Monday, November 16, 2015

Baby Delicious Baby Shower

Over the weekend, my friend K hosted a fun and sweet (literally!) baby shower for me! (Thanks K!)

Friends from all over Brooklyn and Manhattan showed up to the candy shop, Chocolate Works in Brooklyn Heights and we played games, laughed, mingled, made chocolate-covered pretzels, Oreo cookies, and graham crackers.


Then we ate, played a few more games, and tried out the chocolate foundation to make chocolate-covered strawberries and marshmallows.

Double yum!

In between, there were lots of silly photos with funny props. And, to end off the night, everyone got to take candy and cake pops from the dessert table.

Like I said before, the shower was sweet. Literally! 

It was such a blessing to spend time with so many smiling faces and now, I'm even more excited to meet Baby Delicious! And, of course, I used the opportunity to spend a lot of time taking photos of the awesome big brother.

He's so ready to take on this title.

Visit Mommy Delicious on Instagram for more fun photos of the sweet, sweet day!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Lessons From An Eight-Year Old

"It's not about lucky bats; It's not about lucky helmets; it's about hard work."

This is what Aiden said to me a few days ago as I was helping him complete his homework. He was working on this "fast math" worksheet where he had to complete 24 math facts within one minute or less. The idea behind it is to develop automaticity with numbers and math facts. He's been doing really well with the worksheets since the beginning of the school year, even getting 24 out of 24 on pretty much all of them.

But on this particular day, the worksheet was assessing new math facts. Which he hadn't studied yet. So when he saw that he left five questions blank by the time one minute was up, he was feeling pretty down and was pretty hard on himself. To help the kid out, I wrote the new math facts out on flashcards (the equations on the front of the flashcard, the answer on the back of the flashcard). I also helped him notice any patterns that might help him with memorizing the facts.

We practiced for about two days. On the train ride to school. At home before bed. While running errands. Anywhere, really.

The next time he completed the worksheet, he got all 24 math facts correct. With 12 seconds to spare. He was so proud of himself. (And he's been keeping up the momentum and getting all 24 facts correct each time he does the worksheet.)

"Wow, Aiden... you've been working really hard at studying your math facts and I see it's paying off," was my response to his efforts. 

His response? "Yeah... it's like that book I read a few days ago, Strike Out, when the boy said, 'It's not about lucky bats; it's not about lucky helmets; it's about hard work.'" 

(Back story: he recently read a book about a little boy who thought he needed lucky bats and lucky helmets in order to be good at baseball. But, as it turned out, he only needed to work. Hard.)

Truth be told, I didn't even remember the book or the lesson that it tried to teach. But Aiden did. It stuck with him. And he shared that lesson with me.

And, in that one instant, Aiden reminded me what hard work, grit, and resilience can get you -- success. Good success. 

I hope he holds on to that lesson for the rest of his life. I know I will.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Turning Eight

"I'm eight-years-old today!"

That's what Aiden said as soon as he woke up yesterday morning. Happily. Energetically. And as though he were ready to take on the world.

I can't even begin to believe that I now have an 8-year-old son. And that I've been a mother for eight years. Eight!

These past eight years have been perfectly imperfect and nothing short of amazing. Hard at times, stressful at times, but pure, pure wonderment.

He may be just eight, but he's got an old soul. I swear, there are times when I feel as though he's been here before. With his precocious wisdom, his tell-it-like-it-is outspoken attitude, his grandpa-like demeanor, and his energetic and loving spirit. His name means "fiery" or "little fire" and he embodies that name. In every sense of the word.

He is truly a ball of energy. At... all... times... and he never tires. Ever since he started preschool, every year, one of his teachers has given him a nickname along the lines of "Mr. Busy." (I'm not kidding.)

Aiden's never been one to just "go with the flow." He's always questioned and wondered and challenged the status quo and I absolutely love that about him. I wish I were that bold when I was his age. (Heck, I wish I were that bold even now as an adult.)

This has been a very hard year for me and him and us. But the fact that he's still standing shows me just how resilient he's learning to be. And that's a trait that I really admire in him.

He inspires me.

To do better. To reach further. To learn more and try harder and work smarter.

He inspires me.

To love harder, stronger, and more effectively.

He inspires me.

To learn to forgive and understand the true meaning of unconditional love. To parent gracefully.

This year, I've worried and prayed and cried and prayed some more. I've tried to instill value and character in him. I've tried to push him to be his absolute best and absolutely see the best in him... even when he wasn't exactly showing his best self. I've learned to advocate and fight and move mountains for him.

And I haven't grown weary. Because... he inspires me.

I hope Aiden knows how much I love him. Like, with everything in me, down to my fiber and bones and all up in my DNA. I hope he knows how proud I am of him and how I would find a way to make the impossible happen for him. I hope he knows that, no matter what, I'll always, always have his back and be there to teach and lead and guide him.

He always says, "Mommy, I love you all the way to outer space and even pass God."

Right back atcha, kiddo.

Right back atcha!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Cycle of Parenthood

If you're hanging out with the Mommy Delicious crew on Facebook, then you'll know that these days, my time is spent with struggling to get Aiden over a rough patch. A really rough patch. And that I keep on repeating the same phrase: This parenting thing ain't for the wimps.

Because it ain't.

It's hard.

And draining at times and overwhelming at times and downright thankless at times.

Lately my relationship with Aiden has been only about what's going wrong, what he needs to fix, or his bad day at school. And that's been emotionally taxing. For him and me.

So this weekend I decided that what Aiden and I needed was time together. With just us. He needed my undivided attention and I needed him to see that we can still have positive interactions... even in the midst of turmoil.

On Saturday, we had Game Night. We took a trip to Target and I allowed him to pick out any board game he wanted to. Monopoly, Trouble, Candy Land, and Bounce Off were his top picks. So that's what we played when we got home. On the floor, with no smartphone, and no social media, for as long as we wanted.

We laughed and learned from each other and got to know each other. All over again. It was... glorious. And refreshing.

Aiden needed to see that my love for him is unconditional. And that our life doesn't have to be losses of privileges and scoldings and time-outs and tough talks.

It can be fun too!

On Sunday, I was tired. Because: pregnancy. But I took him bowling anyway. And to the arcade. Again, it was just us. No smartphone, no social media. Just us... laughing, learning from each other, and getting to know each other. All over again.

Is this a magic pill to fix whatever's wrong? No! But it's definitely a start.

Aiden's actions have been due in part because he's resisting and resenting change, in part because he's feeling pretty powerless with all the things he has to do, in part because he's needing and wanting attention, and in part because it's all too confusing for him. He's regressing. And it's hard and scary and overwhelming to deal with.

So I'm giving him love and affection and attention. And he's seeing the school counselor to help him during the day. And his school and I decided it was best to switch his class so that he now has two full time lead teachers in his classroom (instead of one full time lead teacher and one part time assistant teacher). The adults at his school are really trying to help him and are going above and beyond to support him during this time. I'm so grateful and thankful for them.

And HEB is spending more time with him. And my sister is checking in on him daily. Because, like I said before, I'm calling on the village to help this kid through his rough patch.

It's part of the cycle of parenthood and we're taking it moment-by-moment. Some moments are amazing and joyful. And some moments are frustrating and overwhelming. But, in the end, I know that I'll look back on this time and this cycle, smile, and thank God that we made it through.

Because we will.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

{Personal Style} Love, With a 1920's Vintage Flare

Over the weekend I got all dolled up, traveled back in time, and HEB and I headed to the wedding of two lovely friends. Hosted at The Metropolitan Building in Long Island City, the wedding theme was 1920's vintage, and the guests and bride and groom came ready to show out!

I, on the other hand, refused to buy a 1920's style maternity dress (is that even a thing?!) so I wore one of my black maternity dresses. I literally have four different black maternity dresses -- one with a cap sleeve, one with a scoop neck, and two with 3/4 sleeves in two different sizes (small and extra small). It's become somewhat of a staple for Baby Delicious and me, and I ain't even mad! (HEB, on the other hand, makes fun of me every time I'm in "another black dress?!")

But I digress. 

I decided to dress up my maternity dress with 1920's-inspired accessories -- pearls and statement necklaces, a faux fur shawl with a brooch detail, and a feathered hairpin. For a pop of color, I wore pink peep toe pumps. They aren't exactly 1920's-inspired, but they added a modern twist and a perfect pop of color. 

I thought the entire outfit looked classic! 

And the bride and groom? Well, they were just as stunning and loving and happy as ever. It was definitely a wedding to remember. 

So happy I got to be apart of their special day! Cheers to Daryl and Nicole!

Hope you all are having a fabulous week. Stay stylish!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

On Having Tunnel Vision to Pursue Goals

When I tell ya'll that I was stubbornly and unapologetically focused on starting grad school in order to start making a better life for Aiden and me, I mean it. Wholeheartedly.

Like, I sent in my deposit check to New York University before I received an acceptance letter from Columbia University because I didn't want to miss the NYU deadline while potentially holding out for a Columbia acceptance that could never come. It did come though.

Then, I sent in my deposit check to Columbia before I figured out the daycare, childcare, and/or babysitting situation for Aiden. Because I wasgoing to grad school. And I was going to figure everything else out. Come heck or high water.

I had tunnel vision. Still do! To go get my dreams. To chase after them. With endurance and resilience and grit. And, like I've said before,conquering this is 90% of the battle.

When I tell you that I was stubbornly and unapologetically focused on finishing grad school in order to start my career and start making a better life for Aiden and me, I mean it. Wholeheartedly.

You see, there were times -- many times -- that I had to bring Aiden to class with me because plans for a babysitter fell through. There were times when I had to pull all-nighters to do research and complete reading assignments and write papers because I had to go to class, my part-time job, my internship, or be with Aiden during the day.

You see, there were times -- many times -- when I had to sit Aiden down next to me and give him a shiny toy (or five!) to distract him while I put my head in my books and attempted get some work done.

I had tunnel vision. Still do! And I unapologetically shared that tunnel vision with Aiden. I always say this -- he grinds with me. He works with me. We're in this thing together. We work. Hard. (And we play too. Harder.)

When I tell you that as soon as I decided to leave the toxic relationship and do this single mom thing, I put systems in place to make sure that Aiden (still) gets to experiences all the great things that life has to offer, I mean it. Wholeheartedly.

From cultural events to kid-friendly activities to playing tourists in different countries, states, and cities, to afternoon and weekend extracurricular activities, he's being exposed to many, many different things. Unapologetically.

I had tunnel vision. Still do! To make sure that Aiden can learn how to make lemonade with the lemons that life throws at him. And play the cards that he's been dealt the best way he knows how.

I have tunnel vision. To go get my dreams and fulfill my goals and be the best single mother that I can be. I have tunnel vision. To walk by faith and do the damn thing. Unapologetically.

{This post was originally posted on April 2, 2015. Thank you for supporting Mommy Delicious.}

Friday, September 25, 2015

Calling On The Village

Aiden: Can I have a piece of cake? 
Me: No. You're not getting dessert. You have to have dinner because I need to feed you, but dessert is a treat. One that you didn't earn today. So no. No dessert. 

This was the conversation that I had with Aiden earlier this week. He had a rough day at school. Another rough day at school. And so, in a moment of what-shall-I-do-about-this-issue coupled with complete frustration, I told Aiden that he earned a consequence of no dessert. 


As I said before, Aiden's having a really rough time right now. Everything's new right now. He's got a new parent in his life. A new unsupervised visitation schedule. A new grade. New teachers. New baby on the way... 

The list goes on and on. 

I'm doing everything for him! Everything! How could he act this way?! What am I doing to deserve this?! All of my money is going to his schooling and babysitting and extracurricular activities! All of my time goes to taking him to visit new places and experience new things. All of my energy goes to making sure he's safe and loved and happy! How. Could. He. Do. This. To. Me?!

Yes, that was my thought process that evening. I'm human, forgive me. 

And then it hit me. It's not about me. It's not about what Aiden's doing to me. It's about Aiden's thoughts and feelings about himself and his life. And it's about his coping mechanisms. 

So I had to take a step back. And remind myself that he's feeling pretty powerless right now and trying really hard to get some power back. So I'm trying to help him. 

I'm trying to stay patient. I'm trying to stay positive. I'm trying to find ways to give him options. And to feel empowered. 


I have to admit. It's not easy. It hasn't been easy. At times, it's been downright difficult. And very exhausting. 

"Take things away from him," some people say. "Punish him," other folks say. "Give him a consequence at home," someone else said. "Give him a beating," someone else said. 


I'm trying to explain to folks that I can't fix Aiden's behavior -- or help him fix his behavior -- without helping him understand where the behavior is coming from. That's the underlying issue here. I can take as many things away from him as possible and it still won't fix his behavior because I'm not addressing the actual issue. 

I want to instill character in him. And discipline. And self-control. I want him to be happy and emotionally healthy. I want others to see in him what I see in him -- a loving and caring and sweet boy with lots of potential. I want them to know that he's a pretty good kid. Because he is

So I've been reaching out. And asking the male mentors for help. Because, although I'm a single parent to him, I don't have to parent alone. To me, Aiden's in a crisis. And to me, this is an emergency. One that requires reaching out and praying and asking for help and showing him even more love and affection than I normally would. 

It takes a village, right? 

So I'm calling on that village. Come hell or high-water, we're gonna help Aiden smooth out this rough patch


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