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Last year my daughter, 8 at the time, went on a bit of a stealing spree. She took some earrings from the local toy store, gum from a convenience store, markers from her classroom and $1000 from our local ATM.

(Okay, the ATM thing isn’t true, mostly because with five kids I just don’t have the time to teach her ATM skimming.)

Of course, I made her return all the stuff and judging from the reaction at the toy store, she was the 5th kid that day to be dragged in by their parents to return stolen crap.  The sales girl was like, “Oh yeah. No problem. Just put the stuff back. See you soon.”

My daughter is now on the straight and narrow but will periodically disclose some infraction from her shady past.  The kid apparently wants a clear conscious. But because she’s too nervous to tell us in person, she leaves a note by our bed.

Here’s the note I got this week…

Dylan's note

If you don’t read messy 3rd grade writing, here is the translation…

“Once I was at a pizza place and I think Tommy Tom (her grandfather) told me only water but I got Sprite.”

Can you believe it?! She pulled a fast one on granddad and got Sprite instead of water. Crafty girl.

In her defense, I thought Sprite was delicious when I was a kid. And I thought water tasted like the devil’s drink.

So she’s totally forgiven.


My husband’s siblings are in town with their families. And my kids are getting much needed cousin time.


See that kid in the back with the sunglasses?

I held that boy in my arms when he was just a few months old. Mostly I was thinking, “Dear Lord don’t let me drop this infant because I just started dating this guy Rick and I really like him and I’m not sure our new relationship can survive the ‘I’m sorry I dropped your new nephew’ conversation.”

Meanwhile, my sister-in-law Kimberly mentioned to me yesterday that a friend of hers (who reads this blog) wanted to know if I wore Birkenstocks. Apparently because I seem very “go with the flow.”

Am I giving off a Birkenstock vibe?

Because the closest I have ever gotten to a pair of Birkenstocks is a pair of Tevas I owned in 1993. I placed them on my feet a couple times (just inside) and then just shoved them to the back of the closet. Those poor Tevas never even got to experience daylight.

But there is a woman who does give off a Birkenstock vibe. These are her feet…


Recognize her? Yes, those are my mother’s feet.

Mom – I love you. This is the end of this post. Please log off.

(My mom just texted me: “What do you mean ‘log off?’ Does that mean click that little red x in the corner of the screen? Or restart my computer?  Or just unplug the whole thing?)

Unplug it mom.

Okay, speaking of that lady, I’m included in a new anthology called, “Moms Are Nuts (But Don’t Tell Them We Said So)”

A team of Emmy winners, magazine editors, comedians, TV personalities, best-selling authors, social media superstars and one sort of funny mom who has 5 kids and hasn’t cleaned her minivan in a year collaborated to produce a laugh-out- loud book not about being a mom, but about having a mom.

And yes, I wrote about my mom. And no, I did not let her read the piece first.  Mostly because I know she would have said, “If you publish that, I’ll never let you borrow my Birkenstocks again.”

Anyway, if you’d like to check it out (PLEASE), click here…








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.

kelcey kintner


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