I heard the cicadas for the first time while taking out the trash after dinner. I know it’s been a year and more but I forget until something comes around again. Here we are, I think, tossing another bag in the can.
Joy comes in minuscule amounts: the sun warming my shoulders as I cross the yard to take strawberry tops to the chickens; my three-year-old climbing into my arms after I’ve helped him get dressed.
The things I daydream about now are too close to achievable. Brass candlesticks, a Babaà sweater. I keep coming back to books about breathwork, golden hued anointing oils in glass bottles, guided journals that I want to believe will help me arrive at some kind of answer. All of these things can be had with a credit card, some mindless clicking and, depending on how the post office is running, a few days or weeks to wait. It’s unclear to me if this is what I really want or if I’ve forgotten how to want greater things.
In the afternoons I make milky tea and sit at my desk in front of the windows with my notebook open. There is a direct corollary between my mental health and the amount of time I spend journaling, writing just to write, to feel my hand move across the page.
“That bad, huh?” my husband quips when he finds me sitting there, hours later, while the preschooler floods his sandbox with the garden hose and the dog stands by, ready for it.
Every day the three-year-old collects cups at his spot at the kitchen table, and so at the end of the day I sweep up at least 5, plus the water bottle he is supposed to drink water out of to cut down on the usage of cups. I am tired of running the dishwasher, which I do, sometimes three times a day.
Meanwhile, his older brother litters the table with orange peels and scraps of paper. He has recently taken to drawing on printer paper with a black Crayola marker, he calls it “paper work” and it delights me.
Here we are, I think, at the end of the day, when their bedroom doors stay closed and the house is dark.
I try to catch the second the sky turns pink as the sun sets but most of the time I miss it.
I heard the cicadas for the first time while taking out the trash after dinner. I know it's been a year and more but I forget until something comes around again. Here we are, I think, tossing another bag in the can. Joy comes in minuscule amounts: the sun warming my...
Christa Parravani thought a teaching job at the university in Morganstown, West Virginia was the path towards a better life for her young family. Instead, she found herself unexpectedly pregnant a year after the birth of her second child. With a tenuous marriage and...
At 44, Claire Dederer was suddenly crying a lot and dealing with the intense feelings she hadn't experienced since she was a young adult. She finds herself digging through old journals, remembering her youth, and drawing connections to her current "inconvenient"...
When E was about 4 months old, I hastily purchased a jogging stroller from a consignment store. The snap-and-go stroller wasn’t cutting it for walks around the neighborhood, but since that was all I saw myself doing with it, I didn’t put too much research into the purchase.
Less than a month later, I joined Stroller Strides. We ended up using that pre-owned stroller a lot, and I kinda regretted not buying something a little nicer from the beginning.
Fast forward 18 months. When I was attending instructor training in San Antonio, Farel (FIT4MOM’s Global Fitness Director) mentioned a new Stroller Strides BOB was on the horizon– and it had an adjustable handlebar. As a much-shorter-than-average person (I’m 5′), I was instantly sold. I’m not ashamed to say that I became a little bit obsessed with this stroller. I stalked amazon weekly, waiting for it to be released.
Finally, on September 14th: there it was. I quickly added it to my cart, then camped out by the front door. When it finally arrived, I took a selfie on the porch like a totally normal person:
Unboxing the BOB 2016 Stroller Strides Fitness Stroller
E and I made an unboxing video for your viewing pleasure:
BOB 2016 Stroller Strides Fitness Stroller Features & Specs
Per bobgear.com, the 2016 Stroller Strides edition has the following features:
Comes with a Stroller Strides fitness classes coupon (valid in US only) and a Stroller Strides Fitness Kit by BOB, including a handlebar console, Stroller Strides exercise manual and SPRI® fitness resistance bands.
This product comes with a coupon for a free week of Stroller Strides classes by Fit4Mom. Find classes near you at fit4mom.com.
Swiveling-locking front wheel swivels to maneuver tight turns with ease or locks forward for increased stability when jogging or on rough terrain.
Adjustable padded handlebar offers 9 positions to create the perfect fit for parents of all heights.
State-of-the-art adjustable suspension system offers 3 inches of travel and 2 stages of weight support for an ultra-smooth ride.
Easy 2-step fold for convenient transportation and storage
Air-filled tires on high-impact polymer wheels make for a smooth ride whether on-road or off-road.
One-hand recline adjustment lets you quickly lay the seat back with the simple squeeze of a button.
Fully upright seating position so your child can see the world on all your adventures.
Extra-large low boy cargo basket provides 15% more storage space so you can take everything you need when you’re on the go.
Ultra-padded seat with ventilation and a five-point harness keeps your child comfortable and secure.
Integrated pockets store snacks, drinks, and other necessities.
Extra-large UPF 50+ canopy shields your child from sun and weather. Includes a large viewing window so you can keep a watchful eye.
Enhanced quick-release design makes it easy to securely attach both the front and back wheels.
Easy-remove wheels allow the stroller to become more compact for easy storage in tight spaces.
Adjustable front wheel tracking helps correct alignment with a simple twist of the knob.
Foot-activated parking brake secures stroller in the stopped position.
Wrist strap provides safety while running and includes a buckle to lock the stroller closed when folded.
Feature- and spec-wise, the BOB 2016 Stroller Strides Fitness Stroller is the same as the BOB 2016 Revolution Flex. The main difference is that the Stroller Strides edition features the FIT4MOM logo and is only available in blue. The Stroller Strides edition also includes a handlebar console, SPRI fitness bands, a Stroller Strides exercise manual, plus a coupon for a free week of Stroller Strides classes. The bands are a must-have if you want to work out on your own with your baby (I would also suggest a copy of Liza Druxman’s Lean Mommy to supplement the included exercise manual), and nice-to-have if you’re planning to join a Stroller Strides franchise, because bands do wear out, break, and otherwise get lost– you’ll need replacements eventually).
BOB 2016 Stroller Strides Fitness Stroller Review
A few weeks into owning the stroller and with several classes under our belt (both with me as an instructor and as a regular ol’ client), I can say with certainty that the BOB 2016 Stroller Strides Fitness Stroller is worth every single penny.
Comparing this stroller to my previous stroller, the tires are larger, so it’s much easier to run with. I love that I can adjust the handlebar to a height that’s comfortable for me. The 5-point harness is far more secure than our old stroller, too, which gives me peace of mind when I’m running with E in the stroller (accidents do happen, which is why it’s so important for kiddos to be properly buckled in during class).
The included handlebar console has a zippered compartment and a beverage holder. It is, unfortunately, too small for my 40 oz Hydro Flask, but a standard water bottle would fit just fine. I usually stick my phone in the beverage holder and use the zippered compartment for E’s many snacks (snacks are crucial for getting through a workout with a toddler).
The cargo basket is roomy enough to fit my mat, bands, Hydro Flask, and anything else we need for work out. There’s also a pocket on the back of the seat that’s perfect for storing anything you want to get to quickly, plus interior pockets for kiddos to stash toys and snacks.
I’m going to assume the padded seat is comfortable because, like I mentioned, E is obsessed with the new stroller. He insists on riding in it when we go check the mail, a journey he’s been walking for since he was 18 months old. The fact that an almost-3-year-old who’d rather be running and jumping is begging to get in a stroller and ride is pretty telling.
The sun shade is extra-large and almost completely shades E when he’s sitting in the stroller. This is great from a sun-protection standpoint and also for stroller naps. The seat is super easy to recline, too.
All in all, this stroller did not disappoint and was worth the wait. I hope this BOB 2016 Stroller Strides Fitness Stroller review was helpful if you’re in the market for a jogging stroller. It’s a must-have for moms looking to work out with their babies (check out the duallie model if you have 2 kiddos). Check out FIT4MOM to find Stroller Strides classes near you.
(This was not a paid review, obvi. I’m just completely smitten with my new stroller and Stroller Strides.)
I love coffee. Kinda. It’s probably more accurate to say I like coffee-flavored milk. Which is where my Starbucks Gold Card comes in. Nothing I make at home tastes quite as good as what I can get for $5 at the drive-thru.
Over the weekend, I devoured Jenny Rosenstrach’s new book, How to Celebrate Everything. It’s every bit as good as Dinner: A Love Story and Dinner: The Playbook. When I came to her husband’s method for making iced coffee concentrate in a french press, I immediately added it to my food prep list for the week, even though I was a little skeptical. I’ve tried to make cold brew in the french press before and haven’t been wowed by the results. But if there’s any food writer I trust, it’s Jenny. She’s yet to steer me wrong.
After I got E in bed for his post-lunch siesta, I filled a mason jar 3/4 full of ice, added the cold brew concentrate and milk in a 1:1 ratio, and topped it off with 2 Tbsp. of the PSL syrup and 2 Tbsp. of half and half.
Y’all. It was perfect. Plus, cheaper and probably healthier than my beloved Starbucks.
“You certainly have a way with words… when you take your time,” my 11th grade US History teacher said as he handed my paper on Hemingway back to me, a big red “A” scrawled on top.
Writing has always been my thing. It’s as natural to me as drawing air into my lungs. I discovered the transformative power of journaling at an early age, filling page after page of cheap spiral bound notebooks with both the mundane and the significant events of my life. I’ve written love letters, hundreds of LiveJournal entries, and one slightly ridiculous poem about sugar cubes. I’m often not sure how I feel about something until the words are flowing through my pen. Words are my super power.
unknown landscape, 4″ x 6″. Shot and printed sometime in college, probably 2005.
I’m quite certain my journal literally saved my life the year I was 20, the year my anxiety caught up with me and I was drowning in depression. My mental state was roughly equal to the surface tension of water. I couldn’t turn off the tears, I’d lay on my bed in a ball and imagined myself sinking into the mattress and then disappearing completely. I didn’t want to die, but I didn’t want to be here anymore. Practically every night I dreamt about something horrible and unspeakable happening to one of my five siblings. It was the most desperation I have ever felt in my entire life and I never want to go back to that place (my thoughts from that time still terrify me on a truly primal level). My journal then was an anchor made of paper, the thing that kept me rooted in place, the thing that allowed me to occasionally pull up for air from the darkest depths while my brain healed itself with therapy and medication. And time.
But gradually, I stopped writing as much. Life became full with graduate school, and full-time employment, and a man who knew how to love me even when I was having a full-blown panic attack in our bathroom. My brain wasn’t telling me as many lies, not going haywire over every perceived danger. I still kept up my journals, but I would go weeks between entries. There are many things that happened that I did not even give a cursory mention.
Although writing has been my gig since I left my library job at the end of 2012, I have not been taking my time. I’ve been writing, but not my own stories. Not the stories that matter, not the things that help me make sense of where and who I am and how I even got to this place.
I signed up for Known, a creative storytelling workshop with Coffee + Crumbs, because my creativity has been at all time low, because I’m starting to forget what it feels like to be anything other than a wife and mom. I love being those things; my husband and son are my everything. But I know there’s more depth to me than that.
Since the workshop started earlier this month, I’ve filled pages and pages of my journal with notes from the weekly lessons. And I’ve written, a tsunami of words. I’ve written about a loss I’ve never shared and the boy who had my heart when I was eighteen, and what it feels like now, to be 32.
I forgot what this felt like.
Of being exhausted not because my insomnia is back (again) but because I’d been writing after I put the baby to bed and couldn’t turn it off, memories of things that happened over a decade ago suddenly flooding back like it happened yesterday. Of feeling buoyant because I was putting my words out into the universe instead of letting them weigh down my heart and clog up my brain. Of the satisfaction that I’d made something today other than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cut into tiny squares.
This is what it feels like to practice my craft. I pour another cup of coffee and I keep going, taking my time.
The stories of our own lives require active searching—learning to look through our memories in a new way. To find story in your life, you must engage imagination with memory; you must invent a line of continuity—not from nothing, but from the raw materials of your life. It’s like reading a pattern in DNA or figuring out the possible anagrams in a word. To find story in your life, you have to know what you’re looking for.
There are a lot of things to love about breastfeeding, but one thing I didn’t particularly care for was just how much time I spent doing it at the beginning. A fellow Stroller Strides mama is expecting her second baby any day. I wanted to give her something I knew she would use. I remembered how much I loved having some essentials close at hand, like a glass of water and lip balm, when I was in the middle of a marathon nursing session with my own newborn, so I whipped up this little breastfeeding nursing basket for her.
Here’s what I included in the breastfeeding nursing basket:
a set of 3 burp cloths (handmade by me), perfect for wiping up spit-up, milk dribbles, and leaky boobs
newborn Gumdrop pacifiers, for replacing baby’s human pacifier when he falls asleep nursing
hand sanitizer, to keep germs at bay
Lansinoh lanolin, because it heals everything from cracked nipples and chapped lips to baby’s dry skin
a few Luna bars, because you’ve never known hunger like the hunger you experience at 3 am nursing a newborn
EOS lip balm, because nothing dries you out like nursing
hand lotion, see above
Mason jar tumbler (literally a Mason jar plus a Sip and Straw lid from Ball), since hydration is so important for keeping up a strong milk supply
As long as she has her iPhone handy, she should be all set for cluster feeding!