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Monday, August 31, 2015

Tears, tears, and more Tears

Buy stock in Kleenex people....our household is using it up. Partly because the kids are all out of sorts and partly because despite my tutorials on how to blow your nose more than once per tissue, it has fallen on deaf ears....

I can't figure out if it's the start of the school year, the one month mark of saying goodbye to their bio parents or something else.

But the crying about everything is getting

Did you do your homework?


Did you feed the dog?


Why is the backpack on the floor?


What shoes do you have on? 


A reader on Facebook asked how the kids were adjusting. 

I think ok- except the tears. Could be that they are letting some of the walls come down and they are letting us in more. I know the therapists would tell us tears are a sign of attachment. 

But it sucks. 

Everyone seems to like their teachers. The school social worker has been in touch about Sarah's 504 Plan. We've hit curriculum night for the 3rd and 5th grader and next week is curriculum night at the Primary School. (Our schools are k-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9&10, 11&12.) 

Most importantly the kids are talking about making friends. This makes me incredibly happy. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Holy Meltdown Batman!

We came home from curriculum night to a Sarah who could not stop crying. And of course now we were armed with the information that she has a spelling test tomorrow and she has to read 15 minutes everyday and have her assignment book signed.

Bad combination.

The tears were quick. The snot was spraying. Even grandma when trying to say goodbye managed to make her melt down further. (And I'm over here trying eat my salad and through bites of spinach I'm calmly like- she thinks you are making fun of her when the crying got louder and my Mom's face turned worried.)

Hubby was trying to help her but she just kept crying harder but kept trying to do the work. So I called a time out to try and do guided deep breathing with her.

FAIL- because apparently when I say close your eyes and relax your face that means blink your eyes exaggeratedly and scrunch your face. And when I say deep breath in and blow out that means hyper ventilate- but whatevs.

By some miracle I managed to stay calm and keep working with her. Eventually we got the deep breathing and her rational brain back but it took a good 10 minutes and a lesson on how to blow your nose more than once per tissue- but hey I solved the great mystery of why there is never any Kleenex left, so there's that.

I never did find out what the hell happened that made her go off the rails. And we did manage to get back to studying spelling. I normally would have said forget it but it seemed like she was trying to hide the spelling from us and we are working on that issue so I didn't want to give it any power (as in "your reward for hiding your spelling test tomorrow and crying about it is - No more studying!")

3rd grade is tough. Tears on the first full week of school means we get it out of our system now right? Please tell me it's now....

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Fictive Kin

Illinois recently passed some legislation that makes expands the definition of "fictive kin". Fictive Kin allows people who are close to a family but not related by blood or marriage to be considered a placement and adoption resource for kids who come into care. A non-relative God-Parent or step-parent are examples of fictive kin. 

The baby sister, Solana, is placed with a friend Sheila named as a "God parent" and is considered fictive kin. She isn't a licensed foster parent but she is in her 40s and has biological children of her own. I have no idea how they met but I looked up an address for her name and she lives very close to Sheila. (And the Alcoholics Anonymous building is at the intersection. You'd think it would be easy for Sheila to get there...)

The legislation also expanded the definition to include adoptive families of siblings. In fact, because siblings are higher in the pecking order we would have standing to adopt before biological family would. No one at the Department thinks that Solana should go back to Sheila but the judge assigned to the case is a wild card and used to be a defense attorney and tends to favor the parents. (Which is the only explanation I can come up with as to why anyone would give her Another chance.)

Truth be told, I'm worried about Solana. Allowing Sheila 2-3 years to work a case plan and then decide to find another permanency goal just seems ridiculous to me. Might as well diagnose the kid with PTSD now to save time. Sheila is doing the same things she did with the kid that caused her to stop making progress. She also had a dirty urinalysis 2 days after Solana was born. She never did the Aa meetings that were part of her case plan before, I highly doubt she'll do it this time. 

We told Caseworker #3 that we would be willing to be the adoptive placement. We also said if the goal changed from Return Home to Pending Termination that we would accept her as a foster care placement since visits would drop down to once a month. Meanwhile, they are trying to get the case combined with my kids' case since that judge has all of the history.

Time will tell. For her sake, I hope that it's not a long drawn out thing.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Name Update

I sound like a gosh darn owl.  I'm asking "who" said this, "who" did what? All.the.time.

Who, who, who.

I don't know a (fill in the original name here).

We keep checking with the kids. They keep telling us there are excited for their new names.  Its just hard to remember. 

Its especially hard to use their new names when speaking about past events.

We will get there. 

Stella and I had a long talk about being able to tell me its sometimes hard for her to remember her name.  She was afraid I would be upset.  I reminded her I understood, I changed my name when I got married.  I had been Foster Mom R Maiden Name for 25 years. 

Then I shared the story about Hubby sending me a postcard from Europe to my Maiden name a few years after we were married.  And Grandma having my Momagenda personalized with my old initials.  The lesson being that name is always apart of us.  We just need to make space for the new one too.

The school was great.  They added their new names to all of their class lists and name plates.

The hardest has

We got a lot of flack from the grandparents.  Both sets.  My Mom understood more because she hears more about the process and had time to get used to what was happening. My Dad was grumbly because that's how he is about change.

Hubby's parents reacted the most strongly.  Hubby called to tell them about court and the name change and he got a lecture about their names being their names. Then he was told that Sheila was their "real Mom" and we couldn't take that away from them.

Hubby fired back - "Foster Mom R isn't any less real as their birth mother. I'm not any less real than their birth father.  If anything, we are more "real" because we do the every day stuff that makes you a parent."

I can't tell you how proud I was of him for that moment.

Can I just say its August and I'm already dreading the holidays a bit....


Open Bed

When we moved, our license was upped to 5 beds for children 0-18. We didn't ask for this. The licensing worker did it because of the baby and because we have the space but we had asked her not to. 

I decided to leave it because secretly I had hoped that the baby would come to live with us. Since that isn't the case, we have 1 open bed which means we are still getting placement calls. Right now the calls are coming to our home phone. Since we are rarely home, the calls are mostly messages asking us to call them back. I simply delete them. We haven't had any that we would be willing to take due to age and also we have our hands pretty full. 

Tonight I knew there was a message waiting for us when we got home as a plea had been posted in the county foster parent Facebook page.

A 3 year old Romanian girl who need a place until her Dad was able to get here tomorrow from out of state. She doesn't speak English and she needed a place until Monday in case the Dad didn't get here in time. It was 9:45pm. 

My heart broke. Could you imagine being 3 and being alone and not being able to communicate.  It was the first time I really wished we could say yes. We have a family (ticketed) event planned tomorrow that she wouldn't be able to go to and we can't cancel.

I'm so sad for her and I will be praying for her comfort tonight. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lies! All lies!

Oh my Sarah. So she has not been dry. She's been lying and stuffing the wet and dry pull ups in places they aren't supposed to be....still. Closets, under the bed, under her pillow. 

So very, very frustrating for a ton of reasons. 1) I was wrong. The wetting didn't just stop with the goal change. But she was feeling disconnected to me this week and verbalized this, appropriately, so I should have been wiser. 2) Soo tired of washing pee sheets. Sarah, Simon, and Smiley all had wetting accidents this week.  3) the lying. I ask her every morning were you dry? And she responds yes and I praise. Then she hides these things even though we've talked, at length, that they must be placed in a bag and thrown out, outside. And she must tell me so I can watch. 

I have zilch tolerance for lying. From anyone. 

So back to checking daily. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Dear Foster/Adoptive Mom on the First Day Of School

This post is for you. This post doesn't talk about your children as babies or birthing them. The reminiscing of pregnancy will not be found in this post because I know for many of you, you didn't experience that. You've probably never seen a picture of your child before they came to live with you and if you have, it's probably not a baby picture or one that you would display because, when you look at it, you see a child who is scared and sad. It was likely swiped from a Facebook page of someone you've never met and is a window into atrocities that should never happen to any child, anywhere. There is no letter to my child's best friend Lambie or back-up Lambie because my child came with all his worldly possessions in a trash bag.

As back to school time rolls around so does the reminder of how much you've missed out on in your child's life. This might be the 1st time you are enrolling a child in school or it might be your child's 6th school in four years. It's a lot either way. Those other back to school articles, while touching and appropriate for the majority of Moms, leave you on the outside because your child, your experiences are different.  I'm here to tell you, you aren't alone. I'm here. I'm experiencing it too. Those articles, they rub me the wrong way. They make me feel less than. They make me hurt for my child and you probably feel it too. They make me angry that I am the one here and not the parent that brought them into the world and at the same time my breath catches at the thought they could be gone based on the decisions of people who probably haven't met them and certainly don't know that we picked the purple backpack because pink is "for babies".

While other parents might worry about the walk to the bus stop and finding the bathroom, you worry about your child's PTSD.  You worry that they are so behind they won't catch up. You will worry their visit tomorrow will mean they can't handle learning today and will present itself as behavior issues that the school will blame you for and make your job harder. You worry that someone will ask why all of your children have different last names and you won't be prepared with the prefect answer that shuts them down and shows your kid you love them.  You worry that you are sending them off to another school that they won't finish the year at. You worry that this being your 3rd time through grades 1, 2, 3, and 5th you will loose your mind when the animal research project comes home and it's the damn Arctic Turn again.*

I have no idea what it is to be a Mom of "typical kids". It doesn't make the worries of those Moms less valid, it just seems to me that mine are probably more serious at times. I sat and listened at the welcome night as a Mom complained that her child had to walk 2 blocks to the bus. Until last week, my kids were worried they wouldn't have a permanent home. And that's when I get angry about the fact my kids got the short stick and have to fight for so much just to be "typical". 

Back to school for many kids with trauma  is often triggering. And as a trauma parent you might be ready for that nonsense to be O.V.E.R. You may be hanging by a thread and that makes the first day of school a blessing and a curse because with it probably comes a different battle, to get your child the help they need. 

You foster mama- you are not alone. You can do it. Because you said yes when others walked away and said no. And you stay even if it's hard because it's not their fault. You love them and they love you, as much as they can, even if it doesn't feel that way. You are giving them what others couldn't or wouldn't. And that is more valuable the perfect chalkboard captioned pictures and tears at the bus stop. This day starts a new path. A path of hope. A view into how life should look and feel. For both of you because you and them are not less than. You are more. Way way more. And together, you make a difference. 

* (It's a bird, apparently children in my home have never heard of pandas. For once I'd like to research pandas...)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Bed Wetting

All of my kids came potty trained.  All 8 of them.  However, we've had our fair share of bed wetting. Bed wetting can be perfectly normal.  Some kids don't stop wetting until after age 9.  (9 is when urologists start running tests to rule out issues.) I have family members who wet until 11.

But where trauma is concerned it can often be situational and correlate with anxiety, stress and visits. (And I don't care how good of a parent you think you are, your kid will pee on the floor at some point right while you watch.)

Sarah has struggled on and off with wetting since I've known her. It was something she worked on with the previous foster family and she was mostly dry.  She wet on and off when she came here and then when her bio parents were really inconsistent and contact was more frequent we had a lot of wetting. She never saw the relationship between the wetting and the phone calls or visits but I sure did.

Then we moved and we were mostly dry again, unless there was a visit coming up or had just happened. But then May hit and the delay and the case and she began wetting daily.  Since she had such shame in it she began hiding the pee soaked sheets and pee soaked pull ups. Shoved in drawers, closets, and even the backpack that went to camp. It was maddening! It was fear based and she felt unsafe but it was still maddening!

So the last visit with Sheila was Saturday.  Friday night she wet so bad her pull up and sheets were soaked.  Saturday (Bio Dad's last visit) was better but also wet.  She has been dry since. 4 days in a row.

Coincidence? I think not.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

New Names

As I mentioned on Facebook, we shared with the kids their new names on Sunday.   On the advice of the therapy team, we waited until the goal changed to adoption to start this piece of the attachment work.

Yes. Attachment work. My kids need to be claimed as my own. They need to know that I am going to call them mine and make them a part of me. Bestowing names on them does not try to erase their previous existence. I'm not trying to hide their origins. I'm trying to incorporate them into my family, forever.

Will you change their names? Is a question foster/adoptive parents get a lot. As their legal parent I get to name them the same as I would have if they were birthed by my and we were filling out the birth certificate for the first time.  A lot of people have tried to tell me that changing their name isn't fair to them, its their name. Sure. But a lot of their lives hasn't been fair to them. By that same logic they should have stayed in the unsafe situation they were in because it was their home. Sure it's their name but they didn't pick it. Their other parents did. The parents who no longer have a legal right to them.

We did put thought into the new names. We didn't change them just to change them. Aside from Smiley's name, I probably could have lived with them. But why should I have to "live" with my kids' names? We asked if there was importance or significance to the names they were given at birth and no one shared any with us. In fact, when I asked about Stella's name story at the first permanency hearing I attended, Sheila responded "her Dad and I were fine with it".

They kids have known for a while that their names would change.  They knew they would take our last name (except for Stella, she already shares it) and then we would figure out their first and middle names. We decided we would keep part of their original name to honor that connection as well. Everyone's first name changed. Simon's nickname suits him so we wanted to keep that as his nick name. (Think Rob changed from Robin to Robert).  I loved Smiley's middle name (almost as much as I hated her first name) and so her middle name became her first name and we gave her a new middle name, after my Mom.  At some point all of the kids made their wishes be know.  Simon asked to keep one of his two middle names as it is the same as my brother's and then told me he wanted to be "Robert" after we had already picked it.  Sarah asked to keep one of her two original middle names and it was also the one we happened to pick.  She got a totally new first name and she loves it.

Stella was the hardest as she already had our last name so that wasn't changing.  Her original middle name is my niece's name. As the oldest girl, I knew I wanted to name her after my grandmother.  And she had asked to keep her first name as her middle name.  But she really didn't want to change her name.  We asked her to give it a chance.  We explained the importance of her namesake.  She was still pretty hesitant but couldn't articulate why. She didn't have to.  We knew it was because its the connection to her birth family.  The very reason we wanted to change it.

We gave each of them a paper with their new names and a few sentences about why we picked it and the meaning of each name.  I read each one to the group and they were giddy about everyone's new name.  The rest of the day was spent laughing when everyone messed up the new names, including Mom and Dad.  They just cracked themselves up addressing each other. They started practicing writing their new names and I emailed the day care and the principals to let them know of the informal change. (The school had agreed that we could start using their new 1st names as their "nickname" at the beginning of the year so that the changes due to the adoption finalization wouldn't be so obvious in the middle of the school year.)

So far its going well.  I even think Stella is starting to come around.  Its still an effort to use the new names, even for me. But we will get there.  Everyone keeps correcting everyone else.

The kids keep asking me what my new name is.  When I said it wasn't changing, Sarah said, "No, its Mommy".  That was how they referred to Sheila. They all agreed they wanted my name to be "Mommy" now.  I just kind of sat with that.

We've had some family disagree with our decision.  I guess it comes with the territory.  I really can't believe that people will actually say to my face that its "weird" we are changing their names. Good thing its not up to them, since they are my kids.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Why I Said Yes To The Free School Supplies

As back to school time has snuck up on us, I've seen a lot of articles and posts on social media about school supplies. Last year school supplies were a GIANT hassle. I let Sheila buy part of the list and the whole process became way more work - as she sent the supplies at the last minute but didn't indicate who they were for so I spent 2 hours trying to figure out what was missing. She said so it was even but she bought 80% of Stella's list.....

For the Fab Four I had the opportunity to utilize the pre-pay service where they package everything for you and you pick up the supplies the week before school. It was lovely. When those notes came home this year it was going to be $350 and I was like- Peace Out. I'll take myself to Costco and buy in bulk. Or dig through my stock pile of extra school supplies to see what we already had on-hand as this year I made the kids go through their supplies and see what was re-usable. (No one needs a new pair of scissors every year...Its not like it was when we were kids. No fun folders for anyone ever.)

In May I got a phone call from the gym teacher and she asked if we could use school supplies for the kids. 

To be honest, I kind of struggled with saying yes. We can totally afford school supplies. I never want us to be seen as the charity case because we aren't. I'd rather people who really need the help get it. More often than not, we've participated in supply drives, we even sponsored a college student one year for his books. So I said, no. I don't want to take away from another family that might really need it.

But the teacher pushed back. She said she loved my kids and she really wanted to help them in some way. They always have these extra packages of school supplies and she couldn't think of kids more deserving. "They are so full of happiness and they have been through so much." (We are the only foster family in the district.)

It wasn't about the money.  This teacher just wanted to do something.  This is what she could offer. And isn't my advice to other foster parents to accept help when offered because its not always available?

Full disclosure: We also happened to be at a bar that afternoon watching the Blackhawks playoff so I was probably a little buzzed and didn't insist on no like I probably would have. So maybe there is a lesson there to ease up a bit....

I'm really glad that I said yes.  The past few weeks have been so full of change and anxiety for me that I'm relieved I don't have to go battle the school supply aisle.  Its my last week of this term for school and we have some family outings coming up and I really just want to focus on my kids. This little thing will make our life so much easier and it allowed someone else to help out and pitch in and isn't that what we want from our support networks? That extends to school too.
Interestingly, neither bio parent offered up help for the school supplies this year even though the visits were moved so they would not be the same as the week school starts. Actually, neither of them gave the children any gifts for their last planned visits. Bio Dad almost missed the visit.  I had the transport company call him when he didn't confirm because I didn't want to have to handle the disappointment of the kids.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

It Was

"It was good to see her today". -Simon. Read that as if was someone telling their spouse "It was good seeing my college roommate for coffee today". Definitely not said like a kid who was just ending three years of foster care visits.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Thank You

I wanted to take a moment and say thank you. More than 630 posts and nearly 77,000 page views later people are still reading. 5 years is a long time to blog. So thank you for reading, praying, and sticking with us as we walked this journey. I think I have more lurkers than followers with those numbers - so you out there that I can't see- thanks so much too! I appreciate that you care enough to read and if you are like me, you've come to care about us. Thank you for that, we appreciate it.

I hope I can give back to all of you by sharing our journey and answering questions. I've added Facebook and Twitter (@FosterMomR) to hopefully add value and connect with dialogue and feedback.

Any burning questions or things you've always wanted to know about our family? 

A situation you want help from readers with?

Leave a comment and let's continue to support each other.

Anatomy of Termination

I'm not sure where to begin. We arrived in court with my Mom in tow. We were told Bio Dad wasn't coming and that Sheila was still saying she would sign the surrender. She found us in the hallway and invited us to sit with her and the caseworker. 

She said she was really glad we came. We were finally called in 2 hours 20 minutes after the call time. The special prosecutor looked nervous and like she had no clue about what was going on. The attorney for DCFS was super annoyed with her and kept correcting her and the GAL for CASA was basically mite until the last few minutes in the court room.

While we were waiting for the judge to get to everything, Sheila started to cry as she had just finished signing the surrender. I couldn't help myself. I reached my arm around her to comfort her. The words "you have to treat her like one of the kids in your home" echoing in my head. It was really, really sad.

The judge called her to the front and made sure 8 different ways that she knew what she was doing by signing the identified surrender. The paperwork names Hubby and I and if for some reason we don't adopt the kids her rights are reinstated, but only in some specific instances. If we divorce I can still adopt the kids and if one of us dies the other can still adopt.

It was incredibly sad to watch as it seemed like way too much repeatition about "this is irrevocable and final". And since there were 4 kids, 4 sets of papers were signed and the judge had to go through each of them. She was crying, her attorney was trying not to cry. The judge commended her for her decision and told her it showed she loves her kids.

I couldn't believe it was actually happening. She returned to sit beside me- I asked if she wanted a hug she told me no and I handed her the card we had gotten for her the last time we had court. 

Her attorney told her she could stay but she didn't have to. And the court proceeded to the TPR trial for the dads.  If it was my kids' permanency at stake I might have laughed at the incompetency of the attorneys sitting in front of me.. I swear it was the special prosecutor's first day. She kept mixing up the names of the fathers and the kids. Her questions didn't make sense, the DCFS attorney kept telling her to stop her line of questioning. At one point when asking the casework to give testimony about Bio Dad's fitness as a parent, she asked how often visits were. She answered weekly and the attorney moves on, never asking how many he actually showed for, which would have been 1/2.

It was at that point that Sheila left. And I watched on the edge of my seat to see if the minimal argument the state made about Dad not competing any service plans was going to be enough. His attorney said, obviously he cares some he sent gifts and visited (but it's kind of hard to argue if the guy never showed up and wasn't standing there). DCFS argued gifts and concern don't make a parent and I said "amen" under my breath.

It was enough to TPR and while he has the righ to appeal, I doubt that he will.  But I couldn't believe how unprofessional the prosecutor seemed and I wanted to give her an impassioned- there are lives hanging in the balance if you screw up, but I didn't.

They terminated on all the dads and held the best interest hearing (a seperate step to ensure that the adoption is the right thing for the kids) and that was ruled in their best interest. Then we had the shortest permanency hearing ever it went like this:

DCFS attorney: Can we go ahead and change the permanency goal to adoption
Judge: Yes lets do that. It is so ordered.

Then the DCFS attorney got all huffy when the GAL finally spoke up and asked for his motion that the therapy team be given the authority and discretion to decide what visits with Mom and Baby should be going forward. The DCFS attorney was all we have policies and I don't think the court should dive that deep and of course we will look at their best interest and the judge said: I've had this case 10 years, I'm going to take a little leeway and I remember when the kids started seeing the therapists and I believe they have made unbelievable progress and I defer to them to keep the kids going in the same direction. Quite frankly, I see their point and it makes a lot of sense to me.

If I could have hugged her, I would have. So the therapists have to recommend further visits and DCFS can't force the visits without the therapists being on board.

A permanency hearing was set for next February and we were free to go.

That part was somewhat anticlimactic. This huge monumental change so long in the making and we just walked into the hallway.

My Mom was there and I started to tear up, I said the goal is adoption and she hugged me. She said, it's been such a long journey, five years, and you are that much closer.
We planned a movie for the kids. I picked them up from camp and we had a family meeting. We told them we went to court, they asked if their Mom signed, we confirmed and they cheered. We also told them about their baby sister and that the baby was not living with Mom. Stella asked why couldn't her Mom just give the baby to us and Sarah got angry that her Mom is trying to work the case plan. (That whole thing is a sticky wicket. You want the kid to feel better and tell her it's not likely her Mom will get there but you also don't want to bash her Mom either. Plus you want her not to be jealous of a baby.)

And then we went to the movies and we were all relaxed. We had some time to wait outside for the theater to be ready. Simon was studying the below movie poster. He said: "Mom, is that movie about Foster care? Because that's how I feel. I was lost and now I'm found. Adoption feels like being found."

Amen, my sweet, sweet boy, amen.

If you would, take a moment and pray for Sheila. Her heart is hurting and she doesn't have anyone to share this hurt with. For as much as this is the right thing, she's a lot like my kids and they are a part of her and I hope she can find a way to heal.

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Sheila texted me both on Saturday and Sunday. I ignored Saturday's text wondering how we were. Sunday she wanted to know if we were going to court. I told her we hadn't decided, she then texted back she intends to sign even if bio Dad isn't there. 

I ignored it. It's bait. She wants to engage and feel better and it's petty- but I want no part of that. I'm still angry. I don't want her to sign. I want them to TPR and save this baby from a life of trauma. She's already posting stuff about how she is going to do everything she needs because she is all this baby has.

Yeah, I've heard that before. You scroll down on Facebook far enough and you'll find that about her other 4 kids. But let's also not forget the other 2 she has abandoned. And it twists my stomach and it makes me want to call the other foster Mom and warn her not to get sucked in. I'm pretty sure she is sending her pictures of the baby and it really annoys me.

It has no right to. I fell for the same thing at the beginning and then ended up on the receiving end of the manipulation and dealing with the broken hearts of her kids. It was very easy for me to believe that the other foster mom was the problem because she was so difficult for us to work with. I can only imagine that I'm now being made out to be the evil foster mom in this scenario...I seriously hope the baby is with a more seasoned family and not a new family because this situation has all the makings of a heart wrenching ending. It makes me salty and I don't like that.

I'm also seriously annoyed that she gets to just keep popping up with text messages. I don't want to think about you. You occupy enough of my mind and I'm trying to hold my shit together after some seriously stressful weeks. Which is made harder by the fact that our children are trying to do the same and they haven't been as successful. Friday night Sarah sobbed for 20 minutes because she doesn't want to be adopted- rather, she feels she needs to say that in case it doesn't happen and then she doesn't have to feel bad about it.

Tonight all four of them lied about letting crickets out of a cage. We are pet sitting a lizard and a cricket got out. Of corse they wanted me to believe that somehow the cricket escaped his plastic cage to magically be sitting on top of it.  (Our good friends 'I Don't know', 'It wasn't  me', and 'Nobody' stopped by. They are my favorite house guests.) 

The lying is super annoying. And when they do it in solidarity even more so. I figured I had a few years before they figured out if no one says anything they can't get in trouble.

Perhaps more exhausting is that this is just the next step. After she signs (I'm not holding my breath) we get- more waiting! 

Yeah! The fun doesn't stop.