Tonight I went to pick up Middle Boy from youth group.

Every week I take a girl home who is mentored by Coach Z.  She lives near us so it shouldn't be a big deal.

Over the weeks she has gotten more and more increasingly rude.  She has been quite rude to me during the drive.

I talked to Coach Z about it and she has noticed the same thing with her.  She even talked to the girl's caregiver who made excuses for her.

Last night Coach Z and I were chatting when I picked them up and she was SO RUDE to both of us.

I don't really want to do this anymore.  I talked to her about being rude and she said "whatever".

After we dropped her off both boys commented on the rudeness.  It was interesting they noticed it in her, but not in themselves. 

Prayers for how to handle the situation.
Tonight I checked Middle Boy's therapy assignment notebook. 

In hindsight I should have done it BEFORE the Halloween party.  He would not have gone either.

He is supposed to do one assignment a week.  I initial the assignments.

In thirteen days (he didn't have therapy last week) he has done the following:

Drew a diagram of a behavioral cycle.
Wrote a sentence about his triggers.
Wrote a sentence about escalation.

Wow...he really strained himself.

Pray for wisdom.  This is getting so old.
All the way home from the church Younger Boy screamed and cried.

He said "apparently you think I should do my homework".  I calmly explained that by saying apparently he was basically saying he didn't agree with me.

He screamed about how it will be another year until he is invited to a Halloween party.  He screamed about how he is stupid and should just die.  Is that what I want?

Nope.  I want you to do your homework. 

You chose to be deceitful for DAYS and now it is due tomorrow.  You had DAYS to do it.  This could have all been avoided.

He screamed about how I didn't accept his apology.  I absolutely did.  There are still consequences for your actions.  If you shoot someone saying you are sorry doesn't get you out of going to prison.  It shows your remorse.

Could he have a "second chance"?  I asked how many times he has lied about homework recently.  He replied by telling me he told the truth once.  That isn't what I asked.  I asked how many times he had lied about homework.  He said about twenty.  I explained that he isn't asking for a second chance then.  He is asking for a twenty-first chance.  I asked if he thought that was reasonable.  He said no.

He did not go to youth group.

He did all of the homework in his homework folder.  It wasn't without incident, but it got done.

Hopefully a lesson was learned, but I think there are more hard lessons when it comes to homework to show I am serious.
Younger Boy still has a number of missing assignments.  I listed them to him when he called today after school.

I told him if he had them done when it was time to leave for youth group then he could go.  If they were not he couldn't. 

There was about 30 minutes of work for him to do.  We aren't talking about DAYS worth of assignments here. 

He had THREE HOURS to finish them up.

Instead he decided to write me a letter of apology for lying about the homework.  That's nice, but not what I asked him to do.  It was a decision he made.

He did not start any of the homework.  As a result he was not ready when it was time to leave for youth group.  So...I loaded him in the car to take Middle Boy.

He didn't say a single word all of the way to the church.
I can't even believe it.  Younger Boy just called me to tell me he has NO HOMEWORK.

I listed to him everything they had told me last night at conferences about projects that were past due or not done yet.

He swears they are all done now.  I asked him to please put all of them on the kitchen table and we can go over them tonight when Older Boy is at youth group.

Younger Boy has youth group as well, but I am not allowing him to go since there was so much missing work and making up stories this morning.
This morning I was reading through Younger Boy's file from conferences last night.

His school is employing an interesting concept this year.  When you do not turn in an assignment you have to fill out a "missing assignment slip" where you must give your reason for the assignment missing.

I was reading through his since there have been a number of missing assignments this year so far.

Here are some of them:

"I don't have my assignment, because I left it in my locker all weekend.  I did this because I wouldn't have been able to get it done.  We were moving."

"I didn't have my reading log, because I didn't do the log assignment."

"I don't have my homework done, because I didn't do a visualization."

"I forgot it was due and I left it at home."

"I didn't do it."

"I was too busy and honestly I didn't have a chance to do it."

"I had to go to youth group."

"I had to go to my youth group fall retreat."

"I was doing laundry." - If we wore the clothes he washed we would have been nude for quite some time now!!


"I was reading passages in the Bible."
Younger Boy didn't take his morning meds this morning.  He INSISTED he did.  I asked where he got them.  He said "from the pill case I took to the my bag."  When I told him that there was NO WAY that was true and he needed to take the pills I had in my hand he THREW A FIT.

I told him I had only packed enough pills for the weekend in his bag for the retreat and a friend of mine had monitored them for him.  He had emailed and told me all of them had been taken.

I asked Younger Boy if he wanted to have another chance to be accurate.  He said "I am just a bad kid.  I know that is what you think."

No...I think you didn't take your meds and you still need to.  I think you didn't tell me the truth.  I did not NOR WOULD I EVER say you were a bad kid, because I DON'T THINK THAT!

He ended up banging his head on the exterior wall of the house while waiting for his bus.

Pray for a calmer day for him.  It didn't start out well.
Middle Boy had another evening meltdown tonight.

This time it was over his earrings.

He had taken them out to clean his ears.  He hasn't been doing a good job of it so I have been helping him.  One has been infected and is finally healed.

He put the earrings on an end table and didn't put them back in.  Instead he went to his room to mess around with "his music".

When he actually remembered they were on the end table one wasn't there anymore.  I asked him to get his old pair.  One of those is missing, too.

This, my friends, is an indication that THE ENTIRE WORLD is against you.  If you go a couple of hours without your earrings they will heal over and then blood will literally squirt EVERYWHERE when you have to jam the earrings back in.  There is NO WAY he can wear a pair of my earrings (which are nearly EXACTLY like his), because he is NOT GAY.  He cannot wear one of each of his, because that is the most ridiculous solution he has ever heard...EVER.

There is no solution other than to lay on the floor and scream and cry. 
Middle Boy TOLD me tonight he will be coming home from school later and wouldn't be able to do a daily task.

His Branching Out coordinator is going to get him a job.

I told him I have to approve of his getting a job and it isn't going to happen until he is meeting his responsibilities for at least THREE months.  That means no missing assignments at school or therapy.

I am irrational.  He NEEDS money.  There are things he wants that no one will buy him.  I asked him to name some.  Nothing came to mind.  He just kept insisting he didn't want to be a burden.

I asked him to go through his schedule and tell me when he is planning to work.  Here's what he came up with for availability:

Monday - 5PM to 9PM
Tuesday - 5PM to 9PM
Sunday - 1PM to 4PM

He doesn't want to work Friday or Saturday, because those need to remain open for social things that come up.

He is planning to work 30 hours a week though.  I didn't even bother to point out to him that he only listed 11 hours of availability.

I did point out his availability would have to coincide with mine, because until he has a car I will have to take him to work.  He said his coordinator is going to work that out for him and he won't have to rely on me.

Prayers he will understand this is important and you have to be responsible and follow the directions of others.  He doesn't currently NEED a job.

Tonight there were student led conferences at Younger Boy's school.  I generally hate the conference which are student led.  Tonight I was glad he was there.

We met with the first teacher.  His science teacher.  She asked him how his assignment from that day was going and if he had any questions.  What assignment?  He didn't know he had an assignment.  He is supposed to be reviewing and answering questions EVERY NIGHT for science.  He hasn't done it yet this year.  He has a research paper, model, and presentation due on Monday.  He claimed to know NOTHING of it.

Next was his math teacher and his IEP holder together.  He is missing math assignments.  Again a question about whether or not his assignment from that day was done.  They both said they weren't given enough time in class to do the work so he should have it.  He claimed he didn't know.  He also claimed he had turned in a late assignment to the teacher that day.  She checked the box while we were there.  No assignment.

Next reading.  Not bad, except he spends the majority of the class taking apart and putting together his pens.  They are requesting he only uses No. 2 pencils in their room.

Social Studies.  He has a major report due the first week of December about a country in Africa.  Also another three current events due at the end of November.  He could do those any time now.  This teacher advised him to not wait until the last minute, because he wouldn't be able to finish.

Language Arts.  This one was crazy.  Today the teacher had to stop the class because of Younger Boy.  While the teacher was teaching he took his glasses off, pulled his hood up, put his head down and went to sleep.  So the teacher stopped class.  He talked to Younger Boy about doing appropriate writing.  Apparently every time he has to present in class he writes the story of the scar on his head.  The teacher and I talked to him about needing to be in the present and only writing things that are not just "his business".

When we got done I was flabbergasted.  Younger Boy just sat there and said he "didn't know" he had homework.  The teachers aren't fair and they don't like him.  That is NONE of what I heard.  What I heard is that he is not meeting his obligations as a student, but they all think he is respectful and a joy to be around.

I think they were SHOCKED when they heard him directly lying to me about the homework as they sat there.  His IEP holder gave me a look at one point like "this is crazy".  She finally said "Come on, Younger Boy.  You are better than this."

I am so irritated.  I am tired of the continual lies.  Continual lies.
This afternoon at work I got a call from Middle Boy.  Younger Boy had gotten his Halloween costume in the mail.  He proceeded to put it on and scare Sophie with it.  She began chasing him and then he fell on an XBOX remote.  It gashed open his back.

Middle Boy wanted to know what he should do, but he wouldn't quit talking long enough to listen to me tell him.

Finally I got him to listen and told him to get a clean wash cloth (I emphasized clean about TEN TIMES) and to wet it and wash off the cut.

I told him to take a picture of it and text it to me.  I would show you the photo, but it is quite blurry.

I told him to put neosporin on it and bandage it, because it didn't look like it needed stitches.

Prayers for them to be more careful.

Another day...two more no homework calls.
Today at therapy we worked on Younger Boy's "story".  They have found that writing your story makes you feel like there are good and happy things that happen to all kids...all people really.

We talked about him living in an interrupted state for eight years.  Him being confused, sad, and scared.  Therapist C asked him what that looked like to others.  He didn't know.

She gave this example...someone is hiding and they jump out and scare you.  What do you feel?  Mad.  That is how people react when they are scared. 

So...for Younger Boy he spent eight years being confused/scared/sad.  It came across as mad.

Over the course of writing the story Younger Boy went from sitting on a couch to lounging on a couch to being curled up in the fetal position on the floor.

During EMDR with Therapist D we worked on the story of the scar on the head.  Both Therapist D and Therapist C think it must be linked to other memories that haven't come out yet.  We went more intensive today.  The lights were used in all different directions...horizontal and at angles.  She used her finger high and low.  At one point Younger Boy said "I don't know why my dad beats us so much."  He started to cry.  Finally...not just one occurrence, but "so much".  We were then able to talk about how it is "not normal" to get that mad.

Praises for EMDR and for therapy.  Praises the fear is going away.
Middle Boy asked if he could come into my room and talk to me.  Of course.  There are very few times I deny them the ability to talk to me.

He sprawled out on my bed. 

As I was getting my clothes ready for tomorrow he started snoring.

I picked up Sophie and an alarm clock and off we went to the spare bedroom.

Good night everyone.
Tonight when I went to tell Middle Boy it was time for bed I interrupted recording for a new song.

He threw a fit.  The music thing is really starting to be annoying, because he can't do anything else and throws a fit if he is interrupted.

When he interrupts big deal, but if he is out.
Younger Boy fell asleep on the couch tonight.  He was doing his daily 20 minutes of reading for school and the next thing I knew he was out.

Rather than risk him not being able to go to sleep I covered him up on the couch and left him there.  I'm pretty sure he will be out all night.

Prayers for a good nights sleep.
We have needed to do laundry for a while now.  We have not had to go out and buy all new underwear...yet.  We are approaching it.

So, tonight we did some laundry.  Not all of our laundry, but some.  Towels and underwear and jeans are washed...ready to go.

More discipline in this area...that's what we need.
The rule is our house is that homework gets done immediately following school.  After that any therapy homework or other studying needs to be done. 

They can have a snack first and Younger Boy walks Sophie, but after that it is time to meet your responsibilities.

The boys ALWAYS tell me they have no homework.  I know there is no way this is true, because there are TONS of missing assignments and even second graders have homework. 

I know Middle Boy isn't doing his therapy homework every day or he would be done with it and he isn't. am giving them the benefit of the doubt.
Middle Boy finds all of the time in the world to work on "his music".  He has made at least eight CDs now with all different kinds of music.  He even created a music page for himself on Facebook.

I love that he has this creative outlet.  I don't love that it completely consumes him and he can't seem to focus on (or even really do) something else.

I don't want to take this away from him, but we need to really reel it in.

Prayers for wisdom in how to do this.
Younger Boy came home from the retreat excited to be home.

His favorite part of the whole weekend was when the speaker asked them to come up front if they wanted to talk to God about forgiving their sins.  Not the games, not the swimming...the speaker.

He came home tired...very tired.  Obnoxiously silly tired.

I told him to take a shower (at his normal time) and you would have thought I asked him to amputate his leg.  He didn't want to.  In fact he didn't want to do anything, because "he is excited to be home".

Finally I got him to take and shower and head to bed after reminding him he will be home all week.  (Like usual).

Praises for a good weekend retreat and that the PTSD episode on the way there didn't ruin the experience.

My high school girls small group came over this afternoon to make tutus for fall retreat.  We started with 105 yards of glittery tulle in red, fuchsia, turquoise, yellow, green, silver, and purple.

Sophie got a tutu.  In fact she looks adorable in it.  Wearing it doesn't bother her.  She left it on for three hours.  She saw her reflection in the patio door and it made her bark and jump back which was pretty funny.

There are some beautiful tutus which were made.  BEAUTIFUL!!

I still need to make mine.

The entire first level of my house is coated with a thin thick layer of glitter.  It's everywhere...literally.

We had an amazing time.  The girls are excited about the tutus.

The fall retreat is going to be so much fun with these ladies.

Middle Boy and I talked about missing homework AGAIN today.  Three times he has told me he is going to start to do better.

I asked him what I needed to start removing from his life so he would understand that this is serious.  Music?  All electronics?  What?

He said he has a plan.  I asked what it was.  His plan is this "get it done".  This plan does not work.

I explained that he has told me of this EXACT same plan three times and all three times it hasn't worked.  I asked what I can do to help.  I am told nothing.

He said this time I should believe him.  I told him that after three times of believing him I thought I would be a fool to believe that it is going to change.

He said "You'll be sorry when I prove you wrong."  My response "I hope you do."

I asked Middle Boy to remove the items of his and Younger Boy's from the kitchen, dining room, family room area this afternoon in preparation for my high school small group coming over. 

He insisted they had very few things there that didn't belong.

I had him get a laundry basket to put them in.

After he filled TWO laundry baskets he said "I didn't realize we left this much junk laying around".

Yes...thank you for picking it all up.  Please don't take the baskets upstairs and empty them in the middle of the hallway.

Tonight as I was getting ready to leave the presentation I was stopped by a seven year old boy.  His first words were "nice speech".

He was there with his grandfather.  He told me he lives with his mom and dad and his home is a good home.  He said he didn't think he was going to have anymore little brothers or sisters, but his is a good home and he is going to ask his parents if he can get a "big brother" from foster care.  He is going to ask for him every day until he gets one and every year for Christmas, because "every kid needs a good home and mine is good."

This brought tears to my eyes.  Maybe this boy will get his "big brother" and maybe he won't.  I imagine he won't forget about foster kids and maybe one day he will adopt.

This made my time worth it.
My presentation was part of a Pumpkin "Tree" lighting ceremony.  Over the course of the day one of the foster care agencies here in town carved pumpkins at a local mall.  Each pumpkin represented one of the kids in our state foster care system available for adoption.  1033 in all.

They were put in the shape of a HUGE tree and each had a light inserted.

The campaign this year was to increase the number of people willing to foster teenagers.  More importantly willing to adopt them from the system.

I talked about my experience with the boys.  I felt my throat catch once, but I didn't cry.  I saw lots of tears in the audience and talked to people wiping away tears when they asked me questions.

I was interviewed by a couple of news outlets.

If I touched one was worth it.

Praises for a great turnout and an attentive audience.  Prayers for lives changed.
I'll admit it.  I didn't prepare for my presentation.  I wanted it to be from the heart and I knew if I spent much time on it I would be too nervous and it wouldn't be authentic.

I also wanted it be to less of me and more of God.

Middle Boy's friend is making some odd requests.  Do I have time to take him here?  Do I have time to take him there?  Do I have some dollar bills he can trade me for his change he brought over?  Can I take him to a sprint store to trade in his phone?

I told him all of those things were things which needed to be handled by his parents which seemed to frustrate him a little bit.  His mom warned me of these kind of requests and had asked me to turn them down, because they generally are a result of a less than honest behavior.

Praises for being informed and being able to be prepared for these requests.
Middle Boy had group therapy today.  He didn't present anything so another week gone by and no more progress made.  He didn't take his notebook on Thursday and today he chose not to present.

This is so frustrating.  Every time I try to talk to him about it he says I wish I didn't have to do this.  That's fine, but you do, so let's get it done.

When I got out of the musical and turned on my cell phone I had three voice mail and four texts from Younger Boy.

As it turns out he had a PTSD problem on the school bus headed to the fall retreat and really melted down.

In his messages he was crying so hard I could hardly tell what he was saying.

I immediately called the leader and the adult who was going to keep an eye on him for the weekend.  He had calmed down and was with his group playing a game.


We made arrangements for him to ride home with one of the adults instead of on the bus.

I don't recall a bus ride being a trigger in the past and there are so many things it could have been...too many kids, leaving home for the weekend, too loud, too hot, too cold, who knows?

I'm grateful he has some great adults watching over him this weekend.

Prayers he will have a good experience and that the bus ride there didn't ruin it for him.
We went to Shrek the musical. 

The boys went really apprehensive they would like all.

By intermission both were sitting on the edges of their seats.  Laughing wholeheartedly at the jokes.

When intermission got there they were disappointed, because they thought it was over.  They were both glad when I told them it was only a little over half done.

After the show they couldn't quit talking about it.  They loved Shrek.  They loved the donkey.  They thought the lighting and the scenery was cool.  They wanted to know how they do "all of that".

Praises they loved it.
I took the boys to a cajun restaurant for dinner.  We had tickets to a musical downtown and it is one of my favorite restaurants to eat at before musicals.

The boys were both sick to their stomachs.  I think it was partially because they had no idea what to expect at dinner or at the musical.

We looked at the menus online before heading out to be sure that they both knew what they were going to have.  That way it would be a lot less overwhelming when we got there.

I have learned that this is really helpful with my boys.  Otherwise there are just too many choices no matter where we go.

I wasn't sure we were going to make it to the musical, because they were both complaining of "gurgling" stomachs.  Yikes...that can never be good.

Prayers for calmed nerves.
Middle Boy got home from school after Younger Boy and I had already left for church.

He wanted to talk about this morning.  He was really remorseful.  He started by saying "I can't talk to you like that". 

He asked if we could talk more when I got home.  I told him we would talk later in the weekend since I was bringing his friend home with me from church to spend the weekend to give their parents a little bit of a break.

Praises for him being remorseful.  Prayers he can learn to keep it more under control before it escalates.
Younger Boy has his youth group fall retreat this weekend.  They need to be at church by 4PM and will be heading to a campground about three hours away. 

I think there are over a hundred kids going and probably something like 50 adults.

Younger Boy is pretty excited.  He has been working on packing for the last three days.  Crossing things off the list.

Today when it was time to go the only thing he couldn't find ANYWHERE was his Bible.  We looked everywhere.  He had just had it FOR SURE on Thursday night at the concert.  It had DEFINITELY come home with us, because he was reading it before bed.

Finally I asked him to look in his bag.  There is was.  A victim of a forgotten cross out on the list.

On our way to pick up his dinner and get him to the church on time!!

Prayers for a good safe weekend where kids hearts are touched and God moves in big ways.
This could have been one of our WORST mornings EVER.

As I reflect on the events of this morning I am speechless....completely speechless.

It started with me asking Middle Boy to grab a bag of recycling on his way out the door to the car.  Not unreasonable in my opinion.  He is walking through the garage.  That is where we keep the recycling container.  My "error" was that recycling is Younger Boy's job and trash is Middle Boy's job.  I had bagged it.  I just asked him to carry it, because my hands were full.

It escalated beyond belief.  He threatened Younger Boy that he better do Middle Boy's job next time or else.  When I asked him not to threaten Younger Boy that was an accusation.  He "hates" accusations.  I should know that by now.  That is the ONE thing that makes him instantly "pissed off".  Who the f*** do I think I am asking him to do someone else's work?  When I asked him to calm down he screamed "you started this...get it right".  Maybe I should focus on the feelings of others.  Maybe if I could see that he is trying then I wouldn't be such a b**** to him.  I never apologize for anything.  I don't take responsibility for my actions.  He is the only one putting forth ANY effort in relationships in our family.  No one is trying to change except him and it isn't fair.

All of this screamed at the top of his lungs.

At one point I asked him to calm down and take a deep breath.  At that point he screamed "stop calling me mentally retarded".  What?  I just said calm down and take a deep breath.  Clearly he is hearing someone else's voice in his head.

I asked him to please stop.  Look at me.  Think about the present.  Feel his feet on the floor.  This seemed to bring him back which resulted in crying...uncontrollable sobbing.

I'm exhausted.  It is so hard to be verbally and emotionally abused like that.  This morning it hurt and I am having a hard time forgiving him.  I really want to, but I am really struggling.

Pray for me to soften my heart and be able to forgive him.  To give my hurt over to God. 
It was cold and windy tonight so after the concert we went home and had warm cookies and hot chocolate.

Younger Boy LOVES making hot chocolate for us.  He volunteers nearly every single night.  Tonight he even added extra marshmallows.

I baked cookies.  I didn't MAKE cookies.  I BAKED cookies from some cookies we had purchased from a boy scout or a something.

We chatted, ate cookies, and drank hot chocolate.

Right afterward everyone went off to complaints.  Just a nice evening.
I've got to be honest.  I wasn't really too excited about a middle school choir concert. 

It was interesting.  Both choirs were quite good.  They are VERY FEW boys in either choir.  I believe she said there are over a hundred kids in the eighth grade choir and I think I counted eleven boys.  The ones that were there their hearts out.

The concert lasted 35 minutes.  My kind of concert.  I thought that was nice, because then people could have their kids home and in bed at a decent time and the younger kids there could sit through it and the parents wouldn't be wrestling with them.

It ended up being a nice time.  Mentor R was there for the performance.  Younger Boy BEAMED when he saw us in the crowd.

Praises for him feeling loved and valued.
Younger Boy needed to take something with him to read while the eighth grade choir was performing.  They take being backstage and quiet pretty seriously at his school.

He said "I am going to take my Bible to read.  Maybe there will be some kids I can talk to about it."  Wow...he is actively seeking opportunities to evangelize.  Wow.  It humbles me.

When the concert was over he told me he and another girl talked about Jesus during the eighth grade choir performance.  They started with Philippians 4:13 and some verses in Colossians.  He couldn't remember for sure, but he was going to ask her the next time he sees her in choir.

Wow...God.  What an amazing example of having the courage to share your love.  I could really learn from Younger Boy.
Younger Boy and I had dinner at home before his concert.  He was SO NERVOUS.  He was afraid he might forget the words to the songs.

He says he has never been in a performance like this before.  No idea if that is true or not, but I do know he hasn't since he has lived with me.

He loves choir and most anything performing arts.

I'm excited to watch him.
Tonight Babysitter J is driving Middle Boy to therapy, because Younger Boy's choir concert its at the same time.

They left the house to go to therapy.  That was the only place they were going.  Middle Boy didn't take his therapy notebook.  Seriously?

Younger Boy forgot to take his key with him to school this morning.  Generally it is in his backpack.  I ask him about it every morning and he always tells me it is there.

This morning he told me it was there, but in reality it was on his dresser in his room.

So...on the coldest day so far this school year Younger Boy was locked out of the house when the bus dropped him off after school.

A neighbor and her daughter saw him sitting outside on the porch and took him to their house until Middle Boy got home.

We need to get a keypad for our garage door opener.  It is one of those things on the list, but never really seems to move to the top.  Maybe this is what we needed.

Prayers for good, trustworthy neighbors willing to help us out.
I am speaking at an event here on Saturday night.  It is a recruiting event for fostering/adopting teens from our state system.

As I read through the questions they want to me to try to highlight I can't help but wonder if I am being a hypocrite.  Do I think fostering teens is for everyone?  No.  Do I think there are people out there who would be amazing at it if they opened their heart?  Yes.  Is it hard?  You bet.  Is it worth it?  Absolutely.

Here's some things they want me to "touch on"...

X years ago I thought adopting an older child meant....
My heart/mind was opened to adopting an older child when...
I'm not different than most of you...I just made the decision and I did it because...
Being a parent through adoption has been...

Prayers for the right words to say.  Prayers for the right people to be in attendance and the right hearts to be touched.
Last night Younger Boy and I had a conversation which started like this "If someone from school calls you they are a liar."

Okay...this can never be good.

I asked what he was talking about.  He told me a story about how he had to run an errand to his science teacher's class.  He doesn't like science at all and I think it is an important detail in the story.  He told me when he entered the class another kid "smacked him on the head".  He continued by saying at that point the science teacher screamed at him even though the whole thing wasn't his fault.

I asked him twice if his story was accurate.  Not true, because it makes both of my boys mad.  Accurate, because they don't seem to object to it.

He insisted yes it was accurate.

This morning I emailed the science teacher, because the whole story makes no sense.  I know you will be shocked, but she had NO IDEA what I was talking about.  He didn't even run an errand to her class.

She asked him about it and emailed me back.  He told her he didn't tell me this and I must be confused.

Now he has been the victim THREE TIMES in his mind, but never in reality.  This is his game.

Prayers for wisdom on how to discuss this with him.
This morning was HORRIBLE.  Nothing good about it.

Younger boy was COMPLETELY out of sorts.  It took him 35 minutes to get dressed.  When it was five minutes until the bus was going to be there he still needed to take his meds and get his shoes and socks on.  He told me he couldn't do it due to a leg injury.  What? 

He finally got his shoes on after I SCREAMED "get ready".  The bus was honking and he was slamming his stuff around complaining about how he was "too rushed" in the morning. 

Middle Boy was fine through all of this, but once we got in the car he was a mess.  HUGE MESS.

He was screaming at me about how childish I was last night.  Now we are back to that.  Apparently the reason I am childish is I blew him off.  I asked when.  He didn't know.

What?  How am I getting "punished" for a fabricated offense?

I opted to just sit out the rest of the conversation.  Clearly it wasn't going to be rational.

Prayers for a better day the rest of the day.
We are having a lot of storms tonight.  Really loud storms.

Although Middle Boy isn't talking to me he wants to know if he can sleep in my room tonight.

I didn't say a word about the silent treatment.  We just made a place for him to sleep and went to bed.

Prayers for the "little boy" in him who is so scared and wounded.
We stopped to get gas on the way home from youth group.  Things were fine until we stopped.

After the stop Middle Boy started giving me the silent treatment.  Why?  No idea.

It continued on when we got home.  I asked him about five times what was wrong.  He wouldn't answer.  I just went to bed.

He sent me two texts both telling me I "am childish and I should know why he is mad".

If I knew I wouldn't be asking.

Middle Boy and his friend, Z, chose to be deceitful tonight at youth group.

They were in the room for the worship time and then they left because Middle Boy had cut his leg.

They never joined the group during large group time.  Instead I believe they listened to music on Middle Boy's phone somewhere hidden out in the church.

Part of the reason I think this is because I never saw them again until youth group was over.  Now...there are 100+ kids in the group, but I would have seen them.  The other reason is because I asked him what he thought about the handout and he had NO IDEA what I was talking about.  It was a blue handout and leaders walked around in large group handing them out.  They stopped to ask if everyone got one.  He had no deduction...he wasn't there.

Lying my omission and deceit.  Those are his biggest enemies right now.

Prayers for good choices on his part.
On the way to youth group tonight the three of us were talking.

At one point Younger Boy said something like "Mom, it is good you are trying to understand that both of us are traumatized."

Middle Boy nearly came unglued.  He is NOT traumatized.  He never was.  That is buried and gone and it "just makes him mad" when people want him to talk about his past.  It has "nothing" to do with the way he is now.  All of his pain from the past is "healed".

Unfortunately he TRULY believes this with every ounce of his being.  Unfortunately it is also true he has not worked through hardly anything. 

He admittedly sees progress in Younger Boy from the trauma center, but he "doesn't need to go there".  If I make him he isn't going to say a word.  He absolutely isn't going to talk about the past....ever.

This is so frustrating.  I am not going to fight him.  It is MONTHS until he finishes his other therapy and we can go to the trauma center.

Pray for his heart to be softened and pray for Younger Boy to not be discouraged by Middle Boy's view on therapy.
Something is going on with Middle Boy.

For months now there hasn't been any random crazy noises at weird times.  For a while there it was almost like a tourette's thing.

They have started again in the last couple of days.  Today after school they were REALLY bad.  Super loud.  All different kinds of noises.  Completely random.

I asked him to stop and think about it.  What is going on in his mind when he does it?  Does he even know he is doing it?

When Younger Boy does it generally he is under a lot of stress and it is usually animal sounds.  I haven't heard him do it for months either.

Middle Boy tells me all kids do it.  All the time.  Because it is fun.  I asked him to quit.  Obviously he can't.

Prayers for whatever has him anxious and is causing the noises to come.  I wish I knew and could help.
Younger Boy and I had the evening to ourselves tonight since Middle Boy was at the haunted houses.

It was good, because he needed to get black dress pants and black dress shoes for his choir concert on Thursday night.  I also decided to replace the shoes from the storm sewer incident.

He kept going on and on about how when we got home we should play a game and then watch a couple of movies before bed.

I asked him to stop and look at the clock and tell me what time it was.  It was 6:40PM.  I asked him what time his bedtime was "I don't know."  I told him he does know so he needed to think about it.  He finally came up with 8:30PM.  I asked him how much time that was and what we NEEDED to do yet that evening.  I was trying to show him that there was not time for two movies, a game, our errands, and dinner.

He immediately started screaming how I NEVER want to spend time with him.  I explained that spending time doesn't always look like fun activities, but that we were "spending time" right now.

Finally he admitted that he was having a good time and we didn't need to be watching a movie for it to count as spending time together.  Honestly, I am not sure why he even thinks that.

Prayers for him to start to understand responsibility and time.
Middle Boy went with Mentor L to a haunted house here in town.  He has never been to one before and he was a little bit freaked out about the whole thing.

Beforehand he was asking if people came out alive.  I said "where do you think they get the bodies in there?"  The look on his face was PRICELESS.

He was SO EXCITED and nervous all at the same time.

When he came home he had so much to tell me about it.  How he had to run through part of it and others were just creepy.  Interestingly the thing that scared him the most was a PIG with glowing eyes.  Not someone chasing him with chainsaws or someone clanging on metal with a hammer.  A pig.

In fact...he still hasn't stopped talking about that pig.
This afternoon we talked as a family about the details of the boys staying up all night.

During therapy Younger Boy intentionally led us all to believe that he was the "victim" in the whole thing and he really wanted to sleep, but Middle Boy wouldn't let him.

Funny how that changes when Middle Boy is actually part of the discussion.

Middle Boy did NOT wake him up and ask him to stay up all night.  He did that on his own. 

He never did admit to it being his own choices.  He just kept saying "I must not have understood Middle Boy."

We need to have more of these.  It really helps me to see the scheming from a whole new light.
I'm in a really big book club with this lady.  It is an online book club through Goodreads.  I think the last I saw there were over 120 people discussing this book.

The book is fascinating.  It isn't just for parents of kids from "hard places".  It is for all parents.  It is for all people.

I can't wait to discuss the chapters.  The first discussion starts today.

Join the club.  You can do it through the Facebook page of One Thankful Mom.

Even if you don't join the club you should read the book.  It is helping me with a lot of my own thinking patterns.

Praises for the ability to become educated on things I never knew existed.
During the EMDR session with Therapist D we tried to dig deep into when the feeling of "I can't make a mistake" started.  She asked him to think back to a time when he was "in trouble" when he was little.  He brought up the shoe incident from a few days ago.  We asked him for something older and he brought up something from a couple of weeks ago.

He is CLEARLY avoiding thinking about getting in trouble at other homes.

Finally through tears he talked about an incident when he lived at another foster home and nearly drown.  He hid the shoes of an adult foster sibling and when they were found they were thrown into the deep end and he couldn't get out of the pool until he retrieved them.  He didn't know how to swim and they kept pushing him back into the pool and wouldn't let him touch the side.

Through EMDR he processed through some of this.  We inserted me into the memory and I took him out of the pool to keep him safe.  Therapist D asked him to tell "Little Younger Boy" that he was safe now.  He started talking about adults being enemies.

There you have it.  One of his deep seated beliefs is that ALL ADULTS are enemies.  We began to process it.  It is deep.  it is going to take a really long time.

Praises for figuring it out.  Without EMDR I don't know that we would have gotten there.  Prayers for healing and a change in thinking.
Tuesday morning therapy for Younger Boy.  This morning I went reluctantly.  He hadn't gotten any sleep.  I was grouchy after the morning we had and I just didn't want to be there wasting time.

This morning we talked about barricades in Younger Boy's thinking.  He has HUGE barricades when it comes to two specific things...homework and making a mistake.  Logically he knows that he has to do homework.  He even wants to, but there is a bigger thought/feeling that takes over.  We just have to do the detective work to figure it out.  Making a mistake is a bigger issue and very well could be tied to the homework piece.  When asked about a mistake or messing up his first response is "I don't know."  It is yelled and if asked again it gets angrier and louder.

Therapist C explained how this is part of his survival brain.  Your survival brain does three things for you...fight, flight, or freeze.  She talked to him about what a deer does, because they are a great example.  His freeze is to say "I don't know."  She challenged him that he does in fact know and he just isn't willing to say.

We talked about how he needs to be in the present.  How in this house with this mom he doesn't get in trouble for making mistakes.  He doesn't get consequences for forgetting things.  This mom tries to help him.  His survival brain can't remember it.

We pointed out how often he says "I don't know" as an answer to a question.  We asked how many times he thought he said it in a day.  His response..."I don't know."  He didn't want to get it wrong.

That is our homework from Therapist C this week.  Stop him every time he says "I don't know" and have him process and answer. 

Praises for starting to solve this puzzle which is his brain and thoughts.
Middle Boy was tardy for school today.

I guess that is what happens when you only got an hour or so of sleep during the night and had a hard time getting yourself going.

He was mad at me for not reminding him about school. 

I had to just let it go.  Last I knew he had been going to school for a number of years and no one should have to remind him that he needs to get ready for school during the week.

Prayers for wisdom in how to address these things and the ability to not blow up at either boy when discussing it.
Here's what I know now.

After I went to bed last night both boys got up and were messing around from 11PM to 3AM.  I heard noises a couple of times and got up to investigate, but they did a good job of pretending and hiding.

This morning Middle Boy told me he was the only one up and that it was Sophie making all of the noise during the night.  He had allegedly gone to bed at midnight.

Younger Boy then told me that Middle Boy "forced" him to get up and that they were up until 1AM.

I have decided we will sit down after school and talk about what happened and who did what.

Prayers for wisdom for me during this discussion.  I am so frustrated by the two of them and their bedtime/nighttime antics right now.
Younger Boy was supposed to be in bed tonight when I got home from my Bible Study.  In fact he should have been in bed for about an hour by then.

Babysitter J reported that she had only gotten him to go into his room four minutes before I walked in the door.  I know she is without a doubt doing the best she can with him.  In fact most of the time she does better than I do in terms of bedtime.

I'm sure tomorrow he will tell me that he was in bed at his bedtime and that Babysitter J is a liar.

Praises for Babysitter J and her willingness to hang in there.
The boys played outside after school for quite a while.  I love listening to them interact and the things they talk about when they don't think I am listening.

It is so good to hear how much they care about each other.

Praises for good brothers and great adventures.
Middle Boy was supposed to go in after school today and take his spanish quiz from last quarter.

The quarter ended on Friday, but since she was gone on Friday she gave him today to do it as well.

He didn't go, because he hadn't studied yet.  Of course over the weekend when I asked about it he was done studying.  So, today when it comes to taking the quiz he isn't ready.

I guess he will just fail the quiz and his grade will reflect accordingly.

We had family photos taken today.  We wore our Kansas State Wildcats clothes.

Sophie was in the pictures.  She was generally more cooperative than Middle Boy.

I think we got some good photos and it was fun to hang out with our photographer.

When we get them back I'll have to post them.
When we finished with photos our photographer we hung out for a while.

He loves rap music like the boys do.  He introduced them to some of his favorites.

He listened to some of Middle Boy's original music.  A lot of it is incredibly dark.  However, he is VERY TALENTED at both writing and rapping.  It isn't just the mom in me either.

Photographer sent me a text when he got home telling me he thinks Middle Boy is incredibly talented.  I told Middle Boy and he didn't believe me.

We had a discussion about how if someone goes out of their way to give you a complement they actually mean it. 

More driving practice today around the neighborhood.

Turning is going MUCH smoother.  Braking...another story.

Somehow the concept of not needing to speed up to slow down is lost on Middle Boy.  It is not a comfortable feeling to have your seat belt lock at EVERY stop sign. 

It is making me look at my dad's patience level completely differently.  He never freaked out during our driving practices and he taught us to drive stick shifts.  I imagine he had whiplash more than once.  The seatbelts probably didn't lock, because they weren't mandatory back then.

Middle Boy is improving.  There is a lot more practice which needs to occur.
C took us out for a family adoption celebration today.

We decided to go to Dave and Buster's. 

It was an interesting experience.

To start off our waiter/waitress was a transvestite.  Younger Boy didn't notice.  Middle Boy was all over it.  He was so confused.  He couldn't figure out whether to call this person a man or woman.  She had a female name tag and was wearing a skirt.  She had a female figure.

She had whiskers on her entire face and the arms of a body builder and a very low voice.

It was one of the more odd dining experiences I have had recently.

C couldn't make eye contact with Middle Boy any time the waiter/waitress was at the table, because he was having such a tough time managing his disbelief.

Younger Boy remained oblivious throughout.

C...thanks for the "extra" entertainment during lunch...we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Middle Boy put his stereo on pause yesterday afternoon.

We now know that pause isn't forever. 

Why it was paused and not just turned off...not really sure. 

I didn't enjoy it going off at 4:10AM this morning though.  Not one bit.

He had fallen asleep in another room so he didn't hear it.

Being the mean mom that I am instead of going and turning it off I went and woke him and had him turn it off.  That's how irritated I was.

He went right back to sleep.

Lucky me...I was up for the day.
The boys spent the better part of the evening customizing shoes here.

They have each customized at least three pair...maybe more.  I saw Batman shoes, breast cancer awareness shoes, patriotic name it.

You can customize them right down to the stitching and the eyelets.  Honestly it provided them hours of entertainment and discussion.

Younger Boy took Sophie for a walk this evening.  They were running in the neighborhood and the next thing I knew Younger Boy was in the house crying.

It seems he was "just walking" down the street and his right tennis shoe (his best pair) unexplainedly went into the storm sewer.  He doesn't know.  He was just walking and the next thing it was down there.  Couldn't even see it.

We all went up to the storm sewer inlet to see if Middle Boy or I could see the shoe. visible shoe.

I was hoping we could buy another pair of tennis shoes in addition to the black pants and black shoes needed for his choir concert!
Tonight we each worked on part of dinner.

Middle Boy grilled hamburgers.  I made hash browns with onions.  Younger Boy set the table and put the fruit in serving dishes. 

Middle Boy does a pretty good job at cooking.  He always asks over and over whether what he ahs made is good or not.  I think I confirmed the hamburgers about six times over the course of dinner.

The other thing I have noticed is that both boys always thank me for the food when we are eating dinner.  Every single meal.  It is nice, but it also makes me sad.  I know they didn't both always have food for every meal and sometimes they had to go without.

Praises for food in abundance and for family to share it with.
We spent the majority of the day cleaning, mowing, and doing laundry.  Sophie got out and ran away twice.

The lawn looks amazing.  Middle Boy loves to mow and the boys work on it together.

The house looks better.  A far cry from amazing, but better.  The whole thing is vacuumed and dusted.  We are really starting to realize how much our cleaning lady used to do at the old house.

Laundry is half done.  We seem to have MILLIONS of loads per week and there are only three of us.

Praises for a good family day with getting along for the most part.
Younger Boy threw a fit this morning...complete fit.  He didn't get up until just after noon.  He was the last one up.

He came downstairs where Middle Boy and I were talking and having something to eat.  He asked if he could have breakfast.  Yes, he can have something to eat, but it was lunch time.  Egad...he started screaming and crying because he thought he couldn't have anything to eat.  It was out of control.

I asked him to please go to his room and take a 15 minute break and then come down and get something to eat.  He stomped his way up the stairs the entire time crying about starving.

Prayers we can get over the worries about food.
Every year I have to get a mandatory flu shot for my job.  We do a lot of work in hospitals and almost all of the facilities require them. 

Every year I get a fever from getting my flu shot and every year my muscles ache like crazy for the next 24 hours.  I got the shot this morning so I am pretty miserable tonight.  Luckily we weren't really doing much tonight.

At least this is done for the year.
We had dinner tonight at the grocery store buffet.  We needed to do some shopping.  It was then that I remembered you can get an already baked pizza there every Friday night for $5.  This is what we are doing every Friday night from now until eternity.

It was actually quite good.  Both boys had italian and chinese food.  I had a salad and some chicken. 

We watched the Avengers movie.  Actually the boys watched it and I did some other things while pretending to watch it.  It just isn't my kind of thing.

Everyone actually went to bed right afterward.  It was peaceful.
Thanks to Sophie I have figured out that Middle Boy is staying up the majority of the night.

The last couple of nights she has heard "something" in his room and basically tattled on him.  She barks NON-STOP until he is back in bed and quiet.

This system would be great if she could "just manage it" for me and the barking didn't wake me or Younger Boy.  I wonder how to let her know that!!

My tests I am taking for work are timed tests. 

I now know WITHOUT QUESTION I cannot take these tests when the boys are awake which means I cannot take them at home.  There is never a time when I am awake at home when at least one of the boys isn't up.

Tonight I tried to take a 40 minute test.  One minute per question. 

It felt like I said "I am taking a timed test" at least 50 times during that 40 minutes.  Of course each request was accompanied by an apology this would be the last interruption. to find a time when I can take all of these tests before due date.
Everyone (including me) worked on homework tonight for a couple of hours.

It was cold and rainy outside.  One of those nights that I would have LOVED to have curled up under a blanket with a book and read.  Unfortunately that didn't fit into the obligations of the night.

Middle Boy worked on regular homework and therapy homework.  Younger Boy worked on reading.
He is supposed to read 20 minutes per day and it still takes him nearly an hour to get it accomplished.  We need to work on efficiency in that area.

I'm glad the homework was being done.  I'm so tired of talking about it all of the time.
Younger Boy LOVED his time at the academy today.  LOVED IT!!

He was able to finish his math homework and also work on some math skills sheets.

They are changing the format of his academy so he will only be going on Tuesday and Thursday for the school year. 

Ultimately that is much easier for us anyway.  Wednesdays tend to be a little bit hectic anyway.

I'm glad he is starting to love learning.
I am frustrated by the class skipping.  Really frustrated.  Honestly though I am in some ways proud of Middle Boy. 

I'm not proud of him for skipping class.  I am proud of him though for working to avoid a fight.  For knowing one of his triggers and knowing that even though there are consequences for skipping the fight could have been really bad.

This evening I was on another blog and gained "it could be worse" perspective.

One of the mom's was lamenting how just when it seems progress is being made there is a backslide in behavior.  Her son had punched TWO different kiddos on the playground at school.  Another mom posted that her foster son had put someone's face in a vice grip.

I'm thankful those type of behaviors seem to have diminished at my house.  Believe me both boys have a history of "those things".

I just have to keep my focus on the gains we are making.  I don't want to minimize the fact that he skipped class...on the day of a test...but there was a behavioral awareness there today and that is new and it is something to be celebrated.
When I asked Middle Boy what he was doing during Spanish earlier in the week he replied "chillen".


I told him I was frustrated that he had my face...just that morning. 

He said if I would try to understand the circumstances it would help.  I explained I can't understand the circumstances if NO ONE tells me them.

He told me that he made a choice to skip class to avoid a fight.

I asked him why he didn't tell me this on Tuesday when I picked him up from school.  He had two full days to tell me and he waited until I found out for myself.

I asked him to see it from my perspective.  Did he see how maybe I don't believe that there was a potential fight, because of how often he has been lying.  How it is possible that I don't trust it is true since I had to ask instead of being given the information and it took days.

He remained INCREDIBLY calm.  He said that is what was keeping him calm.  The fact that he knew it was a screw up and that he could see why I would be so angry.

This is the first true time I have seen empathy from Middle Boy.  I'm upset about the skipping and lying, but there is progress being made...real progress.
I had my own therapy today over lunch.

Today I talked about my life growing up.  We talked about how I learned the things I learned.  The ways I learned to manage conflict and emotion. 

What I have known for a while now is this.  Generally speaking I do not show emotions...particularly in matters that deal with me.  I will cry when someone else is in pain, but rarely for myself.  The entire session Therapist M would ask me questions and I would tell her that those things don't matter anymore...they are water under the bridge.

We discussed how I felt about my parents growing up and how I feel now.  In all honesty I never realized my parents loved me until a couple of years ago when I read this book.  It was then that I realized both of my parents spoke the love language of acts of service.  Unfortunately it is also the one that means the least to me.  The two that speak the most to my heart are not two either of my parents (or anyone in my extended family) "speak".

Even thought I know this it has been such a long time of feeling a certain way that I have learned that my feelings and emotions don't matter. 

Recently I was hurt by something Great Grandma did (or didn't do).  I told Grandma about it.  She said "That's just Great Grandma."  What would have made all the difference in the world to me is if someone would have said "I bet that makes you sad or hurts your feelings."

When it comes to my family there are so many things that happen which hurt me...regularly.  I need to figure out how to let people know, because I am honestly at a crossroads of not caring anymore and wanting things to be different.

With the boys I am learning about feelings and I am learning to express them.  In some ways it is so hard for me.  Maybe that is part of the reason I relate to them like I do, because I get how they feel.

Prayers for healing of my heart and for the healing of the boys.  For me to be a good role model of healthy dealing with emotions as I navigate my way through figuring it out on my own.
Just this morning on the way to school Middle Boy and I were chatting.  We when got near the school he pointed to a boy and said, "that kid skips nearly every class".

I asked him whether or not he knew my thoughts on skipping class.  He said he does.  He knows that my expectation is that he would attend all classes every day.

I asked him if he has skipped a class this year.  I suspected there was one, but they had a substitute teacher that day so I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

He assured me it has NEVER happened.

Well, just 10 minutes ago I got a call from his Spanish teacher.  He skipped Spanish yesterday.  They had a test.

Tomorrow is the last day of the quarter so he won't be able to make it up.  It will likely cause him to fail Spanish for the quarter.

I am so irritated with him right now.  So...not only did he skip Spanish.  He lied to my face.

Hmmm...what is the natural consequence for skipping Spanish?
Tonight I asked the boys if they had ever used weighted blankets.

Middle Boy said he thought so and Younger Boy said no.

I asked Middle Boy to describe what he thought he used to me so I could determine if they were the same thing.  He didn't know.  This made me believe he did NOT use them in the past.

I told the boys I wanted to try them.  That I had done some research and that they seemed to help kids sleep.  BOTH BOYS NEED THIS.

Younger Boy was ALL FOR IT.  Could we stop and get his tonight.  I wish it was that easy.

Middle Boy told me he is already taking meds to help sleep (not technically true, because he takes melatonin) and he isn't going to try anything else.

I asked him if what he is doing is working.  He said not usually.  I 100% agree with that assessment.  I told him I thought we should try it, because we could all use good sleep in our house on a regular basis.

This is when I realized that the thought of sleeping soundly TERRIFIES Middle Boy.  He started doing all of his anxious behaviors.  Chewing things.  Picking at the skin on his fingers until they bleed.  Tapping his foot.  Making random obnoxious noises.

Younger Boy was also skin picking over this topic, but he wants to try.

Before I try with Middle Boy we are going to have to work through some of the nighttime anxiety.  I wish he would finish the therapy program he is in so we could start at the trauma center.  There are so many things they could help us very many.

Pray for sleep anxiety.  Pray I don't become exhausted before we can start to better manage the sleep anxiety.
I love our church youth group...A LOT.

We are in preparation for our fall retreat.  The girls in my group are ready to go ALL OUT on this.

They want to make tutus and wear tiaras and crazy socks and boas.

Tonight we had to pick our shirt color.  Not easy.  Seven high school girls.  Making a decision...not on one, but three...just in case two groups have the same first choice.

Then we had to pick a name.  We talked for a while about all of the different words that went with princesses.  We got NOWHERE!

So our group name for the retreat is....DRUM ROLL...."Insert Clever Name".

Yup.  That's our name.  It was down to that and TBD.

I love these girls and how very real they are with each other.  Can't wait to spend the weekend hanging out with them.
Younger Boy was super excited tonight as he was telling me about school today.  He was one of few in his Social Studies class who had watched the debate and so he got to talk to the class about what he thought about it.

He said his social studies teacher told him it is important to start to try to understand these things as a kid and gave him a high five for watching.

Younger Boy was BEAMING while telling the story.
Our worker for Branching Out missed his last meeting with Middle Boy.  He didn't call for days after.

He was set up to meet with him today at 4PM.  At 4:30PM Middle Boy called.  The worker still wasn't there yet.

Middle Boy doesn't need more disappointment from programs or people in his life.  He has had more than his fair share.

I called the worker.  He had a legitimate reason for running late and was headed to our house at that time.  I asked him to PLEASE call from now on when running late.  (When did this stop being a courtesy?)

When I got home the worker was there.  They were setting up an appointment to go and work on getting his learner's permit.  He was showing Middle Boy where you can go online to take the practice exams.

I am thankful for this program and thankful Middle Boy is engaging.
Today after school Younger Boy called me SOBBING.

What on earth is wrong?

He FORGOT to go to the learning academy...ON THE FIRST DAY.

He hates to make a mistake.  He hates to forget things. 

Now that may sound crazy considering the amount of things he just doesn't do and the homework he skips.

This kid is PARALYZED by making a mistake.  In his "world" it is much easier to not do something than to do some of it wrong.

I wish I could say I don't understand, but I do.  More than he knows.

It's okay that he missed.  I wish it wouldn't have been the first day, because I suspect that is when they set all of the ground rules, but it will be fine.  I am not mad.

Prayers for Younger Boy to work on giving himself some grace.
J sent me an email today asking if I had ever heard of weighted blankets and do I think they might help Younger Boy.

I am so thankful for this email.  I hadn't heard of them, but I started doing some research.  They seems to help with sensory relaxation in kids with trauma, anxiety, and ADHD.  They started being used with kids with autism, but are becoming more popular even in adults...particularly those in early stages of dementia.

They are EXPENSIVE.  They need to weigh 10% of the body weight of the person plus 1 pound.  We need a 19 pound blanket and a 10 pound blanket. 

I found a website telling me how I can make them.  I think I am going to try it. hard can it be?  I have a sewing machine.  Grandma was my 4-H leader.  Surely I can sew two blankets together forming pockets and fill the pockets with ziploc bags of dried peas, right? 2020 when I finish the blankets (I am planning to start this weekend) I will let you know how they work.

Seriously though.  We are going to try it.  I am 90% sure it would help Middle Boy.  I am 50/50 on Younger Boy.  That is only because he is scared to sleep with any covers on himself.

Now to sell it to the boys who I am sure will tell me they sleep "just fine".
The other day on Foster2Forever's Facebook page there was the following question...

What are the kids who come to your home afraid of?

I was able to list in about two minutes the following things...
  1. Sleeping
  2. Our house being broken into
  3. Blinds being open
  4. Fire
  5. Showering
  6. Public Bathrooms
  7. Thunderstorms
  8. Newspapers
  9. Car doors shutting during the middle of the night
  10. Sleeping under the covers
  11. The dark
  12. Making a mistake
  13. Getting things on their clothes or shoes
  14. Not having enough food
  15. Running out of money
  16. Leaning against a tree
Now that they are more comfortable in our home more of these things are actually starting to surface.  Before I think they didn't come out, because they were sure it was cause them to have to leave.  It seems like every day there is something new. 

Some of these I know the story behind and why there is a fear.  Others I can guess.  Most I can figure out without much effort.  Some of these have simple solutions...some do not.  Some are bigger obstacles than others.

I wish I didn't have to figure it out.  I wish they didn't have these fears.  I wish so many things had been different for both of them.

Prayers for fears to be calmed in their hearts.
Tonight we watched the presidential debate.  At one point Younger Boy said "All I think about this is that it is just a bunch of talking."  Pretty accurate.

It opened a bigger discussion though about who I was voting for and why.  We talked about democrats and republicans and which I am.  We talked about the registered voters in our family and what political party they are affiliated with.

We talked about Obama and Romney and their beliefs.  We talked about how there were fact checkers after the debates, because not everything they talk about is 100% accurate...on either side.

Somehow we got on the topic of abortion.  I think Younger Boy just asked what is was.  Middle Boy explained it to him as I listened in.  It was interesting.

During the discussion about getting guns off the streets it was very interesting to listen to Middle Boy's opinion on the topic.  Both candidates were talking about education.  Middle Boy thinks they are completing missing the mark.  His view is that neither of them have ever lived in that situation so how can they really know.  How do they know what will make a difference?

Younger Boy fell asleep long before it was over.  Middle Boy wanted to hear what the analysts had to say after.  He loves politics.

He asked me if I thought Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt would have been good presidents in current time.  They are his favorites.  I can't remember why.

I love watching both boys learn.  They are both smart and are learning to be confident and articulate.
Middle Boy's driving is improving.

I had to make rules for Younger Boy if he was going to be in the car.  If he is playing games he has to be using headphones and he cannot talk to Middle Boy while he is driving.

Middle Boy can't listen to the radio or concern himself with what Younger Boy is doing.

We drove around our neighborhood for about twenty minutes.  Right turns, left turns, name it.

I thought he was going to have a heart attack when I asked him to drive us to the gas station since we needed gas.  So...he drove a mile and a half to the gas station.  He hit the curb on our side of the street twice, because cars coming at him make him nervous.

He did pretty well.  I didn't freak out.

All in all a good experience.
I have found a motivator!!

Middle Boy wanted to practice driving today after school. 

I told him he could IF all of his homework was done BEFORE 7PM.  He had to go through everything and there could be nothing "he forgot" and had to wrap up later.

He was meticulous.  He had Younger Boy manage Sophie so he could focus.  He poured over his assignment notebook and notebooks to make sure nothing was out of line.

He made 6:47PM.

Praises for a motivator.  I am sure when the novelty wears off he will be less accommodating, but I am going to use it while I've got it.
Middle Boy got an application for Upward Bound today at school.

He isn't sure he wants to do it.  I asked why.  He thinks it is too much work and he is also doing Branching Out.  I explained that while there is some overlap in the programs there are some aspects which are quite different.  I explained I thought he should at least apply.  Someone had seen something in him which said he would be a good candidate.  He didn't believe me.  His exact questions was "who sees something good in me?"

That question breaks my heart.  He really thinks NO ONE sees good in him.  I got out my Bible and we started with God and then we talked about people here on earth who see good in him. 

My prayer is that he would begin to see good in himself.  There is a lot of it there, but it is so overshadowed by the other beliefs that the enemy has ingrained in him for his whole life.

Prayers for his understanding of how God sees him and he is good.
Middle Boy's adoption recruiter missed his adoption and they have been planning to go to dinner for a while.  Tonight was the night.

It is SO COOL to see how much he enjoys hanging out with her.  I had not seen this with ANY of his workers.

She and I talked for a little while while the boys shot baskets.

They went to dinner.  When they returned he made her a CD of her music and they agreed to keep in touch.

Honestly...I hope they do.
Babysitter J is on fall break so I picked up Middle Boy from school today.

When he got in the car he told me he has a quiz to make up for his science teacher tomorrow after school.  I was pretty proud of him for remembering he needed to schedule it with her.

Before we got home I got a call from the science teacher.  He was in fact going to make up the quiz tomorrow...while he was serving detention for her.

It seems Middle Boy and his friend were playing "Hit My Hand" in class.  She said she has no idea, but there are boys doing it in every class.  Middle Boy hit his friends hand so hard that it swelled up and he had to go to the nurse.  Automatic detention.

When I got off the phone with his teacher I asked if he had forgotten to tell me part of the story.  He insisted it was "no big deal".  With him nothing ever is.  I explained (again) that since he is on probation it is a BIG DEAL.  I also explained that even if he wasn't, to me it is a BIG DEAL.

He said "everyone does it".  I used my new favorite phrase with him.  I find myself saying this a lot recently.  Do not compare yourself to what others are doing.  Compare yourself to the right thing to do.  I also explained how he was FULLY in control of whether or not this even happened.  He didn't have to engage in the game at all.  Really it isn't part of the curriculum for science anyway.

Prayers for control over his behavior and thinking before he acts.
This morning was yucky...really yucky.

Younger Boy missed his bus.  Why?  No idea.

He was up in time.  He even left to go outside on the porch in plenty of time.  Unfortunately he got distracted in the garage.  I didn't think anything about it, because he had left in plenty of time and I saw his bus on the corner.

Middle Boy was running a little late.  We went into the garage and there was Younger Boy riding his scooter around.  What?

So...I was MAD.  What one earth?

I had to drop Younger Boy off at school before Middle Boy, because if I did it in the other order NO ONE would be at school on time.  I didn't have a prayer of getting to my conference in Lincoln on time.

Ugly morning...ugly behaviors...ugly feelings.
Younger Boy was EXHAUSTED tonight.  He ended up going to bed at 7:30PM.

Middle Boy and I talked about today's sermon.  A very real, very honest discussion. 

We talked about sex and about how he views women.  We talked about objectifying women.

We talked about "the look" and whether or not he sees it as an issue in himself.  What do his friends do?

We talked about ways to change your viewpoint.

We discussed relationships and his constant "girlfriends".  He admitted those aren't relationships.

We talked about how the high school culture would lead you to believe that it is okay to have sex with everyone and the more people you have sex with the "cooler" you are.

When we started the discussion I honestly wasn't sure what kinds of answers or non-answers I was going to get.  I am luckily in the way the boys talk to me about EVERYTHING. 

He was VERY  HONEST with his answers and his struggles and his thoughts. 

We agreed to keep the communication open about this topic.  When we were finished we both felt good about the discussion.

Praises for open communication.  I am thankful God gives me the ability to talk to the boys about things others might find uncomfortable or awkward.
I made tacos for dinner.  We were really having a nice time when Sophie needed to go outside.

Younger Boy got up to let her out.

Middle Boy got up to lock him out of the house.

I got mad.

Middle Boy said, "You don't have to act like a donkey."  Exact words.

I told him I didn't like to be called an ass at my own dinner table.

He SWORE that is not what he meant.  Really?  What else could have been meant by your statement?  Out comes the kooky story and the excuse that he just wasn't thinking.

So frustrating.  So unnecessary. 
The boys spent the afternoon hanging out.

They cleaned their rooms individually.  At one point Younger Boy came out to tell me that his closet door "just fell off".  I am not stupid.  It is a bi-fold door.  Those don't "fall off".  The track for it is bent.  Someone (professional) is going to have to fix it.  I asked multiple times how it happened.  No one seems to know.

The boys played football and basketball.  They wrestled until I remembered that while the technically have medical coverage I don't have their new numbers so going to the emergency room would be difficult.

All in all it was a good afternoon if you don't count the closet door incident.  I don't honestly think it happened today.  It was propped against the closet and looked fine so I suspect it has been that way for a while.

I have 20 quizzes I have to complete for work by Thanksgiving.  They aren't easy.  Luckily they are based on videos I can watch at home and I can do all of the quizzes at home.  I have to get 90% on each one or I have to retake it.

Each person in the company was assigned a level they needed to complete.  The quizzes are on newer drawing software that we use.  I don't do much drawing so I am starting at near zero knowledge.  There are five levels.  Thankfully I only have to get to level two.

It is somewhat overwhelming.  The quizzes are not easy.  Most people are having to take them four or five times to complete them.

I spent the afternoon watching the videos for quiz one and failing the test twice.  I am learning a lot.

I think it is good for the boys to see that people continually learn in life.  That sometimes for your job you need to study and learn new things.  Doesn't matter what your job is.

Prayers for time to be able to complete this.  The likelihood of it happening during the work hours is quite low. 
Younger Boy's leadership meeting was 30 minutes longer than Middle Boy's. 

I decided we would kill the time by having Middle Boy drive around the church parking lot.  It was basically deserted and is quite large.  He was NERVOUS....really nervous.

He actually did quite well.  He is having a little trouble getting the feel for the gas and the brake.  (Think nearly squealing tires and whiplash!)  He overturns when he needs to turn corners.  Had there been cars in the lot we would have sideswiped a few.  He did angled parking in a perpendicular stall.  That wasn't the goal, but the result!

Really though...he wasn't bad.  I didn't freak out.  I was patient with instructions.  He was a good listener.

Praises for the time spent together and for the lesson.
Generally speaking we go to the early church service every week.  This is so we can go as an entire family and then Younger Boy can go to youth group during second service.

Today the sermon was over sexual purity and adultery.  I wasn't sure Younger Boy should go.  Middle Boy...absolutely.

So...we slept in and went to second service.

The sermon was started with "the look".  Middle Boy and I agreed to talk about the entire sermon later in the day.

Tonight I am feeling sick.  Not really sure what it is, but just out of sorts.

The boys decided they would just make themselves grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.  In all honesty they make them FAR BETTER than I do.  They offered to make me one, but I just felt yuck so I opted out.

Prayers for feeling better tomorrow.
Mandatory quiet time for everyone this afternoon for one hour.

Doesn't matter what you were doing, but you needed to be in your room without electronics and you had to be quiet...for one hour.

As it turns out everyone fell asleep during this time and quiet time lasted for three hours.

Looks like we need more regular sleep at our house!!
Generally speaking Younger Boy and I have a good time when we go grocery shopping during Middle Boy's therapy.

Today was sample day at the store.  He LOVED V-8 Fusion.  Thought we should buy every flavor.

We talked about what we should have for meals for the remainder of the week.

I stood for about 10 minutes as he checked the dates on all of the milk to find the one that was the furthest out.  Not really sure why we do that.  Habit for me probably.  We go through EIGHT gallons of milk a week.  Yes...I said EIGHT.  No...I don't drink milk.

I love Younger Boy's heart.  He ALWAYS asks the person in line behind us if they need help putting their items on the stand to be rung up.  ALWAYS.  It is always so sweet.  He loves it when the person is elderly or has little kids and is by them self.  Today it was a lady who has cancer and she started to cry she was so thankful.

I love these little blessings and glimpses of Younger Boy's heart.  Sometimes they are few and far between.
Middle Boy's therapy group passed him on another assignment today.  There were a number of other kids who needed to present so he only had the chanced to do one.

There are four new kids in the group as of today.  I'm not sure how many that brings the group to now.  What that means (in theory) is that it will become harder to present on a regular basis, because there are more people needing to present.

He is ready to present seven more assignments though so that is good. 

Prayers for continued motivation in therapy.
I have been really looking forward to the last two classes I needed to make up at the attachment and trauma center.  When I looked at the syllabus I wasn't super crazy about the fourth class...figuring out our own triggers and meltdowns as parents.  YIKES.

I went to the center.  Class canceled.  I have to go in late November, early December.  They didn't have enough people attending the early fall class so they canceled.

That gave me two free theory, but I decided to just come home and get some things done...silly me.
Both boys had student leadership lunches for their youth groups.

Middle Boy is on the tech team for Student Impact.  The entire student impact group meets monthly and digs deeper into God's word.

Younger Boy went to the informational meeting on the Student Leadership Team for his youth group.  When I asked him questions about it he had no idea.  Either it was a really poor informational session (doubtful) or he didn't pay attention during the meeting (likely).  All he knows is that he wants to be a part of it.  A part of what...he isn't sure.

I got to spend the time hanging out by myself.  I didn't do anything too exciting.  I went to the pet store for a little while to get Sophie a new collar.  I was going to get her a sweater, because she shivers all the time.  Poor thing weighs less than six pounds and when she comes in from outside she is pretty miserable. 

I also had a quiet lunch by myself and then read for a while.

Praises for the alone doesn't happen often.
We were notified today Younger Boy is eligible for the after school academy at his school.  Basically it is daily tutoring help for two hours three days per week.  Tuesday it is reading and language arts, Wednesday is study skills and organization, and Thursday it is math and science.  They work on homework and also do "catch up" activities to get them to grade level.

We talk about these things.  He always views them as punishments.  We are working on viewing these things as opportunities.  Not every kid gets the opportunity to learn extra things and send time getting to know the teachers better.  Not every kid gets to learn more. 

We discuss learning in our home.  I work really hard to try to be an example of lifelong learning.  An example of striving to know more or be more.  I don't want the boys to think that I don't do these things myself and just ask them to.

Praises for the academy and for learning...continual, lifelong learning.
When I got home from work Middle Boy was in his room doing homework.  He told me he had a lot and that he was getting a jump start on it.

He kept working for TWO HOURS...straight through.

Younger Boy was doing his 20 minute per day reading.

Honestly I thought I was in the wrong house.

Praises for them being motivated.
Younger Boy is NOT going to the hockey game anymore.

This morning he chose not to with his behavior.

He decided to throw a glass of milk at me when I told him he had to come home first.  That is what M's mom and I had decided.

It resulted in me needing to change clothes for work.

I wish he had made a different choice.  I wish he could go to the hockey game, but he can't.  He needs to get his anger under control.
Tonight 11PM and Middle Boy is moving the area rug out of his room.  He was supposed to be finishing up homework (didn't he have all day) and then turning out his lights.

He came in my room to ask a question.  This is when I got frustrated.

This is what I am talking about.  I can't have downtime.  You are moving an area rug out of your room into another area of the house, because it "bothers" you.

Let's call it what it is...stalling from going to bed.  I don't know why you don't like to go to bed.  I can probably guess, but you have to or we are going to be MISERABLE!!

Tomorrow night 8:30PM.  I don't care if it is Friday.  You need the sleep just as much as I do.
Middle Boy passed FIVE assignments tonight at therapy. 

I have started initially and putting a date on all of them each week so I know for sure whether he has done the required amount. 

Therapist L came out and talked to me.  Asked me about respectfulness toward me.  He still has a way to go.  Asked about respectfulness toward other authority.  Still a way to go.  Kindness toward his brother...marginal.  There is still a lot of work to be done. 

She asked about making amends for the texts last week.  I said he has been much more aware of his words toward me and kinder.  Still sarcastic and disrespectful often, but not quite as over the top.

She is going to be presenting at a couple of conferences in the next few weeks so he is going to have two separate weeks without therapy.

I have mixed feelings about it.  That's two more weeks this whole thing is going to drag on, but it is also two weeks of NOTHING on Saturday or Thursday evening.

Praises for a good Christian therapist.  She thinks the fall retreat for church will be vitally important to his growth in her program.
This morning I talked to Middle Boy about bedtime.  He agreed to go to bed at 8:30PM.

Tonight when I reminded him he told me it was "inconvenient".  He wanted to negotiate.  He told me that he would be in his room and stay there at 8:30PM and would be asleep by 9:00PM.  That was my original intent, but I let him think that he was getting his way.

I explained that I need some downtime in my life.  I need a few minutes every day when they are asleep where I can just be by myself.  Middle Boy asked if I could just do it at work.  I will do it at home after you are in bed.

He said, "you already do it".  Yes, AT MIDNIGHT, because you are always still up and in and out of your room and mine.  That isn't fair.  I WANT NEED MORE SLEEP!!  I want my downtime to be NO LATER THAN 9PM.

Both boys said this will no longer be a problem.  I know there is no way that is true, but I am giving them the benefit of the doubt.

We'll see how tonight goes.
Younger Boy's friend, M, has an extra ticket to a hockey game Friday night.  He wanted to know if Younger Boy could go.

The game is an hour away.  It will be a late night, but I decided it would be okay.  I told him he would need to keep his behavior and words in check until then...less than 24 hours.  He promised he would.

So...Younger Boy is going to hockey tomorrow night.  I hope he has a good time.
Tonight Younger Boy remembered he had to survey 30 people BY TOMORROW.  He has had the assignment for a week, but he just remembered to bring it home today.  Last night...would have been easy.  There are literally 1,000 people at our church on Wednesday nights.  Some of them can't read yet, but we could have still found thirty.  We aren't having a large gathering.  Our neighborhood is new so there aren't 30 people there.  So here is what I posted on Facebook.

Younger Boy has to do a survey of 30 people.   He isn't the best at planning so I am hoping 30 of you will help us out. It is opinion...

Here's the question... The Taliban forced these laws and more on the people of Afghanistan in the 1990s. Rank these from 1 to 5 with one being the worst:

Women couldn't go outside without a note or a man with them.

Women couldn't go on a bus without a man with them.


Men or women couldn't go outside after curfew.

Men had to have beards.
Fifty people stepped out to help us out of a jam.  Interesting answers all of them.  Some I would love to hear the thinking behind.
I am so thankful for friends who will help us out.  I was dreading going to the grocery store to ask random strangers!!
This blog post is some of THE BEST information I have read in a long time.  I am devoting a lot of my free time to understanding what my boys are going through and this helps me a lot.

Why Does My Child Act Like This?

Maybe it will help you, too.
Over lunch I had my therapy.

We talked spent the majority of the time talking about the texts I got last Wednesday from Middle Boy after school. 

We talked about how he is emotionally and verbally abusing me when he does that.  We talked about how that makes me feel.  We talked about how I process it and how I deal with it.

Here's the thing.  I don't think I ever really process it.  I am so busy that there really isn't time to dwell on it.  In M's words it is going to come out all sideways in some way.  Most likely health wise.

We talked about how often that form of abuse happens.  When he swears at me and calls me names.  I don't know maybe 2 or 3 times a month. 

She wanted to confirm with me that I know NO ONE deserves to be talked to that way and that one time is one time too many.  She wanted to make sure I didn't believe those things about myself.

Here is the danger though.  Once someone is constantly telling you those things you need to KNOW without a doubt they are not true.

She asked if I thought he could stop.  I don't know.  Ultimately what I want is for him to NEVER talk to anyone else that way again.  Does that mean that I am going to take it from him so no one else has to suffer through it.  Maybe...for a while.

His verbal anger is OVER THE TOP.  I am not scared of him physically at all.  It really doesn't scare me when he is emotionally abusive.  It just makes me sad.  Sad about what has happened to him in the past to make him think this is right and that he gets this angry.

There is a pattern to it.  It never ends up being about what he initially got angry over.  It always ends up being about me not listening and interrupting.  Even if I haven't said a word.

I hate TRAUMA.  I hate what it has done to BOTH of my boys.  I KNOW that God can heal all of this.

Pray for me to be able to not take his words to heart and to find a way to process them.