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These crisp, beautiful fall days make me very nervous. I absolutely love this time of year but I know what’s coming next. That crazy, chilly, claustrophobic thing called winter. I know some of you love it. Fluffy snowmen, hot chocolate, big warm sweaters. My mountain mama friend Daphne sure makes the season look fun. She sends me pictures of her daughters in Colorado, tramping around in the fresh packed snow, having a delightful time.

Fashion magazines are also thrilled with the new season. They are bursting with extra thick issues of fall and winter styles. Apparently, all those pouffy, billoughy frocks are out. Structured, sharper silhouettes are in. Hope you didn’t invest in too many baby doll dresses. Even if you did, you can soon hide it all under a big winter coat.

But it’s just tough for me to embrace. The sun barely goes down on labor day and my daughers’ noses start to run. Now with preschool, we have to figure out if our kids are too contagious to even bring to school. We inspect the color of the snot for clues. I finally don’t have to pick up dog poop anymore, yet I am now analyzing my child’s tissues. Does the color even matter? Yuck.

During winter, we get trapped in messy, stuffy homes, as icy gray weather blows outside. It can be an isolating time for mothers who need to keep their stir crazy children from getting more stirred and more crazy. When we do venture out, strangers make helpful comments like, “your daughter really should have a hat on.” Of course, she should have a hat on. That’s why I tried to put one on her about 15 times. Yes, I see that her fingers are blue. I have no idea why she’s not cold.

I’m a t-shirt and flip flops kind of girl. My friend Sam is too. The girl will wear flip flops when it’s 25 degrees outside just so she doesn’t have to admit it’s winter. I get it. I like seeing my painted toenails all day.

I’m not a total scrooge for winter. I do like the magical holiday lights strewn on branches, store windows and homes throughout the city. I love the taste of a hot cafe mocha when the air is extra chilled and the smell of red currant candles. Tired children go to sleep more quickly when it’s dark outside. I can connect inside with cool mama friends in the neighborhood. So I’ll get through it. But we are booking a warm weather trip in January just to give us a little boost. And today, after nap time, we are all going out to enjoy the warm sunshine.

mama bird notes

Beauty update for all of us mamas who could use a little more plucking, primping and highlighting. Finally, we all have our own personal beauty consultant. You can now post your comments and questions for Alex on the beauty diary. This week Alex has found some divine products that will revitalize your body and mind (that’s a lot to pack into one bottle). Enjoy the glow.

Do you have four minutes? My San Fran gal Sarah sent this to me and I enjoyed it immensely. http://erickerickson.org/blog/?p=4726


This is not who I want to be. I don’t want to be yelling at my 3 year-old. I don’t want to be this parent. I want to be laughing, hugging and playing. But I’m constantly being pushed to the edge. Each day, I start anew, thinking this is the day she will be easier. This is the day I will come up with clever, creative ways to deal with her unbending will. But she’s already in a time-out for pinching her sister (yet again) and it’s 7:45 a.m.. Oh mercy.

Dylan’s stubbornness can be unyielding. At a time when we might be transitioning her into a big girl bed, she now refuses to sleep anywhere but a pack-n-play in mommy and daddy’s room (it’s only set up for her baby sister’s nap time). Dylan can’t even stretch out in there but apparently that’s where she wants to be.

Dylan, a shy girl from the start, ignores our neighbors who only want to say hello. One neighbor actually thought Dylan was deaf because she never even looks up when the woman says hi to her. But with us, she comfortably yells, “NO!” at the top of her lungs when it’s clean-up time, bath time or any other time she deems unpleasant. Although she bubbles with excitement when her sister is around, Dylan also constantly pinches, hits and grabs at Summer. Of course, Dylan has moments of warmth, laughter and ease throughout the day but they are often just sprinkled amongst the meltdowns and discontent.

I used to watch “Supernanny” and just feel so sorry for those good intentioned parents who get steamrolled by their unruly children. Now I’m starting to feel a bit sorry for myself. But I know this is just a toddler phase. Each morning I try to forgive myself for yesterday’s mistakes and vow to be a more caring, sensitive and patient parent. Today on the way to preschool, I pointed out to Dylan how the rays of morning sun hit the buildings on West 4th street. “Isn’t it beautiful?” She agreed. And for the next few blocks, she pointed out to me all the spots where sparkling sunlight covered windows, steps and sidewalks on the quaint street. On the way home, we looked for airplanes in the sky and tried to jump on our shadows. These are moments of peace when Dylan and I connect. These are the moments when I am the kind of parent I strive to be.



Last night as I watched the Emmy Awards, hosted bbrian-dunkleman.jpgy the oh-so-vanilla Ryan Seacrest, I couldn’t help but think of Brian Dunkleman. Remember him? He was Ryan’s co-host on the first season of “American Idol.” Then he got canned (or according to him, decided to pursue an acting career) and Ryan somehow became a superstar. How bitter must Brian Dunkleman be?

My husband Rick and I think of Brian as an old friend that we’ve simply lost touch with. We wonder what he’s up to and how he’s doing. Although I’m ashamed to admit it, we do sometimes refer to him as Brian Dingleberry (but if you tell him, we will completely deny this). Apparently, Brian is working as a stand-up comedian in Los Angeles. I wonder if he watched the Emmys last night. I imagined him sitting in a dark room, eating a giant tub of Rocky Road ice cream and cursing at the television (especially when Seacrest tromped around in that Henry the 8th outfit). What was that about? He is no Jonathan Rhys-Meyers.

I don’t understand why they couldn’t get anyone more interesting to host the Emmys. Weren’t there any B level comedians looking for a little press? Even Dunkleman would have mixed things up a bit. Seacrest did refer to Emmy winner Sally Field as a legend. Oh, Ryan. Here’s a note to self. No woman wants to be called a “legend” while she’s still alive. Save that kind of praise for the “in memoriam.” Way to make an accomplished actress feel VERY OLD.

But I was thrilled to see “30 Rock” win best comedy – the best half hour of laughs (no track needed) on television. Sadly, Britany Spears didn’t show up. Underwear or no underwear, that girl would have made the show.


I had a lot of Tulane University flashbacks this weekend. On Friday, I showed my breasts for some killer Mardi Gras beads. Oh fine. That didn’t happen. But I did grab lunch with my sorority sister Valerie Long. And when I say “grab”, I mean wolfing down food with my two spirited children in tow. Valerie and her husband were very understanding (or at least didn’t show their disgust) as my 3 year-old Dylan masterfully combined cheerios, water, beans and rice while snot poured out of my 9 month-old Summer’s nose. But my head was spinning just trying to catch up with old friends while I tried to manage the chaos of Dylan and Summer. I would get half through a question or sentence and couldn’t even remember what I was saying. At least in college, I could coherently finish a thought most of the time.

And that night I had a surprising Tulane deja vu moment. My husband Rick and I were getting ready to go out for our 5th anniversary. I brushed my teeth with Tom’s of Maine fennel flavored toothpaste (I have a fluoride allergy ok?) and then I took a sip of Shiraz. The combination of flavors tasted like a Jagermeister shot. We did a lot of Jager shots back in college and it’s not necessarily something I need to experience again. Yowzah. It definitely has a bite. Luckily, with toothpaste and Shiraz, you don’t blackout and end up mugging down with your biology T.A..

And today we headed to Brooklyn for a coed baby barbeque (just to clarify burgers were put on the grill, not babies). It was in honor of the beautiful and very pregnant Tulane Alum, Rachael Witlieb Bernstein and her handsome hubby Michael. I’m absolutely sure children outnumbered the adults. No one really seemed to notice that Dylan helped herself to about 47 stone wheat crackers and also took quite a liking to the brie. As for me, I think I’m going to order some crawfish etouffee tonight and call it a big easy weekend.


Am I the only one who feels sorry for Britney Spears? I’m not one to follow celebrity gossip (I hate to even write that since I once claimed to hate reality tv and we all know what happened there) but I’ve been thinking a lot of about Britney this week. I just feel sorry for the girl.

Of course, I also felt sorry for Jennifer Aniston when she got dumped by Brad Pitt. Now, our girl Jen is beautiful, talented and a multi-millionaire. She does not need my pity. One of these days, she will land herself a hunky, sensitive man with his own cash and Brad will be her favorite mistake.

britney-spears.jpgBut I’m sick of everyone ripping apart Britney for her “come back” appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Yes, the critics are right. Her singing (o.k. lip synching) was a bit off. And I’ve seen better dancing from tipsy 13 year-olds at a bar mitzvah. Maybe her most recent epidural hadn’t quite worn off? But I’ve had it with the insults about her body.

As someone who has also given birth to two children, I thought she looked pretty good. She deserves some serious high fives for even having the courage to put on that itsy bitsy oufit (see here). I wouldn’t have the chutzpah. Perhaps, she could have chosen a somewhat more flattering outfit. O.k. definitely. And she does have the money for a 24/7 personal trainer and chef (unlike the rest of us). But still. She’s had two kids. She’s not exactly tipping the scale. Let’s cut the girl some slack.

Her ex and my current boyfriend Justin Timberlake cleaned up at the MTV awards. Guess somebody’s not crying a river anymore. Oh, Brit, pull it together. You may not be the most responsible mom out there, but you are still one hot mama.


mama bird notes
Check out the new installment of alex’s beauty diary. Alex talks about illuminating concealers. She had me at “flawless complexion.”

Just as a reminder, the mama bird diaries does not practice pay-to-play. We only recommend products that we think are truly fabulous, beautifully designed and worth drooling over.



kelcey kintner


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