Thursday, April 23, 2015

Milestones



"Mommy, what do you get when you have a snowman and a vampire?"

"I dunno. What?"

"Frostbites. Get it?! Because the snowman gives you frost, and the vampire bites you. Get it?!"

This is where we are right now. In the age of pranks and practical jokes and knock-knock jokes and every other type of joke. It's cute.

Aiden's got a big personality and is always full of love and life and wants to share it with others.

We always focus on big milestones. You know, the ones where our babies learn to walk and talk and start school and all that fun stuff. But, these days, I find myself smiling over other milestones.


Like when Aiden reads books to me. And fluently! Not with those choppy sentences where I feel like pulling my hair out because of how slowly he's reading.

Or when he designs math problems for me (instead of me designing math problems for him) and shows me the step-by-step process to solve them.

Or like when Aiden learns how to ride a two-wheel scooter. Fast. Really fast. Scary fast.

Or like when he sets an agenda for his weekend activities without consulting me. Because he knows what he likes and knows what he's interested in.

Or like when he knows that a certain TV show comes on at a certain times and claims, "I have to watch my show tonight!" Well, alright then.


Or when he shows up at home with love notes in his backpack from girls in his class. Oh, Lawd... I ain't even ready!

Or when he wants to pick out his own school clothes because he knows what he likes and knows what he's in the mood to wear on any given day.

All these milestones leave me feeling bitter-sweet. He's not a baby anymore. He's like... a real person. Happy, healthy, thriving. I could not be more proud of him.


Did I forget anything? What are some of the "other" milestones that we need to celebrate in our babies?!

Monday, April 20, 2015

{Personal Style} Bardot Tops and Midi Dresses



dress: River Island | shoes: Elle | clutch: Aldo Accessories | stacked bracelets: Stella&Dot

"A wedding?! I could handle weddings!"

That's the first thing Aiden said to me when he found out I was traveling to Atlanta for the weekend and he was staying in NYC.

"Oh, I know why I can't come. Because they're gonna be serving drinks that are not for kids there. But they might have water too, right? But I don't really want to drink water that much. I like apple juice."

Yes, Aiden... that's exactly why you couldn't come. #SenseTheSarcasm

gotta love a beautiful wedding cake... and a selfie! 
Over the weekend, HEB and I headed to Atlanta for the wedding of one of his closest friends. Since I'm sorta kinda maybe falling out of love with mini dresses (are you allowed to wear them as often as I was wearing 'em passed the age of 30?!), I decided to think of another assest to highlight (I love my legs, but my shoulders and collarbone are close seconds).

Enter the mega-flattering bardot top.

When I spotted this off-the shoulder coral bodycon midi dress, I had to have. HEB was all like, "Umm... where are you gonna go with that dress." And I was all like, "Umm... I live in NYC, I'll find a place to wear it to, duh!"

And then the wedding gave me the best excuse to rock the dress.

via the River Island website
The dress features an invisible zipper in the back, hugs in all the right places, and is designed with a 1950's/1960's-inspired bardot neckline for a uber-glamorous finish. I paired it with floral peep-toe pumps and a nude clutch, both of which complimented the coral dress perfectly.

We had a fun, flirty time, especially in the photo/video booth...

#NoBehavior
#SophisticatedIgnorance (That's a Kanye reference.)
And I even managed to bring Aiden back a souvenir -- the complimentary cinnamon cookies that Delta Air gives out to passengers. I hyped the cookies up so much that he was SO excited to eat 'em. After eating them, he said, "We have to learn how to make these cookies!" Score! 


Hope you all had a great weekend. Thankfully, Spring has finally sprung so the good weather is here to stay. (Hopefully.) Stay stylish!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

On Perseverance and Looking Forward


When I was six-years-old, my family and I were at a picnic and, for some reason, I signed up for the race for my age group. When the race started, I took off. 

Full speed. 

I was in the lead. But I wanted to see how far away from me the people behind me were.

So I looked back. And I finished the race in second place.  

The next year, when I was seven-years-old, I signed up for the race again. I was a pretty solid runner (for my age) and I was so sure that I was going to win. When the race started, I took off. 

Full speed. Again. 

I was in the lead. Again. But... I wanted to see how far away from me the other people were.

So I looked back. Again. And I finished the race in second place. Again.

When I turned eight-years-old, I signed up for the same race at the same picnic. This time, I had a plan: keep looking forward. When the race started, I took off.

Full speed. 

I was in the lead. Again.

Only this time, I kept looking forward and stayed in the lead.

I finished the race... in first place.


And that was my first life lesson in the beauty of perseverance, grit, and looking forward. 

Stop looking back at the things that are weighing you down or keeping you stagnant. You're so much better than that. You're capable of greatness and can do awesome things if you just keep moving forward. Even if you have slip-ups or setbacks, keep going.

Endure.

And look forward. You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

{This post was originally published on April 25, 2013, but the message is timeless.}

Friday, April 10, 2015

Family Fun at LEGOLAND Florida Resort

via LEGOLAND website
Ever since Aiden and I came back from playing tourists in Chicago, we decided that one of our next vacations would be somewhere warm.

Well, he decided. And I concurred.

As Aiden said, "I liked Chicago, but... too cold. Let's go someplace warm next time." So this summer, I'm planning a trip to sunny Florida so we can check out LEGOLAND Florida and the LEGOLAND Florida Resort. (I haven't told Aiden yet because I want him to be so psyched when he finds out!)

I'm particularly excited because there are so many new things to see and do at the interactive theme park where legos come to life and where there are more than 50 rides, attractions, and shows. Not to mention that, as of May 15, 2015, the LEGOLAND Florida Resort will officially be opened for the season for families to enjoy.

We'll be staying at the resort so I'll be happy to report more on that once I experience it first-hand, but I'm most excited that it's just steps from the main entrance of LEGOLAND Florida and guest have exclusive early morning access to the theme park. Score! 

Other things that are pretty exciting?!

  • A disco elevator (I mean... c'mon!)
  • The family pool that overlooks Lake Eloise
  • A themed play area 
  • A family restaurant right on the resort premises
  • WiFi in all the hotel rooms (obviously this is really important)
  • A choice between themed rooms -- Pirate, Adventure, Kingdom, or Friends


And speaking of themed bedrooms... a few weeks ago, Aiden and I were invited to see a mock-up of the hotel rooms at an event here in NYC. Three rooms themes include pirates, adventure, and kingdom fulfilling children's dreams and letting them expand on their creativity and imaginations. Each room is super special with it's own children's area, complete with bunk beds, a trundle bed, their own TV, LEGO models, and a treasure chest. 

Sounds like heaven on Earth for a kid, right? And particularly for my lego-loving boy! 

I can't wait to see the look on Aiden's face when he finds out we're heading to LEGOLAND Florida and staying at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. 

Ready to plan your family vacation? Visit their website for more information. (You're welcome.)

Monday, April 6, 2015

{Kids Style File} Pastels for Easter


shirt and pants: H&M | sweater vest and shoes: Old Navy | 
bow tie: Tommy Hilfiger via C21 | swag: Aiden

Easter is one of my favorite holidays, for spiritual reasons of course. But also, because it signifies that warmer and sunnier days are quickly approaching. Which also means that I get to whip out the spring colors and outfits.

Such was the case this weekend. HEB, Aiden, and I celebrated Easter together by going to church and dinner, and Aiden was styled to perfection in pastel colors.



He had baby blue pants that I knew I wanted him to wear. So I found a lime gingham shirt, gray sweater vest, and plaid bow tie to jazz up the blue pants. I'm happy to report that Aiden took a look at his outfit, nodded, and said, "This looks really nice to wear to church."



Glad to know the outfit got his stamp of approval!

I tried to compliment him with a bright, knee-length color-blocked bodycon dress from River Island that I wore for my last birthday, but I still think he increased my cool points by, like, 50%.



And can we talk about this GQ pose he's giving?! Why is he growing up?! I want his baby face back!


Hope you all had a great Easter! Stay stylish!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tunnel Vision


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 was going 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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Instilling Resilience and Perseverance in Kids with Netflix.com


"All you have to do is try."

"You gotta have grit."

"To win, all you have to do is get up one more time than you fell down."

These are just some of the quotes that are on the chalkboard wall right outside of Aiden's bedroom. He reads them on his own from time to time, I catch him reading them more often than he thinks I do, I remind him of what those words whenever he's feeling defeated by something or overwhelmed by a challenging task. 

Why?

Because I have tunnel vision when it comes to instilling resilience and perseverance in him. Because, while I'm bad at a lot of things, if it were not for my determination and grit, I would not have "made it," whatever that means. Because, honestly, I feel as though the willpower to "get back up again" is 90% of the battle. 

So I'm talking and teaching and talking some more. Trying -- hard -- to instill the value of persistence and perseverance in Aiden, amongst many other things.

It's no easy feat, but I try to use as many things as possible to remind him of why determination (to the tenth power) is important, especially when it helps him accomplish his goal. 

Thankfully programs like Netflix has kid-friendly movies and shows that teaches resilience as well. 


Marvel's Avengers Assemble
Not only does it have epic action scenes that any boy will love, it also shows how Iron Man persuades his fellow superheroes to reunite, combine their skills, and battle both longtime foes and deadly new villains. 


The Perfect Game
Based on a true story, this movie is the epitome of what it means to show true grit. It illustrates how a seemingly impossible dream of playing baseball for the United States becomes a reality for a group of impoverished young children from Mexico. Trust me on this, the road for them isn't the least bit easy, but as I said before, the willpower to "get back up again" is 90% of the battle. 

And that's exactly what the movie shows. 

{Disclaimer: As a member of the Netflix Stream Team Blogger Ambassador Program, this post is sponsored by Netflix. Thank you for supporting Mommy Delicious.}

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