She Would Have Been 6 Today

Today is September 25th. I have started my day by sending my daughter off to school, my hubby off to work, and then, once the house has quieted from the bustle of the morning, I turned my attention to the heaviest task I have on the schedule today. Grief.

I’m sorry to all of you out there who are following my blog for Bikini Body Mommy purposes. This post will be a bit of a downer, but I feel like I must write or I’ll explode. I may explode anyway. You see, today, 6 years ago, I gave birth to a little girl who never made it home, who never even made it into my arms, even though she lived for 17 days, until I held her for about 3 measly minutes while the tiny bit of life she had left drained away. It is a long story, many of my friends have read Skye’s story.

https://natasiachampion.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/skyes-story/

I have been able to grieve over the years, sometimes in the background, sometimes very in your face for months. I have had times where it lingered quietly and others where it filled every nook and corner of my life for months, days of not being able to do anything but cry and sleep and then whole months where I seemed and felt quite normal. But grief is a funny thing. You never really stop grieving, you never get “over it”. People think you do when you get quiet for long periods and no longer talk about it, but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my daughter and wish for her and ache for her and wonder about who she would be. She changed my life in so many ways, so many amazing ways, but the grief I have had to bear in connection to her has also changed me. Permanently.

I will never see a red headed girl, whether a baby, a child, or a young adult without thinking about my daughter and wondering what she would look like now, at 6. Every time I see a crunchy leaf fall from a tree and add itself to the multitude on the ground I wonder how it would have been to rake them up and see her jump into them. I always bake a cake for my kids’ birthdays with a theme they pick or that they are interested in and I wonder today, would I be making a Hello Kitty cake, or a Frozen cake, or would she be like me and shy away from the popular things and characters and go for something like butterflies or lady bugs? What flavor would she want? What present would she be hoping for? What would her smile look like, would she be missing a tooth by now? What would her laugh sound like as she got off the school bus and ran in the house to tell me about her day?

Most days in the last couple years I’ve been able to be at peace with her not being earthside. I’ve been able to quietly long for her and look forward to a day when we meet again. But today? Today it all just sucks. It sucks and it isn’t fair. There are so many neglected children out there, so many that are abused and unwanted and aborted, and I wanted my daughter. I planned her, my husband and I set out to create life and anticipated a child born into a loving union.

My daughter died. My baby girl will never tell me which season is her favorite, what she wants to be when she grows up. I will never get to see her personality bloom, find out her interests, see her play and bicker with her sister and brother. All I have of her are a few pictures, a few video clips, and  a few memories. And all those are mostly very painful.

So, yeah, it all sucks. That is all I can say. If you have never lost a child, you don’t completely know what I’m talking about, and if you have, I wish with everything in me that you didn’t know what I am feeling. It is a very unique loss, not just of a person, but of every hope and dream for them, of every memory they never got to make, of every milestone they never got to pass, it is a loss of what might have been and there is far to little of what actually was. It isn’t fair.

So, I guess I will just wipe my tears, get up here in a minute and start my exercise today and my house chores and take care of my family and continue on with all the little things that help me appear to be a normal person. I am anything but normal and it will never be ok. Grief never ends. You learn to live with it and function with it, much as you would learn to function after losing an arm or a leg, but if anyone ever expects you to be “over it” or says it gets better or that time heals it, they are wrong. I will never be over losing my child. How can I be? How could anybody be?

I love you Skye, I’ll say it for the hundred-thousandth time because now it is all I have. I miss you, baby, until we reach….

My first little girl Skye. She would have been 6 today. This is the very first picture ever taken of her, minutes old, and it is my favorite, because every other picture of her is filled with painful grimaces and bandages.

My first little girl Skye. She would have been 6 today. This is the very first picture ever taken of her, minutes old, and it is my favorite, because every other picture of her is filled with painful grimaces and bandages.

2.0 Round 2 Day 17: On Sitting Down and Other Challenges

Oh my goodness. I have been doing these workouts for almost 9 months straight now and this week has me painfully sitting down once again. Anyone wanting to lift and firm their butt just needs to repeat this week over and over. I have seen some comments on the bikini Body Mommy Facebook page, one lady said something about the light nature of the workouts and how she was doing 2 challenges at the same time, and I just thought, “Well, either she is super woman or doing this completely wrong, or maybe I’m just a hopeless case, because there isn’t a workout that I don’t pour sweat and want to pass out by the end of it.” I definitely wouldn’t call these light in any capacity. Now, I have seen great improvement over the 9 months, most moves I was modifying I can now do the full version and where I had to stop and rest during a minute of mountain climbers, now I can power through. My reps are increasing in the given time, generally speaking. So that’s the key, pushing yourself 110%. I am very self motivated and competitive and my favorite competitor is myself, so these workouts are just perfect for my personality.

In addition to these workouts I have been doing a lot of walking. My hubby recently started traveling for work, which requires our only (for now) vehicle, so if I need to grab something at the store or run to the bank or mail something I fire up my walking legs and break out the red wagon for little man and off we go. These places are within a couple miles of our house and this glorious fall weather has been beautiful, so we don’t mind the extra exercise.

 

 

My life is pretty redundant right now, get my girl off to school, workout, do house work, help with homework, and before I know it, sweet bed time. Oh, in case you are wondering, my sister is still with us. She is taking classes to pursue her GED so she can graduate in a timely fashion and move on to cosmetology school, which has been her goal for a very long time and she is awesome at hair and make up already. She also has a full time job now, busting her butt through the night at the only 24 hour diner in the area. We are incredibly proud of her, she has taken a life that is less than rosey and is really striving to make something better for her future. She is determined to save for a car so she can be all set to go to school sometime this spring.

Her story is so long and detailed I could not go into it and I feel it would be her’s to tell, but she has had so much to deal with in her life, so much to over come and stand up against and she is living proof that you can do and be anything you want, you just have to have enough determination and  hard work. She is my inspiration today.
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Happy Wednesday, everyone!

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

What is Bikini Body Mommy?

Bikini Body Mommy, a movement led by Briana Christine, and you can find out more at http://www.bikinibodymommy.com

Looking to find some inspiration on Pinterest? You can follow me there too.

To get my new posts as I continue to reach for my goals, delivered right to your inbox, hit the subscribe button at the top left of this page, right under my profile picture.

And finally, has this post delighted, inspired, or amused you? Feel free to share it with your friends.

2.0 Round 2 Day 15: Weigh In Day #1

It has been a crazy morning for me, I forgot to call the school on Friday to make arrangements for my daughter to be picked up on the bus this morning and we ended up having to walk the mile to school. She’s a pretty healthy and active little girl, a mile is nothing to her, but my stride is really long, so poor thing, she just about jogged the whole way there, but I’m proud of her, she didn’t complain, and even waved away the rest I offered. Anyway, with that and other things, I’ve kind of been running behind today, but I still found a moment to do my measurements.

I feel a bit bloated and am about “due” for that time of the month, so there wasn’t as much change as I felt there would be, BUT I am thrilled to announce that even with that, I have lost 1 lb. and 1.75 inches this past 15 days. If you have been following my journey, you know any time the scale goes down, even a pound, that is a big deal for me. So I’m encouraged and ready to make the most of my next 15 days.

As I said, I’m behind, so I will wrap this up and just say Happy Monday everyone, let’s make the week awesome!

2.0 Round 2 Day 14: Rest Day

Ah! This glorious rest day! Anyone else loving this?

I had a great week, did all my workouts, stayed active, stayed hydrated, and even when I missed Friday because I was running around all day in town, I buckled down yesterday and pushed through the strength and the cardio so I could finish the week strong and still have my rest day. I have had something pinched in my neck the last few days and that almost convinced me to skip the last 2 workouts, but I pushed through and wouldn’t you know, it actually helped the pinch. It’s still there and I probably need a chiropractic adjustment, but that’s not in the budget, so I will continue to stretch and work it and that has helped too. Moral of the story is, no excuses. Push through and be surprised how your body responds positively to exercise. (Unless of course it just doesn’t feel right. In my particular case the pinch got better with working out, but if you definitely need to rest a hurt knee or have something painful that gets worse with movement, then obviously to keep pushing through that pain is not the answer.)

Tomorrow is the weigh and measure day and in one sense I’m excited because I visually see a difference over the past 15 days, and usually I don’t see a difference so quickly. But, I have this crazy thing where when I feel like I’ve lost weight I have not or have even gained, and then when I’m feeling gross and fluffy I see a down turn on the scale. I think my body likes to keep my mind confused. Anyway, no matter , because the scale is not my focus, my focus is primarily on how I feel. I feel great! I will just keep reminding myself of that.

So, here is what 5 am on a Sunday looks like! (I know, crazy to be up so early on a “day off”, but we moms don’t really get a day off do we? I feel it’s best to stay on a normal schedule, even on my “day off”.)

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I have another photo shoot today and probably some grocery shopping if we are going to want to continue eating much longer, so it is going to be another busy day for me. I hope you all have a fabulous Sunday, I shall see you tomorrow on our first check in day of this challenge. I would say good luck, but I don’t believe it has anything to do with luck even remotely, so I will just say Measurement Day blessings and may you be free of PMSing.  😀

 

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What is Bikini Body Mommy?

Bikini Body Mommy, a movement led by Briana Christine, and you can find out more at http://www.bikinibodymommy.com

Looking to find some inspiration on Pinterest? You can follow me there too.

To get my new posts as I continue to reach for my goals, delivered right to your inbox, hit the subscribe button at the top left of this page, right under my profile picture.

And finally, has this post delighted, inspired, or amused you? Feel free to share it with your friends.

2.0 Round 2 Day 12: Checking In

Are we already at Day 12? We are inching closer and closer to that weigh and measure day, which always makes me a bit nervous, honestly. The scale has not been my friend all my life, but definitely not for the past 9 months of working my tail off.

Today is going to be short and sweet, just a check in. I have really been trying to beat my reps from the previous day each time I do a workout and it has really upped the intensity. I hadn’t really kept count of my reps during the last challenge because having my sister and both kids there with me, it was hard to keep count with all the distractions. Now it’s just me and my little guy and I can focus a lot easier. I have to say, the daily goal is very helpful, trying to get that one more rep than the day before. I have been able to improve each day for the most part, or at least match the scores. Some things, like those burpees with the leg lift beat my butt, or the long jump with 3 jumping jacks, I feel like a joke doing those. In the videos it looks like Briana launches out 3-4 feet fairly easily, but I feel like I plunk down after about 18 inches of forward motion. My muscles are definitely built for the long haul, not the sprint. Endurance type motions seem to be my strong point rather speed. The point is though, that you aren’t competing against anyone but yourself, so I try to keep that in mind when I feel like a chump doing some of these exercises and still needing to modify or not getting as many reps in as I had hoped for.

So, here are the inspirational photos of the day, me and my little guy stretching before a workout. He is my best little workout partner, always pushing it with me, and I love how he works himself up into a sweat and takes a water break when I do. He inspires me every day to keep pushing.

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__________________________________________________________________________________________________

What is Bikini Body Mommy?

Bikini Body Mommy, a movement led by Briana Christine, and you can find out more at http://www.bikinibodymommy.com

Looking to find some inspiration on Pinterest? You can follow me there too.

To get my new posts as I continue to reach for my goals, delivered right to your inbox, hit the subscribe button at the top left of this page, right under my profile picture.

And finally, has this post delighted, inspired, or amused you? Feel free to share it with your friends.

2.0 Round 2 Day 11: Baby Bumps and Best Friends

Uhg! I’m sorry, I know I told you I’m shooting for 3 posts a week and here it’s been 6 days since the last one. It has been a busy week for me. I had 2 photography clients and lots of computer work to go through the photos. Since I generally use my 5 am to 6:20 am time to work on the computer or blog or whatever, (you know, so I can concentrate without the kids needing me for a million things and so I can get my morning coffee in ) I had to put the blog writing aside to work on photos. However, I’m glad to be able to report I have yet to miss a day’s workout and I’m already seeing changes that I’m really hoping the scale will reflect this time around. We shall see on day 15, right?

The air has turned positively balmy here as my favorite season moves in for it’s short stay. If I had it my way, it would be Fall forever! I got to put on my boots and 3/4 sleeves to shoot a maternity session for a special lady, she was my first client back in the day, before I was even interested in being a photographer. 3 years ago she saw something in my snap shots of my kids that even I didn’t see at the time and asked me if I would take maternity pictures of her first pregnancy. Now, with a much better camera and a lot more experience, I was able to help her capture her third pregnancy and got to see how her sweet family has grown.

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My other client this week was my best friend, visiting me on her way to a business meeting from out of state. We both hated it when I moved away and were so glad to have a little sleep over the other night after not seeing each other in person for a year. Maria is extra special because she is actually the one who first told me about Bikini Body Mommy and would have recruited me for an accountability partner if I hadn’t been pregnant with my 3rd. She did an amazing job and transformed her body doing the challenge and was the biggest inspiration, planting the seeds to get me ready to start for real back in January. Of course, she would be my accountability partner now if not for her own 3rd pregnancy. She is due in November which gives her enough time, hopefully, to get in on 3.0 and we will finally be doing the challenges together.

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I can’t think of anything more spectacular than getting outside into the fall air to photograph gorgeous baby bumps. I definitely have a great job. 🙂

Stay active, my friends. Keep pushing it. Don’t let busy schedules or life get in the way of your 20 minutes. Speaking from experience, I know it’s tough, last week I was out all day Saturday and had to take my rest day and do day 6. You can do it!  I believe in you. 🙂

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

What is Bikini Body Mommy?

Bikini Body Mommy, a movement led by Briana Christine, and you can find out more at http://www.bikinibodymommy.com

Looking to find some inspiration on Pinterest? You can follow me there too.

To get my new posts as I continue to reach for my goals, delivered right to your inbox, hit the subscribe button at the top left of this page, right under my profile picture.

And finally, has this post delighted, inspired, or amused you? Feel free to share it with your friends.

2.0 Round 2 Day 4: Recipe – My Favorite GoTo Salad

I took some pictures yesterday of my son and I doing some extra stretches and warm up. I have issues with my lower back and have to take extra care to warm up completely before doing planks and squat jumps and what not. Here’s one for the mommies who can’t get away from the kiddos during work out time, just make a game of it.

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On another note, one of my very favorite foods is salad. Thankfully salad is a healthy, clean eating friendly option and I love it, I could eat it every day for every meal and I often do. But for those of you who aren’t completely sold, I’m going to share one of my very favorite salads that I make a lot and the best part is I buy everything at my local Aldi and that saves me all kinds of money. I make a big bowl of this and eat on it for several days. Having it made up and in the fridge makes sure I’m more likely to grab it to munch on rather than a higher calorie or less nutritious option when I’m pressed for time.

My Favorite GoTo Salad

2 small heads/bunches of spring greens or artisan lettuce

1 heart of romaine lettuce

1 orange, red, or yellow bell pepper

2/3 cup dried apricots

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half

1/3 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

4 oz cheese (I usually use swiss, sharp cheddar, or colby) grated

4 boiled eggs

I believe the trick to making a fabulous tasting salad is all about how you slice your veggies. For the lettuce I like to wash the heads and slice the whole bunch like a loaf of bread into no wider than 1/4 inch wide slivers, then turn my cutting board 90 degrees and chop those long strips in half or thirds. For the bell pepper I cut the flesh off the seeds in four or five big pieces and then slice those into very thin, longer strips, about an inch long. The apricots also get sliced into thin strips. I always cut my grape or cherry tomatoes in half, and rather than buying pre shredded cheese, I buy the block and grate it myself, it’s both cheaper and there is no anti caking agent on it. The eggs I cut into quarters long ways and then slice those in thin pieces. Basically, slicing everything long and thin as a general rule is so much better than square and chunky. Again, that’s my opinion, and a matter of personal preference. I also like to leave my salads layered  with the cheese on top, that keeps it from getting soggy if a big salad sits in the fridge for a few days. I usually put my layers together in the order they are listed above, except the lettuces, I toss those together. As for dressing, anything goes with this, from ranch to french to Italian. I am personally a french dressing fan, but since it is more sauce like, I tend to use too much. I can modify a lot of habits, but not having enough dressing on my salad is just a no go for me. Making my own dressing would be way more awesome, but to get a little real, I just don’t have the creative flare or the time on a daily basis and it is just very easy to grab a pre-made dressing. Lately I have been loving Aldi’s brand Three Cheese Vinaigrette.

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It is delicious and the ingredient list is pretty clean and simple. I like a vinaigrette because it takes less to coat the whole salad. This recipe makes a pretty big bowl of salad, if it’s just me eating on it with or for every meal it will generally last about 2-3 days,  and costs somewhere around $4.50 – $6. Not bad for 5-7 meals!

 

 

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A single serve helping, add a dressing of your choice.

I hope you all enjoyed this and I’d love to hear your favorite salad toss ins or recipes! Viva la Real FOOD! 🙂

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

What is Bikini Body Mommy?

Bikini Body Mommy, a movement led by Briana Christine, and you can find out more at http://www.bikinibodymommy.com

Looking to find some inspiration on Pinterest? You can follow me there too.

To get my new posts as I continue to reach for my goals, delivered right to your inbox, hit the subscribe button at the top left of this page, right under my profile picture.

And finally, has this post delighted, inspired, or amused you? Feel free to share it with your friends.

2.0 Round 2 Day 3: SORE

Day 3! I am still excited, but man! You would think after completing two 90 day challenges and a four week mini that I would not be this sore going back to the beginning, but I am SORE. Anyone else out there feeling it?

I find the full minute of rest following only a minute of exercise fairly easy having been used to the 1:30 on :30 off format at the end of 2.0, so I have really focused on increasing my reps. I have gotten some of my best reps and performance the last 2 days and I guess that’s where the extra sore is coming in. I have been staying hydrated to combat the soreness and doing plenty of stretches.

I am a Bikini Body Mommy Facebook page stalker once again. I love going to the posts by others section and reading everyone’s comments and getting encouraged by others who are in the same place I am. I saw where one mom asked the question about fitting these workouts into a busy schedule. I have to say, if someone had told me a year ago that I would jump out of bed at 5 am every morning, even on saturdays, just so I could have time for my exercise and blogging about my exercise program, I would have laughed. I’m a morning person, but 5 am? That’s the funny thing about this program, I have so much more energy and sleep so much better, 5 am isn’t really that bad. There is just no reason to NOT fit 20 minutes of exercise into your day. You get back so much more than 20 minutes of sleeping in.

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

What is Bikini Body Mommy?

Bikini Body Mommy, a movement led by Briana Christine, and you can find out more at http://www.bikinibodymommy.com

Looking to find some inspiration on Pinterest? You can follow me there too.

To get my new posts as I continue to reach for my goals, delivered right to your inbox, hit the subscribe button at the top left of this page, right under my profile picture.

And finally, has this post delighted, inspired, or amused you? Feel free to share it with your friends.

 

2.0 Round 2 Day 2: What a newbie needs to remember from a multi BBM Challenge veteran

Day 1 was amazing! I didn’t realize just how much I missed the sweat. I rocked the work out, did a couple of exercises beyond the 20 minutes, took a 2.5 mile walk pulling little man in the wagon and made it in 30 minutes, drank well over 96 oz of water not including coffee, stayed completely on track with my small, frequent, clean meals, and got a ton of house work done. I felt so motivated and active!

I’m determined to carry on that momentum after seeing this yesterday.

between challenge slump

When I finished 2.0 last month on August 2nd, I was proud of how toned and strong my body had become, but I kind of had it in my mind that because no actual weight was lost, my relative size wasn’t much different in my before and afters. I mean, I had trimmed up and toned up, but my jean size remained the same, albeit a better fit. And over the last month as life happened and I lost momentum and kind of told myself it was ok to take a little break (that turned into more of a long 35 day break with only random days that I worked out) both on exercise and way too loose on my nutrition, because my jeans still fit, even if a little more roll creeped up over the top, I told myself there wasn’t much change. When I measured yesterday, my measurements were the same on my arms and legs, and there was only about a half inch gain on each of my chest and core measures. I didn’t think that was much, but after comparing the photos I realized just what a half inch over all looks like. I only gained about 2 lbs, but I see a big difference in these sets of photos.

I’m writing this post today for those of you like me who peetered out between challenges. These photos prove it’s a life style. If we look at it as just a challenge, our bodies will begin changing back once the challenge is over. That workout each day makes a difference. That meal structure is important. Taking a break is ok, but 35 days is not a break, it’s a cop out. It would be a shame to work so hard for 90 days and lose all your progress because suddenly you are “too busy” to keep getting your 20 minutes in daily. (That was one of the lines I fed myself this past month.) Note to self: I wouldn’t skip a shower for more than a few days because I was “too busy”, then I should not skip this important part of health and personal care.

The littlest bit of progress is still progress ladies. You may not lose weight this round, you may not drop a clothing size, but I promise you, the more defined abs and leaner look of the left side photos above is going to get you to your goals sooner than the backward step of the photos on the right. Take it from a girl who has been there.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it now at the beginning of this challenge, don’t make this about the scale. This is a journey. It took 6 years for my body to attain it’s mommy of 3 babies and busy life look. It is going to take more than 90 days for me to get back to a pre-baby weight. For 6 years (and even more, really) I have thought solely of little people and my family where meeting out time is concerned, it is going to take more than 90 days to reprogram my brain to set aside a little time for myself. Don’t give up on this. If you are a new-to-the-challenge-mom, don’t be discouraged if you don’t see progress right away. It took me one whole 90 day challenge (1.0) just to get back in the habit of daily exercise and a whole nother challenge (2.0 round 1) to get my nutrition under control. I did not begin to see major change until about half way through the first 2.0, that’s like 135 days!!

Just keep going. You will not regret it, make it about the journey because it is so much more than just a 90 day challenge and you are changing SO MUCH MORE than just a number on a scale. You are going to change differently than every other woman, at a different rate, and you’ll need different measures to tweak even this program and make it just for you. It will take time for you to figure out what these are. Don’t get impatient. Don’t quit. I promise you, change is happening, and it will surprise you when you recognize it.

2.0 Round 2 Day 1: Measurements and getting back on the wagon

Hello friends! Are you as excited as I am? I’m pretty excited to be starting a new challenge. For me, there is something about the energy of being part of a big movement. Maybe it’s the daily posts, the words of encouragement on the Bikini Body Mommy page, or maybe it’s just a mental thing, but this last month between school starting and that learning curve coupled with every day busy life and my art starting back up, I kind of fell off the wagon both with exercise and nutrition. I got some exercise in, but definitely not every day. But you know what? Here I am, and this round will be bringing big changes! I’m determined to peel off weight this round. I am committed to keeping my meals small and frequent and doing each day’s exercise. Failure isn’t an option for me! I have goals and I have seen amazing changes in the last 9 months, now I’m ready to fit into a smaller jean size this Christmas.

I’m going to try to keep these short blog posts coming through this round of the journey too. They may not happen every day, but I’m shooting for at least 3 a week. I have been so inspired by all the love and support thrown my way and I will aim to love and support as many of you as I can too. I really feel that makes all the difference in success.

Despite having dropped off dramatically in between this challenge and the last, I was pleasantly surprised to see my measurements (except that pesky weight, of course) hadn’t changed for the most part, and where they did it wasn’t dramatic. It goes to show that 1) this is a lifestyle that builds healthy habits that stick with you even when you “cheat”, and 2) you can’t stop, you have to keep going and it is more than a challenge, it is a journey.

So in the spirit of short and sweet, here are my day one measurements, my first stepping stone into another adventure.

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NOTE: I am doing a 15 point measurement this round, which is more than what Briana suggests, but these are the areas I want to watch change.

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Want to see where I began blogging through this journey? It starts here!

https://natasiachampion.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/my-newest-project-an-overview/

Don’t forget to hit the subscribe button if you want to get these posts right in your inbox and help me stay motivated by helping you stay motivated. 🙂