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I’ve been called the “black sheep” in my family  so many times; I don’t even know where to begin.

Every woman in my family works in the public schools system, but I refused to go to school to be a teacher.

My entire family lives within a 10 mile radius from the epicenter of Monroe, North Carolina… I live 12 hours away in Wappingers Falls, New York.

I hate country music, but my family was raised on bluegrass.

I’m a progressive thinker even though my family is a bit old fashioned.

But, the one thing that really made me realize I was the black sheep early on in life is my love of sports, not to mention my sheer hatred for cheerleading.

 One night before I shipped off to New York, my parents and I were watching my old baby videos.  There was a video taken of everyone hanging out in the waiting room of the hospital on the day I was born. Everyone was joking around saying “If Nelson (my dad) comes out and says it’s a girl, it’ll be a boy.” My dad is the ultimate jokester.

Minutes later, my dad bursts through the doors announcing the birth of their new baby girl. My grandma shouted, “well, I guess we’ll have a cheerleader instead of a baseball player.” To which my dad replied, “we’ll see about that.” **It’s important to note that my dad was the local high school’s baseball coach, he actually had to leave a game early to come to the hospital for my birth, he was in his uniform during my delivery. **

Growing up, I didn’t have much of a choice as to what extracurricular activities I participated in. My mom did the only thing she knew to do with little girls and signed me up for cheerleading as soon as I was old enough to walk.

At one particularly painful cheerleading practice, I was punished for watching the football game when I was supposed to be cheering (hey, I was standing on the sidelines and got caught up in the moment).  I don’t know what possessed me to talk back to my coach, but I said to her “Well maybe I’d rather be playing a sport than being a glorified fan.”  She stood there agape. “It’s not like cheerleaders ever won a game for a team before, we’re just supposed to stand there and look pretty.”

I went home that night and cried in my pillow afraid that I had gotten myself kicked off the team.  I just knew that my family would be so ashamed of me. After about an hour of sobbing, I realized… so what if she kicks me off the team, I don’t like cheering anyway!

I told my dad that I wanted to quit cheerleading and take up organized softball and basketball. He was elated. My mom wasn’t so happy, although she warmed up to the idea after she saw my enthusiasm.

The next day I made the announcement to my mom’s side of the family, cue the dirty looks and astonished faces.  After some heavy guilt trips, I decided I needed to do what made me happy.

My first season as a softball player was great, my dad was one of the coaches and my BFF (laura)’s dad was the other coach. I was a natural pitcher and I don’t mind bragging on how awesome I was. I went on to play softball and basketball in high school. During my sophomore year, I began getting the attention of the local papers and colleges. When I was a senior, the scholarship offers started to roll in.

I think I made the right choice.

The point though, is what do you do when your child doesn’t want to participate in the extracurricular activity that you’d like them to participate in?

–          Accept it. If you were a budding young artist, but your child wants to play football, accept it. Plain and simple.  Your child isn’t trying to defy you; they just want something to call their own. You should be happy that you raised a child feels comfortable enough to go outside of their comfort zone and try new things. AND FOR GOODNESS SAKES, DON’T MAKE YOUR CHILD FEEL LIKE A BLACK SHEEP!

–          Lay off the guilt trips! Just because you were a star athlete doesn’t mean your child has to be.  Never make your child feel guilty for wanting to try new things.

–          Research. If your child wants to play baseball and you’re not sure what the difference between a sac fly and a home run is… we have a problem. Go to your local library and check out some books on the activity your child wants to participate in, that way you’ll be able to help your child improve their skills. Not to mention, no child wants their parents screaming RUN on a foul ball.

–          Give encouragement. Every child wants the approval of their parents. Once your child begins a new activity, encourage them to do the best they can and offer to help them practice their new skills.

Our beautiful Hudson Valley is in full bloom. Have you noticed? The roadsides are graced with the presence of Queen Anne’s Lace and periwinkle hued chicory. It’s a feast for the eyes and it’s one you can bring inside and have fun with! Any white flower can be changed with the assistance of your kids or grand kids, some food coloring, and water filled jars.

What you’ll need…

Glass Jars (from your recyclables) ~ Food Coloring ~ Queen Anne’s Lace ~ Daisies ~ or any white flower from the garden or roadside ~ Water ~ Children

This is a great project because not only is it fun and lovely to watch, but it doesn’t take any exact science or measurements.

This is a great opportunity to teach your children that

Red + Yellow = Orange   ~   Blue + Yellow = Green   ~   Red + Blue = Purple

Then if you really want to rock their socks, go ahead and put…

More Blue than Green to create Aqua   ~   More Yellow than Red for Coral   ~ and so forth, have fun!!

Squirt a bunch of food coloring into your jar of water and you will increase the intensity of your color, add just a little for pastels.

No need to fill the entire jar, only fill your jar or glass 2 inches full.

Let your children squirt away, don’t even worry about how much or how little they put in!

During the course of a day you will see your white blooms turn into a rainbow color! Daisies will become speckled and give off a somewhat tie dyed effect. Each year my kids are thrilled to see their flowers change before their eyes! nature’s magic 🙂

If you would like, when your flowers have reached their desired hue you can press them within a phone book. Cut them at the head and place between the pages. Put some weight on top and let sit for 4-6 weeks. When they are dry and crisp, frame and hang for a living memory in your home, or gift to a grandparents!

Note to moms: this craft can be used to decorate baby showers, weddings, and other summer parties! go ahead, make a bouquet of all your rainbowed hues. For intense colors use Wilton’s color gel from the cake decorating isle in ACmoore, or craft section of Walmart.

Just about one year ago (almost to the day), I blogged about a new recipe I’d discovered from a fun blog, for zucchini bread pancakes.  This morning, as I stared at a surplus of zucchini, visions of those incredible pancakes stirred in my mind.  Shortly after making those pancakes last year, my family became gluten-free.  Slowly but surely, we’ve revisited special recipes, one by one, making tweaks and alterations.  As a rule, it’s best to find a true gluten-free recipe for something rather than make substitutions to a traditional recipe.  Many do not translate well due to different properties of gluten-free flours, wet-to-dry ratios, and lack of well, gluten.  Certain recipes, however, are unique and beg for experimentation.  I’m pleased to say that this recipe translated amazingly.  Proportionately, there’s not much flour, which bodes well for its success.

A summery breakfast

If you’re not gluten-free, go straight to the original recipe.  My only change is to use two cups of shredded zucchini.  To make these gluten-free, substitute the one cup of flour for 3/4 cup plus 1 T brown rice flour, 2 T cornstarch, and 1 T tapioca flour.  Make sure your oats are certified gluten-free, and use 1 t xanthan gum.  Follow the recipe as posted above, and enjoy.  We’re also mostly dairy-free, and the recipe worked well with almond milk in place of cow’s milk, soy-free dairy-free butter in place of butter, and I did use the sour cream because there’s no good substitute. Almond milk yogurt might work, but I didn’t have any on hand, and it might be too thin.  No matter how you make them, they’re incredible.

To share what’s new in your kitchen, or find out going on in ours, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook.  Happy cooking!

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray (or awry depending on whom you talk to).”

This phrase holds true in so many aspects of life… especially dieting! This week, I have been on my family vacation in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. It’s a great family-oriented beach with amazing amenities. I just love it here. I hope to one day retire here… it’s so peaceful.

Funland

The boardwalk at Rehoboth is like my own personal heaven. They have carnival rides, carnival games, arcade games, souvenir shops… oh yeah, and TONS of food stands and restaurants.

Now, I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m on a diet; I’ve just changed my eating habits dramatically. Nevertheless, I’m still trying to cut back on my portions and eat healthy foods instead of the greasy fried foods I used to eat constantly… I guess that’s pretty much a diet, isn’t it.

I made a vow to myself that I would do whatever necessary to avoid gaining weight while on vacation. Last year, I gained 5 pounds while I was there for 2 weeks!!!!

Gotta love boardwalk games!

I’ve been pretty good so far. One vacation night a year is always designated “eat ‘til you pop” night. We go to the Rusty Rudder, which is a really nice restaurant/seafood buffet. The entire family orders the same thing each year… the land and sea buffet. This year, I opted for the grilled chicken salad.

I was quite content with my salad, even though family members constantly tried to make me “taste” various things off their plate. I kindly refused and felt great about myself at the end of the night.I’ve been good all week and didn’t eat any of the local cuisine that I love.

Gus ‘n Gus – Best cheese steaks around!

Each day before heading to the beach, I packed a little cooler filled with fresh veggies, water and tuna salad so I would never be tempted by the boardwalk food. Everything was going great, I even lost 1 pound!

However, today was a completely different story. I leave Delaware tomorrow night and as soon as I woke up yesterday morning I started reaching for the Dollies Saltwater Taffy!

I made my way to the beach and plopped down in the sand. Around noon I started catching a whiff of Gus ‘n Gus’ famous cheese steaks. Then a group of teenagers sat down next to our umbrellas with a big box of

Grotto pizza with their legendary swirl of sauce and American cheese.

Grotto pizza, Thrasher’s boardwalk fries and a large gelati.

There were so many “native” Rehoboth foods that I didn’t even get to enjoy this vacation… I had to eat them all before I left or vacation just wouldn’t be the same! So starting at 12:15, (I resisted my urge for 15 minutes… that should count for something right?) I started my binge through Rehoboth.

First up was a small cheese steak from Gus ‘n Gus, then some fries from Thrashers. For a snack I had passion fruit polish icewater, then mango gelati for good measure (obviously, I ate over the course of the day… I didn’t go “hog wild” all at once). For dinner, I chomped down a slice of Grotto pizza and a Kohr Brother’s frozen custard for dessert.

Now, as I sit writing this, I’ve got my hair pulled back and a trash pale by my side. I couldn’t sleep at all last night. I guess my system isn’t used to all the greasy foods and the large portions anymore. Why, oh why did I do this to myself?!?!

This is what Kohr Brother’s thinks a “small” looks like.

I guess I’ve learned my lesson. I’m sure if I would have eaten the same foods in moderation, I would have been okay. It’s interesting how we can associate food with memories…. That’s my biggest problem. Food has always had an emotional pull with me.

From eating chicken ‘n dumplins at my grandma’s house every Sunday to eating Grotto pizza in Delaware, each dish represents a happy time in my life. It’s sort of sick if you think about it.  I know this is something that I must continually work to overcome. Maybe I’ll get the hang of it one day. But for now… I’ll spend my last day in Delaware with my head hung over the toilet bowl.

So, there you have it… my cautionary tale of diets and vacation.

Remember: In this game we call life, moderation is everything!

She’ll be coming ’round the mountain when she comes, (when she comes).

She’ll be coming ’round the mountain when she comes, (when she comes).

She’ll be coming ’round the mountain, she’ll be coming ’round the mountain, She’ll be coming ’round the mountain when she comes, (when she comes).

Sing it! Sister and Brothers! The Catskill Mountain Railroad is coming round the mountain even after Hurricane Irene wreaked havoc on part of its track along the Esopus Creek–All thanks to a cadre of dedicated volunteers who keep this vital piece of transportation history alive for us and our children.

Children are train enthusiasts: My son loves steamies, roundhouses, chanting “I think I can,” and singing the opening song for the PBS Kid’s show Dinosaur Train:

We’re huffing and we’re puffing like a hurricane…

Take a ride on the Dinosaur Train….

Well, maybe I’m the one who likes that song…it really loops around and around in your head…but ANYWAY!

Recently, we tripped the light “traintastic” on the Catskill Mountain Railroad.

And here is what stands out…
Classic not Plastic

The train is worth exploring. You can feel the wind sweep through your hair in an open-aired gondola car or bask in the antique lighting and seating of one of the 1920s-era commuter cars. Just make sure you watch your kids – the windows open wide unlike kid-proof windows of today.

The Volunteers

Many Catskill Mountain Railroad volunteers loved trains as kids and just never grew out of it, so they love meeting their former selves– our train-loving kids! If you get chatty with the volunteers, you can learn a lot.

The train station’s ticket agent Peter Fluchere bubbled over with enthusiasm explaining the history of the railroad to us. Years ago, there were two ways to travel to the mountains, you could take a dirt road or the railroad. He asked us to look around at the tree-covered mountains and imagine them bare, as they once were due to the logging and tanning industries. We had no idea the landscape was once so different.
The conductor was, also, happy to give us some details about the train. He told us volunteers pitched in to buy the train’s cars and spent thousands of hours restoring them.

Sidenote- Even though it is an all volunteer operation, the Federal Railway Association monitors the line, so it is just as safe as any other train.

The Views

 The views of the Esopus and the mountains are one of a kind (if you depart from the Mt. Tremper station- didn’t ride Kingston’s). It’s a unique experience viewing the scenery from the vantage point of the train.
So take a ride on the Esopus Scenic Train from Mt. Tremper (operates weekends May-Oct -& operates Fridays as well starting Jun 29.)

The trip is abbreviated as a result of the storm damage and takes about 30 minutes. They have lowered the ticket prices because of this.
All trains depart Mt. Tremper Station 
Adult — $12.00 :: Children (ages 4-11) — $7.00Children under 4 ride free with paid adult fare



or

Board Kingston Shuttle at Kingston Plaza and ride through the historic city of Kingston.
The train runs only on Saturdays but offers special events throughout the season.
That’s it folks!
Have fun exploring the Hudson Valley with your kids and visit us at wheresmommyat.com or on Facebook!
-Hudson Valley Kim
OK. So I’m going to start by saying that this topic has been rolling around in my head for a while, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to put it out there…it’s one of those taboos that most people don’t like to talk about, much like Spring Break Cancun 1998, or the time you ate a petrified french fry that you found underneath your two-year-old’s car seat. But, as more and more time settles between the past and the present, there is a little voice in my head telling me to write about it- the same voice that tells me to inhale spoonfuls of Nutella and almond butter at 2 am- which totally proves that this voice is very wise, and may even have a Ph.D. from University of Awesome.
Baby number 3 is on the way
In the early morning hours on a November day in 2010, we got the exciting news that baby #3 was on board.  Our little monkeys were four years old and almost two years old, and it seemed like a perfect time to add a third ring to our circus. We went to the doctor, confirmed that I was almost six weeks along, and got a due date in July.  Since it was our third time around this block, we waited for about a week, and made our big announcement to our families on Thanksgiving. A few days later, I pretty much stood on top of Mt. Everest and shouted “WE’RE HAVING A BAAAABY!!” to the world…aka, I put it on Facebook.
Now, for those of you who know me, you know that I’m pretty much an open book, who only stops talking long enough to eat and breathe, and isn’t really the best at locking up the vault and keeping things to myself. With my first two pregnancies, we waited until I was about eight weeks before announcing it to our families…there was no way I was ever going to make it to the twelve week mark, that is always held up as “the safe time” to let the cat outta the bag. Since we’d been down this road twice before, with two healthy, uneventful pregnancies, I saw no reason to keep this happy, happy news to ourselves.
Things take a turn
And then, along came December 19th. Cue the dark and ominous overtones.
From the moment I opened my eyes that morning, the day sucked. First of all, I woke up with the stomach bug. We had our annual Girls Night Christmas Cookie Swap the night before at my house. Unfortunately, macaroons and fudge bars weren’t the only thing being swapped that night. All seven of us girls, PLUS our husbands AND all of our kids were knocked down by Flu-palooza 2010. I called in sick to work, laid in bed all day, but powered through that afternoon to make it to a scheduled ultrasound.
I got to the doctor’s office, feeling like I was run over by a speeding bus, and about five minutes into my appointment, I could tell by the silence from the ultrasound tech that something was not quite right. When I asked her what she saw, she said that she couldn’t say, and that the doctor would want to talk to me in her office right away. Yeah. My world pretty much stopped spinning at that point. With a lump in my throat and a heart on the edge of  breaking, I gathered my things and headed upstairs.
Because I didn’t have a scheduled appointment to talk to my doctor, I had to wait. And wait. And wait. I waited for an hour. Which, if you are anxiously waiting for bad news, as well as throwing up Christmas cookies and antipasta every 25 minutes, feels like 17 hours.
Awaiting the news
To pass the time, I started texting. I sent out an SOS to my best friends, filling them in on the potentially bad situation. Knowing that my peeps were praying for me and was comforting. My poor husband was dead to the world, suffering from the stomach bug epidemic as well, and had no idea what was happening at this point. A parent of a student I had in my class many years ago, who happened to be waiting for her appointment, ended up being my guardian angel that afternoon. I ended up tearfully filling her in on why I was sitting there, and she spent a half hour, filling my head with positive thoughts and distracting me with stories about her kids. I truly believe she was sent by God to be there, to calm my nerves, and to stop me from leaping over the receptionist’s desk and demanding that the doctor TALKED. TO. ME. NOW.
Finally I was called back. In my group, there are six different doctors, and to make the whole experience go from bad to worse, I happened to see the one doctor who was relatively new, and I had never met before. She also happened to be the one doctor in my practice that has zero bedside manner. I’m pretty sure that Kim Jong-il would’ve been kinder in his delivery. Dr. Mean started by showing me the film of my ultrasound and very matter-of-factly telling me that “there is no heartbeat, and that this pregnancy is no longer viable.”
The next thing I knew, the Ice Queen handed me a box of tissues and excused herself from the room so I could compose myself. I went into the bathroom, called my mom, and lost it. I sobbed my way through the entire, terrible story, and drove home, straight into the arms of my equally-as-heartbroken husband.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it…it was awful. I was almost ten weeks, and already completely in love. I spent the next two days, laying in bed, feeling like crapola, snuggling with my babies, and watching hours and hours of The Soprano’s and Real Housewives of Everywhere and Anywhere.
Spreading the news on facebook
Somewhere between one of Tony’s therapy sessions with Dr. Melfi and an infomercial for Sham-Wow, I had a terrible realization. I had shared the big ‘bun in the oven’ news on facebook, and now I had to undo it. AND I had to undo in 420 characters or less. Not being one for brevity, writing this status took me over an hour. I hit ‘post’ with a pit in my stomach, but within minutes, I started getting responses. The amount of messages and posts I received from family and friends was overwhelming and completely and totally amazing. So many of you shared your own stories of loss, and because of these stories, I closed up shop on my pity-party, threw on my Uggs and some lipgloss, and went out to breakfast with my little family. That night, Chris and I went Christmas shopping. We were still sadder than sad, but we also knew that life must go on. We each mourned in our own way…sharing the joy and complete insanity of Christmas with our babies helped tremendously. Like any loss, the weight of it would hit me when I least expected it, and even now, over two years later, I have my moments of achy sadness.
But through all of that sadness, an important lesson emerged. In the weeks following, I would run into co-workers,neighbors, old friends from high school, and sorority sisters I hadn’t seen in years, and because they knew of what happened via my ‘retraction statement’ on Facebook, so many of them would share their own story of loss during pregnancy. I found healing power and courage in each of these conversations, cards and e-mails. And with each story, I started to realize that is not a type of loss that women generally talk about. In our country, there is such a negative stigma attached to miscarriage, almost as if you should be embarrassed or ashamed if it happens to you.  With approximately one out of every five women experiencing this type of loss, it just seems ridiculous that people feel this way. There is no other loss that occurs that we feel pressured to keep a secret or speak about in whispers.
Feeling whole again
We are programmed to keep our expanding bellies hush-hush until that magical 12 week mark, when we enter our second trimester and the threat of miscarriage significantly decreases. I get that. Well, part of me gets it. The other part of me, thinks about how if no one knew that we were expecting in the first place, we would have missed out on sharing in the experiences of others, and the hundreds of healing prayers, that ultimately gave us strength. The simple act of others acknowledging that we were suffering a loss in our family was vital to making us feel whole again.
I don’t regret sharing our news ‘too soon’ for one minute. There is power in numbers, and knowing that we weren’t alone, was significant in our mourning and mending. I know everyone grieves in their own way, and not everyone wears their heart on their sleeve like I do, but talking about it, and not keeping your grief and emotions bottled up inside, can do a world of good.
Life goes on. I don’t say that callously, forgetting what we went through, but it is the truth. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of our littlest angel.  But I do have faith that our hope of welcoming a new baby into our family will happen. This whole experience taught me that my friends and family were there for me not just in the good times, but also in the “not-so-good-mascara-running-down-my-face-blubbering-through-a-box-of-Kleenex-and-a-bowl-of-wine-times.”
I am one lucky mama.

This is a scene from the spectacle that is ZARKANA, Cirque Du Soleil’s hypnotizing stage/circus now playing at Radio City Music Hall.  It is only here, says their spokesperson Nicole Heymen, for the rest of the summer.  The show then moves to Las Vegas for what is being called its “permanent home.”  And what it show it was.

What we are seeing here is the high-energy and rather crowded trapeze performance with members flying and tumbling through air in a clever spider-web dance.  Off stage, costumed band members keep a soundtrack of rock and roll and new-agey music carefully choreographed to the movements on the stage.

The 90 minute show flew by as a stream of really busy activities, from the silly clowns (who were very, very funny), to the nerve-wracking, some of which made me squirm and want to look away.  Like the second act, a male and female team where he held the straight ladder, while climbing it at the same time while a lightweight ballerina stood on his shoulders.  She then somehow turned upside down (!) so that one hand was placed on his head and her feet were in the air.  All the while, the ladder moved about nervously, and the audience held its breath. (I was thinking, “oh no, you’re not going to do THAT are you!)

A few of the acts were so-so, and that is par for any circus.  The tennis-ball-bouncing lady did some nice juggling with some cute angle bounces, and a team of flag throwers were just interesting.  But that was okay.  There was enough white-knuckle acts, like the two gentleman who ran around a spinning wheel, or the tightrope walkers who jumped rope (always a show stopper), and some really high flying gymnastics, above and beyond what we’d see at the summer Olympics.

There were two solo performances that stood out more for their quiet talent.  A costumed girl came out and knelt before a sand table that projected onto the screen behind her what she was drawing in the sand.  One by one, fascinating creations came to life, whether the New York City skyline to drawings of the members of the troupe, including the wild-haired clowns.  Towards the end of the show, the audience uieted down for the performer I called, “yoga guy.”  In a plain white outfit, on his own raised platform, this well-toned gentlemen performed poses that yogi masters can only dream about.

The stage was a show in itself with light shows, videos flying by, and backdrops that complemented the live acts.  The one drawback was the circus’ leading man, in a top hat and tails (glittering and sparkling), with long hair, who sang very dramatically, in a language I couldn’t figure out.  What was he lamenting about?  Did he lose his magical powers?  It didn’t matter; when he left the stage, another act came on to take our attention away.

And lastly, the clowns.  Yes, they are silly; yes, some of the antics I remember seeing on the Ed Sullivan Show, but when one of them was shot out of a canon, carried above our heads, pretending to fly in slow motion was pretty funny.  When he spots an audience member he’d like to know better he begins to flirt, then, well, let me not ruin the scene.

We are so fortunate to be able to do a day trip to NYC either by train or by car, and the shows in the city are just amazing.  Check this one out as it’s still running until September 2, and despite the occasional lag in the production, it is still a very cool show to see!

If you’re planning a trip to a NYC museum with your kids, here are great ways to make it a great visit!

“People shop for a bathing suit with more care than they do a husband or wife, but the rules are the same… Look for something you’ll feel comfortable wearing and allow for room to grow.” ~ Erma Bombeck

EEK it’s bathing suit season!  But wait… I’m still pudgy and pale! I had dreams of losing my last 30 pounds before summer vacation, but alas… I still have 25 more pounds to go.

That being said, I can’t lie. My pants might literally catch on fire if I said I didn’t enjoy shopping for bathing suits this summer. For the first time in my life, I found a bathing suit that I was comfortable and not at all self-conscious in.

The day after I purchased my first bathing suit of the season, I started to think back… was there ever a time when I didn’t feel self-conscious in a bathing suit?

I thought long and hard. I wanted to blame my mom for my overly self-conscious mindset… I listened to her criticize herself year after year… I picked up on the way she talked about herself and found myself doing the same… after all, I look exactly like her.

I came to realize, my problem wasn’t because of my mom… it was just a matter of growing up and being more aware of social stigmas.  I was never self-conscious about anything until the girl in 7th grade told me I was “fat.” I was blissfully ignorant before then.

I’ve always been a big believer in the fact that you can learn a lot from children. Whether it’s not being self-conscious, being a dare devil (to a certain degree) or by learning to let go of the past… children really do teach us.

I often find myself wishing that I could get back that “child-like” vigor and love of self. It seems as we grow older we focus more on what others think about us than what we think of ourselves. It shouldn’t be that way. If we are happy and healthy, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up to get from a size 12 to a size 2.

I began my weight loss journey not because I wanted to make others happy, I did it because even though my family and boyfriend thought I was wonderful and beautiful, I just wasn’t happy with my lack of energy and my poor health condition. Now, please do not get me wrong, I LOVE when people I haven’t seen in a while see me and are in total shock… but that’s not my goal. My goal is to be happy with myself so that one day when I have children, I can project a positive self-image and hopefully keep my kids from growing into a self-conscious wreck.

This bathing suit season, I challenge you (and myself) to let go of all the negative body image issues, relax and enjoy. Be like your children… care-free. You’ll enjoy yourself a lot more that way.

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