Traveling with an ADHD Family

Our family went to Capitol Reef National Park for fall break.  I don’t know how we pulled it off.  Somehow we got ourselves into the van with our suitcases (short a few pairs of socks) and we were on our way.

I have to say that for an ADHD family, we did quite well for ourselves.  When we bought our van we decided we cared more about extra space than we did about automatic locks or automatic windows or a nice entertainment system (although I must admit, I really miss those things).   We have two captains chairs and three large benches and that keeps everybody safe and happy.

Pretty safe and happy.  There’s always stuff going on underneath the surface.  Like in these sets of pictures:









But we didn’t need to use our Epipen or set any bones this weekend, and hey, that’s pretty great.

We read together quite a bit on the trip in the van.   We got through quite a chunk of The Hound of the Baskervilles, and it felt pretty eerie reading it in the dark.   We also read some of Fahrenheit 451 together—and I found that book even more eerier.  We topped it off with a few Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales and were thoroughly spooked.

Now, mind you, I don’t get all of them to listen to each book and none of them felt too cheated of their electronic devices (which wouldn’t be a bad thing), but hey, everybody listened to something, and that is something.  After years of dreading family car trips, I now look forward to them—I can try to teach something to my kids, and they can’t escape.  It also probably helps that we’re not changing diapers anymore.  There is hope for you!

She looks just like my sister Mary in this picture.






Traveling with an ADHD Family

I Do Not Swallow Nickels and Other Self-Affirming Statements

Last night, as I was on my way to my aunt’s house to return a photo album, my husband called me to tell me that my seven-year-old had swallowed another nickel.

This was his third nickel of the year.  He swallowed one in spring, and he swallowed one in summer, and given that it was now October, I guess we should have been expecting it.


Our first object was to try to figure out where the nickel was.  Originally, our son claimed it was stuck in his throat, but now he tried to assure us that it had gone down into his tummy.

My husband then wanted to know the why of it all, but as any well-grounded parent knows, there never is a why.  Unfortunately, my husband’s cross-examination proved fruitless as somebody had obviously already read our son his Miranda rights.

After my husband left, I decided to play good cop.  I sweetly asked him where he found the nickels.

“On the floors by the doors,” he said.

“And why do you put them in your mouth?”

“Because I like the lick of them.”

“Ah, I see.  And before you pick a nickel up, do you ever think, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t put this nickel in my mouth?’”

“Not until I’ve swallowed the nickel.  Then I think it.”

“Ah, I see. Do you think you could think it just a little bit earlier?”

He looked at me confused.  I tried to explain.

“So this is the problem.  We have a choice.  We can either take you to the hospital and pay lots of money for them to do tests on you or we can hope that the nickel is in your tummy and not sleep very well tonight because we are so worried about you.   What do you think we should do?”

“I think you should hope the nickel is in my tummy.”   We actually went with plan C and called doctor.  I won’t tell you what he said as I don’t want to be dispensing medical advice to any of you other desperate parents out there, but I will say that calling your doctor is a good idea.

Our dear boy is alive and well today.  He wrote twenty sentences that said, “I do not swallow nickels.”  I thought this more as a self-affirming exercise than a punishment.

After all, the poor boy had to endure just a bit of razzing.

Dad:  Hey I know what you should be for Halloween?  A vending machine!

Mom:  Noooooooo!  Then he’ll start taking quarters!

Brother:  Hey, if you keep this up, you might be worth twenty bucks by the time you leave home!

Mom:  Again, will you please not get him thinking about quarters?! !

The sweet boy asked his dad if he could hang up a sign in his room that said, “Don’t swallow nickels!”

“Ah,” asked his dad.  “But what if you find a nickel in the living room?”

He was stumped, and my heart went out to him!   Come this winter, I will do a thorough sweeping of our floors by the doors because no matter what anyone else says, our nickel swallower is priceless to me!

If you haven’t done so already, would you like us on Facebook?  And thanks to all of you that already have!  You guys are awesome!

What have your children swallowed?

I Do Not Swallow Nickels and Other Self-Affirming Statements

It’s Official. I’m the New Halloween Scrooge and It’s All the Captain’s Fault

Yesterday, I told you how much I enjoy getting booed every year by our neighbors.  Somebody leaves a plate of treats at our door and tells us we’ve been booed.  We’re then supposed to hang up a sign on our front door so we’re not booed again and we’re supposed to boo two other families.


But I have set a policy that the boo stops here.  Why bother putting up the sign?  And really, why bother booing my neighbors?  I have no problem taking all the treats that come my way, and I don’t want to burden my poor neighbor with an assignment to make treats for other people.  She’s way to busy for that, I’m sure.

But this year, my husband (the captain) stayed home on Monday from work, and he took over my job for the day so I could write.  I know, I know.  I’m totally spoiled, but then again, all of my entitlement behavior can be traced to all the times I’ve been booed.

Unfortunately, the captain discovered we were booed before I did and because he is such a man of duty, he got right on top of things.  He went out and bought brownie mixes (and Cap’n Crunch and Swedish fish:  that’s another story, but let’s just say that my children think the captain should go shopping more often.)  He made the brownies and found plates and even found the aluminum foil.

Worst of all, he put up the sign that said we have been booed!  WHAT?????  No more secret plates of treats this season???? No more pumpkin loaves or sugar cookies or caramel cakes on my doorstep?  I felt no giddiness, no anticipation as I opened my front door this morning.  All I found was the newspaper with no candy wrapped inside. Apparently, Deseret News has not been booed yet.

I’m feeling a transformation coming on—I’m afraid I’m turning into the new Halloween scrooge.  Bah and boo hoo to you! Or I should say boo humbug?!  Let the ghosts come to haunt me!  As long as they bring treats.

Have you been booed?  Are you a man/woman of duty or a total slacker?

It’s Official. I’m the New Halloween Scrooge and It’s All the Captain’s Fault

The Boo Stops Here!

I don’t know if this is just a Utah phenomenon, but we have been “booed” every year since we moved here.  What does that mean?  It means that someone leaves a plate of treats at your door with an assignment to “boo” two other families, which means you get to leave treats at their door, and then they get to boo two families and on and on. I know.  If you do the math on this, you do not come out ahead.


By Halloween time, everyone has been booed and feels really fortunate to have been included in this great community builder.

But then there are people like me.

It’s not like I’m a Halloween scrooge, but there are just far too many details for me to handle here.  For one, I have to make two copies of two pages, and I don’t think we have a copy machine although if we do, I have no idea how to use it.  Then I have to make lots of treats and find plates for these treats and then find aluminum foil to wrap them in and then coerce one of my video game playing boys to make the delivery.  This is all so beyond my skill level.

And besides don’t get me wrong.  I love getting booed.   In fact, I love getting booed several times a season.  Yes, we are supposed to put up the sign on our door that says we’ve been booed, a sort of Halloween passover if you will so that other people have the opportunity to be booed.   But hey, if people want to boo us, why should I stop them?  We were their first choice after all.  Can I help it if we are popular?

And if I choose to eat the brownies and destroy all the evidence that we were booed before my children come home, really, who is hurt?  It’s a service because my super busy neighbor doesn’t have the time to boo other people so why should I add another thing to her plate?  I will absorb ALL of the plates because I’m just that kind of person.


This set up has been working great for me until my husband decided my behavior was unacceptable . . .

Tomorrow you will here the tragic end to this saga.

The Boo Stops Here!

It’s Time to File a Complaint with the Tooth Fairy.

When I went to pick up Ricky after school, he was grinning was a large gap in his teeth.  Phew!  He had been stressing out over that tooth for a week!  Naturally, he asked if the tooth fairy was going to come.

“Sure,” I said.


But when he brought up the tooth fairy at dinner, everybody decided to bring up their grievances.  Apparently, the tooth fairy has not been especially reliable around here.

“I saved five of my teeth that the tooth fairy never came for.” said Eli.

“Well,” I explained.  “‘The tooth fairy only comes when your little, like Ricky.”

“Well the tooth fairy forgot to come when I was five,” said Davy.

Wow, do my boys hold grudges.  As should they!

What is wrong with the tooth fairy?  How can she let down my dear sweet children?  We’re thinking about filing a complaint but where do we send it?

Ricky obviously was concerned that night.  “Did you call the tooth fairy, Mom?” he asked.

“Uh—yeah, I did.”

“Does she know where I live?”


“How do you know?”

“I told her when I called her, and anyway, it’s not like I even had to call her because she already keeps track of all of that.  It’s part of her magic.”   Ricky seemed assured enough and put his tooth under his pillow before he went to sleep.

At 7:45, Ricky came up to breakfast and just as he was about to sit down he gasped.  “I forgot to check under my pillow to see if the tooth fairy came!”  He started to run down the stairs, but I grabbed him.

“You need to eat your breakfast first.  I don’t want you missing the bus again.”  He sat down, and I raced out to the garage to find the captain, also known as Captain Cash.

Ten minutes later, Rick went down to look under his pillow, and there was $2.  He gave us all a nice gap toothed grin.  Maybe she’s a little bit more organized this year.  We’ll give her another chance.

How is the tooth fairy service been at your house?




It’s Time to File a Complaint with the Tooth Fairy.

Why Family Trees and Chocolate Chips Should Always Go Together

Last week for our family home evening, we made a family tree.

This week we quizzed our kids on it.

I looked at my little four-year-old girl and said,  “Debi.  What is your mommy’s mommy’s name?”


“Yes, but what is her name?”

“Uh—I’m trying to think.”

“Well, Debi,”  I said.  “You really should know her name.”

“I need a hint.”

“I just gave you one, Debi.”

Rebekah 10-14-10 387

The captain figured he could give better hints than I could  so he  looked at our little girl and said, “Your nana has the same name as you do.”

And the lights turned on.  “Debi!” she yelled.  “That’s Nana’s name!”


I do have to say the kids loved guessing the names.  That may have had something to do with the chocolate chips that I was throwing out to anybody who could get the right answer.

My favorite part was when Davy, who was really wanting some more chocolate chips decided to dash downstairs and have a peak at the family tree.

“Hey, he can’t do that!” yelled Eli.  “That’s cheating.”

“Actually, it’s innovative,” I said.   So Davy and Eli raced down the stairs trying to figure out the maiden name of their father’s father’s mother.

Davy came running back up blurting out, “Lily!”

“Uh–yes, her middle name is Lillian. But what is her maiden name?”

The captain, really getting into this hint business said, “I’ll give you a hint.  There is a country in her name.”  (Her last name is Israelson.)

Ben blurted out, “Tennessee!”  The captain busted up.

“California!” yelled Ricky.  And so family history is one of the things we need to teach our kids.

Davy and Eli ran back downstairs again and Davy yelled, “Ireland.”  Getting warmer, Davy.

Finally we told them that their father’s father’s mother’s maiden name was  Israelson.  We will be adding a few more branches every week.  Where’s the chocolate chips?

So how many of you know the maiden name of your father’s father’s mother?  Hah!  It’s time to look it up!

Why Family Trees and Chocolate Chips Should Always Go Together

Yep. I Used to Raise Pigs and Other Family Stories.

One of the unanticipated benefits of reading more to my children is that I start telling my children more about my own history and family. Perhaps I’m in the story telling mood or I’ve just slowed down a bit at the end of the day or the stories themselves trigger memories, but these personal stories seem to be even more interesting to the kids than the story I’m reading.


When we read Charlotte’s Web, I told Ricky and Debi how I used to raise pigs for the stock show. I told them how one time the mama pig died and so my dad (Baba) had to bring all the baby pigs home so we could feed them with bottles. They stayed in our backyard for several weeks, and we loved baiting them with the bottles, making them chase after us to get their milk.  When they were strong enough, we sent then back to their pens on a nearby farm until they got big.

“And then you killed them?” asked Debi.


My older boys with their Baba. But my two youngest ones don’t remember him so they need stories.

When we talked about the different plagues of Moses and how one of the plagues was flies, I told Debi how much her Baba hated flies.

I told her how our backyard used to butt against a field, and our neighbor had eight cows. The flies loves those cows, and those flies were always coming into our house, landing on our watermelon and Baba’s garden grown corn and banana squash.  Baba had several fly swatters he used on them as soon as we had had the opening prayer.  Sometimes he would curse about them but since they were a plague in Moses’s time, we figured this was warranted.

When we talked about the plague of locusts (grasshoppers) that visited the Egyptians, I told how Baba used to tear their heads off in his garden because grasshoppers liked to eat his tomatoes. I don’t know if I’m sharing the best stories about their Baba with them, but so far, they seem pretty impressed with him.  As they should.  He was a man you respected, and you never messed with, especially if you were a fly.

What memories have you shared with your children?

And I WILL be getting pictures of pigs when I was a little girl pronto.  Mom?  Your photo albums?

Yep. I Used to Raise Pigs and Other Family Stories.