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This month we wanted to highlight a very special mom in Our Village. As a breast cancer survivor, she is an inspirational model of beauty, courage, and strength. When she is with her son it is overwhelmingly obvious that she was destined to be his mother and whenever I see them together I am reminded of the battle she fought to get to where she needed to be. We are so very honored to have Catherine (Cath) Taplin as part of our Chandler-Gilbert FIT4MOM family, and we would love to share a little bit about her with you today.

Cath has been an active member of FIT4MOM of Chandler & Gilbert since May, 2014. Although this beautiful momma certainly has her hands full with a toddler and a full-time executive career, she makes the time to join us for Stroller Strides classes with her son, Benjamin. We are excited to also get to spend a few evenings each week with her since she just started her first Body Back session as well! Please take a moment to get to know Cath, I have a feeling you'll fall in love with her too!

Hometown (where you grew up):...

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Happy Back to School Week! Well, for some of you mamas anyways! I know Chandler schools went back about 2 weeks ago, and this week, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Kyrene, and Higley all head back to school!

I don't know what it is about Back to School Season that makes me so excited. Maybe it's that I used to be a teacher and the smell of school supplies and freshly sharpened pencils reminded me of such an exciting time. Or maybe I always love it because it means that kids are back in school, so museums are less busy, splash pads are less chaotic, and it's calmer all around, meaning I can go out with my toddler without worrying about the big kids running him over everywhere we go. Who knows really? :)

I hope you all enjoyed your summers and time off with your little ones. I know some of your kiddos are going to preschool for the first time. Some of you are sending your kiddos for more days this year, and others are beginning a whole new journey of homeschooling or kindergarten. Whatever your situation this Back to School Season, I hope that you find yourselves enjoying...

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As the summer gets hotter and hotter, I know that I am dying for a cold treat every afternoon. Being that I just completed my Whole30, I still try to stay away from dairy and sugars, so here are some of my new favorite cold "treats" that are healthy and guilt-free.

The first one is super easy and even your little ones can be tricked with it. It's banana "ice cream". Slice a banana, freeze it, top with toppings of your choice. My favorites are almond butter and coconut, and chocolate chips with some smashed raspberries. Easy, refreshing, and delicious!

The next recipe I have for your is equally as yummy, and if you like pina coladas, it's a guilt-free, alcohol-less option (or throw some rum in there, just don't share with your kiddos! :) It's a pina colada smoothie. Blend a banana, 1/2 c of frozen pineapple, 1/4 c of canned coconut milk, and about 2 tbsp. of shredded coconut until smooth and enjoy! Dairy-free, gluten-free, and makes you feel like you're on the beach!

I also like to freeze watermelon, grapes, and peaches for a cold treat as well. Do you have any...


Over the course of the last two years, I have had quite the journey with eating healthy and exercising regularly. I was a competitive dancer all through high school until a knee injury took me out, but aside from that, I have never been all that active. I managed to have my weight fluctuate up and down substantially all while my body image did the exact same thing.

I knew I had to be healthy for my son from the moment I found out I was pregnant. I wanted him to know what an active lifestyle looked like. I wanted him to grow up on more than meat and potatoes, but healthy veggies too. I wanted him to grow up differently than far too many kiddos do today, inactive and living off of junk food and processed grains. So, in that, I decided to join Fit4Mom and make healthy living a lifestyle, and it has really grown.

My "Why" is my son. He is the reason I get up and get to class each day. He's the reason I go for runs during the week. He's the reason I don't get tired all the time and why we make healthy choices. He's my Why. What's your motivation for being a fit mom?


Rest. It is such a hard word for us to really embrace as moms, even though we so desperately look forward to the time of day when our little ones stop to do that very thing. Why is it that resting is so hard for us? Why do we feel the need to go, go, and go some more and only stop to take a moment for a deep breath when we have an "excuse" to rest?

I know that for me, I have to be sick or hurt to stop and rest. Otherwise, the to-do list will continue to grow and grow and grow. However, recently, I have been trying to take 30-45 minutes of each day and stop to read a book or take a little nap, just do something relaxing for me. And you know what I found when I did that? I found that my patience increased and I was more willing to play with Jack when he woke up from a nap.

So, my challenge to you this week is take some time to rest. Relax, watch trashy reality tv (anyone else???), put your feet up, read a book, do something for you. It'll make us all better moms if we start taking care of ourselves too. We know that the to-do lists can wait.

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So, Baby J is almost 2. His birthday is June 16th and just recently, I have decided that we are actually going to have a birthday party for him this year. Short notice is always fun, right?

Last year, his birthday was quite the event. I spent MONTHS planning for it, but he was 1, so obviously I needed to, right? Well, lots of my friends told me I was insane for inviting close to 70 (yes, including kids...) people to his birthday party and just about running myself ragged by trying to make everything "perfect". The invention of Pinterest has been both a blessing and a curse in this way. I was determined to make his birthday fun and creative, but I also wanted it to be just like those "Pinterest Birthdays" that make me want to be a perfect mommy, hostess, cook, and wife all while toning my abs and crafting.

I was determined that this year was NOT going to be like that since last year just about killed me, but then I made the guest list. Again, 70ish people. AHHHHHHH! In case you were wondering, I have a HUGE family and we are very involved at our church, so we have a...


As of lately, I’ve really taken notice of just how addicted I am to sugar, carbs, grains, and the like. I didn’t even realize just how bad it was until I cut it all out for all of a week. My goal was to make it 40 days for Lent. I lasted all of a week. Maybe a little less. I’m not sure because once I failed, I didn’t even care. Even though I've tried to eat healthier since Baby J's arrival, I've still managed to be super addicted to sugar. I've always had a vision of being a healthy, active mom and even though I've definitely been making strides towards that, I've failed when it comes to the food department.

Food has been a source of many things for me. It’s been a source of comfort, angst, pain, and joy. I’ve been able to move past seeing food as a true enemy and found joy in eating and enjoying company around a dinner table. I use food as a crutch. I use it as a means for comfort when I’m stressed out (which is all too often, and typically, that means a trip to the freezer for some ice cream or chocolate chips, which obviously isn't the healthiest of choices. I want to be...


We've been in a breakfast food rut in our house recently. There are a lot of days when I don't eat breakfast and then Baby J has been getting bored of the same foods day in and day out. He'll usually go between oatmeal, scrambled eggs, and "Elmo pancakes". That being said, I've been looking for some great, easy recipes that both of us could grab and go on busy mornings. I also have a toddler, so knowing how picky they become at some point, so making sure I get something healthy into him is important too.

So today, I made some oatmeal muffins. They’re super yummy. I got the original recipe here from I’ve made these several times before (although not recently), and I’ve tweaked the recipe to make them my own. They’re still gluten-free (and can be dairy-free), still super yummy and healthy! They’re great to freeze and take out individually and throw in the microwave for 45-60...


Before having kids, I never felt guilty about doing something for myself. I would frequently get pedicures, go out with friends, and spend money on things like clothes and Starbucks. I always made time for me. I was a very important part of my life. When we had Baby J, all of that shifted. It shifted partially due to the fact that we went from two incomes to one, and partially because there was just no dang time. I didn't have time or energy to devote to myself.

As you all know from this blog, I fell into a depression at one point and came to the realization with a counselor and some good friends, that I needed to be a priority again. That's when I joined Fit4Mom. Above and beyond making an hour for myself each day to exercise and take care of my body, I've also made an effort to do things that I enjoy. Sometimes those include Baby J and my hubby, and sometimes, those things don't include them.

For a long time, I would feel guilty for taking time for myself. I thought being a mom meant sacrifice. I thought it meant that I didn't love my child as much as other mommies...


Lately, we are absolutely LOVING being outside and spending time at different parks and attractions around the valley before it heats up too much. I wanted to let everyone know about some of my absolute favorite parks around the valley and places to spend the days outside before it gets to be 100 (and we all know it's coming soon...).

1. Desert Breeze Park

Located off of Ray Road between McClintock and Rural roads, this is one of my absolute favorite parks to take Baby J to. A bunch of us have been there for our Stroller Strides classes, but if you go on a weekend, it turns into a little mini amusement park with train rides, a carousel, and snack stand. We love to go and spend the better part of the morning feeding the ducks, riding the carousel and "choo choo" and then playing at the toddler park. Oh, you didn't know that there was a smaller play structure for toddlers here??? Yep! Towards the south side of the park, past the baseball and soccer fields, near the...


Today marks the first day of Lent, which is a season when some Christians give up something for 40 days in hopes to spend more time praying and focusing on their faith. For me, I've always grown up with a parent who celebrated by giving up something. My dad always gave up sweets and I never quite understood why until recently. I've only really participated in Lent for the last 5 or so years, once I really understood the meaning and why one would.

I've really started to take note of my eating patterns and the fact that I rely on sugar wayyyyyyyy too much for a little pick me up. I go to sweets and carbs and ice cream to comfort me, give me "energy," and make me feel better. All while I'm eating a few too many Bosa donuts (anyone else addicted???), I'm throwing massive temper tantrums about how I'm not seeing any more results, not losing any more weight and how my pants are just a little bit tight.

So, what does that have to do with Lent and the idea of "fasting" from something for the next 40 days? Well friends, I'm giving up grains and sugar for the next 40 days. I'm...


Today was a very busy day. Actually, this week has been pretty jam-packed, and considering it's only Tuesday, that's saying a lot. Considering I have to work three days this week, I have to really make my time with my toddler very intentional. I have to make sure that I'm present while we're playing, and putting my phone on silent in the other room. I need to take the time to focus on him. I've noticed this pattern when it comes with the discipline issues we've been dealing with. There are more tantrums on days when I work and so I have to be very intentional to give Jack 100% of my attention on those days.

Tonight, as I was giving him a bath, we were singing songs and playing and making a huge mess in the water. As much as I wished that half the water wasn't out of the bathtub, the laughter that was going on was well worth it. Same goes with bed time. Normally, we read two or three books. Tonight, we read four. Then we snuggled and sang. But, I realized that he will not always want to cuddle with me before bed. He won't always want to make messes with me. So tonight, as...

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We have officially entered the terrible two's in our house. I thought that my child actually had to be two before he would throw massive temper tantrums, hit, and throw toys, but alas, I was wrong and it is in full swing over here, and I feel like I am losing my mind a lot of days.

We have tried what seems to be every solution to correcting, redirecting, and disciplining to try to get rid of the tantrums, but we are really struggling. What seems to work for Baby J's daddy (timeouts) doesn't work for me, and it always seems that Mama is the one that gets the brunt of the tantrums (the kid bit my butt the other day... really?!). Needless to say, it's been making the last few weeks hard.

Something that has been beneficial has been making sure to get out of the house at least once each day. We don't necessarily run a bunch of errands, but we go to our Fit4Mom classes, the park, or to do something that Baby J enjoys. I'm finding that when we are out in public, he doesn't throw himself down into a fit of toddler rage for 45 minutes, and we actually quite enjoy one...


Recently, I have discovered a love for juicing. Not the high-sugar, corn syrup filled, artificially colored and flavored juices at the store, but freshly juiced fruits and vegetables. I've been making one fruit and veggie juice in the mornings to have with a hard boiled egg and toast with peanut butter and I have felt so great!

As the new year has begun, I have been bombarded with ways to lose weight here and there and while I've definitely been tempted with a bunch of the quick fixes (aka diet pills, cleanses, and liquid-only diets), I've opted to try to just continue to alter my diet to a more Paleo style of eating, which has included my desire to pack as many nutrients into a drink as possible in the morning.

I was initially introduced to the idea of juicing through the documentary, "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" which follows an extremely unhealthy, overweight man around the country as he goes on a juice-only diet for 60 days, vowing to become healthier and get off the medications that...

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One of my family's favorite things to do on a Saturday morning is go to our local farmer's markets. We discovered the Gilbert Farmer's Market a couple of years ago while we were living in Chandler, and continue to go to almost every week to get our fresh fruits and veggies, a coffee, and usually breakfast from one of the food trucks there (I LOVE the uprooted kitchen for gluten-free, vegan pastries. Yum!)

I found that I could purchase seasonal, (certified and non-certified) organic produce for a pretty decent price. I love being able to try new vegetables and get new recipes from the vendors, as many of them will offer suggestions on how to cook the vegetables that you don't really see very often in local grocery stores. I also have to admit that I also enjoy the ability to talk to the farmers and really hear about their passion for growing quality food. I also know that Agritopia Farms offers a CSA (community supported agriculture) and you can...


Does anyone else feel like the holidays came and went in the blink of an eye? This was my first year that I have experienced that feeling and I think it was due to the fact that I had a job in retail, a toddler, and we opted to host Christmas dinner this year. Once the New Year came, I was kind of surprised that it was already January of 2014.

As I've started this New Year, I have decided that instead of setting resolutions, I am going to set a theme for the year. My theme is to choose joy and love well. I've always struggled with being a fairly negative person and often times, spend way too much time focusing on myself, so this year, I have chosen to choose joy and love well each and every day.

What this means is that I am going to try to break the habit of being negative all the time and in those moments where it'd be really easy to focus on what's going wrong, I will choose to be thankful and realize that it's not as bad as it could be.

I'm also choosing to love the people in my life well. For me, that means being intentional with my son. Making sure I...


After spending the last five days with my adult children, I was happily reminded that as young parents, my husband and I didn’t know what the heck we were doing! However, we must have done something right. I am so proud and pleased at the way my children have developed into responsible adults…we must have done something right. Here’s what I do know…

1. As a parent, you get great satisfaction when your oldest son lectures your daughter on tattoos. Here’s the conversation between Justin (23) and Courtney (18):

C: I am going to get a tattoo.

J: Just make sure whatever you get has meaning and is something that you are able to cover up. But before you get it, I want you to write me a paragraph on what you are going to get, where you are going to get it, the meaning behind the tattoo and how you are going to respond if someone asks you about your tattoo.

C: Do you want that typed? Double spaced?

2. Wisdom comes with age. This was heard coming straight from the mouth of a 23 year old!

3. You can still have “game night”...


Every year, I commit to do multiple things when it comes to resolutions. I always want to spend less, weigh less, eat healthier, and spend more time outside. Every. Single. Year. And every year, I fail. I always start off the year with great intentions, but my momentum slowly dwindles and then by December, I'm hard on myself because I didn't accomplish any of my resolutions.

It seems like as the year passes, we focus on all that we would have changed instead of embracing what was super AWESOME about that year. So, this year, instead of making resolutions, I am going to count my blessings. Maybe if we spent more time focusing on our accomplishments and our blessings, we could actually achieve those goals we set for ourselves. Of course, this year, my goals will be to try to spend less, weigh less, eat healthier, and spend more time. :) Merry Christmas and have a safe and Happy New Year!

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As we are only two weeks away from Christmas, I think it's about time to start embracing some of the fun things going on during this season. Here are a few of my favorites during this time of year.

1. ZooLights

Has anyone ever gone during the week? I know, I know... we all have little kids or ones in school, BUT, it's much less crowded and costs less, two things that I am always so excited about. Also, if you stop by a local Wendy's and get $2 off admission per ticket.

2. Christmas at the Princess

I haven't been for a couple of years, but I used to absolutely LOVE going to the Christmas at the Princess Resort in north Scottsdale. There's everything from Santa pictures to ice skating to SNOW. Yes, it's been cold recently, but I've heard this year, they actually make it snow. It's such a fun event and admission is free. Skating and Santa pictures are available for a fee, but you could easily wander around and just enjoy the holiday atmosphere in this beautiful resort.

3. Holiday Lights at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

I have a toddler who...


Thanksgiving has to be one of my absolute favorite holidays. We always tend to go from house to house to house and see everyone I love to eat, but more than that, I love that we take time out of our busy lives to spend quality time with family and express gratitude for those things we often take for granted. All too often, we are so busy with life that we forget to say that we are thankful for the various things in our lives, such as our families, friends, and just the ability to live our lives to the fullest. So even though Thanksgiving has already passed, I want to challenge you to take time each day to be thankful for something; whether that something is the lack of tantrums from your toddler that day or that you have food on the table, find something. There is always something to be thankful for. Enjoy your week!


This month marked my one year anniversary of attending Stroller Strides classes. I started attending classes at the end of October last year and have loved every class I've gone to.

I have always struggled with my weight and have suffered with a variety of eating disorders; from bulimia to emotional overeating. I have never been able to find contentment with my body. Food has always been an enemy, and working out has always been either extreme or non-existent. During pregnancy, I joined a gym, went once to walk on a treadmill, and then never returned.

I gave birth to my son on June 16th, 2012 via C-Section and during my pregnancy, I had managed to gain close to 45 lbs. Being that I was already overweight (and on Weight Watchers), the extra 45 lbs. tipped the scales to over 200 lbs. For someone who is only 5 feet tall, that's pretty significant. I was massively unhealthy.

I had decided after looking in the mirror and hating what I saw, a mushy belly, massive boobs, and a horribly distorted version of myself, I wanted to get in shape. I wanted to learn what it...


Adding more fruits and veggies to your diet DOES NOT mean add fruit smoothies, veggie chips, fruit leathers, fruit chews or veggie cookies. These foods have added sugar. It DOES mean - add more apples, carrots, beets, squash, berries, lettuce, tomatoes…add real fruits and veggies.

Step back, read labels, and ask yourself, “Does this product really makes sense?” Be honest with what food is – a chip is a chip and a cookie is a cookie. There are NO skinny cows.

Happy SNACing~

Carrie Chacon is the developer of SNAC Cards (Simple Nutritional Answers for Childern).

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Has anyone else been experiencing their toddler suddenly becoming picky recently? Out of nowhere (or so it seems) my son has decided that he likes one thing, and one thing only... "fishies" aka Goldfish crackers. I've been wondering where my good eater has gone since suddenly, he only wants those orange, processed food crackers. We've been experiencing this for a couple of weeks now and I think we're finally starting to find a solution to get our good eater back. A friend recommended a book called French Kids Eat Everything to me to try to look at mealtimes in a new way. Here are a few things that we've been doing to try to encourage him to eat his food and not only ask for his "fishies."

1. Our toddler eats what we eat and we all eat together.

It's pretty simple. He eats what we eat when we eat. If he doesn't like it, then he will eat eventually. It's hard at first...

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One of the most common comments that I hear from women is that they don't want to weight train because of the fear of getting "too bulky". If this is you, you are missing out on an important part of fitness.

For most women, adding intensity or load to your workouts won't increase your size; instead it will help you slim down while firming up.

This is why it is a shame that new research shows that 74 percent of Americans - nearly three out of four - skip it.

Strength training is so effective for weight loss that I often forget to mention the other benefits; but there are plenty. It protects the body from the pain of arthritis, strengthens bones against osteoporosis and even decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Next time you are at the gym, supplement your cardio with thrusters, weighted squats or rows. Or while you are in your FIT4MOM fitness classes, grab the higher resistance option (blue or purple resistance bands) for added intensity. You (and your body) will thank me!


In honor of International Babywearing Week, which just passed, this week's post is about babywearing.

What IS babywearing, you may ask? Babywearing is exactly what it sounds like, wearing or carrying your baby in a sling, carrier or wrap. Babywearing allows moms and dads to continue to do their day-to-day tasks while holding their child close and still having the ability to use their hands. It allows for new mommies and daddies to hold a newborn baby close and make them feel as if they are in the womb again. It makes household chores easier when you don't have a toddler getting into everything, instead putting them on your back. A baby can be worn from birth until you feel that you are ready to be finished babywearing; even 4 and 5 year olds can still be worn!

There are many different types of carriers out on the market today. They vary from long woven pieces of fabric called wraps to soft structured carriers (i.e. an Ergo). Some of the most common types of carriers are wraps, ring slings, mei tais and soft structured carriers. A wrap is a long piece of fabric that...


Does anyone else ever feel like their lives aren't balanced? There never seems to be time for family, friends, work, exercise, service, and everything else that needs to get done in a day! It makes life so hard when we try to cram every single thing into the 24 hours that we get each day. For those of you that do it ALL, I have one question, how? For most of us, that's not the case.

I've been struggling with balance lately. I feel like I am such a "yes" person that it's hard to say "no." I know that lots of women are the same way. We always want to please everyone. To help me, I've had to set my priorities straight. I've had to learn how to balance my life. There are things that are ALWAYS on the list, and that always should be on the list. The rest is just extra and it can come next. Here are some tips for helping you to balance your life.

1. Set your priorities.

This one is so big. How can you figure out what deserves your time if you can't figure out what those priorities look like in order? Figure out what deserves your time and everything else can come...


Recently, I’ve absolutely LOVED making smoothies for breakfast, and it’s awesome because Baby J also loves mommy’s smoothies, which means he gets an extra serving of fruits and veggies in the morning! Originally, my love for smoothies started as a desire to start juicing, but considering we don’t have a juicer and another small appliance wouldn’t fit in our home, I thought that I could still get all those good nutrients in a smoothie! Here’s the recipe for my FAVORITE type of smoothie.

*Note: You can throw pretty much any fruit and veggie into the blender and the fruit taste will overpower the veggie taste, making smoothies a great way to get veggie-resistant kiddos an extra serving of that goodness.


  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup of frozen mixed berries
  • 1 orange (juiced)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup kale
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1 tsp. flaxseed meal
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds

Directions: Put everything in the blender and blend until smooth.

While I like to put mine into a...


Are these long, summer days getting to anyone else yet? We are ready for fall here! I know that with my wiggly little toddler, he's getting sick of being stuck indoors for a good chunk of the day and we are looking for fun things to get out and do, other than our Fit4Mom classes.

Something fun that we've done recently is the Sea Life Aquarium at Arizona Mills Mall. For those of you with kiddos at home, this is an awesome activity for the day! It's air-conditioned, which is always a huge plus, and there are lots of interactive activities for older kids. I absolutely love taking Baby J to the aquarium because he is so mesmerized by the fish and all the sea creatures. I always make sure to NOT take the stroller though since there is so much to touch and play with there for little ones who walk.

Another awesome idea, aside from the local splash pads, is the Phoenix Children's Museum. I took Baby J here a few weeks ago and he LOVED it. If...

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Has teething hit anyone else's home hard this week? We've been battling non-stop tears, chewing on everything, and suddenly, my awesome sleeper is waking up 2-3 times per night crying. It's always so sad to see our children hurting, especially when it's something that we can't do much about to relieve, isn't it? Luckily, we've found a bunch of ways to try to relieve teething pain, without going straight to the medicine cabinet for some baby ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

The first way that I've found to help relieve some of that pain from teething is a Baltic amber teething necklace. My little guy, Baby J, wears one all day, every day, and has since he was 3 months old. I swear by it. He's only had medication to help with his teething a handful of times because I really think this does the job of helping with the pain and the drooling. Contrary to the popular belief, a baby does not put the amber necklace into his/her mouth to get pain relief. The Baltic amber releases something called sussenic acid, which works as a natural pain reliever as it's absorbed into the skin....


I’ve been wanting to write about my struggles and journey with postpartum depression for awhile, but sometimes, I still fall into this place where I’m completely in denial that I have struggled with this horrible, guilt-ridden, form of depression. For awhile, everyone around me was in denial too. Depending on who I talked to, it was “Adjustment Disorder with anxiety (thank you counselor),” “the baby blues (after 8 months???),” just “not spending enough time with God,” and my favorite, I was just “sleep deprived (when I was blessed with a sleep-through-the-nighter at 5 months?).” Whatever anyone called it, it took awhile to get a diagnosis and figure out the best form of treatment for me.

Postpartum depression was something that I never expected to have, nor does any mom. It’s the worst form of depression because everyone around you is congratulating you on this new life that you have just created and birthed and you feel like your whole world is crashing. You’re exhausted from sleep, you’re emotional, you’re fat (hello, remember that new life you just birthed?) and you’re...


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