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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.

    hospital roomThe heartbreaking case of Marlise Munoz, the brain dead pregnant woman who has been kept on life support for six weeks against her family's wishes, may soon near an end. Friday a Texas judge demanded the J.P.S. Health Network, which runs John Peter Smith Hospital, acede to the request of husband Erick Munoz to let his wife go. And now, it seems the hospital is finally going to listen to the pregnant woman's family.

    They're only six weeks late in helping this poor family.

    Both EMTs, the Munozes had discussed end-of-life-care before a pulmonary embolism rendered her brain dead when she was 14 weeks pregnant. Erick said his wife did not wish to be kept alive via artificial means. But J.P.S. has put up a fight from the beginning, and there was a worry that even Friday's judgment would not be enough.

    The hospital has maintained that Marlise must remain on the machines because of a Texas law requiring life-sustaining treatment for pregnant women, despite the fact that she is brain dead and despite news that the Munoz fetus suffers from severe abnormalities unrelated to Marlise's condition.

    But a hospital spokesperson has come out to tell media that J.P.S. will follow the judge's ruling, noting, "From the onset, J.P.S. has said its role was not to make nor contest law, but to follow it."

    About. Time.

    The hospital has until 5 p.m. Monday to take Marlise Munoz off the machines and allow her husband and 15-month-old son Mateo to move on as best they can after her death.

    My heart goes out to them. It's a terrible decision to have to make, but it's only been made that much more terrible by this hospital's lack of respect for Marlise's wishes and her husband's too.

    What do you think of the hospital's statement?


    Image via daveynin/Flickr

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    sean lowe catherine giudiciTonight is the big night! The live televised Bachelor wedding! Catherine Giudici and Sean Lowe have planned a night wedding to coincide with ABC's 8 p.m. ET airtime, but photos are already leaking out of the Four Seasons Biltmore of everything that's going on behind the scenes.

    The flowers, Catherine's hair and even where the couple will, ahem, "consummate" their marriage, have been revealed. You ready? Let's go behind the scenes!

    Check out the gorgeous flowers -- roses ... OF COURSE:

    The flowers have arrived 4 #thebachelorwedding from #marksgarden@mindyweiss vision coming to life @FSSantaBarbarapic.twitter.com/oVs7WEC9cm

    — TheBachelorTV (@TheBachelorTV) January 25, 2014

    Where are they putting all those flowers? Check out everything behind host Chris Harrison -- it looks GORGEOUS!

    @chrisbharrison can't stop taking selfies #TheBachelorWeddingpic.twitter.com/kLL0sjWXcb

    — Robert Mills (@Millsy11374) January 26, 2014

    The couple really did it up for the rehearsal dinner -- check out all the people:

    .@clmgiudici and @SeanLowe09 last night at their rehearsal dinner at the @fssantabarbara! #TheBachelorWeddingpic.twitter.com/t9wjhwKArO

    — The Bachelor (@BachelorABC) January 26, 2014

    Catherine opted for an up-do from Jose Eber Hair:

    There's been a lot of talk about how Catherine and Sean have opted to wait until marriage for sex. Sean says it will happen tonight for sure ... and here's where, the Ty Warner Cottage:

    Are you pumped for this wedding?


    Image via Instagram

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Beyonce Jay-Z Grammy'sThe 2014 Grammys may have just won the award for "shortest time it took for American parents to scream, 'Get to bed' to the kids during an awards show." Beyonce opened the show with a tiny black thong, mile-high fishnets, soaking wet hair, and a Flashdance-style dance on a chair that would have been hot all on its own. But then husband Jay-Z swaggered out to drop his rhymes on "Drunk in Love" and place his hands on his wife's derriere.

    Yes, folks, Beyonce let her hubby feel her up on national television while she did a little bump and grind on him. I suppose we're just supposed to be grateful that she didn't stick her tongue out too?

    Frankly, I don't think kids should see most awards show, so mine was already off in bed. But I saw plenty of folks -- parents and none -- on Twitter tonight asking why Hova and Bey didn't just GET A ROOM. At the risk of sounding like a prude, I have to agree.

    Just because they're married to each other doesn't make the whole bump and grind any more appropriate than Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke's, folks. We didn't need to see all that, at least not at the opening of the show. Beyonce was more or less wearing undies. We could see her whole butt, y'all!

    The couple also set off the censors several times, earning bleeps on whole sections of their performance for their curse words.

    As a whole, the performance wasn't bad, but it would have probably been a heckuva lot better if it had been held for after 9 p.m.

    What do you think? Watch the video and tell us -- was this an appropriate way to open the Grammys?


    Image via Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Leah CalvertThe fifth season of Teen Mom 2 opened with a bang last week, but can the MTV series keep the drama amped that high? From the looks of the show's second episode, absolutely. When Leah Calvert and her husband, Jeremy Calvert, start talking about his job working on the pipeline, man oh man do sparks fly!

    Remember all those rumors about the couple getting a divorce? Well, The Stir has obtained an exclusive clip from season 5, and you can cut the tension with a knife! Just look what happens when Leah brings up the idea of Jeremy getting a job closer to home:

    MTV Shows


    I have to say it's hard to know whom to side with here. On the one hand, Jeremy is right, he does pay their bills, and I respect the heck out of anyone who works long hours at a hard job for the sake of their family.

    More From The Stir: Leah Calvert Answers Divorce Rumors Once & For All

    That said, Leah has three kids at home! One is a newborn, and another has serious health issues. Is it really all that surprising that she'd want a little ... HELP? From her husband?

    Maybe it's because this was one of those planned sit-down and catch-up chats MTV works into the show so fans can find out what has gone on when they weren't filming, but Jeremy just doesn't sound very sympathetic to how rough this all has to be for Leah. Even if he doesn't intend to change jobs, he could try a little compassion! If he wants to make this marriage work, he's going to have to be just a tad bit nicer!

    Can't wait to see how all this plays out tomorrow night at 10 p.m. on MTV.

    Whose side are you on here? Jeremy's or Leah's?


    Image via MTV

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Kailyn LowryKailyn Lowry may be a reality star, but the mother of two has gained a faithful following of fans in large part because she's not afraid to open up about the tough stuff going on in her life. This week the star of Teen Mom 2 quietly shared a pregnancy confession on her Instagram page. Beside a photo of her sleeping newborn, Lincoln, Kail 'fessed up that her second pregnancy was far from ideal. In fact, Kailyn went so far as to admit she did not "connect" to her second son during pregnancy.

    Pretty brave of her to say it, don't you think? With the way people swarm around these Teen Moms, ready to criticize anything they say? Still, I'm glad she's speaking out.

    As Kail said of Lincoln:

    Such a good baby. You guys have no idea. I don't even know how I could be so lucky. I was not connected to this second pregnancy like I was when I was pregnant with Isaac but as soon as this little human being was born it's like every feeling and anxiety I had was reversed. I swear to you this baby boy doesn't ever cry unless he's hungry and even then I hate letting him get to that point. I really cannot express the love I have for my Lincoln.

    What a difference the time from gestation to birth can make, huh? I know a fair amount of women who have suffered through feelings of being a "bad mom" before their children are even born because they just can't form an emotional bond with someone they haven't met yet.

    More From The Stir: Kailyn Lowry Wants to Be a Role Model for Crunchy Moms

    In Kailyn's case, when I sat down with her a few weeks ago to talk about what we'd see of her pregnancy on season 5 of Teen Mom 2, she admitted things were rough because she and husband Javi Marroquin were living two hours apart for much of the pregnancy. Javi was in Delaware, where the Air Force has him stationed, while she was in Pennsylvania, still trying to sort out custody of son Isaac with ex-boyfriend Jo Rivera. On top of that, Kailyn was working and planning their wedding, and it all became overwhelming.

    As she told The Stir:

    I felt like I just wasn't connected to it because we went into it wanting to have a baby, and then it turned into the whole pregnancy having so much stress surrounding it that it just didn't make it fun. It was a rough time.

    It's an agonizing thing, and it can be disappointing to want a baby so badly, become pregnant, and then not feel over the moon. It makes you feel like somewhere along the way you've lost your mooring.

    I should know.

    I've been there. I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum for the bulk of my pregnancy, and the misery of being sick 24 hours a day for months on end often made me question my decision to get pregnant at all, which then made me question if I could really be a good mom if I was already having doubts. 

    Looking back, I realize how ridiculous it all was to put that kind of pressure on myself. Sometimes pregnancy is hard -- be it outside circumstances like Kail's or something physical. It's bound to take a toll on how you're feeling.

    But you are NOT a bad mom if you can't "connect" with the baby in your belly or because you're not all glitter and rainbows when you're pregnant. Nor are you alone. Feelings like yours, feelings like Kailyn's are pretty normal. Some moms will even take awhile to bond after baby is born.

    What's important is that you do fall in love with your baby, eventually, and you shower them with all that love and hold them dear ... for the rest of their lives. If only more moms realized this and stopped getting so down on themselves!

    Then again, the more women like Kailyn are willing to share their stories, the less alone moms will feel. Here's hoping anyway.

    What do you think of Kailyn's confession? Do you find her to be relatable?


    Image by Jeanne Sager

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    teddy bearThe word "abandonment" conjures up images of a child left in the middle of nowhere, without food or clothing, a child whose family didn't care about them. So why has an Ohio mom, who took her 9-year-old son to child services, to a place where he would be cared for, just pleaded guilty to attempted child abandonment?

    Lisa Cox and husband Cleveland made national news last fall when they were accused of trying to "give back" the son they adopted when he was just an infant. But the situation is much more complicated than that. The couple took their son to Butler County Children’s Services after they say he grabbed a knife and threatened to kill them.

    The case quickly became a lightning rod for adoption folks, who cited the horrors of treating a child like a good that can be returned to the store.

    As someone who has a number of adopted relatives whom I love quite dearly, I see their point. Adoption is for life. You don't just give kids back. I feel for this little boy, oh, I feel for him.

    And yet, I feel for his parents too. I'm a mother of an 8-year-old by birth. If she pulled a knife on me and threatened to kill me, I would be terrified and not know what to do. I can't say I'd take her to child services, but it would be awfully tempting ... enough so that I have sympathy for these parents.

    To me, the Coxes' case is less about adoption and more about the lack of resources for parents with troubled kids.

    When you are afraid of your child, where is it that you go? Do you know? 

    You could talk to your child's school psychologist, get some referrals? But what if your health insurance doesn't cover such things (mine doesn't)? And what if that just isn't helping?

    Where do you get immediate relief?

    Maybe it's because I'm a journalist and blogger who often writes about the horrors done to children by parents who DIDN'T reach out for help, that I sympathize with parents who opted to take their child to a safe place, who reached out for help.

    More from The Stir: Brilliant TV Host Gives Away Abandoned Babies On Air (VIDEO)

    Was their decision perfect? Of course not!

    But if you can't seek help from child services, where can you turn? Isn't that what the department is there for? To help parents with their kids? To take care of kids?

    The trouble with taking parents like this to court is that it tells parents not to ask for help. It makes some of the more horrid options sound more ... legitimate.

    Charges against Cleveland Cox were dismissed by prosecutors who said action against him would "jeopardize his employment and the livelihood of his family." Lisa Cox, meanwhile, was forced to plead guilty to the charge of "attempted abandonment."

    She won't face prison time, but still, the charge stands.

    The family is going through counseling, and hopefully they will get back on the right track. But couldn't child services just suggested counseling to begin with? Helped this family instead of making their desperate actions into a criminal case?

    Maybe if there was more help for parents, this poor family never would have gone down this road to begin with ...

    Have you ever felt tempted to do what the Coxes did? What happened?


    Image via Grzegorz Lobinski/Flickr

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Savanna ToddFor 19 years, Samantha Geldenhuys thought she knew who she was. Then came the day in late 2013, when the 20-year-old found out she'd been born Savanna Catherine Todd, and her mother had allegedly kidnapped her when she was 10 months old, moving her from the United States to Australia and never looking back. Think a discovery like that would turn a girl's life upside down? Think again.

    Savanna Todd, who is still going by Samantha Geldenhuys, may have spent 19 years living a lie thanks to mom Dorothy Lee Barnett and her alleged kidnapping scheme, but she's coming out to say she's not a victim. In fact, Todd has some pretty amazing things to say about the time she spent on the run with a fugitive who is in jail facing possible extradition to the U.S.

    A name does not change who you are. I've always had a mother. I've always been loved. I've always been protected.

    That's what she told an Australian news program, and in many ways, it's good to hear. When one parent takes off with another child, there is always the fear that the child will suffer irreparable harm. For her to have come out of this relatively unscathed is remarkable but also heartening.

    It's about as good an outcome as you can get.

    That said, I'd love to have her bottle up that optimism and start handing it out. Forgiving someone who allegedly kidnapped you and lied to you for 19 years? That takes one Pollyanna spirit!

    Don't get me wrong, I don't disagree with Savanna/Samantha here. She has the right to pick how she's going to play this, and no doubt it's better for her psyche to take the higher road.

    But can it be that easy? Should we all be taking the high road and forgiving those who trespass against us? It's a nice idea in theory, but in reality, it does little to teach offenders to mend their ways.

    Not to mention, you can only forgive sins against you, but most crimes hurt more than one person.

    In the Todd's case, her poor father is a victim. For 19 years, Benjamin Harris Todd looked and looked and looked for his daughter and got nowhere. He spent years making public pleas on American talk shows (not knowing, of course, that his daughter was in Australia). As he said in a 1997 interview, the time that his daughter lived with him was "the most joyous time of my life."

    Too bad it was only two months because of what prosecutors say his ex-wife did with their baby girl. Barnett has been charged with international parental kidnapping and two counts of false statements in a passport application.

    No matter what her daughter thinks, the government disagrees about whether Barnett should be forgiven for her alleged actions.

    What do you think of the daughter's response here? Could you forgive someone who'd done something this serious to you?


    Image via Center for Missing and Exploited Children

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Nathan Griffith Teen Mom 2Oh, what a difference a year makes. It was around this time in 2013 that rumors were floating that Jenelle Evans' antics would cause MTV to pull the plug on Teen Mom 2. Instead this week brought the second episode of the show's fifth season and the first on-screen look at Nathan Griffith, Jenelle's baby daddy-to-be, who's taken a lot of credit for keeping the reality star on the straight and narrow (or as straight and narrow as Jenelle plays it anyway) since he showed up last spring.

    So who is this guy, anyway? We've heard he was an underwear model and former Marine, but tonight we saw the couple's first date and found out a whole lot more about what drew Jenelle to him ... and what she's looking for in a guy.

    Turns out Jenelle turned to a dating app to find a new man, and the computer matched her with Nathan. She liked the pictures of his dogs, so she reached out.

    But she just had an abortion in the last episode, how long has it been since she and her husband separated? Not long. Not long at all. In fact, Jenelle was still bleeding from the chemical abortion at the start of tonight's episode, but as she told pal Tori, "I've always continuously been in a relationship since I've been, like, 14. I guess it's just I can't be lonely."

    More From The Stir: Kailyn Lowry Makes Heartbreaking Pregnancy Confession

    Tori must have been getting some Dr. Drew coaching or something because she nailed Jenelle's problem -- she's never gotten much love and comforting from her mom, so she's made a habit of turning to guys ever since she was a kid. And it's become such a priority. Even if Jenelle had full custody of Jace, Tori said she'd still be out looking for some guy to love her because she craves what she didn't get as a kid.

    Kind of makes you wonder what will happen with Jace one day if Jenelle doesn't figure out how to be a good full-time mom, doesn't it?

    Somehow, though, something seems to have gone right here. We got to see the couple's first official date on a mini golf course, and Nathan is actually kind of ... nice? He talks about how much he loves family and makes a point to tell her he is not cool with hardcore drugs after dating a girl who used heroin.

    It's pretty much the polar opposite of Kieffer, who was DOING drugs with Jenelle from the start of their relationship. Could Jenelle have avoided all that mess if she'd just picked a nice guy to start with?

    It kind of makes you wonder. We're judged by the company we keep, after all. If you're surrounding yourself with losers, then people are going to think you're a loser too.

    Of course, the episode wasn't just about Jenelle.

    Chelsea Houska spent her first day at aesthetician school, after having to drag a sleepy Aubree out of bed. She's still got Adam threatening to take her to court, but she's bound and determined to finish this course and actually set a good example for her little girl. After all, as she told buddy Landon, she does NOT want her daughter going the GED route.

    Leah Calvert and Jeremy took their family on a big vacation to Orlando, their last before Jeremy returns to work far from home. He hasn't even left yet, but you can already see the stress of his departure written on Leah's face. With an infant at home and two toddlers, one of them with special needs, she is NOT happy to have her husband leaving town, and it is already hurting their marriage. It doesn't help that Jeremy is not exactly the most demonstrative guy in the world; he doesn't reassure her when she's feeling lonely! 

    Speaking of lonely, Kailyn Lowry was feeling pretty bummed tonight with husband Javi Marroquin off in Delaware where he's been stationed by the Air Force. She's stuck back in Pennsylvania as her custody case continues to wind its way through the courts. She suffered a setback tonight when she arrived at court only to find out a jurisdiction snafu meant the case has to be heard elsewhere, adding at least a few weeks before she will find out whether she and Isaac can move out of state. Her ex, Jo, was pretty happy, of course ... ironic considering HE already moved out of state and away from Isaac! It's sad to see a parent act vindictive toward an ex instead of just trying to make things work for the best of a child.

    Next week it looks like we're going to see more of Jo and Kailyn blowing up at one another, and what happens when Barbra meets Nathan!

    What was your read on Nathan? Is he the guy Jenelle really needs in her life?


    Image via MTV

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Cory RemsburgNo matter what side of the political aisle you were on, there was one moment of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address that surely brought a few tears to your eyes. I'm talking, of course, about the moment when cameras trained on Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg, the Army Ranger who got a thumbs up from the president and his own standing ovation during the big speech.

    The president mentioned the injured soldier as he made a point that "men and women like Cory remind us that America has never come easy." That's certainly true of anyone who sacrifices to join our military, but who is Cory Remsburg and what has he done for our nation?

    Here's what's known about the man who drew bi-partisan cheers last night:

    1. Cory Remsburg joined the Army on his 18th birthday, following a military tradition set by his dad, Craig Remsburg, a retired Air Force Reserve firefighter (who also sat in the box by First Lady Michelle Obama at the State of the Union).

    2. His first deployment came in 2003, and he was deployed nine times after that to Iraq and Afghanistan, for a total of 10.

    3. It was on his last deployment in October 2009 that Remsburg was seriously injured by a roadside bomb in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The Army Ranger ended up with shrapnel in his brain, and he was in a coma for three months from the blast. Extensive therapy has helped him regain his speech and his ability to walk, but Remsburg is blind in one eye and still struggles with movement on his left side.

    4. His relationship with President Obama extends back to 2009, before the incident that nearly took his life. The two met in Hawaii when the president was visiting Omaha Beach on the anniversary of D-Day. They have met twice since.

    5. Remsburg received the Purple Heart for his service to this country. He is a true American hero.

    Watch as folks on both sides of the political aisle recognize Cory Remsburg. What do you wish you could say to him today?

    Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Image via NBC News

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Scott Disick Kourtney KardashianPaging Gisele Bundchen, Scott Disick may need your shoulder to cry on in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... Kourtney Kardashian's baby daddy was just caught on camera by paparazzi taking son Mason out on a four-wheeler. And yup, this was an ATV ride without a helmet ... for both papa and son.

    Oh my, oh my, can you believe a celebrity just had the audacity to do what hundreds (heck, maybe even thousands) of parents do every day? Yup, I'm coming out on Scott Disick's side (please, mark your calendars, it doesn't happen often).

    From the looks of the pictures, Scott took Mason out for a leisurely ride on a quad on the beach in Mexico during their family vacation. The terrain looks flat, and they don't seem to be going super fast.

    So was he a terrible parent?

    Not necessarily. It seems more like he was a celebrity parent who made the mistake of doing something within the range of a zoom lens.

    If he were anyone else -- besides Gisele or P!nk's hubby Carey Hart, of course -- no one would bat an eyelash. At least, none of the millions of parents who know to use these vehicles with a lick of common sense. 

    I say this as someone who grew up in the country where four-wheelers and other all terrain vehicles are extremely common, where many of my classmates were "driving" off-road on some sort of machinery as much as a decade before they could legally get behind the wheel of a car. Kids on machinery, sans helmet, are common where I grew up. Once yearly we even have a town tractor parade (told you it was the country!), and one of my favorite sights is the line of mostly dads, uncles, and grandpas with children on laps, making their way down the street.

    No one ever wears a helmet. But then, no one drives like a bat out of hell with their kids on the vehicle either.

    We take it easy. We drive them around the backyard. We teach them to respect the machine and to be careful.

    What folks who don't spend a lot of time around quads, tractors, and other off-road vehicles don't seem to understand is that there are right and wrong ways to operate these machines. You don't open up the throttle and go nuts. You take it easy. You pay attention to the terrain. You are mindful of your riders. That's just as important -- if not more so -- than helmet usage. 

    What folks who don't spend time around these vehicles don't seem to grasp is that not every ride requires top speeds. A gentle 5 mph ride down the beach is not a wild spin around a track!

    Is it dangerous to go slow with a child on your lap on a quad or a riding lawnmower? Sure. There's an iota of danger to just about everything we do. Heck, I once tripped over a toddler who I was babysitting for (he ran in front of me) while holding my infant daughter in my arms. There is still a dent in my wall from where my body hit the wall as I wrenched myself to keep from hitting her head against it. WALKING is dangerous, folks. It's not going to stop me from doing it.

    The point is: you use precautions. You're careful. You go slow. You take risks ... but calculated ones.

    We can't lock our kids in bubbles and refuse to let them ever have any fun ... not even if you're a celebrity like Scott Disick who has paparazzi watching everything he does with his toddler.

    Be honest -- if this weren't Scott Disick, would anyone be up in arms here? Would YOU?


    Image via Instagram

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    new babyIt's almost time for the Super Bowl, and you know what that means! Time for new parents to come up with some ridiculous baby names in honor of the big game. The first to do it? A set of Seattle Seahawks fans with the last name Mann, who welcomed a baby girl this week. 

    But I'm going to give them a little credit. The Manns came up with a bizarre baby name ... but they may have managed to do what most parents never really figure out how to do. They've given their baby a stupid baby name, but they've done it the "right" way.

    Confused? Maybe the baby girl's name will help you understand.

    See, they named her Cydnee Leigh 12th Mann.

    Get it? The 12th man is a football term. It refers to the fans in a football stadium who "help" the 11 men on the actual field to win the game. In Seattle, where the fan frenzy is so intense that they have actually caused earthquakes (no, REALLY) by stomping their feet, the 12th man is highly valued.

    So what does all this have to do with baby naming? Not much, other than the opportunity the Manns took to honor their favorite team and name their daughter at the same time.

    They've had more than their fair share of critics since the baby girl's name went viral, but I have to be honest. If you're going to give a baby a ridiculous name, this is about the best way to do it!

    Well, let's just look at how the Manns set up their little girl for the future. She has a normal enough first name. She has a very pretty middle name.

    Sure, there's that extra name in there, but when it comes to official documents, it might as well not exist. Most schools are going to ask for a first and middle name, same with the DMV and just about everything going forward. If she wants to, Miss Cydnee Leigh can just pretend her "extra" middle name does not exist.

    I happen to know a little girl in the same boat -- she loved her quirky second middle name when she was a toddler, but now that she's 11, she tends to pretend her parents didn't try to get silly with her name. And she CAN! Her friends know her first name, and some even know her middle name, but since so few people have a second middle name, no one even knows to ask her about it. Her secret is pretty safe with those of us who have known her since birth.

    She's spared the torment of playground jerks, and her parents have their fun. It's the best of both worlds!

    She's a cutie, by the way! Check her out:

    Welcome to the world, Cydnee Leigh 12th Mann. And yes, 12th really is her middle name. #SEAbestfanspic.twitter.com/Ab3WljjEZ0

    — KING 5 News (@KING5Seattle) January 28, 2014

    What do you think of extra middle names? Would you slip something funny in there?


    Image via jared/Flickr

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.
    Jenelle EvansLet's face it, Teen Mom fans. Jenelle Evans doesn't always make it easy to like her. The Teen Mom 2 star has been a lightning rod for criticism over the years, and much of her trouble is of her own making. But are folks being a little hard on the pregnant reality star about her impending divorce?   Well ... maybe. This week's Teen Mom 2 episode introduced the world to Jenelle's boyfriend (and now baby daddy-to-be) Nathan Griffith, and we learned that she'd sought him out by using a dating app. Her mom, Barbara, and friend Tori both questioned whether she was diving back into the dating pool a little soon considering she was still married to Courtland Rogers, and we certainly asked the same questions!   But Jenelle has come out with a pretty reasonable explanation for it all this week.

    More From The Stir: Nathan Griffith Is What Jenelle's Needed All Along

    In a Sulia post titled, "Squashing the speculation on my broken marriage!" Jenelle says it's all OK because she's not WITH Courtland:

    Lots of people ask me daily if I am legally separated from my estranged husband or not. He and I have been legally separated since last spring, I am just waiting until the waiting period is up that I can file divorce papers!

    Fair enough, right?

    Separations can take a long, long, long time, depending on where you live. I know someone who had to wait two years for her divorce to come through, even though the marriage was really long over. They didn't have any kids together, and when she started dating again, even became pregnant, I didn't see any reason to judge her. She wasn't stepping out on her husband! It was just a piece of paper that hadn't cleared.

    So why is it that we've all (yup, a little guilty here) been expecting Jenelle to live like a nun?

    We KNOW that Courtland wasn't exactly a nice guy, and they're legally separated ... she has the right to move on. And here's hoping this one sticks. It would be nice for little Jace to have some stability in his life.

    What do you think of Jenelle's claims?


    Image via Instagram

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Farrah Abraham Couples TherapyWe're five episodes into Couples Therapy, and it was starting to look like the Farrah Abraham therapy show. The Teen Mom is the only celebrity to end up on the VH1 series without her partner, yet she's taken up enough time for the both of them! If you tuned in for more Farrah drama tonight, you might have been a little disappointed.

    But only a little. While Farrah's problems mostly took the back burner to Ghostface Killa dropping a bomb on girlfriend Kelsey in the form of a secret girlfriend he's been dating or two years and Sada Bettencourt and Whitney Mixter trying to find a way to make their marriage work, tonight Farrah opened up about how her sex life has affected her life.

    No surprise here -- it's not been good for her. 

    Farrah has actually diagnosed herself with being in a "sexual depression" -- don't laugh, therapist Dr. Jenn Berman said it's a good term -- and confesses she's unsure about why people want to have sex with her:

    When I’m going to date somebody, and I’m thinking about, ‘Oh if I have sex with this person, ‘I’m just wondering why they’re wanting to have sex. I just always feel like they’re always trying to control me in some way, like they’re trying to f–ing break me in some way.

    Good grief! I know I can't be the only one who went into this whole thing hoping Farrah would finally get some help, but I don't know that I expected it to be so darn sad seeing her go through all of this.

    This is not a healthy way to look at sex! Sex is supposed to be fun! She's 22, unattached; she should be having the time of her life, not be afraid of being touched!

    More From The Stir: No Wonder Farrah Abraham Turned to Adult Films

    Come to think of it, this was the second episode in a row where we were treated to something that actually made us feel bad for Farrah! Might the tables be turning?

    I will say it was especially interesting to see Farrah's story put up against some of the other couple's tonight because she's been cast as one of the Couples Therapy's super villains, but when you compare her screwed up life to what some of her co-stars are doing, Farrah starts looking REALLY good.

    At least she didn't spring a secret girlfriend of two years on her significant other and expect her to be fine with it ... and then belittle her feelings when she was (golly gee whiz) upset. Or call her significant other a "p---y" (Jon Gosselin's girlfriend dropped that little gem). Most of the hurting Farrah is doing is to herself.

    And from the looks of the promos for next week, there's a whole lot more hurt in store. Dr. Jenn said that Farrah has shared some of the "most horrific things" she's ever heard.

    Compare Farrah and Ghost -- who do YOU like more?


    Image via VH1

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Kate Winslet Josh Brolin Labor DayOnce upon a time, Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze told a love story with nothing more than their hands and a lump of clay. This weekend Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin are about to attempt to do with peach pie for their new film, Labor Day, what the vase-making scene did for Ghost -- make it the go-to movie for romance seekers everywhere. No, there's no coincidence that Paramount is bringing this film to theaters two weeks before Valentine's Day.

    They want to book up your date night. Now!

    Based on Joyce Maynard's novel of the same name, the story of a mother, her son, and an escaped murderer who is camped up in their house, waiting until the heat is off and he can make a clean break for it, has already garnered Winslet a best actress nomination at the Golden Globes.

    She plays Adele Wheeler, a single mother of a 13-year-old son who is struggling to maintain after a series of miscarriages and a divorce have broken her. Brolin is the murderer who shows up in her life at the start of the Labor Day weekend, and her unlikely savior.

    For this is an unlikely love story if there ever was one.

    Adele falls for the convict holding her and her son hostage -- if you can call it that, when in fact Frank Chambers spends his days puttering around Adele's home, setting to rights that which has fallen into disrepair since her divorce -- while director Jason Reitman plays a cat and mouse game over the facts of his murder conviction. Why is Frank Chambers in jail and whether or not he should return is revealed in a series of fractured flashbacks (by far the most imperfect portion of the film).

    Well before we know what sent him away, we're forced to ask ourselves whether it even matters as Frank's presence and gentle ministrations to Adele and son Henry breathe life back into their sad home.

    Because, after all, there is that pie. And oh what a pie it is. 

    Or what a pie-making it is, rather.

    Peaches glistening with sugar. Winslet and Brolin's hands just barely brushing one another as they work their way through the moist fruit. Brolin gently guiding Winslet and Gattlin Griffith (the young actor who plays her son, henry) step by step through the process of crafting the perfect pastry.

    The pie is the moment Adele falls in love with Frank Wheeler, despite everything he represents, and in many ways it is the essence of this movie: darkened crust on the outside with an ooey, gooey inside.

    It's a sweet movie. It really is. But even with good performances from Winslet and Brolin both, and a plot that is far from your prototypical girl meets boy love story, Labor Day never quite propels past the romantic schmaltz that will keep it in "date movie" territory.

    Which might just make it the perfect Valentine's Day indulgence. And then ... get some pie!

    What is your perfect date movie?


    Image via Paramount

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Amanda KnoxIt's hard not to look at Amanda Knox and feel conflicted. Just a day after an Italian court ruled her guilty in the death of roommate Meredith Kercher and sentenced her to more than 28 years in prison, the 26-year-old came out on Good Morning America to say she's not going back to Italy "willingly." I'll confess my first thought was, "darn right!" and an unofficial survey (aka a perusal of my Facebook feed) shows I'm in the majority in my support of Knox and her vow to fight extradition.

    And yet ... I'm a law abiding citizen, a rule follower. Refusing to listen to the courts? Possibly becoming a fugitive from justice? Neither sits well with me, or with anyone I know.

    So why is it that we're so willing to come out in support of Amanda Knox? When she's suggesting the very things we'd normally look down upon?

    Is it because we truly believe she's innocent? I tend toward that way, in no small part because a personal friend who did extensive investigation into the case, wrote The Fatal Gift of Beauty, one of the definitive books on Knox and one that makes a case for her innocence. 

    But what about the rest of America? The folks who are screaming "go girl" without having done a full investigation or even reading a book about one?

    Are we betraying our xenophobic nature as Americans, our tendency to believe our way is the right way and to dismiss much of what happens in the rest of the world?

    After all, in our justice system, Knox never would have been tried again for a murder for which she was already cleared back in 2011. Double jeopardy protects American defendants from being tried again for the same charges same (or similar) charges following a legitimate acquittal or conviction.

    Instead, the Seattle native sat here in the States and watched an Italian court convict her this week, repeating the nightmare that already locked her away in an Italian prison for nearly four years. Now she has to wait and find out whether Italy will ask for her to be extradited -- and whether the US government will acquiesce. As she told GMA.

    I will never go willingly back to the place where … I’m going to fight this to the very end. It’s not right and it’s not fair.



    Very American words, aren't they?

    We talk a lot about rightness and fairness in our justice system, a justice system we believe is superior to any other in the world. And maybe it is. I'll confess I don't know that much about other systems of justice, aside possibly from the British (gotta love the BBC). But I'll also confess that there's a mark of patriotism in the righteous indignation I feel over the Italians refusal to follow rules similar to our own, to go after a woman who was already acquitted of murder. Don't they know any better?

    Yes, there is a bit of the condescending American that has come out in me -- and in many others, if they'll admit it.

    There's also the part of me that always tends to support an underdog, and an American underdog at that, a part that supports someone with moxie ... because that is a quality we value here in the states. Amanda Knox is fighting back, and we are a nation of fighters, a nation that celebrates getting back up when you've been knocked down.

    We can (and seemingly do) support her for all of that, and that groundswell of support could work to her advantage if (when?) Italy comes calling and the US government has to make a decision on whether to extradite her. Certainly public opinion will play a role here.

    But we must recognize what that support means.

    What the Italians did does not sit well with many Americans, but the fact remains that they've convicted Amanda Knox of murder. Again. And as we stand up for Knox, we must realize that we're also standing against the Italian court system, sending a message to an entire country that we simply have no respect for their justice system, for their rules.

    What do you think of Amanda Knox? Do you support her? Why?


    See more US News from ABC|ABC World News



    Image via GMA

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Jenelle Evans Scandal-plagued reality star Jenelle Evans has been talking a lot about turning her life around lately, and she may have finally figured out how to guarantee a steady stream of good press. Rumor has it the Teen Mom 2 star has started her OWN gossip site!

    Fans may have noticed Jenelle referencing a new site, Teen Mom Truth, over the past few weeks -- giving shout outs to its writers and linking back to it from her Sulia account. The folks over at Reality Lick did some digging on the site and came up with a huge bombshell.

    The domain was registered under Jenelle's name! Did she think no one would notice?!

    Could someone have simply used Jenelle's name? It's possible, but consider this: the site has already slammed several of Jenelle's co-stars, which is more or less inevitable if you're in the business of reporting on Teen Mom (take it from one who knows), but there's something ... curious about the site. The press on Jenelle isn't just positive. It's glowing. It's insider-y.

    More From The Stir: Jenelle Evans Shouldn't Have to Act Like a Nun

    Take, for example, a post that went up early this morning titled "BREAKING NEWS: First look at Jenelle Evans baby!" The piece features a picture that's said to be Jenelle's baby's ultrasound, and the gives details about her visit to the hospital. All stuff typical on a Teen Mom gossip piece, but the tone is particularly interesting, with statements like

    Jenelle and Nathan DID find out the gender of their baby and we cannot WAIT to share the news with you! We, here at TeenMomTruth are not going to spill their secret, but we can tell you Jenelle and Nathan will reveal it on their own terms SOON!

    As a reporter for the past decade and a half, let me tell you -- you don't sit on info like that when you get it. Not unless you have a realllllllly good reason to keep quiet. Like, maybe your boss is the person you're writing about?

    Oh, and then there's this bit of evidence. One of the two writers for the site is Ashley Salazar, a 16 & Pregnant alum who is often tweeting back and forth with Jenelle. The other? A girl named Jenn Holt, whose credentials are as follows:

    Since becoming friends with Jenelle Evans in 2013, Jenn has developed friendships with many other MTV reality stars, and is now considerd a valuable source of information in the 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom world.

    It doesn't get much more Jenelle-centric!

    The question is why Jenelle would do this. Money? Unlikely -- the site isn't really raking in the big bucks.

    An image change? That could be. Jenelle does seem to be trying to -- if nothing else -- change people's perception of her. What better way to do it than to flood the market with positive stories, stories SHE can control? You can't blame her for trying!

    But then again, the fans would appreciate it if she was just straight with them ...

    What do you think of Jenelle controlling the stories about her? Do you give them any weight?


    Image via Instagram

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    wine bottleLet me just be straight with you, I love a good bottle of wine. Who doesn't? Even if you're not inclined to imbibe, a wine bottle makes for pretty much the easiest hostess gift ever. And if you are fond of the vino? All the better.

    There's just one time when a bottle of wine causes a problem. I'm talking about when you grab a bottle for a party, only to realize there's no corkscrew in sight. Unless you have gotten one with a screw top (bless the person who created that pairing), you're pretty much out of luck, right?

    Wrong! There are a good half dozen ways to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew.

    Bonus? They make for pretty awesome party tricks even when you do have a corkscrew handy!

    So let's dive in, shall we? Are you brave enough to try number four?



    Image via sh4rp_i/Flickr

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    love bug valentinesValentine's Day is nearly upon us, and if your kids are anything like mine, there's been plenty of fussing about what kind of Valentine cards they'll be handing out this year. Will they gift their pals with something from the store or make it themselves? 

    If you're a handmade Valentines family that is running short on time and ideas, have heart (pun intended), we've got nine crafty cards that kids will go nuts over. Even better -- these simple crafts won't come out looking like a glitter factor exploded next door to the glue factory! They're simple enough kids can do most of the work (if not all)!

    Number 8 is hysterical, don't you think? Which one is your favorite?


    Image via Dandee


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Bruno Mars halftime super bowlWhatever you thought when Bruno Mars was named halftime entertainer for Super Bowl XLVIII, let's just put it aside, shall we? The singer not only shared the stage with Red Hot Chili Peppers but he opted to let a whole bunch of folks no one has ever heard of share the stage with him on one of the biggest nights of his career. I'm talking, of course, about the members of the U.S. military whose pre-taped montage introduced Mars' last song of the show.

    If he was looking for a way to win America's heart, Bruno nailed it.

    The show itself was a relatively light and fun romp, with limited hip thrusting by Mars and a rather curious set of leggings on Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis, who rocked out shirtless in the bitter New Jersey cold. Mars blew through a snippet of Billionaire, followed by Locked Out of Heaven and Treasure, then a mashup of Runaway Baby and Shout. RHCP joined him for a quick version of Give It Away, and I do mean quick. The troops seemed to get as much time as RHCP -- which is as it should be.

    More From The Stir: Bruno Mars Shares Super Bowl Halftime Stage With True American Heroes (VIDEO)

    Making dedications to their loved ones -- we are just a few weeks away from Valentine's Day -- the soldiers brought the tone down (and brought some tears to our eyes) so Mars could switch into ballad mode for Just the Way You Are as fireworks burst out of Met Life Stadium.

    If the military choppers flying over the stadium before kick-off hadn't already reminded you that there are people sacrificing every day so we can enjoy something as simple as a football game, then the half-time show certainly drove it home.

    Kudos to Mars for being willing to share his glory moment with some folks who deserve a little more glory.

    Watch the half-time show -- what was your favorite part?


    Bruno Mars & RHCP ~ pepsi 1/2Time Super Bowl... by HumanSlinky

    Image via Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Budweiser welcome home soldier commercialSuper Bowl XLVIII did not disappoint ... did not disappoint the commercials lovers, that is (sorry Broncos fans). Considering advertisers ponied up some $4 million for a 30-second spot in the middle of the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos matchup, they owed it to themselves to get it right.

    From an 80s invasion of Radio Shack to Budweiser's weepy ode to a soldier's return home from war, this year's best Super Bowl commercials certainly kept us entertained as the Seahawks totally overwhelmed the Broncos.

    More From The Stir: Bruno Mars Shares Super Bowl Halftime Stage With True American Heroes (VIDEO)

    1. Doritos -- Sometimes a kid's got to do what a kid's got to do ... like tricking an adult that they've found the secret to powering a time machine with chips:

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    2. Radio Shack -- The '80s called, and they're driving off with the store on the back of a DeLorean!

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    3. Intuit Quickbooks/GoldieBlox -- Let's hear it for small business and girl power! GoldieBlox won a contest to have their ad funded by the software firm, and it is a perfect antidote to the typically testosterone-heavy Super Bowl ad-stravaganza:

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    4. Cheerios -- It may have caused a political firestorm earlier in the week, but the breakfast cereal's sweet ad still pulled some heartstrings:

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    5. Hyundai -- Is there anything more terrifying than a teenage driver? Good thing this dad's got a sixth sense for when his son's about to screw up!

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    6. Volkswagen -- Ever wonder what happens when a car hits 200,000 miles? Let's just say there's something about butts and rainbows ...

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    7. Audi -- Sarah McLachlan poked fun at her heartbreaking animal rescue ads in Audi's "doberhauhua" ad with hilarious results:

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    8. Budweiser -- Welcoming home Lt. Chuck Nadd from his service overseas, the beer company made one soldier's homecoming and one commercial unforgettable:

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    9. Coca-Cola -- The American melting pot is celebrated in a haunting ad from the soda company:

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    10. Chrysler -- Motor City pulled out all the stops and got Bob Dylan to wax poetic about American pride:

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    Which commercial was your favorite?


    Image via Budweiser/YouTube

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