• blog.jpg

Blog

IMG_0275 copy.jpg

“There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing.” - Scandinavian saying

As a kid growing up in Minnesota, where there’s snow on the ground for about 5 months of the year, you learn early on about the necessity of bundling up to enjoy the outdoors. The right kind of clothing and outdoor gear for outdoor play makes the difference between cold and miserable and warm and happy. Thankfully, it’s not quite as cold here in NoVa, but winter is coming and we want to be ready!

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to be outside, away from others, more than ever. While I desperately wish for this pandemic to be over as soon as possible, I’m grateful for the time my family has spent out in nature, exploring the beauty and solitude we so often miss in our busy lives. I hope to continue our habit of getting outside even after things begin to open up more for indoor recreation. As the weather turns colder, it’s time to prepare to continue our new-found habits of spending more time outside.

Let’s collectively say NO to being trapped inside all winter and plan for safe and comfortable ways to enjoy the outdoors.

We’re a hardy bunch here at Fit4Mom LSBWKNoVa. We are committed to gathering together (with some distance) and continuing with our mission of supporting moms in fitness and wellness, no matter the weather. So I’d like to share a few tips with you to make our outdoor workouts enjoyable, even on the coldest of days:

  • Dress in several layers. Remove outer layers as exercise intensity increases and put them back on during lower intensity moves, such as the warm-up and cool down.

    • Examples: Tights under fleece lined leggings or compression pants under joggers; base-layer t-shirt under lightweight/sweat wicking long-sleeve shirt under a track jacket

  • Wear sweat-wicking clothing for your under-layers to keep you dry (thus warmer)

  • Wear a hat, gloves, and warm socks. Also consider wearing a neck cuff.

Wool is a fantastic textile for its warmth, breathability, and natural water resistance.

  • Drink water even when you don’t feel thirsty. We are naturally less thirsty in the cold, but we lose just as much or more water through sweat and breath in the colder weather.

  • Bring a snack (for YOU Mama!) that contains protein and carbohydrates, such as trail mix, a peanut butter sandwich, or fruit and cheese. It’s important to fuel early and often when working out in the cold.

  • Bring a thermos with a warm beverage to sip on post-workout to make playgroup/ mom-chat time more enjoyable

Even though the kiddos aren’t working out, much of this advice applies to them as well. Keep in mind they won’t be doing much moving, so they may need one more layer of warmth compared to you. Bringing a small blanket, stroller sleeping bag, or bunting is a great way to provide an extra layer of warmth. Just be mindful if you have a blanket that it isn’t hanging out of the stoller, creating a tripping hazard. Kids are so resilient! They will likely surprise us and be excited for class in any weather. Bundling them up for class and staying for playgroup is a great way to make sure they are getting their much-needed outdoor time year-round. And I’m sure they wouldn’t argue with some hot chocolate in a thermos following class. :)

I hope you’ll join me and our other amazing instructors as we carry on through the cold months, making the best of it TOGETHER!

IMG_6979.JPG

"Sarah is a supermom! It’s admirable to see that she still finds time to focus on her health with 5 kiddos at home. I don’t know how she does it, but she makes it look easy and comes to every class with a smile on her face and a cheerful disposition." -Karlee Goeres, Fit4Mom Instructor

"Sarah is amazing! No matter which kid(s) she brings to class with her she has a smile on her face and gets in her workout. It’s awesome to see her love and take care of her kids, transition back to work after maternity leave, and join Fit4Mom workouts and playgroup!" -Katherine Resendez, Burke Playgroup Captain

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

Me, Christopher (my husband), Alexandra (12), Jonathan (8 ½), Elizabeth (5 ¾), Zachary (3 ¾), and Timothy (6 months)

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

My first Fit4Mom class was the Valentines Day class/playgroup in February 2017. I showed up with my 2-year-old and newborn and had no idea that everyone was bringing valentines – but everyone was so nice and assured me that they had brought extra so that my 2-year-old could also get valentines. It was so wonderful to meet such nice and generous moms!

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

Burke Lake Park classes on weekdays and Springfield Town Center classes on Saturdays (if I have a last-minute meeting cancelation, I am sometimes able to sneak over to Lorton on Wednesdays!)

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

I am General Counsel for the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association. I have been a railroad lawyer for 15 years and love it! The silver-lining with COVID for me is that I am currently working from home with a flexible schedule, so I can come out for Fit4Mom classes.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

RVs, bike riding, and Walt Disney World

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

My husband and I would go on a bike ride to a waterfront to go kayaking, and then would meet friends for lunch or dinner. I would eat my food as slowly as I wanted to!

What has being a mom taught you?

I am stronger than I ever thought possible.

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

I bought a new non-BOB double stroller when I started Fit4Mom. It took a beating during airplane travel that summer. I came back from vacation and went to class at STC. After class, in the rain, I loaded my kids into the car and then tried to close the stroller - - no luck. I was a mom of 4 kids, and I couldn’t close my stroller, in the pouring rain, in the parking lot! My husband came out, thinking he could fix the stroller, but he could not close it either. In the end, we collapsed seats in the back of our minivan and shoved the stroller in - - the stroller could not be saved. I bought a used double BOB the next week.

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

Just buy the used double BOB! Also, motherhood is tough, no matter how many kids you have. I’m so impressed with all of you who come out with your first baby, because I felt the most overwhelmed with just one.

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

No mom guilt about working out if your kids are with you! Seriously, as a working mom, I struggle with constant mom guilt of being apart from my children – with Fit4Mom, I get to work out, chat with other moms, spend time outside, and be with my kids, all at the same time! It’s the best of all worlds!

IMG_6871.JPG

Halloween’s done--time to break out those Christmas decor...HOLD UP! Wait a gosh darn minute there! Let’s not forget about one of the best holidays--Thanksgiving. Yes, a time to stuff your face, hang out with family, and not feel guilty just lying there watching TV while digesting. Time to also count your blessings and practice gratitude--for sweet, sweet Thanksgiving crafts!

Thanksgiving crafts are usually focused on turkeys, but they don’t have to be. Like any mom, I’ve got a “turkey shrine” going of all the masterpieces brought home from school or Stroller Strides and I’m excited to add to it every year. However, you can find some really fun crafts for other aspects of Thanksgiving such as:

IMG_6688.JPG

"She is always so supportive of everyone around her. When I would do nursery time, I could hear her cheering the group on with 'We got this ladies! Woo!' She’s always so focused and dedicated in class that I tell myself I need to get on her level. I’m so excited and grateful that she’s a part of our Village." -Jessica Fischer, Fit4Mom Outreach

"She is always so positive at classes, pushing herself and other moms around her. Love seeing her kiddos at class with her. She is such a wonderful mother to her babies!" -Missy Greeley, Fit4Mom Instructor

"Leslie is a fellow Duke Dog so already gets extra brownie points in my book! But she also brings 100% to her workouts! I always see her going full force during cardio bursts in Stroller Strides and in (formerly) Body Back she’d be encouraging us to keep going. Always enjoy having her in class!!" - Katie Taves, Fit4Mom Instructor

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

We’re a family of four. My husband, Michael, our 4-year-old son Junior and 2-year-old Cadence.

I’m a military brat originally from North Carolina (Go Heels) but call Virginia home.

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

My first class was actually Body Back last September. It was great, super welcoming, at your own pace and very supportive.

Where can we find you?

I’m usually somewhere outside with my littles as much as possible. We’re all better humans when we can get out 😊

What is your Fit4Mom routine these days?

October has been lacking with my husband having surgery but I love the Monday/Wednesday/Friday in-person classes.

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 currently a Rodan + Fields consultant from home and up until last year I worked for PWC Parks, Recreation and Tourism for 16 years.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

Family time, being outside and a really good crab cake.

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

Go on a date with my husband!

What has being a mom taught you?

Time really does go by so fast and to cherish and embrace all the crazy!

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

Probably most embarrassing was really only to myself or at least no one said anything, haha. But Fit4mom was really the first time being active since my kiddos and realizing all those memes and stories of bladder leaking is so TRUE!

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

Hang in there momma, we are seriously all just not trying to raise dragons!

What is your favorite thing about FIT4MOM?

Zero judgment! Even when my kids are acting up or being super loud (Junior) everyone just keeps on going and it's no big deal. Allows me to truly focus on myself and get a great workout and laughs at the same time!

What would you tell someone thinking about joining?

Just do it. There will be no regrets!

IMG_6452.JPG

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Maybe it's that first sniff of coffee, maybe it's the non-guilt at eating all the carbs because, hey, gotta have energy for the day. Whatever the reason, I have collected a slew of brunch, breakfast, and brinner recipes. Here are a couple of my favorites that you can prepare the night before and just stick in the oven in the morning. (The best for when you have house guests but also small children. They both can demand attention before you truly wake up.)

Easy Sausage Hash Brown Casserole

(from amindfulmom.com)

INGREDIENTS

  • 16 ounces frozen hashbrowns defrosted (this is usually half a bag)
  • 1 pound breakfast sausage, browned
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • INSTRUCTIONS

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and brown sausage.

    • Layer defrosted hash browns in greased 7x11 or 9x9 casserole dish.

    • Layer the browned sausage over the hashbrowns.

    • Sprinkle cheese over top the sausage and hashbrowns

    • Mix together the eggs with seasonings and milk and pour over the layers of hashbrowns, sausage and cheese

    • Bake for 40-45 minutes or until eggs are set.

    NOTES

    • You can brown your hash browns first if you prefer the texture of crispy hash browns mixed with creamy eggs.
    • To make this casserole the night before serving: assemble as you would up to step five and then cover and refrigerate overnight. Add an extra 10-15 minutes to the total baking time in the morning.
    • I love sharp cheddar for this sausage breakfast casserole, but Gruyere, Swiss, Gouda, or Mozzarella works.
    • This recipe can easily be doubled to feed a crowd. Most bags of frozen hash browns come in 32 ounces and this recipe only calls for 16 ounces. Prepare as directed, but bake in a 9x13 pan.
    • Feel free to add an additional 2 eggs to the custard if you like a really thick layer of eggs--just increase the bake time by 10 minutes.
    • Be sure your pan is an 9x9 or 11x7 or you may need to increase bake time by 10 minutes.

Freezer-Friendly Baked Oatmeal

(from moneysaving mom.com)

  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 3 cups oats (regular or quick oats)

Beat eggs, sugar and butter together. Mix in baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.

Stir in milk and oats. Pour into a greased 9×13 foil pan or baking dish and cover well. (Can use a Ziploc freezer bag, if freezing). Freeze.

To serve: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, until set in the middle. Serve warm with milk. (We like to sprinkle sugar on top before pouring the milk on.)

If you want to serve it without freezing it first, let it sit in the refrigerator overnight and then bake it at 350 degrees for 35-45minutes in the morning.

Serves 6-8.

IMG_6044.JPG

"We love Cristine! She keeps my kids engaged all through kids yoga and has so many fun classes! She also gives me a killer workout in Body Ignite! She is super high energy and very kind!" --Annie Sevel

"Cristine is an awesome instructor! Her energy is contagious and keeps me motivated during her Body Ignite classes. She is amazing with little kids and keeps my girls busy and giggling during kids yoga. I have loved working out with her in class and am so excited she became an instructor! We all love her classes!" -Alicia Chiapusio

"Cristine really knows how to connect with her classes! She makes each child in her kids yoga classes feel seen and appreciated. Not an easy task given our virtual world! She helps moms understand the strength exercises and feel successful in Body Ignite, too. I love her positivity and enthusiasm for life!" -Megan Schmid

"We love Christine! My daughter looks forward to yoga with her every week. She makes it fun for the kids with different engaging activities each week. While having fun, they are keeping active and learning real yoga poses." -Sarah Yurasko

Who are the members of your family?

My husband Jason, my son Emerson (4), my daughter Kenna (2) and our dog Ole (OH-Lee)

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

Born and raised in NOVA. We lived in Hayfield through my second grade year, then moved to Clifton. I moved away for college and grad school then slowly made my way back to the NOVA area. I love raising my babies here!

Where do you typically teach?

VIRTUALLY - Body Ignite & Kidding Around Yoga

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

Oh mama, I had a really hard, lonely, post-partum experience with Emerson and I was determined to have a different experience with Kenna. I joined Fit4Mom so that I could move my body and make friends with people who “get it”. And WOW did I get more than I ever expected. There is no doubt in my mind that being a part of this community changed my life (and thus my family’s life) for the better. I will be forever grateful for this – and I wanted to pay it forward and offer that same support and community to other moms. We need each other – and we’ve got each other.

What is your favorite thing to teach?

I’m obsessed with both Body Ignite and Kidding Around Yoga.

What is the BEST thing about being an instructor?

Helping mamas SEE & FEEL their strength – physically, mentally, emotionally. And seeing our little yogis learn to take care of themselves one stretch, song and deep breath at a time.

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

My WHY is the tired, stressed, lonely, strong, survivor mama that can do anything.

What is one of your current wellness goals?

I am participating in the Fall Fit4Mom Run Club and I really want to finish the whole 5k WITHOUT STOPPING!

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

I can’t dive. I’ve never been a fan of doing anything (literally) head first. If you ever ask me to dive, you’ll see me tentatively approach the side of the pool, put my arms over my heads and drop into the pool like your favorite 8 year old might. I prefer to JUMP right into life 😉.

Anything else you'd like Our Village to know?

I am so so proud to be a part of this village and am so grateful for the immeasurable positive impact Fit4Mom has had in my life. If we haven’t crossed paths yet, I hope to soon! You got this, mama!

IMG_5867.JPG

I know what you’re thinking already. Not another crazy mom preaching about the magic of a plastic bucket full of rice. Well you’re right--I am one of those people. I love the sensory bin so much that I own a tower of different sized buckets and an embarrassing number of plastic tables. I have a shelf dedicated to tiny, messy, nonsense for my children to dig through. And I love it, so let me tell you why.

If you’ve scoured any array of mom-grams in the middle of the night than you know the “educational” benefits of sensory play. It can help with fine motor control, language development, problem solving, and cognitive growth. These are important things to remember when your partner walks into the room and sees beans all over the floor while mom is sitting on the couch staring at her phone. Ask your husband why he has a problem with supporting your child’s brain development and he will quietly back out of the room. Of course, none of these reasons are why I got sucked into sensory bins. I just wanted to stare at my phone and sit on the couch. Or drink my coffee while it was still hot. Or not be forced into another play scenario with my daughter who always makes me be Anna and never lets me be Elsa. So one day I got a little nuts and dumped a pile of dried beans in a baby pool and there was no looking back.

Now that you know why I live that bin life, let me tell you how you can join the party.

Step 1. Find a bin. I prefer a bin on the floor with low sides so even the smallest of children can really dig in. Note that a bin sitting on the ground will result in less things falling out and onto the floor. It also increases the likelihood that your child will climb inside of it. Pick your battles.

Step 2. Choose a filler. The most popular options are dried beans, rice, rolled oats, and water. When you’re feeling confident, you can start dyeing things different colors or mixing items together. If you’re one of those people who hates waste, I hear you. I’ve had the same Ziploc bags of rice and beans for three years and that’s an investment I’m willing to make.

Step 3. Pick add-ons. These can be as simple as scoops and cups. I like to add a figurine or two. If you’re fancy, people make themed bins on the internet you can buy. They’re adorable and I envy them. You can also buy holiday junk from the dollar store and make your own. I’m not that fancy, but if you’ll remember, it’s because I’m trying to sit on the couch and stare at my phone.

Step 4. Go over the rules. You throw the contents on the floor, I take the bin away. You put the contents in your mouth, I take the bin away. You don’t help clean up when we’re done, you don’t get the bin back in the future. I started this when my kid was eight months old. They will test you, but stay diligent, Mama. Just remember the promise of sitting and phone time that awaits you. Bonus points if you have a dog or Roomba who will help in the clean up process.

Have I convinced you yet? I hope so. I look forward to seeing all the memes you now have time to send me while your child sits across the room making a mess and working on their cognitive brain development.

Our popular bin fillers:

Beans, water, rice, dried pasta, cooked pasta, shaving cream, sprinkles, pony beads, perler beads, playdough, inside of a pumpkin (seeds and all), rolled oats (pro tip: add sprinkles), foam bubbles (bubbles you make in the blender with dish soap), cloud dough (google it), sand, kinetic sand, easter eggs, potting soil, paint, ice, dyed water, mini erasers, rocks, sea shells, water beads (try freezing them), corn kernels.

Popular add-ons:

Measuring cups and spoons, old yogurt cups, scoops, syringes, droppers, race cars, frozen fruits, ice cubes, liquid watercolors, animal figurines, busy book figurines, baby dolls, muffin tins, easter eggs.

IMG_5646.JPG

"Alexis is definitely motivating! I love that she attends so many classes and I miss chatting with her in person. She gives 100% plus an encouraging smile for all."

--Joy Robb, Fit4Mom Instructor

"Alexis is dedicated and works hard in every class! I’ve taught her in our virtual classes and worked alongside her in Body Back classes. She makes it look easy and never complains but you can tell she’s one strong mama!"

--Katie Taves, Fit4Mom Instructor

"Alexis is such an inspiration to moms in our community. I automatically smile when I see her; it’s always such a great feeling to have her positive vibe fill the room! Being a mom to three girls (one set of twins!) is surely not an easy task, yet she makes it look so effortless. Self care is very important to her and that is something I admire most about her. Last year I got to meet her mom, and she shared that Alexis is so much happier since finding Fit4mom - that is priceless! Alexis, thank you for being a part of our tribe!"

--Shannon Link, franchise owner

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

My husband Steve and I are both from California. Our oldest Ava is 9, and our twins Emerson and Liesl are 7.

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

My first class was in August of 2018, and I remember Krista (who was my point of contact) being so encouraging and welcoming. I remember meeting Shannon and her talking to me about Fit4Mom and this amazing community.

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

Before the pandemic, I was a regular Body Back attendee. But in the past 5 months, I attend the total body workouts on Thurs, Fri, Sat; and Pilates on Tuesdays.

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

I used to teach secondary life science in California, but when my husband joined the Army I decided to pursue my doctorate in microbiology. I graduated with a phD in Biomedical Research from Auburn University, but since then I have been a full-time stay at home mom. I would love to get back to research someday.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

Authentic Mexican food, Science and Nordstroms

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

Head to the spa! And get a facial, a massage and a mani/pedi.

What has being a mom taught you?

Being a mom has taught me many things, but in particular, I have learned to be patient. I have also learned to prioritize self-care, finding and doing those things that are just for you. Lastly, I have learned to adapt and be flexible. So many moments (or days) do not go as planned or expected; I have learned to let go of the rigid schedule sometimes.

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

When I was very pregnant with the twins, I absent-mindedly gave Ava wet cat food and gave the cat warm oatmeal for breakfast. I was completely oblivious until Ava came up with her bowl and asked me if she had to eat the cat food.

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

It has been said before, but listen to that mom instinct inside of you. You know your child better than anyone else--don’t be swayed by opinions of family, friends, etc, even if they have the best of intentions.

What is your favorite thing about Fit4MOM? What would you tell someone thinking about joining?

My favorite thing about Fit4Mom is the motherhood community, where you are supported and encouraged in your current stage of motherhood and fitness. Fit4Mom has become an important piece of my life. I used to dread the idea of working out, let alone actually doing it. Now, I look forward to working out and I enjoy it; I know I am getting so many emotional and physical benefits.

IMG_5527.JPG

I was trying to figure out what sort of back-to-school meals to post here, but I wasn’t finding any new ideas. Instead, I want to highlight an important service that local school districts are providing: FREE meals to all children aged 18 years and under. ALL OF THEM. Even younger siblings of your elementary kiddos.

That means that no matter your situation, you can go pick up breakfasts and lunches for your children at local distribution sites. For us, it’s every morning at our elementary school. I am amazed at Fairfax County especially; in addition to the distribution sites that are open all morning, there are bus routes that stop for about 10 minutes all over. They also provide weekend meals when you go pick up on Fridays. Prince William County has pickups on Mondays and Thursdays and hands out kits for multiple days. Both programs have funding through December 31st. Keep this program going and take advantage of the nutritious meals they are offering!

As for kid-friendly, sure, my kids don’t eat all the broccoli or carrots or whatever vegetable every time, but so far they are enjoying the variety. I skipped a day this week and my 7 year old was actually disappointed. It sure beats peanut butter sandwiches five days a week and it makes virtual school seem even more official. (Thank you for making my life easier, too!)

Wear a mask and bring a bag when you go! It varies, but you may need to provide proof of residency/enrollment in school. At mine, they only asked for the number of children that needed meals.

Click here to find your local sites:

Fairfax County

Prince William County

(Thanks, Rebecca, for the photos!)

GALA photo.JPG

"Denise is strong and committed. She is shows up consistently for the early morning Body Back classes and gives 100% effort. You can feel her energy through the virtual space! She has gained so much endurance and speed in Run Club, too. Her encouraging feedback for other mamas helps make Our Village a supportive group for all the moms. I look forward to having her in each class!" – Megan Schmid, Body Boost Instructor and Run Club Coach

"I am so proud of Denise. I first met her over five years ago when her second one was only a newborn. Time flies when you’re having fun! Denise has been a very dedicated participant in most all of our programs. I think Run Club and Body Back really got her going and she hasn’t looked back!

She resonates strength, beauty and tenacity. Working in the medical field during a world pandemic, while raising two children, running a household AND finding time for self-care can’t be easy. So props to you Denise - thanks for being so inspiring! YOU ROCK!" - Shannon Link, Franchise Owner

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

I am the proud wife of Ramsey and mother of Ashley (2009) and Dylan (2015). I was born in Connecticut but raised and call Boston my home. Go Red Sox!!

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

I attempted to attend my first Fit4Mom class when I was on maternity leave with Dylan at Springfield Town Center. I ended up tending to my hungry 8 week old and watched the class from afar. Days later I was welcomed by Becky at Lorton Town Center. Back then it was only Shannon and Becky!

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

I can be found zooming at those 5:30am classes. If it doesn’t happen first thing in the morning, it likely won’t happen at all! I also have been part of run club for about 2 years now!

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

I am currently the Director of Human Resources for a healthcare non-profit supporting children with pediatric specialty care needs. I have been there for 5 years now. 2015 was a busy year- new baby, new job, why not?

What are 3 of your favorite things?

I love spending time outdoors with my family. Northern Virginia has so many great parks to enjoy. Additionally I love to read, usually a few minutes at bedtime and travel. Prior to healthcare, I spent many years of my career in the hotel industry and benefited from those employee discounts!

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

I would enjoy one of those great parks with my husband followed by a lunch or dinner somewhere scenic while enjoying some adult beverages.

What has being a mom taught you?

Motherhood has taught me to appreciate my own mother sooo much! I have learned that everything you think is so important means nothing when your kids are hurting or needing something.

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

During a road trip returning from visiting my family over the holidays, we stopped at a Dunkin Donuts for restrooms and coffee break. My husband only likes to stop if it’s absolutely necessary so I when we arrive I run to the restroom with my 4 year old. Yes- I cut him in line! When we walked back to meet my husband and daughter, Dylan announces, “Dad, Mom almost had an accident!” My husband looks at me, takes his coffee and walks to the car. The whole coffee shop turns and looks at me and I grab Dylan and walk out as well!

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

Buy a rain coat with a hood! When Ashley was an infant I returned to worked one morning, hair/makeup done and there was a complete downpour in downtown Chicago. I had the diaper bag, infant carrier and umbrella while trying to maneuver getting out the car and into daycare. I only have 2 hands! I had to leave the umbrella behind, showing up at work drenched for the day! In other words, don’t sweat the small stuff. Ashley was safe and well-fed for the day. As for me, a hot mess!

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

I have been a member however very sporadic over the years. When Shannon says there is something for everyone, it true! I attend when my schedule allows and I love the bond that I see has formed with so many of you. My kids are too big for strollers now however I have never been more consistent with classes during the recent months than I am now.