Thursday, October 30, 2014

We Made The List! Hello Beautiful Mommy Blogs to Follow




Last week, Hello Beautiful came out with their list of the top ten Mommy Bloggers to follow and Mommy Delicious made the list!

Radical!

From the Hello Beautiful site,
Mommy bloggers cover the gamut from fashion to lifestyle, posting as often about stilettos as they do strollers. For Moms who want to provide the best life for their children while still indulging in their love of fashion and beauty, look no further than our favorite Mommy blogs. Check out our top 10 in the slideshow...
Cool, right?!


Head on over to the Hello Beautiful website to see what they had to say about the Mommy Delicious community and how inspirational it is.

Also, show some love by sharing it on your social media channels, liking Mommy Delicious on Facebook, following Mommy Delicious on Twitter, or hanging out on Instagram!

Cheers!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dope to the Seventh Power


"I can't believe I'm gonna wake up tomorrow and be seven!" ~ Aiden
Umm, I can't believe I'm going to wake up tomorrow morning and have a seven-year-old. 
That was yesterday's Facebook post. Which means that today, Aiden turns seven.

Seven-years-old.

Seven years of failures and growing pains and lessons learned. Seven years of trying to figure it all out and get this single mom thing right. Seven years of reminding myself that I'm more than enough for Aiden. Seven years of learning what's really important on this single motherhood journey. Seven years of making sure that I raise this little guy into a well-rounded, socially-competent, contributing member of society.

It hasn't been easy. Not by a long shot. But I'm thankful for every single thing that Aiden and I have gone through.

I'm thankful.

For the scared feelings I felt when I first saw the positive sign on the pregnancy test staring back at me. For the breakdowns and meltdowns and the oh-my-gosh-how-am-I-going-to-make-it? times.

I'm thankful.

For the three years that I had to wait after finishing undergrad in order to apply for graduate school instead of the two years that I originally planned to wait. For all the times I had to bring Aiden to class with me because I didn't have a babysitter. For the words of encouragement that I received. For the "you can do it" speeches that I heard from my tribe.


I'm thankful.

For the determination and grit and resilience that motherhood -- single motherhood -- instilled in me. For wanting more for Aiden. For wanting to be more and do more for Aiden. For graduating. Not with one, but two master degrees.

I'm thankful.

For never letting go of my dreams because Aiden's life depended on it. And it depends on it. For being brave enough to continue to pursue my goals and dreams and set a good example for Aiden.

I'm thankful.

For seven years of fun and love and laughter and good times. For and amazing son who I swear has been here before because of his old soul. He's currently into superheroes and science and researching things that he wants more information about. And animals! Man, oh man, does he love him some animals! He's quirky and funny and always needs to get his point across. Because it's a good point. He wants to be a veterinarian and an oceanographer and a teacher and a police officer when he grows up. He's kind and caring and thoughtful and protective of his friends. The world is already a better place because of him.

I'm thankful. For Aiden.

We're a blessed duo. And we made it.

We're making it.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Day I Got A Restraining Order. And My Power Back.

Silence.

When it comes to domestic violence and an abuser staying in control, that's their most valuable and powerful asset -- the victim's silence.

A couple months ago, Aiden's other parent resurfaced, He started texting and calling me non-stop, and then showing up to my apartment building uninvited.

Stalking and harassing and trying to intimidate me.

I wasn't sure what his motives were, but I had two guesses: either he found this little space on the Internet, got a glimpse into Aiden's life, and wanted to be a part of it... or something in his life is currently out of his control and he's looking for a way to exert power over something or someone else.

And that someone is me.

Deep, deep, deep down inside, I'm hoping it's the former. But my heart, mind, and soul are telling me that it's the latter.

Sigh.

Either way, I've been afraid. More afraid than I ever thought I'd be. And, consequently, more stressed than I ever thought I'd be.


I've always tried to imagine what it would be like to run into him or see him again. I figured I'd be a little scared, but still brave. Brave enough to walk with my head up and shoulders squared. Brave enough to speak my truth and tell it like it is. Brave enough to act from a place of power and strength, not confusion, fear, or despair.

But when I saw him standing on the corner of my block a few weeks ago, I froze. My head was not up, my shoulders were not squared. Instead, my heart stopped on that Tuesday evening.

You have got to be kidding me, was my first thought.

I hope he doesn't try to start some shit, was my second.

I held Aiden's hand as tight as I could and hurried into our building. I was shaking and the tears were beginning to form in my eyes and my mind was racing... Please just let me make it inside my apartment. Please just let me be safe. Please just let me spare Aiden from witnessing anything horrific right now. Please let us just get upstairs and lock the doors behind us...

Once upstairs, my phone rang. Over and over and over again. It was him. Then the text messages came. Over and over and over again.

I didn't respond. I contemplated calling the police, but I didn't want Aiden to have to hear or see any of that. (Although he was clearly aware of my stress and emotional state.)

That's the thing about living in a constant state of fear and stress and panic... it effs up your entire life and it's no way to live.

In fact, it's downright debilitating!

Having to look over my shoulders every five seconds whenever I was leaving my home or coming back to my home is no way to live. But I've lived that way these past few weeks. Having to literally run from my building to the train station or from the train station to my building because I didn't want to run in to my abuser is also no way to live. But, again, I've lived that way in these past few weeks.

I started locking the top lock of my front door during the day (something that I've never done before!) because I had crazy thoughts of him somehow getting into my apartment while I was at work and holding me hostage in my apartment once I got home.

After all, he's done it before. Twice.

I've spent sleepless nights starring out of my window wondering if he was outside of my building and thinking that I should use the basement exit when I leave for work in the morning.

One weekend, I cancelled lunch plans that I had with a girlfriend (sorry J!) and a fun event that I planned to take Aiden to (sorry A!). Instead, we spent the entire weekend in the apartment because I was too fearful to go outside. I called it our Pajama Party weekend and we made pizza and watched movies.

I always tell folks to share their story, to give a voice to what has happened to them, to begin the healing process. Yet, here I was hiding, running, being silent, being afraid, being powerless...

So I got my power back.

A couple weeks ago, I went to family court and filed for a restraining order. With my head up and shoulders squared. I had to go to that place and relive the abuse so that I could tell the court clerk and the judge exactly what happened to me, but I did it. I was nervous and scared, but I knew that I had to push pass those feelings to end up on the other side.

The judge granted my restraining order and the police served it to him.

Game over.

He's not allowed to be near me, my home, my work, Aiden's school, or any place that I frequent. He's not allowed to contact me by mail, phone, e-mail, voicemail, or use any other means to get in contact with me. He can't assault, harass, menace, strangle, attempt to intimidate, coerce, or engage in any other type of disorderly conduct towards me. He can't interfere with the care and custody of my parenting. He can't try -- in any way -- to exude power over me.

Not anymore.

A schedule will be set up by family court in order for Aiden and him to have visits with each other and I have to walk around with my extra copy of the restraining order at all times. (You know, just in case shit hits the fan.) It feels kinda weird having to walk around with a piece of paper at all times, but if it means that Aiden and I will be safe, I'll do it.

I told my story. It's documented. It's on the record. And I can't help but to feel a bit more free.

And powerful.

After all these years, I got a restraining order. And my power back.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Teaching Kids the Power of Endurance


First day of school...

Aiden (to the Head of School): Excuse me, what floor's my classroom on again?
Head of School: Third.
Aiden (to me): It's okay mommy, you don't have to walk me up. I got this.

And off he went. Up the stairs. Into his classroom. And ready to take on first grade. Just like a total boss!

Ever since he began this new chapter and milestone in his life, Aiden's quickly learning what I've been meaning when I've been saying that all he has to do is try. That showing effort counts for a whole lot in this world. That persistance and perseverance will take him places that being cute and charming and a ball of energy will not.

He's learning the true power of having grit.

Especially when it comes to fluently reading "harder books," as he puts it.


Our conversation about hard work and perseverance is pretty much a daily occurrence these days, and, in my attempt to not let our talks turn in to a Mommy Lecture, I'm trying to find other ways to introduce the conversation.

Through books. And children events. And movies.


Like Akeelah and The Bee on Netflix.com. This movie is about eleven-year-old Akeelah Anderson, who is determined to spell her way out of South Los Angeles and make it to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. This is a movie of persistence, talent, and the power of hard work.

It makes for a great discussion about endurance and finishing strong. And that's exactly what I hope to instill in Aiden.

{Disclaimer: As a member of the Netflix Stream Team Ambassador Program, this post is being sponsored by Netflix. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Knights and Princesses and A Slumber Party to Remember


Last weekend, Aiden and I were lucky enough to participate in the slumber parties of all slumber parties! We traveled to The Cathedral of St. John the Divine on the Upper West Side to attend The Knightwatch Medieval overnight children's event. As soon as we stepped into the cathedral, we were transported centuries back in time into Medieval splendor where kings, queens, knights, and princesses were commonplace.

Once we received our noble title and coat of arms, we joined our group in the front of the cathedral where, in Act 1, we learned that the princess was placed under a spell by a magician and everyone needs to participant in a scavenger hunt led by the Court Jester in order to find clues throughout the cathedral... that'll lead us to the key... that'll reverse the spell on the princess so that she can marry the knight.

And so began the most epic and interactive play Aiden and I have ever taken part in.

From using their own personal map of the cathedral to figuring out which part of the cathedral to run to next to seeking and finding clues to using those clues to help figure out where the next clue will be... everyone -- kids and adults alike -- was engaged and excited to be apart of the mission.



The best part? As we found clues and got one step closer to solving the mystery and helping reverse the magical spell placed on the princess, we got to watch another scene of the play. And that scene revealed so much information about the characters in the play, their motives, their potential next steps, and their true feelings.

Even better? The children and audience members were so excited to learn more about the characters as the plot thickened and even more excited to use their new-found knowledge to help them find more clues.

I won't spoil it by telling how the interactive play ends, but as soon as the mystery is solved, we all gathered in the nave to celebrate with traditional medieval dances and music, which we learned throughout the course of the evening.


This review wouldn't be legit if I didn't say something about the child-safe broadsword fighting workshop that all the kids were able to participate in. My sword-loving son loved, loved, loved this part of the event. He's still asking if we can go back so that he can practice sword fighting.

After the celebration was complete, we all got into our pajamas, set up our cots, and gathered around in the nave for story-telling time. (Be sure to bring an extra sweater and/or blanket with you because the nave gets drafty at night.) Both the children and adults were able to share a story, which was really special. I tell ya, kids tell the most funny and animated stories! Ever!

Before getting into bed, the children were able to use their flashlights to explore the cathedral, but, naturally, that turned in to a game of hide-and-go-seek. There were giggles, there was whispering, there was the sound of little feet running to and fro. It was, in a nutshell, glorious. And exactly what childhood is made of! 


For more information about the Knightwatch Medieval, visit the website. There will be three more chance this season for you to participate in all this amazingness: October 17th, May 29th, and June 5th. Tickets are $135.00 per person and discounts are available for groups of 15 or more.

Based on Aiden's experience -- and that of all the other children -- it'll be worth every penny!

{Disclaimer: Aiden and I were guests of the Knightwatch Medieval. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Bronx Zoo's Boo at the Zoo

Photo via Bronx Zoo
Folks, Halloween's upon us and, even though the air is crisp and cooler, things are just beginning to heat up at The Bronx Zoo!

From now through Sunday, November 2nd, grab your littles and head over to The Bronx Zoo for spooks and spectacular fun at Boo at the Zoo! There's so many activities, including a magical illuminated pumpkin walk, costume parades with stilt walkers, giant puppets, Broadway show performances, arts and crafts, trick-or-treating, and much more!

Want more?

You and the entire family can also visit the animal exhibits of bats, owls, and other iconic animals of Halloween.

And, remember that time Aiden and I went on the Dinosaur Safari? Well, you can also enjoy this trip back in time before it goes extinct!

Photo via The Bronx Zoo
Plus... you don't want to miss the premiere of the Jack 'O Lantern Illumination -- Creatures of the Night, where you'll be amazed by over 1,00 hand-carved Jack 'O Lanterns, skillfully sculpted into various animal shapes (read: bats, reptiles, marine creatures, mammals, nocturnal birds, bugs, and more).

Since visiting The Bronx Zoo can be quite a trek, make a day of it by enjoying the many attractions that the zoo has to offer. Not only will it be a safe and fun way to celebrate the Halloween season, but it will also be educational, interactive, and entertaining for the whole family.

Visit The Bronx Zoo's website for more information about Boo at the Zoo! Aiden and I will be there this weekend. In full costume, of course. Hope to see you there!

{Disclaimer: I am an Ambassador for the Zoo Crew and this post is part of a sponsored series. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Speak Life


Every morning, when we get to Aiden's school building, before I let his hand go, I whisper into his ear.

I tell him that he's to go into the school, with his shoulders squared and head up. I tell him to be proud of who he is and what he has to offer to his school and to his classroom. I tell him to follow the teachers directions and be an example in his classroom. I tell him to try new things. Because we can deal with him failing and we can deal with him learning lessons. But not trying is just not acceptable.

I tell him to be kind and friendly and respectful to his peers.

I tell him to read.

I tell him to explore. And share his findings.

I tell him to pet Mr. Bunny, the class rabbit. He loves that thing.


I tell him to be great. Because he's destined for greatness. And he's destined to do amazing things in this world.

I speak life into him. I speak health and happiness and prosperity and good success into his life.

And then I give him a big hug and a big kiss, tell him that I love him, and send him on his way.

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