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Heather Hinthorn: April Mom of the Month Plainfield

-Hometown: I'm from a small farming community in central Illinois, Fairbury.

-Fit4Mom Member since: Summer of 2016.

-Members of your Family: Kevin (my husband of 9 years), Elizabeth (our 2 year old daughter), Gabby (our 10 year old puppy) and Meowicient (our sassy cat).

-Current/Previous Career: HR Operations Manager for the corporate recruiting function of Farmers Insurance. I lasted 2 days after I returned from maternity leave. 2 half days if I'm being honest. But, I'm always happy to put my recruiting skills to use for anyone that is interested in reentering the workforce and may need some Resume help :)

-How did you find Fit4Mom? I met Eryn at Babies R Us when I was pregnant. I unfortunately was put on restrictions shortly after and wasn't able to join Fit4Baby, but I swore I would join after I had my daughter. It only took me until she was one to be brave enough to walk into my first class ;)

-What has Fit4Mom done for you (or meant to you)? Aside from losing 35 pounds and gaining at least that many new friends, I wore tank tops for the first time in my life after joining Fit4Mom. Even when I was in great shape, I was always very self conscious. I finally realized that it doesn't matter if I have flaws, what matters is how I feel about myself. Being a part of Fit4Mom has given me confidence that I didn't have previously. Even though I'm not in the same shape I was prior to having a baby, I feel so much stronger and better about myself now. I'm incredibly thankful because having a little girl means that I needed to be comfortable with my body, so she has a positive role model for a healthy body image.

Fit4Mom has also given me an incredible group of "mom friends." I've met the most amazing women that have been so supportive, kind, have such fascinating stories. I'm so thankful to have them as friends and to have their children as friends to Ellie.

I'll forever be thankful to our village for the support they provided after I had surgery in December. Jennifer Coffman rallied everyone to make dinner for our family and set up a babysitting schedule for Ellie so I was able to rest after my husband had to return to work. I've never had a group of girlfriends that has done something like that and it meant so much to me.

-What was your childhood ambition? I had no idea then and I'm actually still not sure what I want to do with my life when I grow up. My husband and I have the lifelong goal of being campground hosts at a national park when he retires. So basically my dream in life is to drive a golf cart around a wooded area.

-What does motherhood mean to you? I never planned on having children. My husband and I agreed when we were dating that starting a family just wasn't for either of us. Fast forward 10 years and I knew I wanted to start a family, I cautiously approached my husband to get his opinion...we agreed we should wait 6 months and see how we felt. When the time came to make a decision we were both on the same page...I realized in that moment that my husband always wanted kids, but was willing to make that sacrifice for me. Motherhood has meant a complete shift in our marriage and I never realized I could love anyone as much as I love my husband as the father of our daughter.

Motherhood also means that my weaknesses sometimes have to be strengths. I'm not a patient person, but I have a daughter that sometimes takes 20 minutes to get from the sandbox to the house because she's stopping to pick dandelions, point at the birdies, and has to hug the dog at least 5,892 times in that 10 foot walk. My entire family is in absolute disbelief at how laid back and patient I am as a mom. It throws my little sister off the most (because I was never for a second patient with her!)

-What is your favorite exercise? I love love love when we run up the hill at West Shore Park. I can't wait to conquer that hill this summer!

-What is your proudest moment? Maintaining a positive attitude while dealing with thyroid cancer over the last year and a half! It's something I've worked harder to achieve than anything else I've ever accomplished. I'll be on the roller coaster of battling a chronic illness for the rest of my life as a result of this, but am hopeful that in the coming months I'll get the positive news that I'm officially in remission!

-What are three of your favorite things (besides your family)? Reading, hiking, and traveling.

-If we asked your partner what they think your best qualities are, what would they say? I asked my husband and he said, "Your loving personality towards Ellie, me, and random strangers (like when you ask people if they need a ride)." Fun fact: I get turned down every single time I offer a stranger a ride...I'm pretty sure my Subaru station wagon gives off a bad vibe...thinking about trading it in for an unmarked white van.

-Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us: I'm incredibly shy and introverted. It takes a lot for me to make small talk and meet new people. It's really, really hard for me to walk into new situations and I'm still shocked that I walked into my first stroller strides class. It changed my life for the better and I'm so thankful for our village, the instructors, and the immense amount of work Lisa and Eryn put into building up this wonderful environment for us to come together and improve ourselves inside and out with each workout.

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