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I often feel quite overwhelmed by all the technology coming my way. All the emails, text messages, Facebook updates, photos, videos and on and on. I love cleanliness and order and there is just no such thing as an empty inbox anymore.

My husband is obviously not particularly bothered by such things. Just look at his email inbox in the bottom corner…

Rick's iPhone

29, 184 unopened emails. His delete key must be broken. Or something.

And with these fancy iClouds, every out of focus picture taken by my kids (and there are a lot) are immediately sent to our desktop where they join the thousands and thousands of other photos we have. And as much as I love my children’s creativity, I don’t want a 47 photo montage of our dish washer.

So I was intrigued when the online site LegacyBuilder recently contacted me about doing a sponsored post. As first I was a little scared by the name. LegacyBuilder? Is that like an historian super hero?

No, it’s just an easy way to organize photos, videos and the story of your life and your family’s life and your dish washer’s life (if you want).  It’s kind of like a blog except it’s completely organized. Organized by them, thank god. Like I uploaded all my Disney pictures and LB Spice (that’s my short Spice Girl nickname for LegacyBuilder) immediately organized them by date in my timeline.

Screen shot 2014-04-09 at 10.35.35 AM

It was gorgeous!

I can also add videos or stories about the trip. Like I can write about my 7-year-old daughter Summer’s mad love of Space Mountain, even though she is scared of teacup poodles and hates vegetables and despises saying the word, “hello” to just about anyone. Because that is the kind of stuff you forget in life and it’s what life is really made of.

Another really cool thing you can do on LegacyBuilder is upload videos into a vault to be opened at a later date. For example, I made a video for Cash who is nearly a year old. In the video, his 4 siblings give very important life advice. I uploaded the video and Cash can watch it when he is 5 years old.

Screen shot 2014-04-08 at 11.11.38 PM

So in 2018, I’ll receive an email that it’s time for Cash to watch his video. If you want a sneak peek, here it is. (Just don’t tell Cash). And I tried desperately to upload this in HD but couldn’t make it happen.

There’s a lot of other stuff you can do… building your profile, uploading photos and events from social media and connecting with family members so everyone can add their part of the same story.

Screen shot 2014-04-08 at 11.11.58 PM

If you want to try out LegacyBuilder, sign up with code MAMABIRD1 to get a free lifetime premium account, up to 25GB.

(An offer to open and delete all my husband’s emails coming soon!)

This is a sponsored post for LegacyBuilder. All ideas are my own. 


Sometime the universe starts pointing a certain direction and you can’t help but notice. First, I answered a Mouthy Housewife question about giving a 12-year-old more freedom. Then a friend sent me an article from The Atlantic about The Overprotected Kid.

And then there is my own 9 1/2 year-old. A year ago, she wrote a list of things she wanted from mom and dad and wrote “freedom.” Yes, a smoothie came first but let’s remember just how delicious a smoothie is. She got the smoothie. She still wants more freedom.

For many of the parents I talk to, there is a desire to give kids more freedom but there is also the terrifying fear of not wanting anything awful to happen to them. A generation ago, parents also did not want anything terrible to happen to their kids but they felt safer. Why? Probably because media wasn’t constantly in their lives.

My kids and your kids are just as safe in the world. Yup. It’s true. U.S. violent crime rates have dropped almost 50% since they reached a high in 1992. A child who gets abducted is still a very rare occurrence.

But somehow it just doesn’t feel that way. We think, “What if I was the parent of 6-year-old Etan Patz?” In 1979, Etan disappeared in NYC while walking alone to the school bus. And the constant media barrage of high profile abductions (kids we feel like we truly know like Madeleine McCann) makes us feel like our kids are in grave danger.

They just aren’t. So don’t we need to give our kids a little bit more freedom to play, to experiment and to skin their knees so they will have the necessary skills to succeed in this world? Do any of us gain confidence by someone hovering over us and telling us what to do constantly? No. I gain confidence by trying things out until I succeed.

So where is the balance between watching our children at all times and letting go just a little bit so they can thrive? There must be a middle ground. I have been thinking about how do give my 9-year-old more freedom without having a complete panic attack myself.

I recently offered to let her and her 7-year-old sister go the library portion of our art museum to pick out books (with their own library cards) while I stayed with my younger children in a kids play area. The 7-year-old wanted none of this alone time but the 9-year-old loved the idea.

I’ve let the two of them go into our UPS store and ship a package for me. I’ve let them walk down the street and bring back younger kids from the neighborhood to play in our yard.

I let them play in the backyard while I’m upstairs and paying no attention. Have you noticed the creativity that ensues when kids don’t feel watched? My girls (7 and 9) and our neighbors  (9 and 12) climbed a tree and hung a rope swing while I was upstairs changing Cash’s diaper and helping the twins with something. For real.

Dylan swinging on rope

I guess any one of them could have fallen from the tree. But I can’t keep my children in a golden lockbox and then release them at 18 and expect them to soar.

I don’t think there is any perfect age to let your child do certain things on their own. Because every child is so different. One kid might be ready to walk home from the school bus stop alone at age 7. Another child might need another year.

And it also depends on where you live. Certainly some neighborhoods are safer than others. But I think we do have to be aware that sometimes our “perception of danger” is really just a perception and not the true reality.

And maybe as a mom you enjoy picking your kid up at the bus stop and that’s great too. That might be a special time together. So you’ll enjoy meeting your child each day and giving him or her other freedoms.

I guess what I’m proposing is that maybe we can’t hold on so tightly. I’ve felt judged for being “overprotective” and as a mom, I’m certainly a work in progress. I’m sure by the time my 5th is a tween, I’ll be letting him drive the minivan. You know, as long as he’s careful.

I don’t think I’m overprotective but I’m not laid back about their safety either. I know in high crowd situations, I keep my kids very close. At our pool club or in our neighborhood, I feel more relaxed. I take one situation at a time.

When I recently took all 5 of my kids to the art museum,  I realized I had left the sweatshirts in the car – a necessity in the arctic inside temperature. I asked my daughter Dylan if she wanted to go get them for me. She was elated with the responsibility. Yes, I watched from the lobby as she carefully made her way through the parking lot to the car and retrieved the sweatshirts.

I didn’t feel panicked. I didn’t feel stressed. I felt proud. And so was she.


Start a sentence and finish it 3 days later.

Go 60 mph when the speed limit is 75 mph on the highway.

When I’m off the highway, get a ticket for going too fast.

Brake because there are invisible cars in front of me.

Forget to brake when there is a car in front of me.

Insist on driving.

Order a Kir Royale (champagne and creme de cassis) at a sports bar and then wonder why they can’t make it correctly.

Leave the fridge open. For long extended periods of time. And when he tries to close it say, “Oh I’m not done in there.”

Talk to him about really important things like the settings on the DVR when he is behind a closed door in the bathroom. I don’t know why he doesn’t think it’s the perfect opportunity to chat about a few things.

Freak out when there is a lizard in our garage and demand that he absolutely, positively catch it because I can’t live with lizards jumping out at me when I’m home. (He does not catch it.)

Let out a loud gasp of horror and when he frantically asks me what is wrong, say, “Oh actually nothing.”

Utter the phrase, “I’m confused why you would do that” every time my husband does something a bit differently than I would and it doesn’t exactly go right.

Anything I do when he is hungry.


You know that feeling of watching an older person try to use an automated checkout at the drugstore or grocery store. You are filled with compassion, pity and impatient rage because you just want to pay for your stuff and leave.

Or watching one of your parents try to send their first text on their first smart phone.

Yeah. Well, that’s me. When I use the sink at a public bathroom.

sink photoWhen did a faucet that one could manually turn on and off go out of style? Now it’s all sensors that apparently require some special agent hand movement to operate.

What can I do to reverse this disturbing trend? I will put up with futons, wall to wall shag carpet and linoleum floors, if I can please go back to the good ole days when I could turn on a faucet outside of my home.

I get the, “Let’s save water and save the planet” thing and for some unknown reason people tend to leave the water running in public bathrooms.

I guess for the same reason they can’t seem to flush the toilet or wipe their pee from the seat. There just seems to be a natural inclination for all of us to become total pigs when we know we won’t be held accountable and some other poor sap is doing the clean up.

So I was all on board when we simple pushed a button and the water ran for a limited amount of time and then automatically turned off. But now I CAN’T GET THE WATER ON.

There I am with a handful of soap and no damn water. I see the sensor. I wave my hands in front of it. I pretend to wash my hands. I do strange shadow puppets. I try a little Miss Mary Mack. Anything to spark that bad boy into giving me a few drops of H2O.

And way too many times, I am forced to actually wipe the soap off my hands with a paper towel. If there is a paper towel. Sometimes it’s just one of those high speed dryers that are so loud I feel like I am being launched into space. (I want to preserve the environment but do we have to do it at such a high volume?)

I know these water faucet sensors are battery operated so perhaps their batteries go dead and then before they are replaced, there is a lag time. A lag time where I apparently use the restroom a lot.

I am convinced that the young set just waltzes in to the bathroom, washes their hands with no problem and jets out. Leaving me there, waving and muttering madly at a faucet that just never delivers.

mama bird notes:

You all rock because you gave me awesome, easy recipes to try out on my family!! If you are looking for dinner ideas, check them out there!

And I’m writing about baby addiction over at Alpha Mom. What me? Addicted to babies? Yeah, I am. You can also find me at Nick Mom with a Top 9 List. Top 9 things that parents do that make absolutely no sense.


When I first became a mom, I used to get those recipe chain emails. You know, the ones that instruct you to to send out the recipe in your head right now. And in return, you receive lots of easy recipes to try out on your family.

So I would send out the only recipe in my head which was called the delete button. I lived in New York City, I had a million take out menus and no need for such suburban rituals. (Although I did make a mental note to investigate that “cookie swap” thing I had heard about because that seemed deliciously intriguing.)

Because of my years of deleting chain emails, I’ve obviously been punished by the culinary food gods because now at night, I try to think of what to feed my kids and it’s like my memory has been completely erased and I can’t think of one thing I’ve ever fed them.

This wouldn’t be a major problem except the little nuggets (the people, not the food) constantly need feeding. You clean up one meal and it’s time for the next. It’s simply exhausting.

And as every parent knows, it’s actually possible to go to the grocery store, spend a hundred dollars and still have nothing for dinner. Unless you feed your kids goldfish, Capri Sun drinks and buffalo chicken dip. Which I’m now thinking might be a good option for tonight’s meal.

I’m always on the lookout for dinner ideas so when Rick and I sat down to watch TV over vacation and saw an advertisement for a cookbook called “Dump Dinners” – I was paying attention. There was a minor red flag like using the word “dump” to describe anything you plan to eat.

I don’t want to gross you out in case you happen to be eating a five star gourmet dinner while reading this blog, but these dinners don’t look good.

Please know I’m not a food snob. I’m not against dumping a bunch of ingredients in one bowl.  I am the one after all who had a girlfriend bring a spice packet to our Miami girls weekend so I can make Italian chicken in my slow cooker. But I do think we need to hold on to a shred of food dignity.

Conveniently, there is another companion cookbook called “Dump Cakes” which doesn’t seem like a fantastic option either.

If you don’t believe me, just watch…

Honestly, I would eat the chocolate one. But the rest – reminds me of my only bad meal at Magic Kingdom – a “taco salad” I can’t talk about without getting shivers.

With the dump dinners and cakes off the table, I am in trouble. So maybe you can sort of, kind of forget that I deleted those chain emails a few years ago and tell me your favorite recipe. You know the one in your head right now. I promise not to delete.

kelcey kintner


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