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If you have children, you really should feed them. Or else they will get very cranky. And despite my desperate hope each week that food will magically appear in my fridge and in my cabinets, it has yet to happen. So that means a weekly run to the grocery store.

3 year-old Dylan and 10 month-old Summer enjoy a trip to the market. But their enthusiasm seems to fade before we are even out of the produce department. Dylan likes to fill up and push one of those mini kid shopping carts but then she decides it’s too heavy half way through our list and abandons it in the middle of aisle 4. That, of course, can leave me trying to maneuver Summer in the stroller and the little grocery cart – all while keeping track of Dylan who is now meandering through the aisles. So, when possible, the kids only come along when I need just a few things.

Thankfully, my husband Rick does the big weekly food run at Whole Foods on Monday mornings before he heads to work. My responsibility is the grocery list. I type it out and I am pretty specific. These are items from recent lists.

Cooked Chicken – Rick, keep in mind that the chicken Francais in the prepared foods section is a bit fattening so you may not want to get tons of this.

Note: I’m sure Rick appreciated the diet tip.

Whole Wheat Tortillas – If they have the Maria & Ricardo’s brand, get 3. If they are sold out, buy one of any other kind. Just make sure they are whole wheat. If there are no whole wheat, don’t buy any.

Granola – Don’t get Cascadian Farms. I like it but now I’m sick of it. I need something new. Any kind but just make sure the total fat is 3 grams or less per serving.

The last one had my husband in the cereal aisle for a good long time. He scans rows and rows of granola boxes – some with berries, some with nuts, some with honey, some with oats, some with a combination of berries, nuts, honey and oats… and he starts to panic. But he pulls it together, comparing total fat per serving on a variety of boxes and victoriously chooses a low fat granola. Most weeks, he even gets to work on time.

The food gets delivered in these reusable bags so I feel all eco-proud on Mondays. Dylan and Summer are delighted to “help” me unpack the groceries. In order to minimize my frustration, I try to consider this an afternoon kid’s activity rather than a task that actually needs to be completed. It kind of goes like this. I put the chicken in the fridge. Summer pulls two yogurts out of the fridge. I put the two yogurts back in. Summer grabs the string cheese and the hummus. But finally, it all gets put away… at least somewhere. Note to anal organized self: I can rearrange the food and line up the yogurt containers after the girls are in bed.

So our fridge is stocked… at least for a few days.


So when are you too old to have long hair? My friend Sarah asked this question a few weeks ago. I don’t really know the answer. I have long hair now and I’m going to be 40. O.k., it’s still three years off but as Sally (aka Meg Ryan) once expressed, it’s out there.

A mini skirt? I’m definitely too old for that. What about signing up for Facebook? This social network on the web is the online stomping grounds for high school and college students. But now, it’s apparently also becoming a business networking tool for the thirty and forty something crowd. So I created my Facebook profile. I felt like a cool hipster until I realized that I was creating my profile on a Saturday night, at the same time all the ultra groovy girls were out doing way more fabulous things. Damn. Now I need to search for Facebook friends other than my 20-something babysitters.

It seems like you’re never too old to do a lot of things. My mother, at the age of almost 65, plans to attend Smith College to earn a master’s in social work. This accomplished woman already has a masters from Yale and a PhD. Girlfriend apparently likes to study.

My father has one more year until he retires. Then he plans to learn how to play the piano, hold orphan babies in Romania and perhaps, join the senior ice hockey league on Cape Cod. I hear my dad was pretty good on skates back at Denison.

My uncle, who’s in his late 50s, just moved to Roatan with his wife and twin babies. No, Roatan is not a town in Connecticut. It’s off the coast of Honduras. That is one adventurous spirit. They are ballsy.

But it’s always nice to be reminded that your entire life can be an opportunity to do and try new things. I really like that. You’re never too old to reinvent yourself. Or to just be yourself. Long hair and all.

mama bird notes

For New York City mamas – it’s a mama bird giveaway. You could win 4 tickets to the Big Apple Circus for this Wednesday, November 7th. 6:30 pm at Lincoln Center. This is not an ordinary circus. The show promises hilarity on the ground, gymnastics in the air, soaring ballerinas and grandma the clown. I’ve seen the show. They deliver. Email me at Kelcey@mamabirddiaries.com by Tuesday at noon to enter this big apple giveaway.

Finally, looking for a stylish way to display your child’s artistic talent, click on “drooling over this” to read more.


paul-radcliffe.jpgDid you see the abs on Paula Radcliffe? In case you missed them, here is a picture. This British long distance runner won the women’s division of the New York City marathon this weekend. But that’s not even the most impressive part. She had a baby in January. That’s January of this year. Apparently, a little marathon training will flatten a post pregnancy belly.

I am really in awe of these marathon runners. Gosh, I feel really good when I just get through an hour and a half Ashtanga yoga class. I can’t even imagine the feeling of accomplishment when you run 26.2 miles. That’s a lot of street to cover. Maybe I could forget the 26 and just do the “point two.” I wonder how much flat belly you get for point two. I’m guessing not a lot. Plus, I doubt you would draw big, boisterous crowds calling out your name, cheering you on in a point two race. And doesn’t that seem like the best part? “Go Kelcey. You can do it. Only point one to go. Hey, great abs!”

marathon-runners2.jpgMy friend Lanie has run a few marathons. Why must she make me feel so damn lazy? I’m just content to watch the New York City marathon. Dylan, Summer and I headed to the upper east side on Sunday to experience the energy and frenzy of the race. I love the shouting and cheering and me not running. 3 year-old Dylan didn’t quite grasp the excitement. The crowds and the noise were too overwhelming and too close to nap time. 10 month-old Summer seemed contently indifferent.

But to me, the marathon is magical. When you watch it, you really feel like you can tap into all that energy and accomplish something. I hope I get inspired by yummy mummy Paula Radcliffe. If she can give birth in January and win the New York City marathon in November, I can certainly tear the plastic wrap off my power Pilates workout tape. And maybe even start thinking about what else I want to accomplish by next November.


By Daphne Biener

SUGAR! Could it be that you don’t hear this rallying cry from your inner demons? Dare you judge me as I stand cooing over an adorable bag of m&ms? Do you saunter by the mountain of miniatures your naive child left unprotected with barely a pause? Maybe the tasty remainders in your brownie pan do not sing out your name as you pass by? If the aforementioned scenarios strike you as even remotely possible, go ahead and log off. I’m sure there’s a Pilates class waiting for you.

My parents did not make a big deal of a clean plate. I may have spent a night or two at the dining room table alone with five icy peas staring defiantly up at me. But those times were rare, and the lesson seemed simple: children are more stubborn. (A fact since coldly confirmed by my own offspring.) Don’t think I was morally neglected. My mother did teach me a valuable lesson about leaving food behind, the sugary kind that is.

As kids, we did not have much in the way of sweet snacks. My mother simply didn’t buy the stuff. Oh, except when she did. Every now and then a bag of Nabisco would appear in our pantry, fitting in with radishes and root vegetables as comfortably as a frog on skis. We knew how to right the imbalance. Finish the bag. Fast. We knew (like we knew which neighbors gave full-size snickers on Halloween) that if we couldn’t do it someone else would. Come morning those cookies would be no more than a hazy dream.

Only after I gained the wisdom (and pounds) that only the years can bring did I come to see the real gift in the lesson from my youth. And this is the part I want to share, just in case you’ve ever beaten yourself up after a naughty splurge. This is my nugget of wisdom. Just do it! Eat the whole pan of cookies! Down all the candy! Why? Well if you do, I promise, like magic IT WILL BE GONE. Conflict resolved, and you can look forward to a morning free of inner conflict and self-delusion. Feel bad for eating that impossibly cute tootsie roll? You should, you’ve blown it. But, since the day is already shot, why not polish off the little fellers? The evidence will be gone and your pantry will emerge temptation-free.

Pardon me if my argument seems unclear. November 1st is always rough, my head aches and my stomach is a little off. Though my Halloween-hangover is not as bad this year thanks to a certain first grade teacher who challenged the kids to count and categorize their candy. Doctoring numbers on a first-graders homework is beneath me (although stealing her candy is not) so I’m left in a bit of a quandary. If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go figure out how to explain fuzzy math and what exactly it has to do with fourteen missing snickers.
You can read more of Daphne’s work on The Rocky Mountain Moms Blog, on her eco-fabulous site, A Greener Biener, or here on the mama bird diaries.


I get a bit irritated this time of year when perky blond news anchors promise me an extra hour of sleep courtesy of daylight savings. Of course, in full disclosure, I used to be one of those cheery news people and I would tell viewers, with a big broad grin, that they should look forward to an additional hour of dream time. Obviously, I didn’t have kids. Now I do.

This weekend, we will all turn our clocks back an hour. But once you have kids, there is no extra hour of sleep. Young children don’t know it’s daylight savings. Although I’m going to have a good, long conversation with 10 month-old Summer about how she can sleep late on Sunday morning. But you know how she is. She likes to set the alarm so she can fit in a jog before “Meet the Press.”

I remember obsessing over daylight savings when Dylan was a baby. I was part of a weekly playgroup and all of us moms talked at length about how to handle daylight savings. Should we put our babies to bed a bit early? Try to transition them slowly throughout the week? With all the discussions, you would think we were trying to come up with a new Iraqi constitution.

So of course, now that I’m a teensy bit older and magnitudes wiser, I no longer stress over these types of things. Or maybe I do. Right now, I’ll ask anyone who turns my way at the playground how to wean 10 month-old Summer. She doesn’t take a bottle. Never has. Doesn’t like the sippy cup. The straw cup is her beverage holder of choice. How am I supposed to convince her that a straw cup is a much more satisfying way to receive her milk than my breasts? As for Dylan, I could give you all the tedious details of how I’m desperately trying to entice her to regularly use the potty. But really, why would you keep reading?

For those of you with older children, you know better. Been there, done that, already forgotten about it. Summer will stop breastfeeding. Dylan will learn to use the potty. I will worry about something else.

mama bird notes

Your mama says what? The mama bird diaries brings you a new feature – the mama poll! I mean, how have you lived without it? Tell us what you really think in our anonymous poll and the following week, I’ll give you the sinful results. Since it’s anonymous, no topic is off limits. Click on “your mama says what?” under the menu bar.

In this week’s beauty diary, Alex is here to turn your beauty routine green. You’ll be an earth goddess in minutes. Click on “the beauty diary” to read more.

Finally, contributing mama Daphne Biener has some unconventional advice on how to deal with all that Halloween candy staring you down at home. Click on “contributing mamas” if you’re still craving those miniature Snickers.

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