Working Out in Scottsdale

I love working out and I love being on vacation, so it only makes sense that I love working out while on vacation.  To me, vacation is all about checking out new cities and being away from “normal” life.  When I was in Arizona, I was able to get in a few workouts.  Working out in Scottsdale made my spring break trip all the more fun!

Justin took me to his CrossFit box: Camelback CrossFit.

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One word?  AWESOME!  The box was super clean which I didn’t even think was possible for a box.  It’s fairly new, so all of their equipment is in excellent condition.  Justin and I attended a midday class which meant it wasn’t very crowded.  The owners / coaches were clearly incredibly knowledgeable and safety was their top concern.  Since I’m not a CrossFit regular, they helped me make modifications and provided assistance when necessary.  Even being a newbie, I instantly got the community feel from this box.  People were supportive no matter what their fitness level was.  During the workout, the handstand push-ups were obviously my favorite.  And the wall balls sucked.  End of story.

PS: If you’re in Scottsdale, you should definitely check out Camelback CrossFit.  New members can take a class for free!

Dana took me to her gym for a hot yoga class.

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I always think it’s fun to take classes from various instructors, and this one was great. It was a tough workout that included lots of chaturangas and upper body work.  I told Dana to strike a pose for a photo, and she rocked a strong headstand:

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One day while William was napping, I decided to go for a quick jog.  And by quick I mean short. 😉  I busted out one mile. At the beginning, I glanced down at my watch to check my pace.  I made it my goal to beat nine-minutes since I was just running one.

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Missed it by three seconds! Argh!  It still felt good to run though!

So those were all my formal workouts, but I did take William on a few walks and Justin and I went to the park one day to play.  And by play, I mean me and Justin.

I tried out crow…

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But Justin did it way better!

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So strong!

Handstands and cartwheels are more my style…

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Do you like working out on vacation? What do you like doing?

Eating in Scottsdale

Since you know I like recapping each part of my vacations, I thought today I’d focus on the food.  While in Arizona for a few days, we mostly cooked and ate at home.  And by “we” I mean Justin and Dana (Well, the cooking anyway.  I definitely participated in the eating!).  Cooking and eating at home [usually] is healthier and saves money.  And it works out way better with a little one.

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We purchased that hook-on high chair for the trip, and it was perfect!

Alright, a look into my meals for today’s WIAW:



Justin was in charge of breakfast and loves eggs as much as I do!

  • Eggs and chicken sausage
  • Eggs and roasted vegetables
  • Eggs and quinoa and bacon

Mmm, everyone loves some good bacon once in a while, right? I sure do.  Justin used leftover quinoa and combined it with the eggs to make the last couple eggs go further.  Smart thinking!



So I clearly did a poor job of taking pictures of lunch.  This was the only one I photographed and it was turkey, cheese, hummus, horseradish, and mustard in a spinach wrap with blueberries, a pickle, and an orange fresh from their backyard.

Another day for lunch, I just grazed on snacks, and one day Justin and I stopped at D’lish which is a MUST if you’re in Scottsdale.  Along with our meal, we both ordered a “Breakfast Buzz” which includes vitamins, protein, espresso, milk, peanut butter, banana, and chocolate.  It’s amazing.  Since we were eating it in the afternoon, I ordered mine without the espresso, and when the guy delivered our drinks, he said, “Here’s the Breakfast Buzz and the Buzz Kill.”  LOL.


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Justin and I walked to Buzz Berry and ordered a green juice and a gigantic cookie.  Hey, it’s all about balance, right?  The juice was very green.  We both agreed it could have used an apple or a hint of something sweet.  The cookie was fantastic!



I forgot to photograph our first dinner, but Justin made chicken, sweet potato fries, and vegetables.  The rest of our dinners were as follows:

  • Shredded pork that Dana made in the crockpot with barbecue sauce, quinoa, and roasted vegetables
  • A ton of sashimi and sushi from Sakana.  Justin sure knows how to order!  That photo was just half of what we got.  There were rolls, too.  I had a seaweed salad before this came which hit the spot; it has been awhile since I’ve gone our for sushi!  Also, did you know you can order fresh wasabi?
  • Dana picked up dinner from Flaco’s Tacos.  We got fish tacos, steak tacos, and a mushroom taco.  Beans, rice, chips, and guac were a must!  Great last dinner!

A photo of us during our night out:

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I love those two!

And my only request in regards to food for the week was to go out for ice cream.  They took me to Sweet Republic and it definitely didn’t disappoint.


One scoop salted butter caramel and one scoop brown butter pecan.  Nothing beats real ice cream.  So rich, so creamy, so good!

Do you like to eat out or stay in and cook while on vacation?

Arizona fun

As you know, William and I spent my spring break in Arizona with my little brother Justin and his wife Dana.  We are so grateful to be able to spend time with them, and had a blast, as always.  And Arizona? The weather there was amazing! Mid-seventies all week.  That’s the kind of weather I could live with forever!

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William, too.

Justin and Dana’s backyard is awesome.  They have a swimming pool, orange trees, and a putting green.  Seriously.  William loved playing with the oranges and golf balls.

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I was happy to be able to dress William in his tank tops one last time before he grows out of them.  We’ll need to get bigger ones for summer in St. Louis.

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Hello, baby arm rolls!

And that Uncle Justin sure can make baby William laugh!

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Big thanks to Justin and Dana for hosting us. We wouldn’t have wanted to spend our spring break any other way!

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We love you!

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What have you been up to lately?

Linking up with Katie and Erin!

We’re in Arizona!

Hello from Arizona!  Yesterday was my first time flying alone with William, and to say I was nervous is a huge understatement.  Luckily, everything went fine, William was awesome, and we made it to sunny Arizona!

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I packed a million toys to keep William occupied on the plane, including several new ones.  He loved looking out the window, and since our flight wasn’t full, I was able to bring his car seat on the plane. I still held him the entire ride, but we used his car seat as a toy carrier and he was able to choose what he wanted.  A couple hours into the flight, this happened:

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Oh, sweet sleeping baby.  He slept for almost an hour, and then we touched down.  I hope our flight home goes as smoothly!

We’re more than just a little excited to spend a few days with Justin and Dana.

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Even William is saying, “Yaaaaay!” and cheering!

Not many plans are in the books, but Justin talked about taking me to his CrossFit box, and Dana wants to show me her gym.  Workout while on vacation?  Absolutely!  We’ll also spend lots of time outdoors, William may get to swim for the first time, we’ll go on plenty of walks, eat delicious food, and we will visit this lovely lady.

William has only flown twice in his life: once to Ohio when he was just twelve weeks old to see Justin and Dana get married, and now to Arizona.  Justin and Dana are pretty special and totally worth traveling for!

justin dana march15

See? How fun are they?

Have you ever been to Arizona?

Phoenix Hot Chocolate Race & Weekend

Well happy Monday and how’s the weather where you are, friends?  Like I mentioned Friday, St. Louis got our first snow over the weekend, but Jonny and I were in sunny and warm Arizona where you’d think it’d be nice and toasty.  Not so much the case surprisingly, but the weekend was marvelous nonetheless. Linking up to Healthy Diva’s Marvelous in my Monday today.  

Because I had so many referrals to the Hot Chocolate race (THANK YOU!), I was able to travel to a destination in addition St. Louis to do the race.  Since my brother and Jonny’s brother both live in Arizona, it was a no-brainer to choose the Phoenix race.  The Hot Chocolate team kindly put us up at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch which was absolutely beautiful.

hyatt arizona

It was truly a wonderful hotel – the kindest staff, clean rooms, and gorgeous views as you see in the picture above that Jonny snapped during one of his morning walks.  We didn’t get to enjoy any of their many outdoor amenities, but that’s alright.  Alright, I’ve got so much marvelous to share from the weekend, let’s get started!

Justin recently bought a house, and this was the first time we got to see it.  Itz awesome though we didn’t expect anything less.  The coolest part is definitely the orange trees and lemon tree he has in his backyard!  I picked a whole basket and ate several oranges and drank fresh lemon water all weekend.

arizona lemon orange trees

Totally jealous.  When we arrived in town on Thursday evening, Becca and Robbie picked us up from the airport and Jonny and I grabbed dinner from My Big Fat Greek which is always a favorite when we visit.  During the day on Friday, everyone was at work, so we hung around and took some walks in the chilly weather.  Friday evening is when we met up with Justin, and the five of us went to Tommy V’s for dinner.  It had a nice ambiance, and we all enjoyed the food (especially the Kobe meatballs we got as appetizers!).

robbie becca

Robbie and Becca are getting married February 2015!

On Saturday, Justin and I picked up our Hot Chocolate race packets which included the performance fleece hoodies.  The hoodies were really nice and it was cool that the expo had an area for you to try on the hoodie and exchange the size if necessary.  And we obviously enjoyed a mini cup of hot chocolate at the expo!  Later, the five of us went to Blue 32 Sports Grill to watch the Mizzou football game (which sadly did not end in our favor), but it was a fun sports bar.  There were a million tv’s and the grub was tasty.

The boys were drinking and were pretty tired four hours later when the game ended, so we laid low Saturday night and ordered takeout from Tottie’s Asian Fusion.  We laughed since itz not typical pre-race fuel, but we weren’t too concerned.  Sunday morning came which meant – RACE DAY!  Justin and I bundled up.

justin hot chocolate race

Since I’m still not running, I would be walking the race which meant I had on extra extra layers.  The race was well organized and we never felt like we were extremely crowded.  Justin is not a runner; instead, he’s a CrossFit buff which is why his bulging muscles show through so nicely in his Under Armour compression shirt. 😉

hot chocolate run

And maybe I pretended to run as I began to cross the finish line… Justin never runs more than a mile at a time since he does CrossFit, and without any training for the race, he still finished in 22:24 (7:13/mile) which meant he came in seventh in his age group, 43rd overall, and 30th out of 709 men – quite impressive!

Not being able to run during the race was hard, if I’m being honest.  While I knew I was doing what was best for my body and Baby Itz, it made me itch to run even more than before.  I crossed in 47:16 – gah!  (that’s 15:13/mile)  My time to run will come again and I often keep that in mind.  Since I wasn’t competing for time (obviously lol), I did stop and take a few pictures throughout the course.  Running (walking) in Arizona sure is different from St. Louis!

arizona view

The official hashtag for the race was #willrunforchocolate which meant plenty of hot chocolate and chocolate goodies post-race.  Instead of receiving a medal, you got a mug filled with hot chocolate, warm chocolate fondue, and dippables.  This made us both happy and was a delicious breakfast post-race treat.  I even commented that there should be spoons in there; Justin went savage and used his fingers.

hot chocolate mug

Everyone’s happy when chocolate is involved!  The mugs did include a wet wipe for your hands which was super convenient.  Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel so I could shower, pack our belongings, and checkout.  We went to Butters Pancakes & Cafe for brunch which totally hit the spot.  We all cleaned our plates to say the least.

jonny robbie

Robbie & Jonny both still love their college gear!  Proud alums!

We had a couple of hours to kill before heading to the airport.  The boys watched Sunday football (no surprise there!), while I wrote this blog post for today.  Everyone was happy.  I did manage to break Jonny away from the tv for a moment for a picture.  We both love the giant cactus that is in Justin’s front yard, so it was the perfect photo opp!

jonny me arizona

And that’s a wrap, folks!  Long post filled with my favorite pictures from the weekend.  Going back to work today will be a bit tough as it always is after a vacation, but itz fun to look back on such wonderful weekends – especially when they’re filled with family, fitness, and food (particularly chocolate!).

What was marvelous about YOUR weekend?


We had a snow day yesterday in St. Louis.  12 inches of snow will shut down all the St. Louis schools, but I’m not complaining because that means my spring break was extended for a day!  I slept in (til 6:00 am), drank coffee, ate breakfast, read blogs, then headed to the gym to meet Diana.  We ended up doing this quads & calves workout, and baby oh baby we were feeling the burn!  Diana got an action shot of me doing long jumps.


I always get comments on the fact that I smile during workouts.  What can I say?  Exercise makes me happy!  Plus, working out with friends or family is the best thing ever.

Speaking of workouts, itz been way too long since I’ve shared one with ya!  I’ve already mentioned how I get super antsy just laying out by the pool, so my brother Justin suggested we work out poolside.  You think I was game?  Of course! I guess Justin and I have a thing for workout out while on vacation.  Remember the Up the Ladder Beach Workout?  Yeah, that was in Mexico.  Here’s our Arizona workout:

We started with 33 push-ups (I did mine on my knees).

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Then did 33 squats.


And ended with 33 sit-ups (well, I did crunches).

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Oh, and then we repeated this # 99 WORKOUT three times total.  That’s 99 reps of each exercise.  You better believe it was tough with no rest in between!

The great thing about this workout is that it can really be done by anyone (modify as needed), anywhere (no equipment required), and anytime (on vacation? sure!).

99 workout

Do you smile during workouts?  I can’t seem to help it!  Do you workout with friends or family?  How about on vacation?

Scottsdale Snapshots

Today wraps up the week of posting about my vacation to Arizona. I’m back in St. Louis where the weather is cold and pools are not yet open.  Boo.  But let’s re-live Arizona through these great posts:

Now here are Scottsdale Snapshots: random photos that didn’t make it into the aforementioned posts.  Let’s start with an obvious favorite of mine: the backbend!  Oh, come on, by now you knew that was coming!  I love being in the sun, but get so antsy just laying around.  Naturally I needed to find something to climb up and pose on.  🙂

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My nephew Jacob and I shared many special moments.

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As did my niece Audrey and I…

audrey potty

What?  She said she had to go!  Nevermind the fact that she’s 18 months old.  (PS: This is a snapshot my sister Stephanie posted on Instagram – go follow her for ridiculously cute pictures – they don’t usually involve the potty.)

Dana & Justin at the top of Squaw Peak:

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Fun fact: When we got to the top and saw many other people resting and taking in the view Justin announced to everyone, “Good job everybody!  You made it!”  Haha funny boy.

Audrey always wanted piggyback rides after Jacob got one:

audrey piggyback

Steph and I were SO glad to be with our baby brother.

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Yes, we all rocked our Ray Ban sunglasses.

This is why Jacob and Audrey are so darn cute:

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Becca and I before a night on the town (aka: a 5:30 pm dinner).


And a naked baby trying to escape…

audrey butt

Tell me about one snapshot from this week. 

Congrats #36 Nicole at Fruit ‘N’ Fitness for winning the Harmonic giveaway!

Orangetheory Fitness

While I was in Arizona, I had the opportunity to visit Orangetheory Fitness.  One of their locations is within walking distance of my brother-in-law’s place and it caught my interest as we drove by.  After I looked it up online, I knew I had to try it.  Luckily, the first class is always free, so if you live near an OTF or are traveling to a location where there’s an OTF, I recommend scheduling a class for a kick butt workout.

What is Orangetheory Fitness?  Itz a group interval fitness class that is an hour long and broken into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training, using a variety of equipment including treadmills, rowing machines, TRX suspension training™ and free weights.

orangetheory fitness

As stated on their website: Orangetheory Fitness has been featured in The New York Times as an effective new plateau-busting workout in which participants can burn up to 900 calories in a 60-minute session. Backed by the science of post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), our heart-rate monitored training is designed to keep heart rates in a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy.  The result is the Orange Effect – more energy, visible toning and extra calorie burn for up to 36 hours after your workout!

What is really cool about this workout is that each person wears a heart rate monitor (provided by OTF) to track their heart rate and calorie burn.  There are 5-zones where your heart rate can fall and the instructor tells you where your goal is.  They make it super easy and display your name and percentage on a screen; the zone where your individual heart rate is corresponds with a color, so if you’re supposed to be giving it all you’ve got, your name and number will be red, recovery will be green, and in between will be orange.  (Blue and white are for warm up when your heart rate is much lower.)

I’ve never done any type of heart rate training before, but I really liked it.  It was most interesting to see how quickly my heart rate could recover after a period of intense exercise when my heart rate was elevated.  Itz also neat that everyone gets their own workout.  Since everyone’s fitness level is different, so are our heart rates.  My orange zone is different than your orange zone, so this type of workout allows us all to get a killer workout at our own pace.

Here’s how the workout went down:  There were about 20 people in the class (20 is the max) and half of us started with the weight training portion and the other on the treadmills.

otf treadmill row

I started with the weight training.  There were three “blocks” with four exercises in each that would be completed and our coach, Dan, explained each exercise before the specific block.  Then, we would compete the block as many times as possible in the allotted time.  There was a board with the workout written down, so we could reference it as needed.  I snapped a picture at the end of class, but failed to notice the board had already been changed.  The picture I’ll show you is not the workout that I did, but probably the one that was for the next class.

orangetheory workout

There were suggested weights for women and men, but of course it was up to us to select the weight that was challenging.  Many women grabbed the 7.5 dumbbells, and truthfully I thought that sounded light.  However, being a newbie I didn’t want to look ridiculous if I couldn’t do a higher weight, so I, too, grabbed 7.5’s.  I’m glad I did!  We did 12 reps of each exercise and had time for about three sets.  There were exercises with dumbbells, TRX, rowing machines, and medicine balls.  I love how varied the workout was; there’s no chance anyone could get bored in a class like this!

After about 25 minutes for the three blocks, the two groups switched places.  Now it was my turn to hop on a treadmill.  There was a sign that had suggested speeds for what type of athlete you were: power walker, jogger, or runner.

otf treadmill suggest

Itz been way too long since I’ve run, but I knew I could handle the speed on the treadmill since we were doing intervals.  I was right.  I really pushed myself and enjoyed seeing my name turn red on the screen when my heart was pumping!  And I’m not going to lie: I was definitely driven by the competition factor of those around me.  You better believe I glanced at the treadmill next to me and made sure my speed and incline was higher.  Sorry I’m not sorry.  The most intense interval I did was speed 9.0 and incline 6.0.  Baby, it was tough!

Do you see what type of treadmills Orangetheory has?

otf treadmill

FreeMotion!  (I first learned all about FreeMotion during the Runner’s World Half.)  This is the first time I ran on a FreeMotion treadmill, and I could not believe how cushy they were!  Seriously, it felt so soft underneath my feet; it wasn’t like any other treadmill I’d ever been on.

Something else impressive about Orangetheory is the trainers or coaches.  Dan was our lead coach showing us what to do and calling out times, but there were two other trainers who worked with us, as well.  I think this is really important to ensure safety for all members; there were a couple times where my form got corrected and I love when that happens.  You could tell safety was a priority in this gym and they truly care about their clients.

I didn’t get a picture with our coach Dan, but I did get one with another trainer, Daren, who held us along the way.

orangetheory daren

I loved it!  Now if only St. Louis could get an Orangetheory Fitness…

Have you ever been to an Orangetheory Fitness studio?  Have you ever trained with a heart rate monitor?

Eating in Scottsdale

Itz WIAW Scottsdale Edition!  We certainly have been eating good here in Scottsdale, Arizona, but that really shouldn’t be any surprise to you with how much we love food.  🙂

Our first meal was at D’Lish Drive Thru: healthy on-the-go kitchen and coffee-house.  My brother Justin told us this was a “must visit” place, and he was totally right.  We loved it so much we went twice!


The first time I ordered the Veggie D’Lite wrap with chicken and the second time I ordered the Veggie Burrito.  They were both mighty tasty, but the star of the place was the Breakfast Buzz shake that contains vitamins, protein, milk, peanut butter, banana, and chocolate.  If you go to D’Lish you have got to order this.  Unbelievable.  In fact, I’m pretty sure we’re going to go for the third time this morning…

We spent many of our days poolside.  Justin is king of the grill and made us some burgers that were the bomb diggity.  We coupled it with a vegetable mix he also made and chips.

pool lunch

Dinners were always a fiasco as they usually are when trying to accompany a party of 9 + a baby, but we definitely made do and even got some awesome jumping pictures and a surprise photobomb one night!

Citizen Public House is a contemporary, upscale version of the traditional public house nestled in Old Town Scottsdale.  We ordered several appetizers, one of them being fondue with pears, bread, and meat.  For my entrée, I opted for the Original Chopped Salad.  The ingredients of corn, couscous, smoked salmon, asiago, pepitas, tomatoes, arugula, and currants came in rows and our waiter mixed it up at the table.

citizen public house

Justin cooked one dinner for us in his apartment.  He told us he’d just make a “quick and easy” dinner, and he sure whipped up quite the meal!  He started us off with appetizers of crab cakes and bruschetta and mozzarella bites before serving spinach, cous cous, garlic bread, and salmon.  What a chef!

justin dinner

We also ate at Oregano’s per the recommendation of a few kind readers and it turned out to be a fabulous little pizza joint.  Unfortunately, we were too full to order the infamous Pizookie, but we were quite impressed with their massive thin crust pizza.

oregano's pizza

My Big Fat Greek Restaurant was dinner one night, but no pictures were taken during that meal.  Itz ok because last time we were here, we ate there and it was featured in this post.  The last dinner that I do have to show you is from Don & Charlie’s.  Famous for ribs and we know why!  I also ordered a salad, but snagged several ribs from Jonny’s plate.

don & charlie's

I told you itz been a vacation of good eats!

What’s your favorite spot you’ve been to while on vacation?

best photobomb ever

You know my family is all about jumping pictures.  You know my family is all about photobombing.  What you (nor we) didn’t know is that we would be part of the best photobomb ever.  By a total stranger.  Let me back up.

On Saturday night, we went out to dinner together.  After dinner, we naturally wanted to get a few good pictures together, but my family can never just do normal pictures.  We must jump.  We must do yoga.  We must do handstands and backbends (ok or maybe that’s just me).  Regardless, we like to have fun no matter where we areCan you spot the photobomber?


Not only is he photobombing, but he’s jumping, too!  Best.photobomb.EVER!  (Still don’t see him?  Check out the security guard behind me and Dana.)  Stephanie took the picture (obviously) and didn’t even notice him until the next morning.  Actually, I’m pretty sure she didn’t see him until she showed the picture to Justin and he saw him!  Funny stuff.

Speaking of Justin, check out yet another über cute picture of him and Dana.

justin dana

Aren’t they the cutest?  Ok, Robbie and Becca aren’t so bad either. 😉

becca robbie

And if you’re wondering, yes we did get a good group shot of us all:

group arizona

Have you ever tried to hold hands and get a good jumping picture?  How about hold hands with a four year old who is a great jumper, but you’re a little afraid of jumping too high for fear of ripping his little arms out of their little sockets?  Hey, we didn’t do so bad:

dana jacob jump

In fact, I’m pretty impressed with the air that the three of us did get!  Another AWESOME shot of the evening happened with Robbie and Jacob.  Robbie is Jonny’s brother, so he’s not groomed to take jumping pictures like my side of the family does.  Clearly he can hold his own though:

robbie jacob

All photos by Stephanie Cotta Photography.

Best photobomb you’ve ever done/seen?