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Walk four or five blocks in any direction and you will suddenly stumble upon a large selection of Christmas trees. This city can be so brilliantly convenient.

A 10 year-old girl named Ava, who must be from some cute woodsy place like Vermont or New Hampshire, will gleefully bound over to you and start describing the the variety of trees available.

Is it legal for a 10 year-old to sell trees? I’m not so sure but I can’t let these so-called child labor laws ruin my holiday merriment. Ok, I am not overflowing with Christmas cheer this year but I am hoping a tree will kick start the joy.

“How much is this one?” I ask Ava.

“Oh that’s 60 dollars.” she responds.

“Ok. I’ll take it.”

I don’t even try to barter. I can’t nickel and dime this sweet girl who probably has dreams of starting her own tree farm someday.

“So Ava, where are you from anyway? Up North?” I ask.

“Oh I just live across the street. They hire me every year to help sell trees.”

Damn city kids.

If you haven’t yet stomped away in disgust for being outsmarted by a darling elementary school kid, Ava will then wrap up your tree and even saw off the extra branches.

Should a 10 year-old really be using a saw?

My dad, Dylan and I drag the tree home (although free delivery is available) and we attempt to place the tree in the stand. But the stump is too darn fat.

Apparently, 10 year-olds totally suck at sawing trees.

So I get down on my knees and do it myself.

Oh, I didn’t realize Rick was taking pictures. Ok, I made my dad do it.

Should a 65 year-old man really be using a saw?

At least he’s not wearing his fancy tracksuit.  I don’t want to be responsible for the demise of my dad’s favorite threads.

Finally, my daughters did some decorating, mostly focusing on the lower right hand quadrant of the tree.

I’m not sure what that piece of red cardboard is all about… but I think it’s yuletide edgy.

mama bird notes:

Looking for a cute holiday gift? How about sending some good thoughts? Click on drooling over this to read more and take advantage of a mama bird discount.

One mama is looking for ideas on earth friendly wrapping paper. Have a tip for her? Click on askamama and share your brilliance.

And finally this week I’m giving away tickets to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, staring the Radio City Rockettes! One New York area mama bird will win 4 tickets to the 4 pm show on December 28th.

To enter, just leave a comment on the mama bird diaries this week and tell me what you imagine is the best perk about being a Rockette.


Rick and I have been dealing with some major stress lately. Some things I can’t write about and some things I can.  But I’m hoping that just maybe, just possibly we’ve hit rock bottom over here.

Now didn’t we elect Barack Obama President? I thought he was going to bring eternal peace and happiness to all mankind? I swear, I saw that in one of his ads.

Well, maybe once he’s inaugurated.

But there is always gratitude for what we have.  And each night when I put Dylan and Summer to bed, I kiss their sweet cheeks and thank the twinkling stars that they were brought in our lives.

And the other night, I checked on them before I turned in and here is how I found Dylan:

Yup, that’s a hat and scarf combo, along with a pair of gloves, that she dug out of one of her drawers.

I promise she was just wearing pajamas when I said goodnight to her. I never once thought to bundle her up in outerwear. I totally have to start thinking outside the box.

Meanwhile, my father has been staying with us while Rick recovers from his surgery.

And my dad’s clothing choices are somewhat questionable. For example, on Friday night, we went out to dinner at a cool, fancy nancy restaurant in the meat packing district.  And my dad wore a…

tracksuit. Hmm….

And the next day, I took my dad and the girls to the World Financial Center where there is lots of room to run around, art exhibits and places to eat. And apparently….

tracksuits work there too.

On Sunday, I was almost disappointed when he opted for cords.

My 65-year-old dad happens to be single so if you know any lovely ladies who have a things for men in tracksuits, he might just be their prince.

Dylan and Summer are having a wonderful time with my dad.  And Rick is recovering slowly but surely. Frankly, I think he’s just relieved that I’m no longer following him around with a camera.

And you’ll be so proud of me. I didn’t eat a single candied nut over the weekend. Mostly because we don’t have any of those sinister Nuts 4 Nuts carts in my neighborhood. But still. Gotta give a girl some credit for not taking an ill fated subway ride uptown.

mama bird notes:

Jen P. is the winner of the Cirque du Soleil tickets! I really was impressed by the wide breath of aerobatic skills from all of you. And I am now wracking my brain to figure out how to take all that talent and turn it into a money making opportunity. You know, some kind of Cirque du Soleil knock-off blog troop.

This week I’m giving away tickets to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, staring the Radio City Rockettes! One New York area mama bird will win 4 tickets to the 4 pm show on December 28th.

To enter, just leave a comment on the mama bird diaries this week and tell me what you imagine is the best perk about being a Rockette. Just FYI… Rockettes must be between 5’6″ and 5’10”, proficient in tap, jazz, ballet and modern dance AND display a radiant energy on stage. Wow. That sounds exhausting. Especially for a 5’4″ chick like myself.


My husband had Crohn’s related surgery today.  And honestly, I think he looks pretty damn good…

He’s doing ok. I mean, except for this annoying girl who’s taking pictures of him in the recovery room. Can’t a guy get a break two hours post op? No, sorry babe. Not when your wife has a blog.

I really was so happy to see Rick after waiting for hours.  At Mt. Sinai Hospital, they give you these vibrating beepers so you know when it’s time to see your loved one. It’s kind of like being at Applebees during peak hours except you never get to eat any of that scrumptious spinach and artichoke dip.

After checking Rick’s blood pressure and pain status, the nurses finally allowed him to go home. So I went to get the car and on my way, I passed one of those Nuts for Nuts carts outside.

If you don’t live in New York City, let me tell you that these carts sell the most delicious, sweet smelling mixed nuts EVER. I am not one to really crave nuts (does anyone?) but I just couldn’t help buying a bag.  I think I was trying to satisfy that hankering for spinach and artichoke dip.

These nuts have some kind of magical candy sugar coating and I couldn’t even allow myself to think of the fat content.

So I ate the whole bag.

And felt so ridiculously nauseous.

Nauseous for Nuts would be a far more appropriate name for those evil, siren carts.

On the way home, I wanted to complain to Rick about my nut nausea but you seriously can’t whine about overindulging on crappy food when your HUSBAND JUST HAD GENERAL ANESTHESIA AND SURGERY.

As for the girls… they had a fabulous day hanging out with their Bubbie (my mother-in-law).

And we all wish Rick a quick, easy recovery. We love you.

Oh and honey, PLEASE don’t let me eat any more nuts.

mama bird notes:

Contributing mama Erin Butler has written an extremely moving piece about losing her grandmother and our role as mothers. Click on contributing mamas to read more.

And last chance to win tickets to WINTUK from Cirque du Soleil at Madison Square Garden.

One mama bird reader will win 4 tickets to the December 12th show at 7:30 pm.  Just leave a comment on the mama bird diaries and tell me your best acrobatic skill.


My sister and brother-in-law headed home to Tennessee after a fabulous visit.

Maybe I won’t ever show you my brother-in-law’s face. Kind of like Maris Crane, Niles Crane’s first wife from “Frasier.” To this day, I still want to know what that woman looked like.

Doesn’t that kind of thing make you just nuts? No? Oh.

I think my favorite moment of my sister’s visit was a cab ride on Sunday.

Summer pooped just as we were hailing a cab home in the frigid rain and I was definitely waiting to change her. So we are sitting in the taxi and suddenly the driver starts madly spraying air freshener.


My kid smells so bad that I offended a cab driver?! I mean, these guys don’t always have the most incredible personal hygiene themselves.  Plus, they have drunk bachelorettes puking in their backseats every weekend. How sensitive to smells could they possibly be?

Poor little stinky Summer.

One final question for you all. Would you let your daughter wear these shoes in public?

These are Dylan’s absolute favorite shoes and Old Navy has run out of her size.

It’s kind of embarrassing, right?

Of course, this photo was taken this morning so I haven’t ripped, I mean bribed, them off her feet yet.

mama bird notes:

I finally found super cute holiday cards on earth friendly card stock! Check them out in Drooling Over This and take advantage of a fabulous discount.

And we have a giveaway this week for all you New York City area mamas. A chance to win tickets to WINTUK from Cirque du Soleil at Madison Square Garden.

Have you ever seen one of these Cirque du Soleil shows? Really incredible. “The show weaves thrilling new acrobatics, breathtaking theatrical effects and memorable songs into an extraordinary journey to an imaginary land called Wintuk.”

One mama bird reader will win 4 tickets to the December 12th show at 7:30 pm.

Just leave a comment on the mama bird diaries this week and tell me your best acrobatic skill. Umm… no, you will not have to perform in the show.


Rick and I have rented yet another storage unit in Manhattan.

As you may remember, in addition to the apartment where we actually live, we already have one place for our junk way uptown.  Now we have another one on 23rd Street.  The two of us are becoming quite the real estate moguls.

So today Rick went up to our new unit in Chelsea and filled out the required paperwork.

“You have to agree to the Good Neighbor Policy,” said the Manhattan Mini Storage employee.

Rick nodded.

“It means you agree to not store anything illegal.  No drugs. No firearms. No dead bodies.”

Rick laughed.  “You have my word,” he promised.

“Ok. That’s good. But we’re also going to need a signature.”

No dead bodies?! Well, NOW what are we going to do with them all? Shove them all under the bed?

And let’s just say you are the type of person who would actually murder someone. It seems like you might not stress too much about Manhattan Mini Storage’s “Good Neighbor Policy.”

We rented the storage unit because we want to de-clutter our apartment a bit in case we decide to sell.

Of course, as we try to move out some of our belongings and a lot of toys, 4 year-old Dylan has a growing list of things she wants for Hanukkah and Christmas.

Like this big hobby horse from the local drugstore that looks like it would provide about 4 whole minutes of entertainment before being shoved in a closet. Actually, 4 minutes might be optimistic.

I asked my mother today if there was anything she wants for Christmas.

She asked me for a cassette player.

I gave her a CD player a few years back but apparently she is looking for something a bit more outdated.

She explained that she has two Buddhist cassettes that she can only play in the car and she wants to be able to play them at home.

I explained to my mother that there was just NO WAY that anyone sells cassette players anymore.  They are hanging out in the Sam Goody graveyard, chatting it up about the glory days of the 80’s when everyone was making a mix tape for their boyfriend or girlfriend.

And as it turns out, I was completely wrong. They do still sell them. See what I mean?

So I guess if I can’t find her tapes in that fancy new CD form, I’ll just buy her the cassette player.

I just want my mom to be happy.

And plus she would just look so ultra cool with her own boom box, blasting her enlightening meditation tapes down the streets of Durham, North Carolina.

The above photo is actually not my mother. Any resemblance is completely coincidental and not intended.

kelcey kintner