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The Zuckerbergs Fuel more Open Discussions on the Miscarriage Taboo

zuckerberg pricilla baby bellyitchblog.com

“Most people don’t discuss miscarriages because you worry your problems will distance you or reflect upon you — as if you’re defective or did something to cause this. So you struggle on your own.”

Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote this about he and his wife Pricilla experiencing multiple miscarriages before finally announcing  a pregnancy that will likely go to term.

Miscarriage is such a big taboo and as we’ve written here  often in Bellyitch. Having people of influence like the Zuckerbergs and other celebrities share their journey makes it easier for others not in the limelight to realize they are not alone. It can be a starting point. Kudos for Mark Zuckerberg and Pricilla Chan for being so open.

Elizabeth Cohen, an award-winning senior medical correspondent for CNN’s health, wellness and medical unit, and author of “The Empowered Patient“, wrote about how the announcement and revelation impacted her and how she feels it will help others.


Back to School for Parents: What will You do On the First Day Back?



I am counting down back to school. I have enjoyed entertaining the kids, taking them to events and camps and the beach, but they have been also working my last nerve so I look forward to:

1. Quiet moments working

2. Getting to attend lunch time meetings with friends and business colleagues

3. Not having guilt about not engaging them more but letting them watch TV, YouTube series and play video games for hours on end.

4. Basking in silence.


What else? Add yours!

5 Things to Take on your Beach Trip with the Kids This August

beach essentials bellyitchblog.com

Summer is coming to a close.

If you haven’t already made it to a beach, either locally or while on vacay, this is the last month to really get it in before school returns. My family has already made one local beach trip and hope to get in at least one weekend or week-long trip before September.

I’m researching and packing for my trip and here are the things I’m planning on taking and recommend:



I have my eye on Kohl‘s crochet coverall for the beach. It’s gone down in price from $55 to $33 recently so I’m set! It’s a cool because it is white which is a great color for a super hot day and it looks like a nice sheath dress on  its own. I will feel comfortable throwing this one and walking in and out of stores on the boardwalk or while reading a book under our sand tent. Scope out the end of summer sales now and you’ll likely to pick up a similar style in a reasonable price locally as well.


hello kitty

For the kids, I’m using the Hello Kitty lip balm that new Hello Kitty SPF 30 lip balm the brand sent me to try out (value: $1.99). The Tangerine Tango flavor is lip smacking yummy and it will keep the kids lips from getting chafed and sunburned. We already used it for our earlier trip and it did the trick and my daughter was psyched because she is already a brand loyalist to Hello Kitty.  The line is made skin caring ingredients like Jojoba, Sunflower Seed Oil, Pomegranate and Vitamin E to deliver sun protection with exceptional skin care. Fun! The brand also sells sunscreen as well, available at all drugstores nationwide, or via my Amazon.com partners HERE!


 For the kids, to keep them shaded, cool and protected from harmful UV rays, we’re going to outfit them in some pretty cool sun hats in neutral colors that will match their outfits and their various bathing suits for the summer. I like the San Diego Company‘s seersucker striped sun hat for infants which retails for about $19 and can be picked up at Zappos.com.



You’ll have to take a couple of beach totes. We plan to. We will go with a cheaper vinyl  or straw bag from storage or pick up a low-cost one from Wal-Mart to store towels or coverups and shorts to wear on the boardwalk.  It’s a good idea to use one that will be best able to handle wet and sandy clothes. Also, I like to take my Tommy Hilfiger tote to hole my snacks, sunglasses, magazines or books and my iPhone. It’s only about $48 and it is stylish.



The kids love to take their play tent with them because it is easy to set up and provides a cool hideout to chill in while taking a break from splashing about in the water. When done, it folds back up into a handy portable bag that even your smallest one can tote back to the car.

Consider some of these suggestions and do enjoy your last full month of Summer vacation, everyone!

Back to School: 5 Ways to Teach School/Life Balance to Kids

bellyitch rewind

school life balance kids bellyitchblog.com

From first-hand knowledge, I know that a child can struggle in class, lose assignment sheets and notes, miss assignments and  forget to bring home books needed to complete homework if he or she is not organized. My husband and I are working through this problem with our eldest two.

That is why I was elated to recently learn about the benefits of teaching children “executive functioning skills.” They are the type of skills top or mid level execs use to succeed in work but certainly can apply to kids as well.

Organization and focus are key qualities for many successful adults, but these skills do not come naturally to grown ups, imagine if you were taught it at a young age and grew with those skills.

The Glenholme School in Washington, Connecticut  actually has a program called “Executive Functioning Skills” which helps its students focus on tasks at hand, prioritize and organize in a way that will help them throughout their lives even after leaving school.

Here are 5 tips that Maryann Campbell, Executive Director of The Glenholme School, offers to assist all parents and children:

  1. Stash and trash– Prevent mountains of papers from accumulating by learning what to keep and what to toss. This is a very important skill, even for the most organized adults! Teach children at a young age what types of documents to keep and throw away as well as how to best organize the materials they are keeping. Your future storage bins will thank you! 
  1. Balancing work and fun – It is important to teach children that there is a time for work and a time for play, and that they are both important for a well-balanced life! Make time for studying, after school activities and dinner with the family.
  1. Manage the day – Parents have planners, and so should children! Teach your child to use a day planner or calendar, where they can record their school work, after-school activities, social events and family time.  Whether it is paper or digital, it doesn’t matter. The point is that the child learns to manage their time and sets realistic expectations for each day.
  1. Organize assignments –Parents can help their children stay organized with color-coded folders and a desk-top storage system for their school work.  Children also really enjoy label makers. Divide the folders and storage containers by subject, and teach children how to label accordingly.
  1. Lightening the backpack without losing the work – We’ve all witnessed the tiny child with the gigantic backpack that weighs nearly as much as they do, as well as the extreme opposite of the student who shows up to class without a pen or paper. Teaching children to carry what is important for the day will help them be better prepared for class. Go over the day’s activities the night before, make a list of what classes and activities the child has and pack accordingly.

This solid advice should help parents have a basis and foundation for passing on these critical skills to their children.

photos: courtesy Ikea, The Glenholme School

VIRAL: Sketch Time Lapse Pregnancy Video

Time Lapsed Pregnancy Announcement   YouTube

By now, we’ve seen quite a few time lapse pregnancy videos that they are no longer that A-MAZING and not all go viral. An expecting couple took the time lapse thing and went another creative direction. It’s a pencil sketch announcement like no other we’ve seen so far.

And…it’s gone viral! Check it out!

Eco-Friendly: Tips on Hiking with the Kids this Summer

This summer consider taking your child hiking. It is a great way to get him or her interested in the great outdoors and nature. Renowned hiking expert Jeff Alt, author to the new book ”

Alt offers these tips for anyone thinking of going hiking with their children.

Start’em Young: Ergonomically designed baby carriers make it easy and fun to carry your infant and toddler with you wherever you hike. Walk to your Favorite Park or beach. Bring a friend. Stop often and let your little one explore. Make your hike a routine your kids will look forward to.
Let the Kids Lead! Follow the leader! Hike at your child’s pace and distance. Whatever your child takes interest in, stop and explore that bug, leaf or rock with them. Tell them about the animals, rocks, trees, and flowers. Getting to the destination is less important than making sure your kids have so much fun; they will want to go again and again.
Count Down to the Adventure: Psych the kids up with pictures, videos, and highlights of the places they will go and the things they will see. Use books, magazines, maps, and the Internet, especially park websites and videos showing the spectacular wildlife and locations they will see.
Suit Up in Comfort, Style and the Latest Technology:  Take this checklist with you shopping so you get the bases covered:
  • Footwear: Until your kids are walking consistently on their own (birth-3), fit them with a comfortable pair of water resistant shoes. Make sure the three and older kids are wearing light weight trail shoes or boots with a sturdy sole. A Vibram sole with a waterproof breathable liner is preferred. Wear non-cotton, moisture wicking, synthetic or wool socks.
  • Clothing:   Dress for the weather! Wear non-cotton synthetic, wool & fleece clothes and dress in layers. Wear multipurpose clothes like pants that zip off into shorts or shirts with role up sleeves. Pack a waterproof breathable rain parka. Dress for the season with fleece hat & gloves or a hat with a wide brim for sun protection.
  • Packs: Get age and size appropriate backpacks that fit each hiker comfortably with hydration hose capability.
  • Trekking Poles: Get a pair of adjustable, collapsible poles with an ergonomically designed handle for each person.
  • Fresh, Clean Water: You can get a hydration hose system for your pack or just use bottles. Disinfect wild water using hi-tech portable treatment water systems such as a UV wand or micro-straining filter.
  • Communication: Bring a smart phone so you can take lots of pictures and if there’s connectivity, email to family or upload to your online blog or Facebook page.  Carry a GPS unit to keep you located on the trail and for geocaching.
  • Other Must Haves: Pediatrician recommended suntan lotion and bug repellent containing Deet or Picaridin; First aid kit that accommodates the whole group & first aid knowledge to go along with the kit. Bring a compass & map and brush up on how to use them. Learn how to make a shelter to keep you warm and dry. Keep matches and a lighter in a dry place and know how to make a fire to keep warm. Carry a whistle and a signal mirror in case you get lost. Pack a survival knife with a locking blade. Bring a head lamp flashlight, extra batteries, 50 feet of rope or twine, and always have several feet of duct tape for that unexpected repair.

Bring water and food kids love:  Hand out needed extra energy and water as needed on the trail. Pack their favorite snacks and bring plenty of water. Stop often for a drink and a snack.

Pack Fun Items: Let young children fill their adventure pack with a bug catcher, magnifying glass, binoculars, a camera, a map and compass, whistle, or flashlight. Let your little adventurer take ownership and pack a few items of his own; even if it’s not hiking related.
Play Games and Bring a Friend: Play I Spy using your surroundings as you walk along. Create your own scavenger hunt in search of animals, plants and views along the way. Make up rhymes and sing songs as you walk. Pack along a plant and animal identification guide for your older child. Let your social butterfly bring a friend, with parental permission. Intrigue your computer savvy child with the high-tech hiking gadgets like GPS, headlamp flashlights and pedometers. Use your GPS and take your kids on a geocaching adventure.
Take Advantage of Park Activities and Guided Nature Experiences:  Utilize and enjoy the amazing services and resources offered by our parks, trail and recreational system and associations. This will help ensure that the experience is enjoyable, memorable and even life-changing.Find out more about JeffAlt and his tips for getting  kids into the great outdoors at his website: JeffAlt.com.

Back To School: Hidden College Costs Parents Need to Know


Guest Post

college bellyitchblog.com

At my fifth and last child’s high school graduation, I settled into a seat next to a gentleman who was the father of another graduate.

When the ceremony ended, most of the parents excitedly rushed forward to take photos of their sons and daughters. But this fellow just sat there in a classic dejected pose, his hands on his cheeks and his elbows on his knees.

He appeared numb rather than jubilant, not what you expect from a proud parent of a child who just earned a high school diploma.

“Are you all right?” I asked.

“Have I ever messed up,” he replied. “This is the first moment it’s hit me that my little girl will be headed to college in a few months and I have to start paying for her college education.”

I couldn’t do much more than wish him luck, but the encounter left me wondering just how many parents wait until the day of their child’s high school graduation to start the financial planning for college.

And whether they start saving early or late, my bet is that a great majority of parents focus mostly on the costs of tuition and a dormitory room. That’s understandable. Those costs alone seem staggering these days.

Just think of it. The College Board tells us that the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2014–2015 school year was $31,231 at private colleges, $9,139 for state residents at public colleges, and $22,958 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.

The average cost of room and board ranges from $9,804 at public schools to $11,188 at private schools.

All that money gets you through just one year.

But college expenses go far beyond tuition and a place to sleep. Parents and students need to prepare themselves for what I think of as the hidden trapdoors of putting your kids through college.

These extra expenses can be killer, especially for parents who are not wealthy.

Let’s take a look at a few of them:

•  Computers and printers. Your child may have survived high school by using your home computer and printer, but if he or she is heading out of town to college that’s about to change. A laptop and a printer are necessities in today’s higher-education world. If you are undecided on a high school graduation gift, this could be the ticket. It’s money that will be spent anyway. Sure, a student can use a computer in the college library or possibly in computer labs scattered around the campus, but they aren’t always available or convenient.

Costs vary greatly, of course. A budget laptop can be had for $400 or $500; maybe less in some cases. High-powered models can easily top $1,000. The additional problem with computers and printers is that they eventually need to be replaced. Your student might not make it through four years (or more) of college without having to buy a second one.

•  Textbooks. This is one expense many parents may have thought about, at least briefly. But it can still be sobering to actually view the prices. In some cases, a single book can cost a few hundred dollars. The College Board estimates that the average student spends about $1,200 a year on books and supplies. (Some parents probably spent less than that on tuition back in their college days.)

•  Fraternities, sororities and other social activities. Granted, this isn’t a necessity, but let’s face it. No student is going to study all the time. Part of the college experience is involvement in campus activities. Some of those are cheap or free, which is good. But some come with costs attached. USA Today reported last fall that fraternity and sorority members can pay from several hundred dollars to more than $1,000 a semester for the privilege of being part of their organizations.

•  Other necessities and extras. Transportation, clothing, entertainment and other miscellaneous expenses will add to the bottom line on that college bill. Some of those will be more relevant – and costly – than others, depending on the student. At least there is room for being frugal here.

Keep in mind that none of this means every dollar needs to come out of mom and dad’s wallet.

An intrepid college student should be able to find a job on or around the campus, whether working at the college book store, handling duties around the dormitory or bagging groceries at a nearby supermarket.

Unfortunately, those financial trapdoors can’t be avoided. But a little awareness and good planning should have you prepared for the moment when they’re flung open in front of you.

About Jim Chilton

Jim Chilton is the founder and chief executive officer for the Society for Financial Awareness, or SOFA (www.sofausa.org), a non-profit public benefit corporation with a mission to provide financial education across America. SOFA conducts free financial workshops and seminars to individuals, companies, and organizations on such topics as “Getting Fiscally Fit,” “Financial Blunders,” “Exploring Your Options for a Quality Retirement” and “Solving Debt.” Chilton is a San Diego, Calif., native and alumnus of San Diego State University. After college, he became a high school teacher and coach, but later joined the financial services industry. After achieving a desirable level of success, Chilton felt the need to do more for the community and in 1993 founded SOFA.

Your Birth Order says This About Your Love Life


Since I am a BIG believer in birth order shaping the personality of individuals, I was very interested to see this article from Yahoo!Match.

Want some fresh insight into your love personality? Forget about whether you’re a Leo, Pisces or Aquarius; instead, consider whether you’re a first-born, middle child, or baby of the family. If you want to understand how you operate in every kind of relationship, “understanding birth order is a lifesaver,” stresses psychologist Kevin Leman, Ph.D., author of The Birth Order Book. Read on for more insight into your love life:

If you’re an oldest child…

It’s no coincidence that most U.S. Presidents were first-borns, because this is the sign of natural leaders. You’re a take-charge person, so not the type to drive friends and romantic partners crazy asking questions like, “I dunno where we should eat; where do you want to go?” Instead, you’ll make sure you have reservations — and land a prime table, too. And anyone lucky enough to pair up with you won’t spend weeknights wondering whether he or she has Saturday night plans, because “oldest kids are planners,” says Dr. Leman. You’re also old-fashioned (in a good way). You always come through on anniversaries and Valentine’s Day.

Your love challenge: Being more spontaneous. First-borns aren’t the “seize the day” sort (you’re not one to text your sweetie to suggest meeting at this fun café you just walked past). Likewise, “you hate surprises,” Dr. Leman warns. Pity the fool who springs meeting the parents on you or when you thought it was just the two of you going out tonight!

Best match: The youngest child. “It’s a case of opposites attracting,” says Dr. Leman. “You help the last-born be more organized, and the last-born helps you lighten up.”

Read more about middle kids, only children and youngest at Yahoo!Match

Also, to pair it, here’s a 2009 article about the characteristics of birth order from Popsci

First Borns: Energetic, Logical, Ambitious, Enterprising, Scholarly. Famous first born children: Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Oprah Winfrey, Rush Limbaugh and Arsenio Hall.

Middle Children: Flexible, Diplomatic, Rebellious, Attention-seeking, Competitive, Peacemakers. Famous middle born children: Donald Trump, Ted Kennedy, Tim Allen, Julia Roberts, and Rosie O’Donnell.

Last Born Children: Risk takers, Idealists, Good sense of humor, Immature, Attention-seeking, Secretive, Sensitive. Famous last born children: Howard Stern, Jay Leno, Ralph Nadar, Bill Gates, and Danny DeVito.

Only Children: Mature faster, Get along well with older people, Responsible, Self-Centered, Perfectionists, Attention-seekers and Have difficulty sharing. Only children tend to be a special breed in that they can share the common personality traits of any of the above 3 main birth orders. However, they are generally more aligned with the traits of the first born. Famous only children include: Nancy Reagan, Chelsea Clinton, Carol Burnett, and Ted Koppel.

Interesting stuff, no?

Exploitation of Poor Women, Gay Couple center Surrogacy Controversy

Attention has mounted the past few days over a recent surrogacy case in Thailand in which a surrogate mother refused to allow the American couple who hired her to take their child out of the country when she found out that they were homosexual, Reuters News reports.

Although the woman in the case, Patidta, is not the child’s biological mother, under Thai law the birth mother is recognized as being the mother of the child, and commissioning parents have no automatic legal rights over the newborn.

Apparently Patidta believed she would be giving the baby to a heterosexual couple, but only learned they were homosexual when the couple came to pick the child up. She then refused to let them take the baby.

Women from a poor areas in the world are playing a large role in the multibillion dollar pregnancy surrogacy industry, with many mothers being forced or coerced into carrying a child for someone else.

“Surrogacy depends in many cases on the exploitation of poor women, because it’s the poor who have to sell and the rich that can afford to buy,” Christopher White told CNA July 23.

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