Friday, October 29, 2010

Weekend Reads

Hey Lovelies!

Here are some good reads for this week's link roundup.

Who doesn't love a good pair of Uggs?! Mom Finds displays the best kids Ugg boots for girls, boys, and infants.

Shiny Brite gives a delightful recap of a fun trip to Hudson River Valley home of Washington Irving, the author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

NYC Single Mom talks about how to shield kids from violence because "crime never sleeps." This is extremely important to me, as a resident and mom of the city that never sleeps.

Plus Lily shares her insight on how to keep your dogs safe.

And I'm all talk about my AMAZING little boy turning three years old. Yippee, Aiden turns three!!!

Enjoy your Halloween weekend everyone. I know I will have a great time at a fabulous Halloween party in NYC and Aiden's birthday party.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Three Years of the Amazing and Awesome Aiden!!!

Hey Lovelies!

Today Aiden turns 3-years-old and I am totally speechless. Like really, I CAN NOT believe how incredibly fast time flies. I CAN NOT believe that the adorable 7 lb 9 oz newborn that I pushed out (sans medicine) after over 24 hours of labor is now a full blown toddler -- running, jumping, kicking, screaming, smiling, laughing, reading, joking, SINGING!, cleaning up after himself, making sure all of his toys go in the right toy bin, going to the potty AND washing his hands after... Wow!

I may sound totally and completely biased, which I think is okay for the purpose of this post (and Aiden's life!), but the kid is SUPER DUPER AMAZING. I write these words with tears in my eyes because it blows my mind sometimes at how beautiful he is growing... and how blessed I am to call him my son. And as articulate as I like to think that I am, I don't even feel like my words, or this post, will do him justice. Really.

While I was thinking of presents for him (hey, you only turn 3-years-old once, ya know... it's kinda a BIG deal), there were so many possibilities because he finds joy in so many things.

I thought of getting him a guitar because he LOVES to sing. All day. Everyday. From Barney and Friends songs to the theme songs of his fave shows (Go Diego, Go; Wonder Pets; Dora, The Explorer) to the ABC's, the days of the week, a MILLION and one nursery rhymes, songs from church, Happy Birthday To You, The Star Spangled Banner (yep!), Lift Every Voice And Sing (he knows it better than me!)... he knows and loves 'em all. ALL.

I LOVE when I'm in the kitchen cooking or cleaning that I can hear him in another room singing his little heart out. It's like sweet melodies to my ear. And then he comes into the kitchen and says, "Mommy, I'm singing a song for you." Love it! Thank you, baby A. Of course, being the proud mama that I am, I record it on my blackberry and email it to all my friends and his god parents, proclaiming, "Look how smart my baby is!"

I thought of getting him a few more books even though he already has two bookcases filled with books and knows almost all of them. But I pictured taking him to the kids section of Barnes n' Nobles, and seeing the excitement in his eyes. Every time I come home with a new book for him, he is so so grateful and happy. He LOVES for me to read books to him, and every time we're done, he says, "Mommy, my turn; I'll read it for you." And he does. Page by page, picture by picture, he "reads" the story back to me, with appropriate facial and vocal expressions.

And his memory is so good that, whenever something happens throughout the day that reminds him of a story, he says, "Mommy, that's like in the book with ______ [insert appropriate scenario here]. Analyzing stories and making comparisons to books already... a Columbia University baby in the making!

I thought about getting him more floor puzzles because he loves, loves, loves 'em! I watch as he struggles to put them together -- umm, that's not a match; that goes there; umm... where's the other piece?; oh, I find it; oh, there's a match! And when he finally puts the entire puzzle together, he steps back, looks at his masterpiece, and says, "perfect!" How amazing is he?! And how'd I get so lucky? And... is there another word for "amazing" because I can't think of any?

It's mind-blowing that someone so small can make me feel almost every emotion possible -- incredibly competent, yet enormously incapable. And sometimes within minutes of each other. But that's all right, because that's the blessing of motherhood. For his birthday, I decided to throw him a small birthday party with all of his "friends," as he calls them (which you can read all about next week).

And as for the gift... well, the gift won't matter as much as the memories we'll make together with that gift. I'm looking forward to seeing his excitement as he unwraps his gift; and I'm looking forward to making more happy memories with the absolute amazingness that is Aiden.

Mommy loves you, baby! Muah!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Refilling the Spaces In My House... And Heart

It all started with the boots. The fabulous, flat, over-the-knee boots that I found (on sale!) at David Z. And I just had to have 'em... along with a few other items that I love!

When I got home that day, I didn't have any space in my closet to put my new love (ie: the boots) because my closet was a hot mess.

I'd broken up the ex about a month-and-a-half earlier and became a single mom. I was in the process of cleaning out the huge, walk-in closet that I shared with Aiden, and transferring Aiden's clothes into the closet that his dad once used. But I never quite finished the job. It was only half done and my/Aiden's closet was one huge mess.

I didn't want to just throw the boots down in the closet because, well, that's no way to treat my new boots.

So I cleaned out my closet.

Then I cleaned out Aiden's new closet/ his dad's old closet.

But then my bedroom needed to be cleaned (to go with my clean closet and all). So... I cleaned my bedroom. And bought a brand new comforter set. Love it!

Soon it was time to tackle the rest of my cozy apartment.

I painted the kitchen a brand new color that pops and adds just the right amount of flavor, and purchased new floor mats, table mats, and curtains to compliment the new color. Nice!

I shampooed the living room carpet and bought new toss pillows for the sofa, along with updated wall art... all by my lonesome. POW!

But in the corner of the living room, where my ex's stereo system used to be, was a huge EMPTY space.

And on the entertainment stand where the 46" television once was stood was another huge EMPTY space.

For a month-and-a-half, I'd done nothing with that space. Nothing.

I let it stay that way, which is NOT like me. Trust me on this: my type-A, everything-has-to-be-perfect personality forces me to have things neat and in order in every aspect of my life.

But I guess I was in some sort of a post-break up funk. I guess I really had to let it sink in that it was truly over. I guess I had to feel the loss -- and the huge empty spaces -- mentally, physically, emotionally...

Break-ups suck. Big time. And no matter the circumstances surrounding the breakup (we were totally incompatible), who initiates the breakup (that would be me), or how relieved I am that it ended (believe me, I am), they still suck.

There's always some sense of loss, some realization that yeah, it's REALLY over. For me, it was not being able to leave Aiden with anyone while I run to the store really quickly, or go down to the laundry room to put a load in, or take a shower, or fill the empty spaces...

The empty closet that once belonged to my ex? Now it belongs to Aiden.

The empty space in the corner of the living room where his stereo system once stood? Aiden's second bookcase and animal farm now occupies that space.

The empty space on top of the entertainment stand where the television once stood is now occupied by the new television that I purchased. Can you believe Aiden and I went an entire MONTH without watching tv?! Whew! Glad THAT'S over! I need my Law and Order SVU... and Sex and the City... and Grey's Anatomy...

The empty space in my daily schedule? Thankfully, I started going back to the gym 3-4 times a week after a month long hiatus. And I started really talking to and spending time with friends. And living life, instead of going through the motions of everyday mundane living.

The empty space in my heart... where I thought I had to overcompensate for the sense loss that I felt and be this perfect mother to Aiden. That was leading me straight downhill so I'm glad that's over too. Now I strive to be the good enough mother.

That makes me happy and Aiden happy as well.

Little by little, room by room, I began refilling the spaces in my house. And my heart. And now that that's happening, I can't even remember what was there before.

Funny the way life works...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Weekend Reads

Hey Lovelies!

Here are some good reads for this week's link roundup.

Found! The best winter hats for girls and boys, all thanks to the lovely ladies at Mom Finds.

Visit Culture Mom to check out her interview with Jean Stone, author of The Secrets Sisters Keep, a book about the the dynamics of friendships between women -- the good, the bad, and the ugly.  

I'm sure some of you mommies can relate to Ad Hoc MOM's containter store habits. 

With all the nutty technology out there taking over the world, NYC Single Mom talks about setting boundaries when it comes to her daughter using the iPad. 

Have a great weekend lovelies!



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

9 Effective Discipline Strategies That Helped Me Enjoy My Toddler

Hey Lovelies!

I'm better at being a student than I am at being a mother.

What can I say? I've been a student for 16 consecutive years, went on a 3-year hiatus, and then it was back to being a student for another 2 years. From elementary to middle school to high school to college and now graduate school, I've mastered the skills to get good grades, learned effective study strategies, read the books, conducted the research, written the long papers, and done the problem sets. When it comes to succeeding in school, I'm golden! A veteran student.

When it comes to succeeding at motherhood, eh... not so much. Seriously. I've only been doing this motherhood thing for about 3 years so I consider myself a total rookie. A novice mommy.

But I'm learning the ropes. I'm learning how not to make my life and my relationship with Aiden one big power struggle after another. This may sound strange, but I want to be able to enjoy my son. And enjoy our time together because he's growing up so fast!

So I've dug deep into my bag of tricks and pulled out several tricks that have helped me along the way. 2 years, 11 months, 18 days, and counting... here it is:

Temper tantrums = cry it out, calm down, THEN let's talk it over. That applies whether we're at home, at swimming, in a store, or outside where everyone is staring... and judging. I cannot try to calm him down because it proves to be pointless. He cries and yells more, I get more frustrated, and as a result, he cries EVEN more. No more of that. If people want to stare, let 'em stare. If people want to judge, let 'em judge. When I remain calm, Aiden calms down and then we discuss the issue at hand. No, I cannot buy you ANOTHER truck set at Target, but you CAN help me pick out some apple juice.

Sometimes my expectations are just too high. I guess I somehow thought that since he's [slightly] older now, it would be easier. So not true. With each age and stage, there are different challenges. And, as he turns 3-years-old, I'm reminding myself that sometimes my expectations of him are too high. So I have to adjust them to his capabilities and needs. Like when he's engaged in an activity and I tell him that it's time to go take a bath. What soon-to-be 3-year-old would want to stop working on a fun floor puzzle to take a bath and put pajamas on?! Umm... yea.

So I ask again in another way. Aiden, why don't you clean up your puzzle so you can pick out which toy you'd like to bring in the bath tub with you? Ta-dah! A cooperating toddler!

The appearance of choices = toddler empowerment. Really. Instead of saying, "Here are the sneakers you have to wear today," which only leads to a power struggle, gets me aggravated, AND makes me late for work, I give him the appearance of choices. I pick out two sneakers that are appropriate for him to wear that day, hold 'em up, and ask, "Aiden, which sneakers would you like to wear?" He feels empowered and I feel happy that I won't be late for work.

Besides, that authoritarian, my-way-or-the-highway thinking almost NEVER works. Who thought of that anyway? Hitler?!

Positive reinforcement is my new best friend. Really, we're cool like peanut butter and jelly. Aiden, you did such a good job cleaning up your toys. Yay! He smiles as a happy baby and I smile as a happy mommy. Love it!

But on the contrary, there are clear expectations for actions. Case in point: When we're walking down the street, if Aiden is feeling independent and doesn't want to sit in his stroller or hold my hand, then he must walk next to me. If he runs away, it's back in the stroller or back to holding my hand. No exceptions. The streets of NYC are too narrow for him to run far away. Now, when we're at the playground, it's a different story...

Pick my battles. All of a sudden, the kid wants to take his scooter out every time we go outside. Every time. If we're heading to preschool, I object to his demand. But if we're just heading to the bank or to run some other type of errand, why the heck not? I pick my battles, and we just spend a few minutes with him riding his scooter at the playground before finishing our errands. He has his fun and I cross something else off of my to-do list.

Distractions works wonders. If Aiden is doing something that I told him 1000 times before not to do it, like jumping on the couch, instead of scolding him, I distract him. Aiden, why don't you come over here to help me pick out which book you'd like to read? Whew! Crisis averted. [Psss... just so you know, this also works wonders for calming down temper tantrums.]

Talk TO him, not AT him. It can be really scary for a toddler to have someone hovering over them in an aggressive way. I find that Aiden is much more receptive when I get down to his level, look him in the eye, and tell him my request. Aiden, it's time to go; I need you to put on your jacket really quickly. Okay? Viola!

So there you have it. That's just some of the things that has helped me enjoy my time with my toddler thus far. For more examples of effective discipline strategies, check out 6 Things I Wished I'd Known Before The Terrible-Twos.



Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spa Week Spectacular

Hey Lovelies!

Spa Week is a way to bring the spa experience to the masses by offering full service treatments, which would normally range from $100 to $200, for JUST $50. A $50.00 massage and spa experience?! Sign me up! The main goal of Spa Week is to make the spa experience an affordable part of a healthy lifestyle routine.

To kick the week off, a Spa Week pre-event was held in NYC at The Prince George Ballroom in Gramercy on October 7th. The event included several vendors who deliver services from manicures to pedicures to massages.

Ms. Latina of Latina On A Mission was invited to this invitation-only event, but because she is a super generous sweetheart, she asked me to go in her place. Her invitation totally made my week (my month!), and I gladly accepted. I’d be a fool not to. What busy young mommy doesn’t want a little pampering?

Here are some pics from the awesome event!

Getting a manicure from the ladies of Spa Chicks On-The-Go:

My make-under from Bare Escentuals:

Attendees were given gift bags filled with pampering products and other goodies... LOVE!

For a list of the amazing vendors that were in attendance, check out the full blog post that I wrote for Latina On A Mission and let me know what you think!


Monday, October 11, 2010

Strains and Stress of Co-Parenting

Hey Lovelies!

Because she is so amazing and awesome and always willing to share the spotlight on her fabulous blog, Tara of The Young Mommy Life has provided me with yet another opportunity to write a guest post. This time about the strains and stress (and sometimes success!) of co-parenting.

Did I mention that Tara's totally awesome?! Oh, I did...

Well... check out the post and tell me what you think. I welcome your opinions.



Winners of the $50 American Express Card!

Hey Lovelies!

I totally should have known better than to promise to announce the winners of these fabulous gift cards on the same day that I had a 20-page paper due. I was so busy typing my life away... down to the last half-hour that the paper was due, that I did not have time to post the winners. Ugh, grad school.

Now tonight I've got to start (and finish!) a 4-page paper because it's due tomorrow. But writing 4 pages after busting my butt over 20 pages this past weekend seems like a piece of cake. And I love me some cake! Then, I've got another paper due in two days, a midterm next week, another midterm the following week, and a research paper due the week after that. Uh... how many more weeks till Winter Break?

Somewhere in there, I'll have to find the time to throw Aiden a 3rd birthday party (woohoo!) and find a Halloween costume. Halloween costume = the seriousness for me! But that was a total tangent...

And the winners are:



I will be sending you an email. Please provide me with the necessary information as soon as possible.



Friday, October 8, 2010

Weekend Reads

Hey Lovelies!

Here are a list of good reads for this weekend's link roundup.

If you need more convincing to go apple and pumpkin picking this season than my little ol' post, then Shiny Brite has got you covered. Check out their apple picking experience from this past weekend in NJ.

With Halloween quickly approaching, Mom Finds has got the best costumes for your little cutie pies. Check it out.

Every wonder if maybe your children partake in one too many extracurricular activities? NYC Single Mom weighs in on the debate and decides that ballet class for her daughter is totally worth it.

Are the gals from 'Teen Mom' celebrities? Is MTV portraying them in the best possible way? Tara of The Young Mommy Life shares her thoughts.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Last Chance to Win A $50 American Express Gift Card

Hey Lovelies!

The giveaway ends tomorrow, Friday October 8th at noon!!!

Two lovely followers of Mommy Delicious will receive a $50 American Express gift card... don't miss out on this amazing chance!!!

Click here to enter and cross your fingers... will it be YOU?!

The winners will be chosen via and announced on Monday October 11th so check back then to see if you've won!

Good luck.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Apple Picking Extravaganza!

Hey Lovelies!

Fall is the perfect season for apple picking. Aiden LOVES to eat his apples and I love healthy snacks so this past weekend, we headed out to Princeton, NJ to enjoy apple picking, pumpkin picking (and painting!), the petting zoo, and a fabulous wagon ride. Aiden and I had a blast!

Aiden did a great job picking the perfect apples! Doesn't he look oh so proud?

I loved that he had the opportunity to pick his own pumpkin and paint it as well. Here he is hard at work!
And really concentrating...

When it was time for him to "drive" the tractor, he waited so patiently. That made me one proud young momma!

And he was all smiles when it was finally his turn. To a 2-year-old, waiting three minutes for something you really, really want is like waiting an eternity.

Check out pics from the petting zoo!

It was truly an awesome weekend. I can't wait to do it again... and I'm sure Aiden shares my sentiments.


Monday, October 4, 2010

"Where's My Father?" -- The One Question That Challenged My Decision To Be A Single Mother

A couple months ago I made the decision to end my relationship with my son's father. But the thought of being a single mother scared me so I hesitated. A month and a half ago I got the courage, put my big-girl pants on, and actually did it.

Since the split and my venture into the Single Momma World, I've been dreading the thought
of Aiden asking about his dad's whereabouts. I've dreaded what my response would sound like. I've dreaded if it would be acceptable to him.

And I dread and worry about other things too. I worry how the split would affect their relationship moving forward. Would it blossom and grow, or would there be friction? I worry at times how others will judge our situation. I worry that others tend to view single moms who were once married more favorably than single moms who were never married... as if those who were never married slept around with any old guy and had tons of kids -- not always the case.

But mostly... I worry how Aiden will judge our situation as he grows and his comprehension expands. These past couple months, Aiden developed the habit of climbing into bed with me and his dad in the morning because he always wakes up first. He'd just squeeze his little self in-between his father and me, saying, "excuse me." Too cute. But when his dad moved out, he was able to climb right in because there was so much space on the other side of the bed. Puzzled and perplexed, Aiden politely asked, "Mommy... where my father?" Oh boy... as young as age 2, the questions begin.

I was never married, but cohabited with my son’s dad and went through a lot before I decided to “break up” the family. Trust me on this. I put a lot of thought into the break-up. A lot. I thought about my ex, I thought about our son, and I thought about myself. But after trying and trying, feeling defeated and trying some more... giving and giving, getting very little in return and giving some more... suggesting all sorts of things that just didn't work... and reaching what I thought was my breaking point only to realize that I still had a little more in me to give... and yet that still wasn't enough... then (and only then!), I was done and done! Just like that. The entire relationship became a liability... and a deal-breaker.

What can I say? Sometimes Prince Charming isn't so charming after the baby makes three. For me, it got to the point where being in a relationship was harder than being a single mother. So I took a stand for sanity… for my life and my son’s life. And just like that, a[nother] single mom was born. And you know what, it feels very empowering.
I write this post not to demean my son's father, or to bitterly bash men. In fact, I think he and I have been doing pretty well with this whole co-parenting thing as we've been certainly communicating in a positive manner on all things Aiden.

I write this post from a place of contentment. And peace. I am no longer halted between two opinions and I feel proud of my decision because it was a tough one.

And now I know that Aiden will judge our situation based on how I handle it. If I act like I'm bitter and nasty towards all men and act as though I think his dad is an awful person (ie: putting the blame on others), then that's how he'll judge it. And it'll have a negative impact on him and his views. But If I handle it as though I'm taking responsibility for his life, my life, our life by making the choice to move towards sanity, safety, and happiness, then that's how he'll judge it. Period.

And if I can continue to be my happy, optimistic, resilient self, then he'll judge the situation as being the best possible decision I could have made for him and me. And that'll empower him to know that despite all of its ups and downs, life is ultimately what you make it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Weekend Reads

Hey Lovelies!

Here are some awesome reads for this week's link roundup.

It's the PERFECT season for apple picking! In fact, I'm taking Aiden apple picking this weekend. But before we head out, I'm taking note of these tips and tricks from Plus Lily

Disney's come a long way by creating a Black princess in The Princess and the Frog, but they/we still have a long way to go. Read NYC Single Mom's take on Princess Tiana NOT being allowed at Walt Disney's World Cinderella Castle. Shame.

Mom Finds has got the best (and cutest!) baby booties ever. Ever! Check it out!

If you're in the NYC area and love checking out new places to dine, Shiny Brite has got the deets on Eataly, a new Italian-themed food emporium in the Flatiron District. Can we say "yum!"

Enjoy your weekend! Hope you all do something fabulous!




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