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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.

    baby feetPeople have been having babies since the beginning of time -- hence the whole human race. And people have been using cliches for nearly that long -- hence their cliche status. So you'd think by now someone would have caught onto the fact that just about every saying about "babies" that has wormed its way into the vernacular makes absolutely NO SENSE.

    I'm just going to go out on a limb here and say that the first 5,000 or so people who said these things -- ensuring their ubiquity -- weren't actually parents. And now we're stuck with them. Not sure what I'm talking about?

    Here they are ... the sayings about babies that don't make a lick of sense (hey, we are talking nonsense cliches)!

    1. Sleeping Like a Baby -- So, what they're saying is "wakes up every hour on the hour to wail at the top of his lungs?" 

    2. Smoother Than a Baby's Bottom -- I'm assuming they mean a baby's bottom when it hasn't just made a boom boom and joyously squished it all over ... right?

    3. Baby Soft Skin -- Two word: baby acne.

    4. Stealing Candy From a Baby -- Who gives candy to babies? That's a choking hazard!

    5. You're acting like a baby -- So what you're saying is I'm gurgling and cute, and you should take care of me? Gotcha ...

    To paraphrase the very best movie ever made, "You keep using that phrase. I do not think it means what you think it means."

    What cliches drive you bonkers? 

     

    Image via Katelyn Kenderdine/Flickr


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    JWoWW Roger MathewsIt's a very merry Jersey Shore Christmas! Jenni Farley, aka JWOWW, is pregnant. Turns out she and Roger Mathews have sex after all!

    The couple's sex life -- or lack thereof -- has become a punchline on Snooki & JWOWW, Farley's MTV show with former Jersey Shore castmate Nicole Polizzi. But their plans to become parents have never been secret. What wasn't clear is which path they'd pick to parenthood ... or at least which would come first.

    More from The Stir: JWoww's Weight Loss Strategy Is Surprisingly Smart

    On recent episodes of the show, Farley and Mathews have been seen investigating adoption. It's a personal issue for JWOWW in part because best pal Snooki was adopted as was Farley's own mother. But she and Roger have both said they'd like to become parents however it happens, so it was no surprise to see this tweet show up today:

    Santa brought Roger and I the best gift of all... http://t.co/7MENFiXxIl���

    — JWOWW (@JENNIWOWW) December 25, 2013

    The Tweet links fans out to a photo of Jenni's sonogram and an announcement that Baby Mathews will arrive in July 2014!

    Aww! This is BIG, y'all! This is Jersey Shore star number three to become a parent!

    It's also sweet news for the couple who tend to melt whenever they're hanging out with Snooki and Jionni LaValle's son Lorenzo. And frankly, it doesn't mean they can't still adopt. Many families are made up of a mixture of biological and adopted children.

    Congratulations to the couple!

    What do you think of the couple's announcement?

     

    Image via MTV


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    William AydelottThe violent death of a middle school teacher in Florida on Christmas Eve has landed a 17-year-old in police custody, and the baseball player isn't just any student. Police say Sharon Aydelott was murdered by her own teenage son in an altercation on the holiday. William Brandon Aydelott has been charged with premeditated murder after police found a grisly scene at his mother's home.

    And I do mean grisly. The descriptions of the Aydelott home will turn your stomach, and it's hard to think of anyone that young having done something this depraved or for something this awful to have happened over the Christmas holiday, of all times.

    Police in Gulf Breeze, Florida, say Sharon was found with a kitchen knife sticking out of her eye socket. She'd been beaten with a baseball bat, stabbed multiple times, and her throat had been slashed.

    More from The Stir: Teen Shot for Sneaking Back Into House in the Middle of the Night

    Cops have not released a motive, although the science teacher had reportedly kicked William out of the house recently, indicating there was some family trouble that predated an alleged Christmas Eve argument.

    It probably didn't help that emotions always run high at the holidays. As much as we all like to think of this as the happiest season, crime tends to have an up-swing this time of year. Typically it's robberies and burglaries that occur as people leave their homes unattended for longer periods of time or carry large amounts of cash to shop, but domestic incidents often spike this time of year too.

    No doubt the stress of the holidays combined with family members who don't necessarily like each other that much getting together is to blame.

    Sadly, sometimes it would safer for families to forgo the whole "it's the holidays, we must get together" shtick ... getting together isn't always the best thing when tensions are high.

    My heart goes out to the rest of the Aydelott family as they try to pick up the pieces after this holiday tragedy.

    Have you ever seen family strife turn violent around the holidays? What do you do with your family for the holiday?

     

    Image via police


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    scaleThe mother of the little boy crowned the "biggest baby born in the United States in 2013" has just lost her title. Fourteen-pound JJ Brandon was big. But he's got nothing on the baby just born to a Florida mom!

    Isaiah Lawrence Johnson was born a week before his mom's due date, but he already weighed in at a whopping 14 pounds, 7.6 ounces! The not-so-little guy was 22 1/2 inches long!

    Born via C-section (phewww), Isaiah is the third of Nicia McNelley and Quinta Johnson's kids, but he's the biggest ... by FAR. Considering the average birthweight for a baby in America is around 7 pounds, 7.54 ounces, that's not exactly surprising.

    More from The Stir: Woman Gives Birth to Nearly 14-Pound Baby Girl -- Ouch! (VIDEO)

    Yes, you read that right. Big babies are not the norm in America -- despite news like JJ and Isaiah's births this year. It turns out birth weights have actually been on the decline since the 1990s. And that's not just due to an increase in the number of small babies being born. The number of truly "big" babies -- babies who are over the 90th percentile of weight for gestational age -- have also declined by some 2 percent.

    Not a big number, but a decline is a decline, and that makes it that much more remarkable that a 14-pound baby was actually unseated as the "biggest" in America. It means experiences like Nicia NcNelley's truly are something to talk about!

    Congratulations to the family!

    How big was YOUR baby?

     

    Image via Wicker Furniture/Flickr


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    mom beaten for bad parking jobMaybe I've watched too many police procedurals, but parking lots have always made me uneasy. Now comes the startling news that a mom was viciously beaten in the parking lot near a Florida holiday light display. Christine Beckwith says she was attacked by two women ... over a bad parking job!

    The whole beat down happened right in front of Beckwith's three children, who had to watch as their mom was grabbed by the hair and thrown into the trunk of a car. Beckwith was then held down by one assailant as the other punched and scratched at her.

    All this over a bad parking job?

    Beckwith admits she hadn't parked quite straight, which is rather annoying to other drivers ... but at worst you leave a note on the person's car, right? The sin of a crooked car hardly seems worth a response of this magnitude. Unfortunately, you never do know what will set someone off, do you?

    I think that's what makes parking lots so unsettling: you never know who is out there or what they have in mind. Road rage is scary enough, but generally you're in your own car, and you can at least hit the gas and drive away ... or hit the locks at the very least.

    In a parking lot, you're defenseless. Worse, you're typically juggling packages or a shopping cart, making you more vulnerable. And if you're a mother, of course, you're particularly expose because any potential attacker knows you're likely to give up anything in order to protect your kids.

    In addition to practicing safe parking practices -- parking in well-lit areas, parking as close to the store door as possible, getting my keys out while still inside the store, looking around me as I walk to and from my car -- there are certain places I simply won't shop at when my daughter is with me because I know moms have been attacked there before and I don't want to risk it.

    But one would think a community's holiday lighting display would be in a "safe" area for a mom and her kids ... and one would hope that a crooked car wouldn't set someone off this way. 

    My heart goes out to this mom as she heals from her injuries and to her little ones as they recover from the trauma of what they had to witness. Here's hoping the cops catch these assailants and fast. As Christine's 9-year-old says, they're on Santa's naughty list for sure!

    What do you do to keep your family safer in parking lots?

     

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    Image via Click Orlando


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    kailyn lowry and kidsOhhhh, poor Kailyn Lowry and Javi Marroquin! The Teen Mom 2 stars have had to face a heartbreaking moment as parents: what to do when your beloved dog becomes a danger to your family.

    Kail and her children are often seen in photos surrounded by the family's pets, from dogs to cats and even a turtle. But it seems one of their dogs, a mastiff named Honey, turned on little Isaac recently:

    @MELM0LZ@debbie_girl1991 my mastiff bit Isaac but we rehomed her with a very heavy heart. Not because we didn't love her.

    — Kail Lowry-Marroquin (@KailLowry) December 23, 2013

     

    Ugh! Could a decision be more agonizing?

    As a mom who is raising a child with two dogs, I can't imagine having to turn my beloved dogs out of the house. They are part of the family.

    And yet, our kids come first. Kailyn made the right choice here.

    It's hard to know if a dog that bites once will bite again, but the risk is much higher than with a dog that hasn't shown any aggressive tendencies.

    Some folks feel that retraining a dog that has bitten is enough, but when you've got kids involved, the risks are pretty high. Even children being raised to be kind and respectful of their pets are likely to do things that make a dog mad ... they're kids! If the dog can't handle that, there's no way they should be around any child, least of all toddler Isaac and baby Lincoln.

    Frankly, with that in mind, I don't even think it has to come to an actual bite with some dogs. I don't know what sort of behavior Honey showed prior to biting Isaac, so I don't fault Kail for waiting to rehome her dog, but some pups simply are not good with kids. Period.

    More From The Stir: 14 Most Controversial 'Teen Mom' Parenting Moments of 2013

    Children are the victims of half of the 4.7 million dog bites in the United States every year, and one third of THOSE are from the family dog. But many of those dogs showed signs of aggression before actually biting a child.

    Snarling, showing their teeth, and snapping at a child are all signs of aggressive behavior that may or may not signal the dog is fed up with or uncomfortable with a child. If the child is creating the problem, then work with the child to address the issue. If the child is NOT at fault, get help! Sometimes it's as simple as some obedience classes, but an expert can also tell you if this dog really needs to find a new home ... before disaster strikes.

    Have you ever had to rehome a pet? What were the signs?

     

    Image via Instagram


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Markell Beasley Demetrius BeasleyAn Amber Alert for a missing Missouri boy has been cancelled, but there is no good news to report in the case of 6-year-old Markell Beasley. The little boy is dead in an apparent murder-suicide. So is his mother's ex-boyfriend, a man who helped raise him and gave little Markell his last name.

    Like the large percentage of abductions, Markell's was what's known as a non-stranger abduction. His mother, Michelle Gelling, had allowed him to go to what she thought was a Christmas gathering with the family of her ex-boyfriend Demetrius Beasley

    Only it turns out there was no Christmas party, and the Beasleys had turned the little boy over to Demetrius. When Gelling reported her son missing, she believed he was with her ex-boyfriend, who she said was making threats to her via text and phone, warning her he would not return her son.

    Cops believe Demetrius Beasley actually killed his ex-girlfriend's son before turning the gun on himself on Wednesday.

    I can't help thinking about the members of Beasley's family who helped him get hold of this little boy. Did they know what he was planning? I can't imagine they did. No one in their right mind would set something like this up if they could foresee a loved one dying OR a child dying ... forget both happening.

    Demetrius was not the boy's father and apparently did not have any legal rights to custody. Still, he clearly had a vested interest in the child and whatever issue he had to work out should have been left to him and Gelling. Sticking your nose into someone else's custody issues can never end well.   

    This family will have a LOT weighing on their conscience for years to come.

    What do you think should happen with the family here? Should they be charged for helping Beasley?

     

    Image via Missouri State Highway Patrol


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    weight lossAnyone who has ever tried to lose a few pounds will tell you it's not an easy feat. But a father of three managed to lose more than 40 pounds in just two months, and he had the most important reason in the world to do it. His infant daughter was dying, and she needed a liver. His liver.

    Little Jazlyn Camargo was diagnosed right after birth with biliary atresia, a condition of the liver that is life-threatening. By 5 months old, her doctors said she needed a transplant.

    It's one of the scariest things any parent can be told, particularly when they have an infant. Organ transplants into babies are particularly tricky because of their size. Adult organs cannot always fit into babies, which means parents have to wait for the organs from pediatric cases to become available, and not every parent of a dead child wants to donate their child's organs.

    But Eduardo Camargo's daughter didn't need to be put on the list. The liver is one of the few organs that can be sliced into pieces and transplanted. That means that a baby can often get an adult's liver transplant. What's more, the transplant can come from a living donor rather than having to wait for someone to die. 

    Fortunately for Jazlyn, her dad was a perfect match. The only problem was his weight. At 210 pounds, the 35-year-old's body mass was putting a strain on his own liver, which meant he wasn't a candidate for the surgery.

    Only what parent is going to let a few pounds get in the way of saving their child's life? I know I've struggled with losing weight before, but if there was ever an incentive to make it happen, looking at the grim statistics for organ donation would be enough to help me over any hurdle I encountered. 

    Every day in America, an estimated 18 people die because they don't receive organ transplants that can save their lives. For livers alone, there are about 16,000 people on the waiting list at any one time. If a parent has it in their power to keep a child off that list, you better believe they'll do something to keep them off of it!

    Eduardo Camargo ran 20 miles a week, sometimes vomiting from the strain, but he did it. He slimmed down from 210 to near the 180-pound mark, and the surgery happened!

    He was a true hero for his little girl. Jazlyn and dad are doing fine now after the life-saving surgery. And here's betting he's a lot more fun to play with for his girls now that he's 40-some pounds lighter and better able to run around with them!

    Have you ever struggled to lose weight? How have your kids inspired you to take the weight off?

     

    Image via sylvar/Flickr


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    movie theaterHave you seen the videos of the huge brawl at a Florida shopping center movie theater over the holiday? There was a time when taking the kids to the movies was just a regular family outing. But these days it seems you have to sit down the whole family for disaster preparedness training before you go anywhere.

    The massive fight that had parents worried about the safety of their kids at the movies involved some 600 people yelling and hitting. Cops poured into the shopping center, armed with pepper spray, to shut it down.

    Can you imagine you're at the theater to catch an animated flick with your kid, and the place turns into a melee with fists flying and pepper spray heavy in the air?

    According to cops, the fight at the Hollywood River City 14 movie theater at the River City Marketplace in Jacksonville, Florida, began when a bunch of teenagers rushed an off-duty cop who responded by pepper-spraying them. Back-up arrived and they were able to lock theatergoers inside, with those troublesome teens outside, but the huge crowd took over the parking lot, leaving families who were at the center's restaurants and the theater trapped.

    The whole thing happened around 8:30 p.m., when the theater was still showing kids' films such as Frozen. The parents of several teenagers who went to the shopping center to pick up their kids said they had a hard time finding out where their children were and actually getting TO their kids. A safe zone had to actually be set up for parents and kids to be reunited.

    Is this really the world we're living in? Where you need to have a battle plan in place with your family in case movie night turns into a police situation?

    Sadly, the 600-person fight in Jacksonville on Christmas isn't the first of its kind. Just last month, a brawl took over the Danbury Fair Mall in Connecticut, drawing cops to the food court to shut down a 20-person fight. Earlier this year, 200-some teens were involved in a fight that shut down a Louisiana mall.

    Scary stuff.

    And while I'm not going to lock my doors and keep my family at home because of it, it's the kind of thing that does make me more inclined to go to malls that have rules about groups of teenagers hanging out together and have visible security on hand.

    It may also be wise to start talking to our kids about what to do if a fight breaks out near them ... so they aren't paralyzed by fear if it does happen, and you can get away from it all.

    Just look at what went down in Florida:

     

    What do you think can be done to protect innocent citizens from these sort of mass fights?

     

    Image via M. Pratter/Flickr


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    thank you noteWell, Christmas is over, so you know what time it is, don't you folks? It's time for the semi-annual fight over the dreaded thank you notes.

    In my house it goes something like this: I tell the child she needs to thank her aunts and uncles for her goodies. She groans. Loudly. Oh, and to think I once thought the world's worst sound was nails on the chalkboard. I was wrong.

    The most annoying sound in the world, the sound guaranteed to set every parent on edge, is that groan of an exasperated nearly tween who is raring for a fight with her (or his) parents.

    I used to be really good about thank you notes. Even when my wrists were on fire from pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel syndrome, I carefully hand wrote a card for each and every baby shower gift.

    But then my daughter came along, and I just got ... busy. I would give verbal thank yous always, and sometimes I would write the actual cards, but often I'd forget or -- and this speaks to the scattered brain of a mom -- simply forget to send them.

    It wasn't until a few years ago, as my daughter became more adept at writing, that I realized I really needed to get back in the habit. More to the point: I needed to get HER in the habit.

    We've always stressed gratitude for gifts, stressed being thankful and saying thank you, stressed not expecting material things and enjoying the company of our friends at parties or family at Christmas. And yet, I feared it was not enough.

    Writing thank you notes, I assumed, is the traditional manner of expressing thanks, and something my child must learn to do. Only these days I'm beginning to question whether it's really worth it.

    After every gift-giving event, a war breaks out between child and parents. Saying thank you, my daughter will tell us, should be enough. Writing a thank you note, the 8-year-old reasons, is just icing on the cake.

    Only unlike real icing -- which kids would prefer in mass quantities, the better for poking their fingers in and licking -- there's absolutely no enjoyment in writing thank you notes.

    Sure, you can wax poetic about the inner joy to be found when you express your gratitude to someone, but let's get real. To an 8-year-old, writing a thank you note is a chore. End of story.

    And I'm not so sure what that chore actually teaches my child.

    That she needs to "earn" her gifts by spending time nose-to-the-grindstone? That with all good things comes a little pain and suffering?

    I suppose those messages might teach kids a little bit about entitlement, but I thought thank you notes were supposed to be about gratitude.

    Is my kid really learning to be thankful for something when it's directly linked to doing something she abhors? Is she really showing "thanks" when she's miserable?

    A thank you note written by an angry child is really no more a sign of true thanks than an "I'm sorry" that an equally angry child is forced to give a hurt sibling by their parents. The kid says they're sorry, but do they really mean it? Nope.

    So what are they saying in a thank you note they don't want to write? If anything, I wonder if sitting kids down to do thank you notes doesn't build up more resentment than anything.

    Because if I push myself hard enough, I can think back to when I was a kid and I had to write thank you notes myself. And if I'm completely honest with myself, I can recognize that my attitude was on par with my daughter's.

    I hated it. I hated the way my wrist cramped up. I hated having to come up with an outright lie about how I loved that hideous sweater from Granny.

    If I sound like a brat, I'm sorry. I'm not perfect, but I think I was a pretty typical kid. And I was a grateful one. I didn't get a lot of presents as a kid, so I did have a true appreciation for people who thought of me. I still do.

    But it isn't the thank you notes that made me that way. I've learned about being thankful via verbal thanks and actually doing things for other people. I am one of those people who loves buying and making things for other people much more than receiving ... something I'm trying to instill in my daughter. I tend to think that's gratitude: being grateful for what you have an wanting to pass it on to others to make their lives better.

    If you have a kid who -- God love 'em -- actually enjoys writing thank you notes, then by all means, have them scribble 'em out to their heart's content. But if it's a fight to get the kids to write thank you notes, maybe there's another way to teach them this lesson ... one that won't make them resentful and angry?

    Do you force the kids to write thank you notes? How else do you help teach them to be grateful for the things they receive?

     

    Image via stevendepolo/Flickr

     


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Farrah Abraham beerIf you're a Teen Mom fan, let's face it, 2013 will go down in history as the year Jenelle Evans was arrested just three times. Isn't that some kind of record? Ah, I jest. But this was a big year for the Teen Mom stars, what with a new show -- Teen Mom 3 -- and a whole new cast of girls to get to know ... and plenty of drama from our favorites.

    There were arrests and divorces galore ... and a certain sex tape turned porno flick, remember that? Ha, as if Farrah Abraham would let us forget!

    So here it is ... the 13 craziest Teen Mom moments of 2013. Grab your popcorn and dive in!

    More From The Stir: 14 Most Controversial 'Teen Mom' Parenting Moments of 2013

    Did you ever see number 11 actually HAPPENING?

     

    Image via Instagram


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Alyssa MilanoAh, celebrity mothers. They really are just like us. When their kids have boogers, they pawn them off on mom, and when they get all dressed up for a big night out, they end up packing the breast pump in their bag. How do we know?

    Because celeb moms do exactly what the rest of us do when they're a little overwhelmed by parenting. They turn to the Internet to let it OUT. And HOW! Get a load of some of the best tweets about parenting from celebrity moms in 2013!

    From sweet to silly, they pretty much cover the bases ... and make it clear being a mom is being a mom, no matter your tax bracket:

    //

    Which Tweet is your favorite?

     

    Image via Instagram


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    fireworkThe new year. Could we possible be here already?! I know every year is the same length (except for those pesky leap years), but with each one that passes, they seem to be shorter and shorter. I swear it was January 1 just the other day ... and here we are again. So how to mark the journey into 2014?

    It seems only appropriate that we step back and look at some of the wise words that have been spoken (or written) about new years past. These quotes are just a little inspiration to kick your resolutions in gear and start the new year off the right way!

    What is your favorite saying about new year's?

     

    Image by Jeanne Sager



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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    crime scene tapeA father is dead and his 15-year-old son is in custody today after a heartbreaking bout of domestic violence in a Florida home. Cops say Christopher Albano came home drunk after celebrating the new year and hit his wife, so the couple's teenage son decided to defend his mother ... by shooting his father.

    The 34-year-old father of three was found dead at the scene. The 15-year-old was taken into custody by police.

    So far, no charges have been filed against the teenager, but a man is dead, and that can't be ignored, regardless of the alleged assailant's age or good intentions.

    Because it does sound like the boy had good intentions, albeit misguided ones that ended in tragedy. He wanted to protect his mother. Can you fault a kid for that?

    Kids don't have to be the physical victims of domestic violence going on in their household for it to affect them. Just watching mom get beat on over and over and over again can have a devastating effect on a child. It can make a child feel helpless to change their situation. Researchers have also found kids who live with domestic violence have higher levels of anger and hostility than their peers and are more likely to exhibit aggressive behaviors themselves.

    Put all those feelings together, and you're creating a powder keg. A drunken father beating on mom when there was a gun available may have just been the spark that set it off.

    I don't believe that violence should ever be the answer to anything. It would be a much nicer world if people answered slights with words rather than blows -- or guns. But I can't help but hope that the police delve deeply into this family's past before considering what to do with this boy. I hope they go at least a little easy on him.

    How about you? What kind of punishment do you think fits this "crime"?

     

    Image via Tetra Images/Corbis


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Farrah Abraham Brian DaweRaise of hands: who thought the sudden reveal that Farrah Abraham had a boyfriend smelled like a hoax? We've suspected since early November that the Teen Mom star's relationship with Florida DJ Brian Dawe was yet another publicity stunt from the girl who filmed a sex tape with a porn star only to have it "leaked" and land her an actual porn deal. And now the jig is up!

    Dawe has admitted the two cooked the whole thing up to land Farrah a role on VH1's fourth season of Couples Therapy. Of course, he's come out to say all this just as VH1 is set to air the show's premiere tonight. Interesting timing, wouldn't you say?

    More From The Stir: 13 Craziest 'Teen Mom' Moments of 2013

    The rumors have always been that the relationship was as much for Dawe's benefit as Farrah's -- it got him national exposure. Now with the nation about to see him outed as a giant ass clown who abandoned his girlfriend on the first day of therapy meant to revive their relationship, he's realizing that he shot himself in the foot with it all. Instead of getting gigs, Dawe is doing major damage control. As he told Starcasm:

    I got myself in this situation because I was only thinking about the profit I would be making from doing this show. That was wrong. In the back of my head I realized I could not participate in a TV show that would further exploit Farrah, and where I would have to lie to be involved.

    OK. OK. We get it. He's sooooo sorry. 

    But should he be? Really?

    Granted, he is an idiot for going along with it in the first place.

    Buuuuuut, he helped Farrah land in therapy ... which she clearly needs if she's nutty enough to actually FAKE A BOYFRIEND TO GET ON A REALITY SHOW ABOUT COUPLES GOING THROUGH THERAPY.

    The show may be focused on couples, but these shenanigans are simply proof positive that Farrah has some serious issues when it comes to relationships. She needs therapy. Plain and simple.

    Sitting there watching real couples -- from Real Housewives star Taylor Armstrong and her fiance to Jon Gosselin and his girlfriend -- deal with serious issues such as finding a healthy relationship after domestic violence and learning to love again after divorce could be exactly what she needs to stop turning everything in her life into another publicity stunt and find something authentic.

    What do you think of Dawe for going along with this hoax?

     

    Image via Instagram


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Kate WinsletIf you thought Kate Winslet was going to let new baby Bear have husband Ned RocknRoll's unusual (read: weird) last name, think again. Not only did Kate give her son her own last name, but she's come out to say letting the baby bear her husband's last name never even crossed her mind!

    Because she's the baby's mother. Got that?!

    The fact is, Winslet has shared her last name with all three of her kids. As she told Glamour:

    [My older children] Mia and Joe have it as part of their name, so it would be weird if this baby didn't. Of course we're not going to call it RocknRoll. People might judge all they like, but I'm a f--king grown-up.

    Wow! Way to tell it like it is, Kate!

    What's more, Winslet said she and Rocknroll (whose name was Abel Smith but was changed legally) never even discussed Bear's last name. That decision was entirely in her hands.

    More From The Stir: 22 Things You NEVER Say to a Mom About Her Baby Name

    I have to admit that for a second, I was taken aback that these two parents didn't discuss something as big as a baby's last name. Not a great sign for co-parenting in the future.

    That was my knee-jerk reaction.

    But just after I thought it, I felt ashamed of myself and rather like I'd just betrayed womankind.

    The fact is, my husband and I never discussed the last name of our baby either. It was just assumed that she would bear his name, and she does. Considering I took his name when we married, it seemed like the thing to do. But more than 13 years into marriage and more than 8 years after giving birth, I won't deny that I regret both moves just a wee bit. I love my husband, but I miss the name I learned to scrawl in kindergarten, the name on my high school diploma.

    When my own daughter scrawls her name, I sometimes feel a little sad. She has much in common with the family of my birth, but she isn't "one of them."

    If I hadn't given up my maiden name, I wonder, would things have been so automatic? Hyphenating my German mouthful of a maiden name wouldn't have been practical, but would we have discussed giving her my name instead?

    I find it more than a little sad that women so often lose a strong piece of their identity because that's just how it's been done for generations, and continues past marriage when a child gets dad's last name. Women have borne babies for generations too; doesn't that hard work count? Doesn't what a mom puts into baby matter?

    In no way am I denigrating a father's contribution to a child's upbringing, but in those early days when naming is on the table, let's face it: mom has still done the lion's share. She's carried the baby for nine months (give or take) and borne all the complications that come with pregnancy.

    At the end of the day, I do think parents should be on the same page with as much as possible, so I'm not against actually having a conversation about whose last name to use. But I would be lying if I didn't think it would be nice to see the tables turned and moms no longer feeling like they were tied by some outdated gender rules when it comes to baby naming.

    Moms do so much for their babies ... it would be nice to see it become "normal" for babies to bear mom's name instead of something moms have to defend.

    Did you have a talk about your baby's last name before actually filling out the birth certificate? Who won?

     

    Image via PacificCoastNews


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Amber PortwoodThe Amber Portwood we're seeing these days is nothing like the girl we remember from Teen Mom. She's out of prison, off the drugs, and actually owning up to all that she did to screw up her own life. But no matter how far she's come, it doesn't seem to be enough for ex-boyfriend Gary Shirley. He knows Amber wants to share custody of daughter Leah ... and he's not having it!

    The single dad has come out to say he wants to protect his 5-year-old, and to do that, he's going to keep the little girl's mom at bay. Poor guy is between a rock and a hard place here, isn't he?

    More From The Stir: Amber Portwood's 10 Most Shocking Confessions to Dr. Phil (VIDEO)

    According to an OK! interview with Gary, the Teen Mom star is worried his ex will fall back into the lifestyle that landed her in prison in the first place:

    Well, everyone knows that she went to jail for drugs and stuff. I’m not saying that she’ll ever get back into that, but I hear stories of how easy it is [to relapse] because that pressure is always there.

    I don’t want to screw myself over [by agreeing to joint custody] and then have to fight for Leah. So I think it’s going to stay the way it is, just to protect Leah.

    Gary is certainly wise to be wary of Amber's grasp on sobriety. As many as 60 percent of drug addicts will relapse, no matter how much they want to stay clean. Amber has said many times since her release that Leah is her driving force to stay clean, but it may not be enough.

    That said, there's being cautious and then there's being punitive. Amber has already been punished by the courts for her mistakes. She spent time in prison, and while there, she really put in the hard work she needed to put in to become a better mom. She got clean, and she took parenting and anger management classes both.

    She is trying to be a good parent, which is more than a lot of people can say.

    So why shouldn't she get some custody? I'm not talking full custody here -- Gary is clearly a good dad and has been the ONLY parent providing for Leah for quite some time. I'm not even suggesting Amber get more time with Leah than Gary.

    But even he has said it's been good for Leah to have overnights with her mom. So why not give Amber an every other weekend schedule or one night a week? Make it conditional upon her maintaining her sobriety?

    If you're co-parenting with someone who is on the wagon, you should be cautious, but you can't hold it over their head forever. You can't just hold custody like a carrot in front of them and say you'll get it when you prove you can stay clean. The fact is, an addict may relapse immediately, in 10 years, 20 years, or not at all.

    Amber has already lost enough time with Leah, and more importantly, Leah has lost that time with her mom. How much longer are they really supposed to go so this mom can prove she won't screw up?

    Do you think addicts should regain custody of their kids? What kind of conditions should be put on it?

     

    Image via Splash News


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Prince William Kate MiddletonThe British royal family may have a reputation for being rather stuffy, but times they are a changin'. First Prince William chooses a wife who dares to wear the same outfit twice. Now the future king of England has been caught taking selfies!

    Well, one selfie anyway! The Duke of Cambridge broke away from wife Kate Middleton and son George for a bit to snap a photo with a 12-year-old fan!

    Does this put the future king in the running for sweetest world leader ever? Or sweetest royal, at the very least?

    Apparently the tween fan, Madison Lambe, had queued up with other Brits at the Queen's Sandringham Estate on Christmas. She was eager to get a glimpse of Prince William, Kate Middleton, and the rest of the royal family on the holiday. What she didn't expect was for the future king to stop and talk to her, nor for him to actually agree to be in a photo! Wills reportedly told the girl, "You can't beat a good selfie on Christmas Day," and when she was too nervous to work her phone's camera, the Duke actually took it himself! 

    Ah, he is very much Princess Diana's son, isn't he?

    While his grandmother takes a very traditional approach to being the monarch, Prince William really seems to work hard at being more of a man of the people. Only I don't get the sense that he's acting. He really seems to relate to everyday folks and WANT to interact with them. Surely the way his mom raised him -- taking Wills and Harry to see Santa at the department store, bringing them along to shelters, and making sure her boys got "pocket money" so they'd know the value of real money -- played a role here.

    In the long run, a monarch who likes to have a little fun and is OK with being one of the people can only be good for the royal family as a whole. Their power as politicians is so little that their real strength lies in the affection of their people.

    The more Wills -- and Kate -- do to engender good will, the better it is for the future of their reign. And hey, who can resist any celebrity who will do something silly to make a 12-year-old girl happy on a holiday?

    What do you think of Prince William's selfie? Is this what you want to see from a royal?

     

    Image via Splash News


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Farrah Abraham Whitney Mixter Sara BettencourtCouples Therapy is back and man oh Manischewitz, if the premiere is any indication, season 4 is going to be good! We've got Real Housewives' Taylor Armstrong, engaged but still reeling from all that drama with her ex; The Real L Word's Whitney Mixter & Sara Bettencourt; Ghostface Killa; and Jon Gosselin all digging deep into their relationships. But as we pretty much expected from the moment the cast was announced, it's Farrah Abraham of Teen Mom fame who is already the clear winner for biggest drama of them all.

    From all the promos, we already knew Farrah ended up the first ever celebrity to star on the VH1 series solo. What we didn't know is that the girl can actually act! Oh, I know, it's supposed to be a reality show. People aren't supposed to be "acting."

    But considering Farrah's "boyfriend" Brian Dawe has just come out in real life to explain he bailed because their relationship was completely phony and made up to get her the gig, Farrah's frequent tears over the guy who did her wroooooong, sob, hiccup, sob were rather good!

    More From The Stir: Farrah Abraham's 'Boyfriend' Finally Comes Clean About Their Relationship

    She certainly had the other couples in the house fooled. Celebrity therapist Dr. Jenn Berman put it to Farrah to explain why she was flying solo to the other celebs, and her voice cracked like she was actually going through some emotional turmoil. Ghostface Killa, who seems pretty heartless about how his cheating hurts girlfriend Kelsey Nykole, even said he felt sorry for her. She also got a big sister welcome from Taylor Armstrong who said she and fiance Joh Bluher are totally on board with Farrah sticking around for couples therapy even though she's not part of a couple.

    In the end, the couples all agreed she should stick around ... if only so she stops making mega relationship mistakes. Whether or not the Dawe storyline is a fake (cough, cough), I'd say it's a good call. We saw plenty of those mistakes on Teen Mom (anyone remember Daniel Alvarez?)!

    What will be really fun this season is seeing how long Farrah can keep up the "OMG, my boyfriend is a meany pants" charade. Anyone want to put a guess on whether she breaks?

    What do you think of the show's decision to keep her on board after her "boyfriend" bailed? 

     

    Image via VH1


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Aubrey Lee PriceHow's this for a crazy story to start the new year? A father thought to have committed suicide 18 months ago is back from the dead and headed to prison after a routine traffic stop! Banker Aubrey Lee Price was facing a federal indictment for embezzlement in 2012 when he disappeared, leaving his wife and kids to believe he'd died by throwing himself off of a ferry boat. 

    But when police stopped him for overly tinted windows in Brunswick, Georgia, Price 'fessed up to having been on the run for a year and a half after faking his own death!

    Say it with me now: What. A. Jerk.

    His poor wife! His poor kids!

    For 18 months, they've apparently thought Dad was dead, as Price himself admits his family didn't know what was going on. And this whole time he was wandering the country, growing out his hair and working odd jobs?

    Just to avoid prison?

    According to the allegations against him, Price, a former pastor, had lost millions in an investment scheme, so he'd moved $21 million from various accounts at the Montgomery Bank & Trust to cover up thefts and losses. The moves caused the bank's collapse, and Price was facing some pretty hefty federal charges in the case when he wrote out a suicide note and boarded a ferry headed for Fort Myers, Florida. Video showed Price getting on the ferry, but no one saw him get off the on the other end. The Coast Guard searched for a body, but none came up.

    The 47-year-old had reportedly told his family of plans to leap off a ferry to kill himself, and a judge eventually declared him dead.

    Only the FBI never agreed with the judge, and now we know why.

    Price is alive and well.

    And his poor wife and kids have to live with the fact that he abandoned them.

    You know, there are a lot of things in this world that are forgivable. Embezzlement is not something I agree with, but if he'd faced up to the crimes and done the time, well, you could see a woman standing by her man. She doesn't have to condone what he did to still love him.

    But a man who abandons his wife and kids? Who lets them go through the pain and suffering commensurate with grieving a loved one?

    That's a lot to forgive!

    I don't know if the relief that the father of my kids is alive would be enough to carry me over that hump.

    How about you? What would your reaction be?

     

    Images via Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office; Glynn County Detention Center


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