So I might have gone to the White House last week…
I didn't mention it ahead of time because I wasn't sure it was actually going to happen. BUT THEN IT TOTALLY DID.
Several groups of mom bloggers were invited to a presentation about the First Lady's initiative Let's Move!, which is working to decrease childhood obesity and work with schools and communities to increase nutrition and exercise.
When we first arrived, all 150 of us got to roam around a few rooms on the first floor, including the library and the most incredible bathroom we'd ever seen (I only took a photo of the rug in there, but it was a-maz-ing). Everything was so beautiful, especially the fresh flowers on every tabletop. Chandeliers, displays of silver and china from way back to the Lincoln era, so gorgeous.
I had never been in the White House before, so it was very exciting. Just getting to see what it looked like was amazing. Then we headed upstairs to the East Room for the presentation. We learned about how Let's Move! has helped millions of kids eat better school lunches and how they're working to get gardens up and running in schools nationwide so that kids will learn where their food comes from and be more willing to try new produce (speaking of which, the USDA has grant money for schools who want to implement these programs, so if your school is interested, please learn more).
Dominique Dawes, the three-time Olympic gymnast and co-chair of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, spoke next. She had us cracking up since she has two kids under two and was so excited just to get out of the house that morning. The struggle is real!
We heard about the Every Kid in a Park program, celebrating the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. I already knew about that (I shared it with you back in September), since it gets your family in FREE to every National Park in the country through August 2016.
One of my favorite parts was hearing how the initiative is tackling junk food marketing by involving celebrities in a new brand for produce, called FnV. It's only been rolled out in Fresno and Norfolk so far, but the advertising is tongue-in-cheek and quite effective.
And then it got quiet…and all the cameras came out…and there she was.
Michelle Obama delivered the closing remarks, going back through the achievements of the program and recognizing mom bloggers (and the couple of dads in the room) as being influential in our communities, then asking us to spread the word about Let's Move! She shared stories of what family life was like years before they came to the White House, how it was two working parents, both kids in plenty of activities, and it was easiest to just grab whatever food was most convenient (not necessarily the healthiest). Sound familiar? That's common for so many families! A visit to the pediatrician was a wakeup call that her daughters needed better nutrition, so she started small–just 1-2 more home-cooked meals each week, reducing desserts from daily to just the weekends, and filling the pantry with healthy snacks instead of junk food. I loved how relatable she was, and the reminder that baby steps do add up and make a difference.
After the presentation, we were able to walk out to the front lawn to see the White House Kitchen Garden. It was stocked with winter veggies like kale and cauliflower, which Executive Chef Christeta Comerford says they use daily in preparing meals for the First Family.
It was an honor to be invited, and it was an experience I won't forget. Thank you so much to Jenny Lauck and SheKnows for the opportunity.
Want to see more photos of this amazing day? Head over to Instagram.