Max & Ruby … More Debauchery

I should really be outraged, but instead I’m mildly amused.  And semi-outraged.  Semi-mildly-outraged-amused-like.  And you already know the disdain I have in my heart for these wayward, parentless rabbits, Max & Ruby.

The Boy has this book “Max’s Halloween.”  (That’s my fault.  I bought it before I read it!)  I feel that it sends a terrible message & I’ve tried to hide the book, (though I’ve learned my lesson about straight up trashing things of his that I don’t like – I end up having to deal with a sobbing mess of a child and then repurchase whatever it was that I had originally gotten rid of, not to mention the wrath of The Husband who fails to understand why we don’t need 29 tiny plastic dollar store slinkies.)  Well, this time I simply hid the book. Yeah, that didn’t work.  The Boy is like Indiana Jones in the Temple of Max & Ruby.

When The Boy cannot have something he becomes singularly fixated, and will make it his sole purpose in life to attain whatever it is he is not able to have.  Gee, I wonder where he got THAT from?

So, here’s a little excerpt from this wanton book … YOU TELL ME!!!!

Highly inappropriate teachings!  | The Fairly Good Mother
Highly inappropriate teachings from Rosemary Wells! | The Fairly Good Mother

The text to the left of this page reads: “Mr. Huffington filled their jack-o’-lanterns with gummy toads.  Then he stuffed a few extra toads in Max’s costume.”

I’m sorry …  WHAT???   I’m so NOT a prude, but Come.The Hell.On!  This is teaching my child, A) to accept gummy toads from some crazed looking rabbit-man wearing a bow tie, with his eyes rolled to the back of his head in ecstasy, and B) to allow crazed rabbit-man to stuff said toads into his fricking halloween costume!!!!  All while his clueless sister counts her candy!!!!!  WTF!?!?  The whole scenario screams inappropriate!!!  The whole situation is unacceptable!!!

Yeah, I’m outraged, but amusingly so.  I mean, I would be simply amused if only The Boy wasn’t so fixated on this book.  He is reading this book as though it were Halloween gospel.  I have since had to drill into his head that we should: A) NEVER accept candy from strange looking bunnies dressed in pin-striped suits;  & B) never let anyone put candy in our costumes & C) never put candy in our costumes in general because it will ruin our costume.  (***NOTE:  The entire premise of the book is that people are stuffing extra candies in Max’s costume throughout his Halloween escapades. Seriously. I can come up with better story lines than this!!)

Thank you, once again, Rosemary Wells, for your tainted debauchery!  Burn books??  Never thought I’d be on THAT bandwagon, but yeah, let’s start with Max & Ruby books!!

The Fairly Good Garden ~ Update!

I’m having a blast watching my garden grow … Like Miss Mary Quite Contrary.

Garden 11 days after planting
Garden 11 days after planting

I’ve even already harvested my arugula & made my spring arugula & bacon pasta dish.  Only this time I made it with lemon pepper paparedelle pasta from Trader’s & MAN, was it the most PERFECT pasta to go with the flavors of this dish!!  Summer Pasta with Arugula & Bacon | The Fairly Good Mother

Artichoke! | The Fairly Good Mother And, I see a little bud on one of my artichoke plants!  That makes my mouth water.

We’ve already picked and eaten some of the strawberries & they were decadent!  The Boy is loving our garden.  Tristan & Loran Variety Strawberries | The Fairly Good Mother

Putting On Shoes with a Song

So, with an Aspie kid, the simplest of tasks can be a monumental under-taking.  Like putting on your shoes.  Or his shoes.  Or her shoes.  In any case, putting on shoes and going potty seem to be the 2 most challenging things we accomplish in the morning!

I’ve concocted a song to the tune of “Hokey Pokey” (you know that one, right?  “You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out …”) that helps The Boy get excited about putting on his shoes and socks.  It’s a little hokey (yes, pun intended,) but here’s how it goes:

You put your right thumb in,
You put your left thumb in,
You pull the sock apart and put your toes-ies in,
You scoot your toe-sies all the way down to the end,
That’s how you put you put your sock on!

You put your toes-ies in,
You put your heel in,
Wriggle your foot ’til it’s comfy and then
Strap your velcro to the sides again
That’s how you put your shoes on!

shoes and socks

The Fairly Good Garden


the fairly good garden
the fairly good garden

Since we moved into the new house almost a year ago, I have wanted an organic veggie & fruit garden bed.  I considered raised beds, and looked at a lot of different options.  I fired our original landscaper, and our new guy is fabulous!  He’s more expensive, but worth it because our front yard is easily the prettiest one on the street!

Well, that’s because of both of us … I take a vested interest in our landscaping & don’t just rely on the hired help!

So I told Mr. Landscaper my desire for an organic garden & asked him about raised beds … he said he could do much better than that, we could section off a portion of where the lantana was growing, dig down deep, get rid of all the dirt & fill it with organic soil and make a barrier around it- a beautiful border.  So I said ok.  They did that & I went to a local nursery where I found the certified organic, non-gmo veggies that I wanted to plant & I spent Friday, Saturday & part of Sunday and Monday planting away!

the magickal garden
the fairly good garden

I was a little enthusiastic about how many items I could fit into this section of my garden, so I had to resort to some pots!  No worries!  I wanted to do that anyway 🙂

Here’s what is planted in my garden:
Tomatoes (4 different varieties)
Habanero Peppers
Serrano Chili Peppers
Red Peppers
Black Beauty Squash (zuccini)
Yellow Crook Neck Squash
Pole Beans (aka green beans)
Strawberries (Loran & Tristan variety)
Salad mix
Herbs: Basil, Cilantro, Sage, Parsley, Rue & Rosemary

Mothers Day – Reality vs. Fantasy

So … You all know what I was expecting to happen on Mother’s Day.  And believe me, my expectations were low – and I don’t mean that in a negative way, I  mean that I had managed my own expectations.  I kept them in check & I didn’t think they were unreasonable.  Looking back, I realize that what I was expecting was a fantasy Mother’s Day, albeit a fantasy that was seemingly within reach.  And the fact that The Husband had a beautiful bouquet of flowers delivered to me on Friday was a sure sign that my expectations were right on the mark.  Um, yeah.

In my fantasy, I would wake up to a the smells of breakfast cooking, and in The Boy and The Husband would stroll, (The Boy would be dressed,) breakfast tray carried by The Husband, small gift bag containing a mystery gift, and/or cards carried by The Boy.  They would watch me open them up, telling me what an amazing mother I am, how much they loved me, yada yada yada, and I would nibble lazily on my griddle cakes whilst sipping my coffee …

In reality, I woke up & couldn’t really make out any smells.  I called out that I was awake, but no one answered.  I grabbed my iPhone and texted The Husband that his lovely wife was now awake & ready for some pampering.  Surely I didn’t want to spoil their surprises by getting OUT of bed & coming to find them!

Minutes went by and I could hear The Husband negotiating with The Boy to bring in my cards.  There was bribing and threats.  Then more minutes went by, and the door flung open followed by a very rambunctious Boy, half naked, hair wild, running toward me, waving cards in his hand and screaming.  Too early for screaming unless alcohol was involved, and it wasn’t.

I opened the card from The Boy and he grabbed it away, nearly ripping the card.  I retrieved it and thanked him, kissed him, and we discussed the card at length.  There was a blue dog on the front & The Boy was very impressed with this dog.  I was impressed that he had chosen the card himself.

Then I opened the card from The Husband.  Out fell a lottery ticket that The Boy tried to confiscate!  I seized the ticket and he fought me, in tears, nearly ripping it into pieces!  All I could think was “this is the winning ticket and this kid is going to destroy it and I will never forgive him … and I’ll never be able to afford his college tuition without this winning ticket!!”  It was stressful to say the least.  The Husband was nowhere to be found at this juncture.

Then came the breakfast tray carried by The Husband with room temperature griddle cakes & a bowl of berries.  The bowl was not filled to the brim with berries, rather, it was a like a ration of berries.  As though berries were some very expensive commodity & we could only afford to purchase 3 strawberries a month.  No juice, no coffee.  Syrup and butter on the side.  Question: How are you supposed to spread butter on a nearly cold griddle cake?  It doesn’t melt.  So either you skip the butter altogether, OR you eat a thin layer of butter on top of your chilly griddle cake.  I know, I know, “First World Problems.”  I should praise the effort, and I did.

The husband left me alone with the tray full of food and The Boy while he went to get me some beverages.

During this time, The (wild) Boy was jumping around the bed, trying to crawl under the breakfast tray, wanted to lay on my lap & also stole all of my raspberries!  NOT RELAXING!

I ended up hand-feeding him a griddle cake to avoid getting syrup all over my bed and us.  The Husband made his entrance again with coffee in hand and there was NO WAY I could drink it with this crazy kid flailing about – I nearly spilled twice while trying to get enough of it in my gullet to deal with the situation!  When I asked The Husband if he could remove said child so that I could eat, Husband, (on the verge of a meltdown,) proclaimed that he needed to nap because he had been up for hours.  So I was on my own.

Not that I’m complaining … Ok, maybe I am.

I will spare you the details about needing to make brownies & discovering that we were out of  eggs and The Husband nearly having a stroke because I asked him to run to the store, and all that nonsense.  I will skip right to when we get in the car and head to The Grandparents house for more festivities.  The Husband & I “restarted” the day, kissed, made up and smiled as we drove off for our 90 minute trip to my parents’ house.

I had The Boy all dressed in a cute outfit, hair perfectly gelled and iPad, water, snacks and other accoutrements at the ready for our trip down the 405 on a Mother’s Day Sunday.

Cut to: The Boy eating a PB&J.  Then barfing.  ALL. OVER. THE. @#($&% CAR.  Off the road we pull, strip him down, clean him up, change his clothes, clean up the car seat, put him back in, stop at Del Taco to pee & continue on with our journey.  Ok.  I don’t know about you, but puke was NOT in my Mother’s Day directive!  Thankfully the fact that it was Mother’s Day relieved me from clean-up duty, and when I got to my parent’s house I was greeted with a large glass of Chardonnay.

We then proceeded to have fun, grill ribs, open gifts, hug and kiss and laugh.  Ah, that’s motherhood.  That’s life.

So, in summary,  although Mother’s Day did not go as planned, as expected or  as fantasized, it was all in all a pretty good day. May have gotten off to a rocky start, but at the end of the day, when I looked back over all of it, I smiled, chuckled lightly and thought this was one I would never forget.  All that really matters is having your family around you … and family is imperfect.  Well, at least mine is imperfect.  And I wouldn’t change that for the world.  Because you know what I say: You don’t have to be perfect to be awesome.

Happy Mother’s Day!

I am pretty easy to please, and I make it effortless to do so by communicating EXACTLY what I want for Mother’s day.  The Husband was quite appreciative of the phone call I made to him the other day:

Me: Hi honey, I want to tell you what I want for Mother’s Day.
Him: Ok. Great.
Me:  I want you to let me sleep in & then I want you and The Boy to make me breakfast in bed.  There is box pancake mix in the cupboard, all you have to do is add water.  The griddle pan is easy to use, make sure you spray it with non-stick spray.  I would like fruit also & juice and coffee.  Also, take The Boy outside to pick a flower for me, put it in the bud vase and put it on the tray.
Him:  Ok.  I can do that.
Me: Take The Boy out on Saturday to get me a card – let him pick it out.  He will probably make me one at school, but he will have already given that to me, so let him pick one out himself.
Him:  Great idea.  I can do that.
Me:  You will have time on Saturday morning because I’ll be at that 5K & you guys can eat breakfast and then go out to do that.
Him:  What are we doing for Mother’s Day … I mean, after breakfast.
Me:  Well, I’ll get up after that, and you can take a little nap (yes, I know, I’m the nicest wife in the Universe!) Then we’re going to mom’s house around 10:30 or 11 and we’ll have an early dinner – she’s making ribs & we’re bringing dessert.

Look, the truth is that I probably won’t “sleep in” any longer than I do on any other morning, because although The Husband gets up with The Boy, I can usually hear them and that wakes me up.  While it would be AWESOME to demand that it be SILENT in this house – that I not hear a peep & that immediately upon me waking up, I ring a tiny bell and be brought a Queen’s feast of a Greek Omelette made with egg whites, feta cheese, scallions and tomatoes, along with home fries and a bloody mary & some coffee, and then upon finishing my breakfast a limousine whisks me away to my favorite spa for half a days worth of treatments with my girlfriends, and then wine tasting … Yeah, while that would be awesome, it’s just not realistic.

And I’m totally ok with that.  It sounds fun, but it sounds like my old life – the one I had before I became a mom.  To me, the beauty & fun of mother’s day is spending it with my family.  For a long time, all I wanted was to be a mother, and now that I am, I cherish it.  Even in the midst of an epic meltdown, a cat puking, stepping in a pee accident while the phone rings with an automated telemarketer on the other end, I’m happy.   I don’t take what I have for granted.  I worked hard to get here and sometimes while my old life might sound more carefree and fun, the truth is, it doesn’t compare to an impromptu hug and kiss from The Boy where he looks up at me lovingly and says, “I love you all the way to Neptune and back, mama.”

The only thing I ask is that I don’t have to be 100% the caretaker that day.  But that makes me chuckle as I write those words, because when The Husband’s home, he is THE BEST.  I love co-parenting with him. He’s a great dad & a wonderful husband, and we’re a great team.  And I’m not just saying that because he sometimes stops in to read this blog!  It’s true!

As a matter of a fact, Mother’s Day started early for me … The doorbell rang last night while I was getting ready to go out & a huge, gorgeous bouquet of flowers arrived, (totally unexpected!)  The card read: Happy Mother’s Day to the Fairly Good Mother.  Love, The Husband & The Boy.

Flowers for Me | The Fairly Good Mother

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you Moms!

This Week’s Box: Red Potatoes, Zucchini & Green Bean Challenge

This week’s box is EASY PEASY! These are very well known veggies in our house & when I saw the red potatoes and green beans, I knew EXACTLY what I was making for dinner last night.

Get ready for TMI ….. I’m bleeding. Again. Isn’t it funny how that happens every 28 days???  Well, the point of me telling you this is that I have low iron, and at the beginning of my cycle it dips super low which makes me tired & crave stuff with iron. Which translates into me craving filet mignon.

So last night I made filet mignon with garlic herb butter, smashed rosemary roasted potatoes & steamed green beans. (Tonight’s dinner will include the zucchini.) I would’ve done my filets on the cast iron skillet & then finished them in the oven, but the weather is warm here & I didn’t feel like sweating for some steak, so I grilled.  And, ok, I’ll be honest, the housekeepers came Thursday & I didn’t really want to mess up my super clean range – haha.  Oh, the OCD in me is always in high gear the day after cleaning day.

Grilled Filet Mignon | The Fairly Good Mother

The Husband thinks it’s cute that I love grilling so much.  People say grilling is really a man’s job (eye roll) I love grilling. About 12 years ago I read this book: Grilling For Dummies.  I was hooked. Very helpful tips with some great grilling recipes.

Anyway … this dinner is easy.  The only thing you need to do in advance is take 1/2 a stick of unsalted butter and get it softened at room temp.  To that, add 1 clove of pressed garlic & 1/8 teaspoon of finely chopped basil & 1/8 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary or thyme.  Mix together form that into a little log and place on a small piece of wax paper and place in the fridge to harden up.

We want to focus on the grill, so prep your green beans & get your potatoes started first.  While you’re doing this, let your filets stand at room temp (20 mins & then put a little bit of olive oil on both sides with some freshly ground pepper – don’t over-do the seasonings with filets.) Wash and trim the green beans, pop them in the steamer with some sliced garlic, a little pepper & some Kosher salt in there & turn on the timer for 15 minutes when you’re ready.

The potatoes: scrub & cut out the eyes, cover with water in a covered pot & bring to boil, cook for about 10 mins or until fork tender.  Place on a baking sheet (covered with no-stick tin foil for easy clean up,) smash gently with a fork, and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, fresh ground pepper & fresh rosemary (about 1-2 tsp.)  They will take about 20-30 minutes in an oven at 350*.

So what I do is get the grill started, put the potatoes in the oven, turn on the steamer for the beans, and then head outside to oil the grill, (pour a generous amount of olive oil on a couple of folded up paper towels & use your oven mit to wipe that on the grill.)  Over medium high heat, place your filets & a slice of the herb butter on top of each filet.  For medium rare (which is honestly how you’re supposed to be eating a filet mignon,) cook for 5-7 minutes, turn and place the rest of the butter on top of the filets.  Cook for 5-7 minutes & voila!  You can see from my picture that I also grilled up some little summer onions (just put a little olive oil, kosher salt & pepper on those, too!)

An easy summer dinner made mostly on your grill.  You can do the potatoes on the grill – I’ve done it before, but they didn’t get as crispy as they do in the oven.  Pair with a nice red.  We drank a Zaca Mesa Syrah.

A Broken Heart

A friend of mine lost her unborn baby. She was more than 3 months along & was just starting to show. What do you say … “I’m sorry” feels so hollow. Anything else feels inappropriate. How do I know that? Because I’ve been there.

I lost a baby when I was only 8 1/2 weeks along, and it broke my heart. I had known for a few weeks that I was pregnant, and in that time, The Husband & I dreamt of all the possibilities for our unborn child. I felt it was a girl. No, I knew in my heart of hearts, she was a girl. We thought of all the wonderful ways our lives would change, who she might become, and how much she would be loved … how much she was already loved.  How can a bond form so quickly with someone you’ve never even met?  That’s what happens when you become a mother.  At least for me.

My heart broke when we didn’t hear her heartbeat on the monitor in my doctor’s office.  The sick feeling of having your world turn upside down, to have all of your dreams shatter in an instant.  I felt like someone punched me in the stomach.  I  had to remember to breathe.  And no one could help me, not even The Husband.  I felt so alone and so empty … and I felt like a failure.  What did I do wrong?  Why did this happen to me?  It didn’t make sense.  It wasn’t fair.  It still isn’t fair.

Time does heal wounds, but it doesn’t make them disappear.  The first few weeks were hell, but I couldn’t indulge in my heartbreak 24 hours a day – I had a baby who was here, alive, who needed me to be strong for him.  I couldn’t let him see my sadness.  But at night and when I was alone, I would lay in bed and cry.  The pain of loss consumed me.  The heartbreak was constant & it was all I thought about; all the what-if’s … all the dreams I had had for her that would never be realized.

People tried to be kind, they tried to comfort me with comments like “it wasn’t meant to be” or “at least you have one beautiful child already” … those words left me angry.  I knew everyone meant well, but those words did nothing to help lift me out of the pit of despair that I had fallen into.  The Husband was shaken to his core – he had never seen me so heartbroken, and there was nothing he could do to help me.  I know for men, the feeling of helplessness is one of the most uncomfortable feelings.  Watching your wife cry so hard that she vomits must have been pretty scary for him.  I didn’t want to see anyone, talk to anyone besides The Husband & The Boy.   I just wanted to lay in bed and cry.

And this went on for weeks and weeks … and I got to a point where I just couldn’t do it anymore, it was consuming me.  I had to put my heartbreak in a box and close that box and put it somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, because I had to get back to living life … for me, for my family, for my little girl that I never got to hold in my arms.  My heartbreak was indulgent.  The loss of my pregnancy is something I cannot even think about without crying, it’s still difficult to discuss with people.  As I write this blog post, I’m crying.  She would have turned one year old this past week.  In a different life, we’d be celebrating her 1st birthday & watching her take her first steps.

To know that a friend of mine is experiencing the unbearable heartbreak of losing her unborn baby just opens that box back up & it feels like my miscarriage happened  yesterday, and suddenly I’m reliving that heartbreak all over agin.  It doesn’t matter how long you were pregnant for: 9 weeks or 9 months.  A loss is painful.  The only advice I have is: be kind to yourself.  Grieve, cry, yell, be mad, be sad, and then put all of that pain in a box and put it away.  Then breathe & know that each day will be a little better than the day before.

Where In The Heck Have I Been?

It’s been over a week since my last post, but I have some great reasons for my absence:

  1. Computer issues (not fun & still not resolved – I see a trip to the not-so-genius bar in my future.)
  2. Friends visiting from out of town (fun!)
  3. Car issues (not fun & very expensive)
  4. Working on a new project (fun, but time consuming, especially when coupled with computer issues)
  5. Washing machine issues (not fun)
  6. Hosting parties: pool & poker (FUN!)
  7. Being a being a fairly good mother & wife (fun & sometimes challenging :))
  8. Reading & researching special education law (eh, i’ll file this one under “not fun,” but necessary.)

So there you have it – those are my reasons for not posting, (without going into detail and boring you to tears.)  I’ll be back soon … as a matter of a fact, I got my box yesterday & it was filled with lots of yummy fruits and veggies, so I’m looking forward to doing some cooking (and posting) this weekend.