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Aiden: Ugh! I don’t want to. Ugh! No!
Me: You don’t wanna follow directions? Fine. Bedtime.
Aiden: Okay, okay! I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I’ll listen.
This is eleven.

Eleven is backtalk and mini tantrums and everything being a biggest deal ever. Eleven is me learning how to deal with these pre-teen hormones while raising a free black boy who owns his feelings while raising a kind and respectful and responsible human.



Eleven is Aiden wanting space, together. Eleven is him wanting to watch YouTube videos on his phone for hours, but in the same room as me. Eleven is going in the next room to facetime his friends, but reading books cuddled up on my bed. Eleven is wanting to be alone, but wanting August to play on his bed.

Aiden: What’s an erection?
Me: It’s when your penis becomes enlarged. Or like, really firm.
Aiden: Is that like a ‘boner’?
Me: I guess that’s what some people call it. Erection is the scientific term.
This is eleven.

Eleven is hearing things from friends and feeling comfortable enough to come to me to get straight answers, clarifying answers. Eleven is asking the trickier questions and me trying my best to normalize and not stigmatize. Eleven is wanting privacy in the shower, but still calling me to condition his hair. Eleven is bath time battles. Still. Eleven is not wanting to take a shower, and then, not wanting to leave the shower.



Eleven is wanting independence and being nervous about said independence. Eleven is being excited to take the subway to school alone and being scared when the day finally arrives to actually take the subway to school alone. Eleven is doing homework alone and needing me to double check. Every. Single. Night. (#sendhelpnow) Eleven is no longer being afraid of the dark, but still sleeping with teddy bears and still wanting hugs and kisses before bedtime.

Aiden: I don’t like it when you and [HEB] tell me to stop dancing. Like, I’m not even bothering anybody.
Me: You’re right. You should dance anytime you feel like it. Just not in front the TV when I’m watching it.
Aiden: Deal!
This is eleven.

Eleven is speaking up and speaking out. All. The. Time. Eleven is me unlearning maladaptive responses and learning responsive discipline. Eleven is different from the way I was raised. Eleven is new for me, but normal for Aiden. I want it that way.


August: More yogurt?
Me: Aiden! Can you get him more yogurt please?
This is eleven. Eleven is having a built-in babysitter. Eleven is being my go-to person for all things August. Twenty times a day. Whether I need a diaper, baby wipes, his cup filled with water, a juice box, more yogurt, more pirate booty’s, more cereal, to turn on Mickey, to turn off Mickey… I call Aiden. Always.

Look at your career, they said.
[Alicia], baby use your head.
But instead I chose to use my heart.
Now the joy of my world lives in [Aiden].
This is eleven. 

Eleven is a perfectly imperfect and beautiful storm and I wouldn't have it any other way.
We made it. We're making it.
Onward. 
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photo courtesy of The New Victory Theater
If balloons and bubbles are your kids' things, then Air Play might be too. Last weekend, Aiden and I spent 60-minutes giggling and laughing as we checked out the show at The New Victory Theater.

We haven't been to the super cool children's theater in a few months and we were totally surprised when we saw that the theater got a little nip/tuck. Not only are the renovations on the upper level sleek, but the lower level has a modern and updated space where theater goers can purchase snacks and souvenirs, take pictures with the performers, and participate in fun show-related activities. All in all, we love the new space.

But I digress.
photo courtesy of The New Victory Theater

photo courtesy of The New Victory Theater
The show Air Play is all fun and games and perfect for the entire family. The performers Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone are a dynamic duo, and the show uses a carefully positioned circle of fans to wow the audience When they aren't making their umbrellas fly (yes, you read that right), they're making their silks ripple. And when they aren't doing that, they're using balloons in ways that you'd never think was possible. (Yes, people can fit inside balloons.)

Aiden and I had a great time and definitely recommend for your entire family!

getting his Drake on in the updated space on the lower level
Air Play will run at The New Victory Theater through April 15, 2017. The show is 60 minutes with no intermission and is great for ages 5 and up. Tickets start at just $16 and there is also an autism-friendly show (major props for setting this up!). Visit the website for more information or to purchase your tickets.

{Disclaimer: I received tickets to Air Play in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}
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pants: Children's Place | shoes: The Gap | bow ties and shirts: H&M 
Aiden: Mommy, we don't have to wear the same exact outfit! Can't we just wear kinda the same colors? 
Me: Aiden, don't you want August to have happy memories of you two wearing matching outfits on special days like Easter? 
Aiden: Yeah, but I'm not doing this next year.  
Well, then. I guess he told me.

I mean, it's not like the outfits aren't cute and whatnot. But I guess homeboy is aging-out of matching outfits. Fair enough.

Guess this couldn't last forever.

Anyway.

We had a pretty low-key Easter. We went to church, ate lunch at a nearby restaurant, and headed home to relax for the remainder of the evening.

Here are some outtakes from our little photoshoot on the stoop because they look nothing like the highlight reel that I shared on the Mommy Delicious Facebook page. Haha!





So.

Who thinks I can try to fenagle my way into coordinating outfits for the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and the Christmas holidays?

August's thought bubble: WTH?!

Too much?
A gal can try, right?
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It all started with the couch.

It's a black couch and it's HEB's black couch and he refused to get rid of his black couch. So I had to plan the living room decor around the black couch.

Oh, and the treadmill that quite literally doesn't fit anywhere else except for in the corner of the living room.

So after I finished the boys' bedroom, I got to work on the Living Room.


"Start each day with a grateful heart."
I knew I wanted there to be a gallery wall because I have a ton of pictures, wall decor, and inspirational sayings. I knew I wanted to have a shag rug because it's comfy. I knew I wanted gray walls because it's neutral and nice. And I knew I wanted faux plants for the bay windows because I have to keep humans alive so I cannot keep plants alive too.

Everything else was pretty much up in the air.


But once I painted the walls and bought a few plush pillows, the living slowly, but surely came together. I know that I'll probably change it a few more times over the next few months, but I'm really feeling this current version of the living room, especially with the black, gray, and pops of gold color scheme.



I also painted the radiator cover a blue hue to compliment the gray color on the wall. And my vases and balls and all the decor. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision, but I'm digging it.




Can we talk about this TV stand now? It used to be brown, but the brown color no longer fit in with the color-scheme of my new living room. So... I sanded it, painted it, and a few coats later, it was white and black. (Shout-out to YouTube and all the design bloggers for helping a sistah out!) I'm totally feeling the end results and will totally take on another DIY project because of the way this came out.







This end table is also a new favorite of mine. I spotted it at Home Goods and just had to have it. The rustic, farmhouse vibe that it gives off makes my heart smile and I love, love love it!





I'll do a close-up of the gallery wall at some point -- I'm still rearranging the pictures and stuff, but I'm digging the current version of it.
What do you guys think?
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Because I know I'm not perfect and I know that I mess some things up. Just check last week's post about all the things I do wrong in this Motherhood game. (Yes, the "M" should be capital. Always.)

Because I'm hella intentional and hella calculated and hella reflective about my parenting practices. And I'm always trying to be better tomorrow than I am today.

Because I've learned that meditation and "Me Time" is so important to my mental health. And I allow myself to indulge in it. Frequently. And freely.

Because I'm going to therapy and working on addressing my own ish. Because ain't nothing cute about raising these incredible babies if I'm not emotionally whole first.

Because my boys are incredible. All parts of them. Even the parts that I don't always like.

Because the way Aiden loves up on August makes my soul smile.

Because the tight hugs that August gives Aiden makes my heart happy.


Because when Aiden was going through his own drama, I didn't take the easy way out by just "spanking him one time". Because I think spanking is the easy way out.

Because I knew that it wasn't about me and all the things that I already did for him. Because I knew that he needed even more than I was already doing for him at the time. So I gathered a dream team of professionals to help me help him through.

Because I'm a Mama Bear during Aiden's IEP meetings. Because Speech Therapists and Occupational Therapists and Counselors and Psychologists are bae. All of 'em.

Word.

Because I learned phrases like, "pragmatic language skills" and "graphomotor skills" and "proprioceptive pressure activities" due to Aiden receiving various types of therapy throughout the week.

Because Aiden's dream team reminds me that he's perceptive, intelligent, athletic, and hardworking. Because they also remind me that he's extremely sensory/movement seeking... for the days when I'm at my wits end and need that gentle reminder.

Because I'm not ashamed that my baby needs these types of services because he's been hella successful academically and socially this year.

Because I'm fully aware that I'm privileged to even be able to have these types of services for Aiden because not every family has access to them.


Because August loves to read books and build blocks and knock blocks over and sing his ABC's.

Because August runs into my arms every morning when he sees me.

Because the way Aiden roots for August whenever he sings a song or says a new word or does just about anything is the very definition of Big Brother Magic.

Because my boys are happy and healthy and loved.
Because I know that that's all that really matters anyhow.
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I'm not a Winter person. In fact, I hate the cold weather with a passion. I tolerate in during the holidays, but I'm literally ready for warmer temps as soon as it hits January 2nd. Which makes Winter really, really brutal for me.

Also, seasonal depression is a real thing.





A couple weeks ago, I was so over Winter that I booked a fairly last-minute trip to Florida for the boys and me. I just needed a few days of sunshine and warmer temps to get me through these last few weeks of NYC Winter (and since it was our spring break, I figured why not.)



I really wanted to go to Miami, but the flights were too expensive for all three of us so we flew into Fort Lauderdale, spent a couple of days there, and then took the metro over to Miami. So for an hour of our time (how long it took to get from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami) and five extra bucks (the price of the train ticket), we were in Miami.

Woot!


can't come to Florida without Mickey
Throughout our trip, we got to do all of the things that I love to do during the Summer -- dine outdoors, hang out at the playground, go to the beach, take long walks, and just sit in the sun. It was exactly what my spirit needed.





Except for when it got rough and I got tired of my kids and tired of being "on" 24/7 and tired of being the only one they could talk to all the time.

And tired of August's tantrums. I mean, it got to the point where I only fed him Pirate's Booty or cheetos because he would throw a tantrum for them and I was over it. But at least he had water and fruits, right?

And tired of Aiden's backtalk. I mean, is there something in the water for the pre-teens nowadays?! Dude's got a response for everything! Pray my strength and patience, y'all.

There's a reason that people go on trips with kids with more than one adult.





After a while, I needed a vacation from my kids. Comes with the territory, I suppose.

Needless to say, when we got back to NYC last week Friday, I sent August to daycare, sent Aiden to his bedroom, locked myself in my bedroom, and binge-watched TV shows while laying in bed and eating snacks.

Woot woot!

Talk about the perfect way to end my week off of work.

happiness is... 
Don't get me wrong: getting a little sunshine was exactly what this delicious momma needed to make it through these final weeks of Winter, but recharging after being "on" for so many days straight was also important.


Self-care y'all. Self-care.
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This past weekend, HEB and I had our first date night of the year by checking out Yvonne Orji (best known as "Molly" in the HBO series Insecure) at Carolines on Broadway.

Y'all.

She is so funny and we had such a good laugh and a great time!


And, in true Mommy Delicious fashion, I walked away with a few gems from the night. In no particular order, here are four things I learned from Yvonne Orji's stand-up act:

Have fun.
HEB and I had fun because she was having fun. Homegirl (can I call her that now?) came onto the stage dancing, she ended her act dancing, and she just starting dancing in the middle of her jokes. She laughed at her own jokes, and laughed with -- and at -- the folks in the audience. She was up there, all in her element, living her best life, and having fun while doing it. Definitely something to aspire to.

Own it. 
Yvonne was born in Nigeria and she owns her roots like it's nobody's business. During her act, she gave several shout-outs to the Nigerians in the room and rightfully so! She switched seamlessly from her American accent and her Nigerian accent in the middle of her jokes and it made them even funnier. She knows that her Nigerian heritage is what makes her who she is and she owns it. Confidently. Unapologetically.


Connections matter. 
Yvonne not only gave shout-outs to the Nigerians in the room, but also folks from all over the continent of Africa. She also gave shout-outs to the other Black women in the room (because: #blackgirlmagic). She told jokes, but also created moments where the audience was all like, "Yes, girl! I know what you mean!" She created so many moments like these throughout the show -- so many "me too" moments -- that the audience felt connected to her, connected to her stories, and invested in the entire show. Bottom line: connections matter. And telling your story matters. Which brings me to my next point...

Speak your truth. 
During her stand-up act, Yvonne was open about the fact that she only recently became able to enroll in auto-pay and reminded folks that auto-pay is not for convenience, but for the gainfully employed. (Word!) I remember reading an article in the Times a couple months ago about how she'll find a 2 Bros Pizza whenever she's in NYC to have a slice of pizza because there was a time in her career where she couldn't even afford that same $2 slice of pizza. She's not afraid to open up, speak her truth, and show people who she really is.

This is something that I try to do over and over again in this space because "highlight reels" don't get people through tough times. Only sharing the good stuff doesn't help other folks figure out how to make it through. Transparency is so important. It's like Mother O said, "What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have."
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