Middle Boy HATES. Then Younger Boy and I went home.

Middle Boy and Mentor L arrived back at our house.

Foster Care Specialist arrived for her monthly visit with both boys. She has to see them twice a month. While she was talking to the boys T's family called to see if we could do emergency respite for him. We weren't going anywhere so I said we could.

Mentor R arrived to hang out with Younger Boy and help him clean his room. I told him he should have brought haz-mat gear with him. He gave both boys a stern talking to about respecting me and my home. I am thankful for that.

Probation Officer arrived to meet Middle Boy and go over the rules of communication with us.

T and his foster parents arrived. Foster Care Specialist talked to them for a while since she is their specialist as well.

Service Coordinator arrived to have her monthly meeting with Younger Boy.

T's foster parents left. Probation Officer left. Mentor L and Foster Care Specialist left.

Mentor R kept working in the room and got to hang out a little bit with T.

Mentor R left.

Service Coordinator left.

All of this occurred between 7pm and 8:20pm. C R A Z Y!!
The outcome of Middle Boy's trial was GREAT. It was the best thing we could have expected.

Some interesting things came out of it...

He will now be on "open ended" probation with a probation officer. Because he is only 14 years old he has to be IN MY HOME between the hours of 8pm and 6am. There is a clause about prior approval. We need a definition of that.

He still needs to do an outpatient program. The one that was originally ordered rejected him. There is another one here in town that they will try to enroll him in. I am actually kind of excited about this one, because it is Christianity-based. His length of time in the program will be directly dependent on his cooperation in the program.

He will be on an electronic monitor through the probation office. He DIDN'T need to be on a monitor and tracker for the last month. That was an error of Service Coordinator. Middle Boy missed that part luckily.

He has all the typical, or what I assume to be typical, probation rules. Honestly though I have no idea how it works.

Praises for a GREAT outcome.
I hate myself right now.

I hate how angry I am and how I am not fun to be around. I hate how stressed out everything makes me. I hate how the littlest things make me come unglued and how much it is damaging my relationship with the boys.

This morning I am wondering if I can do this anymore. If maybe this isn't what God wants me to do. If I am doing something wrong. I want to give up and walk away...then maybe it wouldn't be so hard.

I am being U G L Y and I don't know how to change.
Tonight was HORRIBLE. I don't even know what else to say about it.

Younger Boy seemed to be doing fine when I picked him up from daycare. We had decided to go out to eat. That is basically when everything fell apart. When I asked him what he wanted he said he "already told me three times". I asked him to tell me again. This made him pick up a chair and throw it at our table.

When I placed the order he ran and stood near the bathroom door and proceeded to flip me off throughout the entire meal. I did my best to ignore it all the while listening to Middle Boy getting increasingly frustrated by how much Younger Boy is embarrassing him.

He never did come to the table and eat. When it was time to leave instead of going to the car he ran through the ditch on the road and onto the shoulder of a major street here in town...the entire time screaming f*** you.

I just got in the car. There is nothing you can do in that situation. If I would have gone after him he would have ran into traffic. I called the on-call line for my agency and waited for him to come to the car.

When he finally got in the car he was still screaming f*** you and somewhat out of control.

We got home and he locked himself in the bathroom for a couple of hours.

I don't even know what to say. We are still weeks away from our psychiatric appointment and even then that won't fix this.

Please pray for his behavior and his anger.
Middle Boy and I have a SERIOUS difference of opinion on what someone wears to court when appearing before a judge.

I say you wear khaki-type pants and a polo AT THE LEAST. He says you are fine in a t-shirt and that I am "old fashioned".

This literally was going NO WHERE until I suggested he call Mentor L and talk to him about it.

Mentor L agreed with me. He explained to him all about image and showing that you are professional and showing the judge respect.

Immediately after they got off the phone we had to go buy black pants, a shirt, and a tie.

I am so thankful for Mentor L and his guidance.
Foster Care Agency is giving me a hard time, because I am recommending the agency to anyone I hear might even be considering becoming a foster parent.

I don't know how many families are going to be in the foster parenting class that starts tomorrow at my agency, but I know FOUR of them.

Pray for these families as they start their journey into foster care. All of them have very different things they could offer a child, but they all have one thing in common...they want to help the orphan.

I'm excited to find out what God will bring into each of their lives as foster parents
On Tuesday, January 17th, Middle Boy has the second portion of the disposition or maybe the adjudication hearing…honestly I don’t know and can’t figure it out.

Middle Boy was rejected by the outpatient program he is court ordered to go to, because it goes against the professional recommendation of a psychiatrist. We are in the process of getting a second opinion/looking for another program.

He could still be ordered to go to inpatient therapy, but it is unlikely since he has already come home.

I'm not really sure what we are getting into at court tomorrow or what the possible outcomes could be. I imagine there are many which are possible. I remember the probation officer asking me what I wanted her recommendation to be. I told her that if Middle Boy can get the help he needs I want him to live at home and provide permanency for him. If that can't happen I want what is best for him and our family.

I can't help but wonder what she is going to recommend.

Prayers for wisdom and discernment for all involved. Prayers for understanding for Middle Boy.
Younger Boy and Middle Boy had a great afternoon playing with Youngest Sister's kids. They came over to meet Sophie. None of the kids were too thrilled with her except for Niece I. She let Sophie lick her face and would sit and giggle.

The kids all played Star Wars in the backyard with light sabers. Nephew W is VERY HARD to defend against. He LOVED playing with the "big boys".

They were all laughing and running and just had an amazing time.

It is so good to have cousins to close.

Praises for family.
Middle Boy was supposed to go to the center all day tomorrow since they didn't have school. He didn't want to. He wanted me to call virtually everyone we know to see if he could go with them instead of going to the center.

I told him I wouldn't. I didn't want to call all those people late in the evening on Sunday to find someplace for him to go when he already had someplace he was to go.

I relented and let him call Mentor R about working for him tomorrow. I don't think that was what he had in mind. I told him he would have to work the entire day...not sleep and couldn't text between the hours of eight and five. This didn't make me very popular. That's okay...I'm his parent.

Praises for Mentor R being flexible. Prayers for Middle Boy to start thinking ahead a little bit and for starting to just do what he is supposed to do.
Today was filled with UGLY arguing between Middle Boy and me. U G L Y.

We fought about everything you can think of to fight about. I am so sick of the arguing.

Everything...EVERYTHING...turns into a fight.

We did sit down and talk tonight about how we have been treating each other. I have been so frustrated with him. He has been frustrated with me.

We vowed to try harder tomorrow.

Prayers for getting along.
Younger Boy had a complete temper tantrum again tonight because of the consequences associated with his behavior last week. We got to witness stomping, door slamming, and screaming.

He stomped around the upstairs of the house and finally put his headphones from camp on. He decided to lay on the couch and listen to music. He was fast asleep by 7pm. He slept all the way though dinner and was still sleeping at bedtime.
I was inspired by another blogger who has a lot going on in her life...inspired to focus on things to be thankful for:

1. Middle Boy is home.
2. Our heater got fixed before the really cold spell hit.
3. Younger Boy is doing better in school.
4. We have an amazing support system.
5. I am feeling much better after my bout with dehydration.
6. Our foster care specialist is amazing.
7. We were able to bless another family by doing emergency respite.
8. Therapist J seems to be getting through to Younger Boy.
9. Therapist A and Middle Boy actually get along.
10. The adoption process for Younger Boy is going smoothly.
11. I can start the adoption process for Middle Boy soon.
12. We live close enough to family to have them be a helpful presence in our lives.
13. Our family is supportive.
14. Both boys like to help others.
15. The boys TRULY love each other.
16. is a HUGE thing to be thankful for. You don't realize it if you always had it!!
17. Respite and the possibility of using it.
18. Being able to sleep in...and everyone in the family wanting to!
19. The boys actually like spending time with me.
20. God loves the boys and me...more than we love each other!!
Middle Boy and I had a discussion tonight about what is reasonable when it comes to texting friends.

Of course we are pretty far apart on our definition of reasonable. His impression of reasonable is that you can maintain a texting conversation going non-stop at all waking hours and that every text MUST be answered instantaeously (unless of course it is from your mom).

I am of the impression that you should limit your texting, because what you are saying isn't urgent and that the ONLY texts that should be answered instantaneously are those from your mom.

If you text a photo or receive a photo texted to you I will review it. I will know whether you sent or received photos, because I get an email when you do. You MUST show them to me. If they are inappropriate and you received them that person will be blocked from your allowed senders. If you sent them you will no longer have a phone.

His phone currently has hours that he is allowed to text and hours he isn't. That makes him mad. It is going to stay like that.

I imagine once the "girlfriend" thing isn't as new this will die down.

Prayers that we will start to see eye to eye on this topic.
Therapist J is addressing disrespectfulness with Younger Boy, because he is very disrespectful during therapy.

It isn't going well. His disrepectfulness has been escalating to some degree with me. It has always been underlying, but now it happens way more often. It really doesn't matter what it is either.

Younger Boy was very disrespectful a couple of days ago and lost privileges for using electronics for a week. This is really the only thing that matters to him.

Tonight he wanted "an exception" because he wanted to play computer games since he didn't have homework. He was FURIOUS when he didn't get his "exception". He stomped all over the house, slammed every door he went through, and stood in his room "screaming to himself" about how stupid this house is and how he should just move out.

He finally realized that I wasn't going to give in and became a little bit better until it was time for bed when he didn't want to shower.

Prayers that he would understand that home would be a more peaceful place if he would be respectful.
Last night as we were cleaning up yet another one of Sophie's accidents on the floor Middle Boy and I were talking.

When Sophie moved in with us she was pretty much potty trained. She did great. Over the time she has lived with us she has actually gotten worse.

Last night I might have figured out our problem. I thought we bought spray for cleaning up puppy messes and we actually bought spray for where you want puppies to GO. So as we have been cleaning up messes we have been "encouraging" the use of those spaces through this spray!

Sometimes I am an IDIOT!! Looks like we will steam the carpets this weekend and START OVER...with the right kind of spray!!
We did emergency respite last night for seven-year old, T. I had a agreed a while ago to help them out on evenings where nothing is working with him at his foster home. I am not doing this, because I am some sort of miracle worker...far from it, but because sometimes all that is needed is a change of scenery and a break.

M and J provided that for me MANY times with Older Boy and it is my way of paying it forward.

T is super funny. The boys turned of the lights in the basement and played with light sabers for a while. We had hot cocoa and went to bed. He wasn't there long. He slept the entire night. He got up this morning the most cheery of anyone in our home....except maybe Sophie.

Prayers for their family and peace for them. They had been hesitant to call me, but I am happy to help. Prayers for T as he goes through the tough transition of being removed from his home.
Bedtime has become a real source of frustration at my house...especially since I have been not feeling well.

At the advice of Therapist A and Therapist J we are doing something new with bedtime. Neither boy has a bedtime. They have a set of "operating rules". I don't care when they go to bed, BUT if I am sleeping they can't wake me unless it is an emergency. If the other boy is sleeping they can't wake him...even in an emergency, because I will handle that. They have to be in the car and ready at the daily departure time after waking up to their own alarms and doing their morning routine. You also need to stay awake all day in school or whatever other activity you are participating in and be respectful the entire day.

The consequence for not following the operating rules is an 8pm bedtime for a week. There is also a consequence for being disrespectful.

Last night the boys went to bed at 3am. I know this, because Younger Boy violated the rule about waking me at 1:30am and then I couldn't sleep.

I am frustrated...I am tired.
Tonight was the open house for eighth graders at our high school.

It was the first time I haven't been cool enough to hang out with Middle Boy. He wanted to hang out and do the tour by himself.

Younger Boy and I watched a performance by the show choir and ate popcorn and answered text messages from Middle Boy wondering what we were doing and where we were. Younger Boy LOVED the show choir. I told him we would try to find out when they had a concert and maybe we could attend.

Middle Boy was trying super hard to be cool for a group of girls, one of which is his "girlfriend". The relationship really is this...she is a girl he thinks is pretty and she thinks he is cute and they text each other. He knows NOTHING about her. I told him I thought he should be able to tell me three new facts about her each day that didn't have anything to do with physical appearance. You would have thought I stabbed him. Apparently that "isn't how we do it these days".

I think it was successful. Younger Boy now knows he wants to be in ROTC and show choir!
Middle Boy did a great job of sharing at his family team meeting today. He was open with his thoughts and feelings about everything that is going on.

When the meeting was over I told him I was proud of him for remaining engaged. He was certain I was going to add a the statement. I didn't have anything though.

He finally recognizes that he can take control.

Praises for developing communication.
Middle Boy and I had family therapy tonight. It was UGLY. In fact that doesn't even begin to describe it.

He was MAD. Mad at me. Mad at the situation. Thinks he is being treated differently by everyone at church. Angry that anyone even knows that he was at the juvenile center. Just angry.

Basically he blew up. He said his peace and then left the room and shut himself in his room.

Afterward Therapist A and I talked. It was good. She asked if I knew from the blow up that he is actually saying that he thinks I am treating him differently, but that it is too hard to say those words.

She said that previously she could come in our home and it was natural and happy. Now she says the tension is so thick that it is almost uncomfortable. She and I talked about MY feelings about Middle Boy being back home and how I had to discuss those with Middle Boy.

I'm scared of losing him again. Those eight weeks when he was gone were HELL for me. I freak out if he is doing anything at all that I perceive to be "not following the rules" and I don't think it is funny if he makes jokes about going back to the center.

His way of coping is to make light of the situation. Mine is to try to gain control. It isn't working. Plus we both have tendencies to act in a passive-aggressive way so it is always a struggle.

After she left I talked to him about my fears. Fears that I honestly didn't really realize that I had until Therapist A said something to me. I don't know if he understood or not, but I asked for grace as I try to figure this out.

Praises for people in our lives who help us to grow and for communication that is open and honest.
Younger Boy was supposed to have a family team meeting today. Five minutes before the meeting Service Coordinator called and canceled due to an emergency at their office.

Since it was so late Foster Care Specialist and Mentor R were already there so we had the meeting without her. It was BY FAR the best family team meeting that we have ever had for Younger Boy.

He was actually in rare form. At one point Mentor R said "you should write a book" and "you should enroll in drama". I noticed that he seemed to be overly energetic.

He talked A LOT...about a lot of things. I was really proud of him.

Praises for a good meeting.
This afternoon Middle Boy called me at work to see if I could come and get him after school, because he had heart burn.

I explained that heart burn is not an emergency or illness that warrants me coming to pick him up and missing work.

He then told the service that picks him up that he had a "family emergency" so he couldn't go to the center and that I was picking him up.

Middle Boy then called me and told me the service left him there.

I explained to Middle Boy that right now there is NOT room for him to do this. He has to go where he is supposed to go and do what he is supposed to do. He is on a tracker and this is a violation of the tracking.

Prayers that he will understand.
The boys HATE lists of things they are supposed to do. I HATE things not getting done.

This afternoon I made a list of everything that needed to be done before we could go to bed that night.

Everything on the list got done with time to spare before bedtime. The boys actually were excited about crossing things off the list.

We are going to try it again tonight. I'm sure some of it was the novelty of it, but whatever can help us to get things done is GREAT!!
Tonight I feel marginally rested.

I slept for 15 hours Friday night plus another hour nap during the afternoon.

Saturday night I slept for another 16 hours.

I am still not feeling completely rested. I am hoping that sleeping the normal amount tonight will help me feel better.

Prayers for a good night sleep.
Today we were invited to a "soup slurp". It is a soup open house that some friends host each year at this time.

The boys were not too excited about the idea and when I said we would only be there an hour or so they were not convinced.

I was proud of them. They both ate some soup and the chocolate cake they had helped to make the previous day.

They also did a great job of entertaining all of the other littler kids who were in attendance. They played outside with them and did a great job of watching the 2-1/2 year old who was there.

Praises for a good time of fellowship and some exercise and fun for the boys.
Tonight we went over to meet with some friends who are enrolled in training to become foster parents. They had some questions for me and also wanted to meet the boys.

The boys did a great job playing with their kids. They were excited about their boxer "puppies" which are NOTHING like Sophie. Their "puppies" weigh about forty pounds each.

The family had quite a few questions about how things work in the foster care system. I think I was able to answer some of them based on my experience. There are some answers though that honestly make no sense.

I am excited about them doing foster care. I think they will be good foster parents. Their kids are excited about it.

Prayers for this family as they embark on this foster care journey.
The biggest thing that makes me crazy right now is people in our home not cleaning up after themselves.

This can be evidenced in a number of ways. Food and wrappers all over the counters. Food spilled on the floor. Food spilled on the table. Wrappers all over the house, but none in the trash. Wrappers all over the car.

It is making me CRAZY!!

This is going to be our goal for the get a handle on this.

Prayers for patience for me as we work through this. It is really waning right now.
Today I had some excitement.

First of all, I have to start by saying that I recognize that I am tired.

This morning when I sat up after waking up I was a little bit dizzy, but it fairly quickly went away. I took the boys to school and then came to work.

I was sitting at my desk here talking to a co-worker and got EXTREMELY dizzy. It passed after a couple of minutes, but felt like an eternity. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before.

About 15 minutes later it happened again. I asked my co-worker to take me to the emergency room. I couldn't walk straight. I was leaning to the right and stumbling. Three co-workers walked me downstairs and then we went to the emergency room.

They did a CT scan, an EKG, some blood and urine tests. I tried to walk a couple of times all with the same result. They gave me to bags of IV fluid, some anti-dizziness pills and some pills for nausea.

All tests came back fine. I am severely dehydrated and it caused vertigo.

I came back to work and am vowing to drink more water.

Praises this dizziness is not being caused by something more serious and that my co-workers were able to help me out.

Prayers for feeling back to "normal" as soon as possible.
Today Younger Boy got a homework slash. This generally results in him explaining it with one of the following: he has no idea why, the teacher asked for the wrong thing, there weren't enough worksheets to go around, he did the right problems on the wrong page, or whatever other excuse he might think seems plausible.

Today he didn't do that. He said, "We were supposed to do part C and D. I only did part C." I asked him why he only did part C. He said that he was messing around and didn't hear the teacher say to do part D. He continued on to tell me that he didn't write it in his assignment notebook so he didn't know.

He actually pointed out that all of these could have been avoided had he done the things he is supposed to do.

Maybe we finally have a breakthrough where homework is concerned. I fully realize this isn't getting the homework done, but it is the realization that he is responsible. That might be BIGGER than getting the homework done!

Praises for a breakthrough!!
Middle Boy has NOT been excited about going to the reporting center after school. I am tired of discussing it with him, because it isn't optional. However...I am glad he doesn't want to go there.

The thing with Middle Boy is that he gets anxious about doing things and then makes himself sick. I get that, because I do the exact same thing. He even admitted that once he gets places it is fine. It is the anticipation of getting there that is the worst part.

Today he went to reporting. Shockingly "it isn't so bad".

Praises for him feeling comfortable at reporting so that it isn't a battle every day.
Today was NOT a fun day. All of us were home sick with the flu. Honestly I am not sure who felt the worst, because all of us were pretty bad.

I think this has been going around the city for the last couple of weeks and most of the people at my office who have gotten it were fine after 24 hours. I hope that is our case.

Prayers for feeling better.
Today Middle Boy and I had our probation interviews. There were a whole lot of questions about the way we communicate and interact with one another. There were also a lot of questions about rules and routines at our house. The purpose is to determine the right course of action for Middle Boy.

I also had to ask questions about his hobbies and his friends. Not the easiest thing in the world when he lived here six weeks and then spent eight weeks at the juvenile center and now 10 days back at home. He has moved around a lot. I am not sure that he has had a lot of friends over the course of his lifetime.

Not sure what the course of action will be, but the probation officer was REALLY nice.

Praises for this whole thing going smoothly for the most part.
As of tomorrow our home is becoming a complete dictatorship.

What I learned over the long weekend is that asking Middle Boy and Younger Boy to do things will not EVER get them done. Things must be on a list with a deadline and the associated consequence listed next to it. There will be no surprises.

When I ask if you have taken your meds you shouldn't act like I am asking you something in a foreign language. You take meds every day.

When I ask if you showered it shouldn't be a surprise. You should shower every day.

When I ask if those are clean clothes you are wearing you shouldn't be shocked. We have more than enough clothes for you to wear two or three outfits a need to repeat.

If you don't have your shoes on and it is time to go there shouldn't be confusion about why you need to get them on. We are leaving.

Brushed your teeth? Not challenging.

We are going to work on routine. This seems to be where we are stumbling right now. Adding Sophie to the mix has actually helped, because taking care of her isn't optional. They made a contract with me and there are terms in the contract which are pretty clear what will happen if they don't keep up their end of the deal.

Prayers for this dictatorship. Both boys told me during a family meeting that it will work better that way for them.
After about fourteen hours without heat we are now cozy warm again. The lowest I think our house got down to was 53 degrees. That is nice for a spring day outside, but not so much in your home.

Praises the repairs were not too costly and the repairman was able to come today to fix the problem.
Younger Boy must have thought about it long enough and decided he finally wanted to call Older Sister.

It is SHOCKING how much she sounds like Older Boy on the phone. Same voice inflections and everything.

The first call was very short and awkward. They didn't have much to say to each other.

The second call they talked about all of their favorite things. They talked about wanting to see each other. I think there is something in the works for that, but I am not positive. I need to check with Mom J.

Both nights that he talked to her he had nightmares. I don't know if it is just a coincidence or not. Both nights he was screaming in his sleep. I am going to talk to Therapist J about it on Thursday.

Praises for healing relationships. Prayers that this can be a healthy family relationship for Younger Boy.
Our furnace went out during the night. It is now 53 degrees in here. We are waiting for a repairman to come out and fix it. It should be in the next couple of hours. So until then we are doing our best to stay warm.

Praises we were able to get someone to come out today.
We went to church this morning. I was kind of irritated wiht the boys because they left part way through to use the restroom and never came back. Apparently they stayed at the back of the church for the second half of the service.

Afterward we went and picked up Middle Boy's cell phone at C's where he left it on Thursday. Then we went shopping for groceries.

We decided to do a family activity so we went bowling and then watching Kung Fu Panda 2. The bowling was good. Both boys had a good time.

Praises for another good night.