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.
Younger Boy's friend, T, called tonight to ask if he wanted to go out of town and go camping for part of the weekend.

This friend is a really good kid and I have spent some time with his parents, so it was kind of an easy yes.

He is pretty excited about it.

Tonight was Younger Boy's first baseball practice of the season.

Boarder took him to practice and told me he would just stay there since I told him I thought practice was going to be about an hour long.

I was WRONG.

It was over two hours.

I felt bad, but not much I could do. 

I am hoping that the practices won't be that long from here on out.

Tonight was a family therapy session with Middle Boy and Therapist L.

She talked about how she loves family therapy with him, because she finally gets to see what he is really like,  He generally gives her a bunch of nonsense answers and non-answers.  When I am there I don't let it happen.

Tonight we were talking about the walls he has built around letting anyone actually get to know the "real" Middle Boy. 

No one mentioned his past...except him.  He kept bringing it up and telling us to stop asking about it.  It was kind of fascinating. 

He insisted it had nothing to do with barriers which wouldn't allow him to care or trust, but instead it was beliefs that people were going to hurt him.

Call it what you want to call is the same thing and I pray that one day you will trust me and believe me when I say I will be here and I love you.

Tonight Middle Boy and I had a discussion about his court appearance and the direction the county attorney is thinking of taking the case. 

We discussed that while it may not be totally what he is interested in doing that he is part of a family now and that may mean doing something that isn't entirely ideal for him it is for the good of the whole.

He seemed to understand it.  I'm sure that it is disappointing to him, but he gets what he is going to need to do.

Prayers for learning hard lessons.
Tonight was a really nice evening. 

For MONTHS we have been trying to get together with C to have dinner and finally our schedules meshed.

She came over for a dinner of grilled pork chops, asparagus, and potatoes.  We even made some homemade cookies and ice cream for dessert.

We had a great time just chatting and having dinner and hanging out.

It was just what I needed after the past week.  Some time with one of my friends who also just so happens to also love the boys.

Praises for amazing friends and having just the evening we need.
I am so frustrated right now I just want to cry.

Middle Boy had court yesterday.  We were not required to attend, because it was a pre-trial hearing.

So...Middle Boy's attorney gets to court and the actual county attorney on the case is there.  She tells Judge T that I had called their office and asked that the charges be dropped.  She was livid.  Of course, Middle Boy's attorney couldn't say much.

The county attorney was going on and on about how if the charges are dropped she will have false reporting charges filed against me and have Younger Boy removed from our home, because he isn't "safe" there.

At that point Middle Boy's attorney lost it.  She asked when it became the county attorney's office policy to prosecute the victim of a crime.

I explained the Middle Boy's attorney this afternoon that one the night they transported Middle Boy they told me they "had to" because of the amount of damage and that when I originally called juvenile court the first morning I asked about charges being dropped.  Not the county attorney's office.  Juvenile court.

They called me yesterday.  I have not ever called them.

My head might literally explode right now.

Pray the resolution to this whole thing glorifies God and is in the best interest of our family.
This morning I got a message from Middle Boy's attorney telling me that the county attorney is a loose cannon on the case and to call her when I have a minute.

Great...just what I need right now.

Pray for wisdom in how to manage the situation.
Tonight both boys talked to me about a lecture Boarder gave them this afternoon before I got home from work.

Apparently he has been bothered by their complaints about how I don't care for them.

He asked them both if they loved me.  Both said, "yes".

Then he asked them if I loved them and they both said they didn't know.

What he did next makes my heart smile.

He pulled out his Bible and opened it to 1 Corinthians 13 and read them the biblical definition of love.

When he was done he told them both that he observes that I come much closer to showing them love than they do to me.

Both of them were convicted by this discussion and separately told me they were sorry and were going to change.

I am thankful God put the Boarder in our this season of our lives.
Our office is super busy right now.

So busy that we are on "mandatory overtime".  They can't really require it of people who are salaried, but it STRONGLY SUGGESTED that an additional 10 hours a week is what is likely necessary right now in our department until around July 4.

Interestingly I am also in a second department which is really busy as well.  So...I personally am kind of drowning in work.

I tried to explain this to the boys.  That I would be working at least 10 additional hours per week most of which are going to need to be done at home. 

Of course they thought there would be more money.  Nope...sorry...that is the "benefit" of being a salaried professional.

Prayers that I will get through this work and remain sane.
About an hour before the pre-trial hearing was scheduled to occur the county attorney's office called me.  The person who called was assisting the county attorney on the case.

Since I am the victim in the case they asked me what I hoped the outcome would be.

I said ideally the charges would be dropped, but that he be required to attend anger management therapy.  If there needed to be charges for that to occur I was okay with that, but I wanted the house arrest to be over.

I also told her that I made this clear to the intake officer for juvenile court the day of the original sentencing.  He told me he had contacted their office and it was not possible to drop the charges.

Honestly the house arrest is more of a pain for me than it is for Middle Boy.  Sure it is inconvenient for him, but for me...a nightmare.  As the victim it is frustrating, because I am "still paying" for the entire thing.

She told me she understood my position on the whole thing and would relay the information to the attorney on case.  She thought what I was asking was reasonable.

I'm not sure what to make of the entire thing.

Prayers there is a positive outcome, learning, and healing from all of this.

Middle Boy has his pre-trial hearing today.

We do not need to go, because his attorney is going to represent him.

I am thankful for this.
We haven't been getting through to Younger Boy's true emotions in therapy.

Today we were talking about how he felt toward his biological father.

Therapist D had him pretend his dad was in the room and asked him to say what he needed to say to him since he told us he is angry with him.

What happened next was quite interesting.  Therapist D told him to tell his dad how angry he is and how much he hurt him.  Younger Boy couldn't do it.  He actually said, "I can't, because I don't feel those feelings."


Therapist D told him he has to feel them.  Then she asked me to tell his dad what I thought.  I think Younger Boy was surprised that I was angry at him, but I actually am.  I think it stinks what happened to Younger Boy and his siblings and I hate the way that it has forced them to live and view life.

Therapist D also talked with biological dad.  She, too, was angry and that Younger Boy is lovable and deserves to be safe.

Then we role played.  She had him go back to his major trauma which landed him in the hospital.  She had him sit on my lap and had me be his mom at that time.

I had him squeeze my hand when he was scared or in pain.  He literally cut off the blood flow to my hand.

It was fascinating...and hopefully healing.
This morning with Therapist C we discussed the dominoes of the running away episode on Friday night.

She had Younger Boy write down every single step of the evening as it occurred.

At this center they like to compare the behaviors to dominoes and show the kiddos that at multiple points along the way they could pull a domino (change the behavior) that will modify the final outcome.

Once he completed his chain of events and I added in some details he realized that there were SEVEN times a domino could have been pulled and he likely would not have run away and ended up in the back of a sheriff's car.

Therapist C told him in life there are always a couple and that seven is a lot of chances to turn it around, but that that he has to get in control of his thoughts for it to happen.

I think he understood, but as with a lot of sessions he says the words, but his actions don't follow.

Prayers he will learn to control his impulsivity and stop to think.
Younger Boy's therapy center is internationally known in the field of trauma therapy and the use of EMDR.

As a result that sometimes brings about some interesting opportunities to help others.

Yesterday afternoon Therapist C contacted me to ask if it was okay if a news crew filmed our family sessions.  This news crew is doing a news story alternative and progressive therapies in the field of trauma which are being used in the United States.  The film crew is from Japan.  They were described to me as being a cross between CNN and 60 Minutes.

So...we are going to be filmed this morning during therapy and then our story will be shared as part of their series on therapeutic approaches in the US.

I have been told we should be able to receive a copy of the finished product.  Younger Boy is looking forward to hearing himself in Japanese.

When I told him about the film crew he was not excited about it at first, but I presented it like this.  Maybe all of the things that have happened to you in your life have happened just so you could do help kids in Japan.  We won't know until we get to heaven if that was why or not, but if God puts the opportunity to help others in front of us we should do our best to say yes.

Younger Boy is completely struggling right now with following directions.  Doesn't matter what the direction is.  He fiddles with things and does part of things and generally gets distracted.

We have really been working on this.  Boarder is helping a lot as well.  Any direction either of us gives is followed up with a lot more further instruction.

I am having to say things like "go get your shoes and socks on".  I have to follow it up with "what you are doing?"  "Where are you?"  "Only get your shoes and socks on."

I have to be honest.  It is really starting to be irritating, because it is getting worse and not better.

Therapist C said that maybe we are finally getting through to him and we are seeing the behaviors of a child from his age of "major trauma" which was about four.

I hope we can emotionally move on soon, because this makes me tired.
Today in the mail we go the notice that Middle Boy's pre-trial hearing is TOMORROW.

Good thing it didn't get delayed in the mail and that we check our mail every day.

Of course it is going to make the remainder of the evening really stressful, because we won't know for sure if we have to attend until some time tomorrow.

Thankfully we have an amazing attorney for Middle Boy and she is on top of things.
Tonight was a good night at home. 

Boarder is playing in a softball tournament over the weekend so he and Younger Boy played catch in the backyard for over an hour.

They were "warming up" for the year.

It is so nice to have Boarder to do those things with the boys.

Praises for Boarder who is really now a part of the family.
Today I didn't have anyone to pick up Middle Boy from school. 

In the end that was good, because I was SO TIRED due to the events of the early morning hours.

I picked up Middle Boy and we both went home and took naps until Younger Boy arrived home.

Middle Boy rarely takes naps so it must have been quite draining for him.  I know it was for me.

Now back to our "normal" life.
When he got inside Younger Boy was still incredibly defiant.  Set jaw and clenched fist defiant.  Mad that he was handcuffed and brought home.

As I talked to him he maintained the defiance for a while until he broke down SOBBING....for a while.  Sobbing.

It was an ugly evening.  Not fun at all.

Praises they found him quickly and he is home safe.  Prayers he will understand he is loved.
The sheriff's deputy who brought Younger Boy home was tough and amazing all at the same time.

He warned him that if they ever had to pick him up again for running away they would take him to the youth detention facility instead of home.

Apparently Younger Boy told him he ran away, because no one cared about him.  That was what most of the lecture centered upon.

I appreciate that deputy and his willingness to be stern with him.
At 1AM Younger Boy ran away.

Out the door...sprinting.

I called 911 and asked them to locate him while I went outside to keep an eye on him.

Middle Boy had tried to talk to him about how stupid it was, but he didn't want to hear it.

We watched the sheriff's deputies circling the neighborhood looking for him.

At about 2:15AM they located him on some rocks in a ravine a couple of blocks from our house.
At about midnight something woke me up.

It was just in time to see Younger Boy peek into my room to see if I was sleeping and then go downstairs.

So...I got up and sat at the top of the stairs.

He was gone for 25 minutes. 

When he came back up the stairs he told me he hadn't been down there more than a minute and that Middle Boy had told him to go downstairs.

I told him I had checked on Middle Boy and he was sleeping.

Now he wasn't, because Younger Boy was screaming about how no one loved him and how much he hated me.

As a consequence for being deceitful I took his phone.  At first he refused to give it to me and then he decided to throw it at me.  He followed up with taking all of the folded clothes from earlier in the afternoon and throwing them down the stairs.

He went in his room and slammed and kicked the door...repeatedly.

The entire time he was yelling about how I didn't care about him and didn't meet any of his needs except what was required by the state.  He also said that he hates me and wished he didn't live here.  No one ever wanted him here anyway.

More and more yelling and punching walls.

General chaos.
We had a really nice family dinner and got the kitchen entirely cleaned up.  I mentioned that, because usually I clean up the kitchen and then somehow over the course of the evening it becomes a trash-filled disaster.

Younger Boy showered and got ready for bed.  Middle Boy was in his room listening to music.  I went to bed.

Little did I know this was the calm before the storm.
All of this time at home has actually allowed us to get some things done which we have needed to do for weeks.

This afternoon I FINALLY caught up on laundry and was able to wash all of the winter stuff and get it put away.

Just the feeling of actually getting something accomplished for once felt good.  Really good.

We are still kind of organizing the house since the move last September.  The garage is a disaster, but I know that we will get through those things and I feel good about it.

Maybe in some ways this is a blessing for our family.
This afternoon I am a little bit sad.

Ordinarily I would be at training for camp, but I am not able to attend this year due to the craziness at home.

It makes me sad.
I moved to my room around 6AM and ended up sleeping in.

I woke up just after the second service at church had started.  I was disappointed, because I really wanted to go.  I guess my body had other plans.

I can't wait until the results of my sleep study are compiled so that something can be done about this continual lack of sleep and tiredness.

During the middle of the night there were some pretty loud storms outside.

Neither boy (and neither dog) is a fan of storms.  These were SUPER LOUD on the roof so we moved to the main level family room to sleep at about 1AM.

The boys slept most of the night.  I didn't.

Another night...very little rest.
I am getting a new phone today since my contract is up.  It just so happens that the contracts are up for the phones of both of the boys.  They did a little research and found that through our carrier iPhone 4s are free if you are upgrade eligible.

So...their answer...make me breakfast in bed.

Suck ups.
Right after I got home I got an email from Younger Boy's guidance counselor.

Apparently this afternoon Younger Boy decided to pull on another boy's backpack and nearly choke him.

When first asked about it by the school staff who witnessed it he said he was "playing around".

After further discussion he told them, "It was not me who pulled the backpack.  Middle Boy did it."

What?  He doesn't even go to your school.  Do you use that as an automatic response so often that you didn't even think it through?

When confronted by MULTIPLE TEACHERS at school and again at home BY ME he still insists that it was Middle Boy who pulled on the backpack.

There is not being accoutable and then there is this...whatever this is.
Today it was SO HOT in our office.  Hot to the point where I went home COMPLETELY drained.

The irony of this is that we are an architecture and engineering firm who design buildings and our building is atrocious.

Not a good day...not at all.
Middle Boy had therapy tonight with Therapist L.  On the way there he told me that he stayed up all night thinking about what he needs to do to "fix" his anger issues.

He wanted to meet with her first and then he was going to discuss them with me.

When he left therapy he was pretty gung ho about his "plan".

My perspective on the plan is this.  Everyone around him should be on pins and needles and just not make him mad.  When he starts to get mad he wants us to use a code word and he will try to calm down.  He went on and on about how I needed to do my part.

When I tried to ask questions about "the plan" I was met with irritation and was told "You are not even trying.  This is what I am talking about."

Luckily we are meeting together with Therapist L next Thursday, because "the plan" as it sits is only modifying the behaviors of everyone else in the house and I'm relatively certain that is not the intent.
Younger Boy is struggling with getting anything done at school.

I don't know if it is because it is the end of the year.  A change in his meds.  The chaos at home.  His fairly apparent digression over the last few months.

Tonight was his last night of youth group, but he is SO FAR behind in school that there was no way he could go.  He was mad.  This is my fault.  Apparently I told him he doesn't have to stay caught up in school and now I am changing my mind.  What on earth was I thinking?

He is adamant that I said I didn't care about school or getting homework done.

Either way...what he believes or doesn't youth group tonight.

While I was at the sleep study Boarder and the boys were grilling pork chops for dinner.


Flames started shooting out of the grill...the bottom of the grill and they had to put out the fire with a hose.

So much for pork chops.

They ordered pizza instead.
A couple of weeks ago my cardiologist ordered a sleep study.

Tonight is the night.

I honestly don't feel like I have had a full night of sleep in YEARS.  I am exhausted all of the time.

I believe I probably have sleep apnea, but I am also pretty sure that I don't get into REM sleep.

I figured if nothing else maybe I would finally get a good night's sleep. to the center I went.  Boarder was home with the boys.

It was a peaceful experience.  The respiratory therapist was nothing short of amazing.

I stopped breathing enough in the first two hours to warrant them giving me a CPAP machine the rest of the night.  I had heard bad things, but my experience was good.  I woke up with more energy than I can remember EVER having.  During those two hours I never achieved REM sleep.

I'm willing to do anything to get some rest.

I am thankful for the science behind this and my doctor listened to the fact that I was exhausted.

Now to just hear the outcome of the test.

Prayers for future good sleep.  I can't wait!!
My community group ladies...I love them.

I asked for help and encouragement after I had quit the group and they were arms.

I love these ladies.  I quit the group, because I was overwhelmed with life and I didn't think or want to ask for help.  Quitting was the last thing I should have done.

We laughed and talked.  I appreciate them.  They help fill my soul with the things it needs to be filled with.  Truth and love.

Thank you ladies.

Thank you God for these ladies!!
The boys decided since they didn't buy me an actual gift they would make dinner for me for mother's day.

I told them they didn't have to, but they insisted.

Somewhere along the line they got it in their heads to "create" a new recipe...just for me.  Let me tell you how "lucky" that makes me.

They made hot dogs.  I think Younger Boy was in charge of those.

The other thing.  I don't know what to call it.  Maybe one of you will think of something.

It was potatoes sliced up and fried(?).  There was also asparagus cut up and mixed with the potatoes.  It had a sauce of what I believe was queso, but I am not completely certain.  The whole thing was topped off with crushed tortilla chips.  It wasn't horrible, but I would probably never willingly request it.

I love them for thinking of me and for making me a mom.
After breakfast in bed I slept in....embarrassingly long.

I had intended to get up for church, but I didn't make it.

I guess I needed the sleep, because I woke up at 2:30PM.

Stress will do that to you...I think.
Mother's Day.

My boys like to make me breakfast in bed.

It turns out pretty well every time.

The one thing that I wish is that it wasn't served at 6AM.  I'm not sure what compels them to think that is what time I want to eat breakfast when I usually get up at 8AM on Sundays.

It was nice.  They even remembered to keep the dogs downstairs so I could eat in peace.

Maybe next year I can convince them that 8AM will work!!
I'm not going to lie.

Personal hygiene is a struggle with Younger Boy.  A big struggle.

He doesn't like to take care of himself.  This includes both showering and brushing his teeth.

It is now Saturday night.  The last time I DEFINITELY remember him showering was Tuesday.  Wednesday if you count the baptism.

He smells.

Tonight I convinced him to shower.  When he came back downstairs after the shower this is what he said, "Tonight I got in the shower and the water started hitting me.  All of a sudden there was this horrible smell.  I sniffed a few times and I realized it was coming off of me.  I stink."

I couldn't help but laugh.  Middle Boy immediately said, "I have been telling you that."

Hopefully this will cause a change in attitude about personal hygiene, because he does stink and the cologne cover up isn't cutting it anymore.

Praises for unexpected discoveries!!
Tonight we were talking about dogs and had a REALLY good laugh.

Middle Boy said, "Sophie is Mom's dog and Max is my dog."

Without missing a beat Younger Boy asked, "Who's dog am I?"

We laughed for a long time about that one!
When Younger Boy and I got home Middle Boy was wound up from being home all afternoon alone.

It was almost to the point of obnoxiousness.  You would have thought he hadn't seen another human in days...not hours.

The interesting part is that he is really "into" secluding himself in his room these days so the fact that he was craving interaction struck me as odd.

Hopefully he will calm down before it is time to go to bed. 

A girl can hope...can't she?
While I was getting my haircut Coach Z called.  Did I want to go visit our mutual camp friend in the hospital?

Yes...I do.

She and another friend had been earlier in the week after we had received "reports/stories" that he was in bad shape.

While he is not good.  He is improving.  A true miracle.

He is 24 years old.  He had an extra electrode on his heart that went haywire and he lost all body functions.  He didn't receive help immediately.

However...HE IS IMPROVING.  He is getting stronger and has his "normal" sense of humor.

He is hard to understand, because his vocal cords are weak from a ventilator.  At one point he tried MULTIPLE times to tell us he wanted to eat some fudge.  When we finally figured it out he was thrilled.  He can't have fudge, because of his feeding tube, but that is his sense of humor.

I am looking forward to going to see him again.  This kid is like a little brother to me in a weird...hardly ever talk kind of way.

Camp does that to you.

Prayers for you, Friend!!  See you in a week or so!!
It is an afternoon away.

I am going to M and J's to help with camper pairings and then to get my haircut.

They have volunteered to keep Younger Boy while I am out doing things which need to get done.

He had a BLAST playing with their boys.  They jumped on the trampoline and played capture the flag.  They did some spying...on what I am unsure.  They had snack and had dinner.

I got my haircut in peace and had the opportunity to visit a friend.  More about that later.

Praises for M and J.  They encourage me and help me to find peace in this crazy life God has given me.

After therapy Middle Boy was scheduled to mow the lawn.

I say scheduled, because I have to do that.  Schedule it with the house arrest program.

He didn't want to do it.  Um...not optional.

He didn't want to do it the way I wanted it done.  Not unreasonable or illegal.  Our agreement is that in those instances there will be no arguments.  Just obedience. 

That isn't what I was getting.

Maybe next time will be better.
This morning Middle Boy had his individual and group therapy session.

It was the first day he was there since the incident with the destruction of property last weekend.

He was not looking forward to it.

He went to his individual session and then texted me that he didn't have to go to group, because he is likely kicked out of the program.

He told Therapist L he couldn't go to group, because he had to help with restitution.

Truth...he didn't want to be held accountable by his group so he manipulated both of us to avoid it.

We are on to you and not stupid.
When I got home this afternoon Middle Boy informed me that he had found a song that reminded him of our relationship "except you are my mom...not my girlfriend" and I don't drink.

Honestly this song brings tears to my eyes.

Here it is...

Hard to Love by Lee Brice
I am insensitive
I have a tendency
To pay more attention to the things that I need.
Sometimes I drink to much
Sometimes I test your trust
Sometimes I dunno why you're staying with me?
I'm hard to love, hard to love
I don't make it easy
I couldn't do it if I stood where you stood.
I'm hard to love, hard to love
You say that you need me
I don't deserve it, but I love that you love me.
I am a short fuse
I am a wrecking ball
Crashing into your heart like I do.
You're like a Sunday morning
Full of grace and full of Jesus
I wish that I could be more like you.
I'm hard to love, hard to love
I don't make it easy
I couldn't do it if I stood where you stood.
I'm hard to love, hard to love
You say that you need me
I don't deserve it, but I love that you love me.

Girl you've given me a million second chances
I don't ever wanna take you for granted.
I'm hard to love, hard to love
I don't make it easy
I couldn't do it if I stood where you stood.
I'm hard to love, hard to love
You say that you need me
I don't deserve it, but I love that you love me.

Middle Boy....I am thankful God gave me you and for the opportunity to have you as a son.

I love you!!
This morning Middle Boy woke up "sick".  With him I am never really sure.

He is DEATHLY afraid of vomiting at school and has an anxiety problem.  It doesn't make for some pretty mornings.

This morning he thought he was going to throw up.

I couldn't tell if he was really actually sick or if he was anxious.  Either way if you vomit at school you are headed home so I just kept him home with strict instructions to REST.

Prayers for healing and for peace that can only come from God!
Therapist L canceled therapy with Middle Boy tonight, because she thought he would still be at the youth center.

As a result we truly had no where to go and nothing to do tonight.

It was nice.  We rarely have these kinds of days and sometimes we all need them.  Maybe me more than the boys.

In a strange way I am looking forward to the house arrest in order to get a little bit more "at home" time for relaxation!!
Tonight was Younger Boy's baptism.

He was SO PROUD.

His testimony was beautiful.  He talked about his struggles in life and his continued struggles, but honestly I have NO DOUBT that this boy loves Jesus.

I will have to post his testimony, but first I need to get permission from him.

Praises for his outward communication of his faith!!
Tonight we had a birthday party for Boarder.

He went out to dinner with his girlfriend(?) and then they came back to our house for "cake".  He isn't a fan of cake so we had an ice cream cake.  Not a typical ice cream cake though.  I found a BIG frozen snickers ice cream bar that served eight.  Well....if the eight wasn't our family.

The boys had each purchased gifts for him and I bought him a case of Pepsi...which he drinks by the gallon.

It was a nice time.

Praises for Boarder coming into our life.  Happy 24th Birthday Friend!!
I have been thinking about getting Sophie a playmate.  Today I got an email from the humane society that they had seven puppies needing a home.  They were adorable so as a result...

Meet Max

He is our new puppy.  Sophie's new playmate.  He is a yellow lab/something mix.  The humane society is guessing either coon hound or boxer.
He is adorable and lethargic.  Sleeps standing up and just falls over tired.
Maybe not the most logical or smartest thing to do right now, but what we needed today.

This afternoon has been hard. 

Middle Boy has been texting me non-stop and he is having a rough day.  I get the emotion that is going on with him, but the things he is texting me are driving me crazy.

At one point this afternoon I was in the aisle at the grocery store crying, because I literally couldn't figure out what to buy for dinner.  Then all I could think about was how it wasn't just tonights dinner and the boys are such picky eaters and no one likes the same thing and I was a hot mess.

No other way to describe it.
Since Sunday evening I have had a friend (K) who has been "on my case" about figuring out who to talk to about what is going on in my home.  She has been pretty vigilant in "reminding" me that I don't need to be a superhero and I need to seek counsel and discuss my feelings.

This morning I called our church.  I feel comfortable with many of the pastors there and a couple of them have met with our family in the past.  I started there.  One of them was available this morning.

It should be noted that I HATE talking about my feelings.  About anything.  Facts...can talk about them all day long.  Feelings...not my strong suit.

So...I went to church and talked to Pastor T.

I explained to him the complexities of our situation.  How much I love both boys and how I want to make sure they both feel loved and safe in our home.  How I am angry at Middle Boy, because I am his victim and I am not sure he gets that.  How I am willing to do what I can to help Middle Boy while still having him understand that there are consequences to his actions. 

I explained my thoughts about house arrest and how it is going to be restrictive.  How I was mad that I will no longer be able to go to camp this year when it is one of the things I most look forward to and also fills me up spiritually.

He pointed out to me that one day I will need to explain to Middle Boy that my love for him is like the love Jesus has for us.  That while I am his victim in all of this I am still willing to "pay the price" of the attorney and take him back into my matter what.

He encouraged me to find a group of women who will hold me accountable for taking care of myself as well as feed into me spiritually for the course of the summer, because the concern will be that I will give everything I have and have nothing feeding back into me.  He also encouraged me to share my feelings with them.

He asked what my "take-aways" were from our meeting.  I told him I needed to formalize a support system of women who will love me and feed into me while making sure I am caring for myself and not just the boys.  I also told him I needed to be willing to share my feelings about all of this.  Partially, because that is healthy and more importantly because I am asking the boys to share their feelings with me all the while not being willing to share my own.

Maybe, just maybe, through all of this I am supposed to learn I can share and lean into others and God.

Prayers for the courage to reach out to others.
One of the rules on the HOME program is that Middle Boy's ankle monitor will be covered at all times when he is in public.

He can wear shorts, but it has to be covered with a sock.

This morning he came downstairs to go to school with it uncovered.  He hasn't even been home TWELVE hours and he is testing the rules.

I refused to take him to school until he was either wearing pants or socks.  Don't care which one.

He kept "informing" me that it wasn't a "big deal".  Which kept making me angrier and angrier.

It is a big deal.  I realized my anger is being caused by the fact that I realize the seriousness of the consequences for breaking the rules and I want him to be at home.  For me it is fear-based and it is manifesting as anger.

I did my best to calmly explain to him that I will not debate the rules every day during this program.  He will follow them.  He signed a paper stating such and there will be no pushing the rules or bending the rules.  Following them to a tee.

I'm sure we will be having this discussion multiple times over the next few weeks, but now I know why it makes me so ANGRY.
Tonight when the HOME program brought Middle Boy home we had a family meeting.

Younger Boy wanted to talk to him first.  I was super proud of him.  He said, "Middle Boy, I have good and bad things to say to you.  First, I am glad you are home, because I missed you.  Second, what you did scared me and brought up bad memories from my past."

It humbled Middle Boy a lot to hear those words from his younger brother.

I asked Middle Boy if there was anything he wanted to say in return.  He told him he was very sorry and that he loved him.  Then they hugged.  No prompting from me.

I am thankful to God that these boys love each other.

Younger Boy went to bed after that.

I told Middle Boy that I was still processing my feelings about the whole thing and that when I was ready I would talk to him about it.  The one thing I was ready to talk about was that I love him and I am not giving up on him.

He talked about how he thought I would give up on him.  How he was certain that he was out of chances.

Nope...not with me and not with God.

Prayers he would start to understand that.
I was interviewed for the HOME program...also referred to as house arrest.

It is strict.  Crazy strict, but still better than him being incarcerated.

For the first four weeks he is only allowed to leave our home for school, therapy, and medical appointments.  He can't go outside of our house at all except to do yard work and then only for two hours at a time and I have to be in direct supervision.  I also have to call 30 minutes before he starts and when he is done.

His ankle monitor has to be covered at all times in public.

He can't have any visitors.  The rest of us can, but no one can be there specifically to see him.

If he has had good behavior for those four weeks then he can start going to one church service per week, but we have to provide written notice 48 hours in advance.

After eight weeks he can have one four-hour outing with the family, but we have to provide receipts from everywhere we went.  If we go out to eat the restaurant can't serve alcohol and the outing has to be between 9am and 9pm.

After twelve weeks he can have two four-hour outings per week, but also only with the family.

This will continue until his court hearing which hasn't been scheduled yet.

Prayers for cooperation and him to understand the importance of this.
After he got back to the juvenile center this afternoon Middle Boy called me, because he wanted me to know that he had been thinking.

He started off by saying he stayed up all night thinking about how he had screwed up and that he needed to fix it and himself.

He said he thought that his priorities had been screwed up.  He wanted me to know that this family was the most important thing to him, but he hadn't been acting like it.  He wanted me to know that is going to change.

He is also saying that he is going to take school more seriously.  He has said that multiple times before, but I didn't question it.

He is remorseful.  He says he wants to fix all of the damage he had done.  I told him fixing the things wasn't as important to me as it was for him to fix the relationships and work on his anger.  I also told him it is going to be harder than fixing the things.

He didn't realize that he could be coming home today.  I told him I wasn't sure, but that it would be soon.

I have to go to the juvenile center for an interview to determine whether or not I will be able to manage the rules in our home.

Praises for his thinking.  Prayers that his actions will match his words.

I came home to discuss with Younger Boy the fact Middle Boy would be coming home tonight or tomorrow.  I wasn't sure what his reaction was going to be.

Last night he was sad Middle Boy was gone, but scared because of the destruction and outburst.

I asked how it made him feel to know Middle Boy was coming home and he said happy.

I told him he needed to think about what he wanted to say to Middle Boy, because we were going to have a family meeting after Middle Boy gets home and that would be a safe opportunity to say what he needs to.

Prayers for Younger Boy and his fears which are mostly being caused by flashbacks as best I can tell.
Coach Z took a personal day from school to go to court with me.  I was glad to have her there.

We met Attorney in the lobby and she talked to me about the potential conflict of interest since I would be paying her and I am also the victim.  She thought it was an ethical question, but she was willing to represent him today.

When he came in the courtroom he was pretty stoic.  It was pretty obvious to me that he wanted to cry, but was really fighting it.

We talked.  I told him I didn't know what was going to happen.  I didn't know what they were going to do, but that it was probably not going to be good.

Judge J was fair.  He talked about the need for anger management and the need to have Middle Boy not be incarcerated, because that would delay his getting the help he needs. 

He appointed Attorney to the case as the public defender and that way there won't be a conflict of interest since I won't be paying her, but there will be continuity in the case.

He is being send home on house arrest.  It is strict, but still better than being incarcerated.

He is going to have to go to adjudication, but we don't know when that hearing is scheduled for.  He will be on house arrest until then.

Praises for Judge J who understands that incarceration isn't the answer.

Prayers for Younger Boy, because the events of last night scared him and flashed him back to his previous abuse and it isn't pretty.

Prayers for all of us in the upcoming weeks.  I am a mess emotionally.
This morning when I called the juvenile intake officer I was told that Middle Boy's case was being filed in adult court, because the amount of damage to our home was felony level.

I asked what it would take to move it to juvenile court, because he is only 15 and as his parent I was the victim of his crime.  I actually asked if they would drop the charges, but they could not.

I got a call back about an hour later saying the case would be moved to juvenile court.

This was important to me, because:

His record can still be sealed.
He won't have a felony on his record resulting in limitations of future career options.
I love him.

We will have court at 2:30PM this afternoon.

I have no idea if they will continue to hold him at the juvenile center until his next hearing or what they will do.
Tonight I got a call from Middle Boy.

I can't explain the relief I felt when he called. 

You see kids with RAD don't realize that there are others who can help them.  They don't have a connection so I really had no expectation of a call from him.  In fact, I figured there would be no call.

He called and wanted to talk to Younger Boy and Boarder first.  He wanted to apologize for scaring them.

He wanted to talk to me.  He wanted me to know that he was sorry and that he wanted to come home.  Crying because he wanted to come home.

Prayers for healing for us.  Prayers he will not have to be at the youth center for a significant amount of time.  He doesn't need to be incarcerated...he needs therapeutic help.
Friends came over to help clean up.  Younger Boy had made some calls while I was talking to the sheriff's department.

I couldn't look at anything they were cleaning up.  I just wanted it gone.  Out of our house so it wouldn't be a continual reminder of the rage that is inside my son.

Younger Boy has already dissociated from the entire thing.  He is being silly and pretending things are fine.

Before the sheriff took Middle Boy away I was able to talk to him.  He was angry at me, but at the same time didn't know what to say.  The sheriff interpreted it as spiteful.  I know Middle Boy.  I know that it was scared.

This is not going to be easy to clean up physically or emotionally.  Lots of hurts.  Lots of damage.  Lots more brokenness.
Today Middle Boy got enraged.  I don't know what else to say about it.

I am not 100% sure what the trigger was, but I believe it had to do with disappointment, a change of plans, and what he thought was a relationship ruined.

At the beginning of the rage I wasn't home. 

In fact I came home to find a significant amount of damage to our home...walls and cabinets, broken glass, broken electronics, and smashed furniture.


Boarder called 911 and took Younger Boy and Sophie while I tried to talk to Middle Boy.  It was then that he ran.

The sheriff's department located him, handcuffed him and brought him home.  The booked him and took him to the youth detention center.

Younger Boy is scared.  It brought back FLOODS of memories of past abuse and home life.  Flashbacks.  Crying and screaming.

Boarder is in disbelief.  He never would have seen it coming.

I am crushed.  I am angry and worried.  Sad and fearful...a true mix of emotion.

Prayers for resolution and healing...lots of healing.
Middle Boy has been really struggling these days.  Really struggling.

He definitely feels like God is and always has been against him.

This morning we went to church and I was encouraged.  We are a host site for the Global Leadership Summit and this morning there was a promotional sermon.

Middle Boy LOVED it.  So much so that he wants to go to the summit with me.

I would love nothing more than to attend with him and then be able to discuss the speakers.

Praying we have the opportunity to do this!!
I am going to start knowing I am WAY BEHIND on blogging.  WAY BEHIND.

My process is to post a quick title and then when I have a minute I post the whole post.  I'll be honest....I have NO IDEA what the posts were for.

When you read about our last week you will perhaps understand.

Thanks for encouraging me and checking in to see what was going on...