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I have strung words together for The New York Times, Vice, and more. I write and shoot people (with a camera, you guys) from my home in upst...

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Glee finaleWell, that's it folks. The season finale of Glee took the New Directions to regionals, and a host of characters announced they'll be saying goodbye. But don't go crying now ... that's bad luck at a wedding.

    Needless to say there are major spoilers ahead, folks! But if you heard rumors that someone wasgetting married tonight, well ...

    It didn't happen. At least, Kurt and Blaine didn't get hitched. Phewww!!

    Blaine did hit the jewelry store with Tina to pick out a ring. That's where he met Patty Duke, aka Janet, a lesbian with a romantic streak, who encouraged Blaine to bring Kurt out for dinner at Breadsticks with her sweetie Liz ... played by the one and only Meredith Baxter!

    Gay marriage isn't yet legal in Ohio, but that didn't stop Janet from pledging her troth to Liz right before the young lovers' eyes. 

    But no, they didn't get hitched tonight either.

    Which leaves only ...

    Emma and Mr. Schue. Finally! They're married!

    McKinley's cutest couple of appropriate marriage age surprised the Glee club after their regionals win (come on, you knew that was coming, didn't you?) with a quickie wedding in the choir room. Emma said I do, Will said I do, and it's official -- Wemma is 'til death do us part.

    Speaking of parting, expect to see some favorites gone when Glee comes back in the fall. Brittany's genius has been explained -- turns out she was getting so used to people telling her she was dumb that she actually believed it ... and acted that way -- and she's been accepted to MIT early admission. Rather than finish out her second senior year at McKinley; she's jumping ship.

    Also heading out is Ryder, who is nursing some serious hurt after finding out it was Unique Catfishing him this whole time.

    We'll miss them both, but there's already promise of plenty of drama without them. Blaine did buy that ring, after all ... now we just have to wait to find out what he does with it.

    What did you think of the low-key wedding? Were you hoping Blaine would pop the question?


    Image via Fox

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    I Love my heroGood morning, America, do you know what today is? Yup, the Friday before Mother's Day, and you know what that means? Today marks the 29th annual Military Spouse Appreciation Day.

    Didn't know that existed? You should! It's been an official American holiday since President Ronald Reagan recognized in 1984 that the men and women married to our military are powerful cogs in the military machine. They're sacrificing too -- every day.

    As President Barack Obama said last year on this big day:

    Our military spouses are a vital part of communities across America and around the world. We know them as our neighbors and friends, colleagues and coaches, teachers and nurses. They move from duty station to duty station, picking up their families and careers whenever their country asks. They keep their households running while dealing with the strain of deployment. They support our wounded warriors, preserve the legacies of our fallen, and find ways to give back to our country day after day.

    Folks, you don't hear about these things in the news on the regular, but that's BIG. The least we can do is give something back to these people one day a year.

    More From The Stir: 10 Quotes for Military Wives That Celebrate Their Strength, Honor & Love

    The first time around, military spouses got a day late in May, but Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger moved it up to the Friday before Mother's Day, and Military Spouse Appreciation Day has held that spot on the calendar ever since.

    Here are The Stir, we can't say enough about the men and women behind the 1.5 million folks who make up our Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. But here's a start. We've got some military quotes to show them some of the love they deserve on THEIR day.

    Want to show military spouses love? Pin 'em on Pinterest, share 'em on Facebook, or do whatever you think will let the military spouses know this nation is grateful for THEIR sacrifices too.

    Who are you celebrating today?


    Image by Sheri Reed

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    mom movie linesThere's something about Mother's Day that seems to make people want to express themselves in ways no other holiday really does. You hit the stores to find the right card, and then you sit there hemming and hawwing about what to write on said card. A quote about motherhood, maybe? But which one?

    Considering we're a country that speaks in movie quotes, it only seems fitting that we honor mom with some of the best from the silver screen. From classics comedies like Mr. Mom to dramas like Stepmom, Hollywood has given us plenty ways to pay tribute to motherhood ... and here they are!

    Here are the sweetest lines Hollywood has served up about motherhood over the years.

    Which is your favorite?


    Image by Jeanne Sager


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    mother's dayMother's Day is back, and it's bigger than ever. Americans are expected to spend between $17.1 billion and $20.7 billion on mom this year. It's pretty clear America loves mom and Mother's Day. Or do we?

    This year there's been a backlash like never before against the decades-old holiday. Turning the second Sunday in May into a day for moms has been called out as everything from insensitive to non-parents to torture for folks with absent moms.

    Could it be true? Could the day Anna Jarvis created more than a hundred years ago to pay tribute to moms be outdated and cruel?

    Maybe not, but a look at the feelings on both sides certainly paint a new picture of Mother's Day.

    As writer Anne LaMott, author of Operating Instructions, one of the seminal works on single parenting, opined in Salon this week, Mother's Day puts moms on a pedestal ... sometimes undeservedly so:

    Mother’s Day celebrates a huge lie about the value of women: that mothers are superior beings, that they have done more with their lives and chosen a more difficult path. Ha! Every woman’s path is difficult, and many mothers were as equipped to raise children as wire monkey mothers.

    For one blogger right here on The Stir, even being a mother doesn't make Mother's Day a happy day. She's found that a strained relationship with her mother makes for a rough time up until the last holiday commercial plays on television:

    In the way that single people dread Valentine's Day, those of us with absent mothers dread the first few weeks of May. We prepare for the onslaught of mush and gush by steeling our hearts. I didn't grow up in one of those homes you see on the commercials. My mother was cold. Is cold. She's mean and manipulative. She's a raging narcissist. She doesn't need a Mother's Day to feel special. She has every day to make life about herself.

    Harsh, huh?

    But it isn't all bad, moms.

    As folks across the web have mentioned in recent days, Mother's Day is a happy one for hundreds of thousands of folks -- be it moms who are celebrating their own children or daughters and sons honoring the woman who brought them in this world.

    For Laura Rossi Totten, the day isn't about her at all but about her kids. The blogger shared a letter to her kids on the Huffington Post this week the spun Mother's Day in another direction:

    Since I don't want to spend the day repeating myself (I do that the other 364 days of the year!), next Sunday, I will silently celebrate each of the 365 gifts you have given me since last Mother's Day. My heart overflows with love when I think about all the things you two have given me!

    And as Meredith Gordon points out on Mom.me, mothers tend to spend all year long planning out activities for their families. Is giving them one day to take it easy so bad?

    If her family were the "Love Boat," mom would be Julie McCoy, the cruise director who keeps everyone on track. But Mother’s Day is the one of the few days when mom is supposed to surrender her cruise director responsibilities and let someone else, usually dad, steer the ship.

    Who can argue with that?

    Whatever side people are coming down on, one thing's clear: Mother's Day is a big holiday. Some 92 percent of Americans say they'll be celebrating.

    How about you? Do you love Mother's Day or hate it?


    Image via Woodleigh School/Flickr


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Quotes for momIt isn't always easy being a mother, is it? That's what Mother's Day is all about, taking one day and telling the 85.4 million of us that the nation has got our back. Heck, mothers have risen to some pretty high profile positions in this nation. Today quotes from some of the most high powered and famous moms in America are a good reminder that we're not just doing this alone.

    Out there our voices are loud and proud and being heard by somebody -- if not by our kids. From one-time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to First Lady Michelle Obama, there are mothers who are putting a maternal spin on making a difference.

    Today we celebrate mothers of all kinds by looking at what these moms have to say about what it is we do day in and day out.

    More From The Stir: 6 Mother's Day Quotes Straight From the Movies

    Feel free to pin them to Pinterest or share them on Facebook ... and don't forget to give Mom a big hug!

    Which quote is your favorite?


    Image by Jeanne Sager




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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    soldiersSteubenville. Rehtaeh Parsons. A high school "hotness" tournament. These are the stories that keep parents of little girls up at night. Finding respect for our daughters, finding a safe space for our girls, is like searching for a needle in a haystack. But it's out there.

    Take Project Bold. It's run by soldiers in the Indiana National Guard. It's teaching tween girls self-defense. But it's so much more than that.

    The program at the U.S. Army's Camp Atterbury was developed because Indiana is ranked as the second most sexually violent state for young girls. Girls as young as 10 are learning from soldiers how to defend themselves in case of an attack.

    The girls are learning take-downs and basic combative techniques.

    But they're also learning confidence.

    They're learning empowerment.

    They're learning that they can do what these brave soldiers can do -- stand up for themselves.

    They're developing self-esteem.

    Because despite the idea that people with self-esteem are successful, it's just the opposite. Studies show that performing well actually builds self-esteem for kids.

    Being able to defend yourself is part of performing well in life. You feel more in control over your own body.

    I know. I was a shy, awkward teenage girl with an eating disorder who became more boisterous and self-assured through years of karate classes. I learned what I could do with my body, and I became less afraid of being me.

    In a world where teenage girls continue to be blamed for their own rapes, where teenage boys can run contests that cut girls down to nothing more than a ranking of their breast size and weight, we need more Project Bolds. We need more girls to be put in positions of power: power over their own bodies and power over the a society that continues to subjugate them.

    Because programs like the one the soldiers at Camp Atterbury are running aren't just about readiness should the need to physically defend themselves arise. They're about helping girls develop a confidence that carries over into everything they do.

    Check out the awesome that is Project Bold ... and the awesome soldiers who are running it:

    Would you sign your daughter up?


    Image via Fox 59

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    bottlefeedingWell knock me over with a feather! For as long as I can remember -- or at least since I started reading every book I could find on babies during my pregnancy -- I've heard that formula is harmful to moms trying to initiate breastfeeding. And now a bunch of researchers say that's not really true.

    Word out of the University of California San Francisco is that early formula use can actually -- gasp -- help breastfeeding moms.

    Ready to fill up those bottles?

    Just hold on a second ...

    The study -- supported by a grant from the National Institute of Children Health and Human Development and just published online by the medical journal Pediatrics -- refers only to what they call early limited formula (or the adorable nickname ELF) use. Under their guidelines, small amounts of formula are given to babies to help curb their hunger while mom waits for her milk to come in, but mom still breastfeeds.

    The study took 40 newborns who had lost 5 percent of their birth weight and whose moms' milk hadn't come in yet and split them into two groups. One got ELF. The other group was breastfed exclusively. When they checked back at 3 months, almost 80 percent of the babies who were given formula early on were breastfeeding exclusively. Forty-two percent of the moms who'd breastfed exclusively from the get-go were still doing so. 

    The goal of ELF is to help moms and babies both -- it keeps the little ones from losing weight and helps prevent moms from giving in to the stress of not "making enough" to sate a hungry baby. In all, it's only supposed to last a few days before moms goes to full breastfeeding.

    It all sounds pretty tricky, and even the folks at UCSF admit it's not perfect. In a press release, the study's lead author Dr. Valerie Flaherman, an assistant professor of pediatrics and epidemiology and biostatistics at UCSF and a pediatrician at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, even calls formula use a "slippery slope to breastfeeding discontinuation."

    But I'm buying what they're selling ... if only because I remember those early days after my daughter was born, when nothing, and I mean NOTHING satisfied her. My nipples were rubbed raw and felt like they were going to fall off, and still she screamed. I didn't want to give her a pacifier -- because of course the books all tell you that causes nipple confusion -- and I was at my wits' end.

    I ended up sinking into postpartum depression in no small part because of my feelings of failure and inadequacy as a mom who wasn't doing well at this breastfeeding thing.

    I can only imagine how much less stressed I would have been if someone had said, "Hey, a little formula isn't a bad thing." If someone -- a medical someone -- had helped me lay out a plan for a little formula to get us over the hump, a plan that had a specific beginning and end so that it was only a supplement and NOT a crutch that ruined my breastfeeding future.

    That's what the folks at UCSF are talking about. They're not saying moms should pump baby full of something man-made from here until eternity. Just give that ravenous baby something to drink when mom can't make it ... something to help mom get over the hump while her poor body adjusts to new motherhood.

    If that's what it takes to make breastfeeding work for a long time, it just might be worth it.

    Did you ever supplement with formula? Did it help or hinder your breastfeeding experience?


    Image via Pink Sherbet Photography/Flickr

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Kim Kardashian Kanye WestMark it on the calendar: I feel bad for Kim Kardashian. And after what the reality star had to say about becoming a mother, I'm betting every mom in America will too.

    Turns out it's not all roses and clover for Kim and Kanye West right now.

    The pregnant Kim says she's "nervous and anxious" to become a mom. Can you blame her?

    I distinctly remember being terrified of becoming a mom. Unlike Kim and Kanye, who some say got pregnant by accident -- albeit a happy one -- my husband and I had specifically tried for a baby. We were a bunch of happy fools when the two little lines finally showed up on the pregnancy test.

    And then it all sank in.

    At one point, I was going to have to give birth. I'd have to feed this little person, and figure out why he or she (at that point we didn't know WHO we were having) was crying, and keep him or her alive!


    I can't keep a houseplant alive!

    And I'd have to keep a PERSON alive.

    Every day that brought me nearer my due date was a mix of excitement over meeting our child and abject terror. If I screwed this up, it would be the worst screw-up of my life.

    This is what Kim Kardashian is facing. Only unlike me, Kim is facing it under the microscope of a few million eyes watching, judging. Her fans want to know every detail of her life. Her critics want her to fail so they can poke fun at her.

    And let's face it -- she will screw up. And this is not a Kim Kardashian slam. It's because we ALL screw up as moms, especially at the beginning. It's a whole lot of trial and error in those early days.

    Only most of us are lucky enough to make those errors in the privacy of our own homes with no more than our mothers and mothers-in-law hounding us for screwing up. Kim Kardashian will have the whole darn world breathing down her neck.

    Yup, I'd be nervous too ...

    What are you nervous about? 


    Image via Splash News

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    kid presidentMom, if you haven't heard of Kid President, get ready. The 9-year-old -- whose real name is Robby -- is the cutest short thing in a suit since penguins. He's got Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), a brittle bone condition that has resulted in him having over 70 breaks since birth, but that hasn't stopped him from becoming a viral video star. Nor has it stopped him from doling out hilarious advice for moms.

    His latest is an open letter to mothers, and it's pretty much everything you needed to give you the giggles today.

    Check this little dude out:

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    Don't name your kid "phone"? If only he didn't HAVE to say that to some people!

    I'll admit his bit about how it's hard to grow up ... sometimes we just need our moms ... made me a little, sniff, sniff -- er, where was I? Yeah, so he made me laugh. And he made me cry.

    Which is what kids are for, isn't it? They make us laugh. They make us cry. They make us tear our hair out. They make our hearts go thumpity thumpity thump.

    And we should listen to them a little more often.

    What's your favorite bit of advice from Kid President?


    Image via SoulPancake/YouTube

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Kyle FlackIf you've been following the sad story of Lana Leigh Bailey, the 18-month-old baby who went missing in Kansas last week, the news you least wanted to hear is in. Cops have found a baby's body, and they think it's the missing Kansas girl. Considering police had already charged 27-year-oldKyle Flack with killing Lana as well as her mother and two other adults, it was only a matter of time.

    The discovery means the case can move forward in court.

    It gives the prosecutors more ammunition.

    But it doesn't explain anything.

    These are the sort of news stories that give me agita. I'm not sure if it's voyeurism or simply a need to have things explained, to have them wrapped up neatly. Or maybe it's because the involvement of a child in crime always puts the mother in me on edge, makes me desperate for information to better protect my own child. 

    I know I watched the search for Lana Bailey from afar, hoping that she'd be found alive (even while knowing, with a sinking heart, that it was unlikely).

    We see children killed every day, but still we don't like to think of it happening. We can't wrap our heads around it.

    And when it happens, we want answers.

    Only none are coming out here.

    Kyle Flack was arrested last week after the bodies of Lana's mother, 21-year-old Kaylie Bailey, and her friend, 30-year-old Andrew Stout, were found along with that of Stout's roommate, 31-year-old Steven White. But cops refuse to share a motive. They won't even discuss how Flack is connected to the three adults who he allegedly murdered at Stout's eastern Kansas farm.

    One of White's relatives surmised drugs were involved in the murders, but the cops won't comment. All that is known about Flack is that he spent time in prison for attempted murder, but he was released in 2009. Since then he seems to have kept his nose clean -- or at least stayed out of jail.

    So what gives? Why no motive? Why no connection?

    And why has a guy who spent four years in jail on attempted murder for shooting his boss on the day he was fired allegedly escalated to murdering four innocent people, including a helpless child?

    There's only one thing we really know for sure: a monster killed that little girl. And that monster must pay.

    Have you been following the search for Lana Bailey? What do you think happened here?

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Leila FowlerPolice in Calaveras County, California made an arrest of a 12-year-old boy over the weekend. They say he killed8-year-old Leila Fowler, his own sister, in her bedroom back on April 27. It's news that has shocked a nation. The death of a child is already fraught with confusion. Now we add a suspected child killer, a brother killing his sister. 

    And neighbors in Valley Springs, California are left to think ... what?

    There's relief this week. Of course. For two weeks the community has lived in fear of a killer on the loose, a killer who they feared would break into their homes and murder their precious children.

    An arrest means the threat is gone. Their children are safe.

    And yet, knowing the identity of the alleged killer means anything but, doesn't it?

    Their children have brushed elbows with a boy who -- if charges are to be believed -- killed his own sister. More than that, he is charged with stealing her life away not with a quick shot of a gun but with the brutality of a stabbing. And then lying about it all, saying that there was a man in their house.

    This boy played with the kids in his community.

    He accepted neighbors' comfort at the community vigils.

    He walked among them.

    He put on a show.

    As a parent, it's our job to worry about our own kids. But it never stops there. We always look outward, at the kids our own kids are interacting with. How they affect our kids is among our biggest worries. Is my kid going to be swept into bad behavior? Is my kid being influenced?

    We worry too that what other kids are doing could be a sign of what our own are up to. Is my kid really thinking that? Could my kid do that?

    The boy's grief-stricken mom Priscilla Rodriquez told reporters that her son would never hurt his sister. But if the cops are right, he did more than that. He killed her. And their mother didn't even know.

    Even as we feel comfort in knowing that the killer of this little girl seems to be off the streets away from our own kids, it's impossible not to put yourself in Rodriquez' shoes today too.

    What was your first thought on hearing the boy had been arrested?


    Image via police

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Leah Messer CalvertTonight we saw part 2 of the Teen Mom 2 finale special with Dr. Drew, and it couldn't have been more different from the first go-round. Gone was a still childish Jenelle and her tearful confessions about drug use. Instead we saw some real grown up moments from Leah Messer Calvert and Chelsea Houska, the two girls who got to sit on stage with the TV shrink.

    Calvert's husband, Jeremy Calvert, and ex-husband, Corey Simms, even managed to sit side-by-side on an MTV couch, and say nice things about each other. In fact, Jeremy, who wasn't around when his wife first started her Teen Mom journey (and who wasn't a teen parent), has somehow turned out to be the one of the most inspiring stars of the series.

    Not only didn't he blanch when he was faced with dating a single mom with young kids, but he ended up marrying her. And while Leah jerked him around for awhile there, Jeremy told Dr. Drew he respected Corey completely for fighting for his family.

    That alone makes him sound like a class act, but he didn't stop there.

    More From The Stir: Jenelle Evans Admits Just How Far She's Gone to Get High

    Jeremy admitted that he doesn't actually watch Teen Mom -- he's too busy working to get caught up in all of it. And he didn't exactly seem keen on being on the show at all. The fame is not his thing.

    He'd actually like to see Leah give up Facebook and Twitter entirely, stepping away from all the critics who make her cry ... and the fans too.

    We'd hate to see it happen, but watching the three of them on stage tonight, it was easy to see that Leah is a completely different person since Jeremy came into her life. She's calmer and more self-assured. Even when she became defensive about her decision to get pregnant again (with baby Adalynn), she was able to admit that she's being defensive!

    It's obvious she's lucky to have him around, and Chelsea's story only made that more evident.

    Despite being one of the best moms on the show with a bubbly personality -- and a gorgeous face to match -- Chelsea sadly admitted to Dr. Drew that she feels out of place as the only mom who hasn't dated anyone but her child's father, Adam Lind, since giving birth.

    She seems to have finally slammed the door on a relationship with Adam. When a fan asked whether she'd like to see little Aubree grow up to date men like her father or learn from her mom's mistakes, Chelsea was quick to choose the latter -- even though Adam was sitting right beside her. She's clearly grown up enough to let go of the little girl fantasy of a perfect family with a mommy and a daddy and their little baby, and it's allowed her to blossom.

    A Chelsea without Adam is a healthier, more successful Adam.

    Still, it's sad to see a girl who has so much going for her still struggling with her self esteem. If the powers-that-be decide to bring Teen Mom 2 back it would be worth it just to see her continue to come into her own without Adam holding her back ... and maybe to meet someone like Jeremy.

    Because that's what this series has been about, hasn't it? Wanting to see these girls face their struggles and slowly but surely climb over them?

    Being a teen mom isn't glamorous; that we've seen. But these girls, these women, are real people who have grown up before our very eyes. It's hard not to harbor a hope that they all have futures brighter than their pasts.

    Were you inspired by Jeremy tonight? What do you hope for the girls?


    Image via MTV

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    plastic vampire teethI have been a parent for almost eight years now, and some days I feel like I know as little as I did way back in 2005 when I was still waiting for my baby to arrive. But there's one thing I know for sure. Kids are WEIRD.

    My kid. Your kid. All kids!

    There's an equal opportunity state of strangeness that exists for the four-foot-tall and under set.

    But you don't have to take my word for it. Just consider some of the things kids can't get enough of ... but we adults just barely tolerate.

    Boogers. Rocks. Those rounds blobs of indeterminate flavor otherwise known as gumballs.

    All are evidence that kids are some of the oddest creatures on the planet. And yet we love them anyway.

    Behold the wild and weird that curries favor with the kids and mystifies adults.

    What are your kids obsessed with that you just don't get?


    Image via AngryJulieMonday/Flickr

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    cemetery angelWhen a 6-year-old is shot by a 4-year-old, what do you do? Do you haul the 4-year-old off to jail? Do you just let it slide, write it off as a terrible accident? Or do you try to find some middle ground? That's what cops in New Jersey are trying to do right now. They've arrested the father of the 4-year-old who shot neighbor and buddy Brandon Holt last month.

    But no one is charging Anthony Senatore with Brandon's death.

    The 33-year-old, who allegedly owned the gun used by his 4-year-old son, instead faces six counts of endangering the welfare of children and a disorderly person's offense for enabling access by minors to a loaded firearm.

    Technically that's what was done here. Senatore didn't pull the trigger on the gun that killed little Brandon. But only technically.

    Cops say his 4-year-old son -- who hasn't been named because of his age -- was playing with Holt in the yard on April 8. He went inside and came back with a loaded .22-caliber rifle he'd allegedly found in his dad's bedroom. When police arrived, they say they also found four more firearms in the bedroom, all easily accessible to Senatore's three kids.

    Brandon Holt died.

    And all that we get are some charges for endangering the welfare of children?

    What about manslaughter?

    What about some justice for this little boy?

    The disregard for safety alleged in this case makes a deep-seated fear in my stomach flare up.

    I live in the country where guns are a part of life. I've had long discussions with my child about proper use of guns and safety.

    But when she goes to another child's house, what happens is out of my control. If another parent is careless with their guns, the risk to my child is great.

    My fear isn't of guns but of irresponsible gun owners.

    According to the statistics, half of gun-owning households do not lock up their guns. That includes 40 percent of households with kids under age 18.

    With statistics like that, it's no wonder guns still kill twice as many children and young people than cancer, five times as many than heart disease, and 15 times more than infection (this according to a study by the New England Journal of Medicine in case you're wondering).

    Could a dad like Anthony Senatore foresee the tragedy that occurred on April 8? I don't see why he didn't.

    As the saying so popular with gun proponents goes, "guns don't kill people, people kill people." It's true. People kill people ... when they have access to a gun that they can use to do so. Put a loaded gun where a child can easily access it, and what do you think will happen? Four-year-olds simply do not have the capacity to recognize the consequences of their actions. That's why we don't leave them alone with a hot pot on the stove ... never mind a loaded .22.

    He may not have shot this boy, but when you consider the facts, it certainly sounds like this dad was responsible.

    So why isn't he being charged with the child's death?

    Do you think the prosecution is going far enough in this case? Could this father have foreseen this tragedy?


    Image via AdamSelwood/Flickr

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Teen Mom confidentialThe stars of Teen Mom have certainly pushed the envelope, haven't they? Between Farrah Abraham and her porn deal and Jenelle Evans and her arrest for heroin possession, the reality stars have dominated the headlines with their scandalous antics. But just wait! Those are the stories you've heard about.

    What about all the crazy stories that haven't made the news? Those are out now too thanks to Sean Daly and Ashley Majeski, authors of an explosive new book, Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows. A journalist who writes about TV for the New York Post, Daly teamed up with Majeski, editor of The Ashleys Reality Roundup, to dig deep into the world of these young parents. They made it all the way down to rock bottom, and they shared a taste with The Stir.

    Get a load of some of the most shocking revelations to come out of their book:

    1. When one star was arrested, cops had to use two sets of cuffs to secure his hands.

    2. Tyler Baltierra's dad Butch Baltierra gave an explosive interview to the authors. One of his confessions was an allegation that stepdaughter (and future daughter-in-law) Catelynn Lowell was in on a scheme to sell a fake pregnancy story to the tabloids.

    3. One star used a portion of his earnings from the show to pay for his sister's boob job.

    More From The Stir: It Takes a Village to Keep 'Teen Mom' Jenelle Evans in Line

    4. MTV found Amber Portwood more or less on accident. They planned to shoot a different reality show featuring her brother Shawn, but Shawn bailed. His wife heard they were looking for pregnant teens and pointed them to Amber.

    5. Friends of one star reported she often sported injuries on her neck from being choked ... by her husband.

    6. Corey Simms cheated on Leah Messer Calvert during their marriage, but he flat-out refused to talk about it on MTV, so Leah took the fall for the marriage going south.

    7. One teen mom was told to get an abortion ... by the mother of her child's dad! It's something she holds against her to this day.

    8. Stormie Clark, mother of Farrah's baby daddy, got to see Sophia once without Farrah knowing -- she saw the little girl with her babysitter at a park and convinced the sitter to let her cuddle the baby and hang out with her. Stormie shared a letter to Sophia that is printed in full in the book.

    9. One star and her boyfriend got into such a big fight in a hotel that they got kicked out ... and it wasn't Jenelle Evans!

    10. One star tried to use a magazine with her face on the cover as proof of ID when she went to buy cigarettes.

    Want more? Oooh, they have 'em in Teen Mom Confidential!

    Any of these shock you? Which one?


    Image via Teen Mom Confidential

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    baby bottleDear Breastfeeding Advocate, I've heard you loud and clear. You say formula is poison. I understand that you're just really gung-ho about breastfeeding, and you're trying to make a point. You care about babies and moms.

    But please, can you just take a moment and read those words out loud?

    Formula is poison.

    Is that what you really mean to say?

    Do you think that moms who give their babies formula are trying to kill them? That's what poison does, right?

    Do you think these moms should go to jail for child abuse? That's what happens to moms who feed their kids other poisons -- rat poison, pesticides ...

    Would you tell that to a mother who just adopted a baby, who has no choice but to put a bottle in the mouth of her precious little girl? Is she selfish; is she abusive for choosing bottle over breast?

    What about the mom who had a double mastectomy because she had breast cancer? Her milk ducts are gone, but thanks to the the miracle of egg harvesting, she's living her dream of being a mom. Is she a child abuser? An attempted murderer?

    She is, after all, knowingly feeding her child -- as you call it -- poison.

    Still standing behind your hyperbole?

    If you haven't guessed by now, I too fed my daughter formula.

    Not at first. I had every intention of breastfeeding from the moment I became pregnant. No, before that. I was breastfed. My husband was breastfed.

    I think breastfeeding is far superior to bottlefeeding.

    I say that now. I say that even though my daughter was raised primarily on formula.

    I think breastfeeding is the best thing that can be done for a baby.

    That is why, when I couldn't do it, it tore me in two. I spent hours crying. I was paralyzed by a fear so deep that I couldn't leave my house. Literally, stepping off the porch made me hyperventilate.

    There was no one to help me. There are no lactation consultants where I live. There is no La Leche League. I didn't have a mother there to help me get the proper latch.

    When I turned to the Internet for help, I found a lot of angry women like you, women who were quick to judge me for allowing my husband to give our daughter a bottle of formula, women who dismissed me and coldly told me how selfish and useless I was.

    This was their way of "encouraging me to breastfeed."

    I gave up after two weeks of crying and paralyzing fear and sore nipples and pumping one breast that quite simply never filled with milk, no matter how hard I tried to encourage it to produce.

    I gave up and gave my daughter formula.

    I gave up and gave my daughter something to sate her insatiable hunger.

    You say I gave her poison. I say I gave her life.

    I gave her a mother who could go on anti-depressants to fight the demons in her head. I gave her something to fill her tummy and help her grow big and strong.

    She is almost 8 years old now, and still I feel guilty that she wasn't breastfed. I feel guilty even though she's never had an ear infection and, up until this year when a wicked virus made its way through her elementary school, never been sick for more than a day or two. I feel guilty even though she's an active soccer player and dancer who makes good grades and stays up late reading Pippi Longstocking and Ramona Quimby. I feel guilty even though her smile brightens a room and her laughter lights up my life.

    I feel guilty in my heart even though my head tells me not to.

    I feel guilty because every time I make the mistake of reading about breastfeeding and formula, I'm faced with you, dear breastfeeding advocate, telling me that the very thing that helped keep my daughter alive was poison. 

    So tell me, are you proud of yourself?

    Do you still think formula is poison?


    A mom just like you


    Image via Raphael Goetter/Flickr

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Farrah AbrahamLeave it to Farrah Abraham to come up with a parenting method that makes us want to go take a shower. The Teen Mom has been making headlines lately for her new porn star venture, Backdoor Teen Mom. Fortunately daughter Sophia is too young to read any of those headlines.

    But she won't be forever ... and Farrah has already come up with the "perfect" way to introduce the little girl to mom's porn career. Have a barf bag handy? You're going to need it.

    The Teen Mom did a radio interview recently and revealed she's already saved a copy of the Vivid Entertainment flick for her daughter:

    I have, like, a baby box for her ... and basically it has all the DVDs of Teen Mom and it has my book and of course my video ...

    And here all I've saved in my daughter's baby box is her first lock of hair and her coming home outfit. Sigh.

    As for when Pandora Farrah will open up this box, she had this to say:

    When she’s around that 13/14, you know, gets on her period and is all "Ooh, I kinda wanna boyfriend" I think that’s when ... that’s the year to be like, "Look, Soph."

    Oh. My. God.

    Talking to your kids about sex when they're teens? Yes, absolutely, you must do this. Actually, you need to start even younger. Giving them your sex tape? That's crossing the line just a weeeeeee bit.

    Farrah says she's all about being open and honest with Sophia. I respect honest parents. But there's such a thing as too much honesty.

    Parents, might I remind you that your kids are your kids, not your friends?

    More From The Stir: Kailyn Lowry Calls Farrah Abraham Out for the Hypocrite She Is

    There are some lines that just shouldn't be crossed, for both of your sakes.

    I don't want to picture my parents having sex. They don't want to picture me having sex. It's not being prudish; it's just about having boundaries.

    You might tell your girlfriends about your sexual exploits, but your kids really don't need all the dirty details. Just a simple admission that you had premarital sex can be enough for an honest discussion about sex and birth control.

    Leave the sex tapes out of it.

    Do you think Farrah's crossing a line here? Should her daughter be given a copy of mom's sex tape?


    Image via Farrah Abraham/Twitter

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    ronnie RaineyAll across the country, women were offered a night out on Mother's Day. More than a few of them probably said, "Not tonight, honey, I'm tired." But for Maryland mom Lisa Rainey, the refusal to go out seems to have prompted a brutal double homicide that claimed the mother of two and her stepdaughter. Luckily her son escaped the shooting, but that's just about the only good news to come out of a bizarre Mother's Day killing that leaves more questions than answers.

    What would possess someone to kill their wife for refusing to go out on Mother's Day? And just how far can you go to keep yourself safe when you see someone you love turning violent?

    It sounds like Lisa Rainey did all she could.

    When she realized husband Ronnie was angry about the Mother's Day disagreement, she took her kids, including her 15-year-old son, to a hotel for the night. Then, before agreeing to meet Ronnie Rainey back at the family home the next day, she called her daughter's boyfriend, a parole and probation officer, for protection.

    But somehow these precautions weren't enough.

    It's Lisa Rainey's own husband who is charged in her death, as well as the murder of his stepdaughter, Ariale Chantre Shelton. Cops say the former Army medic who met his wife in the military and has been married to her for 15 years also tried to shoot at their teenage son, but the bullet got only the boy's hat as he ran from their home.

    Over a Mother's Day disagreement?

    No wonder she didn't want to go out to eat with him.

    I wouldn't either.

    It sounds like Lisa Rainey saw something off, and she did the right thing -- she got out. Only then she got sucked back in.

    This is a reality in an American where more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day. Every year, one in three women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner.

    This is a reality that we must face: that people who love us can turn on us.

    If we feel something is off, we should trust our instincts.

    But what makes the Raineys' case so startling is the lack of a history. Cops in Prince George's County say they'd never been called to the Rainey home -- not before Monday when Ronnie Rainey called them to allegedly announced that he'd shot his wife and stepdaughter and planned to shoot himself. Ronnie and Lisa were both respected members of society, both veterans of the United States military who met in the service.

    This sad case seems to fly in the face of what we tend to believe about domestic violence -- that there's an escalating pattern of abuse.

    The suddenness of the murders, the leap to such extreme violence, the fact that this mom did all she could to stay safe and still lost her life are all tragic and unsettling. But they only hammer home the most important message of all: if you feel unsafe, get out. Now.

    Have you ever felt this way about someone you loved? What did you do?


    Image via police

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Kim KardashianAt some point in every pregnancy, a mom reaches the stage when absolutely nothing seems to fit. For some of us, that stage lasts longer than others (for me it was two whole trimesters), but it happens to us all. Even, it seems, Kim Kardashian

    This is not a body snark, folks. This came straight from Kim herself, in a confession that should make us all feel a little bit better.

    Asked how she is dealing with dressing her baby bump, Kim confessed that it's rough going:

    I think I was trying to hide it for a while, but I'm still at the stage where nothing looks good, so I've found it really difficult to get dressed. I'm learning that stretchy is everything. Blazers and stretchy fabrics are going to be my new thing. Right now, there's not much that will fit.

    Ladies, there are two ways to look at this. If Kim Kardashian can't make maternity wear look good, who can? The reality star is straight up gorgeous ... and uber fashionable. We might as well just throw up our hands, throw on a muumuu, and wait until after birth and the cankles subside to even try anything one might consider "fashion."

    More From The Stir:Kim Kardashian SHOULD Be 'Nervous & Anxious' About Being a Mom

    Hold up, I said there are two ways to look at this.

    There's the pessimist's way.

    And then there's the optimist's.

    Because as hard as it might be when your body is giving you curves in all the wrong places, and you're feeling like a heffalump, the truth is, you don't look as bad as you THINK you do. You just look pregnant, which is exactly what you are. And that's normal.

    Think of it this way: if a woman as beautiful as Kim Kardashian struggles to make maternity wear look good, then it isn't YOU. It's pregnancy.

    And pregnancy only lasts nine months (OK, 10, but who's counting). At the end of it, you get your real clothes back.

    Have you been struggling to find clothes that look GOOD? How do you think Kim has done dressing her bump?


    Image via Splash News

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Dylan WorthenIt's the question of the decade. How far should schools go to stomp out bullying? Should a school, for example, confiscate 900-some yearbooks, destroy them, and print new books ... all because one student was called a mean name on one page of the book? That's what the mom of a teenager called a "freak" in a caption of his marching band photo wants.

    Dylan Worthen's name was adjusted by someone prior to the printing of the South Paulding High School yearbook this year. Every book purchased by students at South Paulding features a photo of the 16-year-old with the addition of "freak" as a second last name.

    It's cruel. It's awful. But does that mean the school should shoulder the burden of printing new books?

    I don't mean to be insensitive.

    If my daughter were labeled a freak in her yearbook, I don't doubt that I'd be right where Dylan Worthen's mom is, shaking my fist and demanding things be put right.

    But my daughter wasn't, and I'm not.

    And so my view isn't clouded by a personal bias that makes it hard to see the bigger picture.

    Her son was bullied, and the kids responsible should be brought to heel for it. They should be punished. 

    But how far should this school go? What does zero tolerance really mean?

    We are finally at a point in society where school bullying has gone mainstream, so to speak, and we're really talking about it. No longer are we telling kids that they need to buck up and deal with it.

    As a formerly bullied kid and mom of a kid who started dealing with bullies in pre-school, I'm glad to see schools taking action. But we need to be careful not to swing too far in the other direction.

    Common sense must prevail!

    What happened to Dylan Worthen was awful. It sucks.

    But in the scheme of things, being called a "freak" in your high school yearbook is not the worst thing that could happen. Some kids saw it and probably laughed. Most probably saw it and rolled their eyes.

    The real damage is if the kids who did it get away with it and aren't punished. If that happens, then ... well, isn't that enough?

    Surely it's not bad enough to require a school district spend thousands of dollars on re-printing a yearbook. Thousands of dollars that could be spent on educating kids?

    What do you think the school should do here? Is it enough just to punish the kids?


    Image via KSDK

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