Friday, April 24, 2015

Court: Turkey baster father counts as a dad too

A woman who used a turkey baster to impregnate herself is on the losing side of a legal battle over parental rights.

The Virginia Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the child’s biological father is more than a sperm donor and is entitled to be a part of his son’s life.

The case hinged on an informal agreement between two longtime friends: a woman who wanted to get pregnant and a man willing to supply the sperm to make it happen. 

According to court filings, Joyce Rosemary Bruce impregnated herself with a turkey baster, believing that Robert Preston Boardwine would not have any parental rights — including a say in the boy’s education and other decisions — because they did not have intercourse.

The appeals court said she was wrong.

“The path to fatherhood may have been unconventional,” the court said, but it doesn’t remove Boardwine’s parental rights.

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Coming of Age story 'Little Boy' opens nationwide today

It's been five years and two child births coming, but today the film Bellyitch Bumpwatch alum, actress, model, mompreneur Ali Landry stars in and supported her husband  Alejandro Monteverde to make, opens to audiences nationwide. 

Little Boy is the coming-of-age World War II-era film about an 8-year old boy Pepper Flynt Busbee (Jakob Salvati) crippled with stunted growth who finds courage and uses the power of will, imagination and faith to try to bring his recently-deployed dad back from war.

Landry plays a woman whose husband leaves for war in the film and fun fact: her youngest, Valentin Francesco, appeared in the movie too while in utero (inside his mommy's tummy) and out as an infant in one of the final film sequences. Landry is close to 9-months pregnant in one scene and another features her cradling  then-newborn Valentin . 

I got a chance to interview Monteverde who co-wrote, produced and directed the movie and gather more insight into its making.

He said he thought the movie would take three months to write but it ended up taking three years. From completion to editing to post production, it has turned into a 5 year project.

The previews project a very visual image of Americana. It's not just a caricature but a living duplication of that era as I learned  Monteverde created 95% of the town where Little Boy is set --- from scratch.

"It was great to work with because we had real cement, light poles, streets and street signs, " Monteverde reveals. 

It's worth it because scenes from the movie certainly evoke nostalgia of an era long passed. A real-authentic set distinguishes the movie from a lot of current films made in this era of CGI movie magic where scenes in a digital lab are created after the actors go home. 

If the setting looks familiar maybe it's because Monteverde got the inspiration for the entire town from one of those classic Normal Rockwell paintings. It certainly oozes of Midwestern puritanical innocence and optimism. 

But that comfort and secure is abruptly interrupted with the realism of war, prejudice and discrimination, as it was a time when Japanese Americans were interned in camps. 

The movie is also a modern fable set in the 1940s, Monteverde says of the story line that has several lessons interwoven throughout. 

What also appears unique is that the film explores the vulnerability and emotions of a boy. These days movies about feelings are usually centered around female or little girl characters.  

Another element that may stand out to movie goers is  how Little Boy seems to evoke themes of God, religion, agnosticism and spirituality.


"The deeper I got into the movie, the more layers we uncovered," the film maker reveals about the project which he says touches so many different themes. "It's like when you plant a seed, you don't know how it will come into fruition. As we saw the film take form, all those little things we were writing about in the beginning start to come out."

There are a lot of subtexts, he adds.

"It’s about the power of the will and believing in the impossible...we are every day faced with many challenges in our lives and the world belongs to those who believe they can overcome those challenges," added Monteverde.

"It depends how deep you want to go. You can take what you can from the external layers or you can watch it and discover the other layers; about discrimination, racism, faith v. superstition, will of man v. will of God."

In the film, main character Pepper's mentors include a Catholic priest advisor and an agnostic atheist shopkeeper Hashimoto, who Pepper befriends. Both influence Pepper and help him come away with what he is looking for and needs-- a way to bring his dad back from war. 

There has been a lot of buzz and chatter about the timeline of the movie which takes place before the US retaliated against the Japanese for its attack on Pearl Harbor by dropping the atomic bomb, euphemistically called a "Little Boy" on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. There is an intricate link you'll get when you see the movie, Monteverde explains. 

Monteverde isn't surprised by the various notions and interpretations the movie is getting.

"This movie explores the pain that World War II  - a war that caused hurt to the world and mainly here in the United States, the hurt that happened at the home front" to those the soldiers left behind and had to deal with the consequence of  their loved ones going to fight. "The foundation of the way the story was born  was I wanted to tell the ultimate underdog story – the one that everyone is against."

And there is a bit of art imitating life when it comes to the production in that vein.

Compared to his last award-winning project Bella  which took top prize at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, Monteverde had a much bigger budget to utilize to breathe life into this project, about $20 million, but in the grand scheme compared to much larger blockbusters released each year, it's quite modest, Montverde reveals.

And there he draws the parallels of the theme of the movie along with the symbolism of it being released a week before the highly anticipated Avengers sequel, "Avengers: Age of Ultron."

Monteverde spoke some about the challenges he faces for a movie that doesn't have too many bill boards but will spread by 'word of mouth.'

"The whole movie it about size...the small v. big..the David and Goliath story," he muses. "The little boy being shorter than everyone else trying to bring about the end to the biggest war. We are little boy. The character."

We are rooting it on because we love to support our Bellyitch bumpwatch alum families and cheer on the underdog. 

Go see Little Boy this weekend and report back and let us know what you think in the comments below or in social media at @Bellyitch on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. 

The last two best director Oscars went to directors of Mexican origin, Alejandro González Iñárritu for Boyhood and Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity. Perhaps Monteverde can be the third! 

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Instagram will stop censoring photos of breastfeeding moms

Controversial Instagram photo of Elisha Wilson Beach, wife of actor Michael Beach
After a couple of years of protests, the social media networking site Instagram has decided to change its policy and will no longer censor and kick off women posting photos of themselves breastfeeding. Much fuss was kicked up after the site disabled the account of a Toronto, Canada professional photographer who posted photos of herself breasfteeding her baby. 

The new policy released last Thursday mentions breastfeeding specifically:

We know that there are times when people might want to share nude images that are artistic or creative in nature, but for a variety of reasons, we don’t allow nudity on Instagram. This includes photos, videos, and some digitally-created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks. It also includes some photos of female nipples, but photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed. Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK, too.

It can safely be assumed nursing moms are also included in the new clause about harassment and shaming:
We want to foster a positive, diverse community. We remove content that contains credible threats or hate speech, content that targets private individuals to degrade or shame them, personal information meant to blackmail or harass someone, and repeated unwanted messages.
Woo hoo!!! Victory!!

The previous policy, archived HERE, is more vague. Instagram currently has 300 million users.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Full House is Coming Back! Which cast member are you? (QUIZ)

Hey 90s babies, if you haven't already heard, Full House is coming back. Actor James Stamos broke the news Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that Netflix is reviving the old hit comedy series to center around a grown up DJ Tanner and her life as a widow, raising a family of three boys. It will start as an hour spin-off reunion show and then spin off into a 13-episode series, Stamos revealed.

In light of the exciting news for us that Full House is coming back, take this quiz and find out which member of the cast are you?

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Trend: The cross body bag is a perfect accessory for busy moms

Fashion trends come and go. For various reasons, you may not be down with some of them. Some don't fit your body type or are just too old, youthful or dowdy for your taste. Then once in a while a trend comes into style that is already part of your normal wardrobe and  you give yourself a high five because all of a sudden you're hip and you don't even have to buy anything new to be trendy! 

That's how I felt when I learned the cross body or messenger bag styles were hip once more!

I have own several of these types of bags and as a busy mompreneur and head of the family transportation, athletics and social committee, I need to keep my hands free. These bags are perfect. The cross body strap provides security that you'll keep your bag close to your body like in crowded events or locations, while having the flexibility to have your hands free for other things.

One of my favorite bags is this vinyl sporty bag I picked up from somewhere years ago and always return to time and time again. It's great for the gym or quick trips to the market.

A couple of weeks ago, I took my kids to a science museum during Spring break and balanced out a black and white palette with a bright Coach Cross Body bag I got from Marshall's last season.

And more recently, I spotted this leather fringed cross body bag with gold hardware which mixes the fringe trend with the messenger style bag trend.

What do you think of the trend? Would you rock a cross body bag?

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Mother's Day: 10 Inexpensive Gifts to get Mom

Mother's Day is this Sunday, May 12 and as it is getting down to the wire, some may be racking their brains looking for ideas and suggestions on what to get mom, or the mom-to-be in their lives. Here are 10 simple and mainly free or inexpensive ideas Kiplinger's offers to consider. 
  1. Do-nothing day—plenty of moms would love to spend a day not having to lift a finger or spend the day doing just what they want to do. So give your mom a card that tells her she is entitled to a day off—and be sure to honor it!
  2. Spa day—many spas offer Mother’s Day specials for massages and other services, so call around to find the best deal.
  3. A clean car—Mom’s car can get downright disgusting after shuttling kids around all the time. So grab the kids and have them help you wash the car.
  4. Customized necklace—May isn’t a good month to buy jewelry because stores often hike prices in anticipation of Mother’s Day. However, you can find affordable necklaces with charms that can be engraved with children’s names online at
  5. Photo mug—plenty of companies create mugs with photos on them for about $11. This gift is ideal for grandmothers who appreciate a creative way to show off pictures of the grandkids.
  6. Plants and flowers for the yard—rather than a bouquet, buy a potted plant, flowering bush or tree that will last for years. Or let Mom buy plants for the garden and then plant them for her.
  7. Photo album—most of our photos are now digital and we rarely print them out. So print out your pictures, put them in an album and let mom enjoy looking at them the old-fashioned way.
  8. A clean house—give Mom a break from her daily chores and do them for her (the way she would want them done). Wash the dishes, do the laundry, sweep the floors and make the beds.
  9. Frame the kids’ art—Moms will surely get a few pieces of handcrafted art from the kids for Mother’s Day. Make it easy for her to display and store them with a frame that lets you do both!
  10. Make a donation in Mom’s name—for the Mom that already has everything, make a donation in her name to her favorite charity or motherhood-related organization.
  11. Bonus idea—Take the time to sit down with your mom and ask her to share family stories that you can record or write down in a journal that can be shared with other family members.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day: Eco-Friendly Celebrity moms who do good for earth

Earth Day is a month away! 

For this edition of Eco-Friday, we are going to highlight some of our fave Bellyitch Bumpwatch moms who have shown they have a commitment to the earth and helping others overcome natural disasters.

Jessica Alba co-founded an eco-friendly baby company, the Honest Company, which makes earth friendly products.

Drew Barrymore, actress, author and entrepreneur is known to be a flower child and recently she launched an eco-friendly and affordable make up line called  Flower Beauty.

Beyonce Knowles has worked with Second Harvest food bank network and with her husband Jay-Z founded United Nation's Water for Life, an organization devoted to giving people worldwide access to clean drinking H2O. 

Gisele Bundchen, international Brazilian model, has been involved in plenty of earth conscious programs and events over the years. She and husband Tom Brady live in a 22,000 square foot eco-friendly green mansion with solar panel roofs and a rainwater recovery systems. 

Hilary Duff is involved with USA Harvest a non-profit that collects surplus from area restaurants for homeless, missions and soup kitchens and has donated millions of dollars in  meals to the homeless. 

Hayden Panettiere, Nashville actress, volunteers to register youth to vote and works with programs to help wild sea creatures including dolphins and other endangered wildlife. 

Kelly Preston , with her husband John Travolta, Preston is famously known for donating their private jet to fly in loads of supplies and medicine to the Baton Rouge and New Orleans area during Hurricane Katrina.  

Alicia Silverstone is a vegan who has worked often with PETA and helped promote its campaigns. Silverston also lives in a very cool eco-friendly house.

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Earth Day: Tweet #Flipp4Forests to Plant a Tree

Today is Earth Day and if you are looking for at least one simple way to contribute to the day dedicated to celebrate mother Earth Day, the app Flipp will plant a tree with every social media share using the hashtag, #Flipp4Forests. And it will also enter you to win a $300 VISA gift card along with the hashtag.

Good for Earth and your pocketbook potentially. 

Flipp is a  free iOS and Android app available in the U.S. and Canada that digitally aggregates over 400 retail circulars from national chains as well as hundreds of local stores to help consumers find the latest sales in their community. Digital means less trees and that too is good for the earth! And it looks like it would be a time-saver for busy parents! Sweet!

Check out this infographic about forests for more reasons on why planting trees is important!

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Bump Watch: Ashlee Simpson supports Evan's latest movie

Mom-to-be Ashlee Simpson Ross looked radiant while attending her husband Evan Ross' latest film project, Just Before I go at the ArcLight Hollywood on April 20, 2015 in Hollywood, California.

Courtney Cox directed the project which stars the Hunger Games actor, who is also the son of music great Diana Ross. 

It was at Diana's estate that Simpson and Evan married last summer. 

This will be Evan's first child as Simpson is already mom to 6-year old Bronx with Fall Out Boy front man Pete Wentz.

Evan's sister Blackish star Tracee EllisRoss was there to support her baby brother. 

We've said it before but with Evan's looks and Simpson's chin cleft, that baby is bound to look like Michael Jackson, at least the version from the "Bad" album cover. Ha! ��


Top 10 common movie cliches involving pregnancy

In a recent HuffPo post, blogger Melissa Sher of MamaLingo put together some top cliche things one can expect to see in a movie that has a pregnancy in it and/or  is focused on pregnancy. I was cracking up at the list which to me contributes to so much misinformation and fear people have about pregnancy. Never get your information about pregnancy from a Hollywood film, folks. From Huffpo:

  1. Waiting Room As Party Headquarters  Celebrate good time, come on! Forget just the grandparents. In the movies, everyone's invited to hang out in the waiting room. The waiting room is fun. Labor is pretty fast so no one ever gets bored. And, there's always a "nosy messenger," someone in the group who will check in on what's going on you-know-where and report back.
  2. The Menstrual-Cycle Calendar Flip Technology schmechnology. Film characters must keep track of their periods with date books and marker. This way, when a woman thinks she might be pregnant, she can frantically flip backwards through her calendar to find the exact date of her last period.
  3. What To Expect During Labor 
    Bring earplugs. The breathing is loud: "Hee hee hoo. Hee hee hoo." And that's just the father-to-be offering his help. And the woman -- when she's not busy berating him for being alive -- is screaming during each contraction. That is, until she is told that she needs to push one more time. (Exactly one more time.) Then, the poor thing will break down. She can't do it. She can't. She's done. She can't possibly. Not even once more. But... wait... SCR-E-E-E-E-E-AM! Cue the six month old wrapped in a blanket.
  4. The Pregnancy Test As A Social Activity  If you're a character in a movie, sitcom or even a reality show, taking a home pregnancy test is something you do with a friend. The friend will probably buy the test for you, talk you into taking it, and sit on the sink while you pee on the stick. She'll also be the one to read and announce the results.
  5. Public Puking Of course, sometimes, our heroine doesn't know she is pregnant. Sometimes, she has no clue. In those cases, there's a good chance that she'll be in the middle of a business presentation in a conference room when she's hit with her first bout of morning sickness. The poor thing won't make it to the bathroom in time so she'll have to make quick use of either a wastebasket or potted plant
  6. Breaking The News  When a movie character tells her husband that she's pregnant, she does it when he's in the middle of telling a long story. She will usually just say something like, "I'm pregnant." (Or, "We're pregnant" which I can't stand. There's no "I" in "team"... and there's no "we" in "pregnancy.") The news never registers right away. Instead, he continues talking. Then, he'll stop and ever-so-slowly look over at his nodding wife.
  7. Baby Shower From Hell  Women who attend baby showers in movies and television shows are the most annoying, uptight guests in the world. Some bring their children to the shower. Those kids will be unruly, booger-picking brats who solely exist to scare the crap out of the pregnant main character.
  8. Start Your Engines Labor can begin one of two ways in the movies. The woman's water can break. And if it does, it's a flood of epic proportions all over someone's shoes or the produce aisle. Or, the woman will calmly notify her husband, "It's time."
  9. Wigging Out  It's time? It's time?! Let the overacting begin! He zigzags around the house, grabbing a suitcase and running around in circles, while his wife waits patiently. Nine times out of ten, he'll run out the door without her.
  10. Taxi Driver As Delivery Man There are two reasons that taxicab drivers exist in the movies. The first is to drive a heartbroken young man to the airport to catch the love of his life before she leaves on a flight to Europe. The second is to deliver babies.

Hilarious. What was your favorite?

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Judge: Sherri Shepherd is surrogate mom to child planned with ex

Yesterday, we blogged about Sofia Vergara's ex fighting for parenthood despite no longer being romantically involved with her and now today, Sherri Shepherd was also dealt a blow by her ex over parenthood.

A judge ruled Tuesday that Shepherd is legally the mother of a now 8-month old baby boy, conceived via surrogate and born on July 28, 2014.  Shepherd and ex husband Lamar Sally arranged for the surrogacy while the two were still together, but split before the baby, Lamar Sally Jr, was born. Court papers show the couple separated April 16, 2014.

With the ruling, Shepherd's name will be listed on the baby's birth certificate as the mother. The judge found that Shepherd was one half of the two people who caused the baby to be brought into this world.

"The court upheld what we believe is and should be the law in Pennsylvania," Sally's attorney Tiffany Palmer told E!News.  "If you set out to conceive a child through assisted reproduction and enter into contracts to do so, you cannot just walk away from your legal parental responsibility because you changed your mind."

So far no comment from Sherri but Sally's attorneys said  video shown during the proceedings of Shepherd expressing excitement over the surrogacy helped sway the judge's decision. Indeed, we too blogged in 2013 about the surrogacy and Shepherd's glee over becoming a mother with Sally.

Shepherd has a 9-year old son, Jeffrey, with her ex husband comedian Jeff Tarpley.
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Nonprofit invents 'shoes that grow' for kids in poor nations

While working in an orphanage in Africa, Kenton Lee, executive director of Because International, said he noticed a little girl in a white dress wearing shoes that were several sizes too small. When he inquired more, Lee learned that the home had gotten a shipment of donated shoes but the kids were stuck wearing what was available. The other alternative would be to go barefoot then risk exposure to ground contaminants.

That's when Lee came up with the concept for "Shoes That Grow." 

He partnered with designers and created a shoe with snaps, buttons and a few buckles that hold the shoe together and can be adjusted to grow as the child does. 

The shoes can grow five sizes and can last up to five years. 
  • Small = Grows 5 sizes – From Kindergarten to 4th Grade 
  • Large = Grows 5 sizes – From 5th Grade to 9th Grade. 

Because International has delivered shoes to children in impoverished nations including Haiti, Kenya, Ghana and Ecuador and is considering expanding the program to help poor children in the US.

The organization relies on donations to ship the shoes, which cost $10 each, in bullk. Consider donating a shoe, a duffle bag  or volunteering otherwise here and check out this promotional video about the group and its efforts:

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