Out With The Old, In With The NEW!


photography by Melissa Zimmer Photography

Five years ago, I started a blog called Sara’s School Yard. It was meant to be a teaching blog but I found myself writing more about my life, my fitness routines, and my wardrobe. When I became a mom, my kids became a huge focus of the blog. Since the blog has evolved, I have affectionately decided to change “Sara’s School Yard” to “Joggers and Gym Shoes” since not a day goes by that I am not wearing joggers, gym shoes, or both.

I hope you will join me (or continue to follow me), as I navigate through this journey, and try to balance it all as a working mom of two crazy toddlers



Pink and Purple Everything

photo 1-3photo 2-3photo 3-3photo 4-3photo 5-2

Pink Top / Striped Leggings (old, similar here) / Purple Hunters / Bow (old, similar here)

Chloe is becoming a very opinionated two year old. Don’t pour her water into the wrong cup – trust me on this one. These days her style is all about pink and purple EVERYTHING. You can often find Chloe enjoying a pink cake pop from Starbucks. Although, she will settle for chocolate if they need to “buy new” pink ones. She will also only eat pink or purple fruit pouches. Her Grandma had a good laugh at Chloe carrying a large purple bag of prunes around the grocery store.

On this day, I told her to go upstairs and pick out her clothes, and this is what she chose. She was also very excited to pose for these pictures.

You can see more of Chloe dressing herself, and her purple striped leggings here.

Next stop, potty training! ūüôā


Our First Walk

Bring sun, and temperatures in the 40’s to the Arctic and the coats come off, the shorts come out. That was the situation yesterday. I, for one, was not hardcore enough for shorts but it definitely felt spring-like. It was time to take Ryan for his first walk.

I have not been given the green light from my doctor to start working out yet but she did tell me I could start walking and doing light abdominal work. I have 10 lbs to lose to get back to my pre-baby weight. Ideally, I’d like to lose 15 but I’d be happy with 10. To ease back into it, I’m going to start by walking 2 miles/day. I’m also doing planks and light ab work to strengthen my pelvic floor (more on that later). I’m still dealing with some postpartum back/hip pain, and just started seeing a chiropractor. Fingers crossed that I am back to normal in a few weeks and ready to start running again.

I gained more weight with Ryan than I would have liked. With Chloe I gained 23 lbs. With Ryan, I stopped looking at the scale once I passed the 30 lb mark at around 38 weeks. I’m not exactly sure why I gained more. It was definitely more difficult to workout with the 2nd pregnancy (exhaustion,¬†pelvic pressure), and I felt a lot sicker for more of it (think: bread, bread, and more bread).¬†

For our walk, I bundled Ryan in this Gap quilted one-piece (old, similar here). I absolutely love my Bob stroller, and use it all the time for walking and jogging. The wheels are rubber and air which makes for a super smooth ride. The front wheel swivels nicely, and really helps makes turns easier when jogging. It’s really easy to pop the car seat in and out of it when the baby is tiny with the car seat attachment. I also kept Ryan warm and snug with the JJ Cole car seat cover.


We recently purchased a Phil and Ted’s double stroller¬†but have not used it yet. I love that it was voted “Safest Double Stroller” and that it is compact. It seriously folds up so small! It also has a smooth ride (although I don’t think anything can beat the Bob). I’ve heard that people jog with it because of the air and rubber tires but you are not supposed to…

My happy boy slept our entire walk. I enjoyed the sun and fresh air on my path through the woods. I did not enjoy pushing a stroller through snowmelt – mud, mud, and more mud. But it felt great to get up and out and moving again! I had so much more energy for the rest of the day – I cleaned, did some laundry, organized Chloe’s room…much more productive than sitting on the couch waking reruns of Keeping Up With The Kardashians and writing this blog ūüėČ

I’m also excited to start the 21 Day Fix with some new moms in a few weeks. Need some motivation to lose the baby weight? Join us here!


Things that make me happy: sleep, french fries, and baby clothes.

Before Ryan was born, Chloe and I would spend an inordinate amount of time shopping. Chloe started to request trips to Nordstrom, and she knew her way around the store – specifically where to get balloons and find the playhouse. I was worried that when Ryan was born, our shopping trips would stop, and I wouldn’t have as much fun shopping for Ryan as I do for Chloe.

Who said that shopping for boys can’t be as much fun as shopping for girls?

In the past three weeks, since it’s February in Chicago and -7634786 degrees, unable to leave the house, I have spent my fair share of time online shopping. Some of it has been for myself; most of it has been for my kids – especially Ryan. He is in desperate need of some cute boy clothes. I don’t know how much he appreciates wearing his sister’s hand me downs, but he does look super cute in Chloe’s pink dog towel.

Here are a few of my favorite recent purchases for baby Ryan.


White and Gray Stripe Romper / Stem Reversible Romper / Hooded Romper / ABC Cotton Wrap Footie / Blue Stripe Romper / Rug /

I love rompers for little ones. They are a whole outfit in one! They are easy to remove for diaper changes, and keep your little one looking cute and cozy. I also love that they can double as sleepwear and play wear.


Motherhood: What No One Tells You

My Instagram feed is full of new moms, fit and smiling with their babies, dressed in “real” clothes, hair done, with no sign of sleep deprivation. Who are these Supermoms, and how do I become one?

Ryan is going on day three of needing to eat EVERY HOUR. Yes, every hour. I literally nurse, close my eyes for 15 minutes, and nurse again. I have not slept. I feel like a zombie, and I’m sure that I look like one too. I am so tired. There are no words for how tired I am. But that is motherhood.

Motherhood is not glamourous. Motherhood is not makeup, and blow dried hair, and trendy workout clothes. Motherhood is exhaustion, and spit up, and tears…at least in the beginning.

And on top of all that, I am trying to recover from the enormous task of birthing a human being. I feel overweight and flabby. Maternity clothes do not fit anymore but neither do my regular clothes. I am in a clothing limbo. My pelvis hurts, I have sciatica, and my shoulders ache from nursing constantly. I so badly need a haircut and a pedicure but am not yet ready to leave the baby. I have no energy to cook anything, so I am subsiding on crackers, cereal, and coffee. The house is a mess, there is laundry that needs to be done. Having a cleaning lady has become the best money I have ever spent. I try to get sleep anyway I can. I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to sleep sitting up. I’ve tried “laid back nursing” but have had no luck.

I find myself getting frustrated with Chloe, and her tantrums have increased. She has watched more tv in the past three weeks than I thought I’d ever allow. Her sleep schedule is off, and she’s been eating lots of frozen pancakes for dinner. Literally, frozen. She doesn’t even want them warmed up. And her pacifier habit has come back full force.

My uniform these days consists of leggings, a sweatshirt, slippers, and if I can squeeze in a shower, wet hair. Somehow, I manage to get the kids bathed and dressed each day.


Motherhood is real and raw, and not always pretty. But… it is beautiful. There is no better sound in the world than your child saying, “I love you, Mommy.” There is no better sight than your new baby looking into your eyes for the first time. Motherhood is trying and exhausting but nothing will give you more purpose, or fill your heart with more love. You will find that your life no longer really matters. Your life now revolves around the happiness of your two little loves.

Right now, it is hard, but I know that this too shall pass, as it did with the first. And eventually, I will sleep again.

Ryan: A Birth Story

When I found out that I was pregnant with our second, I knew right away that I wanted to try for an “all natural” labor. My daughter had been born via c-section; she was butt down, legs all over the place, and I hated it. I hated the drugs, the being sliced open while completely conscious, and the recovery. So this time around I was going to attempt a VBAC, drug free. I wasn’t completely against the epidural but I wanted to try it on my own.

When you tell people that you are going to try for a drug free labor, you get one of three reactions. The first is “awe”. People look at you wide eyed and ask, “Really? Are you sure?” The second is “denial” – “No, I really think you should reconsider the epidural.” And lastly, my favorite from the veteran moms, is the eye roll and sarcastic, “Good luck with that.”

On January 18th, I was 2 days past my due date, and in a complete panic that my baby would never come. I just knew I was going to end up needing another c-section. If you’ve had a previous c-section, your doctor won’t induce for safety reasons. So when I went to see my midwife that day we set my c-section date, and I left the office in tears.

I had been walking around 3 cm dilated, fully engaged, and 70% effaced for weeks. What was he doing in there? After the appointment with my midwife, I had some cramping (she swept my membranes) but overall I felt completely normal.

Around 10:30 that night, I was lying in bed watching Netflix when I felt some cramping that made me jump out of bed. Hum…a contraction? I was sure it wasn’t, just some cramping from the membrane sweep. But they kept coming about every 7-8 minutes, and were strong enough that I couldn’t sit still though them. I started pacing the house and woke up Dean. About an hour later, the contractions were coming every 4-5 minutes and the only relief I could get was from sitting on my exercise ball. We decided it was time to call my midwife. We stayed on the phone long enough for her to listen to me have a contraction, and then told us to meet her at the hospital. We called my mom who came right over to be with Chloe, and we left for the hospital around midnight.

We got to the hospital quickly…the joys of suburb living, met my midwife, and got settled in a Labor and Delivery room about 12:30. I was already 6 cm dilated. My midwife asked my if I wanted an epidural, and I said that I wasn’t sure. She told me to wait a little since I still had time but we started an IV just incase I decided that I did want one.

While we waited for things to progress, I sat on the exercise ball, Dean rubbed my back, we took pictures. So far, I was handling it pretty well.

Around 1:00 my contractions were coming closer together and getting stronger. I started shaking and my teeth were chattering. I decided that I wanted to try sitting in the tub. Before I hopped in, “hopped in” is the wrong word, waddled shakily is better, my midwife checked my progress and I was 8 cm already. I was happy to hear that things were moving quickly.

I got in the tub and it was wonderful. It didn’t take away the pain of the contractions but it did help me to relax through them.¬†photo-10

At this point, contractions were strong but I was still able to have conversations, and take pictures, in between them.

Around 1:45, I started to feel like I needed to push. I think I yelled that I needed the epidural now but my midwife said, “No”. Oh man. I was really going to do this the old fashioned way.

We began the slow process of getting me out of the tub. This took some time because every time I switched positions, I would have another contraction. But I was 9 cm! My midwife said she wanted me to lay still through one more contraction so she could break my water, and then I could start pushing. Lay still? That was the worst contraction yet.

My midwife warned me that I may push for 2 hours since, even though I labored with Chloe, I was pushing for the first time. Hell no. I am not pushing for two hours. I think I cried when I heard that.

I started pushing at 2:10, and let me tell you, the strength of the contractions and the feeling of pushing your child out is something out of this world. I felt like I had zero control of my body. The feeling reminded me of having the worst stomach flu of your life, dry heaving uncontrollably, except instead of needing to throw up, your body needs to push a baby out. The urge to push was so strong that I literally felt like my body was going to explode from the inside out. Dean patted my face with a cold towel. I couldn’t talk. My midwife told me not to scream. I now understand why people throw up and/or poop during labor. Luckily, I did neither.

Finally, after about 5 contractions (thankfully not 2 hours) I felt my baby boy slip right out (thank you Pilates By T and The Dailey Method¬†for helping maintain my pelvic floor). Literally, that’s what it felt like. Something big and slimy sliding right out of you. It was not a pleasant feeling. I will forever remember that feeling. But as soon as he was out, the contractions stopped completely, and I felt normal again. Such an amazing example of what the human body can do.

At 2:37, a slimy, squirmy, 6 lbs 15oz human was placed on my chest. How surreal. I kissed his oddly shaped head, and I felt damn proud of myself.

We both look pretty exhausted here. Remember it’s the middle of the night and neither of us had slept. I felt like I just ran a marathon. But aside from that, I was feeling great. I was up walking around almost immediately after Ryan was born. That was not the case after my c-section. I was miserable, and shaky, and nauseaous.

I never thought I could actually have a successful VBAC, let alone a natural labor. It was honestly NOT that bad. Never anything I couldn’t handle. And this coming from someone who cries when she gets a paper cut.

Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with short labors – 2.5 hours with Chloe, and 4 hours with Ryan. I credit that to exercise, pilates, and TDM.

Are you thinking about a VBAC? A natural labor? Let’s chat!

Where Have I Been?

Sorry I have been MIA for a while. Life happened!

Since you last heard from me, I had just found out I was pregnant with my daughter, Chloe, and exhaustion had taken over my life. About a year after giving birth to Chloe, we decided that our condo in the city was too small, and we moved from the city that we LOVE so much out the suburbs where we bought our first house. Almost immediately after moving all of our stuff in, I found out that I was pregnant with our second Рnot entirely planned.

photo-9Three weeks ago I gave birth to our son, Ryan. I am now a mother of TWO kids…and it is NO JOKE. I am so in love with our two babies but I am sleep deprived, and breastfeeding, and floating around in a fog.

I hope you’ll follow me in this postpartum journey!

Cold Weather Running Essentials

Look. I’m glowing.

cold weather run

Holy wind, Batman. It’s freezing in Chicago. I went for a run, and did not think that I would make it back. Literally. The wind was so strong that when I would run, I would not go anywhere. The 2 miles that I ran South down¬†Michigan¬†Ave. were fine. I felt good, a little hot even. I started stripping off layers around the 1 mile mark. It was running the 2 miles North up State St. that I almost flagged down a Police Officer to give me a ride home. I thought about calling Dean but didn’t have my cell phone. Do they still have payphones around? That would have come in handy. Dust was blowing in my eyes, and the wind was blowing so hard up my nose that I couldn’t breathe and felt like throwing up. Does that ever happen to you? Why does cold air blowing up my nose make me want to throw up? Maybe I’m just falling apart from the inside out.

Luckily, I was dressed for the weather. Think layers, layers, and more layers. Here’s what I had on for my run today.

  1. Lululemon Brisk Run Headband
  2. Under Armour Cold Gear Tights (Similar)
  3. Under Armour Storm Fleece
  4. The North Face Light Weight Jacket
  5. Lululemon Run: Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve
  6. Head Tech Running Gloves (Similar)

I survived my run. Lucky you. Now you get to read about it. ūüôā

I have to brace the cold weather again for my Sculpt class tonight at SixPax. After gorging myself this weekend, I was in dire need of a double workout. Until then, I’m staying bundled under two blankets.

Come on Spriiiing! Where are you hiding?

SixPax Saturdays


I woke up sick this morning. AGAIN. I just got over a horrendous cold that left me without a voice for a week. When I say I just got over it, I mean I literally just got over it. It’s been about a week since I’ve been feeling back to normal. Now here I am, coughing and blowing my nose all over again. What is wrong with me? Oh wait, I teach six year olds. The germs are unavoidable. At least no one pooped in their pants this week.

Despite not feeling quite myself, I got out of bed, stuffed my pockets full of Kleenex and made it to my favorite workout class of the week РBells and Bosu with Joanna at SixPax. Bells and Bosu primarily incorporates a Bosu ball and a Kettlebell but also uses a Pilates ball, a resistance band, and 2 lb hand weights. You alternate between Kettlebell swings, and planks, jumps, squats, and even running Рall on the Bosu. We also use the Bosu as an unstable surface to balance on while we do arm exercises with the 2 lb hand weights.

Kettlebells work your entire body. They incorporate cardiovascular, strength training, and flexibility all in one. They tone your glutes, quads, hamstrings, inner thighs, calves, back, abs, shoulders, and arms. The movements are quite simple to learn and they get your heart rate pumping. In order to control the Kettlebell during your workout, you need to use stabilizing muscles in your abs, thighs, and glutes. These muscles tend to get neglected when we’re “eating steel”. Since Kettlebells increase your overall muscle mass, you will see an increase in your metabolism, and ultimately, weight loss. Most importantly, Kettlebells are fun, make you sweat, and burn tons of calories!

After my workout, I headed over to Waffles where I met Dean for brunch. Waffles is right next to our condo, and I love to treat myself to eggs on the weekends. I had two¬†over-easy¬†eggs, one slice of wheat toast, and a large plate of fruit. Whenever I go out for brunch, I always replace the potato side with fruit. Waffles does a great job with this! No cantaloupe or honeydew here. At Waffles you get watermelon and orange slices, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and green grapes. Such a refreshing mix! I even had a few bites of Dean’s bacon. He also had a plate full of delicious looking seasoned waffle fries.¬†I gave fries up for Lent but that didn’t stop Dean from trying to get me to eat his.

For the rest of the day I’ll be nursing my cold. I might even make it over to Lululemon to spend the gift card that’s¬†burning¬†a hole in my pocket.

What do you do for yourself when you’re feeling under the weather?