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Mom of the Month

  • We are so excited to announce our MOM (Motivating Mom of the Month)! Each month we will take a moment to honor one of our local moms for her efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle and for her dedication to the program. This month we honor Colleen from our Riverforest village!
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Meet Colleen - August 2018

Colleen started FIT4MOM classes in April of this year, and from the first moment I met her I knew she was going to make an impact on our village!

At her first Oak Park Fit4Baby class, she was super outgoing and started chatting with the other moms and moms-to-be right away. She's funny, witty, slightly sarcastic (which I love :)) and caring. She's a great mom to 2-year-old Adeline! She also loves fitness and nutrition and was looking to make it a career, so we immediately started talking about an opportunity to become a FIT4MOM instructor. I hired her after only a few weeks of knowing her because I knew she'd make an amazing addition to the team!

Unfortunately, a few weeks later, Colleen endured what many of us would consider our worst nightmare- she lost her baby at 37 weeks when the baby's heart stopped. It was devastating. As I watched Colleen grieve, I was amazed at her grace and strength. And I was even more amazed when she announced that she wanted to start her instructor training after the doctor gave her the ok to exercise. I was nervous for her, but she rocked it! She's now finishing up her first month as an instructor- meeting and connecting with all of the moms in our OPRF village, thinking of fun exercises to "Baby Shark" and "If You're Happy and You Know It", all while her adorable daughter Adeline watches and soaks it in.

Colleen, I'm so proud of you, and so happy to have you as part of our team!

~ Sara Franko, Owner, FIT4MOM Chicago Western Suburbs

What is your favorite beverage?

A hot cup of tea or hot lemon water, even on a hot day

What is your favorite dessert?

French Silk Pie

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

This was a tough one, we never have time like this! Haha. Date night with my husband for sure, probably dinner and maybe a movie.

What is or was your career?

Hospital social work (medical and psychiatry)

What is something that has surprised you about motherhood?

The amount of love and worry you have from the second you find out you are pregnant.

What is your child's/children's favorite thing about you or favorite thing that you do?

Snuggles while drinking her milk. Also “rocket ship” when picking her up.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A pilot

What are three of your favorite things (besides your family)?

In no order: sleep, good music, staying active

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us (or makes you unique)!

I’ve been skydiving, and can’t wait to do it again some day

Favorite FIT4MOM exercise?

Wall sits

Least favorite FIT4MOM exercise?

Running

Would you like to meet more amazing moms like Colleen? Try a free Stroller Strides Class!

Past Moms of the Month

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Carleigh - June 2018

"Carleigh is so deserving of the award Mom of the Month! She is an amazing mom to Jayson, a dedicated wife, wonderful friend and is kind, hardworking, devoted, and passionate with everything she does and always has a smile on her face. We are so lucky to have her in our village.

Carleigh started Stroller Strides when Jayson was just six weeks old and immediately became a special member of the group. It was so fun watching Jayson grow up right in front of our eyes. He is such a sweet boy and that is because of the time and dedication both Carleigh and her husband spend with him.

After almost a year of Strides, she decided to focus a little bit more on her journey and joined Body Back. During her first session of Body Back, she absolutely dominated! She was so dedicated to taking time for herself, making sure to have healthy foods and snacks on hand as well as putting in 110% during all her workouts. In addition to making time for herself during Body Back, she also decided to dive back in to another passion of hers: teaching. She started a part-time job teaching education classes at a local college several nights a week. She is balancing so much and is making it look easy! I am sure she her students love her and her positive energy! But what amazed me the most during this whole process is that she spent three weeks last month doing all of this BY HERSELF while her husband traveled for work! You would never have known he was gone as she continued to move through life seamlessly.

We are so happy to have Carleigh as a member of our village. She is an inspiration to all the women and me each day! Congratulations, Carleigh!"

~ Lauren P., Body Back and Stroller Strides Instructor

When did you join FIT4MOM and what classes do you attend?

I joined FIT4MOM when Jayson was just 7 weeks old (he’s 14 months now). I have been a part of Stroller Strides for over a year now and am beginning my second round of Body Back.

What is your favorite exercise?

I love running, swimming, and taking classes with weights or bands where someone else tells me what to do (like FIT4MOM).

Share your thoughts on the concept of “it takes a village." Is it important for moms to join a village?

Being a mom is the hardest, most selfless job in the world. It’s even tougher without a support system around you (a village) to keep you going on those challenging days (or nights) ;). Chances are, other moms have either been through what you’re going through or can at least empathize. Surrounding yourself with positive and caring people can make such difference no matter the season of motherhood as you celebrate each other’s victories and encourage each other through the tough stuff!

How has becoming a mother changed you?

Becoming a mom has made me more thoughtful. I don’t think about myself first anymore, but rather doing what’s best for my little buddy. I have also become passionate about sleep and can survive on much less sleep than I ever thought possible. ;)

What is something that has surprised you about motherhood?

It’s a lot harder than a lot of people make it seem, but so worth every hard moment. I love my little guy more than I ever thought possible and my love for him grows every day!

What is your child's/children's favorite thing about you or favorite thing that you do?

Jayson and I do a ton of activities together like swimming, music class, story time at the library, Strides… I like to keep him busy and he loves being busy together. He also is the only one that appreciates my terrible singing voice and crazy dance moves. :)

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us (or makes you unique)!

I was a collegiate swimmer and used to do triathlons to stay in shape (post college and before baby).

What has been your proudest mommy moment so far?

I have been proud of Jayson for every milestone he’s hit so far. He is cautious and calculated, so sometimes he might do things a little later than others, but when he does it, he’s all in. Most recently, it has been walking… everywhere! He’s also already moved up a level in his swim class and is quite the fish and I’m so proud of him for that.

Moment of truth: What did you think of those first few classes?

I had to stop working out (besides walking) after 14 weeks due to complications during pregnancy, so I couldn’t wait to get back to working out. I was really challenged my first few classes of Strides because getting back into shape postpartum is no easy task! Lauren is the best and makes every workout challenging, but modifies things for anyone that needs it.

Favorite FIT4MOM exercise? Least favorite FIT4MOM exercise?

I love anything with weights, but probably the compound exercises that involve full body like an overhead press with a squat. I’m all about making the most of the small time I get to workout! My least favorite FIT4MOM exercise is probably mountain climbers… just not my favorite form of cardio.

Would you like to meet more amazing moms like Carleigh? Try a free Stroller Strides Class!

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Noel - May 2018

I’m so excited to have Noel highlighted as May’s Mom of the Month! I met Noel in January when she and her family came back from New Zealand where her husband had been temporarily assigned. She brings warmth, positive energy and smiles to every Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre class she attends. She’s mom to Charlie, a sweet, charming little boy who also shares his smiles with everyone around him. I’ve enjoyed getting to know them both, in and out of class, and I’m so glad they’re part of our Fit4Mom Village!

~ Jackie S., Stroller Barre and Stroller Strides Instructor

What is something that has surprised you about motherhood?

How strong I can be when needed, from pregnancy, delivery, breastfeeding, or any other struggles. My mantra has been, I can do hard things, and it helps me get through those tough days.

List three current obsessions.

Iced coffee, high wasted yoga pants and playing outside at the park now that the weather is finally nice!

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

Toss up between Target with a Starbucks, slowly perusing all of the aisles or a date night for sushi and cocktails.

What is your ultimate child-free vacation destination?

Anywhere with a beach!

How has becoming a mother changed you?

I feel so fulfilled and happy being a mom. I’m far less selfish and learned I can survive on no sleep.

Share your thoughts on the concept of “it takes a village." Is it important for moms to join a village?

It absolutely takes a village! Joining stroller strides and meeting other mamas has been such a joy, and I look forward to going to class to catch up with the other moms. It’s so nice to have moms to seek advice from who know exactly what you’re going through.

What is your child's/children's favorite thing about you or favorite thing that you do?

Besides the milk, haha. Probably that I’m always there to comfort him and he feels safe when I’m around. I love when I’m in the other room and come around the corner and his face lights up when he sees me and tells me hi in his little voice, as if I hadn’t only been out of sight for 3 minuets.

Any tips for other moms out there?

Grace not perfection, don’t be too hard on yourself when things don’t go exactly as you planned.

What has been your proudest mommy moment so far?

All of it! He makes me so proud everyday. He is so sweet and easy going. I love when he learns new words, his favorites to say right now are grandpa and stinky.

Favorite FIT4MOM exercise? Least favorite FIT4MOM exercise?

Cardio bursts followed by a strength exercise, I love working up a good sweat. You feel so good afterwards.

Tricep dips, those things burn!

Check back to see who is mom of the month for June 2018!

Would you like to meet more amazing moms like Noel? Try a free Stroller Strides Class!

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Seema - April 2018

"Seema is one of the most friendly, fun-loving and energetic mommas I know! I have known her now for almost a year and it has been amazing to see her grow as a mother and as a fun fitness momma too! She has an amazing attitude that can help energize a class and is always welcoming of all our moms. She brings so much positivity not only to our Body Back classes but to our FaceBook Group and Mom's Night Outs! She has been crushing her goals since starting and has been helping other momma's too by sharing her secrets to her success! You can always see her motivating other momma's, sharing samples of healthy treats, getting mom's together for sweaty selfies or introducing herself to the new moms! Seema and her husband Amit are the proud parents of their daughter, Sona, 22 months. We are so very fortunate to have Seema in our village of amazing Momma's!!"

~ Rebecca K., Body Back Instructor

What is something that has surprised you about motherhood?

How much I’d be able to do on very little sleep

What is your child's/children's favorite thing about you or favorite thing that you do?

My daughter is almost 2 and loves when I make funny faces and voices

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I had a ton of interests as a child and I wanted to be everything from a ballet dancer to an astronaut. I would change my mind all the time.

What are three of your favorite things (besides your family)?

Reading, trying new recipes/new restaurants, hiking/walking in nature

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us (or makes you unique)!

I used to dance competitively - it feels like a lifetime ago now

What has been your proudest mommy moment so far?

I try to celebrate life’s small mommy wins each day and my proudest moments are when my daughter is polite and kind to others

How did you learn about FIT4MOM?

I had read online about stroller workouts and mom only classes so I googled to see if there were any near me and came across on fit4mom

What advice would you give a new mom?

Breathe, it’ll all get done eventually. Try to focus on the present moment and enjoy your baby

I am happiest when...

My family is having fun together

Favorite FIT4MOM exercise?

Strength work during Body Back

Least favorite FIT4MOM exercise?

Cardio bursts during Body back

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Elizabeth - March 2018

"Our Village Naperville wouldn’t be the same without Elizabeth! She’s a rockstar mom to two sweet girls, Ella (3) and Grace (1), our village playgroup captain, tutor, teacher, wife, and above all, an amazing friend! She’s fun, outgoing, always up for a good time, dedicated, funny and brings her love of learning wherever she goes! She has been our Naperville Stroller Strides playgroup captain for over a year now and she has helped bring so many more amazing moms to our village. She loves a good theme, dressing up, celebrating the holidays and is always designing playgroups for all ages! From bringing in sensory activities, keepsake crafts, and educational activities to planning a Winter Wonderland fest, our annual 4th of July Family class, setting up field trips and even planning memorable mom’s night out- she does it all and makes sure everyone is happy! She always greets everyone with a smile and makes us all feel at home. When she’s not planning amazing activities for our village, she can be found tutoring elementary aged kiddos in reading and math three nights a week and substitute teaching!! She can do it all! You can always see the teacher at heart in her. Our village loves Elizabeth! She is so deserving of this award! She is my right-hand (wo)man, and I don’t know what I would do it without her! I am grateful for all she does for us (and me) but mostly grateful for her friendship! YOU ROCK ELIZABETH!!"

~ Lauren P., Body Back and Stroller Strides Instructor

What are three of your favorite things (besides your family)?

I love the beach, the color turquoise, and dogs!

What is your favorite beverage?

I enjoy sparking water by day, wine by night :)

Favorite app(s) or website(s)?

I like looking at pictures on Instagram and I turn to Pinterest for inspiration for many things in life.

What is your favorite family activity?

My daughters love to swim, so we enjoy going to the pool when we can. We also like to go on family walks with our two dogs.

What has been your proudest mommy moment so far?

My girls (Ella 3, Grace 1) are 21 months apart in age, and recently they have started to play together and really develop a close relationship as sisters. I’m always proud to see big sister Ella help her sister Grace and teach her new things.

What advice would you give a new mom?

No two kids are the same. Once you have two or more it’s hard not to compare siblings, but remember they might be total opposites- and that’s okay!

What is something that has surprised you about motherhood?

One thing that surprised me was how many emotions (good and bad) you can have for a tiny human in one day. It’s amazing and frustrating at the same time.

List three current obsessions:

- Netflix - amazon prime - coffee

How has becoming a mother changed you?

It really makes you evaluate what is important in life. You learn to prioritize and put the needs of others before your own. You also learn to appreciate family, time alone, and your spouse so much more!

Favorite FIT4MOM exercise?

Burpees- I like a challenge

Least favorite FIT4MOM exercise?

Lunge jumps - they get me every time

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Annie - February 2018

"Annie is one of the most enthusiastic, positive, and energetic mamas I know! Annie is mom to three sweet kiddos and she's a loyal WI Badger cheering wife to husband Rich (literally she cheered at WI AND it shows in the best way possible). She is also a super hard working, dedicated career mama! With everything she has going on Annie makes time for her workouts and religiously tracks everything with MyFitnessPal--she is so committed to her goals--it's impressive & inspiring! Annie has attended Stroller Strides, our Boost classes, and recently completed two sessions of Body Back with some absolutely amazing results! She always comes to class ready to give 100% AND is our team cheerleader! She's constantly encouraging others and cheering the group on when things get tough--it is so refreshing to see how much she cares about ALL the other mamas in Our Village. Annie is truly a kind and caring person and I'm so honored to call her friend! We love you, Annie and thank you so much for touching the lives all of the mamas in Our Village! You're the BEST!!!!"

~ Carly S., Body Back, Fit4Baby, Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre Instructor

Tell us about your little one(s).

My husband Rich of 6 years completes my party of five with three little ones: Trey (5) who starts kindergarten in the fall (what?!), my middle Finn (3) who is our family ham, and Eliza (10 months) who apparently isn’t afraid of anything and I hope will be tough as nails with two older brothers someday.

What has been your proudest mommy moment so far?

Watching my oldest care for both of his siblings. And when he parrots what we’ve said to him to them (‘don’t put those PJs on all by yourself or people will think you’re a 4 year old!’ was last night’s gem)’ it makes my heart smile. Learning how to be a parent at times seems so daunting, we have our good and bad days, but when it’s good – it’s SO GOOD.

List three current obsessions.

With the new year and getting a bit out of the newborn haze, my mind is open to thinking of new things. Allie Casazza’s #declutterlikeamother challenge has me embracing my inner clutter buster. Zella leggings. And catching up on Suits when I fold laundry or commute to better appreciate Meghan Markle before she takes on her new role (4am wedding watch anyone?!). She’s fantastic.

Share your thoughts on the concept of “it takes a village." Is it important for moms to join a village?

Absolutely! I found Stroller Strides was the perfect complement to each of my maternity leaves. Week 6 I was out there pushing away with each baby. It felt scary but liberating. The community at Fit4Mom includes many thoughtful moms who were so supportive and chuck-full of insights that I could learn from. Mom dating is impossible and can be so awkward, it definitely cut the ice and the conversations just started flowing. Plus -- I was so inspired by the strength these moms had. Mental toughness (caring for young kids is no joke) and planks, the best of both worlds. Speaking of which – Body Back (three sessions for me as well) was the best ‘hold me accountable’ group I could ask for. It felt like a New Year’s Resolution I actually followed – meal planning, lifestyle change and fitness all in one. The village did that for me.

Favorite FIT4MOM exercise? Least favorite FIT4MOM exercise?

I have a love/hate relationship with burpees. Three years ago I was so anxiety ridden before Body Back I would have to psych myself up in my car before running into class at the last minute. But when I ‘got over myself’ and stopped being afraid I started becoming ‘that girl’ – yup, the one that cheered when it was time to begin. And – ready, GO! Let’s do this!

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Christie - January 2018

"Christie is one of the most kindest moms I know! I have known her for almost a year now, and watching her dedication to her kids and how she wants to open her home to adopt more kids is awe-inspiring. She works hard in class, gives the exercises her all and always comes to class with a "Can Do" attitude. She also plans our monthly MNOs and finds unique, fun venues for us each month. Christie and her husband Craig are parents to two adorable boys; Alexander and Anderson. We are so fortunate to have Christie in our village of amazing Mommies!"

~ Robyn D., Stroller Strides, Stroller Barre and Fit4Baby Instructor

How has becoming a mother changed you?

I’ve been overwhelmed by the blessing - I’ve surprised myself and family/friends with the shift in my priorities, making the decision to pause my career a bit to become highly involved in caring for my boys. While I find myself nostalgic for the years of exciting frequent travel and fine dining I enjoyed with my husband; the peace and joy I experience snuggling, caring, and teaching my sweet boys is immeasurable!

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

Book as much self-pampering as I can fit into the timeframe while still saving time for a fun dinner/drinks date with my husband.

What is your ultimate child-free vacation destination?

Australia

What is or was your career?

Currently work part-time as a Technology Consulting Manager for Accenture leading Salesforce.com implementations for large global organizations.

What is something that has surprised you about motherhood?

What a challenge it is - how much self-sacrifice can be pushed to the limits.

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us (or makes you unique)!

I’ve been in a many years long ongoing negotiation with my husband to adopt and raise a pet wallaby, once our children are grown and out of the house!

What has been your proudest mommy moment so far?

Managing to exclusively breastfeed both my boys for 12 & 16 months respectively despite initially working full time with weekly air travel across time zones and demanding client projects.

How have you been able to stick with making healthy choices for yourself while still managing all your other responsibilities?

Stroller Strides - with finite time together with my boys on my “off” days having a chance to work out together with them gives me a chance to do something fun with them and healthy for myself.

List three current obsessions.

Enjoying a glass of wine by candlelight in the evening after the boys are in bed, The Crown, StitchFix

Favorite FIT4MOM exercise?

The creative circuits, e.g. pumpkin-themed

Least favorite FIT4MOM exercise?

“Ladders/Suicides”