We are back to our "normal".

There are still hurt feelings...on both sides.

I do my best to realize that these words and actions aren't about me, but that doesn't mean they don't sting.

We are just hanging out tonight.  We had dinner.  Younger Boy is working on homework and Middle Boy and I are playing spades.  If Younger Boy gets done before his bedtime we will all play a few rounds of UNO.

There are really no consequences for today....just a broken relationship.
In the few hours we were at our Easter dinner Middle Boy called Younger Boy three times and me twice.

Once he called me for the sole purpose of hanging up on me.  It was "lovely".

He is hurting so much today.  I didn't help him by leaving him at home.

He is yearning to reconnect, because he feel guilty.

I offered to come and get him.  He doesn't want to.  Just come home really soon.

I failed.  BIG TIME.

Middle Boy insisted on staying home.

I should have either stayed home with him or made him come with us, but I didn't.

So, now he is CONVINCED that I don't love him and don't want him to be a part of our family.

I have probably set us back at least a year in attachment.
First I have to start by saying that EVERY holiday is hard here.  EVERY SINGLE ONE.

We started on a downward spiral while running our quick errand.

Middle Boy completely lost it....COMPLETELY.

He hates the plans we have for Easter.  He doesn't want to participate.  He isn't part of the family.  No one treats him like he belongs in the family.  I am choosing a friend over him. 

I offered for all of us to stay home.  No...he doesn't want to do that.

I offered for him to stay home.  No...he is going, but he is going to make everyone miserable.

By now I am crying and frustrated.

Then I hear this...

"Why are you crying you f****** b****?"

I can't do this today.  I wish he wasn't hurting so bad.  I get that even though this is his forever family he is grieving his biological family.  I just wish it didn't suck this much.
This morning I got up early to make our Easter breakfast.  The resurrection rolls didn't turn out as "empty tomb" like as I had hoped, but they still tasted really good.

The boys ate some candy out of their Easter baskets and we went to the latest church service our church offered.

The church service was nice...and convicting.

We haven't been going to church as a whole family recently because Younger Boy has been going to youth group so it was good to have both boys there.

We are praising God today, because HE IS RISEN!!
We had a few minutes between church and our Easter dinner so we ran a quick errand to go and get milk.

It wasn't good.  I don't know why exactly, but things really started going downhill.
We spent the evening at a local bowling alley/go kart place with my friend, Southern Belle, and her friend A.

It was a good time.  We raced go karts.  Well, everyone else did.  I stayed in the back of the pack, because it was too stressful for me.

We played laser tag.  I was even cool enough to play.

We had a mini air hockey tournament where Middle Boy smoked us all.

We had dinner.

The kids bowled boys against girls.  The girls used bumpers and the boys didn't.  The girls won by four pins.

It was a nice night.  We laughed a lot and just had a really good time.
Middle Boy told me this morning after therapy that Therapist L told him that he and another boy are the "leaders" in their group.

The other boys must be backing up if the effort Middle Boy is putting in (none) is making him a leader.

I suspect this is an exaggeration or some kind of thinking error, but I am just going to let it go.
We opened student bank accounts for the boys a couple of weeks ago.

Tonight we had everything we needed to set-up online banking.

Neither boy understands anything about banking or money so it was AWFUL.

When Younger Boy is confused he goes into his alternate personality.  So...hello to the four-year old.  When Middle Boy is confused he becomes belligerent.  So....hello rude and mean boy.

It was not fun.  Middle Boy decided he is NEVER going to need to know how to work with money so he gave up.  No use in trying to talk to him about it.  He isn't going to need it....EVER.

Younger Boy doesn't care, because well, he's four. online banking set up.

Prayers on another day we can work through this.
We went to the Good Friday service at church.  It was a different type of service than usual and when that happens I never know if either boy will be able to handle it.  They don't like change.

Both of them did fairly well. 

Since it was Good Friday it was more somber than usual.  Middle Boy actually preferred that.  Not surprising to me.

He made sure to tell me he still regularly likes church, but he just liked this a little better.

Thinking tonight about how Christ died for our sins and what this day actually means to us.
Middle Boy is CONVINCED he will be buying a car on his 16th birthday.

The fact that he has about nine dollars to his name doesn't seem to matter.

He informed me tonight he will be buying a Dodge Dakota, because he is a part of that program for former foster kids and they will match four times what he saves up to a match of $8,000. of right now he can get a $45 car.

I'm just being ridiculous though.

Younger Boy is supposed to be practicing telling the truth.

As best I can tell this is not going well.

Tonight he LIED about homework.  We were waiting in the car for Middle Boy to finish therapy.

He had his backpack with him and I asked what his homework is.  "None."

I asked to see the homework sheet Ms. W makes for him every day as part of his IEP.  That shows there is math, science, and language arts yet to be done.  "She must be wrong, because they are done."

I asked to see his math book.  One of the sixteen problems was done.  Instead of working on it he decided to rip holes in the pages with his pen, because he is already done.  It doesn't matter that this is HIS math book and the problems are NOT done.  He did them.

PRACTICE telling the truth.
Younger Boy's teacher emailed today.

It is week ONE of the fourth quarter and he is already missing reading assignments.  Two of them.  It is only the fourth day so that is actually probably ALL of them.

He swears that he doesn't have homework and is doing it all.

Lately he has been "forgetting" his paper which his IEP holder writes down all of his homework for the day on.  I have searched is bag.  I can't find it so I don't know where it is ending up each day.

Prayers the amount of effort being put into avoiding homework can start to be put into actually doing the homework.

There is one assignment in this portion of Middle Boy's therapy that has 12 parts.

We made an agreement that he would could take two weeks to do this single assignment since it was so lengthy.

Today is the end of week one and he has three parts done.

He SWEARS he will get it done.  I wish I believed him, but I don't.  Not one little bit.

I'll be honest.  I don't get it.  He claims to want to be finished with therapy, but yet doesn't do what is required of him to finish.  There is a complete disconnect.

So...he'll get it done.  The other nine parts in a single week.

I probably will NOT be holding my breath.
After we dropped S off we talked continued to talk about relationships, but the focus changed to the boy's relationships with each other and with me.

The boy's agreed they have a fairly "normal" brother relationship.  I would say that for the most part this is true.  Middle Boy can be a little over-the-top controlling and Younger Boy might play the victim a little more than some, but otherwise pretty standard.

Younger Boy said the biggest barrier in his relationship with me is his lying.  That's probably true.

Middle Boy thinks in our relationship it is his pushing boundaries and his deceitfulness.

I would say that neither trust me...AT ALL.  They both say they do, but it is SO EVIDENT that they don't.

It was an interesting discussion...initiated by Middle Boy.

Praises for openness and willingness to work on our relationship.
The middle school youth group is talking about relationships.  The high school youth group just finished talking about relationships.

So...tonight on the way home we talked about relationships.

We give S a ride home every week, because she lives near us.  I used to mentor her, but now Coach Z does.

She and Middle Boy were having a pretty frank discussion about middle school and high school relationships.  They both had a lot of questions about gay marriage, because it has been in the news so often.

We talked a lot about different kinds of love and being able to love your friends, but to not have that be considered "bi" or gay. 

It was an interesting discussion.  They were both surprisingly adult and open with their opinions...most of which were pretty solid and Biblically-based.

Younger Boy...oblivious to the whole discussion.  In his own world.

Praises for the ability to talk openly with these kids and for hearing their opinions and being proud of them.
Southern Belle is here visiting for the week.  It is her break.

She is going to youth group tonight with Younger Boy.

He is pretty nervous about it.  Middle Boy keeps teasing him that it is a date.

He and I talked about the etiquette of bringing a guest to youth group.  He is going to meet her outside.  Make sure she feels included and walk her out to meet her dad's car.

It is working out well for them, because he has his regular men's Bible study.

I am hoping she has a good time.
Middle Boy thinks I don't notice things.

Like for instance tonight.  He was supposed to be at large group of youth group.  I can't say he wasn't there part of the time, because he was.  Part of the time though he was in the restroom with his friend, Z, listening to music.  Like for 20 minutes.

I think they think I won't notice if they leave a couple of minutes apart and don't come back together.  Really?  You think I am that naive?

When I asked about it Middle Boy swore he didn't know where Z was during that time.

I didn't say anything, but again reminded him that if I can't trust him to do what he is supposed to WHEN I AM THERE and with the little things it will be VERY DIFFICULT to trust him with the big things and a lot of what he asks for are big things.
The YMCA here has two separate teen programs.  The first is a day program for teens to attend and just hang out SUPERVISED for the entire day.  This is the program Middle Boy went to last year and the program Younger Boy will go to this year.

The other program is a program paid for by the parent, but it is a training program for jobs.  The teens are actually assigned "jobs" either around the YMCA or with the summer programs and they learn responsibility and so on.  This is what Middle Boy will be doing this year.

He has requested to be the person in charge of lunches and snacks for the day campers.  He helped with this last year and really enjoyed it.  He made a list of ways it could be improved and called the teen program director.

So, this, and mowing lawns will be Middle Boy's summer job.

Praises for programs like these for kids who need supervision.  They are REALLY DIFFICULT to find for teens.
Younger Boy was pretty excited today after school.  He completed all of his homework while he was at scholars and even had the opportunity to do some leisure reading.

You just tell he felt good about it and maybe, just maybe, he is starting to like the feeling.
After our discussion tonight Middle Boy posted the following on Facebook:

from now on i dont care wat people think if you have a problum with me fight me if u dont like me go to hell if u want me to change u might as well walk away cuz im sick of people assuming they know me well ima show them who i really am

So...I sent him the following message:

Is your post directed at me?

His response:

partly u like it....

My response:

You have a choice to build our relationship or tear it down.  It is up to you.  Being in a family is hard work.  Are you willing to do the work or are you going to walk away?  No matter what you choose I will continue to love you with everything that I am.

His response:

u decide but wen u walk out of a conversation cuz u dont like it u let more walls be built so if ur tryin to get in thts not the way but i am gonna start bein me i dont care wat peopl think of me anymore

My response:

You had already shut me out.  You told me to stop pushing.  I gave you your wish.  You doesn't matter to me how "bad" and "angry" you are.  I will love you.  No matter what.  Can you say the same about loving me?

His response:

To come to the family room and sit RIGHT NEXT to me on the couch.  He wouldn't look at me (thanks a lot RAD), but he wanted to be RIGHT THERE.  The repair phase after the guilt phase after the meltdown phase.

Praises for the repair phase.  Prayers the meltdown phases become fewer and farther between.

After Middle Boy stormed up to his room I went to talk to him.

What is this about?  What is bothering him?

A FLOOD of things came out.

He hates this home.  He has no social life.  People here are always "coming at him".  Younger Boy is continually acting like "a little girl".  No one ever does anything except their responsibilities.  No one cares his girlfriend is mad at him, because he can't text her.  Every time I give a consequence he always seems to lose something he cares about.  On and on...

I asked him some questions.  What is it that he wants to be doing that he doesn't get to?  I DON'T KNOW.  Then how can I make sure you have the opportunity to do those things?

All I ever do is push.  He is done talking to me.  I should just leave.

So I did.
Tonight Middle Boy and Boarder were talking about life philosophies.

Boarder's is "Live life to the fullest."

Middle Boy's is "Expect the worst, but hope for the best."

Boarder wanted him to explain.  In Boarder's opinion if you are expecting the worst you will ALWAYS find something bad, because you are looking for it.

I have to tend to agree.

Middle Boy swears he is NOT always expecting something bad to happen.  I would beg to differ.  That is survival brain 101.

He BLEW up at Boarder, because Boarder "just doesn't get it".

Goodness....he needs to just go to bed and sleep this mood off.
The boys played outside this afternoon.

It was beautiful out.

Before I continue, keep in mind I WILL NOT win any kind of parent of the year award...EVER.

The boys were jousting with a broomstick and a mop handle.  They were playfully hitting each other...for the most part.

No one got really mad.

Boarder came home and said he wanted no part of it....none.

Younger Boy came in the house, but he wasn't mad.  Just came in to get a drink.

That must have somehow triggered Middle Boy, but I'm not sure how.  He came in and wouldn't talk to anyone.  Just stomped to his room.

Great...there goes the evening.

Pray for wisdom and discernment to help figure out what is going on with Middle Boy.
Scholars is the after school tutoring program at Younger Boy's school.

He has been staying on Tuesday and Thursday.

Today, in a roundabout way, he asked if it was okay if he started staying on Wednesdays as well.

He thinks it is easier to get his homework done there and he is "really starting to like it".

Of can stay every Wednesday.

I am proud of you for wanting to learn more....very proud.
Today Middle Boy and Younger Boy were in a bit of a disagreement.

Middle Boy had purchased some of those breath strips that melt on your tongue and had three sitting on the counter.

He got himself a glass of water and only two were there, but so was Younger Boy.

He questioned Younger Boy who first said it must have fallen behind the counter (welcome back, kooky story method).

When Middle Boy pointed out the impossibility Younger Boy admitted he took it, because he wanted it.

Middle Boy said "if it isn't yours, don't take it".  Kind of a good life rule.

The stealing is escalating...WHY?

Father, please help me understand why the escalation in stealing.  What needs are not being met right now?
Therapist C gave Younger Boy the homework this week to PRACTICE telling the truth.

He said "I am going to work on it".  She told him to her that means he is going to think about it and instead she wants him to PRACTICE.

I am supposed to hold him accountable with the following words "Don't you wish I believed that."

These words also do wonders when someone is lamenting how awful and stupid they are.

Works wonders in integrative parenting!!
Today when we got to therapy I told Therapist C about the chocolate incident this morning.

I told her about the clues I had been getting.

She asked him about the chocolates and where they came from.  She told him she needed to be a detective about it.

Here were the clues she gave him:

I did not eat them.
Boarder did not eat them, because he is a trustworthy person otherwise I wouldn't allow him to live in our home.
There are two other people who live in our house.

First he claimed Sophie must have ate them.  We pointed out to him if that were the case there would likely be trash from them somewhere in the house, because she wouldn't know to hide her trash.

So, that still leaves the two.

He swore he didn't eat them.

Therapist C then explained as a result he is then saying that Middle Boy ate them.  He is blaming Middle Boy.  Younger Boy immediately said "no, I'm not".  Technically you are blaming him.  She told him that if in his heart, mind, and soul he was fine with blaming Middle Boy and having Middle Boy serve whatever consequence comes with taking the chocolates then she would believe that he didn't take them and hadn't eaten them.

He was NOT okay with that, yet he still couldn't NOT admit he had taken the chocolates.  He was just VERY ADAMANT we should not blame Middle Boy.

She told him that the lying and stealing are usually the last two hurdles to overcome in trauma and attachment and they take VERY HARD work.

He never did admit to taking the chocolate.  We still have more work to do.
Earlier in the week I bought three chocolates for everyone in the house.  A total of twelve chocolates.

I had one, but my other two do not exist.

This morning Younger Boy was eating chocolates.

I asked where he got them.  From his room.  I asked what kind of chocolates they were.  He couldn't remember.

This was after he told me on Saturday that the way we could keep others in the house from eating our treats was to hide them in our rooms.  When I suggested that we could each just eat only what is ours and trust the others in the house to do the same that would be best you could see him deflate.

He SWORE these were NOT my missing chocolates.  ABSOLUTELY NOT.
Middle Boy is proud of himself today as well.

He had math homework and before I got home he was done.  It was on the table for me to look at and he had moved on to his therapy homework.

I pray his motivation level will stay high.  I worry that it won't.
Younger Boy came home from school so proud of himself today.

He completed two reading tests.  One for each book he read over spring break.

He got 100% on each of the tests.

He is energized about reading.  He is proud of himself.

It is awesome to see him with a little bit of self-confidence.  He rarely has any.
Tonight was the last night of spring break so we are doing a family activity.

We need suggestions for board games that are age appropriate and able to be played by three.

We have Monopoly and Risk, both of which we love, but take WAY TOO LONG.

Any ideas are welcome.  We played a couple of card games tonight.

It was nice....and normal.
Tonight the boys got ready for school tomorrow.


Usually I ask them to and they ignore me.  They pretend there is no school tomorrow and they are then forced to rush around in the morning.

I'm telling you...the winds of change are blowing through this house.  Not a gale force wind, but a teeny breeze with teeny almost unnoticeable changes, but I notice.

Thank you God for change.
Younger Boy is spending the better part of the day reading.  His reading goal (which he set) was to read two full books over spring break.  He is a little bit behind.

Middle Boy is working on a seven chapter therapy packet on empathy.  Today's assignment is kind of difficult for him.  He has to choose five people he knows who he thinks have life harder than he does.  He has to explain why and tell how he should treat them and explain his empathy toward them.

His choices were interesting.  Honestly, his life has been pretty hard. 

He chose:

Coach Z's husband, S.  He is in a wheelchair and Middle Boy thinks that would be hard.  He had a lot of logistical questions for me on this one.  His biggest concern was showering and personal hygiene.

His second choice was, Middle Brother, Younger Boy's brother who has cerebral palsy.  He is also on a ventilator and a feeding tube.

His third choice was a boy from school who is in special education.

His fourth choice was Younger Boy for mental health issues.

His fifth choice is mom, because she is a drug addict.

He is really putting forth effort into this assignment.  Maybe he has turned a corner in terms of therapy.
One thing Therapist C and I have noticed about Younger Boy is that he has ZERO concept of time.


Tonight he took one of sleeping meds.  Psychiatrist told us that if he isn't sleeping within 30 minutes he is to take another...up to a total of four.

After about 40 minutes he came to my room to tell me he couldn't sleep.  I got him another half of a sleeping pill.

He went back to his room and said if he still wasn't sleeping he would be back in 30 minutes.

He was back in FOUR MINUTES.

I asked what he was doing.  He said it was time for his next sleeping pill, because it had been more than 30 minutes.

Did you look at a clock?  No, I just know.

I told him "Younger has been FOUR minutes.  I know that thirty minutes seems like a really long time to you, but we can't take the meds closer together than that."

Every day I am reminded of this lack of concept of time.  My prayer is that one day he will know.  He will be able to recite the months in order (neither boy can now), he would know the days of the week in order (Middle Boy does and Younger Boy doesn't), and they would both know how many seasons there are and what order they are in.

The boys made a pact today.

I am not sure which one of them is driving all of these changes.  I am 90% sure it is Middle Boy, but Younger Boy seems to be going along with it.

They have decided they will do homework together each night and no longer lie about whether or not they have homework.

They are going to hold each other accountable for missing assignments.  They want me to check on parent portal each Friday and give them a report of how each of them is doing.

They made personal hygiene checklists for themselves for both morning and night.  These are now displayed in their bathroom as well.

They are going to hold each other accountable for bedtime, because they haven't been getting enough sleep.  I suspect this will be one of the first things to fall by the wayside.

They both signed the pact.

Praises for them wanting to make life changes.  Prayers they will be able to stick to at least some of their objectives.
The boys spent a good portion of the day today cleaning their rooms and their bathroom.

Their bathroom had been a disaster area. 

So was Younger Boy's room.  Middle Boy doesn't like things messy so his never really gets very bad.

They were proud of their work and invited me upstairs to see what they had done.

It looked great.

There are around ten new signs explaining who puts their stuff where in the bathroom.  I think it is overkill, but I don't have to follow the process.  I have my own bathroom.

I'm proud of Middle Boy for helping Younger Boy get his room cleaned up as well.
Middle Boy and I were in the family room talking about nothing in particular.

Out of the blue he said, "I just realized that I am really lucky and blessed."

I asked what made him think that.  He said it was because for the first time in his life he has nice things and I care about him and want him to be a better person.

I have NO IDEA what brought this on.

I told him I thought we were both blessed and that we should thank God for everything we have.

Sophie got a bath today and her nails trimmed.

She LOVES going there.  She gets super excited and can hardly stand it.

I love taking her, because for the next couple of weeks she always smells like a sugar cookie.
Middle Boy had group therapy today.  He didn't have anything to present since he just moved to a new level and hasn't had an assignment approved by Therapist L yet.

He was irritated, because two of the boys spent the entire time yelling at each other and taunting a new member of the group.

Ultimately the two were asked to leave for the day, but the disruption was done.

He is concerned because now the people who were supposed to present today will be pushed back a week.

He is finally engaging and wanting to wrap up therapy.  I hope the group starts to go better for him.
I decided we would have a nice dinner out.  I always hesitate doing this, because Middle Boy is pretty finicky and sometimes that irritates me.

I was proud of him tonight.  He tried a couple of things I was shocked about.  He REALLY LIKES avocado egg rolls.  He likes, and Younger Boy loves, shrimp lettuce wraps.

It was a nice family dinner.  Good conversation.

Just a nice time.
Middle Boy has needed new tennis shoes for a while.  I have been holding him off, because they are expensive and I am not a lover of shopping.

Younger Boy has been growing A LOT.  Every time I look at that kid it feels like he is getting taller.  His shoes, the ones we bought after the storm sewer incident, are too small.

So, lucky me, two pair of tennis shoes.

On the way there I asked each boy what they thought was a reasonable budget for tennis shoes.

Younger Boy said fifteen dollars (I wish) and Middle Boy just wants to look and see if the ones he wants are too expensive. 

I gave them their budget.  There was no complaining.

We were there longer than I wanted to be, because Middle Boy struggles to make decisions.  We were almost there long enough for me to think I should try on some shoes....not quite though.

It was a relatively peaceful shopping experience.  Normal...and nice.

A friend who I met at Integrative Parenting class sent me the link to the following article today.

The Trauma Tornado

I read this and I think about my boys. 

After two years they still lie and steal.  They still think I am not going to come home when I leave.  They still think I will not provide food for them and that we are going to run out of money at any given second.  They think I would feed them food that is expired or even pulled from the trash.  They don't think they will have a coat or enough clothes or enough shoes or enough anything.

At first I just perpetuated the tornado.  Probably even helped to intensify it.  Sometimes still do.

I now know how to get out of the tornado.  It is scary though.  It is counter-intuitive.

I am thankful to have some good therapists helping us and also for friends who continually remind me and provide me with reinforcing reminders.

Tonight Middle Boy wanted to know about Younger Boy's memory log.  I told him what he is doing.

I also suggested maybe he could do the same thing and maybe it would help.

He completely shut down.

When he decided to talk again he told me he is too angry to do that.  If I ask him to remember it will bring up anger and I won't like it.  Allegedly he had a therapist who told him it is best to just pretend those things never happened.  I doubt this is true, but there are some wacky therapists out there.

So...that's what he is going to do.  Bury it.

He did tell me later that he is still working on his autobiography.  I read the beginning of it about a week ago, but today he said he had deleted that one.  It was formatted chronologically.  He has decided to change the format and make each memory its own chapter.

He said that by reading the book is the only way I will ever know what happened to him, because he is never going to say the words.

Praises he is choosing to have an outlet.
Younger Boy is keeping a memory log.

When he is triggered to remember something from the past he is to write it down.

The purpose is two-fold.  First, we are trying to see how often he is "in the past" and also to make sure we are able to work through all of the memories.

Tonight he wrote down at least three.  The first time he asked how to spell the first names of his biological mom and grandma.

He asked if I wanted to read them.  Only if he wants me to.  I can read them as he goes or we can go over them in therapy.  They are his memories, so it is up to him.

Younger Boy is now taking an ACTIVE ROLE in his own therapy.  I honestly feel like we have turned a corner.
Today I got an email telling me the physical I did to have my foster care license renewed has expired and the state isn't done with the paperwork so I will need to have another physical.

Oh...and by the way can I get it done before April 1st, because that is the day my background checks will expire.

This is RIDICULOUS.  Honestly I want to send the bill for the physical to the state.

This morning I heard on the radio that it is National Single Parent Day.

Before I was a single parent, I knew that being a single parent was hard work.

Now that I am a single parent I totally get it.

I also realize that I am far more blessed with resources than most single parents.  I am not "celebrity blessed" where I have a staff of people helping me out, but God has provided me with a HUGE support system.

So...for all of the single parents out there...have a good day.  Take a minute for yourself.  Even if it is only a minute.  You deserve it.
When Middle Boy and I talk it is often times like we aren't speaking the same language.

To say that this is super frustrating would be an understatement.

More often than not we are actually saying nearly the same thing in completely different wording making the other think they have no idea what we are talking about.  It goes both ways, too.

Tonight I had to get him to agree that we were not going to just say "forget it" or "never mind" anymore.

We are going to figure this out.

Prayers for good communication and wisdom to work through it.
Tonight our family was talking about Younger Boy taking some sleeping meds.

There are some very real concerns that come along with them.

He sleeps HARD...really hard.  We will need to take necessary precautions to avoid bedwetting as a result.

He is a little bit groggy when he wakes.  This will likely go away once he is more rested than his current state.

It puts him out IMMEDIATELY.  So when he takes it we have to be ready to go to bed.

I could tell Middle Boy was really conflicted when we were talking about it.  He is starting to acknowledge he, too, has sleep issues.  There is a part of him that KNOWS he desperately needs the sleep.


He said "I will never be able to take those meds."

I asked why. 

Because they make you sleep to hard and he wouldn't be able to hear someone and then he might not be able to protect himself very well. 

Middle are safe in this home. 

I know that, but it is hard to remember when it is night time.

Maybe you can go to bed before I do.

I can't.  I have to be the last to go to sleep.  That way I KNOW that no one is going to leave after I fall asleep and never come back.

Two VERY REAL fears.  Two things to talk about and work through.  Both are going to take time, but the realization that is the problem is HUGE.
Younger Boy is still a new kid.

He is carrying himself taller and engaging more.

I am SO PROUD of him for letting himself start to heal.  For letting himself start to work through the bad memories and the old "stuff".

You can visibly see how his quality of life has changed in just two short days.

Thank you GOD!!
Tonight at youth group I noticed Middle Boy and his friend, Z, each had one ear bud in and were OBVIOUSLY listening to something.  Didn't really seem to matter that the youth pastor was speaking or that they should have been taking notes or at the very least paying attention and being respectful.

I texted him to tell him to stop listening to music!

He texted back that he wasn't listening to music.  True...not right that second so he isn't technically lying.

I told him I am wise to the nuances of his lies and we are going to start living by the spirit of the truth versus the letter of the truth.

This will be really uncomfortable for him.

Pray for truth.
This morning I called home and talked to Middle Boy.

I gave him a question to ask Boarder and call me back since Boarder was in the shower.  Otherwise I would have just talked to Boarder myself.

I told him to ask if they could meet me for lunch so I could give them money for haircuts and the haircut discount cards.

Middle Boy called me back and said "no problem".

So, I met them for lunch.

It was at lunch I found out that Middle Boy only asked Boarder if they could meet us for lunch.  Nothing was mentioned about the haircuts.

When I started to hand Boarder the money he asked what it was for.  Uh...haircuts.  The reason why you are here to meet me.

He has a meeting this afternoon for work, so that won't work out.

So...I thanked Middle Boy for letting me buy him lunch and went back to work.

I guess we'll get haircuts on Saturday.
We had NO IDEA how the sleeping meds were going to work.  On some kiddos it is within 15 minutes.  So...being the nerd that I am I made sure EVERYTHING was taken care of before we took the first dosage.

Good thing, too, because about 20 minutes later, after the very first dose, Younger Boy was out.  Completely out. 

Will it always be this easy with the med?  Probably not.  He is so completely sleep deprived right now so that likely had some effect.

NOW if I could just convince Middle Boy that he, too, has sleep issues.  That is going to be a lot tougher road.  His psychiatrist took FIVE appointments to do something about the vomit-inducing anxiety.  This will be no different.

Praises for least for one of us!!
We went back to Therapist C to rehash everything that had come up since Little Sister's flashback.

Therapist C frantically took notes and asked questions in case he blocks the memories again soon.

There were a few things we were able to talk about immediately.

She told him to keep a memory journal with him at all times so if he has a memory he can write it down and tell her the next time he is at therapy.  That way we can work on them and he won't forget them.

You can visibly see a HUGE WEIGHT lifted off of his shoulders.  When the conversation was over he was almost beaming and he had a spring in his step that I have NEVER seen before.  NEVER.

This kid has been carrying the WEIGHT OF THE WORLD for YEARS.

I love seeing this.  Maybe it will only be temporary.  Praying it is forever.
We took the sleep log to Psychiatrist.  I had already talked to her on more than one occasion about sleep (or lack thereof).

After reviewing the sleep log (thank you God for prompting us to keep it) she agreed there is a significant problem.  She prescribed a sleep med which we will give in 50mg increments every 30 minutes until 200mg or sleep.

Leaving her office you could almost sense he was relieved to finally be getting some help sleeping.

I don't want this to be a forever solution.  Just to get us over the hump until he feels safe and knows I won't leave in the middle of the night.
While we were in therapy I got an urgent call from Mom J.  Little Sister had a HORRIBLE flashback last night and she wanted to share it with me.

She had already talked with Older Boy about it and he confirmed and added to the story.  She just needed more detail from Middle Boy if there was any.  They were on their way to their therapist, because this memory had rocked both kiddos to the core.

Little Sister didn't sleep all night.  Just sobbed and shook while Mom and Dad J held her.

I told Younger Boy a few of the details Little Sister had remembered.

A floodgate opened.  Lots of details and thoughts and memories.  At least 10 different stories of a terrified little boy.  Stories about being abused.  Stories about being abandoned.  Stories which made me ANGRY.  Talk about people watching the abuse and wondering why they did nothing.  Hating adults.

I called Therapist C.  We were one our way to see Psychiatrist for a med check and Therapist C asked us to come back afterward so we could capture the break through moment.

While we drove to Psychiatrist's office I just held his hand and reminded him OVER and OVER that he is safe.
With Therapist D today we did the two hand technique again.  It seems to be the most helpful with him.

We picked up where we left off last week with one big change.  Last week he was "holding" the thought "my parents weren't ready to be parents" in his right hand and "this is all my fault" in his left hand.

Therapist D wanted to change the thought of the right hand.  She said what we had talked about last week implied that if they had been given enough time they might have been able to become good parents.  She asked Younger Boy if we could change the thought to "my parents were not safe".  He agreed.

When he worked through this he got to a point of anger and then sadness.  Gone was the thought this is all his fault.

He had more questions.  What were his parents supposed to do that they didn't do?  We had to explain that while we didn't know for sure there are things that ALL PARENTS are supposed to do so those would have been on the list.

Therapist D told him she was VERY PROUD of him.  She complimented him on using his thinking brain to do grown-up problem solving.

We talked about two methods of problem solving.  One that works and one that doesn't.  You can pretend there is no problem OR you can say "I have a problem" and try to solve it.  If you can't do it on your own you can ask for help.  We talked about how pretending makes you feel better in the beginning, but in the end makes you feel yucky and how saying you have a problem feels a little yucky in the beginning, but feels great in the end.

He said without any prompt "I don't want to pretend anymore."

PRAISE GOD!!  I am so thankful for these sessions today.  I have been so frustrated with him lately and this is what I needed to hear him say today.  God knew.
I'm not sure what happened, but today, all of a sudden something clicked for Younger Boy.

He was finally honest at therapy.  He told Therapist C that he didn't understand something.

We were talking about his relationship with Older Boy.  He blames Older Boy for being in foster care in the first place.  He is positive he was removed from his biological grandparents because Older Boy requested it.

So...we started setting things straight.  Bluntly setting them straight.

He was removed from his biological grandparents, because they didn't follow the visitation rules with the biological parents.  We explained that Judge D told them "no more".

He had lots of other questions.

Why does Older Sister live with his biological parents?  Tough question.  Because she was never in foster care.  She doesn't have the same biological dad as you do so when you all went in foster care she went to live with her dad.  We don't know how she came to live with her mom again.

Is Older Sister safe?  We don't know the answer.  She is almost an adult, but we don't really know.

Did his parents only have one chance to get him back?  No.  There were FOUR YEARS of court dates.  They had a MINIMUM of SIXTEEN chances.  We asked him how many chances he liked to give people if they weren't doing what he thought they should be doing.  He said two or three.  We explained that SIXTEEN is a lot more than that.

If he gets taken from this home would he have to go live with his biological parents again?  First, it is unlikely he would get taken from this home.  We then explained the law.  Therapist C equated it to robbing a bank and the consequences of that.  His parents broke the law so he cannot LEGALLY be his parents anymore.  If (and again it is unlikely) he would get taken from this home I would have chances to get him back just like his parents did.

It was interesting to hear what his questions were and how convoluted some of the thinking he had was.  He has been working to really make sense of it.  We were able to finally help him with some of it.
This morning when I got up and went downstairs I noticed there was a list of wrestling moves for both Middle Boy and Younger Boy on the dining room table.  A list that wasn't there last night when I went to bed.

Younger Boy was already up, because he had therapy.  He was EXHAUSTED.  I woke up Middle Boy and asked what had been going on last night during the night.

Both swore nothing.  Then Younger Boy said "you are probably going to say we were wrestling, so fine, I was wrestling". 

I told them both there was a consequence for lying.  Both insisted they didn't know how they had lied.  I explained it to them.  Middle Boy agreed.  Younger Boy did not.  He was still sure that by telling me a bold faced lie three times followed by the above statement of truth was NOT lying.

He went to the garage to get something and while there punched the wall twice.  He alleges that he didn't punch it, but rather tried to turn off the light using a book.   Another inaccuracy.

So...both boys have a 24 hour consequence for lying.

I'm still praying that one day they will trust me enough to tell me the truth about something...ANYTHING.
At 2:15AM I was awakened by Middle Boy.

He had a horrible headache and couldn't sleep.  He was going to go downstairs and get something to eat to see if that would help.  I got up and got him some pain relievers.

About 15 minutes later I heard a lot of commotion on the main level of our house.

Middle Boy came back upstairs and said he had fallen down.  Then I saw Younger Boy come up the stairs.  Allegedly he was coming back from the main level bathroom.  He "couldn't" use the one right by his room.

I told them both to GO TO BED...NOW.

More commotion and more noise.

I drifted off to sleep....IRRITATED.
It was a quiet evening at home this evening.  I loved every minute of it.
Middle Boy decided he wanted to clean the house before his friend came over.  (Side note...I wanted to clean before my parents got here, but that didn't seem to matter to anyone else.)

Middle Boy was barking orders and bossing everyone around.  It was CRAZY.

At one point I told him he was going to have to tone it down or his friend could not visit.  He needed to back off and relax a little.

I guess we got the house cleaned up to his satisfaction, because he called his friend to come over.  They watched a movie and shot some baskets.

Pretty uneventful...and our house is a little bit cleaner!
Grandma and Grandpa fixed our vacuum which has been blowing dust out for at least two months.

It is hard to tell what the actual problem was.  Could it have been the red pen that was stuck OR could it have been the ziploc bag with screws in it that was causing the problem?

When I said "make sure you pick up the big things" I must not have properly defined big things.
This morning did not get off to a good start.

Not shocking due to the fact that neither boy got much sleep.

Younger Boy was stomping and screaming.  I asked him to go back to his room and start his day over, because the first start was too rough.

I asked him what time he went to bed.  He told me 11PM.  I explained there was no way that was what time he went to bed since I was still up at 11PM.

He then did is typical "I don't know.  I don't have a guess."

I suppose we have more work to do on this topic at therapy.

With Middle Boy it is a little bit different.  His sleeping problem isn't defiance it is fear.  As a result I just let him stay up until he can't stay up any longer.  Doesn't mean it isn't irritating.  It is just what happens.

The boys went to bed after Grandpa, Grandma, and I.  They assured me they would be there at a reasonable time.

When I got up this morning Grandpa told me they were talking in the hall outside Younger Boy's room at 3:30AM when he told them to go to bed.

Perhaps we need a clearer definition of reasonable.
After dinner we played a game of 90s Trivial Pursuit.

We divided up into teams.  Grandpa and Grandma.  Younger Boy and me.  Middle Boy and Boarder.

Last time we played Middle Boy and I were a team.  This time he decided he wanted to be with Boarder.

It was kind of an ugly game.

Boarder and Middle Boy struggled.  I thought Middle Boy would never let it die when Boarder answered a question about a futuristic movie with "Jurassic Park" and a question about who protects the internet with "Superman".

Grandma and Grandpa...who profess to not be good at trivia...won.  Grandpa gave me a hard time for possessing a significant amount of completely useless knowledge.  He is right.  If only the important things would stick.  No need to know the first names of Mulder and Sculley from the X-Files....which by the way I never watched.

We laughed a lot.

Thank you God for this wonderful time with extended family.
We spent the remainder of the afternoon hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa.

We watched some basketball and had some frozen yogurt.

Nothing too exciting, but nice to spend the time together.
This afternoon I took Grandma, Grandpa, and the boys to see CAMP.

Younger Boy cried a number of times through the course of the movie.  He was sitting by Grandma so I don't really know which parts really got the tears flowing.  He said afterward it was because he felt bad for the main character and because sometimes he misses going to that camp.

Middle Boy appreciated the fact that foster kids were not made out to be morons or weirdos.  (His words.)  He said he "teared up" a couple of times. 

We were able to talk a lot about the coping strategies all of the kids in the movie used as part of their life situation. 

We were also able to talk about the hope God brings to each of our lives.

Younger Boy wants to go again.  I'm sure he will find someone to take him!!  He's pretty charismatic.

God...thank you for this movie.  For using this film to raise awareness about foster kids and about the hope RFKC and TRAC can give to them.

Today Therapist L praised Middle Boy today.

Each week during group therapy each of the boys is responsible for deciding if the others have mastered a topic or not and providing constructive feedback.

Therapist L pulled me aside to tell me Middle Boy had given exceptional feedback to another one of the boys today.  He asked tough questions and he wanted to make sure the other boy understood what he was presenting.  She said he was really engaged.

He has been struggling with being engaged so I am proud of him for being able to do that this morning.
The Lion King was good.  Not as good as I remember it being though.

Both boys liked it, but not as much as they like Beauty and the Beast.

Both of them want to go to musicals again next year.  That kind of surprised me.

We'll have to see how they fit in our schedule.

I am thankful they enjoy these things.  They talk all of the time about how this is the first time they have ever had the opportunity to do anything like that.

I am also thankful to my parents for taking us to musicals when we were kids even though we ALWAYS complained.

Tonight the boys and I had dinner with C before going to The Lion King musical.

We went to eat downtown.  It is always kind of an interesting experience.  There were two women standing on the corner holding up signs saying "free hugs".  It creeped both boys out.  There were banjo players and guitar players.

We parked and went to dinner.  Middle Boy had three or four plates of salad and a plate of spaghetti.  Younger Boy also had two plates of salad and a plate of spaghetti.  He even kept pace with everyone else at the table.

We were talking about whether or not we were full and out of nowhere Younger Boy said "I'm satisfied."

As we were leaving he told the man managing the salad bar "You have been working really hard and you are doing a great job."

Dinner was a nice time.  With good discussion.
Last night both boys told me OVER AND OVER they would be cleaning immediately following school today.

I called a little while ago for a progress report and to see if I should brace myself for disappointment.

I was told that "a little bit" has been done, but they are getting ready to start again in a few minutes.

That's what I needed.  Prepare for disappointment.
Younger Boy is struggling to stay on task with nearly EVERYTHING right now.

Tonight it took him 45 minutes to eat a single chicken sandwich.  I can't even really describe what he was doing, because when I look at him he seems to be taking a bite or eating.  There is nothing else going TV, no music.

Tonight he went to get himself a glass of water and came back 20 minutes after going out to the garage to air up a basketball.  I don't know why.

He went to put his basket of laundry in his room and was "coming right back".  I didn't seem him again until I asked what he was supposed to be doing.

I have been hesitating to use a timer for everything, but it is getting to that.  I am constantly walking around saying "what should you be doing right now and what did you leave upstairs to come down and do".

Therapist C warned me that as we push through the traumas we were going to get worse before better.

We are seeing the worse now.

Father...give me the wisdom for how to deal with Younger Boy not staying on task.
Middle Boy and I discussed depth tonight.

This is where therapeutic parenting is SO HARD for me.

He lies and tells me the teachers lost things.  He turned them in.  He is giving 100% effort.

He is making a plan.

He actually tried to tell me that the reason he hasn't turned anything in for two weeks is because he ran out of school supplies and I didn't get him any.  I told him I would not allow the blame to be placed on me.  If in fact he was out of school supplies...which he isn't...then he did nothing to let me know.

I made a plan, too.  He hates my plan.  He argued and cried and called me childish and unreasonable.  He BEGGED to let him try his plan (AGAIN). 

He swore he would do better.  He is going to pull it together over spring break.  He promises.

Then he talked about how he is never going to get straight As in college.  Why do we care about that right now?  Let's get assignments turned in during the last quarter of our HIGH SCHOOL FRESHMAN YEAR.

Pray we can find a solution.
Today is parent teacher conferences at the high school.

I asked Middle Boy to call me and tell me what I might expect before going to the conferences.

He told me his grades are all As, Bs, and Cs and that his behavior has improved a lot.

I am really struggling to figure out if he is "that unaware" of self or if he was lying.

He has an A-, three Cs, two Ds, and two Fs.

From the looks of it he hasn't turned in a single assignment in ANYTHING for at least two weeks.  Not even the writing they do during class and hand in before the leave.  Doesn't even turn that in.

Tonight we had youth group.

It was on the topic of marriage.

Middle Boy was not interested.  Younger Boy was in his "other self" when we were on our way there.

Middle Boy became interested.  By the time it was over Younger Boy was his "older self".  How long he remained "little" idea.

I loved the discussion with my girls.  I am always energized by their honesty and willingness to share.

Even though often times I wish I could just stay home I am incredibly blessed to have these girls in my life.
Grandma and Grandpa are spending the night with us on Saturday.

We have been talking about this for days.  About how we need to clean.  Especially the spare room which has become a dumping ground for the "junk" they want to keep, but don't want in their rooms.

They are "going to get it done".

I suspect I will give my room to my parents and I will sleep in the spare room, because it will not get done unless I do it.  Regardless of the number of reminders.

Mom and Dad...if you are reading this...don't have high expectations!!
Last night we needed milk.  I was tired and didn't feel like going into the store so I sent Middle Boy in with my debit card to get two gallons of milk.

When he returned to the car I asked if he had purchased anything else.  No.

This morning I was reviewing my bank statement online.  Those two gallons of milk cost us $27.36.

I asked Middle Boy about it.  Silence.

He finally admitted he bought something for the Wii, but that he is planning to pay me back. 

Why did he lie and tell me that he only purchased milk?  His response, I don't know.  I was wrong.

This is lying and theft.  You STOLE money from me.

I told him how it looked on my end.  From my end it looks like he thought I would "never notice" and then he would get something he wanted.

I explained for that reason he has lost a significant amount of trust with me.  SIGNIFICANT.

Is her remorseful?  Hard to tell.  If I had to say I would say remorseful he got caught.  Otherwise...I don't know.

Middle Boy is really good at telling me how he is going to change and the new behaviors I will be seeing.

When it is just talk and it isn't important to execute he is well spoken and thoughtful.

When the rubber meets the road and he has to execute any of his plans it immediately changes.  He NEVER said he was going to do any of that.  He said he wasn't going to do those things.

This is the "normal" chain of events.

This morning it is therapy homework.  When it wasn't time for therapy homework he was going to do an assignment per day except on the days when he had therapy.  So...five a week.  Tomorrow is therapy.  Tonight when he goes to bed there should be five assignments done.  Thus far there is only one. 

He never said anything about doing one per day.  He didn't even say anything about it.  I am just being ridiculous.
Younger Boy has ZERO concept of time.

He told Therapist C on Tuesday that five minutes is TOO LONG to wait for dinner if he is hungry.

This morning I had to leave to take Middle Boy to school before Younger Boy's bus arrived.

We left at 7:06AM.  His bus is to arrive at 7:09AM, but sometimes it is as late as 7:13AM or 7:14AM.  Honestly I only know this because Middle Boy FREAKS out every time it is even the tiniest bit late.

This morning at 7:08AM I got a call from Younger Boy telling me the bus must have forgotten him, because he has been waiting a "really long time".  I asked if he had looked at the clock before calling me.  No.  I told him to look at the clock and then tell me what time it was and what time his bus usually arrives.  I asked if there was cause for alarm.

TWO MINUTES.  That's how long he had been waiting.  The sense of urgency and now in him is getting worse, not better.  It is exhausting me.

Pray Younger Boy will start to gain an understanding of time.
I am managing the registration for RFKC and TRAC camps this year.  I think it is my third year for both and maybe my fourth for RFKC.  I can't really remember.

The camp applications went in the mail over the weekend.

Today I have been bombarded by calls about camp.  This hasn't happened in the past.

For the last few years I have developed phone relationships with some of these people and some are "new friends".

Today I had an amazing conversation with a foster mama who has a boy who goes to camp and has a girl in her home who just became camp age.  She wanted to check on sending the girl.  We actually ended up talking for almost an hour.  They were pursuing adoption of the two girls in their home, but not the boy.  They have decided to include the boy in spite of his really big behaviors.

We talked about church.   Where I got to church.  How they are looking for a church and how they would like to try our church.  I invited them to join me.  I'll follow up later in the week.

We talked about adoptions and name changes and what did my boys do.  We talked about therapy and how some of it isn't so could and some is amazing.

I talked to another foster mama about how her cancer is back and she is hospitalized and needing prayer.  She is the grandma of her kiddos and is worried what will happen to them should something happen to her.

I talked to yet another foster mama wanting to check on space for a kiddo who has been in and out of her home for a couple of years, but never "in" during camp season.  This time it looks like he might be.  Do we have space?  His dad is abusive and the child has never been out of our city.

This group of people who I wouldn't recognize if I saw them in person are my friends.  My support system.  I get where they are coming from.  I love taking the time to chat with each of them...for however long they feel they need to chat. 

I'm always a little bit sad when it ends so I am treasuring it right now.  The fact that kids are getting registered for camp in the process is just an added bonus.

Thank you God for putting me in this role to minister and be ministered to.
Today I had to pick up Middle Boy at school, because Boarder had a meeting at work.

It was a last minute thing and I didn't have time to rearrange my schedule to make time to pick him up and take him home so I had to bring him back to the office with me.

Most afternoons there are a couple of middle or high school kids in our company lunch room doing homework.  I figured he would do that.

He figured he would just sit in the car and do nothing.  Save his homework for later.

When I got out to the car he was sleeping.  He didn't wake up until I had driven about a mile toward home.

If you ask him he is not tired.  He gets plenty of sleep.

Pray he will focus and meet his responsibilities this evening.
Every day after school when he doesn't have tutoring Younger Boy is the first one home.  Sometimes he is home for up to an hour by himself.  Generally he does fairly well, because he has a routine that he follows.

He comes in the door and puts Sophie on her leash and walks her two times around our block.  Then they come in the house and get our mail key and the mail bag and walk to our mailbox a couple of houses up the street.

They come back in and he calls me and tells me he is home, whether or not he has homework, and what he is planning to eat for a snack.  When he is done with his snack he reads 20 pages from a book.  I have him read out loud, because it helps him to stay focused.  Sometimes he records himself so I can listen later.

I didn't develop the routine.  He did.  It almost always works.

Today he had homework.  A lot of it.  So he was going to get started.

Shortly thereafter I got an automated email telling me he had registered for a website on his iPod.

I called him to check what he was doing.  "Homework".

Then why did I just get this automated email?  He doesn't know.  He didn't go on any website or anything.  NOT TRUE, but he REFUSES to be truthful.  He is doing homework.

This is the stuff that makes me CRAZY.

Pray Younger Boy will one day trust me enough to tell me the truth about things.
After the butterfly technique last week with Therapist D this week they had another technique for trauma process they wanted to use with Younger Boy.

We are still working on the fact that it was not his fault he went to foster care.  That he is not a "bad kid".

We are trying this new technique, because even with the butterfly technique last week he was still able to dissociate.

This technique involved holding a thought in each hand.  In one hand he held the thoughts of "why me and I must be the bad one" and in the other he held the thought of "my parents made choices which caused me to be removed from their care".  From there the squeezed his hands into a fist alternating left, right, left, right.

He REALLY tried to dissociate.  You could see it, but because he had to also focus on Therapist D's hands and follow how she was squeezing hers with his own he had to stay in the present.

After five three-minute sessions of this he was finally able to say he thought that maybe his parents weren't ready to be parents.

Praises for a little bit of forward progress in therapy today.

In our short conference afterward Therapist C said "you know you are going to be in therapy for a long time, right?"  Yes...I know.
Therapist C and I talked to Younger Boy about sleep.

We asked him if he thought he had a sleeping problem.  He said "sort of".  Therapist C told him to explain why he "sort of" thought he had one.  He gave his stock answer of "I don't know".  Which is no longer an appropriate answer.

He had no guess.  She said she had a guess.  I asked if I could give my guess first.  I said, "You don't think you have a sleep problem.  You think what you do is just fine, but because Therapist C and I tell you that you need more sleep and you don't feel like talking about it you just agree."

His entire body posture changed.  He was MAD.  Therapist C said "Mom, I think you must be right."

After MUCH discussion he admitted when he doesn't want to do something in school he just goes to sleep.

Therapist C told him she is calling the school today and there will NO LONGER be any sleeping allowed in school unless he is gravely ill.  She tried to explain to him that sleep is the WORST way of dealing with emotion...especially on an ongoing basis.

He is really mad at her.
This morning on the way to therapy Younger Boy was nodding off in the car.  Honestly I can't tell anymore if he is THAT TIRED or if he is doing it in avoidance of therapy.  Could be a little bit of both.

I asked him if he was awake and alert...obviously knowing the answer.  No response.  I followed up by asking him what his teacher would think about this.

His response:

"I have never had the experience of being a teacher so I don't know."

I asked him to guess.  He had NO IDEA.  I told him I had never had the experience of being a teacher either, but I was 99% sure a teacher would say that he needs to get more sleep.

I then asked him why he thought he answered that way. idea.

In the moment his response infuriated me.  Taking a step back I can see the absurdity.
Tonight I took the boys (and Boarder) out for dinner as a thank you for shoveling the driveway and sidewalk while I was at work today...WITHOUT BEING ASKED.

We had a fairly nice family dinner.  Younger Boy seemed to keep close to a normal pace on eating as opposed to his typical half speed.

As we were getting ready to leave we ran into Coach Z and her husband.  I was snobbish and didn't go talk to them.  Younger Boy did and then I followed.

It was a nice time.
The automated call about the snow day came this morning at 4:48AM.

Why not?  I was hoping to wake up at 4:48AM just to check if there was school.

There is still snow everywhere.

The wind is still blowing, but they haven't called off school for tomorrow yet.

Everyone is headed for bed since we don't know if tomorrow is a school day or a snow day.

Prayers for a restful night.
It is really snowing and blowing outside today.

The wind is really howling and it is COLD outside.

The streets aren't clear at all so we are staying put today.

Pray the change of plans won't cause any meltdowns.
Luckily Boarder came home from his visit with his parents early due the weather.

That made him available to go pick up Younger Boy in the middle of the night since he is a night owl.

I called Younger Boy to tell him Boarder would be picking him up and to text Boarder when he was just getting to town so that Boarder could meet him at the church.

Younger Boy waited until he was at the church and then was MAD when he had to wait 20 minutes for Boarder to get there.  Hmmm....if he had followed directions he wouldn't have had to wait, but that is beside the point.  Allegedly he did not know they were in town...any town...let alone the town we live in.

Praises for God putting Boarder in our lives to help out with these kind of things.  It has been such a blessing!!
Younger Boy's youth group came home from the conference early due to the weather.

He called to let me know they would be leaving after the Saturday evening session and they would be home really late.

Of course, Middle Boy didn't let me talk to Younger Boy.  He just told him "That's stupid.  We aren't coming to get you in the middle of the night."

Wait a minute.  Are you the parent?  You don't make those decisions. are almost NEVER in bed at the time they are going to get back so what do you care?

I said it nicer than that, but I was thinking those words.

He THREW A FIT.  How can I say we are going to go get him?  He is inconveniencing us.  This wasn't the plan.

It was UGLY for about 30 minutes.

I think it boiled down to "this is not what I thought the schedule was going to be and I don't like surprises/changes".

Pray Middle Boy will learn to trust and be able to deal with some spontaneity.
Today I am doing laundry.  LOADS of laundry.  Like...where on earth did all these clothes come from laundry.

Honestly it has been a while.  I look at this and I think about the length of time a wash cycle takes and I will be doing laundry 11 hours from when I start. 

That's a lot of laundry.

I would like to think I will have the stick-to-it-iveness to do this.  I won't.

At least it is a good reason to not leave the house.

Praying for follow through on my part.
Middle Boy is halfway done with therapy.

That is all.
Tonight we went to Coach Z's for a birthday party for K.

Younger Boy was already at the retreat so Middle Boy went with me.  He plays video games with Coach Z's husband when we hang out.

We had to go early, because we decided to write 46 notes to K for her birthday telling her all the things we admire/love about her.

The party was an awesome time.  These ladies make me laugh.  They get me.  We have a great time together and I appreciate all of them.  A LOT.

Happy Birthday K!  I love you!!
Since I adopted the boys I needed to get them new social security cards.

I honestly thought it couldn't possibly take that long.  Just go in...pick up a card.

I am going to say this now.  If you live in my area and are planning to retire in the next five or six years you might want to get in line at the social security office.

No joke.  I actually went yesterday, too, but waited for about 90 minutes and had to leave with 27 people still waiting in my category alone.

They have eight categories of lines.  People specializing in different issues. 

I got out of there today in just under two hours.  No cards.  A letter telling me I will receive the cards in the mail within a couple of weeks.

I hope I don't have to go there anytime soon again.

I pray for all of those people who were there waiting...just waiting.
We have a hole in our dining room ceiling.

Surprisingly it was not created by anyone who lives here.

We had to call in our builder for warranty work.  There was water dripping from the ceiling.

He cut a hole in the ceiling and didn't find the leak.

I went upstairs and turned on each plumbing fixture individually. leak.

One of the plumbers (there were three there) went upstairs and had an idea.  He tried it.  Water started pouring out of the hole in the ceiling.

It seems as though the plumber who built our house didn't seal any of the openings in the tub wall of the main upstairs bathroom.  As a result when water got on the walls of the shower it poured out the back of the fixture.

They told me the plumber for my house no longer works for my builder.  Too many problems.  Of course.

This is fixed.  Now to get someone to fix the hole in the ceiling.
So...I got out the list to double check if he got everything.

Here's the list:

clothes for two days
sleeping bag
money for two fast food meals

I crossed off the things he got packed.  It was like he got distracted and just stopped yet he insisted he had everything.

I asked about the items one by one.  I asked him to pull them out of his bag and show me.

He STILL insisted he had everything.

We'll finish tomorrow.  This is too exhausting for tonight.
There is a middle school retreat near here this weekend.  The one Younger Boy didn't pay attention to until Wednesday evening.

I decided he could go.  Partially because he would enjoy it and partially because it would be a bit more relaxing weekend.

He wanted to pack for himself.  So I gave him the list from the flyer.

He insisted he got everything.
What a shame....Middle Boy's phone was confiscated today during school.

It is a rule that their phones must be in their lockers from first bell until final bell.  If a teacher or administrator sees a phone they are confiscated and the parent has to go and pick it up.

The irony of this is that just last Friday when we were waiting FOREVER at the cell phone store I reminded him that if his phone was ever confiscated at school I would not go and pick it up until the last day of the school year.

He called me from home just now.  Of course it wasn't really his fault the phone was confiscated.  The teacher is stupid.  The alarm was going off and what did I expect him to do? It was disrupting the class.  I told him I would email the teacher to find out what happened.  I'm guessing the alarm story is made up.

In a weird way this is a blessing.
As you are all painfully aware I have been lamenting the fact that I don't necessarily feel like I have anyone in my life who "gets it".

J, one of my biggest encouragers, sent me this link to another woman's blog last night.

Can You Imagine?

I'm not going to lie.  We fit in many of those questions.  More than I want to think about.

Here's the thing though.  It scares many of you.  So I talk about the things which are bad, but "not that bad".  I minimize the things that go on, because no one will understand and I run the risk of people walking away.  Not wanting to visit, not wanting to spend time with us.

I wholeheartedly feel like God asked me to be on this path.  He entrusted me with the care of these two boys.  I would do it all over again if  He asked.  I know in my heart there will be more boys.  I know God knows the loneliness of the road he has me traveling.  I wish I could say I trusted that being enough, but I don't.

I am angry.  I want to scream and tell people about my boys.  The good and the bad.  Everything.  I'm tired of holding back.

There are a few of you...who I trust with those words.  Who I know will stay.  Who won't look at the boys and think that I am failing and they are unworthy of being loved...of having a family.  For that I am forever grateful. 

I am not asking for complete empathy...just maybe a change of perspective.  It has changed mine.
I was so frustrated this morning with this whole school thing that I cried.  At my desk...tears.

This is harder than I thought life could be in my situation.  Every single day is hard.

To top it off I broke a tooth this morning.  I don't have time to deal with it.  Luckily it isn't hurting so it might just have to wait. me have peace today. 
Standardized testing all week this week for Younger Boy.

Today I got an email from the teacher who is the proctor in the room where he is testing.  He is sleeping.  Not dozing off, but SLEEPING.  They took his book from him.  She sent me a really snotty email.

I was not nice in my response.  Not nice at all.  I have met with the school nurse, Younger Boy's IEP holder, and his guidance counselor.  They are all aware of his mental health issues.  Did they pass on the information?  No idea.  They told me they were going to. a result of the email I received I sent an email to everyone I had previously met with and the principal of the school.  I told them I was really disappointed that this was the level of respect their school had for mental illness and the parents of those children.  I requested a meeting.

I also talked to Therapist C about what I should do.  He isn't sleeping.  Well, technically he is, but he is dissociating.  He thinks the test is hard or confusing and he doesn't think he will do well so he checked out.  Sleeping. 

She told me to call the guidance counselor and tell him he is dissociating and to go get him.  It is his job to explain that the test is not a choice and if need be to monitor him taking these tests for the remainder of the week.  She was concerned that picking him up...which the school wanted me to do...would be a reward for dissociating and would reinforce the behavior.

Surprisingly he said he would.  However, he has since called Therapist C.  She called me to tell me, because I have never signed a release saying she can talk with the school.  So...I suspect he didn't believe me. 

Thanks a lot school system.  I appreciate your understanding of mental illness and your ability to help.

When I got home tonight the only person still up was Boarder.

I was shocked!!  Sophie was even napping on Boarder's lap.

The boys had both gone to bed before 9PM.  He didn't know really why.  He had gone up to check on them at 9:30PM and both were out.  He was shocked so he went up again at 10PM and they were still out.

Boarder and I talked a little bit.  We hardly know each other, but he gets what life it like at my house.  He is a witness to a lot of the chaos.

I appreciate him.  Sometimes I am irritated by him and sometimes I almost have to laugh out loud of the absurdity of him living with us.

Thank you God for the boys being in bed early.  They really needed the sleep.  Thank you for Boarder.  I would have never chosen this, but I can clearly see how your plan was better...far better.
Tonight I got to see the sneak preview of a movie which made me laugh...made me cry...made me think.

I am going to write a review of it, but it will not come today.  I want to do the movie justice.
I really thought we were past this.  At least to this level.

Both boys are hoarding food again.  Both boys...consuming crazy amounts.

This afternoon I bought some ice cream treats.  The rule in our home is that each person can have one per day.  The box I bought should have lasted THREE DAYS minimum.  I bought them three hours ago.  I had one after work.  They are gone.  Allegedly everyone had one and Boarder isn't even home yet.  Both boys SWEAR just one.

It was frustrating, but I let it go.  If I say I am not going to buy treats anymore it will be a trigger.  If I ration...even bigger trigger.

Later this evening we were all making dinner together.  Younger Boy was setting the table and I asked him to get the condiments out of the refrigerator and put them on the table since dinner would be ready in less than five minutes.

Younger Boy was at the refrigerator for a while.  I asked what he was doing.  Nothing.

I walked up behind him and he was shoving THREE PIECES of bologna into his mouth.  I suspect he had a piece or two before these three, but I can't be positive.  When I asked about it he screamed "I knew I was going to get in trouble." are not in trouble.  I just need you to recognize what you are doing.  You were hungry.  Your brain told you that five minutes was too long to wait.  Maybe you couldn't control it, but if you continue to hide it...I CAN'T HELP YOU.

As I was talking to him about this Middle Boy was peeling a banana to eat while taking the food from the stove to the table.

The extent of this is new.  Why?  What is different?  When did I not meet their need for food in the past couple of weeks?

Pray we can work through this.+
During our second session this morning Therapist D did the "butterfly method" of EMDR.

First, Younger Boy had to draw a picture in the top quadrant of a paper showing an upsetting memory.  Then he folded his arms and tapped his hands...left, right, left, right...on his upper arms while thinking about the picture.  This continued for three minutes.

Then another picture without being able to see the first.  More butterfly.

Another picture...more butterfly until it had been repeated four times.

Then he turned the paper over and wrote out three questions about the event and his answers to those questions.

So many interesting things...

  1. He was completely fighting switching back and forth and dissociating.  He was blinking and twitching all over the place.
  2. The four pictures were drawn out of order over the course of the event.
  3. His three questions were all the same, but in different words.
  4. His answers to the questions were VERBATIM words Therapist C had used in our earlier session.
Fascinating to watch, but it makes me so sad.  He truly has no ability to feel or process, because of trauma.  He has spent the majority of his life as the equivalent of sleep walking.

We have A LOT of work ahead of us.  God can heal all things.

I HATE that he had this much trauma.  It infuriates me.  Most of the time people are left to deal with the consequences of their own actions, but he is dealing with the consequences of so many other peoples actions.  None of this is his own fault.  My prayer for him is that one day he would truly believe that.

As absurd as it sounds it was so good to be back at therapy today.

Younger Boy turned in his sleep log.  Interestingly the only days he logged were those days when he went to bed on time.  Everything else was missing.  Therapist C called him on it.

We talked about school.  He is doing much better.  We talked about my new rule.  If you have homework and you aren't going to do it you don't tell me "No" when I ask about homework.  You tell me "I have homework and I am not planning to do it".  There is no consequence.  Just practicing telling the truth.  She thought it was a good rule in trust.

Then we talked about why he got put in foster care.  It was really evident that he was just agreeing all the time.  Now we are just going to be blunt. 

In the past Therapist C used kinder terms to describe his bio parents, because let's face it, there is still a bond there.  She would say "confused" and "mixed up".  He didn't get it.

She decided to just be blunt to see if it would click.  FINALLY it did. 

He was convinced that since Older Sister was living with his bio parents again it must mean he was the problem.  We are going to have to work through that.

God...thank you for these therapists who "get it".  Who are helping...especially helping me.

Mentor R bought Younger Boy a three pound bag of beef jerky.  I'm sure Younger Boy asked for it.

He brought it home and Sophie was following him around nipping at the bag.  I asked him to put it somewhere Sophie could not get it.  He put it on the table and pushed all of the chairs in all of the way.

We had to leave for a little while to go pick up some prescriptions and run a couple of other errands.

We arrived home to find that six-pound Sophie had eaten all THREE POUNDS of beef jerky.  She had pushed one of the chairs out from the table about six inches.  She is innovative and persistent.

She could hardly walk.  There was one piece left in the bag which Younger Boy INSISTED on savoring.

It is not going to be pretty tomorrow.
Mentor R hasn't seen Younger Boy for months outside of church.  MONTHS.

This afternoon he called me out of the blue wanting to take him to dinner tonight.

That's fine with me, but there will be evening repercussions after you leave.  You didn't give him time to process it.  He doesn't handle surprises well.  He is struggling "staying big".

Makes me wonder why today.
I need an administrative assistant.  Someone to do the following things:

Get the boys new social security cards.
Officially change the boys names with the school system.
Open bank accounts for the boys.
Finish up our taxes.
Make some appointments for me that never seem to get done.
Get extra copies of the adoption decree from the courthouse.
Take a class on private guardianship.

I think that's it.

Any applicants out there?
Middle Boy wants me to get up earlier so he can get to school at an unreasonable time to hang out with friends.

I told him it would work like this...when he goes to bed at 10PM for five consecutive school nights I will start getting up earlier, but until then he can get to school 25 minutes before it starts.

I am unfair and ridiculous.
Today was a lazy day. 

I worked on laundry and camp applications. 

I did some cleaning. 

I should have done some work for my job, but I was too tired to make good decisions about the projects.

I'm sure I will pay for it all week, but I didn't have it in me.
I don't get it.

We were supposed to have a leadership meeting for the teen camp this morning.

I was already at church at 7AM for my class, was going to go to the first service, and then the meeting.

I didn't have my phone with me.

Our leadership meeting got canceled, because the two directors were unable to meet.  Curiously they were both at church at the time we were supposed to meet.  Frustrating...irritating...whatever.

So...I could have gone to first service and gone home.  BUT since I found out the meeting was canceled just after first service started I decided to wait to go with the boys to second service when Boarder brought them.  That didn't happen either.  For reasons I am unclear on.

I got home and they told me they had "just decided" not to go.  Hmmm....maybe I'll just decide not to let them have any privileges today.
All total I got two hours of sleep last night.  It really wasn't how I wanted to head in to my day on Sunday.

It wasn't that I wasn't in bed at a semi-reasonable time.  I just couldn't sleep.  Thinking.  Irritated about not being able to sleep.  Irritated I needed to get up soon.  Thinking about how I didn't really have time to nap on Sunday.

Maybe I need a sleep study.  I don't know. 
For the past few years I have been able to e-file my taxes.  I loved doing it that way, because the printing and mailing just seems to really trip me up.

This year I can't.  The adoption tax credit form can't be submitted electronically.  AARGH.  That means I have to submit the entire thing as hard copy.  This doesn't make me happy. 

My taxes have been done for a couple of weeks now, but printing them and putting them together just seems to be HARD.

Maybe I will get to it this week...or maybe not.
J and I spent the afternoon going through the inventory of supplies we have for TRAC camp. 

Originally the plan was to just inventory what we have and then talk about projects we might consider for this coming summer.

We went WAY BEYOND that.  We were able to get the list together for the summer and create our shopping list and put together totes for this coming summer.  It is such a blessing.

One good thing is that we will be able to use up some of the miscellaneous supplies we have had on hand for YEARS.  For the most part there are no repeat projects.  That is exciting.

I am blessed to have had J helping me.  I loved the time we spent together chatting and laughing. to just buy the supplies and we are READY TO GO!!  Hooray!!

Thank you God for giving J a heart for these kids and a heart for helping with crafts.  She is a huge blessing to me and to camp.
We needed to clean up the house some, because a friend is coming over to help with camp crafts.

I was the only one working on it.

There is one major rule in our home.  Clean up after yourself...especially in the kitchen.

I haven't been home for a few days.  None of the dishes, food trash, etc. were mine.  Yet I found myself as the only one even near the kitchen.  Boarder was watching a basketball game.  Middle Boy was texting and Younger Boy was playing with Sophie.

I said I thought it was curious that I was the one cleaning.  No one moved.  I said the last statement was a hint.  Everyone came out to help.  Younger Boy was swearing under his breath and immediately got put in a time in.

The kitchen got cleaned up and lunch got made.  All in time.
Today at group therapy Therapist L talked with the boys about conversation stoppers.  About how you should not answer questions with them.

These are smart aleck answers and one word answers meant to squash conversation on any topic.

Shockingly Middle Boy wanted to discuss it on the way home.  He had told Therapist L he didn't think he used them, but wanted to check with me.

Does he use conversation stoppers?  Yes....almost always.

Instead of getting mad about my response he asked if I could let him know when he does it.  Absolutely.  In what way does he want me to do that?

He is going to think about it.  I am sure that after the first day this will get old for him, but I am giving him the benefit of the doubt.'s to removing conversation stoppers from our communication.
By the time we got out of the cell phone store it was pretty late in the evening.  We hadn't had dinner.  We called home to see what Younger Boy and Boarder had done or if they were waiting for us.  They had eaten so we were on our own.

So...Middle Boy and I went to dinner together.  It was a good chance to do some bonding without Younger Boy being present.

We talked about budgeting and what he could do for a job this summer.  He is leaning toward mowing lawns.  He will need to get a clientele if that is the case.  I also explained I will NOT be mowing lawns for him so if he starts he will finish out the summer.

We had a good time together.  I enjoyed it.
Middle Boy's cell phone is not working.  It stopped a couple of days ago.  It turns on, says "battery critical" and turns itself back off.  Doesn't matter if it is charged or not.

So...I told him we could go to the cell phone providers store.

We walked in and were put on a list.

We were there for 45 minutes and no one had helped us.  I looked around and everyone there being waited on arrive AFTER we did.  I was not happy.

So...I went to the manager, the keeper of the list, and asked for his business card.  He asked why.  I told him it was so that I could mention him specifically by name when I contacted the company to tell them how pathetic the customer service was I had received at the local store.

He said he thought we had been waited on.  I asked what made him think that since we were sitting on a couch and he was randomly milling around the store.  He didn't bother to check.  I told him I thought it might be a good idea to find someone to wait on us soon.

He started groveling and then waited on us himself.  It went HORRIBLY, because he didn't know how to do ANYTHING.

I was not nice during the encounter.  I wish I could say Middle Boy's phone is fixed, but it isn't.  So...he is without smart phone, but has a phone (a privilege, not a necessity).  He is irritated and thinks that I should have shelled out $900 for an i-Phone for him on the spot.  He is willing to pay me back.  With what, I wasn't clear.

So...I need to write my letter to the company.  I somehow feel my Middle Sister would be proud since she is the BEST PERSON I have EVER MET regarding sticking up for herself.  Grandpa and Grandma...not so much.  Probably mortified...although the skill had to have come from somewhere!!