Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The flies on the wall were cracking up!

This is guaranteed to summon a few snickers (not the candy bar kind), a giggle or two and and least one good snort.

This is what the flies heard Monday night:

(At dinner)

Josh: "What do you think I'll be when I get up?"
Eden: "Get up?"
Josh: "I mean grow up. What do you think I'll be when I grow up?"
Dave: "A doctor."
Me: "An engineer."
Josh: "Nope. I don't think those will work out."
Dave: "What are you going to be, then?"
Josh: "An Illustrator"
Eden: "You mean an artist?"
Josh: "No, an Illustrator:
Me: "Drawing pictures for books."
Dave: "Just as long as you can make enough money doing that Josh, you'll be fine."
Josh: "Money isn't the most important thing, Dad."
Eden: "Fun is the most important thing."
Me: (Laughter)
Dave: "No, that's not right, Eden. But, Josh, I know money isn't the most important thing..."
Me: (interrupting), "Josh, so what is the most important thing?"
Josh: "Love!"
Teya: "I know how to make paper dominoes!"

Two pleadings with the kids to please eat their dinner later...

Josh: "Does it cost money to get something fixed at a hospital?"
Me: "Yes!"
Dave: "A lot of money!"
Josh: "Do you have to pay for it before they will fix you?"
Dave: "Yes."
Josh: "Even in an emergency?"
Me: "Yes."
Josh: "What if you don't have any money?"
Dave: (insert small discourse on how hard-working people pay health insurance every month, and they are the ones who have to pay for those who don't have health insurance, but still expect to get treated)
Josh: no more questions.

Scene II: Cut to me reminding Josh he has the lesson for FHE.

Me: "So, Josh, what are you going to teach for the lesson?"
Josh:"I don't know."

(Three minutes later)

Me: "Josh, have you decided what you are going to teach for FHE?"
Josh: "Yeah. Just go on Netflix and instant stream the VeggieTales movie about the 2,000 stripling warriors."
(There are several things wrong with that sentence. Can you find all of them? None are grammatical in nature, hopefully. Answers listed at the bottom of the post.)
Me: "Josh, there isn't a VeggieTales movie about the stripling warriors."
Josh: "Why not?"
Me: Because the VeggieTales movies are made by a Christian company that just believes in the Bible, and the 2000 stripling warriors' story comes from the Book of Mormong.
Eden: "Yeah, they are Christian, Josh!"
Me: "So are we, Eden."
Eden: "I thought we were Mormon!"


Josh instead reads the chapter from Daniel and the Lions Den aloud to us for FHE. We are trying to elicit a decent discussion afterwards.

Dave: "So, what does this story teach us?"
Josh: "Well, there is this VeggieTales movie about chocolate bunnies..."
Me: "That's about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, not Daniel."
Eden: "They had to go in a furnace."
Teya: "And it happened to fruit, not real people!"
Me: "No, it happened to real people, and an angel came and protected them in the furnace."
Josh: "It was VEGETABLES, not fruit."
Dave: "Teya, do you think it is more important what happened to real people, or to fruit?"
Josh: "They were VEGETABLES!"
Me: "Let's just say the prayer."

Tucking the kids in that night:

Me: (to the girls) "Remember, NO candy when you wake up in the morning!"
Teya: "Pixie sticks aren't candy."
Me: "Yes, they are."
Teya: "They are just plain sugar. Sugar isn't candy."
Me: "Go to bed."

Dave: (to Josh) "Just close your eyes and go to sleep!"
Josh: "But closing my eyes doesn't make me fall asleep! It just makes everything go dark!"

And, that was just Monday. Between the hours of 6:30 and 8:00 p.m.

Answers to above question: 1)I'm just not used to my kids demanding we instant stream anything yet. They are truly part of the "I want it here and now and I don't want to wait" generation. 2)Since when is a VeggieTales MOVIE a FHE lesson? 3)VeggieTales make Bible stories only and have no affiliation with the Church, or Book of Mormon Stories.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween, Groberg style

For my mother, it was no coincidence that the words sugar and sin started with the same letter. Carob was more commonplace in our cupboard than chocolate. I was a teenager before I realized they were not the same thing. Everything was made from scratch, picked from our garden, or ground with our wheat grinder. We made our own yogurt from cultures grown on light boxes. Alfalfa sprouts grew underneath our sink. We purchased preservative-free peanut butter in gallon sizes. When we needed a new jug, we had to expend significant elbow grease to reunite the oil and the mushy nuts before it was cloaked in spreadability. Cold cereal only existed in the form of oatmeal that was ready to eat before I was. Vitamin C pills were as close to treats as we ever came.

So, when Halloween dared to come around, my mom had to get creative. While thoughts of candy bars and lollipops danced in our eyes, she was busy figuring out a way to thwart the sugar that would infallibly fall into our digestive tracts through school parties and the t-words. Trick or Treating. She came up with a meal stuffed with an assortment of the most disgusting vegetables, as if filling us up with vitamins and goodness would make us recoil at the sight of a Snickers bar.

She called it “Dinner in a Pumpkin”. The very phrase still gives my stomach nightmares. It was a goulash of meat and peppers and other spices cooked inside a real, down-to-earth, squashy pumpkin. We would scoop out the seeds, (to be roasted and eaten later, instead of our candy). She would slice up the fleshy pulp and inject all the ingredients. Then, our oven would host the unwelcome gourd for an hour or so while everyone but me dressed up in costumes and giddiness.

Every year I begged for an alternate meal. I offered to eat an entire plate of just green beans, or three corn on the cobs, or five bananas. I begged and begged. I hated pumpkin. I hated all stringy, pulpy squash. But, the rule of no substitutions applied on this night as it did on every other night of the year. There would be no mercy, no advocate would come to my aid. I had to eat the pumpkin or stay home from the one night where adults who normally intimidated and scared me gave me candy.

So, I would always eat it, trying my best not to chew. I would take the smallest of bites, and chase them down with water, choking and gagging my way through my alloted portion. When my plate passed inspection, off I would trudge to the nearest bathroom, each step echoing my displeasure with ‘dinner’.

The bathroom’s wallpaper was beige with pictures of planes, trains, cars, and boats. It spoke of happier times and carefree hobbies. It shuddered when Halloween came around. It knew why I was there. I would pull my hair back into a ponytail, kneel down and lift up the porcelain lid to evacuate the contents of my dinner and sometimes my lunch.

Stomach freshly scoured of any traces of vitamins and nutrients, I donned the hand-me-down costume earmarked for me and joined my siblings for our adventures in begging. We couldn’t go trick-or treating ad hoc. We were to go up and down our little street, and maybe, just maybe, hit a few houses on the side. But, any candy we got was like manna from heaven. For about an hour, we were the official owners of contraband. When discretion was our friend, some of the candy never quite made it into our bags.

Upon our return, we were allowed to select a few pieces. I would both savor and devour those favored items. Then, we dutifully turned the rest of our candy over to senior patrol. After that, I’m not sure were it went. Perhaps some of it was doled out periodically over the next few weeks. I’m more inclined to think my parents ate it surreptitiously. I think some of the less popular pieces made it all the way to our Christmas stockings.

As a mother of three perfect-for-trick-or-treating aged children, I am now faced with the dilemma. What do I feed them on All Hallows Eve? Dinner-in-a Pumpkin? Never. In fact, I’ve been tempted to tear ‘Dinner-in-a-Pumpkin’’s page from our family cookbook and offer it up in some fiery ritual. But, it would probably catch my hair on fire in some final act of vengeance. So, I reflect on my many trips to the wallpapered room of doom and always end up making macaroni and cheese -- their favorite. Better to stuff them with food they will actually eat, right? Then, when their little feet have had all they can of our vast neighborhood, home we go. They get to choose a few pieces to eat right then. The rest? Well, I’ve graduated now. I’m senior patrol. Surreptitious is my middle name.

P.S. While my childhood mind felt tortured by the lack of sugar, my mother obviously knew best. She has never spent a day of her life overweight. And, even though she had 11 children, and is now well into her 70s, she still doesn’t have any grey hair. Maybe there is something magical to Carob after all.

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