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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

    David Richard KyleCops in one Florida town have arrested a man they say had been patrolling a park, luring children into his car, and driving off with them. But in an odd twist on the standard abduction story, police say David Richard Kyle, the man who kidnapped a 9-year-old boy from the park, drove him to his house, only to turn around and drive the kid back, releasing him.

    Who would have thought a kidnapper's conscience could save a little boy?

    As a matter of fact, it may have saved countless kids.

    The one 9-year-old was allegedly picked up at the park and driven to Kyle's home, but when Kyle went in, the child said he stayed in the car. Then he was taken back, unharmed.

    Kyle was arrested during a traffic stop after folks reported a man at the park picking up kids. Police went to his house, where they said they found a chilling bagpacked with duct tape, rope, and scissors.

    Sounds like the tools of a kidnapper doesn't it? Like a guy who was going to do much worse than drive a kid to his house, then drive him back?

    That's what police thought too. They looked into Kyle's background and found out he'd been arrested for kidnapping and luring charges in the '70s and '80s, and when they interviewed him, he allegedly admitted he's been having urges to kidnap kids of late. He's suspected of taking at least three young victims recently, all boys between 9 and 12 years old.

    Something made the alleged kidnapper turn around, save the little boy, but the chances that it would happen again are slim to none. So often we see criminals build up. It starts with something small, say luring a kid to your car and taking him for a ride, then goes from there.

    It's like a little child learning to walk. Each time they get away with it, they're emboldened to take it a step further. The next time, it's another step and then another step and so on.

    Who knows how many kids would have been hurt if it hadn't stopped here and now.

    But it did stop. Kyle is in jail on $7.5 million bail, and he's facing multiple felonies.

    What do you think of his change of heart?


    Image via Lake County Sheriff's Office

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    momThe beauty of nine months of pregnancy is that you have a lot of time to think about what kind of mom you will be. The curse of nine months of pregnancy is that you have a lot of time to think about what kind of mom you will be. Face it: we all do it; we all set up these visions of perfect motherhood in our minds that we will never be able to achieve.

    The perfect mom has June Cleaver's house, Jennifer Lopez' mom bod, and Angelina Jolie's hot partner. Note the three different women, one of them fictional, on that list? This life does not exist for one woman!

    More From The Stir: Sending Your Kids on Vacation Without You Is Good for Everyone

    Motherhood is hard enough without the stress we put on ourselves to be good at everything. Here are a few of the things I advise you cut from your very long "to-do" list ... I promise it won't hurt:

    1. Cleaning the house. I don't mean that you should NEVER clean the house. I mean using the toothbrush on the baseboards is just a waste of time you could spend playing Mouse Trap on the (slightly messy) living room floor with the kids. A little clutter never hurt anyone. Heck, they even say dirt is good for kids!

    2. Making dinner. Ever notice the number of moms who groan on Facebook that they just don't know what to make for dinner tonight? Here's an idea: don't do it. Let everyone eat cereal or sandwiches or call for a pizza. The world will not stop turning because you didn't slave over a hot stove one night (but you may have more time for catching fireflies).

    3. Working out. Again, I'm not saying you sit on the couch like a sloth. But if you're on a quest for the perfect body, let me stop you right there. It doesn't exist. Everyone's body is different, and post-kids, most of us have stretch marks and a belly pooch. Provided your doctor says you're healthy, it's OK to skip a workout (or three) because you're just too pooped to even poop.

    4. Folding laundry. Run the washer. Run the dryer. Who cares if they got their clean clothes out of a dresser or off the pile in the laundry room?

    5. Organized. You know what happens when you leave the bathroom drawer full of random hair ties, toothbrushes, and medicines? Nothing.

    6. Fundraising for the PTO. Write a check at the beginning of the year and be done with it. No reason to feel like crap while guilting your family into buying more cookie dough.

    8. Apologizing for wanting alone time. Who says good moms need to spend every waking moment with their kids? WHO?

    9. Saying yes to everything. So your daughter's Girl Scout leader needs you to chaperone a trip on the same weekend as your son's soccer tournament? Let me explain how this one goes. It starts with an "n" and ends in an "o."

    Moms, what did you feel guilty about that you've finally given up?


    Image via Woodleigh School/Flickr

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Kate Middleton Prince WilliamFor months now we've seen a mountain of evidence that Kate Middleton would give birth to a baby girl. Guess it was all wrong! Kensington Palace has officially announced the royal baby is here, and he's a boy!

    The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to the 8-lb. 6-oz. prince at 4:24 p.m. (Greenwich Mean Time, of course) with Prince William at her side. You know what this means?

    It's male monarchs for the next few generations for the Windsors! The baby will be third in line for the throne now occupied by the queen.

    More From Our Partners: The Royal Baby's Cash Value Will Blow Your Mind

    So much for that big rule change to make sure the baby would be called "princess" rather than lady, huh? His name has yet to be announced, but we know he is already His Royal Highness Prince of Cambridge!

    The baby boy is reportedly doing fine as his mom, whose labor lasted all day. Her Royal Highness and the little royal will both spend the night in the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital in London where she gave birth. It's the same place where his proud papa, the Duke of Cambridge, and uncle Harry were born.

    Afterward, the little guy is expected to move to Kate's parents' house, where Kate will spend the early days of his life with her mom helping her out.

    Congratulations to the royal family!

    Did you expect it to be a boy?


    Image via Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Farrah Abraham sex clubIt's been two months since Back Door: Teen Mom was released, and already star Farrah Abraham has made $100,000 in royalties off of her sex tape. Add that to the $1 million she raked in for the rights to the porn flick, and she's swimming in the dough. So what is the Teen Mom star doing these days? Sitting on a beach with a cocktail in hand taking it easy? Or giving lap dances to creepy old dudes in nightclubs?

    Come on, this shouldn't be a tough one for you, folks. This is Farrah we're talking about!

    Farrah was caught on camera doing the sort of thing $2 strippers are known for at the Vivid Gentleman's Club in Mooresville, North Carolina over the weekend, from lap dances on a guy who was more than happy to share his name (it's Jonathan York in case you're wondering) to signing a waitress's ass. She also posed with topless strippers, even hanging from a trapeze while face to face (and torso to torso) with a naked woman.


    The club is owned by Vivid, the company behind her porno, and Farrah was promoted as the special guest for the night and star of the "number 1 selling sex tape in history" (take that Kim Kardashian!). Showing up could be part of her deal with the company to promote the tape.

    More From The Stir: Farrah Abraham Leaves Rehab Just in Time to Catch a Sex Show

    But lap dances? Signing asses? She doesn't need to do this stuff to put food on the table for her kid. Nor should a fresh-out-of-rehab young woman be handling all the alcohol she's seen with in the photos.

    Farrah keeps claiming this sex tape was "accidentally" shared with the world, but with every move she makes, it seems obvious she is LOVING this new life.

    What do you think of her antics this weekend?


    Image via Splash News

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Jenelle Evans hospitalWe can always expect Jenelle Evans to bring a little drama, but her latest trouble isn't her fault at all. Despite her recent efforts to get healthy, working out almost constantly with buff new beau Nathan Griffith, Jenelle's body had other ideas. The Teen Mom 2 star was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery on Monday night!

    Griffith tweeted a photo of Jenelle in a hospital bed, hooked up to multiple machines and sporting two large bandages on her mid-section. It riled up her followers, who instantly jumped to the conclusion that Jenelle was faking it for attention.

    For a second there I wondered why she'd allowed Nathan to tweet the photo -- it seemed like a wee bit more information than I'd share -- but considering the critics, I admit she was probably right. They accused her of everything from hitting the hospital for detox from a drug overdose to simply making the whole thing up for sympathy.

    More From The Stir: Why Does ‘Millionaire’ Farrah Abraham Still Have to Resort to Giving Lap Dances?

    Photographic evidence of her ordeal is really the only thing that can set the wagging tongues to rest.

    Because as it turns out, she's not faking it, guys!

    Jenelle has suffered from cysts over the years, but this time around it was something a little different. Jenelle had her appendix removed at a North Carolina hospital. And appendicitis is no joke. If not treated quickly, it can be fatal!

    Fortunately Jenelle came through surgery just fine and says she has her mom "Dr. Barbara" and son Jace waiting at home to take care of her post-surgery.

    We're hoping she has a speedy recovery!

    What do you think of the reaction to Jenelle's emergency?


    Image via Twitter

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    missing girl Elaina SteinfurthIt's been nearly two months since she went missing, but police may finally be close to finding missing Ohio toddler Elaina Steinfurth. The last person to see the little girl alive -- aside from her mother -- has been arrested! Steven King, boyfriend of Elaina's mom, Angela Mories Steinfurth, has been charged with felony obstruction of justice.

    It's not murder. It's not kidnapping. But it's something. 

    And after nearly two months of nothing, Elaina's family NEEDS something.

    To refresh your memory, Elaina's dad, Terry Steinfurth Jr., went to pick up his kids from his ex-wife, Angela, on June 2. At the time, he said Angela claimed Elaina was napping and refused to hand over the baby. He left and came back with his dad later that day to once again try to pick up his daughter.

    Terry has said Steven King got belligerent at one point during the confrontations, and he's also said King scurried out the back door of the home he shared with Angela.

    Since then, Angela has been arrested for child endangerment, but King has been a mystery.

    A mystery to us on the outside and apparently a mystery to the cops too. They say he's been impeding their investigation -- hence the arrest of Steven King.

    He's innocent until proven guilty here, but I have to say this whole thing stinks to high heaven. If the baby was kidnapped by a third party, then why wouldn't King want to spill his guts to the cops? He should be doing everything in his power to help get this kid home; it's the right thing to do. It's the HUMAN thing to do! We're talking about a missing baby girl! 

    The fact that he isn't is cruel and suspicious.

    Does it mean he's responsible? Of course not.

    But it means that the answers for this family could be unlocked by forcing King to open up, something only this arrest can really do. If he knows something, he owes it to Elaina, the little girl he lived with, the little girl he played with, to say something.

    He can give police something to go on. He can help move this case along. He CAN do the right thing.

    Hopefully he will.

    What do you make of this guy being so quiet on what happened in the last few hours before Elaina disappeared?


    Image via National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    saving moneyI'm not going to lie. I try not to think about sending my kid to college. It's not just that I'll have to face empty nesting and the end of her childhood and all that mushy gushy stuff that makes mothers weep into their Ben & Jerry's. I'm not ready for the financial hit of college tuition.

    I know I will have to get creative to pay for college. But there's at least one new parenting trend I just can't get behind. Crowd-funding your kid's ride to the school of their choice is just a little too tacky for me.

    You've heard of crowd-funding, haven't you? It's becoming a popular way to raise money for just about everything these days -- from helping a bullied bus monitor get the money she needs to escape the nasty brats at work to giving a reality star the funds she needs to pursue her dreams as a pageant girl.

    All you need to do is write up your plea, upload it to one of the (growing number of) crowd-funding sites on the Internet, and wait for big-hearted people to give you their money.

    It's not the worst way to raise money. I've been known to donate a time or two on sites like these, usually for sick kids whose families are struggling with bills.

    But a sick kid surprises a family.

    College doesn't. So the "sudden" need to reach out to the world to help pay for your child's education is a bit disingenuous.

    Most of us hope from birth that our kids will one day go to college. For many American kids, there is no other option. The children are told, "You WILL go to college, no ifs, ands, or buts about it."

    That means you have 18 years -- give or take -- to save for college. If you don't do that, well, that's on you! It's not up to the rest of us to fund your kid's college dreams. As the old saying goes, "Your lack of planning does not constitute my emergency."

    It isn't just the lack of class that bothers me here, quite frankly. It's the message you're sending to your kids.

    Throwing up a website and saying "gimme all your money" tells our kids that it's OK not to plan, that they should expect people to pick them up when they fall.

    Sometimes there are nice people who will do that. But more often than not, there aren't. Life doesn't work that way.

    Life is about planning. It's about working hard to get what you want, not resting on your laurels and expecting it to come to you.

    Still thinking about crowd-funding your kid's tuition? You might want to look at loans instead.

    Would you donate to a college tuition site or do you think it's tacky for parents to ask?


    Image via Phillip Taylor PT/Flickr

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Catelynn Lowell Tyler BaltierraTeen Mom fans, ready your neck braces, we have some news for you that may cause a little whiplash! Remember the sad news that Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra had cancelled their wedding? Turns out the couple currently starring on VH1's Couples Therapy may have gotten married without us!

    Whaaaat? A secret wedding?

    Cue the dramatic music. Dun. Dun. Duuuuuuun!

    Catelynn hinted that some "I do"s might have been exchanged during an "Ask Catelynn" session on Twitter this week. A fan asked if she and Tyler had gotten hitched, and her answer was the rather mysterious, "u will have to see." She followed it up with a smiley face.

    Tricky! Tricky!

    She could just mean that we need to keep watching Couples Therapy -- which is mid-way through its run on VH1 -- to see if she and Tyler patched things up after their explosive fight on last week's episode.

    But the fact is, we KNOW they're still together. Tyler's Twitter handle lists him as Catelynn's fiance, and just the other day, the couple tweeted lovey dovey messages about their nine-year anniversary as a couple.

    In fact, the only reason they seem to have kept marriage -- or at least a public wedding -- off the table is because of timing. They were supposed to get hitched on July 13, but VH1 had yet to air their breakup, when Tyler called off the wedding.

    Tabloid photos of the bride in white, the groom in a tux, would have destroyed the drama of an episode that was pretty darn dramatic. It was hard NOT to cry with Catelynn as she saw her dreams shattered and yet hard not to feel for Tyler as he struggled between being there for Catelynn and being there for himself.

    More From The Stir: 'Teen Mom' Star With Miss America Dreams Wants You to Pay for It

    They needed Couples Therapy to air before anyone heard about a wedding. 

    But the fact is, they also needed therapy. Period. They're two really good kids who came through a really tough time together, but that's not enough to make a marriage work. They needed intervention if they were going to make this thing last.

    Having to keep their wedding secret from us can't be fun, but it's a small price to pay for the gift they got out of therapy: the chance at a life together.

    What would you say if these two got hitched without telling us?


    Image via VH1

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Kate Middleton royal baby Prince WilliamIt's happened! Kate Middleton and Prince William finally introducedHis Royal Highness, the new prince, to the world! The royal baby was born on Monday, and he and the Duchess of Cambridge got one night in the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital to recover from the big birth before his first public appearance. But after the grandparents stopped by to visit -- Prince Charles and Camilla, of course, as well as Kate's parents -- it was time for the future king to make his big debut!

    The Duchess, who reportedly had a hairdresser swing by before her release (can you blame her, she only has the world watching!), looks as radiant as we'd expect -- new motherhood agrees with her! And the royal baby is absolutely perfect ... of course!

    More from The Stir: Kate Middleton & Royal Baby's First Portrait Is Just Plain Creepy (PHOTO)

    According to the Duke, he's even got mom's lips ... and more hair than Dad!

    Now it's off to Kensington Palace for the new family! Congratulations!!

    Look at this sweet face:

    Royal baby

    What did you think of the way they introduced the prince to the world?


    Images via NBC News; Getty Images/Peter Macdiarmid

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    oneI love being a mother of just one kid. We have an only child because it works for our family (and if you have more because it works for your family, that's great ... I'm not here to get into a pissing match with you about family size). But every once in awhile, I'll be sitting with a friend of more than one kid and realize there is a whole world out there I will never experience, a world that's widely considered part and parcel of motherhood.

    Take "momisms" for example. It wasn't until I started hanging out with friends with more kids that I realized I will never say a good portion of the "classic sayings" of moms everywhere!

    Take a look:

    1. Don't hit your brother!

    2. Because you're older, and you should know better!

    3. Share!

    4. It's all good fun until someone loses an eye.

    5. I don't care who started it! YOU end it.

    6. But your little brother looks up to you!

    7. Stay out of your sister's room!

    8. You two, stop talking, and go to SLEEP!

    9. You can only go to the mall if you take your sister with you.

    10. I'm running out for 10 minutes. Watch your brother for me.

    11. You kids are driving me crazy!

    12. I do NOT love your brother more.

    13. When your sister was your age, she never did this kind of thing!

    14. Why can't you just take turns?

    15. Who drew on this wall?

    How about you? Are there momisms you don't say because of the number of kids you have?


    Image by Jeanne Sager

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Oreo royal baby adThe royal baby is here! Finally! Excitement over the new bundle for Kate Middleton and Prince William is so contagious it has spilled across the pond to America where corporations are already doing what corporations do: squeezing dollars out of the royal baby.

    Ah yes, this is how America celebrates well, everything, isn't it? We market it. Everyone from Oreos to Coca-Cola jumped on board immediately yesterday with royal baby themed announcements, tied, of course, to their particular products.

    But is this fair to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge or the itty bitty future ruler?

    Well, that depends on how you look at it. The British government has very strict rules about how companies can make use of the royal family in its marketing, rules that were reiterated in the run-up to the arrival of His Royal Highness.

    More From The Stir: Royal Baby Makes His First Public Appearance

    According to the British Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), "members of the Royal Family should not be shown or mentioned in marketing without their prior permission." The Royal arms or emblems cannot be used without prior permission from the Lord Chamberlain’s Office. And any baby memorabilia must NOT be marked as "official."

    That's all in Britain. What we do over here is a whole different ball of wax, as Ad Age found when they took a peek around the Internet at how corporations were handling the royal baby's arrival. Plenty of American companies decided they'd weigh in, and there's really nothing the royals can do about it.

    But as a mom, I can't help feeling a little protective of the little guy. No child -- no matter how famous -- should be used by companies to sell yogurt without Mom and Dad's permission (and a healthy cut of the profits). His public standing does not negate his humanity, folks!

    The companies that have done it best this week are those that respected Kate and Wills' privacy, sending best wishes to the prince and his parents rather than flat out trying to convince people a new baby should make them use a product.

    Check out five of the ads that have made use of the royal baby -- some that got it right, some that got it wrong.

    Do you think it's appropriate for companies to use the royal baby in marketing?



    Image via Twitter

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    royal baby Kate Middleton Prince WilliamNow that we've finally seen the royal baby -- or seen his fingers and the top of his head -- the big question remains: what did Kate Middleton and Prince William decide to name the future king of England? And even more importantly, when are they going to tell us?

    Well, it turns out it's not as simple as sending out a birth announcement. The real reason we don't know the royal baby's name isn't because the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are withholding it from us.

    It's because they don't even know themselves! Prince William confessed they are still "working on" a name for His Royal Highness.

    I can't say I blame them for taking their time. Whatever they name the royal baby, people the world over will be debating whether it's appropriate. Prince Charles and Lady Diana waited more than a week to tell us William was named William. With Charles it took a MONTH for the name to be released.

    More From The Stir: Royal Baby Makes His First Public Appearance (PHOTO)

    I have to confess their uncertainty even makes me feel a little bit better in that misery loves company sort of way. Baby naming is hard, y'all! My husband and I debated for months and months and MONTHS. Like the royals, we didn't find out the gender of our child, so I too know what it's like to have to come up with good names for each sex.

    Knowing that even Prince William and Kate Middleton are having a rough time makes them sound a bit more human, a bit more like the rest of us normal folks who didn't have a hairdresser to come to the hospital after the birth or a royal gynecologist fussing about our lady bits.

    That said, they best get a move on. There are countless babies still waiting to be named thanks to some parents with a royal obsession!

    And if I may throw a name in the ring, how about Spencer, an ode to the Duke's lovely mum?

    Are you surprised the royals have yet to choose a name?


    Image via Scott Heavey/Getty Images

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Alanna GallagherThe mystery surrounding the death of 6-year-old Alanna Gallagher is slowly starting to unravel in the Texas town of Saginaw. Police have officially named the Gallagher family's 17-year-old neighbor, Tyler Holder, as their chief suspect in the gruesome killing after a shoot-out that wounded one cop and sent the teenager to the hospital with a (non-lethal) gunshot wound to the head. Cops even say they're closing in on a suspected accomplice in the child's murder.

    It all sounds like good news, right?

    Technically, it is. It gives the Gallagher family answers. It explains what happened to their little girl.

    But, let's be real.

    There's no good news here. Not really.

    A child is still dead.

    What's more, this neighborhood now has to face that a kid -- Holder is just 17 after all, even if he is charged as an adult -- in their midst was likely a psychopath. Holder is accused of sexually assaulting and suffocating his young neighbor. Little Alanna was then left in the street, wrapped in a tarp, like a piece of garbage.

    Witnesses say the teen has exhibited a ton of strange behavior recently. He allegedly identified the little girl's body before police were even able to, and he reportedly showed up at her funeral wearing a "wanted" t-shirt.

    More from The Stir: Search for 6-Year-Old Alanna Gallagher's Murderer Turns Up New Lead

    His DNA was allegedly found on Alanna, which cops are using to make a pretty clear link between the dead child and the suspect psychopath.

    Heck, we may be talking about TWO teenage psychopaths. The alleged accomplice the police are talking about is as yet unidentified -- leaving the neighborhood to wonder who it might be. Holder is currently a "no information witness" because he's in the hospital, but reports on the alleged killer's condition indicate the gunshot missed his brain, and he's expected to recover. Then he should be able to answer questions.

    His answers surely won't be pretty.

    When you live in a small community, you don't expect bad things to happen ... at least not for the bad things to come from within. You don't tend to look at the local kids as would-be murderers. They're like your own kids in many ways. They're part of the fabric of the community, and you don't give them a second glance. So when they're around, you let your little kids play outside, just as Alanna was doing the last time she was seen.

    For the murderer -- or perhaps the murderers -- to be a kid from the neighborhood is like another violation, another cold, hard slap to the face. 

    Do you look at kids in your neighborhood as "your own" or do you steer clear?


    Image via police

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Steven Galindo DiazThe search is on in Atlanta, Georgia for the killers of a 13-year-old boy who was shot during a carjacking. Police say Steven Galindo Diaz was helping his older sister, Samaria Diaz, put air in her tires, when they were confronted by robbers with guns. The men took Samaria's necklace and tried to take her truck, but when it wouldn't start, they shot her little brother in frustration.

    What is wrong with these people?

    Who shoots someone because they can't steal their vehicle?

    Who shoots a child?

    Who shoots ANYONE?

    From all accounts, Samaria Diaz did what you're supposed to do when a robber confronts you. The 22-year-old handed over her car keys. She let them take her necklace. She didn't put up a fight against men armed with a gun and a bat. And when her little brother was shot, she stayed by his side. She started CPR. 

    She did everything right.

    And everything was stolen from her. Her necklace. Her sense of safety. Her baby brother's life.

    My heart goes out to Steven's whole family right now, but especially to Samaria. She was the responsible adult watching her little brother, and she did everything she could to keep him safe.

    But sometimes doing everything right isn't enough ... because monsters exist in this world.


    Image via police

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    My Little Pony Equestria Girl Have you seen the My Little Pony makeover yet? Technically it's not really a makeover so much as a total reboot. Bye bye colorful horses with unique looks and personalities. Hello Equestria Girls, human teenagers who all look exactly the same.

    And when I say the same, I don't just mean Hasbro's new pony/girl mash-ups look like one another. I mean these stick-thin waifs resemble every other darn doll on the market.


    Not surprisingly, Hasbro is already getting a lot of flack from moms for the reboot. Surprisingly -- at least to me -- the main complaint is that the company is "sexualizing" My Little Pony.

    As Patricia-Anne Tom over at Pop Sugar said this week, the "toys look less like ponies and more like sexified teenage goth girls."

    I agree that there is very little "pony" to these new My Little ponies, but I don't see the Equestria Girls as sexy per se.

    I do see them as another assault on our young girls' already perilous relationship with their bodies.

    The Equestria Girls all have longer than long legs paired with teeny weeny waists. They're not far off the Monster High Dolls or Barbie or any of the teeming pile of dolls on the market with bodies that won't be found in nature.

    Now, I should digress and point out that dolls do not in and of themselves cause body image problems. A social experiment with my daughter and a load of Barbie dolls a few months back proved that kids see things very differently than we adults do.

    That said, it's important for us to talk to our daughters about body image, and for us to talk about the problems with the bodies of their dolls, lets the toys do the talking for us.

    This is why I've always liked My Little Pony. My daughter can play with them for hours, and I don't have to worry about sitting down afterward for a refresher course on how every body is different, on being healthy.

    There is no body baggage with a horse.

    If it's money Hasbro is after (and hey, they are a company in a capitalist society), they will get it ... we mothers who have been sucked into the girl power themes of the TV show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic are more than happy to buy DVDs and toys galore.

    Just leave us one safe harbor, would you? One part of the toy store that doesn't keep us up late at night worrying about bulimia and diets.

    What do you think of the new My Little Pony?



    Image via Hasbro


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Kim Zolciak and daughtersIt would be easy to understand if  Kroy Biermann was a little hesitant to throw himself into parenting Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kim Zolciak's daughters. By all accounts, parenting teenagers is hard. Harder than just about anything else in this world -- at least if you ask a parent of a teenager.  But the Atlanta Falcons' defensive end has come clean about his decision to adopt Zolciak's two oldest children in one of the sweetest interviews I've seen in a long, long time.

    It turns out even Kim is impressed with how well he's doing as a dad!

    The RHOA star admitted she doesn't know if she'd be as able as Kroy is to love kids who weren't biologically related to her, but she sees a true love between dad and daughters. Asked why he decided to adopt Brielle, 16, and Ariana, 12, Kroy told E! Online that it's about setting priorities in life. He's prioritized family, and to him, family includes the girls.

    Pretty sweet for a big ol' macho football player, huh? And pretty gutsy for someone who walked into parenting TEENAGERS! He had to have one helluva sense of self esteem to think he could handle that.

    But listen to this one. Kroy admitted what is important to him has changed completely since he met Kim (and the girls):

    Before Kim and before the girls and before the boys, I lived a pretty regimented life. I'd wake up, eat breakfast, go to work, come home…it was pretty normal. Now, my house isn't going to be as clean as it was before, but it's not important. Those things are not important and it's all about prioritizing and understanding.


    It's a good message for anyone who adopts a spouse's kids, but it's not a bad thing to keep in mind as your kids hit those teenage years we're all warned about.

    When your kids are changing, YOU have to be willing to change to. You have to be willing to let some things slide and decide what is most important to you -- having the pre-teenage years life or having a good relationship with your kids as they are?

    Parenting teens is scary! It's hard! It's completely different from having kids who think someone of the other sex is gross, kids who wouldn't be caught dead getting into the shower ... forget spending two hours in there.

    Life won't be clean anymore! You may not have signed up for door slamming and eye-rolling when you brought that cute little baby home from the hospital, but that's the mess that comes with all the good parts of parenting a teenager.

    Brielle and Ariana are pretty darn lucky to have this guy in their lives. For that matter, Kim is lucky to have found a guy who gets that kids are more important than anything.

    Would you be able to do what Kroy has done and adopt a spouse's kids?


    Image via Instagram

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Catelynn Lowell Couples TherapyWhen Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra of Teen Mom fame signed up for VH1's Couples Therapy, we all wondered what these childhood sweethearts could possibly have going wrong in their relationship. They've been together forever -- through a teen pregnancy, their parents getting married, placing a daughter for adoption, and some pretty hellish childhoods -- what could top those tests?

    Well, maybe being childhood sweethearts?

    Last week we saw Tyler break off their engagement after a one-on-one therapy session with celebrity therapist Dr. Jenn Berman, leaving Catelynn (understandably) hysterical on her bed.

    This week it was Catelynn's turn for a one-on-one, and Dr. Jenn quickly hit upon one of their biggest problems.

    Every time Catelynn talks, she mentions the word "we," but she never talks about herself. The two are, as Dr. Jenn said, completely "enmeshed."

    More From The Stir: 15 Amazing Things About Marrying Your Childhood Sweetheart

    It's a pretty common problem for childhood sweethearts, and I know from whence I speak. I've been with my husband since I was 16 (and we've known each other even longer). Sometimes I forget what my life was like without him in it. Sometimes I forget that there is a me beyond the we.

    That's exactly what Catelynn is going through. As she said when Dr. Jenn asked what she does to take care of herself, "I don't know what that looks like or how to do it."

    When your relationship springs from childhood, you don't get that me time in early adulthood to figure out who you are and what you want -- you go straight from being someone's child to being someone's significant other. Don't get me wrong; there are benefits to this (this is not an indictment of my marriage here!). But Catelynn and Tyler have to get past this sticking point if they want to have a successful marriage.

    A marriage is only as strong as the two pieces that have come together. It's great that they've come through so much together, but their real test is in figuring out what they can do on their own, what they can each bring to the table.

    Seeing the engagement called off was painful for Catelynn, but now she has a chance to find herself and get comfortable with herself before becoming a part of a married couple. And she deserves that!

    Are you married to your childhood sweetheart? Do you ever feel yourself getting lost in your marriage?


    Image via VH1

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Jimmy FallonThe baby has a name! The baby has a name! Jimmy Fallon and Nancy Juvonen have named their new baby!

    What, you thought I meant the royal baby? Well, he has one too, but the future king of England wasn't the only little bundle to arrive in this world this week. The Late Night host surprised everyone with news that he was a new dad on Tuesday, but like the royals, he kept us waiting on the name.

    Turns out the little darling has a throwback moniker!

    Fallon announced during his Wednesday night show monologue that he and Nancy have settled on Winnie Rose Fallon for their daughter. Said Fallon:

    It's been a crazy couple days, well actually, just one day. It was just yesterday. It feels like I've had a four-day conference. It's very taxing on the fathers. I don't know how it is for the mothers, but very taxing. I'm emotionally drained. I'm a father of a beautiful baby girl. She's so cute. Her name is Winnie Rose Fallon and she's so cute.

    It's a little old school, but I have to admit I'm loving the resurgence of some of the old so-called "grandma" names. Hold on, I'm not suggesting everyone run out and name their daughters Bertha, but there are some really beautiful names out there that haven't been used in decades.

    Using one of them means saving your kid from being one of 13 Taylors on the playground (no offense to the Taylor crowd, there are just a LOT of them!), but you aren't branding your baby with something "weird."

    Winnie is a perfect example. Schools aren't swarming with them, but there have been some pretty cool Winnies over the years. No, I don't just mean "the Pooh." Remember Winnie Cooper fromThe Wonder Years? She was gorgeous, kind, and smart as a whip ... pretty much what any parents wish for their daughter.

    Congratulations to Jimmy and Nancy!

    What do you think of Winnie Rose?


    Image via vivavivanista1/Flickr

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Alanna GallagherNow that we have a name for the chief suspect in the murder of 6-year-old girl Alanna Gallagher, the police in Saginaw, Texas are opening up about the investigation. Turns out Tyler Holder, the teen suspected of killing his neighbor, was in their sights this whole time!

    The news may come as a shock to the folks who circled around the Gallagher family, ripping apart their lives, even outing the unique nature of Alanna's three parents and their polyamorous relationship.

    Carl and Laura Gallagher and Alanna's biological father, Miles McDaniel, have lived under a cloud of suspicion since their daughter was found in the street, wrapped in a tarp, not far from their home. Police said they weren't suspects, but they were vague about who their suspects were, and rumors went wild. 

    The cops aren't to blame for that -- they had an investigation to do, and releasing too much information could jeopardize the gathering of information necessary to obtain an arrest warrant for Tyler Holder.

    It seems there was plenty indicating Tyler was the killer. He allegedly identified the body of the girl before police had even released that it was Alanna, and he was seen pacing up and down the sidewalk after her body was found, acting strangely. Then there were reports from neighbors and friends that he was a troublemaker who would talk about rape and murder. He apparently freaked out everyone who knew him.

    Definitely a guy to look at, right?

    But that's not enough to prove anything in court. They need to get solid evidence.

    Cops say they were able to not only match DNA from Tyler to DNA found on Alanna, but also match dog hairs found on the tarp to the Holder dog. That kind of thing takes time.

    Meanwhile, they say they were able to take apart Tyler's alibi, proving he didn't leave home that day to search for a job, and basically put together the pieces that enabled them to pinpoint Alanna's older neighbor as their guy.

    This is how policework goes down. It isn't an hour-long Law & Order episode. There are no instantaneous lab results, no tricks to get the suspect to fess up that will magically hold up in court.

    The Saginaw cops had to build a case that will stick if they wanted to get justice for little Alanna. That meant taking their time. It meant not sharing information. It meant letting the rumors fly.

    For the Gallaghers and McDaniel, that was no doubt painful, but then, nothing is going to be easy for this family, not now and not for a long time. The least that can be done is for their little girl's killer (or killers) to be sent away for a good, long time.

    Did you suspect the parents were somehow involved in this killing?


    Image via police

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Terry Smith Jr.
    A mother in California is facing quite possibly the hardest test a parent has ever faced. The dead body of Shawna Smith's autistic 11-year-old son, Terry Smith Jr., was found buried in her backyard. Cops say her 16-year-old sonSkylor Atilano, killed his little brother.

    What's a mother to do? Abandon her oldest child? Or stand by him?

    Shawna Smith has settled for the latter. Yes, this mom is standing by a child accused of murdering another child. As she told her local NBC station: "I'm not going to say he's innocent, but I'm not going to say he's guilty either. I love him and I'm going to stand behind him no matter what."

    We could all sit around and judge her for her choice. It's practically the American way.

    But before you do, look at what this mother has to contend with. She has one dead child, one facing murder charges. Oh, and on top of that, CPS has taken away her daughter while cops investigate what happened to Terry. Her life has, quite literally, been turned upside down. Walking away from one of her kids would only compound the trauma.

    The hard truth is that every criminal came from somewhere. Many have moms and dads, sisters and brothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents who love them. It's not easy to just turn off years of caring for someone when they do something wrong. 

    Granted, the crime Skylor is accused of is among the most heinous in this world. A child who murders can test even a mother's love. And that's with the murder of a stranger. I can't imagine how much worse it would be when the charge is murder of a sibling.

    If Skylor did it, he took away one of the most precious things in Shawna Smith's life. But then, HE is ALSO one of the most precious things (people) in her life. 

    And the sad fact is, she can't bring Terry back. Turning away from Skylor right now won't fix anything.

    So she's standing by him. She's being a mom to both her boys, not just one.

    I don't envy her, but I sure as heck respect her.

    How about you? What would you do in Shawna Smith's position?


    Image via police

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