It’s been a while

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It’s been a while, like 6 months.  I kept saying tomorrow I’ll write something and you know, life gets in the way. I always said I was blogging for fun, not to get a million followers, make money off of it or anything else. It was something I did because I enjoyed it. I still enjoy it but my time is often limited (isn’t that the case for us all), trying to juggle a family, commuting, a career, fitness, friendships, etc. and when something needed to give, it was the blog.

Over the last few months, I’ve traveled and spent quality time with my boys, we’ve done so many things, which included an adventure to Seattle at the end of the summer that was filled with so many incredible memories I will never forget.  Watching Ashton as he continues to grow has been equal parts amazing and awful (he just doesn’t need me for much anymore and that hurts my heart.) but he is growing into this incredible, kind, intelligent and funny little guy and I often ask myself what I did in this life to deserve him.

I’ve enjoyed time with my friends and watched their families evolve and grow. I’ve made some new friends and have enjoyed getting to know them and I’ve let some relationships go, a hard, but sometimes necessary thing.

I’ve been working harder than I’ve ever worked before at work, creating pieces that I am passionate about, that I think are educational and helpful to our patients.  I’ve honestly put out the best work of my career this year. I’ve been inspired, sometimes frustrated, but I can say I’m proud of myself this year. I’ve also had a lot of upheaval, cycling through 3 bosses this year (5 in the past 2 years!), which was challenging at times. My current boss is incredible, so I feel good about the future, however long that lasts.

I’ve run a bit, did some races with friends, but shifted my fitness goals this year to strength training. I’ve been power lifting and doing almost no cardio and it’s been life changing in the best way possible for me.  I hope to post more on that later.

So while I haven’t been posting much lately, I’ve been busy living a life I’m proud of and fulfilled with. Is it perfect? Hell no-is it ever?? But this year has been a year of change and growth for me and I’m looking forward to what the last few months of 2016 bring.

I’m not sure when my next post will be, I’m not planning that far ahead or putting pressure on myself to stick to a regular schedule. Rather, I’ll post when I can and when it feels right. Until then, I just wanted to check in, say hi and let you know what I’ve been up to!

Until next time, stay well!

 

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Question of the day

What have you been up to these past few months?

Where I belong

Next week marks my 10 year anniversary at my company.  TEN YEARS!  That is crazy, especially since when I interviewed, I was a naïve 24 year old who just wanted out of a terrible situation I was in at my last job.  It’s kind of funny, but this was just supposed to be a place I spent a year tops while I applied to law school and “got on with my life.”  I had no clue how drastically my life path would change by accepting a position at my company.

I have held various jobs within my tenure here, some I truly enjoyed, and others I tolerated because I was really good at them.  If I’m being honest, I was so young when I started here that I just felt fortunate enough to have a job that paid me well and that had some pretty awesome co-workers.

I mentioned back in February that I took a new role on a different team at my company and I feel like I finally found where I belong.  Like truly, what I am passionate about.  Where I see the fruits of my labors and can see my impact.  Where I get to work directly with patients, hear their stories and bring their feedback on topics back in and use it to develop pieces and help tell these stories to others like them.  That feeling fills me with so much pride, joy and satisfaction.  Add to that, my new boss, who is SPECTACULAR.  He lets me lead without question, is always around when I need feedback, gives praise often and in public forums and truly cares about me, not just as his employee, but as Sara the person.  He wants me to develop and meet my career goals and motivates in manner that I have not experienced in quite some time.  In a way, I feel refreshed, which is funny because I have never worked harder than I am right now.

I knew I was truly happy when a recruiter called me last week and had a pretty amazing job opportunity he thought I would be perfect for, and I just plain turned it down. I didn’t need any more information, didn’t need to talk to the hiring manager or read up more on the company. This is a big change from where I was a few months ago. For the first time in a while, I feel energized by the work I am doing and look forward to future projects with excitement.  It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, there are parts of the job that are terribly frustrating, but overall, I am happy and it’s a pretty freaking great feeling.  I know at some point in the future, my end goal to find a job closer to home will come into play, which will mean I will have to make a company move, but until then, I am going to enjoy the experience I am having right now, gain as much knowledge as I can from it, so I can take it with me in the future.  I have finally found where I belong.

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Question of the day

What is your “day job?” Do you love it? If not, what do you wish you could do?

Rock CF Rivers Half Marathon Race Recap

Wow, it’s been a month since I updated you guys on anything, basically right before I hopped on a plane to Detroit to run the Rock CF Rivers half marathon.  This is my second time running this race, the first time being in 2014. I absolutely LOVE this race. It’s not only for a cause near and dear to me, but overall, it’s just really well run and a total family affair, which I love.  So, here is my Rock CF Rivers Half Marathon Race Recap.

On Saturday, a team of 13 of us boarded a plane from Boston to Detroit, landed, grabbed a few rental cars, dropped our stuff at the hotel and headed to pick up our bibs before the expo closed.  It was super quick to check in, get our bib numbers, our race shirts (below in blue) and we met up with Emily, who created the event and runs the foundation Rock CF (in gray). She is this tiny, ridiculously amazing force of nature who sheds light and humor to everyone around her.  We talked with her for a while and then took a team picture with her and her nieces and nephew–aren’t they adorable?

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After buying Ashton and myself new Rock CF shirts, we went out for a quick, but yummy team dinner and got back to the hotel early so we could rest.  Here is my flat runner the night before.

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I went to bed early and ended up getting up really early on race day and had plenty of time to have breakfast, get dressed and meet the Vertex team to head over to the race around 6:30 am.  I was a bit nervous because of the flight the day before and that fact that I spent most of that day not drinking any water, so I spent much of the morning hydrating.

We arrived at the race start and thankfully, was able to keep warm in the high school gym since it was FREEZING outside. We were able to mingle and get a team picture with Emily right before the race started and before everyone broke off.  This was the first year that there was not only a 5k and half marathon, but a half marathon relay, which was a really cool option for a few of our team members.

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I had resigned myself before even getting on the plane to the fact that I was likely not going to PR this race.  While I completed my training plan exactly as prescribed, I was just not feeling as strong as I had hoped I would.  Going into training my goal was to run in the 1:40’s, but I just knew I wasn’t able to do that for this race.  I was mostly okay with that and reminded myself that not every race can be a PR and that this is much more about supporting the cause than getting a PR.

My friend Lindsay and I decided we would run together and stay with the 1:55 pace group.  This felt really doable for me, with not such a hard effort on my part.  This was Lindsay’s first half, so I was excited to run and experience it with her.  This was also the first year of offering pacers, which I personally love!  Before the race started, we ran to the bathrooms and then we started to line up with the rest of the half marathoners.  It was COLD out, like 20 degrees cold and SO windy. I am glad I brought my gloves and hat because I could barely feel my fingers!

The gun went off and we crossed the starting line.  We were right next to our pacer for the first mile and a half and then I felt it….I had to pee.  Not like, oh, I can hold it until the race is over, a….holy shit, I need to find the quickest port a potty.  I definitely over-hydrated, something I have never done before while running. I have never once had to stop during any kind of run or race before to pee.

Thankfully there was a port a potty at mile 2, so I told my friend Lindsay to keep going and I would catch up with her.  I thought this would be a minute process.  There was one person in the stall and one in front of me waiting.  I was stopped for almost 6 minute…yes, you read that right SIX FREAKING MINUTES…DURING A RACE?!?  My anxiety level escalated at each second ticking by.  I was so frustrated but knew there was no way I could run and make it to the next port a potty, so I was stuck waiting.  When it was my turn, I peed in record time and was off and running.

To say I was annoyed is an understatement but I raced as fast as I could ahead, trying to catch up to the 1:55 pace group and my friend Lindsay again.  I knocked off a few miles in the low to mid 7’s and knew I needed to slow down.  At this point, I knew I wasn’t going to catch up to my friend, 6 minutes was just too long of a time to catch up.  I was also kicking myself for such a rookie mistake of trying to speed up really fast, because I definitely felt it in the latter half of the race. I end up having to walk through all of the water stops and walked for about 20 seconds five or six additional times because my calves were cramping so badly.  There were many times during the last part of the race where I wondered if  I was even going to make it in under two hours and I was devastated.  I know that 2 hours is a respectable time and that I wasn’t going to PR this race, but for some reason, the thought of running a 2+ hour half made me want to cry. Thankfully, I finished with a time that was respectable (to me.)

post race

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I don’t know if the almost 6 minutes I waited at the porta potty or the 2+minutes that I spent taking walking breaks would have equated to an end time 8 minutes faster, getting me that PR in the 1:40’s, but I definitely know that I would’ve done better than what I did if it wasn’t for the bathroom stop but I suppose, it doesn’t really matter because that isn’t what actually happened.  After the race, we waited for everyone to finish and took some team pics at the finish line with our medals.

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Quickly after this, we all piled into cars and ran back to the hotel to shower and get to the airport for our flights back home. It was a whirlwind trip that lasted less than 24 hours!

All in all, the Rock CF Rivers Half Marathon is a GREAT race for an even better cause.  I had a really fun time with some of my co-workers and I am happy that I had the opportunity to run it again and look forward to doing it in the future!

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Question of the day

Have you traveled by plane to a race before? If so, what race?

Did you watch the Boston Marathon on Monday? Thoughts?

 

 

Life updates

Hey guys, long time no talk.  Sorry–I know you have heard that from me a lot lately.  You know how it is, life gets busy, prioritizes change, things need to fall by the wayside.  For me, the blog is usually the first thing to suffer since I am a “write in the moment” kind of person. I have tried to write up a bunch of posts and keep them in draft, but it just doesn’t work well for me…clearly.  So, instead of being long winded…I will update you on some life updates in the past month or so:

  • I got promoted at work! (YAY! Cross one of my 2016 goals off!)
  • A week later, I got offered a new job at work! (WOOHOO!) I’m now focused on exactly what I want to be doing (more on this in a later post…I hope), but…I am in launch mode and the pressure from senior management is intense, which means working long days/nights. I am really hoping this settles down because it’s not sustainable long term.
  • We celebrated Ashton’s 4th birthday, it was amazing but each year goes by faster and faster!
  • I went to see Garth Brooks (cross an item off the top of my bucket list!) Hands down best concert I’ve ever seen.
  • Traveled back and forth to NYC a few times for work
  • Bought living room furniture (now just waiting the 2 months for it to be delivered)
  • Been training for my half marathon that is THIS Sunday in Detroit, Michigan (more on this later)
  • Booked my tickets with some girlfriends to go to the CMA Country Fest in Nashville in June!
  • Trying to nail down our family summer vacation plans (so many ideas in my head–anyone want to help?)

So, those are just some of my life updates.  Yeah, I’ve been kind of busy, but it’s all mostly really good things.  I miss you all and do try to keep up with you on social media/your blogs as much as I can (even if I am not commenting!)  I hope to start posting again more regularly once work settles down a bit.  Until then, let me know below what I’ve missed!

 

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Question of the day

What’s new and exciting? Who has been racing? What’s next on your schedule?

 

 

 

The month of love

I’m not generally a big Valentine’s Day fan. It’s too commercial and I’d much rather get flowers on a random day than anytime around a holiday.  Sure, Robyn and I have some traditions for V-day, like buying a new specialty box of chocolate each year to enjoy together and going into Boston to get Burdick’s hot chocolate, but that is the extent of our V-day celebrations.  However, when you have a child, you are always looking for a way to make them feel special (year round) and I found something that happens to fit in well with the month of February.

I’m not sure where I found this, probably Pinterest, but I remembered that I saw something where someone cut out hearts in different colors and wrote down compliments for their child and then put one on their door each day for the month of February, so when they woke up, there was a new message for them to read. Since February is “the month of love” and also Ashton’s birthday month, I thought this was a really cute idea to do with Ashton to let him know how much he is loved and appreciated by Robyn and I.  It also tied in nicely with his preschool and their “kindness curriculum” the past two months.

So, I got to cutting out 29 hearts in pink, red and white and wrote things on them like  “You are kind,” “You are smart,”  “You have great ideas,” “We believe in you,” and “We love you.”

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I have loved hanging his hearts on his bedroom door each night after he has gone to bed and hearing about them when I pick him up from school in the evening.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to be woken up to a new surprise each day that let them know all the great things others feel about them? What a great way to start each morning, right?

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In a day and age where things are so busy, so structured, everyone is so pressed for time, people don’t take the time to let those in their lives know how they feel, it’s important to me that Ashton always knows how much Robyn and I love and appreciate him, and that while we have very small family, he always has him Mama and Dad to be there to support him.  This was just a small, fun way to do that and for us to celebrate the month of love at the same time!

 

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Question of the day

Do you celebrate Valentine’s day?  How do you let the ones you love know you care outside of “commercial” holidays?

2016 Goals

Hi friends–happy hump day!  I know I am super late to the party on this, since it seems like every blogger puts out their 2016 goals on or before Jan 1, but I don’t necessarily follow the norm and with that, I need time to think about my goals (no resolutions for this girl!) I have thought long and hard about the things that are most important to me, where I am right now and where I want to be at the end of December 2016.  I have some very concrete goals that I want to achieve this year, and most of them aren’t related to fitness (although there are a few), but more family and work related. I’ve broken them down into these categories, which just helps me focus better when things are bucketed. I won’t elaborate on each, as that would be the longest blog post ever but here are my 2016 goals!

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Family/Home

  • Be more present
  • Travel to at least one new place
  • Find a babysitter so Robyn and I can go on an occasional date night
  • Remodel the master bathroom
  • Create (and stick to) a house cleaning schedule
  • Put away my phone when I get home from work (until Ashton goes to bed)
  • Spend more time with my Mom and sister

Work

  • Find a better balance between work/home time
  • Block time to read industry publications at least 2x a month
  • Get promoted
  • Think about long-term career development and personal goals
  • Formally mentor at least one person

Fitness

  • Log 1,000 running miles
  • PR one race
  • Do 1 new Beachbody training program
  • Run one “new to me” race

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Question of the day

What are some of your goals for this year? What was one thing you are really proud of accomplishing last year?

#IRun4Lexie

Hey guys–happy Friday!  It’s a long weekend for most of you (not me) so I bet people are even more anxiously awaiting the end of the work day!  Today, I want to share with you something really special that I have been a part of recently.  So, back in April a few of my running friends were posting often about all the miles they were logging for their “buddies.”  Curious as to what this was about, I asked a few of them questions about this program and landed on the IR4 website.

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The basics: you sign up, they match you with a special needs child, or adult or even a sibling of a special needs person (you can pick which group you prefer).  Then, once you are matched, you run FOR that person, you dedicate your miles to them and post to them pics of you doing so through their Facebook page.  Don’t worry, if you don’t run, you can jog, workout, whatever.  The main point is that you are doing something that your buddy may or may not ever be able do.  You create this great relationship with your buddy and their family and it’s pretty freaking amazing.

So, I signed up and waited, and waited. Each week there was a wait list that was posted and I started in the thousands (yes plural), and each week I would download the wait list document and search for how much I moved up.

Well, on November 9th (almost 7 months after signing up) I received the email that I was finally matched!!!  I was SO excited!!  I have been matched to a young girl named Lexie who just melts my heart and I have seriously loved dedicating all my miles to her.  I talk with her and her Mom daily through the Facebook page and messenger and she is the reason I signed up for the two races I just ran at the end of the year.  She motivates me to get out there, even when I don’t want to!  I am forever grateful for this organization and love that #IRun4Lexie I can’t wait to dedicate all my 2016 miles to her!

I know a lot of you are runners, even if you aren’t a runner but like to work out…if you are looking for some extra motivation or heck, just want to do something nice for another human, sign up here!

Additionally, if you have a special needs child/adult that would love to have someone run for them, you can contact Tim Boyle, through the IR4 blog or the IR4 facebook page.

With that, I hope you have an awesome weekend–do something fun, get your sweat on and relax! I’ll see you next week!

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Question of the day

Anyone else here have a IR4 buddy? If not, are you interested in signing up?

2015 run stats and Run the Year 2016

Hi friends–happy Wednesday!  How’s the week going so far?  Did anyone else get snow last night?  Is Old Man Winter here to stay?  We shall see!

So today, I want to talk number.  I like numbers, metrics, stats.  They can help ground you in what is happening–and I use them almost daily at work to make important business decisions.  However, while numbers are important, they don’t always tell you the entire story.  For example, Daily Mile sends out this great end of year wrap up on your miles, number of runs, etc.. Do, here are my 2015 run stats:

2015 running summary

I like seeing the conciseness of this report, total miles, workouts, mileage by month, its simple and straight to the point, but what is this REALLY telling me other than numbers?  This didn’t show that I participated in two separate 8 and 12-week fitness challenges that focused on heavy strength training and little (non running) cardio that made me a lot stronger than I have been in years.  It also didn’t show that this is the first year since I started running in 2010, I didn’t end up in PT for injuries.  Is that because I was a lot stronger? Because I didn’t run as many miles? Some other reason? I don’t know, but again…numbers only tell part of the story. HOWEVER—they are a great start for bench marking.

I actually didn’t think my miles would be too high this year. First, I didn’t sign up to run a race until the end of September.  If I’m not signed up for a race, I’m not following a training plan, which means I am just going out for leisurely runs with not much focus.  There is nothing wrong with this, it actually was a nice change of pace for me for a while, especially when work was crazy. Just being able to go for a run, however short or long I wanted to, was great for my sanity.  However, for me, it doesn’t lend itself to racking up signficant milege.  Again, this was fine since I wasn’t training for anything and had no need to hit a certain weekly mileage.

I had also made a conscious decision to decrease the number of days I was running because my body just wasn’t handling the running stress well in 2014 (I have seriously terrible calves.) I also decided to spend more of 2015 focusing on building strength since I was no longer teaching my beloved Group Power classes.  I loved the two strength challenges I did, it pushed my limits in a different way than running does and I felt stronger and more confident.  That counts for something, right?  

So, I wasn’t at all surprised that my mileage wasn’t as high as in some other years.  However, I have some new goals for 2016….

My awesome fellow toddler Mama, reading, running, and all around awesome friend Christen asked if I would be interested in running the year with her (and a few other Moms.) Since I wanted a running goal (and some races) to log more miles this year, I said, sure, why not.  So we signed up for Run the Year 2016, came up with our team name 2016 Child Free Miles (#2016CFM) and are logging our miles.

My main goal with this challenge is to run 1,000 miles in 2016. As much as I’d love to run 2,016 miles on my own, my body just doesn’t allow that kind of mileage, so I think 1,000 is more doable–but who knows if this is feasible. It works out to about 3 miles a day, but I can’t run everyday, so we will see how this all plays out. I’m training for a half marathon in March so getting my mileage in now is pretty easy…I just follow the plan!  I am signed up for an 8-10 mile adventure race in August and I have my eyes on a few other races throughout the year.  If they fit into our family schedule, I would like to do them…but all of that is up in the air.

I think it’s good to have goals, but I am also not going to beat myself up about them.  I was TERRIBLE at balancing work, fitness and family last year (and that is a major focus of mine this year that comes ahead of anything else I am doing) so we will see how the pieces fall–wish me luck! 🙂

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Question of the day

Anyone else doing the Run the Year challenge? Other fitness goals? Life goals?

Fixing Ashton’s foot

**Warning: this is a bit of a long post**

Back in late 2014, Robyn and I started to notice that Ashton’s right foot was turning in a bit, it was nothing drastic, but we noticed it from time to time while he was walking.  We talked to his pediatrician who took a look at it and said to keep an eye on it and if it continued, we would send him to a specialist. Flash forward to this summer and while on a hike, Ashton ran ahead of us and we both turned to each other after seeing a much more prominent turn of the foot. I told Robyn we needed to get it looked at now, I didn’t want to wait anymore and he agreed.

That was on a Saturday and on Monday morning I immediately called my amazing podiatrist and asked if he saw toddlers, thankfully he did. He was able to squeeze me in that week due to a cancellation and Robyn, Ashton and I showed up in his office to get to the bottom of this problem and fix his foot.  He asked us some questions and then put Ashton though a bunch of movement tests.  Thankfully, there was nothing SERIOUSLY wrong with him.  What he did have was a slight weakness on his right side, mainly in his hips, which he thought he could quickly address with a small tweak.  Of course, when he said that I was thinking the worst. Does he need surgery? What kind of tweak?  But it was something much simpler…we needed to get Ashton into minimalist, zero drop shoes.  What?? That’s it?

Dr. Feldman taught us that the worst thing we can do is put our kids in hard soled, heavily structured shoes (which is basically what we have been told to do for YEARS.)  He said this is counterproductive and that we want children barefoot as often as possible (which was great since we always have him barefoot at home), and when that is not possible, they should be in ultra-thin soled, zero drop shoes to allow proper alignment and the ability to actually feel the ground below them.  That was Ashton’s problem, it was his foot’s lack of sensory ability to feel the ground because his shoes were TOO supportive.  He said he sees countless people (children and adults) that have problems with their feet and knees because they have been in overly structured shoes their entire lives and their bodies try to adjust to the shoes, instead of moving naturally as we were designed to do.

He then used the example of how people always use watching young kids run barefoot as being the prime example of how we are supposed to move. Now if that is how we are SUPPOSED to move, then why do we put ourselves in shoes that do everything to stop us from moving this way? The way we were born to move?  We talked a bit about the minimalist movement in running (since he is a distance runner) and all the points he made, made perfect sense, but goes against everything we have been told over the course of the last few decades.  However, the tides are changing and there is so much more research and science behind this minimalist movement.

He said at Ashton’s age,  we should have him in shoes that are soft to allow a natural foot function and that the soles should bend easily at the toe joints because this is where the foot is designed to bend to recreate the arch on take off.  They should have a zero drop which will enhance his lateral movement since the foot will not be up on a platform or have a slope from heel to forefoot, and that they should have a wide toe box so the toes can naturally spread.

Of course, after this information overload, I asked if he could recommend a shoe that had all of this.  His answer was Vivo Barefoot shoes.  He said this was all his young children wear and that was all I needed to hear.  I was sold and bought Ashton his first pair as soon as we got into the car post appointment and we had them in hand in less than a week!vivobarefootHe also wanted us to schedule a consult with a PT for Ashton to ensure there were no other imbalances in his body. The podiatrist works very closely with my amazing PT Mike and he was able to get him into see him a month later and we scheduled a follow-up appointment with Dr. Feldman in December.

Well, within a few days of Ashton wearing the shoes we saw a change.  By the time we went to see Mike to go through the PT evaluation, he couldn’t see any turn in on the right foot. He also put him through about 30 minutes work of drills to evaluate all his movement and he came out with perfect scores.

We had our follow-up appointment last week with Dr. Feldman and he said there is no turn it at all anymore and that the shoes were clearly working!  He fixed Ashton’s foot with the right pair of shoes–crazy right?  We talked a lot about his shoes since his feet are getting so big (he jumped 2 sizes in 6 weeks and then another size about a month later! Yeah, buying shoes for him has been awesome!) and the fact that I love the Vivos but they keep a very low stock of their little kids shoes and in between two pairs, we had to get him a pair of Nikes to hold him over because they were out of stock. He recommended Altras or something similar (as long as its zero drop).  Ashton should be able to size into the Altras soon if his current foot growth is any indication and we may give those a try next!

It’s incredible how drastically Ashton’s movement patterns changed once he was out of the Nikes and New Balances and into the zero drop shoes.  We have learned so much through this experience, most notably that proper shoes make all the difference and moving forward, Ashton will continue wear zero drop shoes…strong feet=happy feet!

Have a good day!

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Question of the day

Anyone else wear zero drop shoes? What shoes do you wear to run and for leisure? Did you know you shouldn’t put babies/kids (or anyone for that matter) in structured shoes?

A fun night at the park {in pictures}

Hi guys–I know I’ve been MIA lately…I’m sorry and I miss you all terribly.  I am in my busy(est) season of work right now and most days I barely have time to eat, so blogging has really taken a back seat, but I just had to share with you some new pics of my little monster.

I am lucky to have a great friend of mine, Michelle, who is also a professional photographer and she offered to take some pics of Ashton for me, so one night late in August we headed out for a fun night at the park and this was the end result. I am absolutely in love with these pics.  I know I say it a lot, but I cannot believe I now have a 3.5 year old preschooler! This boy just melts my heart.

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I can’t even pick a favorite, I just love them all for different reasons. She was able to capture this silly boy perfectly.  Thanks Michelle, you are the best! <3

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Question of the day

What is new in your life?