Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Stroller Strides

Recently I've been bragging to those I'm closest to about my newest obsession.  Well, I actually feel so passionate about this that I want to share my sentiments on a larger scale.  What am I talking about? 

"Stroller Strides" is an incredible new exercise program specifically designed for mothers and their tots that I have joined.  It has been such a blessing in my life in the few short weeks since I initially tried it out.  Yes, I am participating in the classes at almost 30 weeks pregnant ... but that certainly does not mean that it isn't an awesome challenge.  To be honest, when I attended my first free class I expected an hour and a half of power walking and stretching.  Oh, no, no!  It is so much more than that!  Stroller Strides is a full body workout -- an invigorating hour and half of power walking/jogging, resistance training (bands), lunges, push ups, abdominal exercises, stretching, circuit training, burpees, squats, sprinting ... and fun. 

Yes, it is so much fun!  In this class I have met so many wonderful women who are in the same stage of life that I am.  Our bodies are all different ... but everyone understands one another.  There are absolutely no judgements passed on one another (or our children)... instead, there is constant support and encouragement.  My instructor is also amazing about checking in to see "how I'm feeling" and to simply tell me that I'm doing a good job!  This class and these ladies are so very refreshing.

So, if I haven't already convinced you, here's why you should join "Stroller Strides" in your area:
1.  Consistent, kick-butt workouts
2.  Confidence in your body ... yes, your "mommy" body
3.  Encouragment from other mothers
4.  No shame if your kid acts up (not that Jax EVER acts up)
5.  Guilt free working out ... because the kiddos come along
6.  No need to pay a babysitter/daycare
7.  New friendships
8.  Playmates for your kiddos (at the end of class) 
9.  "Moms' Nights Out"
10.  A reason to be proud of yourself

For more information (and to find a class near you), please visit "Stroller Strides" on the web at:

And, if you're in the Winchester area, please contact my instructor, Adrienne Sims, for more information at:
(you'll love her)

And ... if you join Adrienne's class ... please tell her that I sent you!  :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Just Another Day

This Thursday was a b.e.a.utiful day ... and we should have just left it at that!  However, my friend Katie and I decided it would be a good idea to take our kids to the National Zoo in Washington DC (with the help of my mom) to enjoy the spring-like weather and the plethora of animals.


Honestly, our trip was all-out National Lampoons-esque ... so much so that you might not even believe this post is true ... but it is!

We left home at 8:30 am ... the whole crew of us ... me, Katie, Jackson (21 months), Ben (2 years old), Elizabeth (5 years old), and my mom ... complete with two strollers, two diaper bags, two coolers, and three carseats.  That should have been our first clue ... but we were determined that this trip was still a really good idea.

We arrived at the Vienna Metro stop around 10:00 am ... and there was ZERO parking.  This is the first time I have ever not been able to find parking at this metro stop ... but apparently lots of spaces have been eliminated due to construction.  So, after driving around aimlessly for 15 minutes, I hop back onto the highway ... in the tail end of rush hour ... and head up a few stops.  I decided to trek up to East Falls Church station to avoid the "overflow" from Vienna.  At about 10:45am, we arrive at EFC Metro station.  We proceed to unload the minivan ... and to change Jackson and Ben's diapers on a yoga mat ... in the parking lot.  Then, we all have to go to the bathroom.  Unfortunately, the toilet in the metro station was covered in feces ... so we had to use alternative means to relieve ourselves (no further explanation).  Then, we made it to the train platform.

After waiting 20 minutes we hear an announcement that there has been a "switch malfunction" and to "expect delays."  You think???  Also, there is another announcement that the orange line metro (ours) will be operating under a "single track" and to "please be patient."  What choice do we have at this point, really???  As you can imagine, by the time we boarded the train ... both little boys had HAD it ... and, honestly, so had the adults.  However, two juice cups ... 100s of goldfish crackers ... and one box of girl scout Tagalong cookies later ... we were at Metro Center where we needed to switch trains.

Initially, this seemed easy ... that is until we realized the down escalator was broken ... and the elevator was literally as far as it could possibly be away from us.  When the Metro operator said to me "you can use the elevator-- just go back down the escalator you just came up, return to the orange/blue line platform, then take that elevator beneath the tracks and come up on the other side," I said "FORGET IT!!!"  Instead, we unloaded both toddlers from their strollers and carried them down the escalator while mom made multiple trips up and down the broken escalator lugging the strollers and bags down behind her.  Not once did ANYONE offer to assist us!

By the time we actually arrived at the National Zoo is was 12:30pm ... 4 hours after leaving home ... and past lunch time for the kids.  Skipping every exhibit, we headed strait to the cafeteria for lunch.  In a nut shell ... lunch went like this:  we sat down, Ben slung applesauce across the table and started screaming, Elizabeth's hotdog bun split at the bottom and the hotdog (covered in ketchup) rolled down her leg and onto the floor, Jackson started pooping as soon as I finished cutting up his food and wanted out of his highchair because he was constipated, Ben got upset with Katie and grabbed her burger and threw it about 6 feet away from our table, and my mom didn't even sit down to eat until everyone else was finished.  Katie was almost in tears when I looked at her and announced "I just want to go home!"  "Me too!" she replied.  But, with our vehicle over an hour away ... we decided to tough it out and stay at the Zoo.

The next 3 hours were nice ... we saw the tigers being fed, the orangutans swinging from ropes, and the elephants roaming the grounds.

Then ... it was time to leave.

Back we headed to the Metro ... during rush hour.

(but no other option)

I really cannot describe to you what it is like to attempt to board the DC Metro with three children (and two strollers) during rush hour ... it's more something you have to experience.  I think it should be on everyone's "bucket list."  Nevertheless, we managed unscathed ... well, other than the 50 year old man who I verbally punched when he shoved me and lifted Ben's stroller to get the vacant seat behind me.

"Ooooo yes!!!  I'm sooooo glad the MAN got the only available seat instead of the pregnant woman with a toddler!  By allllll means, go right ahead!  What a gentleman you are!"
*yes, I actually yelled this ... and apparently it was very entertaining for most Metro riders who agreed with me and laughed aloud

Eventually, we made it back to the van ... and drove in rush hour to Fair Oaks Mall to eat dinner.  Shortly after sitting down to dinner, I started having Braxton Hicks contractions.  At first, these weren't alarming ... until they continued for 2 hours ... every 5 minutes.  I telephoned my doctor who advised me to proceed to Labor and Delivery for "a couple hours of monitoring."  


Me ... my mom ... my friend ... a kindergartener ... and two toddlers who haven't had a nap ... no sweat.

At this point, Katie telephoned her husband to see if he could pick them up from the hospital ... but, naturally, he was in the middle of one of the biggest contracts of his career.

Oh yeah, and Justin's car was in the shop ... so he had no transportation to the hospital either.
Extra awesome!

After much debate, we formatted a solution: my dad would drive to our house--wait there--and give Justin his car ... my mom would settle me into the hospital and drive the van and everyone else home ... I would wait alone in triage until Justin arrived ... and then we could go home together once I was released.
Super awesome!

Thankfully ... I was just dehydrated and stressed ... causing my uterus to become "irritable" ... and I was released from the hospital 2 hours later ... no changes.  Apparently, Baby Oliver just wanted to have a role in the day's "great adventures."

About 11:00 pm, Justin and I arrived at home ... my parents had put Jackson to bed and were patiently waiting for their vehicle to go home.  What was on my agenda: BED!

You know, just another day ...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Firsts and Seconds

Last night when I way lying in bed, I started thinking about the differences between first and second pregnancies ... and not really the physical ones.  Then, I realized how little I have blogged about my current pregnancy compared to my first ... so I thought I'd share my thoughts with you.  Maybe these are unique to me ... but I somehow doubt it.  Here's the way I see it:

1.  You think about the second pregnancy less often.  
Don't get me wrong -- I still keep track of exactly how far along I am on my journey toward d-day.  However, the "pregnancy" itself isn't something that I sit quietly and ponder the way I did when I was carrying Jackson.  There are many days that go by that are just too filled with the tasks of managing a household and a busy toddler to daydream the way I did before.  That doesn't mean that this pregnancy isn't as special or important to me ... it just sometimes feels like it's occurring on the back burner of my life (although it is very much in front of me).

2.  It goes by much faster.
I have noticed a HUGE difference in this area.  I remember feeling like I was pregnant with Jackson for-absolute-ever ... especially in the first trimester.  With my first pregnancy, it felt like everyone else I knew who was pregnant was further along than me ... and my pregnancy weeks were dragging by at a snail's pace.  I never felt like I was "showing" enough, "pregnant" enough, or going to hold my baby in my arms fast enough.  However, with my second pregnancy, the opposite has been true.  I distinctly remember seeing my positive pregnancy test at about 5 weeks gestation ... and I remember today ... at 28.5 weeks gestation.  The weeks between are kind of a blur.  Sometimes I look at my calendar, and I am amazed at how close I already am to d-day.

3.  You cherish "quiet time" more.
This might sound strange, but when I was pregnant for the first time I didn't spend a lot of time just enjoying Jackson's movements in my tummy (I obsessively counted them instead).  And although I have less "quiet time" now than I did previously, I certainly cherish these moments more.  I think my favorite time of the day is in the evenings when baby Oliver is really active.  I like to just lie on my side in bed ... television off ... and feel his kicks and flips inside me.  It makes me smile as it is already our special time together away from the business of everything else.

4.  You take more small risks.
As soon as I discovered I was pregnant with Jax, I swore off all caffeine, artificial sweeteners, soft cheeses, deli meats, exercise, and medicines other than Tylenol.  This time around, although I am certainly still cognizant of the choices I make, I am slightly less OCD about these small risks.  I drink caffeinated diet soda during one meal a day ... everyday ... (and I loooooove it!).  I have eaten one turkey sandwich from Macadoo's after requesting it be heated.  And, as long as my OBGYN permits it ... I have taken a few OTC medicines as needed ... things like Sudafed and Prilosec (which, by the way, works wonders for heartburn).  I have also joined a vigorous exercise class that meets three days/week and truly makes me sweat.  And ... gasp ... I've even accepted the sample of wine they offer you at the Olive Garden!

5.  You care less about perfection.
By this, I'm speaking mostly about the retail world.  I am reusing almost 100% of Jackson's clothes, blankets, towels, etc.  I am borrowing a used pack-and-play from a friend so that we have a place for Oliver to sleep in our room when he arrives while also maintaining a "playpen" for Jackson when I need to shower, etc.  And ... I think this one speaks volumes:  total cost of Jackson's nursery furniture -- $1300.00.  Total cost of Oliver's nursery furniture -- $200.00.  Yep ... we purchased a new crib, but used furniture we already owned for Oliver's chest and changing table ... something I would have never considered when expecting for the first time.

6.  You understand that you really aren't "eating for two."
I definitely learned this one the hard way ... and I am still paying for it, too!  Unfortunately, I mistakingly viewed my first pregnancy as a "free for all" to eat whatever I wanted -- guilt free -- for the first time in my life.  I seriously think I believed that no matter how much weight I gained it would all melt away before I left the hospital.  Wrong!  This pregnancy, I am keeping much better control over my weight gain ... and trying to stay active as well.  The sad part is ... once Oliver is born ... I still have to lose the "baby weight" from my first pregnancy!

There you have it!  My musing for the evening ... hope you enjoyed it.

And to give Oliver his due "screen time":

Pregnancy praise -- Just wanted to give a quick shout out to God for the good news I received today: I don't have gestational diabetes!  Praise the Lord!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My 26th

Well, I'm officially past my "mid-twenties," but I still had one of the most a*m*a*z*i*n*g birthdays ever!  That is very much thanks to my incredible husband, wonderful mom, and awesome friend, Katie ... I cannot thank you all enough for making this surprise weekend totally unforgettable!

As most of you know ... Roanoke, Virginia is just about my favorite place on Earth ... so spending my 26th birthday there was definitely one of the best presents anyone could have given me.  Justin was an absolute saint to volunteer to keep Jackson on his days off so that mom and Katie could take me to Roanoke for an impromptu "girls weekend."  What a blast!

We left early Saturday morning so we could arrive in Roanoke before lunch and show Katie around our beloved "hometown."  Then, we headed to the Center in the Square for lunch ... I hadn't been there since the remodel, so it was really neat!  Katie was surprised that downtown Roanoke "was like an actual city."  It certainly brought smiles to everyone's faces.

After lunch and some light window shopping, we checked into our hotel.  It was a little surreal staying in a hotel in Roanoke ... but really fun ... especially since Justin used his hotel points to snag us a super nice room!  Mom was so cute proclaiming "this is the first hotel bed I've ever slept in that actually feels clean."  Thanks, babe!

After check-in, we headed to Valley View for some "much-better-than-Winchester-mall" shopping ... then to the movies to see "The Vow" ... then to my birthday dinner at Kabuki!

To work off some of those dinner calories ... ahem ... we headed up to the famous "Roanoke Star" atop Mill Mountain for a view of the city at night.  Katie couldn't believe how incredible the view was from the top of mountain.  I couldn't believe how amazing it felt to visit the star again after so many years away!

Although it was getting a little chilly by this point of the evening ... we still couldn't imagine a snowfall the next morning after this beautiful 60 degree day... but we were wrong!  Shortly after we awoke, the heavy flakes began to fall (I seriously cannot remember a year where we haven't had snow on my actual birthday).  So, we decided to leave Roanoke a little early.  We were actually able to drive out of the snow ... and stop in Lexington, Virginia for lunch at Macadoo's.  Katie loves sandwiches, so we wanted to treat her to a Roanoke staple even if we weren't in Roanoke anymore.  It was a hit!

The car ride home was another laugh fest (much like the entire weekend), and I was a little sad to drop Katie off at her house.  However, all good things must come to an end, right?

Thank you to everyone who made this weekend so very spectacular.  I will certainly never forget my 26th birthday ... even if I do want to forget the very obvious gray hair that I discovered tonight when I got home!

Growing up is hard to do (but good family and friends ... and a healthy dose of the 'Noke make it so much sweeter)!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Afternoon at the Park

Although it was a bit more cold than we had anticipated due to the shade trees, our little fella still enjoyed his brief afternoon at the park!

As evidenced by:

And ...

How we love that happiness!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


This morning I went over to our dear friends' house for a special photo session with their beloved "Clifford."  This sweet fella has been Bill's dog since he was a puppy, and he has grown old and weak.  Today is the Hershey family's last day with their old friend, so I thought these photographs would be something special they could keep close to their hearts of their sweet Cliff.

I hope you enjoy these photographs and your own wonderful memories of Clifford.

(a sample)

... until you meet again ...  

Friday, February 10, 2012

Happy Birthday, Ben!

Tonight Jackson attended his first birthday party as a guest ... and it's safe to say, he had a blast!

His best buddy, Ben, turns two tomorrow ... so tonight we celebrated with pizza, cake, balloons, and lots of toys at Ben's house.  The parents had a pretty good time too!

Happy 2nd Birthday, Ben!

... these babies are growing up way too fast ...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Out of this World

One Granny to spoil me is great ... but two?
That's out of this world!