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Stumble the Mama Bird Diaries


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I am so obsessed with Project Runway that I’ve considered putting on a diaper (astronaut style) and hoofing more than 20 blocks uptown to the garment district to declare my love for Tim Gunn and the rest of Heidi’s gang. I’ve even thought about watching it in real time (commercials and all). So far I’m holding onto a tidbit of dignity and still doing the DVR thing. The show is simply brilliant.

christians-episode-2-project-runway-outfit.jpgIn episode 2, the arrival of Miss Queen Bitten Bee, Sarah Jessica Parker, had all the gay contestants gasping for air and practically drowning in their own tears. We are not worthy. And SJP was so darn sweet, especially when critiquing Christian’s misguided 80′s throwback (seen here), that it just made me heart her even more. Another mama at Blog con Queso, is hauling her cookies 30 miles to check out SJP’s discount line at Steve & Barry’s. So I’m anxiously waiting for the 4-1-1 on our trio (Steve, Barry and Sarah Jessica). Meanwhile, let’s move on to poor Tiki.

Tiki Barber showed up in episode 3 and there was just no love in the fashion house for that man. Nobody really even recognized the great football running back and current correspondent for the “Today Show.” And men’s wear? B.O.R.I.N.G. Or not. carmens-episode-3-project-runway-look.jpgApparently, these designers don’t really do men’s wear so some very creative garbs went down the runway – like this fetching look by Carmen. Um… she apparently ran out of time and didn’t quite get to the shirt. Auf Wiedersehen Carm. We hardly knew yuh.

Earlier, Tiki’s blase wife made a brief appearance in the workroom to critique the “in progress” designs. I’m sure most of her uninspiring and lackluster footage ended up on the cutting room floor. But it was a dishy, yummy treat to see some nearly nude male models for once. And Michael Kors is by far my fave judge with snarky comments like, “that crotch is INSANE!” I thought Crazy Eddie was in the room.

My Project Runway infatuation is perhaps fueled in part by the ongoing writer’s strike. I miss the Daily Show. I long for Saturday Night Live. In fact, this past Saturday night my husband and I saw SNL actors Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers eating at a pub in the west village. We do get our share of celeb sightings in this ‘hood and like a too-cool-for-school New Yorker, I would never say a word to any of them. But I was weak. I was foolish. I was lonely for them. As we passed by I said, “I miss you guys.” And they genuinely seemed to appreciate the unsolicited sentiment (read: total pathetic invasion of privacy).

So for now I live for the runway. Must leave you now. I’ve gotta head to the TRESemmé Hair Salon and L’Oreal Makeup Room to prep for Wednesday. I may even utilize the the Bluefly accessory wall on my way there.

Note: My apologies to anyone who doesn’t actually watch this show. I promise to be back tomorrow with tales OFF the catwalk.

mama bird notes
Congrats to Sandra Schwartz who won the Hayden-Harnett bag! Go Sandra. Go Sandra. Please no mama tears (sniff sniff) if you didn’t win because I promise, I’m putting together a December giveaway package. So you’ll have another chance soon to win some free, cool stuff. Details coming soon.


By Daphne Biener

How much is that doggie in the window? (arf! arf!)
The one with the waggly tail
How much is that doggie in the window? (arf! arf!)
I do hope that doggie’s for sale.

Ahh, the songs of yesteryear….can’t you just see the darling child, face pressed to the glass of a pet shop window, yearning for a pet to call his own? My dad sang us that 50s tune even as he refused our pleas for a fuzzy friend. Somehow I doubt the innocence of it all holds true in today’s world of over-bred labradoodles and jaded children. If my four-year-old, Acadia, were to sing it, it would sound a little different:

How much is that doggie in the window? (arf! arf!)
The one with the alfredo sauce
How much is that doggie in the window? (arf! arf!)
And if I finish, can I have dessert?

Lock up your dogs and hide the kitties, my kid has an unusual hankering.

The pets of my childhood didn’t come when called or curl up at my feet; they floated around and blew bubbles into the anti-allergen atmosphere of my youth. Still, recently I found myself extolling the neon beauty of those fishies’ at bedtime for a tough little audience.

Acadia listened, and as always, had questions. Like, “were they tasty, Mommy?” And, “if they were so small, could you eat a whole handful at once?” I took a breath, and calmly explained that I do not know how they tasted as we (that’s the royal WE) do not eat pets. Apparently, my logic was flawed. And my daughter, unconvinced.

“Grandma had a pet turkey, you know.”

If I had an inkling of where this was headed, I would have nodded, kissed her, and grilled her up a cheese sandwich. But I’ve got a thing for setting records straight, and a crazy idea that I could serve as a formidable match for this child.

“No, honey. Grandma did not have a pet turkey.” Grandma was raised by European immigrants in downtown Boston. They barely recognized the trappings of this weird American holiday. I know for a fact that turkey-raising was not part of their assimilation plan.

“She did have a turkey. She told me so.” Not wanting to contradict but making a silent note to discuss the definition of “real” stories with my mother at a later date, I made another pass at logic.

“I don’t think Grandma had a turkey. Most people who raise turkeys sell them as food. But pets are beloved members of a family. So you see, people cannot eat their pets.”

Not dazzling, but I thought the answer was simple, age-appropriate and to the point.

“Yes they can. Yes they do.”

“No, they can’t. No, they don’t.” (Me. My intellect is dazzling don’t you think?)

“Yes they do. People CAN eat their pets.”

Here is where I learned that her ability for logic far exceeds my own in terms of making sense of our world.


“Yes?” I was nervous. I did not know where this was going, and my unpredictable kid held not just the keys but the only map.

“Mom.” She spoke slowly so I could follow:

You put the pet on the stove.

You cook it.

You eat it.

You simply can’t argue with logic. If I have learned one thing as a parent it’s the importance of letting kids know when they are right. I believe that it’s vital to let them see me acknowledge my mistakes. I know when I’ve been bested. So here I am, officially taking my hat off to you, little one. You are (technically) right.

Puppy parmesan, anyone?

To read Daphne’s sestinas, visit her blog, Sestina Queen.  Never heard of a sestina? Even more reason to check it out. You’ll be impressed.


christmas-ornaments-2.jpgThere is a battle for my soul this holiday season. For years, I have envisioned my children running down from their rooms on Christmas day to an enormous tree and diving into a pile of gifts with unbridled euphoria. I always glaze over the part when 24 minutes later, disappointment in their youthful eyes and colorful, torn paper at their feet, they gasp, “Is that all there is?” Yup, now 18 more hours to kill til Xmas is finito.

There are a few hiccups with my idealized scenario. First of all, my daughters are Jewish. But long before my husband and I said, “I do,” we hammered out a holiday compromise in a very intense interfaith class. We practically had to hire an attorney to work out a settlement but we got it done. We decided to honor both Hanukkah and Christmas with all their cultural traditions. No Harry the Hanukkah bush. No 8 days of Christmas. Both holidays are celebrated independently and completely. So that means 3 year-old Dylan and nearly 1 year-old Summer would be riding the Santa Menorah gravy train.

But Al Gore has ruined it all. Damn, that formerly hunky vp. I have deep green guilt. I am bothered by the commercialism of the holidays. All the toys we don’t really need. All the wrapping paper that will be tossed into landfills. All the junk that you’ll receive and immediately want to purge. I desperately want only to buy earth friendly, wooden toys for my girls but I know Dylan would just fly to the stars for that plastic, piece of crap Elmo Sing-with-me Karaoke machine. I think the moment you buy one, the temperature of the earth goes up one degree. I’m overheating just thinking about it all.

So what is a Christmas lovin’, Jew marrying, eco-girl wanna be like myself supposed to do? Well for one, definitely no wrapping paper. Santa has switched to newspaper. Rudolph, who has always been the most earth conscious of the reindeer bunch, actually suggested it. When we have the choice, we will buy earth friendly products. We’ll indulge in a little plastic only when it makes our children’s hearts expand with recycled joy.

Mommy Poppins, another eco-mama, suggested buying gifts that create togetherness like tickets to an event or an offer to do something special together. Dylan has been begging me to take her to the merry-go-around in Central Park so I like that idea. Would I have to purchase a carbon offset? Maybe I’ll get one in my stocking.

mama bird notes

Contributing mama Daphne Biener admits when she’s been outsmarted by her 4 year-old. Click on “contributing mamas” to read more.

Friday is your last chance to enter to win a smart, stylin’ Hayden-Harnett bag. $300 value. Washed leather in a fab eggplant color, vintage look, too cool for school (pictured on the right hand side of the screen). Just “subscribe to this feed” and follow the directions from there. It’s free and no email addresses are ever shared.

Wait – you say, you are already subscribed?! Then don’t stress girl, you are entered. May you be the lucky mama birdie.


I was watching the CBS “Early Show” for a few minutes this week. I believe their target audience age is 78 to 105. You can envision the advertising opportunities. One of their anchors, Harry Smith, seems like a sweet enough guy but he really is wow’ed by this new thing called the internet. Have you heard of it? It’s like an information superhighway or something.

They were doing a little segment on finding deals on the web. You know, it’s two minutes after Thanksgiving, so every segment is focused on how to have a better holiday, a greener holiday, a cheaper holiday, a more yummy holiday, a more bearable holiday, a holiday where you don’t murder your family and so forth. (Oh right… disclosure. As a former tv reporter, I did endless, countless, Christmas and Hanukkah stories that in no way added value to this world).

So back to Harry and his new internet. Harry was bubbling with gleeful enthusiasm that you could actually COMPARE prices on the web. He was so overwhelmed by one site, pricegrabber.com that he even let loose the words, “By golly.” And don’t even get him started on free shipping. Gee willikers!

iphone-fight-2.jpgI don’t blame Harry. Technology moves at a mad, screamin’ speed. I didn’t even have email in college or a computer (just a word processor). Now my own children (ages 3 and almost 1) are obsessed with my husband’s iPhone. They constantly fight over it – both trying to grab it off Rick’s belt. I knew there was a reason he’s more popular than me. How do they even know the iPhone is cool? Dylan puts on her favorite iPhone music and I can’t even figure out how to turn it off. Am I turning into Harry?

When Dylan was a baby, she destroyed my cell phone, sucked the life and all my friend’s numbers right out of it. I promised myself, the next go around, I would be a smarter parent. Scratch that. Summer’s baby wails come to a complete and instant stop the minute she is handed a telephone. Oh, not a toy phone. Girlfriend knows the difference. A real phone. She prefers cell but will accept land line. Wait til she learns about Wi-Fi.

mama bird notes

First, the results of our weekly mama poll. Here’s your dream evening. 66% you want a night out with a spouse, partner or date. 17% are dying to be home alone. 11% will order take-out and the remote control with someone special and the remaining 6% of you are dialing up your girlfriends for a night out.

Click on “Your mama says what?” under the menu bar to dish the dirt in this week’s anonymous poll. And if you want to know what’s on the minds of other mamas – email me your poll question. kelcey@mamabirddiaries.com

Our glowing beauty expert, Alex, is now a full-time working mama. But don’t worry girls, she still has time for us! Oh thank goodness. I’ve always envied that sultry, smoky eye look and the beauty diary knows how to get it. Just click on the “beauty diary” under the menu bar to read more.

Finally, a boys clothing line that is pure genius. You’ll find it in “drooling over this.”


I watch my friend Eric, up at the podium, talking about his dad, Allan Schwartzman. Eric shares a jumble of moments and experiences, their life together… the best snowball fight, their tennis matches, how his dad never let him win, the pride when Eric finally, rightfully beat his father for the first time on the tennis court, his dad’s complete joy at the birth of Eric’s two sons even as he faced his own demon, cancer.

Eric’s deep love and respect for his father emanates in every tale from his childhood. He recounts how, when it came to a task, his father would always ask him, “How would you do this?” And his dad would support him, even if “Eric’s way” took a zillion times longer or turned out to be completely wrong. It just didn’t matter. Because that’s what a good father does for his son.

The story makes me think about my own children. It reminds me to be more patient and let them discover how to do things themselves – even if it takes 2 minutes longer, 20 minutes longer or even if the task never quite gets done the way I envision.

3 year-old Dylan is always screeching and hollering to, “do it MYSELF” and whenever possible, I really need to let her. There is nothing bad that comes out of a spilled yogurt container on the floor, shoes temporarily on the wrong feet or scrambled eggs with a few bits of shells. Because it’s those memories, those bits of shells, that will stay with Dylan as she grows into an independent, confident person.

Eric’s father was clearly someone who brought boisterous joy, humor and passion into this world. Eric said he could have talked all afternoon about his dad. I, and everyone else in that chapel, would have been content to listen.

kelcey kintner


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