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When my husband told me that we got orders for our upcoming transfer and that we were going to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, I was in shock and disbelief. I naively thought that we would never, ever, get orders to the very last place on our pick list, but we did! Once the shock wore off, I started doing some research by asking fellow Coast Guard spouses about their experience. I was told a few different things but mostly I was told to be prepared for an adventure. However, when I think about our time there, adventure doesn’t seem to cover the experiences we had.

Aguadilla is located on the northwest side of Puerto Rico and is the location of Coast Guard air station Borinquen. The beaches are gorgeous! The food and drinks are delicious! The sunsets are amazing and make the sky look like it is on fire. Something people don’t realize is how rural that area of Puerto Rico is. It's very common to see horses tied up in a vacant lot without any shelter or to see someone riding horseback down the side of the highway. It's also very common to see stray dogs, satos, as they are called in Puerto Rico, wandering up and down the streets and beaches. Something that surprised me about Puerto Rico was the lack of fresh produce. I remember one of our first trips to the grocery store, it was tiny. I was expecting to find fresh, local produce but instead I found produce from places like China and Chile. Even the local farmers market was lacking! Before Hurricane Maria, it was a regular occurrence that sections of our neighborhood would lose power without notice. Usually the power would come back on a few minutes later but mostly it would be a few hours before power would come back on. I got very good at starting our little camp generator.

After Hurricane Maria, our house and three other houses in our neighborhood were without power for 5 months! It was heartbreaking and infuriating listening to my husband talk about how his calls and emails to the electrical company went unanswered. I returned to Puerto Rico at the end of February, 5 months after Hurricane Maria, and it was shocking to see all the blue tarps roofs. Puerto Rico was an experience but will always hold a special place in my heart.

#militaryspouse #militarylife #PuertoRico #fit4mom #lifeisanadventure

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Raise your hand if you love the holidays!! The holiday movies, lights, holiday baking, music, festivities, Hanukah, Santa events, parties, the festive spirit...the list goes on and on! There is so much fun and excitement to cram into the 3-4 short weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And seeing it all through the eyes of your child is truly magical.

And in all honesty, it is truly exhausting. Things are hard with kids. Getting out the door is hard enough, but then trying to attend holiday events, go out in the cold to see lights, getting the perfect holiday photo, sending out your card, making cookies, and doing ALL the things that Instagram and Pinterest say you should do…exhausting. And hard. It is hard to do it all and it is easy to get wrapped into what you should do to ensure your kids and family have the best holiday season.

I am right there with all of you who try to cram it all in. Do you want to see my “holiday fun list” for my 3.5-year-old and 1-year-old to fully enjoy the holiday season? Here it goes: Zoo lights, Bull Run, attend a tree lighting, Meadowlark, build a gingerbread house, make ornaments, advent calendars (yes 2 – 1 with treats and 1 focusing on the story of Jesus’ birth), Santa train, see Santa, buy gifts for everyone, go to the holiday market down town, Boat light parade, watch ALL the holiday movies (did you know if I don’t watch the Santa Claus this year, it may never be on again?!), Botanical Gardens, White House tree…this isn’t even all of it. Who has time for all of that? What kind of expectation am I setting up for myself? And for 2 kids who are so young? This in addition to buying all the gifts.

I want to tell you (and myself) something. We don’t have to do ALL the holiday things to have a meaningful and memorable holiday season with our children. There is time to enjoy things. If every year you do the same things it will become less magical. Spread out the magic! Slow down. And give yourself grace. This season of life is hard enough before you add in the holiday season.

Kids have a meltdown during family photos? Give yourself grace and use a different picture for the Christmas card. And if the card stresses you out, send a Happy Holidays email!

Didn’t get to the gingerbread house this year? Draw one. Or don’t. And give yourself grace.

Forgot to watch The Grinch this year? Give yourself grace. It will be on next year. Or watch it December 26th, who cares!

No time to make homemade gifts for the grandparents? Give yourself grace and remind yourself that even though they smile and love those gifts on Christmas day, they probably don’t want them afterwards 😊

Enjoy your family and this embrace this season of life you are in. Instead of stressing yourself out, make things easier for yourself, your spouse, and your kids. Enjoy a Christmas movie at home in pjs instead of going out to look at lights. Buy Christmas cookies instead of making them. Stop scrolling Instagram and comparing what you do to what everyone else does.

Pick the traditions and events that will mean the most to you in this season and forget the rest. You can always add in things as the kids get older and life gets easier. Gift yourself grace and take time to enjoy where you are in life. The magic will still be there, and you will get to enjoy it even more.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

#fit4mom #merrychristmas #happyholidays #grace #motherhood #holiday traditions

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Motivating MOM of the Month Questions

We are so excited to announce our MOM (Motivating Mom of the Month) for November! Each month we take a moment to honor one of our local FIT4MOM LSBWK NoVa Moms for her efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle and for her dedication to the program. This month we honor Jessica Carrillo from our Springfield/Kingstowne village!

“I am so fortunate to have met Jessica thru Stroller Strides! At first, I thought she was super quiet but then saw her competitive side come out whenever we would have a race or play a game! Watch out for her 😊 Then Jessica joined us for Body Back HIIT classes. It has been SO amazing to see through her hard work and persistence her confidence grow – in her form, strength, and overall well-being. Her smile lights up those early morning sessions! Jessica, you are an amazing example for our moms and we are so lucky to have Jessica and Crosby in Our Village!”

– Krista Long, Body Back and Stroller Strides Instructor

“Jessica is an awesome role model to have in class – she focuses on form and intentional movements. She is also very dedicated, often working out twice a day between Body Back and Stroller Strides. She is always ready to work hard!”

– Katie Taves, Stroller Strides Instructor

“I love having Jessica and Crosby in class! Jessica works hard and brings energy to every class – Body Back and Stroller Strides. She often attends both Body Back and Strides in the same day! Her motivation is contagious! Thank you for being such an awesome part of our village!”

-Jenna Parkhurst, Stroller Strides and Barre Instructor

Who are the members of your family and where are you originally from?

I’m originally from California, but I grew up in Montgomery County MD. My husband, Clayton, and I have lived in NoVA for the past 6 years and our son, Crosby, was born in August 2017.

When was your first Fit4Mom class and what do you remember about it?

My first Fit4Mom class was in February 2018. I remember everyone being so nice and welcoming to me! I also remember being really sore the next day, and I knew I had to keep coming back.

Where can we find you? What is your Fit4Mom routine these days?

I love all the Fit4Mom classes! I mostly attend at STC/Kingstowne. This has been a crazy month of travel for us, but we’re looking forward to getting back to class after Thanksgiving.

What is your current job? Or what did you do before staying at home (if you don’t currently work outside the home)?

I currently stay home with Crosby. Prior to being a stay at home mom, I worked in business development for a start-up.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

Traveling, decorating my house, my family

You are given 4 hours of FREE babysitting. What would you do?

I would work on/finish one of my DIY projects. I’m always working on a lot of projects, but can’t seem to get one completed these days.

What has being a mom taught you?

Being a mom has taught me to be more flexible.

What is your funniest or most embarrassing mommy moment so far?

One of my most embarrassing moments was giving the pediatrician the wrong birth date of my son. Who does that?!? I blame sleep deprivation.

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

The thing I frequently have to remind myself is that there is no “right” way to do this. I love hearing other moms’ experiences, but what works for one mama/baby may not work for you.

What is your favorite thing about FIT4MOM? What would you tell someone thinking about joining?

I love being able to work out with my little sidekick! I love chatting with other moms. I love Friday playgroups. I love body back classes. I love everything about Fit4Mom!

For anyone thinking about joining, do it! My only regret is that I didn’t find Fit4Mom sooner!

#Fit4MomLSBWK #Strollerstrides #bodyback #SAHM #findyourvillage #momswhocraft

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The holiday season is here! Along with the joy and magic of the season, it also brings a lot of stress, busy schedules, and frustrating parenting moments. Sometimes in the middle of the cookie baking, present wrapping, and holiday prepping, our full of excitement kiddos can add to the craziness. Before the holidays get fully underway, we need to remind ourselves how lucky we are to have these wonderful kids to celebrate the holidays with! Even on those days when being a mom is challenging, there is always something about our children to be THANKFUL for.

On this Thanksgiving Eve, we dedicate this post to our kids. You can drive us crazy, but we are beyond Thankful to be parents because of you.

“I am most thankful to my children Aurora and Anila for loving me unconditionally even when I am a hot mess mom! I wouldn’t trade the tantrums, long days and nights, worry and stress, for anything. Without them, I couldn’t have the best job in the world So grateful they chose me!” - Candice Agustin, Stroller Strides Instructor

“I am so grateful and blessed to be Beckett’s mama. His huge smile melts my heart and I’ll never get enough baby snuggles. I’m thankful that he is healthy and learning more each day!” – Joy Robb, Stroller Barre Instructor

“I’m thankful that my children are learning to be independent (but also, for loving me when I ‘m a disaster). I’m grateful for being a mom because it has let me have so many more experiences that enrich my life. Somehow they give me the energy to get off the couch and do stuff that I wouldn’t have done solo!” – Jenny Bezos, Burke Playgroup Captain

“Watching Everett grow is literally the greatest gift this world could give me. As a mom (and a teacher), seeing the world through his eyes gives me a new appreciation for the little things. Being his mom has slowed me down and taught me how to stop and smell the roses!” – Sarah Wood, Fit4Baby Instructor

“I am thankful for Ronan and Isla for so many reasons! Here are a few…I know what unconditional love means. With them, I get to be a kid again. Being a mom has made me less selfish. I see life through their eyes and it is awesome! Being a mom has taught me to prioritize my time and focus on things that are truly important in life. Learning to pray differently and with intention for others. Unlimited hugs and kisses. An appreciation for my body and what it can do (like give birth!). I am so thankful to be a mom and all that goes along with it!” -Jenna Parkhurst, Stroller Strides/Barre/Fit4Baby Instructor

“I am so thankful my four daughters – Aubrielle, Cecily, Liliana, and Avalyn – are all unique! Parenting four different personalities has taught me how to let go of the need to control everything and to embrace their individuality. As a mom, I am grateful that I have the opportunity to help shape their values, faith, and character, and someday send them out into the world to bring light and love to others.” – Megan Schmid, Body Back Instructor

“I’m thankful for Grayson and our little family! Becoming a mom has changed me in so many ways, and I’m grateful to be on this journey as I learn more about myself every day. I’m very thankful for a flexible career that allows me to fulfill professional pursuits, but also allows me to share many milestones and experiences with Grayson.” – Katie Taves, Stroller Strides and Barre Instructor

“I am thankful for my health! A body that can move and keep up with my kiddos and smile and laugh with them. Arms that can hug both my girls, my husband and all my loved ones. So so grateful that I am able to experience all the joys of life with my family.” – Krista Long, Body Back and Stroller Strides Instructor

“I am thankful for Evan and Charlotte because they have taught me what unconditional love is like. I enjoy experiencing the world again through their eyes and am amazed at how they learn and grow! Motherhood makes life so much richer and fulfilling. It is the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done.” – Becky Krispin, Stroller Strides/Fit4Baby Instructor

“I am thankful for what Noah and Abby have taught me about love. When I look at their little faces, my heart is filled with so much love, I think it might explode. However, it continues to grow bigger and bigger!” -Robin Houlahan, Stroller Strides Instructor

“I’m grateful to see the world through my daughter Allie’s eyes! Everything is new, pure and perfect, for the first time. She keeps me humble and focused in the small moments. I am thankful for my precious daughter loving me unconditionally.” – Brooke Robinson, Body Back Instructor

“Being a mom is the most rewarding and most challenging job I’ve ever had. I am so grateful to have two beautiful daughters, Chelsea, 27, and Julia, almost 6. I’m glad that I am able to raise two strong and determined girls to live to their fullest potential. Seeing their own personalities develop has been so rewarding. I’m so lucky they chose me to be their mom!” -Shannon Link, Franchise Owner

Happy Thanksgiving!

#fit4mom #thanksgiving #thankful #motherhood #grateful


Get to know one of our awesome Team Members, Missy Greeley! We have an amazing, dedicated and talented team of moms here at FIT4MOM LSBWK NoVa, and we want you to get to know a little more about each one of them. So for November, we'll put the spotlight on Missy, Stroller Strides Instructor for our Woodbridge Village.

“Missy is enthusiastic about Fit4Mom and she’s very welcoming. I love that we used to attend class together and now she is teaching them! She always has a smile for me and genuinely cares how I am, and that I am able to get a good workout.”

~Jennifer Ward, Woodbridge Stroller Strides Mama

1. Who are the members of your family?

My Husband Bobby and I have 2 boys, Andrew (7) and Brady (2). And we have 2 fur babies, Buddy who is a pit bull mix, and Bailey who is a German Shepherd.

2. Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in NoVa?

I grew up in Charlotte, NC and moved when I was 16. I have been in the NoVa area since.

3. Where do you typically teach?

I teach Stroller Strides at Potomac Mills Mall.

4. Tell us your story about how/why you became an instructor for Fit4Mom LSBW NoVa.

I was with Fit4mom for about a year. Shannon came up to me one day and asked if I wanted to be an instructor, and I said of course!! It has been such a fun experience teaching moms that they can work on themselves, and be a great mom while getting a work in!

5. What is your favorite thing to teach?

So far Stroller Strides, but who knows what might come next in my Fit4mom journey.

6. What is the BEST thing about being an instructor?

Showing moms that they are strong, beautiful mothers that can handle more than they think.

7. What is your WHY? Why do you keep doing what you do?

My why would be my family. I want to make sure that I’m taking the best care of myself so I can do the best for my family, and show them a healthy lifestyle.

8. What is one of your current wellness goals?

Right now my goal is to stick with my new healthy lifestyle and keep with it!!

9. What is a fun fact that many may not know about you?

I attended an art school in N.C and I was able to take dance classes for my extra classes. It was one of my favorite things about that school.

10. Anything else you'd like Our Village to know?

That being part of Fit4mom is one of the best parts of my life right now. I love everything about this group!!!!

#fit4momLSBWK #instructorspotlight #healthylifestyle #strollerstrides

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Ok, so...this is the first blog I’ve ever written. I thought I should throw that out there right off the bat just in case I commit any blogging faux pas. My apologies. When trying to come up with an idea for something to write about, I decided, as with most things, the best place to start was the beginning - how I came to be a member of the Fit4Mom crew! When it came time to decide if I was willing to commit my time and money to this, I reached out to my best friend in California, who has done something like Stroller Strides in the past and asked her if it was worth it. Her response to me was “It is what you make of it”.

Honestly, I was kind of hoping for a clear yes or no and here’s why: my pros and cons list had gotten out of control! To join or not to join? See, while I’m generally outgoing (sometimes a little too much...), I’m not big on group activities. Especially not group exercise activities (I am definitely more of a gym rat, ear bud, no eye contact kind of a worker outer). Also, I needed to lose weight – would the workouts be enough to get me where I wanted to go? And then I remembered what my BFF said, “It is what YOU make of it”.

So, out of my comfort zone I went, signed up, and I can tell you with 100% honesty that I have NOT regretted that decision for even one second. Not even when the instructors try to get me to bear crawl! Fit4Mom does everything it needs to do – provides trained instructors, multiple locations/days/times, a good variety of classes – and then it takes it a step further by giving us all a ready-made group of people who understand the simultaneous highs and lows of motherhood. Score!

I’ll never take advantage of all of the playgroups or special outings but it’s nice to know they’re available if I change my ways. My focus is on the workouts and I have not been disappointed! The weight loss is coming along nicely and while it’s true I’ve modified my eating habits, I know Stroller Strides is playing a big part in all of this too.

To the instructors and class members that I see on a regular basis, thank you for welcoming me! And for putting up with me! I know I can be a lot to handle, especially at 9:15 in the morning! Happy Thanksgiving month!

#fit4mom #findyourvillage #strollerstrides #comfortzone #steppingout #weightloss


Get to know one of our awesome Team Members, Carrie Church! We have an amazing, dedicated and talented team of moms here at FIT4MOM LSBWK NoVa, and we want you to get to know a little more about each one of them. So for October, we'll put the spotlight on Carrie Church, Stroller Strides Instructor for our Springfield/Kingstowne Village.

“Carrie is super encouraging during workouts, and always very inclusive to all of us – especially the new mamas. Thanks for making class fun – and for including “Baby Shark” as often as possible.”

~Kylie Powell, Springfield Stroller Strides Mama

“I appreciate Carrie’s willingness to accept you where you are regardless of what that means. I enjoy being reminded to work with what I brought that day.”

~Che’ Jones Morrell, Springfield Stroller Strides Mama

Read on to get to know more about Carrie and her time with FIT4MOM LSBWK NoVa.

1. Who are the members of your family?

I have a family of four (me included) and one dog. My husband Nate and I have been married for almost 13 years (Nov). I have a 20-year-old son living out west and of course our daughter Samantha aka Sam. Our dog, Ellie, is a 12-year-old Border Collie.

2. Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in NoVa?

I am originally from the Northwest. We moved here in Dec. 2005 and left for a brief time in Alabama and Mississippi before moving back.

3. Where do you typically teach?

I usually teach at the Springfield Town Center and at Hidden Pond Park. I also help out at other locations as needed.

4. Tell us your story about how/why you became an instructor for Fit4Mom LSBW NoVa.

Exercising has always been something that I crave and appreciate. My mother always made it a point to go walking when I was younger. The need to move and stay active stuck with me. After having my daughter, I had a difficult time shedding my postpartum depression. I knew that exercise was a vital tool to help me overcome “the blues.” Once I started attending class, I knew that I had found what I needed. When the opportunity popped up, I jumped at the chance to take what I learned and start teaching others.

5. What is your favorite thing to teach?

One of my favorites is the squat shuffle around the babies singing BINGO. It a great cardio move and in between verses the mamas get a little extra in with added exercise: squats, lunges, push-ups, mountain climbers, etc.

6. What is the BEST thing about being an instructor?

I love when my mamas are getting a good workout in and having a good time!

7. What is your WHY? Why do you keep doing what you do?

Setting a positive example for my daughter as well as the support of others.

8. What is one of your current wellness goals?

Right now, I am trying to improve my overall health. Last winter was rough, so this year I am hoping to boost my immune system with lots of vitamins, a plant based diet and lots of exercise. Also, get back into running now that my toe is healed!

9. What is a fun fact that many may not know about you?

I love to drive fast. I cannot wait to get back on the Autobahn. Best organized driving/drivers. So amazing. Though, I managed to get a speeding ticket while in Germany…who knew!

#instructorspotlight #fit4momlsbwk #strollerstrides #strongmama

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Summary of My Body Back Transformation

I can’t believe it’s already over! We concluded our eight-week journey with a lovely and moving ceremony. Shannon and the team really went all out! There was a professional photographer there with a spot for lighting and a backdrop, and we all got to get our picture taken for free! The décor was so cute and festive with little butterflies and bottles of sparkling apple cider to celebrate. We had Body Back recipe snacks and got to view the slideshow of our before and after photos and stats. There was a lot of love in the room, some happy tears, and plenty of mutual support. It was so fun to see the changes we made and strength we gained! There were also awards/gifts for different categories. We were all gifted with pretty butterfly necklaces!

If you ever felt intimidated or uncomfortable going into an exercise class, or felt like it was only for the “elite”, that is not what you’ll find with Fit4Mom. You will only be met with support and positivity! It’s kind of neat that these workouts were designed, not only for women, but for women who’ve had babies. We focus on inner and outer strength. The benefits of exercise to me, go far beyond the physical.

As I wrap up Body Back I am also saying goodbye for now to being a Fit4Mom instructor with my last class on Thursday. I’m sad to be closing a chapter that was a big part of my life. But I’m excited for the future (even though change is scary)!

Special thanks to Megan for being such an awesome instructor! #BurkeEarlyBirds You rock! All of our instructors are so great. (Brooke, your football themed class with our halftime show made me like football!) And of course a big thank you to Shannon. I’m so grateful for all of the experiences you’ve allowed me. Much love to Fit4Mom!

#BodyBackTransformation #BodyBack #MomMeTime #TransformationTuesday #Butterfly #Fit4MomLSBWKNoVa #Fit4Mom #MakeChangeHappen #FitMoms #FitMomsRock


We are so excited to announce our MOM (Motivating Mom of the Month) for October! Each month we take a moment to honor one of our local FIT4MOM LSBWK NoVa Moms for her efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle and for her dedication to the program. This month we honor Michelle Ruble from our Woodbridge village!

“Michelle comes to class every week with a positive attitude and such a great energy about her. She’s always excited when a new mama joins our class and asks about others who may not have been there for a few weeks. She works hard during class, loves to chat and swap mommy tales, which makes new moms feel more comfortable and makes our hour-long class fly by!”

~Sarah Wood, Fit4Baby Instructor

“I love having Michelle in class! She has been so motivated to stay fit and healthy through her pregnancy, all while working and taking care of Ella. She works so hard every class, brings positive energy and is always willing to offer some of her own words of wisdom to some of our first-time moms-to-be. I really enjoy seeing Michelle each week and it has been so much fun to see her from the beginning of her pregnancy journey with baby #2. Keep it up mama! You are amazing!”

~Jenna Parkhurst, Fit4Baby Instructor

“Michelle is a force to be reckoned with. I first met her at one of our Woodbridge Body Back Open House events. I could tell she was a bundle of nerves wondering if she would be able to do the workout and whether she’d fit in. In less than 10 minutes, I could see the fierceness in her eyes and the determination to push herself out of her comfort zone. Without much hesitation, she signed up for the following 8-week body back transformation session. Michelle worked so hard on making small changes and they sure did add up. Since then, she has become pregnant with baby #2 and is now going strong in our prenatal classes. I am honored to have her as a part of our village!”

~Shannon Link, LSBWK Nova Franchise Owner

Who are the members of your family and where are you originally from?

My husband, Matt, our daughter, Ella who will be 2 on Halloween, baby # 2 due on New Year’s, and our 3 fur-babies, Marilyn, Manny, and Molly. I’m from Connecticut originally but moved to Dale City in the early 90’s when my dad was stationed at the Navy Yard. I met my husband in 1998, when we moved in across the street from him.

When was your first Fit4Mom class and what do you remember about it?

My first class was a President’s Day Stroller Strides class in 2017 a friend found out about on Facebook. I had no idea what to expect, and my daughter was only a few months old, so it was the first “mom” type activity I’d done. A few months later I took a Body Back class and fell in love. The option of doing something just for me, with some “alone” time was fantastic.

Where can we find you? What is your Fit4Mom routine these days?

I go to Fit4Baby on Sundays in Woodbridge and Thursdays in Kingstowne and try to stop in for a stroller strides class when I can.

What is your current job? Or what did you do before staying at home (if you don’t currently work outside the home)?

I’m the Director of Business Operations for Shearwater Systems, an Alaskan Native Corporation government contractor. I love my job, both for the work we do and contributions we make to the Alaskan people, and the flexibility my job offers.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

Wine, The Washington Capitals, and sleep

You are given 4 hours of FREE babysitting. What would you do?

Dinner and movie with my husband. We used to go to movies ALL the time, which has now turned into a rare luxury since having kids.

What has being a mom taught you?

That nothing ever goes according to plan. I’m a very methodical person and have always been proud of being “on-top” of things - until I became a mom. I’ve learned that sometimes you just have to wing it and hope for the best. And if it all doesn’t work out, or you’re late, or miss an event that it’s not the end of the world.

What is your funniest or most embarrassing mommy moment so far?

When Ella was about 3 or 4 months old, we went to Target. It was a quick trip, so we didn’t take the whole diaper bag with us, just the diapers/wipes. Well, she had a MASSIVE blow out, while I was wearing her in the carrier. It was everywhere. We went to the bathroom to clean everything up but didn’t have an extra change of clothes or anything. So, once we were both as clean as we could get in a public restroom, I threw everything in a bag, and just carried her back out to the car in a diaper. I’m sure we looked like “People of Walmart” with her mostly naked, me half put together and soaked from trying to clean my shirt whilst carrying this bag of disgusting clothes. I still shudder at the thought.

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

I always tell new moms that you’ll figure it out eventually, and to take most advice with a grain of salt, but no matter what remember to always tie the bottom of the bag on the diaper genie.

What is your favorite thing about FIT4MOM? What would you tell someone thinking about joining?

I love Fit4Mom, and the strength it’s given me. I was amazed at how much stronger I got throughout body back, and I can’t rave enough about how beneficial the Fit4Baby classes have been for me. But it’s also given me an unexpected support system. Everyone is so incredibly kind and supportive and having a village that can be there for questions or kind words when needed offers a type of strength I didn’t know I needed as a new mom. I’m an introverted person, so having this type of inclusion that helps force me outside of my comfort zone without feeling awkward has been simply wonder.

#fit4momlsbwk #prenatalfitness #allstagesofmotherhood #fit4baby


Fit4Mom saved my life.

Ok, that’s probably slightly dramatic. Fit4Mom definitely saved my sanity. That’s not dramatic, it’s just true. Addy was born at the end of September. That gave us a few weeks of weather acceptable for a newborn, then that was it. Meanwhile, my lady parts were trying to heal and my hubby was back to his ridiculous work travel schedule after his 10 days of baby leave were over.

It got cold outside and Addy and I were cooped up in the house pretty much all the time. She did a lot of sleeping on me; I did a lot of TV watching, book reading, and not too much else. That was great...for a little while. I absolutely loved having that time with her. It gave me a chance to heal, and now that she doesn’t sit still for 4 seconds, I long for all those snuggles we had! But, after several weeks I was starting to go stir crazy. I was antsy being cooped up in the house. I was getting little to no physical exercise outside of townhouse steps and I had minimal adult conversation/interaction, especially when Chris was gone.

I didn’t know it at the time, but looking back now I definitely think I had some baby blues. Sure, there are hormones and exhaustion and everything else that comes with a newborn, but I was having a harder time than just that. And I’d felt guilty about it because all things considered, Addy has been an easy baby! She’s still a baby; don’t get me wrong, but definitely on the easier end of the spectrum. What did I have to be sad or upset or frustrated with? Why did I feel so yucky? I had a wonderful daughter and husband, a supportive family…who was I to feel anything less than fantabulous?

I was self-aware enough to know I needed to start getting some kind of exercise again at the very least to start trying to get things evened back out. I had a grand plan that involved me going to our neighborhood gym on a regular basis. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that plan did not survive first contact with the enemy. I was fortunate that I lost a good chunk of my baby weight pretty quickly but I still felt like garbage. I was tired and weak and very out of shape. Fitness has always been a huge part of my life; I’ve always been an athlete. Now I felt awful and wasn’t sure how to fix it. Our gym doesn’t have childcare after all.

When I met Shannon and got a little taste of what Stroller Strides was about I couldn’t give her my credit card fast enough. Finally I had found a solution to my work out (or lack thereof) problem. Addy and I would get out of the house, and I’d get at least a little bit of a workout every day. That’s what I thought I was getting and I was thrilled.

Little did I know I was in for so much more.

We do get out of the house and I do get a good workout almost every day now. But I also have mom friends who I can talk to about stuff. Kid stuff, husband stuff, who-knows-what-random-BS stuff. I have friends I can call if there’s some kind of emergency and Chris is out of town (he’s gone a lot and that’s always something I’ve worried about a little bit). I have people who expect me to show up to class and keep me accountable. Addy has other babies she can interact with and learn to share with and hopefully learn that other kids’ hair is not her toy to pull on J

This group of moms is so much more than a workout for me. Stroller Strides is the best thing I’ve done for myself not only physically, but also mentally, and emotionally, and all the corny warm fuzzies, in a really long time.

On top of all the new-mom stuff, I’m three years into an epic identity crisis. I left the active duty Navy to follow Chris when he moved from Hawaii to Quantico, a year earlier than expected, and it was only partially on my terms. I don’t regret it for one second, but I’m still trying to figure out what the heck I’m going to be when I grow up. I’m trying to find what, outside of my most amazing little peanut, gets me going in the morning.

I’ve got a few different irons in the fire trying to figure it all out and as a result, sometimes, more often than I’d care to admit, I feel like I’m half-assing too many things. Having this amazing group of women to help me work through stuff, and remind me that I’m not alone, and that my kid made it to her first birthday happy and healthy so I’ve got to be doing something right, is an absolute necessity.

There’s some serious mom-judging that goes on all over the interwebs. I underestimated how important having friends you can trust is when it comes to raising kids. Sometimes my husband asks me how do I know what to do and how do I know all this stuff? My answer to him is I talk to the moms I trust and make it up as I go. He and I are figuring all this out together, because neither of us has any idea what the heck we’re doing. We’re both so grateful to have other parents who don’t know what they’re doing either to compare notes with.

Becoming a mom is the most wonderful thing I’ve ever done, and also probably the thing I was the most unprepared for. I did everything I could to prepare for when she popped out of me, and I still had no clue what I was in for. I just can’t say how much of a positive impact finding a village, and then realizing support is what I needed and that it’s ok to ask for help, has done for my family and I. Not to mention, I can carry the laundry from the basement up to the bedroom with out being totally out of breath when I get there again!

#fit4mom #fit4momlsbwk #ourvillageisyourvillage #findingyoursanity #postpartumfitness