We have been quasi "stable" at our house for a little while.  Sure we have our "over the top" moments, but by and large things have kind of become "normal".

Then came the holidays.

Holidays are complicated with trauma.  There are traditions that the boys want to keep, but don't articulate...just get mad when we aren't doing them.  There are things I like to do that "don't say holidays" to them.  There is GRIEF over their biological families.

This manifests itself in a variety of ways.  Sometimes anger.  Sometimes reverting to the age of major trauma.  Sometimes no sleep.  Lots of defiance.

Right now Younger Boy and Middle Boy are going with reverting to the age of major trauma which in both cases is pre-school and NO SLEEP.

I am wiped out and not handling their not sleeping well.  I have tried going to bed and just letting them stay up, but they have woken me FOUR times the last two nights.  Plus their decision making seems to be similar to that of a toddler so letting them stay up is not logical.

We aren't celebrating with extended family until next week so I am praying things will settle down a little bit by then.

Prayers for a Merry Christmas to all of you.
In my opinion education isn't something to be taken lightly.  Relationship with God and education...paramount.

Middle Boy doesn't agree about the education piece.  It makes me angry.  I feel like he is short sighted.  No matter what I say he doesn't seem to get that what he is doing now is LITERALLY affecting the remainder of his life.

A term of his probation is to "work to his ability" in school.  Pretty subjective, but I know what he is doing is NOT IT.

Seven classes and a study hall.  Finals the next two days.  Four classes which could go either way...pass or don't pass.  One class that there is no need to bother with the final, because he has a 2% in the class.  Yup...TWO PERCENT.

Why are the grades like this...APATHY.  No work turned in.  Tests turned in with NO ANSWERS written on them...COMPLETELY BLANK.

He is working with a tutor and he doesn't bring the right things home.

At this pace he WILL NOT graduate from high school and college is NOT an option. 

He jokes about it and thinks it is funny.  My offers of help to study are blown off.

Middle Boy writes music.  It is his escape.  Honestly...he is pretty good.

I get frustrated by the amount of time he wastes spends on it.  But it is currently his passion.

His tastes have changed since he moved in.  He used to be an "explicit lyric" rap kinda guy.  Now his favorites are country and some contemporary christian.  He points out his favorites every now and then and I actually know some of them!!

He is working on his fifth or sixth CD.  The title track of the current one is White Fog.

Amazing song.  I am going to try to get his permission to post it here.  It is about how he gets into a fog and believes things about himself he knows aren't true.  Its how this fog overcomes him and how he fights to get control while keeping his eyes on the light.  It is deep.

More than being good at music the kid is an AMAZING writer.

Middle Boy has had some breakthroughs in the past couple of weeks.

The enraged episodes are coming far less frequently these days and I have become more attuned to their triggers.  Most often it is due to fear of some kind.

In fact a whole lot of his current behavior is driven by fear.

He was scared to drive in snow and he melted down.  Mad that I hadn't taught him.  Never mind that it hadn't snowed yet and there hadn't been an opportunity.  It was supposed to snow the next day and I had been delinquent in my parenting.  It spiraled from there.

Just this week we figured out school is such a struggle, because he is AFRAID to graduate.  In his mind it triggers a whole series of events which includes leaving home.  Just this week he admitted the thought of EVER having to leave my home terrifies him.  That is big on so many levels.  In a weird way I wanted to cry tears of joy.

We are working on knowing it is okay to be successful.

The coolest thing though is he is DISCHARGED from regular therapy and is now on an "as needed" basis.  He is so excited about this.  He has been in therapy of some sort for TEN YEARS.

I'm proud of him.  He is trying...really hard.

Praises for the therapeutic discharge letter.  Prayers for continued healing.
Younger Boy is on a cycle in therapy.

I know this because his therapist pointed it out to me this week.

They film him at every session...for a couple of reasons.  They are trauma therapy trainers and they use him in their training sessions.  He is also able to dissociate in a way that no other therapists believe without seeing it on video.  He is part of some trauma research being done and it is part of the documentation.

The cycle looks like this.  We have a "breakthrough" in therapy and a GREAT session.  The following week at home is complete chaos and the next session is spent talking about kooky behaviors and why they happened.

They believe that it is a subconscious effort to feel NO FEELINGS.

We had a week where we talked about past abuses at former homes...he cried and cried in the session.

The following week we talked about why he stole things from a store.

We talked about how angry he was at his biological parents.

The following week he had to be given a protection order for our dogs, because he was hitting and kicking them.

We talked about how he doesn't need a mom, because moms are mean and can't be trusted anyway.

The following week he shot himself in the finger with a BB gun and lied to the doctor in the emergency room.  Told her he slammed his finger in a door and the BB had been there since childhood.  Has to have surgery on his finger to remove the BB.

We talked about how he wishes he lived with all of his biological siblings and trauma bond.

Last night he banged his head on the bathroom wall so hard that there are three holes there that he "might have" done.

Slowly...we are getting there ever so slowly. 

Pray he can feel safe enough to actually feel his feelings and to know that he can handle them.
We needed to go shopping for Thanksgiving dinner.

Younger Boy and I were inside and Middle Boy was outside with playing with Max.

I asked Younger Boy to go tell Middle Boy to bring Max in, because we were leaving to go to the store.

Middle Boy didn't come in.  I got in the car to leave and Middle Boy came to ask what I was doing.  Apparently Younger Boy had told him Sophie wanted Max to come in.  Nothing about leaving for the store. 

He swears he told him.  I'm sure he didn't, because this is the kind of thing he does these days.
It looks like deceit.  Every single part of it.

Middle Boy asked if he could run to Walmart to get something for school.  Sure.  Finally a responsible action.

Not only that, but he decided to buy himself a pocket knife.  I asked about it and he said, "well you only have to be 16 to buy them".  That isn't the point.

I do not want him to have a pocket knife.  I would not have purchased a pocket knife.  I'm angry he was able to purchase one.

I believe the trip to Walmart had nothing to do with school and everything to do with a pocket knife. I have a confiscated pocket knife that I have to give away.
I find I don't write when things are hard and things have been hard lately....really hard.

It seems as though our lows are really low these days.  We have a high every now and then, but it never seems to stick around much.

Younger Boy continues to need 24/7 supervision for the most part.  Just when he gets some trust earned back he does something which ends up getting him more supervision.

He gets angry when he can't go to friends houses and when he can't spend the night with friends and do all the normal teenage stuff, but he can't be trusted. 

As best I can tell the stealing is once again confined to our home.  It is rampant at home though.  It is silly things.  Things he could have if he asked, but he doesn't. 

He did make the honor roll.  I am struggling with it though, because his school district doesn't take points off for late work.  If they followed the ACTUAL deadlines he would be a C student at best.  I read an article lately about a mom requesting her child be removed from the honor roll and honestly it could have been written by me. 

Since he found out he was on honor roll he has gone back to his "forgetfulness".

He is back to REFUSING to shower.  REFUSING.  In the last ten days he has showered exactly twice.  Luckily my nine year old niece will be here this weekend and I think I can count on her to tell him he stinks without prompting!!

Middle Boy has a tutor now.  Paid for by probation.  He thinks it is stupid.  He can "get his grades up" himself.  He isn't though.

He is well on his way to truancy again this year.  In our state you get 20 excused absences before you are truant.  We aren't even to the end of the first semester and he has 18.  It seems as if he can vomit on cue.  Which will get you sent home.

Middle Boy's attitude is marginal.  He is VERY HARSH to me and it is getting incredibly old.

He and his girlfriend broke up.  That is a relief.

I need to blog more often.  When things are hard it gives me perspective...I always forget that.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you if I don't blog again before then.

We got to our hotel kind of late, but the pool was going to be open for a couple of more hours so Middle Boy and I decided to go for a swim.

Maybe not completely out of the ordinary or spontaneous, but neither of us had suits.  We did both have shorts and t-shirts we were planning to sleep in so that's what we wore to the pool.

We talked more about life "stuff".  He wanted to know how insurance works so we talked about all different kinds of insurance.  He wanted to know about wills and how they work.  I asked him if he was planning to kill me.  He said, "No.  I just don't know what it is."  So we talked about how wills work and how guardians work and then he wanted to know what would happen to them if I die.

There you go...the real question.  Would he be homeless?  I explained how I have it covered (sort of). 

I'm glad we took the time to swim and not just go to sleep otherwise we might not have had this conversation which has clearly been bothering him.

Praises for the little moments.
Middle Boy and I had a good drive to the football game.  We chatted about anything and everything.

We laughed and there wasn't much tension.  It wasn't tension-free, but it was certainly bearable unlike recent days.

I'm feeling like this weekend will be blessed.
We had drop off duty for the fall retreat.  A fall retreat I was sort of begrudgingly letting Younger Boy attend.  With all of the theft in recent days I just didn't want to deal with the "what if" of him stealing yet something else.

We stopped by and picked up dinner for the boys to eat on the bus and a "snack" for Middle Boy which looked strikingly similar to the meals for the two younger ones.

We arrived at church and they put their stuff in the HUGE pile accumulating by the luggage trailer.  I stopped to chat for a minute and went inside to check them in.  They had taken care of it.

Younger Boy and S...I hope you have an awesome time.  S...just knowing your story it makes me smile that you are courageous enough to go.

Prayers for a great weekend.
Younger are being a jerk.

This morning I got him up for school.  He isn't "good with mornings" and it requires a significant number of return trips to keep him on task.

Today he took it to a completely new level.  As of this morning he no longer knows the steps required to get yourself ready for school and out the door.  Has no idea what they are.  Said so himself.

Of course...this backfired on him, because I assured him that people who have no idea what steps need to be taken to get ready in the morning have NO BUSINESS at a middle school fall retreat.  NONE.

This makes you suddenly remember what you need to do.  Funny how that works.
Middle Boy and I are taking a weekend trip together. 

Our relationship right now can only be described as volatile right now.

We have made a vow though.  This weekend we will enjoy each other.  We will not talk about the every day junk that gets in our way.

We will work on being mother and son.  We will work on enjoying our time together.

I am so looking forward to it.
Middle Boy had therapy tonight.  It sucked.  He was angry and doing his best to be checked out.  He couldn't understand why I am frustrated with the suspension thing.  He didn't get that while it happened a month or so ago I found out today.  In his mind I should be over it.

He was belligerent and more than once Therapist A had to tell him he was out of line.  This is his mode of operation.  If he is in trouble he becomes belligerent and hurtful.

While we were doing therapy Younger Boy took it on himself to spray powder spray on ALL OF THE WALLS in the laundry room.  Why?  He doesn't know. Just felt like it he guesses.

Therapist A sent the boys outside and we talked.  She reassured me that what I am doing is making a difference and that these boys are hard and that she knows it feels lonely and like no one gets it.  That made a difference to me.  I am constantly in an uphill battle and the people who live in my home are an ungrateful lot.

Take deeps breaths...those were her parting words.  Take deep breaths.
A friend sent me this from an old email she had from a site she subscribes to.  Oh how I needed to hear this today....

Sometimes our children choose a path that seems to wind and twist and loop back on itself.  It seems sometimes they prefer to walk right along the edge of the cliff, where the limestone crumbles away beneath their feet with every step they take.  They teeter on the precipice - their arms outstretched, refusing to heed our calls to come back from the edge or to take a different path or to choose the road we highlighted for them on the map.

Our hearts beat fast and our hair turns gray and we wring our hands as we watch them tempt fate.  They laugh at us, or wave us off, or maybe they don't even turn to look in our direction.  We toss and turn at night and then asleep at stop lights in broad daylight.  We write laments in journals.  We submit prayer requests and we sign them "Anonymous" because the story doesn't just belong to us.  We pray and give up praying.  We cry and shout and whisper and grow silent and our hearts sit heavy in our chests.

I'm only telling my own story here.  I'm offering it up in case there is another someone out there who has tried everything she can to fix it, or to make it right, or to call her child back from the edge.  I just want to tell you, you are not alone.  And I want to tell you, God's got this.  he does.  So go ahead and breathe.

I don't say that lightly.  It's hard to breathe when every phone call makes your lungs stop cold.  And if you remember to breathe today, by tomorrow you might forget again.

One day I sat breathless before God.  My gut was twisted in a knot, and I couldn't even look in His direction.  My hands fell open in my lap and I whispered, "What am I supposed to do?"  And just as quickly as I asked the question, one word slipped its way into my heart:  "Love."

I can do that I thought to myself.  "I can love.  But what else, God?"  "Just love," He breathed into my heart.  "I'll do this rest.  I've got this.  All you have to do is love."

I have to be honest.  These days I find it increasingly difficult to even to  There is so much anger and frustration and lack of trust that love is hard to come by.  I just need to breathe and love.
About a month ago Middle Boy acted inappropriately in one of his classes and was given a late detention.

On the day of the detention he called me to come get him when it was over.

Today I got a call from the school.  He didn't go to the late detention.  So...he has an in-school suspension all day tomorrow.

I am furious.  I am SO SICK of this kind of stuff happening.  Can't anyone just do what they are supposed to anymore? a result his probation will be extended and we will get to go to court again.  When I reminded him of that he acted shocked.

Really...try thinking ahead....
We are all going to be gone this weekend.

Boarder is at his parent's house for a few days.

Younger Boy is going to the fall retreat at church.

Middle Boy and I are going to a football game, but going a little early so we can spend some time there.

So...Max and Sophie are going to the pet hotel.  This makes me nervous.  They are going to share a suite since they are together all day.  Neither of them has really been around other dogs and I'm not sure how it will go.

Max thinks he's little even though he is up to about 65 pounds now.  He is going to be out of sorts with the "big dogs".

Sophie is a little alpha.  She will try to be the queen of the littles.

I just pray they don't get kicked out.

They are signed up to attend the day camp tomorrow for eight hours.  That's right...eight hours of play for them.

They might not want to come home...unless they get expelled.
Younger Boy has a new friend, S, who he met in the therapy waiting room

S has a pretty significant trauma history and hasn't talked to other kids in public for a couple of years.

He has totally befriended Younger Boy and we have been taking him with us to youth group on Wednesday nights.

It makes my heart smile that maybe we can be a light in S's life.  His mom is AMAZING and BRAVE.  She made choices for her kids that Younger Boy's mom didn't.  For that I commend her and will support her.

Thanks God for putting S and K in our lives.  We love them.
Younger Boy's lying and stealing have escalated to a new high. 

Today in therapy we discussed that while the majority (not all, but the majority) of the theft in the past has occurred in our home he has taken it to a different level with the thefts at school.

Last night he got up during the night and took some of Boarder's food for lunches.  This morning when I found it in his bed he SWORE he didn't put it there.  Then the story changed to he did put it there, but he didn't eat any of it even though he had gone downstairs to get something to eat. 

When Therapist C told him that made no sense he said that he brought that food to his room and ate the raisins out of a box of raisin bran.

We reminded him over and over that this isn't a big deal....just tell the truth.  Couldn't do it.  Still insists that he didn't take or eat any of Boarder's food.

Math homework...SWORE it was done and turned in so I contacted the teacher via email.  No...he didn't turn in the work.  So I asked again.  This time he pulled out his victim card and told me that he did do it, but someone had thrown it away in the classroom so that was probably why the teacher thought it wasn't turned in.  When I searched his backpack for it (and found it) he swore that wasn't the right homework even though it was the right date and the right set of problems.  He insisted it was work he had previously not done (how is that better?).  He even went so far as to rip it up.

This stuff MAKES ME CRAZY.
Younger Boy is proud today....of himself.  It isn't something I see often so it deserves some celebration.

He and a partner got the highest grade of anyone on a science project about matter. 

RAD is a curious thing though, because he said, "Four of my teachers are proud of me.  Isn't it cool that four people are proud of me?"  I said, "I am proud of you, too."  He looked at me and said, "OK."

He posted about it on Facebook and gotten even more congratulations.  Mine matters the least.

At least he is proud....very proud.

Why haven't I been posting lately?  Life is hard.  Really hard.

It is so hard I really don't want to talk about it.

On the days when it is just so hard I don't even want to do this anymore the last thing I want to do is admit that in a post.  Admit defeat.

That's how I feel...defeated.

Everyday there is something that happens that deflates me even more and I just continue down a slippery slope into hating all of this.

Younger Boy's struggles were really just the tip of the iceberg.  He continues to make less than acceptable choices.  Admittedly he is confessing to the poor choices more quickly if that can be considered progress.

Last week it was stealing a dropper bottle from his science teacher.  He first swore she gave it to him and then he swore she knew he had it because she was in the room when he stole it and then he finally admitted to the theft.  He has since returned it and apologized.

His therapist got on his case last week and told him if he doesn't make the choice to do the therapy homework we are just going to stop wasting everyone's time and money.  She told him Older Boy had surpassed him in therapy and that really struck a nerve.  Maybe the motivation he needs.

Middle Boy is a mess.  I have FINALLY figured out his operating procedure.  If something happens and he is angry at himself there is HELL TO PAY for everyone in our home.  Today is one of those days.  He is angry at himself for getting really far behind in school so Boarder and I are being bombarded with blame and accusations.  It is exhausting.  I don't want to do it anymore.

He is VERY HURTFUL to me.  Today he wants me to just f***ing die, because all I have done is ruin every bit of his life for the last two years.  Not one thing good has come from him knowing me.  Not one. 

Apparently I should also be fired from my job, because I am stupid and don't know how to manage anything in life.  I certainly shouldn't be a parent and have a job, because I am not handling either one of them.  His words...not mine.

He is just "waiting for the day" when he can leave this house and never look back.  Don't expect him to contact me once he walks out the door, beccause he won't.  Doesn't care.

He is not doing his community service hours and he doesn't have a job.  We are one quarter into school and he honestly has a class where he hasn't done a SINGLE  thing this year.  No in class assignment.  Nothing.  On the two tests he wrote IDK for every single answer. 

He is apathetic.  He is unmotivated and on the verge of being behind to graduate with his class if at all.

He doesn't get it though.  He will "pull it together".  He "still has time".

I have got to start blogging again.  It makes me feel better and some day maybe I will want to remember these things.  Right now I just pray I can let them go.
I need prayer.  Prayer for spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical strength. 

The details of the behaviors aren't important right now, but Younger Boy needs 24/7 supervision. 

We are working on the possibility of psychiatric care, but that is hard to come by in a mental health system very overcrowded and not equipped for children.

His therapists are working with me to petition for in home help so the rest of us can sleep.  It isn't going to be a quick thing.

There are many OUT OF CONTROL behaviors.

Pray we can keep putting one foot in front of the other and figure out what changed or is going on with Younger Boy.
We have had a lot of general craziness at our house.

Younger Boy ended up spraining his MCL and is still in a knee brace.  He was on crutches for about three weeks.

Middle Boy got off of house arrest on September 16th.  He went immediately on probation.  The terms of his probation are this:
  1. Attend school on a regular basis without absences or tardies.
  2. Work to potential in school.  If C's are not maintained in classes a tutor will be hired by probation to get him caught up.
  3. Write me a letter of apology.
  4. Participate in one church or school activity per week.  Minimum.
  5. Follow all house rules.
  6. Be respectful of me at all times.
  7. Twenty-five hours of community service.
He hadn't even been assigned a probation officer yet when he got a speeding ticket....a probation violation.  He was pretty upset with himself and that made for a really MISERABLE weekend for all of us.

Younger Boy has become obsessed with fire.  He started a fire in our garage and on the lawn at school.  He is getting enrolled in a "Preventing Arson in Youth" class.  The biggest lie of his life with me was a part of this.  I have honestly never been so disappointed in him.

School is not going well for either boy.  Middle Boy is flat out not doing ANYTHING.  Younger Boy is hiding his homework papers.

Younger Boy is sleeping in two classes regularly.  Chorus and Pre-Algebra.  I had to meet with both teachers to figure out a strategy for keeping him from "sleeping".  He is actually dissociating, but no one at his school seems to be able to tell the difference.

Keep praying for us.  We continue to need them.
Earlier this week there was a tragedy in the Iowa foster care system.  A seventeen year old foster boy is charged with killing his five year old foster brother.  It is a tragedy....horribly sad.

The news is filled with articles about the foster family and the older child.  Questions about their ability to supervise, questions about whether those boys should have been placed together.  Questions about the "anger issues" the teen had.

While I don't know the details of this case I have A LOT to say about it, because I understand how the system works and I understand "anger issues".

First of all...the foster parents.  GIVE THEM A BREAK.  This teen was in their home for three years.  THEY ARE GRIEVING.  I suspect they loved this boy and they were doing everything in their power to help him.  Here's why I think don't have behaviorally challenged foster kids in your home "for the money".  No amount of money covers what you are required to manage on a daily basis.  The story said he was in many placements.  That tells me others have tried and it was too much.  They have hung in there for this kiddo for three years.  They deserve to be able to grieve in peace and not be accused.

Why were these boys in the same home?  Because the five year old was also behaviorally challenged.  There are NO WHERE NEAR enough foster homes period.  Behaviorally challenged....a handful.  Unfortunately these homes could be overflowing with kiddos.  The five year old had also had multiple placements.  These people were willing to take him on.  I am sure others were approached, but knew they didn't have the skills to handle it.

"Anger issues"...that phrase literally gives me "anger issues".  I would challenge you to find ANY TEEN in foster care for three years or more and find a file that doesn't say "anger issues".  You would be angry, too, if you had moved from home to home without explanation and had no indication you would either be going home or have any other sort of permanency.  You have no control.  You have had tons of trauma in your life and you are a survivalist.  You should be able to be a you are ANGRY.

I wonder what the boy was getting in terms of therapeutic help.  I know how it goes.  He's a foster kid.  He isn't getting "the best" therapists out there...he is getting what his insurance will pay for.  He might need multiple kinds of therapy, but he can't get it, because there has been too much fraud in the system. 

What other services was he getting?  If he was LUCKY maybe some, but probably not. 

He is in jail.  His foster parents are no longer connected to him that means the only person he will see is his caseworker.  That means he will have someone visit once a month and have NO ONE to call.  The foster parents might be able to petition for visits, but they may not be granted.

So again...this boy is on his own.  Surviving. 

Do I think what he did is right?  Absolutely not, but this kiddo is likely not evil.  He is a victim of someone elses original behavior and he didn't have the skills to manage his situation.  Few of us do even as adults.

My heart goes out to everyone in this case.  The family of the five year old.  The seventeen year old.  The foster parents.

Something, my friends, has to be done to help these kids.  They are all worth saving.
Here's the story...

Younger Boy was riding his bike home from a friends.  He thought he heard the chain coming off of his bike so he looked down to see what was wrong.  He looked up just in time to see himself run straight on into a light pole.

He was thrown from the bike and landed on his head.  Thank God for his bike helmet and the discipline to wear it.

At the same time he scraped all of the skin off of his forearm and elbow, jammed his finger and hurt his leg/knee.

By the time we arrived at the office his knee was double in size.

So...we are home with the following diagnoses...scraped forearm and elbow heavily bandaged and not to get wet, possible concussion, jammed middle and ring finger, and likely broken leg.  They wrapped it and referred us to an orthopedic office for tomorrow.

If it turns out to be a break it is NOT in a good location.  It crosses the growth plate in the lower part of his right leg.  Thus the need for orthopedics.

I'll be honest...when they were describing the symptoms of a concussion it didn't sound much different than Younger Boy's "regular" behavior....saying things that make no sense and not following was hard not to say that he must live in a continual state of concussion.

Prayers for our evening, overnight and the doctor visit tomorrow.

Praises for the kind stranger who stopped to help him.  He consoled him, carried him to the truck, put his bike in the back and drove him home.  There are still kind people out there.
While I was at the pharmacy waiting for the inhaler I got a call from Middle Boy.  He had two things....information and a question.  That's what he told me.

First of all he said, "The sprinkler contractor was here to fix them where the fence posts hit them.  He fixed two places and said there is no charge."

The question was this, "Do you want me to go ahead and pop Younger Boy's knee back into place?"

Wait...why do we need to do that?  Well, he fell off his bike and a stranger brought him home and it looks like his knee needs popped into place.  Should they just take care of it?

No...survival brains....don't just "take care of it".   I'll be right home to take him to the doctor.

I have been working on getting a replacement inhaler LITERALLY ALL DAY.

I have talked to the pharmacy.  I have talked to the doctor office.  I have talked to the pharmacy again.

What ended up happening is this.  The pharmacy needed a refill to give us another inhaler.  They were just going to handle it for us.  Unfortunately we had gone to an quick care clinic and they don't do refills.

So...I called them and told them the situation.  They called the prescription back into the pharmacy.

I got the pharmacy to pick it up and it wasn't ready.  They had cancelled it out of their system, because the same thing had just been filled two days earlier and they thought it was a duplicate.

So...I'm waiting at the pharmacy for an inhaler.  I call Middle Boy to explain that this inhaler MUST be kept in the med drawer OR ELSE.

I have a new project at work for a rehabilitation facility here in town.

On the way to our meeting I was telling my co-worker that a friend of mine was a resident there after a "freak" medical accident.

As we walked in the front door the third person I saw was my friend, JK.  He was just getting out of occupational therapy.  I stopped his transport and talked to him.  He has trouble with eye sight right now.  I introduced myself and he was excited to chat.  He had been making trail mix in therapy and was telling me they "didn't let him" put M&Ms in his.  His OT laughed and said, "so you didn't get ANY M&Ms?"  He finally confessed maybe he had eaten them all while making the trail mix.

He invited me to come and visit any time and gave me his room information.

So good to see this kid.  He is often on my heart and mind.

I'm going to take him up on his offer to visit soon.
Middle Boy is sick again this morning.

His cough is getting worse.

I am going to spend the day working on getting a new inhaler, because it seemed to help him.  I can't imagine it will be easy since insurance just paid for one two days ago.

Prayers for understanding of our need for the refill after just two days.

This evening stinks.

Middle Boy is not feeling well again.  He left his inhaler on the floor and "shockingly" one of the dogs got it.

He thinks he should be 100% by now and this is complete BS.  Obviously I don't care, because all I have done is take him to the doctor and gave him suggestions on what he should eat and also suggested he go to bed.

When he went up to his room for the night clearly I didn't care if he thought he was dying.

The truth of the matter is this.  He is scared, because he is coughing really hard.  Scared doesn't look like scared in him.  It comes out as angry.  It comes out as blame.

I don't care.  I'm a horrible mom.  I should have done something sooner.

I asked what he needs from me.  NOTHING, because I have "proven" I don't care.

Let's just call it a night.  I don't feel like doing this right now.

Tonight Middle Boy wanted his second outing of the week to be to go to youth group.

So he and Younger Boy met me after work for dinner.  It was a fairly nice time.  They got a little bit lost on the way there.  Middle Boy has ZERO sense of direction so he is lucky Younger Boy was with him.

Youth Group was all about "yielding and surrendering to God".  The main topic was Proverbs 3:5-6 and some of I Kings.  The discussion was about why we do things we know are wrong and will not have a good outcome.

My girls group had a really interesting discussion.

Middle Boy doesn't want to talk about it which means that he is really reflecting on something said.

Prayers for continued reflection and spiritual growth in all of us.
Middle Boy is back at school today.  He doesn't feel great, but wants to go so he can stay caught up.

Younger Boy is riding his bike to school today.  He wants to ride it every time he doesn't have therapy.  I think it is probably good.  He can ride on bike trails with the exception of the two ends of the trip and it gives him a chance to get his body moving in the morning.

Praises for a "normal" day.
Therapist C and Therapist D are at a loss.

Last week's homework for Younger Boy's therapy was to write down EVERY occasion when he completed a task from start to finish without distractions and did the task as asked.  We are talking about things like "take this bag of trash to the garage" and "set the table".

They were shocked he got ZERO.  We tried to do the homework.  We talked about it EVERY DAY.  They have NEVER had a child get ZERO.

He claimed that he cared.  They told him they didn't agree, because if he cared he would have stepped it up when he realized he had zero on Friday or Saturday. 

They always search for the "thought that is getting in the way".  They named five or six.  He said none of them were true.  The finally told him it looks like either "I'm not going to do what anyone says," or "I am going to do this my way, because you can't tell me what to do."  He says those are wrong.  The weird part is that he starts every task almost immediately.  It falls apart part way through.

Two examples from last week:

I asked him to take some trash out to the garage.  He got up and grabbed the trash.  After 10 minutes I still hadn't seen him.  I went out to the garage.  The trash was on the roof of the car.  He had his football mouthpiece in and was climbing up to the roof.  Why?  He didn't know.

I asked him to set the table.  He got plates and table knives on the table and INSISTED he was done.  Spoons?  Insisted they were there when clearly they weren't.  Forks?  Same story as spoons.

This makes me CRAZY. 

After today's therapy session they told me they are going to make some calls, because something else must be going on.  He is digressing instead of progressing.

We all recognize the progress we have made over the past year and we are certainly going to continue, but there is something we are missing and it has to do with dissociation.  They think he is dissociated almost 100% of the time.  Sometimes it is obvious and others not as much, but still not fully present.

They are going to contact a neuro feedback professional and a nutritional therapist to see what they think.  They are far more able to clinically describe how we live than I am.

Prayers for a solution.  In his current state he would struggle to hold down a job and be a productive adult in society which is the end in mind goal.

Prayers for wisdom and discernment in how to deal with his current status on a daily basis.
This morning Middle Boy woke up with a sore throat and HORRIBLE cough.  He stayed home from school today.

This afternoon we went to the doctor and he has bronchitis.  He was given an antibiotic and an inhaler.  We were told to take ibuprofen and over the counter cough syrup.

He thinks he will feel well enough for school tomorrow.

Prayers for feeling better.
Our Labor Day weekend was really pretty good.

Friday night Younger Boy and I went to dinner and ran errands while Middle Boy went to his high school's home football game.  He is driving now and so it was really his first time with a "curfew".  We talked NUMEROUS times about how curfews work.  His was 9PM since this was an outing for his house arrest.

Honestly I was expecting him to walk in the door after 9PM.  That is how he usually does things.  I was SHOCKED when he walked in the door nearly 10 minutes EARLY.  Could this be progress?

Saturday morning both boys had eye doctor appointments.  Younger Boy needs a stronger prescription and Middle Boy needs reading glasses.  Picking out glasses took a LONG TIME.  Going in I would have said Middle Boy would be the slowest.  He pretty much knew the look he wanted and chose between three pair.  Younger Boy....EGAD.  He really wanted to get a pair that were exactly like his last FOUR pair.  Middle Boy and I were trying to convince him to get something a little different.  He narrowed it down to EIGHT pair.  Then FOUR.  Finally a decision was made.  They look nice and he is happy with them.

Saturday night Younger Boy spent the night with a friend.  Middle Boy and I stayed home and watched college football

Sunday morning we went to church.  It was a good sermon for all of us to hear.

Grandma and Grandpa spent the afternoon with us.  The helped us with three or four projects around the house and we played Uno.  It was nice to see them.  It has been way too long.

Monday morning Younger Boy went golfing with G.  It took over an hour to get him up for the day.  I was losing my patience it was so ridiculous.  ONE HOUR from the time he got out of bed to be DRESSED.  That's it.  Nothing else.

Monday evening we mowed the lawn and cleaned up the yard.  Nice day for it and a beautiful weekend.

Praises for a beautiful weekend with a lot of good family time.  Praises for being able to see my parents.
Today I am just going to jump back in. 

No catching you all up...although there is much to be said...just jumping in where we are yesterday and today.

Middle Boy has been doing a fairly good job staying caught up in school.  His only missing assignment is a syllabus that I need to sign.  Pretty good for three weeks into the school year.  There are a lot of factors playing into it.  He has to pay for part of his insurance and it increases if he has missing assignments.  He may be finally starting to understand that your grades in high school matter.

Younger Boy...whole different story.  A MESS.  Lying about homework every day again.  Was re-writing all of his IEP holders notes in his assignment notebook.  She is on to him and he was busted by her earlier this week.  Today I got an email that he is sleeping in class...chorus to be exact.  I don't get it.  There is NO WAY he is that tired.  NO WAY.

I have traveled the majority of the last four or five weeks for work.  All of the trips to Texas.  Boarder did fairly well with the boys, but Younger Boy was NOT GOOD for him at all.

We discussed it in therapy.  Both of Younger Boy's therapists said that makes no sense.  He should be an "angel" when I am not present. 

They (and I) have pretty much deduced that he is no longer traumatized, but instead INCREDIBLY NAUGHTY.  I wish I had time to cite all of the examples of why we have concluded this. 

Is ther still trauma affecting him?  You bet, but his behavior...pure naughtiness.

Have a great holiday weekend.
Today we went to meet with Middle Boy's new probation officer.  If we have to have a probation officer I guess we have really lucked out with the two we have had.

Probation Officer started off by trying to be a tough guy.  I think it is mostly to emphasize he is the one in charge.

In the end during our personal interviews he was incredibly cordial and kind to me. 

Middle Boy ended up liking him as well.  He was put off in the beginning when Probation Officer told him that he was in charge and could remove him from our home if Middle Boy couldn't control himself and his anger here.

Middle Boy didn't think it could happen once he was adopted.  I think he thought he could behave however he wanted to and have no consequence.

We won't start meeting regularly with Probation Officer until Middle Boy is off of house arrest so it is going to be another month or so.
Today was the dreaded high school registration, fee payment, and schedule pick-up.

At Middle Boy's school you have an assigned time, but that doesn't stop you from having to wait in line for a couple of hours.

We got to the front of the line.

First we paid a fee for not turning in his tie for ROTC.  He swears he did.  Not much we can do about it.  Okay...$5.00.

Then we went to the health table.  Turned in our form.

Then the parking permit.  Yes, we would love to pay $20 to park a car in the school lot.

Then we skipped the yearbook table.  No interest there.

Off to the activity card table.  Good-bye $35.00.  Will he even go to that many events?  I doubt it.

Next, school pictures.  Not horrible, not great.  He doesn't want to buy them.

Pick up the activity card with the not so good school picture on it.

Last, but not least the schedule.

All I can say is, "Seriously".

He is enrolled in two things there are NO WAY that they were on his list of desired classes.  The first is ROTC 3.  He requested PE.  The second is CAD 3/4.  Since he failed CAD 2 I fail to see the logic in this.

Guidance counselors aren't back for a few days so until then I can't do much about it and he will be mad about it.

I love back to school!!
So many things I want to post about.  So little time to actually post about it.

Here's another "catch up" on us...with a vow from me to blog each day from here forward, because it helps me see the humor in the absurd and to let go of some of the stress.


  1. I've been traveling for work.  A LOT.  I was gone for approximately two straight weeks.  I'm now on a week-long stint at home before heading out again for the next couple of weeks.
  2. I'm doing my best to maintain my sanity and get things done.  When you are gone that much there is A LOT to get done at home when you are there.  Especially since school is about to start.
  3. I am still doing an "okay" job of taking car of myself.  The sleep machine has been a blessing, because now at times I actually feel almost rested.
  4. I was asked to be a foster parent mentor through my agency.
Middle Boy

  1. After two attempts he is a licensed driver.  The first attempt really wasn't an attempt though.  He drove us to the DMV and when we got to the parking lot he had a flashback/meltdown.  He was SCREAMING and CRYING about how he didn't deserve a driver's license, because he was just like his dad.  He talked about how he almost hit a kid on the way there.  (There was no kid.)  The second trip was smooth and he passed with flying colors.  The first trip was just a reminder that sometimes things which should be happy just aren't.
  2. He is handling house arrest fairly well.  Probably better than I am.  We met with a probation officer yesterday and it is possible he will be off house arrest before school starts.  At the latest it will be September 16th which is the date of his next hearing.
  3. We picked up his school schedule on Monday.  I don't get it.  We filled out this form of classes at the end of the school year last year.  It was as if they completely disregarded the form.  He is in two classes there is NO WAY we signed up for.  One is something we were avoiding and the other is a continuation of something he failed last year.  How does that even make sense?  So now I am trying to get a hold of his guidance counselor to figure out what on earth is going on.  Of course, this is not making him happy nor does he have patience to wait for the counselor to call back.
  4. He is still "looking" for a job.  Our definitions of this do not match, but he is making positive steps forward.
  5. He has been training Max and doing a good job.

Younger Boy

  1. He is a handful.
  2. He went to camp and did great EXCEPT for the day I went to help out.  That day he refused to go into the dining room at lunch and had a complete meltdown over a comb at shower time.
  3. AHHH...shower time.  He still isn't.  For those of you thinking...just tell him to shower.  Gosh...that hasn't occurred to me.  He won't.  He went eleven days without showering.  I have come up with an incentive.  The new rule is that you cannot participate in any activity which may make you sweat if you are not going to shower.  It has been working for three days.  Of course I had to explain to him that the rule didn't only apply to Saturday and Sunday.
  4. We have had more behavioral issues than I care to include.  He told his therapist that he can't learn to respect me, because there is no dad.  She told him he is full of it and that is an excuse.  Busted.
  5. This week he told his therapist he thinks people understand your behaviors better than using your words.  Really?  That's what you WANT...that is not reality.
  6. He is irritated with me because I contacted his school to reinforce that sleeping is not allowed under ANY circumstance.  We aren't going to start the year with his dissociative behaviors and get behind in everything again.

  1. He is going back to college instead of online classes.
  2. He is going to continue to live with us....indefinitely.
  3. He is such a HUGE blessing to our family.  God...thank you for showing us we needed him.

  1. She is still the alpha dog, but I am the pack leader.
  2. She has some routines that make me smile.  Like sleeping in my bed with her head on the other pillow and her body under the covers.  Adorable.
  3. She has some routines that drive me crazy.  Like whining while we are eating, because I might have spoiled her.


  1. He is a big lug.  No other way to describe him. 
  2. At twenty weeks he weighs 45 pounds.  He believes he is a lap dog.
  3. He is such a puppy and uncoordinated and all those funny things.
  4. He is a slobberer.  Not my favorite.

Thanks for continuing to pray for us. 

Starting this week Middle Boy gets to have one four hour outing per week.

It has to be four consecutive hours and the entire time has to be spent with me.  There are a number of restrictions to where we can go and what we can do.  We have to provide receipts for everything we do.

I am going to set up the first one for this Friday.  Middle Boy is going to get his driver's license, a haircut, and we are going to go to lunch.

I'm looking forward to it.
Max is finally starting to "get it".

We are really working on training him right now.  He is getting so big and unruly so we have to do something.

He can get his paws on the counter now....he is that big!!
We played a few games of Clue this afternoon.

What we learned is this...

  1. It is tough when you start with three cards and others start with four.
  2. Grandpa is a sneaky player.
  3. Grandma and Grandpa might cheat...not officially verified, but suspected.
  4. Younger Boy ALWAYS believes Grandpa.  (See #2)
  5. Grandpa and I use similar strategies.
  6. Middle Boy somehow counts cards.
  7. If you don't watch Grandma she will skip you.

It was a fun afternoon.  We laughed quite a bit.
Grandma helped the boys with family recipes today.

She and Middle Boy made potato salad and deviled eggs.  He paid pretty close attention and then wrote everything down in his recipe notebook.

Grandma and Younger Boy made popcorn balls...really sticky popcorn balls.  Younger Boy did pretty well except he kept getting distracted by the dogs and having to wash his hands.  It seemed like it was ten times or more.

The boys really enjoyed cooking with Grandma.

Thanks Mom for spending the time with them and helping them learn kitchen skills.
It is a baseball morning.

I HATE baseball mornings.

This morning I woke up Younger Boy for his game.  There was what I thought was "plenty of time" to get ready.

I told Younger Boy to get up and put his uniform on.  He went upstairs.

About fifteen minutes later I went up to check on him and he was sleeping at the top of the stairs.


Why does this happen everytime he has to get ready for something?

This makes me crazy.

He did finally get ready for his game.  Actually a little bit faster than usual.

Grandma, Grandpa, and C went to his game.  He did really well and was excited to have them all there watching.

Grandma and Grandpa are here spending the weekend.

It is nice to see them.  It's been a while.

They brought a game with them.  It is called "Nowhere To Go".  It is an interesting strategy game. 

Younger Boy is quite good at it.  I'm not sure anyone actually beat him.

We were going to play the game "Name Five", but just read through some of the cards.  Name five fruits without seeds inside.  Name five famous people with the last name Washington.  Name five foods on a stick.  There were some which amongst all of us we couldn't come up with five.  We laughed a lot though.

It was a good evening.

Praises for extended family coming to visit and hanging out with us.
It wasn't meant to be.

We had gone into the adjudication hearing hoping Middle Boy would get off of house arrest, but it just wasn't meant to be.

The truancy charges were dropped.  (They were ridiculous, but that is another post.)

Our next hearing is on September 16.  It is possible he could get off of house arrest after 90 days on the program which would be in the first week of August.

I am FAR MORE disappointed than Middle Boy.  He EXPECTS the worst and I am far more hopeful.  While I am sure it bothered him he didn't say much about it.  I, on the other hand, was disappointed and SAD.  Surprisingly sad.

So...there is a reason we need to continue to stay home together.  I hope we are doing the right things.
Today is Middle Boy's court hearing.  It is the adjudication on his offense against me and because we live in a state which goes overboard on truancy his "pre-trial" for truancy.

I am anticipating him getting off of house arrest, but the truancy thing is a wild card.

Here is the deal.  He NEVER skipped school.  I called every time he was absent.  He was ill a few times, in court a few times, and had therapy a few times all together adding up to make him truant.

We'll see what happens today.

I have to be honest.  I HATE house arrest.  It has been awful.  Not because it is a consequence for him, but it has really restricted what we were able to do this summer. 

I am selfishly praying for probation with no tracker.  There shouldn't be a need for a tracker, because the crime was against me...not the general public. 

Probation would allow us to have somewhat of a normal remainder of the summer.  Something we have yet to have in our family.

I dislike the 4th of July...a lot.

Not the independence it represents nor the service and sacrifice people made for our country.  I am ALL for that.

The fireworks.  Hate them.  Think they are a colossal waste of money and do not want them anywhere near my home.

I like to watch a large organized show.  That's fine.

My boys, on the other hand, live at the other end of the spectrum.  They would blow things up all day if someone would fund it.

This year I made them pay for the fireworks with their own money.  That hurt a little bit more.  They didn't want to spend nearly as much, but they did find it convenient to complain about how little I spent.

At one point I offered to spend $10 for fireworks for them.  That was it.  Take it or leave it.  They decided it wasn't worth it. more fireworks last night.

Today I asked the therapists what they thought was going on with Younger Boy when he goes to see his mentor.

They told me about an interesting study that was done on attachment.  It had to do with toddlers and crawlers.  They research had the kiddos in a room with their primary caregiver.  The caregiver left the room and a stranger came in.  The stranger then left the room.  Then the primary caregiver returned.

Kids who have a healthy attachment run to their caregiver upon return.

There is another form of attachment where the child is ambivalent to the caregiver returning.  Doesn't even really acknowledge them at all.

A third form has them running to the caregiver, but in an aggressive manner often times hitting and biting the caregiver.

The last way (Disorganized Attachment) is quite interesting.  Those kiddos do kooky things when the caregiver returns.  Some of the infants crawled backward to the caregiver.  Some kids spun in circles.  Some kids lay on the floor.  Just all sorts of crazy things.

Therapist D and C wonder if this is maybe the kind of attachment Younger Boy has with me.  Disorganized attachment.  Doing crazy things.

Either that or in the words of Therapist C "he is just a stinker".
Younger Boy spent most of the day Saturday and Sunday with Mentor R.

Now he is home and he is a WRECK.  Behavioral WRECK.

This happens every time he spends time with him.  He is a mess when he returns home.  For days.

I can hardly take it.  Middle Boy warned Boarder about how bad it is.

It started five minutes after Mentor R left.  The belligerence.  The attitude.  The crazy behavior.

He stood in the pantry and SCREAMED at the top of his lungs for five minutes about not knowing what he wanted for dinner.

I don't know if I can continue to do this.  We have to figure it out.

Just yesterday morning as Younger Boy and I were leaving therapy we saw two of his biological siblings and another boy who Mom and Dad J are the guardians for.

The interaction was so interesting.

Younger Boy has matured far beyond what Older Boy has in the year and a half they have been apart.  I think healing has begun in both of them as a result of the separation.  In many ways they were both blessed by it.

As I interacted with Older Boy I wondered how I used to do it.  Just our short interaction, 15 minutes or less, exhausted me.  He was much louder than I remembered.  I haven't seen him much since he moved out of my house.  Maybe three or four times.  He's different, but the same.

Prayers for Younger Boy's biological siblings and Mom and Dad J.
Things have just been busy and crazy and mostly good around our house.

Here are a few highlights for everyone (things that probably would have gotten their own post):

Younger Boy

  1. Struggling with spaciness.  His therapist thinks he just has a "bag of tricks" from which he draws in order to keep himself in a victim role.  We are going to work on it.
  2. Two baseball games were rained out and they played one which his team won 8 - 3.
  3. He spent a fun-filled week with Southern Belle and her dad.  They jumped on trampolines, swam at a water park and went to a movie.  He had a blast.
  4. K and J took him as part of their family to a family picnic and also a meet and greet for one of the College World Series teams.  Again, he had a blast.

Middle Boy

  1. Had a meltdown one night and removed everything from him room and told me that I could have it all, because he isn't going to rely on me anymore and he would just start paying for things himself.
  2. Started going to church again, because house arrest allows it after four weeks.  He has been there three times now.
  3. Celebrated his 16th birthday.
  4. He is starting to trust me...a little bit.  Yesterday he even admitted that he thought I was wrong about him being anxious and then realized I was right.
  5. Interviewed for a JOB and will find out by the end of the week if he got it. 
  6. Showed AMAZING empathy when his mentor's mother-in-law passed away.  I was super proud of him.


  1. Starting to work full-time during the day.
  2. Still living with us, but talking with his parents about what to do in the fall since we live really far across town from where he goes to school.
  3. Being pretty helpful, especially with Younger Boy.

Max and Sophie

  1. Max has a hereditary skin condition which if left untreated can cause complete hair loss and immune deficiencies.  He is getting special skin treatments at the vet's office every other week.
  2. Max is up to 30 15 weeks.
  3. Sophie tolerates Max, but not if he is anywhere near me.
  4. I am the pack leader for both of them and if I am home they are within inches of me....mostly tripping me if I am trying to walk.
  5. Both are "excited", but they don't know it yet that we are getting a fence for our back yard in the next couple of weeks.


  1. Sleeping a million times better since the sleep study remedies.
  2. Crazy busy at home with a list of a million things to get done.
  3. Even busier at work.  Out of the office a lot with my newer job responsibilities and trying to figure out my travel schedule for July and August so I am not gone EVERY WEEK.
  4. Working on camp "stuff".  Feeling guilty, because a lot of the activity center stuff is NOT DONE.

That's us in a nutshell right now.  Pray for life to calm down a little and for peace.

Back to daily blogging...tomorrow.

Every morning when I get to work I text each boy their "chores of the day".

If slightly more than half-hearted effort is given the tasks will take less than an hour each day.

Today is the first day neither boy finished.  Middle Boy did make an effort.  Younger Boy didn't do a single thing.

The rule is that the work needs to be done by 5PM when I return home from work.  If the chores are not done you have one day grace to finish them up and after that you lose privileges.

They are going to have a lot to do tomorrow.  Not my problem.

Tonight Younger Boy is in BIG TROUBLE with Middle Boy.

They were hanging out in Middle Boy's room and for whatever reason Younger Boy decided to try out Middle Boy's new cologne.

Try out is a loose term, because he liberally applied HALF OF THE BOTTLE to his body.  Middle Boy's room smells like a cologne FACTORY.

As soon as he came downstairs I got a headache and Middle Boy was upstairs vomiting.

Younger Boy says he didn't use it.  What?  We aren't CRAZY!!

He was FURIOUS with me when I told him he had to go shower IMMEDIATELY.

When he was finished I asked him if he had a solution to getting the smell out of the house.  First he said open all of the windows.  Nope, not viable, because it is ninety degrees outside.

His second option...he will just move out.  Ridiculous.
Younger Boy's psychiatrist is retiring.

In some ways it is a blessing, because she is so cranky.  In other ways...I don't know.

We are finally to an understanding where she will halfway listen to me and my observations.

Now we get to start over.

I have asked multiple people for recommendations.  It would be easiest to stay within the same healthcare system.

All of the recommendations are coming back that we should see the same psychiatrist Middle Boy sees.  Aargh.  He is NOT a listener.

What to do?  What to do?
This morning with Therapist D we confronted the "moms".

Each one of us...Therapist D, me, and Younger Boy "talked" to each of the "moms" about their treatment of Younger Boy.

It was interesting to listen to Younger Boy confront them.  He was a combination of angry and confused.  He also mentioned more than once that he felt sorry for them.  Not all of them, but a couple of them.

Confronting four moms.  I am proud of the work he did in therapy.

He was even smiling when we left.
Today at therapy we determined that Younger Boy thinks I am mean....almost always.

We had him compare his previous homes to mine and I still fall into the mean category.

Therapist C told him we have to work on separating the past from the present.

He had someone who locked him in a closet and made him go for DAYS without food.  He told Therapist C that it is equal when I tell him his fair share of the ice cream treats out of a box is two.

He honestly believes it.

We basically determined that I cannot ask or tell him anything that isn't neutral, because he thinks I am treating him meanly or unfairly.

Wow...we have a lot to overcome.
Court-ordered therapy is done.


We have a certificate of completion which can be sent to the courts and placed in his juvenile file. 

This is a big deal.  Not only because it has taken a LONG time to get it done, but also because Middle Boy struggles to follow things through to completion.

I am proud of this boy.  In the end he really buckled down and wrapped it up.

Super proud.
I was correct.  Younger Boy had not yet been to bed when he brought me breakfast in bed.

He is a MESS today as a result.

We have already had the discussion that while it is difficult to make good choices when you are extremely tired being nasty to others is not an option.  No one else chose to stay up all night and so no one else should be treated rudely.

We are on timeout number four.  One of them resulted in him screaming about how much I hate him and never wanted him to live with me in the first place.  This was when I told him I thought it was a good idea to wear a t-shirt in lieu of a hoodie when taking the dogs running since it is 90 degrees outside.

How foolish am I?

At 5:15AM this morning Younger Boy brought me breakfast in bed.

Two pieces of toast and ice water.

He does this when he has done something I am going to be irritated by.

I suspect he hasn't been to bed yet.

I do NOT get up at 5:15AM so it was a bit irritating to be woken up that early when I had been woken up multiple times throughout the night, likely by the same child.

We'll see how the day goes.  For both of us.
Last night I was woken up numerous times throughout the night.

It isn't like this is a new thing considering that neither boy gets a regular amount of sleep on any kind of regular schedule.

It's so frustrating to me.

Prayers we will get sleeping "figured out".
The boys are "finally" getting to decorate their rooms.

Both of them chose a sports theme.

Middle Boy went with the Minnesota Vikings and Younger Boy went with the Kansas State Wildcats.

Middle Boy's room will have three gold and one purple wall and Younger Boy's room will have three gray and one purple wall.  Both are getting a logo decal and new bedding.

They are super excited.  I just see a lot of work, but it is fun to see their excitement.

I imagine this is the first time either of them have ever been allowed to decorate their room.
Middle Boy has been on house arrest for over four weeks.

At the four week mark you can begin going to one church service per week provided you make a written request at least 48 hours in advance.

So...for the first time in a month the WHOLE family got to go to church together.

It was nice.
Younger Boy was supposed to have a baseball game today.  It was the only thing on our calendar.

It was postponed or cancelled due to rain.


Praising God for a day of rest!!
I am sad tonight.

Going to the dinner made me really sad I wasn't able to go to camp.

Camp is one of those things in my life that really "fills me up" and I am feeling kind of drained right now. head knows it was the right thing.  Still waiting on my heart.
Tonight was the welcome home dinner for Royal Family Kids Camp.

I am really glad I went.

I helped with the check-out process for the kiddos and then attended the dinner.

There was a celebration of 10 years of RFKC here.  Lots of fun memories and tributes.

Good to see all of my camp friends.

Praises for another good year of camp.
We were going to start meeting with Middle Boy's new old therapist again tonight.

Medicaid in our state is complicated though.  We have to "release" our current therapist before we can start with a new one or the new one may never get authorized.

So...therapy for tonight is cancelled since we are still seeing Therpist L until Monday.

I wish it wasn't so completely complicated and we could just do therapy.

Prayers one day the system won't be so complicated and people can just get the services they need.
Middle Boy suffers from anxiety which results in vomiting.

However, he would tell you that this isn't his problem and nothing needs to be done about it.

I am almost to the point where I can tell when the next day will result in vomiting.  Every now and then he catches me off guard, but I am close.

Today he is anxious again.  This time I am not certain why.  I'm not sure he is.

Prayers we can work through the anxiety.
Max is becoming quite a bully with Sophie.  He is doubling in size every three to four days and is easily more than twice her size now.

She is a scrapper though.

His new favorite things to do are to take her leash in his mouth and drag her when walking and to put her dog tag in his mouth and pull her around.  When he does these things there isn't much she can do.

All other times...she can take him.
Today Younger Boy's bio mom posted this on her Facebook page...

I just want to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my "Younger Boy".  My gorgeous young man who is 13 today!!  He has brought so much love and happiness into my life and the many lives around him.  He is very special and he means the world to me.  I hope he has the most blessed and wonderful day.  HAPPY 13TH BIRTHDAY "YOUNGER BOY"!!!!  Mommy loves you with all her heart and soul and always will!!!!!!!

I didn't show this to him.  He would have been a mess.  In some ways it makes me happy that she still loves him, but in others it makes me ANGRY.  She did NOTHING to protect him.  She had multiple chances to get him back and reunify and didn't.  My heart goes out to her, because she doesn't know what a funny, thoughtful caring kiddo he is.

Today is Younger Boy's thirteenth birthday.

He requested a homemade meal of grilled pork chops, corn on the cob, steak fries, and ice cream cake.

He got three items off of his list and some cash from his grandparents.

He got an art kit from Boarder, video game from Middle Boy and a new bike from me.

I had wrapped a pack of gum, because it was on the list.  Then I asked him to go out to the garage to get something.  That was where his bike was.  He came in so excited, but still unsure if the bike was his.

For the rest of the evening he sped up and down the street on his new bike.  Having a blast!!
When this week is finished our family will have participated in SEVEN HOURS of therapy.

Younger Boy and I had two hours together.

Middle Boy and I had two hours together and Middle Boy had three individual hours.

Middle Boy's therapist is working to get him through her program before Medicaid drops her as a therapist on June 10th.  That is accounting for some of the craziness. 

We have also switched his therapist so he is started with the new one this week as well.

This morning during therapy we let Younger Boy decide what his summer bedtime should be.  He picked 9PM and we convinced him of 10PM.

We reminded him that this means take your meds at 9:30PM and be in your bed with the lights off at 10PM.  He agreed.

I am so happy to say that tonight he did that.  He was actually in bed at 9:20PM and asleep before I went to check if he needed the last 50mg of his sleep med. to go.  The other is going to be WAY TOUGHER!!
Tonight when I got home from work we were all sitting around chatting.  Boarder said, "Younger Boy, don't you have something you want to tell your mom?"

He completely ignored the statement.

Later at dinner we were doing our "best and worst".  Afterward Boarder again said, "Younger Boy, don't you have something you want to tell your mom?"

Younger Boy started to cry.  He told me he wanted me to know that he hadn't been throwing up, but that he was trying to get out of therapy.  He knew he was not going to be able to stay awake and he knew it was going to have consequences.

He also went on to tell me that he has been spitting his sleeping meds out in the sink when he goes to take a shower and that is why he told Therapist C they are not working.

He was SOBBING by the time he was done talking.

I thanked him for telling me the truth and reminded him it is important to be truthful and trustworthy.

Praises that we may have turned a corner.
Today I made an appointment with the house arrest people for Middle Boy to mow the lawn.

Apparently it doesn't fit into his schedule...whatever that is.

He is irritated with me, because he would rather do it tomorrow.  Apparently he can't see that it is so long that it is seeding on the top.

I finally "convinced" him that he WOULD do it today, because I was not going to change the appointment.

After that he was glad to be outside...even if it did involve mowing the lawn.

Plus...the lawn looks WAY BETTER now.
Younger Boy slept the majority of the way through both hours of therapy.  Therapist C was really on his case about it.  She told him he has one more chance and then she will change his therapy time.

Therapist D had an MSE scheduled for him this morning.  MSE is a mental status exam that they have to do in order for him to continue therapy.

He "answered" a few of the questions.

What makes you sad?  "When my friend's families are sick."

What makes you happy?  "When I am by myself or when I am with other people."

What makes you scared?  "When people die."

There is no way he is going to remember these answers.  Therapist D and I just looked at each other trying not to burst out laughing and mouthing "what on earth?" the entire time.

Clearly he was not with it.

We have been talking about personal hygiene now for MONTHS with him.  He REFUSES to shower.  Today we decided I will no longer remind him.  He is almost thirteen years old and he knows he is supposed to shower.  Last week he went six days without showering.  His therapists said he will eventually when people start to tell him he smells and that peer pressure will work wonders.

These are basic daily skills...sleeping and showering.  They are getting worse and not better and it sucks!!
At 5AM Younger Boy woke me up to tell me he was vomiting and probably wouldn't be able to go to therapy.

I told him we couldn't cancel at this late time.

I asked him to go back to bed and told him I would wake him when it was time to get up.

I am relatively certain he is not vomiting, but I am giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Last Tuesday morning at therapy Younger Boy gave his therapists his word that he would be in bed by 10PM for seven days straight and if it wasn't working out we would adjust it.

As of tonight he has not done it ONCE.

Tonight before heading to bed I reminded him that he is not allowed to sleep during therapy tomorrow and that he was going to be held accountable for not keeping his word.

He assured me he would be awake for the duration of therapy.

Wednesday is Younger Boy's birthday. 

He spent virtually all day today creating his birthday list.

It is four typed pages.  It is categorized with two stars for the things he really wants, one start for things he wants and nothing for things he just sort of wants.  It is also broken out by who he would like to receive the individual gifts from.  Somehow I ended up with the pricey list.

I have already decided what I am getting him for his birthday and it didn't make any lists.

I had to explain he will not be receiving anywhere near close to everything on the lists.  I kind of think he thought he was going to.

Prayers he will have a great birthday this year.
The finish line for therapy is SO CLOSE for Middle Boy we can almost see it.

I am super proud of the way he has buckled down in the last month and just gotten done what he needed to do.

After today there are three more sessions.  He has passed step three individually and will present it at group on Wednesday.  Then two days for step four and DONE.

We can see the tape.

Prayers he will not run out of motivation before he gets there.
For the past five summers I have gone to RFKC.  In some ways it is the reason I am the mama to Middle Boy and Younger Boy.

This summer due to all of the "excitement" at home I am not able to go.  It makes me sad.  I know in my head that I need to stay home, but my heart is pretty far from being on board with it.

I have been in charge of camper registration all spring so this morning I am helping check in all of those kiddos.

In some ways it will be nice to see all of these people I have been chatting with on the phone for years now, but have never actually met in person.  It will also give me a chance to see all of the kiddos and say hello.

The first two there were twins, A and G.  I have been talking to their grandma regularly and she has been on my heart.  It was so good to get to chat with her and see the girls.

There are some kiddos who I love dearly.  D, who is now in a forever home.  He has changed dramatically over the last year.  Still adorable and charming....and angry.

The little cute.

A, the new boy who reminded me of a  used car salesman.  Smooth talking all of the adults.

The boys who were back were so excited they could hardly stand it.  Their check-in room was CHAOS.  The girls check-in room was filled with girls coloring and stringing beads and playing card games.  It was not apparent if there was an organized or unorganized activity going on in the boy's room.

How I wish I was going to camp.

I will be praying for you all as you ride to camp...each one by name.
Sophie and I went for a walk this evening.

We have a pond and waterfall across the street from our home and there are two geese and four ducks who reside there.

Within the last couple of weeks there have also been five baby geese and I wanted to see them.

Sophie wanted to see them too.  It was just a different way than I did.  She wanted to see them, but she wanted to use her loudest barking voice to let them know she was on her way.

I picked her up and she was so excited she was shaking.  She is lucky I picked her up, because she was quite close to getting chased by the ANGRY daddy goose.

They are so adorable.  They are out walking all of the time.

Maybe next time I will take Max.  I think he would be oblivious to them.  Maybe I will even go by myself.
Middle Boy is doing everything is his power today to pick a fight with me.


I had about had it with him and his stinky attitude.

I am WELL AWARE he cannot leave the house.  WELL AWARE.

Complaining about it and being belligerent...not helpful...not one bit.

I think he is truly working to see what he needs to do to cause himself to leave or to make me prove he is going to be here forever.

This would be so much easier if he would simply trust me.
Younger Boy had his first baseball game today.

It was misting outside and was a little bit cold.

He was mad at Max, because he had put his baseball pants on the floor last night and at some point Max peed all over the crotch of them making it look like he had wet his pants.  It had dried in a "nice" yellow stain.

He pitched the first three innings and struck a few kids out.  He got on base once by hitting and once with a walk.

His team lost by one run.

It was a nice morning...even if it was a little cold.  It is fun to watch him play something he loves!
This morning we met with Middle Boy's attorney.

I has asked him if he wanted me to be involved since I am the victim and I didn't want it in any way to seem like I may be influencing his decision.

He asked me to please sit in the meeting.

He has two charges against him.  One for the damage to the house and a second for shoving Younger Boy out of his way.

County Attorney has offered that she will drop one of the charges if he pleads guilty to the other.

We discussed which one makes more sense to drop.  Attorney N's advice was to always drop the charge against another person if you can.  While the property damage at our house was extensive it still has less ramifications than a crime against a person.

The process will go like this from here forward.

Next Tuesday she will waive his right to a trial on his behalf.  There is no reason to drag out the whole process.  At that time she will request he be removed from house arrest, but it is a long shot.

Four weeks following that he will plead guilty to destruction of property.  At this time we he should be able to get off of house arrest since it will have been nine weeks and the standard length is eight to twelve weeks.

Six weeks after the plea will be his adjudication hearing.  If it was adult court it would be sentencing.  Attorney N is certain he will be put on probation and ordered to complete anger management therapy.
She thinks they may order a psychiatric evaluation, but she said she is going to object since there are more than 10 of them in his file. 

All in all it was a good meeting.  Most likely the best possible scenario...other than him not destroying the house.

Prayers for a smooth and timely process.
Younger Boy called me tonight from baseball practice to "come get him RIGHT NOW".

I asked what the problem was and he told me that we were in a tornado warning.

Well, considering I was in the same city and I was not in a tornado warning I was confused.  There were no sirens.  No radio announcements.  Nothing.

Practice was nearly over so I was already on my way.

When I got there I asked about the tornado warning.  "Some kid" had told him they were in a warning so he freaked out.

We talked about who the appropriate sources for weather information might be.  I know you won't believe that a kid at baseball practice is not one of them.

Prayers he will start thinking with his "smart brain" soon instead of making his "tricky brain" do all of the work.
Middle Boy is going to be able to finish this SIX MONTH therapy program he has been in for the last SIXTEEN MONTHS before Therapist L is no longer and provider and moves to Texas.

I have been waiting for this for MONTHS.  With the drive time it takes up SIX HOURS a week.

We are going to have to do a few extra sessions between now and June 10th, but it will be DONE.

Praises for her working with us to get it wrapped up!!
RFKC starts on Monday.

Yesterday the camp registration was completely full.  100% filled.

Today we need girls.

First it was one and she got replaced and then another and she was replaced and then yet a third.

The irony is that we have a BOYS waiting list.  Four kiddos on it.

Girls?  They are in short supply.

God will fill this camp.  He knows who he needs there.  He is using his timing.  Unfortunately I believe my timing would be more convenient.

Praying for the right girls to fill camp.
Tonight was a good night to do work for my job at home.

I didn't feel much like talking to Middle Boy, because he had been awful the entire day and Younger Boy was outside playing catching and shooting hoops with Boarder.

I ended up doing about five hours of REALLY PRODUCTIVE WORK tonight.

It makes me feel better about all of the approaching deadlines and the number of hours I am supposed to be working.
Middle Boy has spent the ENTIRE DAY texting me and trying to pick a fight.

I HATE when he does this. 

Today more than one time he had nearly pushed me over the edge.

I hate this behavior and he uses it quite often.

The day was HORRIBLE because of him.  When he does this he is mean and vindictive.  He is belittling and condescending.

That's the kind of day I had today.

Lucky me.
This morning we were supposed to meet with Middle Boy's attorney.  I think it was part anxiety and part lack of sleep, but Middle Boy was vomiting most of the night and part of the morning. meeting with the attorney.

This stuff always makes me angry, because I usually think he can "suck it up" and just meet his responsibilities and I also worry that there won't be another chance before court.

He doesn't get that, because he never thinks about the big picture of his actions.

I'm irritated about this whole thing.
Night one of the bedtime experiment and all I am going to say is that Younger Boy's actions don't match his words.
Tonight part of the filming was interviews with the members of our family.  Boarder included.

They did my interview in the main living room after a complete rearrangment.  Younger Boy's interview was in his room.  He freaked out, because they wanted to film it there and it is a MESS.  I have been telling him that you never know when someone is going to want to see your room and now all of Japan will know that he stores trash under the bed.

My interview went fairly well, but there were three questions that I didn't expect and that were HARD.

"How do I take care of myself?"

"Do I ever feel overwhelmed with raising these kids from hard places?"

"Do I love them?"

The last question was not hard to answer, but I was surprised by it.

The other two...epic failure.  Sounded like an idiot.

I asked them to please edit and make me sound articulate.  I don't know if it got lost in translation!!

Today our film crew from NHK World is in our home filming us for the evening.

It was a little bit weird to have them filming us making and eating dinner as well as the boys hanging out.  They were also captivated by the dogs and the boys playing with them.

Every time we turned around there was someone standing there filming or moving something or you name it.   The boys commented this is making us seem like a "normal" family, because we are getting our act together.  In many ways...very true.

It was enough to make me realize that I want no part of being on a reality TV show EVER.

Praises for the opportunity for others to learn from our experiences.
Younger Boy's psychiatrist is CRANKY.

There is really no other way to describe her.  Some might say abrupt or to the point, but really it is CRANKY.

Today I told her that while the sleeping meds are working there is now a problem with anxiety and depression.  At our last visit she had taken him off of his anxiety/antidepressant, because it was combined with a sleeping med.

So this month she wanted to take him off the sleeping med and put him BACK on the old med.

NO.  We changed from that because it was NOT helping with sleep.  NOT ONE BIT.

She said to me, "he is taking a lot of meds".  Yes, I am aware of that.  I wish he was taking none, but I challenge you to live with him for a month without them and see what you think.

He takes four...five if you count the one for seasonal allergies.

His therapists wanted me to inquire about a sleep study.  You would have thought I asked her to do a mercy killing.  She flipped out.

Ok...mental note...never ask her about anything again.
Today with Therapist D we talked about moms.

She had Younger Boy make a list of all of the homes he lived in...the main homes.  Not the one week here and there in between the multiple home.

He had seven he listed.

biological home
biological grandma
foster mom who had license revoked for abuse
family who lives on ranch
Mom and Dad J
Out in the Boonies
Forever Home (my house)

Here is what we know.  He has had seven "moms".  Of the seven four have been either abusive or didn't protect him from abuse. wonder he doesn't trust moms.
Younger Boy basically slept through therapy this morning.

I am SO SICK of wasting time at therapy, because the kid WILL NOT sleep at night.

His therapist was NOT IMPRESSED.

She asked him to make a deal with her.  An experiment of sorts.

She had him agree to going to bed at 10PM for seven days and if it doesn't work wout then we will do something else.

He promised her he will do it.  She reminded him his words and actions should match...on all occassions.  He said he knows.

I am praying this goes well.  I am hopeful.
Today I am getting to spend some me time. 

I spent a couple of hours getting a pedicure with another friend, K.

We met and I got my first pedicure since Mother's Day...LAST YEAR.

I told her I would have to pick a color that I could leave on all summer since I probably wouldn't make it back.

She assured me she would make sure I did.

So...I got bright purple.  Something I never do.

I love it and I am so glad I took the morning for me.

Praises for the opportunity to be able to do that!
This morning Coach Z, K, and I were going to go visit our friend in the hospital.

None of us bothered to double check that he was actually still there.  So we met up and drove to the hospital this morning.

When we arrived we found out he had been discharged.  K texted one of her co-workers and found out he had gone to a rehabilitation center about an hour away.

We took advantage of the opportunity to hang out, because we never seem to have the opportunity.  The three of us ended up having coffee and chatting for a couple of hours about everything under teh sun.

It was nice to have time with friends even though it wasn't what we thought we were going to be doing.

Prayers for our friend in the rehabilitation center.  Praises for the time spent with friends.
Younger Boy got home tonight.  Wow...he is a grouch.

There is nothing he has said that has even been remotely kind or friendly.

I think someone needs to go to bed EARLY tonight.
Today Middle Boy and I painted.

We started out with painting all of the walls which were damaged when he had his rampage.

We are also painting his room.  He is decorating his room with a Minnesota Vikings theme so I bought the actual team colors at the home store which sells them.  Three walls will be gold and the fourth wall purple.  The bedding is purple and then there will be a HUGE viking on the purple wall.

It is going to look really cool when it is done. 

This morning I went to church alone.  I haven't done that in two and a half years.

Younger Boy is out of town and Middle Boy is on house arrest.

It was nice being able to just be there and focus on God.  The music was amazing and I was so glad I was there.  Alone or not.

Younger Boy is out of town.

This morning after we got home from Middle Boy's therapy we just hung out at home all day.  Just Middle Boy and I.

We were both just needing some time to wind down and just do some things we were wanting to do and just have a lazy kind of day.

I am glad we had the day to just hang out and literally do nothing.
Today is the last day of school for the year.

Middle Boy is finishing up with four finals and Younger Boy basically has a free day.

I am thankful this school year is over.  In many ways it has been really tough and at this point I am just ready for a break from the nightly discussions and lies about homework.  The excuses about missing assignments and the lack of motivation.

Hopefully by next fall both boys will be in a better place therapeutically and the year will go a little bit smoother.

Tonight Middle Boy came to me to tell me that he had something he really wanted to talk to me about, because he was really struggling.

Of course any time either of the boys wants to talk to me I take every opportunity.

This is what he had to say...

He just doesn't see how there is a God.  All he hears is how God has plans for people and how things work out for those who love God. 

He just doesn't ger how God has let him suffer for his entire life and how it just doesn't seem to be getting any better.

Tonight I just listened.  I didn't do a rebuttal, because it isn't what he needed.  He simply needed to be heard.  To know that I was willing to listen.

I did ask him if he would be willing to listen to my thoughts on it and to also maybe discuss it with one of the pastors at church as well.  He is...for that I am thankful.

Prayers for Middle Boy and his faith journey.  He has a lot of questions he needs answers to.  Pray for wisdom for me to guide him through this and to help him have the right people in his path to lift him up in faith.