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Join the Eastside Community Crawl and You Could WIN a $300 Shopping Spree!

We’re so excited to participate in the Eastside Community Crawl and offer FIT4MOM Bellevue’s readers a chance to win a $300 Bellevue Collection Shopping Spree!

If you’re on the crawl, scroll down to find our unique game piece. If you’re new to the crawl, go here to get details and join the contest: http://www.schurorthodontics.com/eastside-community-crawl/

1. Make note of our unique game piece shown above.

2. Head to the next stop on the crawl: http://www.bbjp.net/blog/eastside-community-crawl

Special thanks to Schur Orthodontics for hosting this fun opportunity to win a $300 Bellevue Collection Shopping Spree (redeemable at more than 250 stores and restaurants!)

We’d love it if you would...

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We celebrate this month of holidays and festivities with another Mom of the Month. This time we honor a mom who joined us this fall and has been attending quite a number of classes. Her sweet nature (also made evident in the adorable faces and demeanor of her boys), upbeat laugh and easygoing personality have made her a wonderful addition to our FIT4MOM of Bellevue Village. We appreciate all of her positivity, strength and good cheer. Thank you to Emmalee Besch!!

1) What are your stroller buddies names and ages?

Benjamin is 22 months and Steven is 11 months.

2) What town is missing your wonderful family right now?

I am originally from Chicago, but my husband and I moved here from Niceville, Florida.

3) What is your favorite part of FIT4MOM?

My husband is super busy with school and work, so it is nice to have other adults to talk to during the week!

4) What career were you in before you became a mom?

I was selling crabcakes at a seaside farmer's market. (MMMM Crabcakes- follow up question is going to be, do you have the best recipe,...

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We will be bringing back this fun get to know you, celebrate you, and help you section of the FIT4MOM Bellevue site, Each month we will feature a mom within the group, celebrate her for something awesome we have recognized and find out a little bit more about her. This village is about sharing and caring and we feel like spreading the love!

November we have chosen Christy Helmbrecht. Christy has been attending countless Stroller Strides classes since she joined in the summer and is always smiling and ready to enjoy the workout each of the instructors has planned. We love her dedication to showing up nearly every day, her hard work during class and her contagious smiles to help motivate not only the other moms, but also our instructors who like to know if they're giving you the workout you need and want!

-Your kids names and ages

Asher (8 years old) & Amelia (6 months old)

- When did you join FIT4MOM?

I joined this summer when Amelia was 3 months old. I was also a Fit4mom member when my son was young, from...

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Welcome to guest blog poster, Britt Heath. Britt is a long time Stroller Strides client who lives in Bellevue with her husband Stuart and her two daughters Tamryn and Morgan. She is also a full-time real estate agent in the area, working with her husband at Bellmark Real Estate doing an amazing job balancing motherhood and her career. Thank you for contributing Britt, you are wise and helpful!

New Moms and New Houses -How do they go together?

Looking for a new home for your family can be an exciting adventure for some people and an excruciating ordeal for others. Wherever you fall on this spectrum make sure you keep in mind how your family will actually live in this space. Don’t be distracted by the great staging or put-off by the peeling paint. Your own stuff will go in this home and more importantly your kids will be in this home. New mom or not, does the house work for YOUR family? Does it work right now or will it in the next few years as your children’s needs and abilities change?

Here are six...

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Beth is brand new to FIT4MOM's Body Back program. Join her as she documents her Body Back journey for the next eight weeks. Body Back is about empowering, finding balance and making lifestyle changes... All in a supportive, all-female setting. Welcome to Beth's journey.

From Beth:

I don’t think there will ever be an “off day” that doesn’t have to be followed by an “on” one. Or a carb-heavy meal that doesn’t result in a garden salad (hold the dressing please) follow up. And that sucks. Those splashy headlines of stars who lose the baby weight before their first obligatory Starbucks run…that must be nice. Those women who credit breastfeeding for the baby weight just “falling off”… super.

My problem? I can’t blame my beautiful babies for the weight. Well, not all of it. Instead, I just look to a lifetime of learning the hard way. I have never really not been on a diet. And I mean that. A lifetime of diets—twenty-some-odd years or so. In high school, it was skipping lunch, snacking with friends and being just barely comfortable in my skin. In...

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Beth is brand new to FIT4MOM's Body Back program. Join her as she documents her Body Back journey for the next eight weeks. Body Back is about empowering, finding balance and making lifestyle changes... All in a supportive, all-female setting. Welcome to Beth's journey.

From Beth:

Before I had kids, I had opinions. And lots of them. I was NEVER going to co-sleep. The whole “shhhhhh-ing” thing made my skin crawl. Embroidered talking animals on clothing? I would be returning those, thank you very much.

But then I had my son. And he only slept when touching me. We co-slept for sixteen months and then he went into his present-day Ikea bunk bed. It also turns out that “shhhhh-ing” works. I don’t know why, but it does and when you want that baby to JUST STOP CRYING-well, you shhhhhh away.

Parenting, it would appear, is never black and white. The “rules” (whose rules are they anyway?!?) are meant to be bent to the point of shattering and you find yourself doing things you would have never dreamed of even considering pre-children. That, my friends, is...

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Beth is brand new to FIT4MOM's Body Back program. Join her as she documents her Body Back journey for the next eight weeks. Body Back is about empowering, finding balance and making lifestyle changes... All in a supportive, all-female setting. Welcome to Beth's journey.

From Beth:

I buy greeting cards like I am single handedly responsible for the survival of the industry. I write them, address them, and stamp them. Sadly, I never seem to mail them. Birthday cards, thank you notes, Christmas photo cards-lovingly glittered and designed, I find them all, stacked in boxes, tucked in old mail, and my favorite-in the car, tucked next to the driver’s console.

People judge you by your actions, not your intentions. My intentions are always good, over the top even, while my actions fall short of the success I plan for. Thankfully, my personal bar is set so high that I can generally take on too much, promise the world, and when I deliver, deliver to the delight of others, while disappointing myself.

Unfortunately, the promises that I make to myself...

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Beth is brand new to FIT4MOM's Body Back program. Join her as she documents her Body Back journey for the next eight weeks. Body Back is about empowering, finding balance and making lifestyle changes... All in a supportive, all-female setting. Welcome to Beth's journey.

From Beth:

I listen to music when I work out. Angry hip hop is my preference for running, current pop for spin classes, a mix of both for boot camp style classes. No music? Well, that generally means no workout.

So, when the little jawbone speaker died during our workout the other day and the sound of silence began to creep in, I felt my mind start to drift and my form start to falter. So what does one do when the silence is too much of a distraction? Well, in a class full of women, we talk.

We start small, we gain steam. We groan, we vent and laugh. Sometimes it’s light, sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s just us ganging up on Erin. But sometimes it starts small, gains steam, and begins to matter. And last class, somewhere between weird monkey push-ups and standing mountain climbers,...

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Beth is brand new to FIT4MOM's Body Back program. Join her as she documents her Body Back journey for the next eight weeks. Body Back is about empowering, finding balance and making lifestyle changes... All in a supportive, all-female setting. Welcome to Beth's journey.

From Beth:

“Have fun getting pretty, Mommy”.

Hmmmm. That stopped me in my tracks. This was from a three year old who could appreciate a great pair of heels or a sparkly statement necklace and for him to reference getting pretty wasn’t the showstopper-it was the context. I was headed out the door for a workout and he knew it.

Pre-kids, working out to get pretty was the goal. When I worked out, it was to burn off the previous night’s pizza, or to fit into my skinny jeans. Pretty was the whole point.

Post-kids, working out has taken on a whole new meaning. I work out to be strong, to calm my mind, and to keep my body healthy.

Those “teachable moments” always seem to come when I’m already late, dinner is burning, the baby needs a new diaper and the phone is ringing. But...

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Beth is brand new to FIT4MOM's Body Back program. Join her as she documents her Body Back journey for the next eight weeks. Body Back is about empowering, finding balance and making lifestyle changes... All in a supportive, all-female setting. Welcome to Beth's journey.

From Beth:

My phone screen is cracked. It has been for months. Every time I think about getting it replaced (again), I think about how I will just inevitably crack it again.

My eating habits are kind of like my phone.

Every morning I wake up with the best intentions. Drink a smoothie for breakfast, log my food for Body Back, eat a high protein, low carb lunch and track my food intake…

Somewhere, however, life catches up and the baby and the toddler melt down at the exact same moment that I remember I made brownies four days prior and then, somehow, I’m standing in my kitchen, intentions out the window, mouth full of brownie.

And the brownie only tastes good for the first two bites, because after that, the shame of going off track and blowing the plan for the day...

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Beth is brand new to FIT4MOM's Body Back program. Join her as she documents her Body Back journey for the next eight weeks. Body Back is about empowering, finding balance and making lifestyle changes... All in a supportive, all-female setting. Welcome to Beth's journey.

From Beth:

It’s dark out. Like, middle-of-the-night dark. The kind of dark you get used to seeing only out of necessity as you nurse your newborn, barely awake and alone in a quiet house.

And I’m awake. But this time, he’s asleep. Somehow, through grace and good luck, he rests, with his tummy full, happily snuggled and dreaming. I slide slowly out of bed, inch by inch, gently lowering one foot at a time to the ground, body wound tightly with nervous energy, anticipating being needed at any moment.

My sports bra is a little too snug. But really, so is everything I’m wearing and that’s the point. Clothes are on, keys in hand and the drive is quick. There’s a swipe of mascara when I park and then I’m out of the car, squinting again in the dark.

My first Body Back class is a mixture...

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With the start of school, pre-school, busy work seasons as well as sports & activity leagues and classes, we are surely collecting or about to collect a pile of papers and forms as well as a number of weekly need-to-know dates and times.

Are you also finding that your kiddos are coming home with all sorts of papers that you didn’t notice until the morning they are needed? Yeah, it happens every day. Kids are sent home with newsletters, permission slips and notes from their school. What should you do with all these stray notes? Sort them when they arrive!

Now to a minimalist like myself, the idea of Pottery Barn’s home sorting/ mailing/calendar station makes me a bit queasy. But for those of you that have a need for this, invest in one! They are sold in many stores.

Before You Buy:

First, figure out what you need to organize. Do you lose bills before they get paid? Are your kids active in after school activities? Make sure that your wall organizers cater to what your family needs. Maybe for your mail dilemma you need something with sorting boxes, and...

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On the eve of back to school times for many, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of new schedules and all the extras that brings in to family life. Even many of us with only the youngest of children are getting sucked in to the same timelines as we enroll toddlers into weekly activities and preschoolers into their 2 days a week of daycare or preschool. But even when all of these things start to take over, it will still be important to take some time away, do something a little unscheduled, and spend quality time with the whole family. Where else to do that but outdoors, in the beautiful surroundings we have here in the Pacific Northwest. This summer has been hot and very sunny, and the fall will likely remain warm and bright, and even if the fall rains come, there is still plenty to enjoy, and many places with great tree cover to prevent a full soaking. And really it is a different yet still useful form of education for your kids. You are teaching them to enjoy and pay attention to their surroundings, to nature, and to learn about the value of spending quality...

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Untidy Filing...

Do your file cabinets resemble the photo above? Welcome to being busy and not being able to file everything the minute it comes through your front door. This is a come problem that plagues many households. Here are a couple of ways to fix this problem.

Try them out!

To Scan or Not to Scan

1. Scan! Invest in a scanner. I understand that we are now using technology more than ever before. Sometimes I wonder how I functioned without all this technology.What makes for clean and organized files? Not having them! I know some of us have a sentimental attachment to hard copies of documents, but it is time to move on. When Apple created a storage solution that offered three terabytes of storage called the Time Capsule, I knew that my life was about the change. Scan all bills, receipts and important documents. Bills, just in case you need to reference them later, receipts to track expenses and important documents, well, just in case. There are also frequently sales on tech gadget sites such as SlickDeals for 1T drives that will hold a significant...

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Britt Heath is a long time Stroller Strides client who lives in Bellevue with her husband Stuart and her two daughters Tamryn and Morgan (who have been keeping her extra busy!) She is also a full-time Real Estate Agent in the area doing all her very best to balance motherhood and work. We love her and her girlies and always look forward to having them come out for events. Thanks for contributing to Our Village Britt, you are wise and truthful!

My daughters have taught me a lot about my own judgments and self-worth. When I was younger and before I was a mom, I admit that I judged other people, especially moms, too often. And too harshly. I think that my judgment of others has been a way of protecting myself, making me feel like I was better, albeit artificially, than someone else. Since I had four decades without children, there has been a lot of time to judge moms that I have seen over the years about how they were reacting to, disciplining, protecting and loving their children.

I spent a lot of time judging simple things like, why kids did not know what they were...

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You may have noticed the gradual rebranding of the Fit4Mom franchise, which is exciting in so many ways, but most specifically with regards to the direction we are heading with it. We are becoming "Our Village: Fit4Mom of Bellevue", and this is also our goal. Around the world, the culture of motherhood is always based on the concept of " a village" of mothers, children, fathers, and everyone living in around one another, where everyone participates and aids everyone else as best they can. This leads to less stress on parents as they try to raise their children properly and keep up with their daily responsibilities. Our westernized culture has shifted us away from this style of living, thereby placing more stress and hardships on parents as they try to do it all, sometimes without any family around to help in providing guidance or free babysitting!

We aim to change this and make a new village, and no we aren't moving your family to the house down the street! We want to have Fit4Mom be the kickoff point to the village you've always wanted, with companionship for yourself and...

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My oldest daughter was born on January 20th, 2006. Piercing green eyes, just like mom, and soft big lips just like her daddy’s. Her name was Riplee. She came into the world with no complications, a healthy and typically developing baby girl, met all her newborn mile stones, sitting at 6 months, crawling around 8 months and walking just around 13 months. She even began to say a few words like “ball,” “mama,” and “no.” I never suspected what was to transpire over the next 7 years, what was going to come like a thief in the night and steal my sweet daughter away; Autism.

Just around the time when Riplee reached 18 months I began to notice Riplee acting “different.” She wouldn’t let any other kids come near her, or in her “bubble” of security, in fact if a kid got even remotely close to her, she would come running to me nearly in tears. Riplee began drawing further and further away from us, she would spend play time in her own little world, mindlessly flipping through the pages of a book and staring out the window, she stopped talking, communicating, and began waking up...

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This is my story, of the journey I have been on and continue to ride through, beginning during my pregnancy up to now with my now 2yr old baby girl, Arielle. I am telling my story because not enough people do, because my story is not one of pure bliss and happiness and everything-is-wonderful when you have a baby in your life, beyond the usual newborn difficulties. My story is one of Post Partum depression, PPD, also known as simple Post Partum Mood Disorder. Even though nearly 25% of mothers experience this phenomenon, and we do see some literature about it being passed around at your pre-birth classes and Dr’s offices, it can be hard to truly read and have expectations or understanding of what you may be experiencing should you have PPD.

The Pre-Birth Scenario: During my pregnancy, I tried to do all the right things. I ate well, I kept up with my workouts and just modified as needed, I would run outside 3 days a week for the exercise as well as the fresh and mood-improving air and sun/rain, and I kept myself busy and happy and focused on myself, my family, and...

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Join us in reading this blog every week where you will discover, learn and love more and more about the Fit4Mom of Bellevue team, your fellow fit moms attending classes and meetups, as well as subjects of interest and value to your every day life as a woman and mother. Our hope here is to truly expand and deepen the connections in this Village of ours by sharing our stories, experiences, knowledge, professional insights and more and provide everyone with a learning opportunity or even just an emotional "Hey, someone has been there too, you are not alone".

To begin this journey, we head off this week with an interview with our fun and fearless leader Erin Houg and her background on the start of Fit4Mom of Bellevue and related thoughts. But this is not all she has to say, so we will have future posts I think you will enjoy and benefit from as well. Happy Reading!

What was your first experience with the original Stroller Strides movement (when you were a member and not an owner), and what made you decide to become an owner?

This always strikes me as a funny story....

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