My family and I moved from Alexandria, VA to Chapel Hill, NC in January of 2015. I literally knew one woman: my cousin Sarah. I spent our first winter here settling into our home, trying to manage launching FIT4MOM Chapel Hill while being Mom to Sophie... all while my husband still worked in northern VA and was gone Monday - Thursday. I loved meeting other moms at playgroups, story times, and library events.
I absolutely couldn't wait for spring, when Sophie and I could venture outside more... and I could start outdoor Stroller Strides classes! At the time, I was a one-woman-show as the owner and sole instructor of FIT4MOM Chapel Hill. My daughter Sophie (now 5) was 15 months old. After 3 solid months of checking things off my "Launching A New Business" checklist, I was ready to ROLL for our March 18th Grand Opening class!
The night before our Grand Opening Stroller Strides class, I could barely sleep! I was nervous, excited, and my brain was swirling with reminders of To Do's before my big launch. I remember being stressed about silly things like "do I have enough raffle prizes?"... when really it's all about the class and community experience that inspires women to be a part of FIT4MOM. It always has. I stalked the weather all week long, and we were lucky enough to have a Carolina blue sky. It was a typical chilly March morning, but I was just thrilled for the sunshine.
Over 25 women attended our Grand Opening class, and many are still with FIT4MOM Chapel Hill as clients and I'm lucky enough to have some as instructors. Thinking back to that morning, I remember Jess Walden-Gray with her 8-month pregnant belly doing frog jumps. Jess delivered her daughter Isabelle the following month and joined our team in the fall, and later became our Run Club Manager. Jenn Sherman was there with her youngest son Matthew who was just 8 weeks old at the time. I remember Jenn coming to Stroller Strides regularly during Matthew's first year, and she's done all of our programs since joining, initially with Stroller Strides. Kelly Sporleder came with her daughter Sydney (then 15 months), and Kelly had set up an adorable playgroup craft for moms and kiddos to participate in after class... but we were all too busy laughing and connecting, poor Kelly had no one to paint green leaves with her! Ha! Lindsay Bennett and her sister-in-law came with their daughters; Lindsay went on to become an instructor in future years. My dear colleague Missy Currin, owner of FIT4MOM Midtown Raleigh, drove all the way from Raleigh after preschool drop off to support me.
Most of all, I remember the faces of the babies and kiddos in class. I remember Bronwyn Ford's son giggling while she did skip-hops, Kate Boyar making funny faces at her daughter Madison, Kristen Gonzalez's son Max and his sweet smile, Julie Bridenstein's daughter Luisa watching in awe at her mom from the stroller. I hold onto these memories from our first class thanks to special photos taken by Heba Salama. I have this photo of my little Sophie framed in our home.
I can't wait to celebrate our 4th anniversary with this village. We've grown tremendously over the past four years, but the connections and memories made within FIT4MOM truly last a lifetime.
We hope to see you (and your whole family!) at our 4th Anniversary Party on Saturday, March 23rd at Southern Village. You can find all of the details and RSVP here!