Journey To the Finish Line

PR's, 4 children, hopes and dreams; I'm always running after something



Sprint for Shaylene Virtual Race and Giveaway Results

A fellow blogger and runner at Shoe Laces and Bibs is hosting a virtual 5k to support a little girl diagnosed with Dystonia. I have registered and wanted to share. This is a great opportunity for a guaranteed excuse to run (or walk), contribute to a good cause and get a medal. Read her story:

In Dystonia, your muscles contract involuntarily — causing uncontrollable repetitive or twisting movements of the affected body part. Your symptoms may be mild or severe, and may interfere with your performance of many day-to-day tasks. For Shaylene who loves to dance and play with her 4 year old friends this is a life altering disorder to live with.  It’s in front and side of her neck. While her knees, ankles, jaw, neck and the base of her skull are effected by Arthritis. She’s always been in pain, since she was born. The past year has been challenging as new things are presenting themselves that are causing more pain for Shaylene.


Shaylene is the soon-to-be 5 year old who I was matched with through Who I Run 4 last July. Her mom, Angie, and I are more connected than I ever imagined we’d be when we first met via Facebook. We send each other cards, presents, text messages, videos and pictures. Shaylene is such a great cheerleader and I love dedicating my runs to her and sending her medals and bibs from my race. It’s been such an incredible journey. One, that I know will continue forever.




As Shaylene and I reach our one year anniversary of being matched I thought it would be only appropriate to celebrate with a virtual 5k. Since we live states a part this virtual race would give everyone a chance to run, walk, jog or skip the same distance in the same time frame. We can pretend we’re running together! July is such a special month, not only because it’s the month we were matched, but because we’ll both be celebrating big birthdays!




This 5k will benefit Shaylene and her family as the medical expenses are building since insurance only covers so much.  This 5k will also benefit the Dystonia Foundation.


Dystonia not only effects Shaylene but impacts her family. Let’s take a look:

  1. They drove just under 12,000 miles to doctor appointments last year.
  2. Every Monday they drive 3 hours {there and back} to do OT, PT and Speech Therapy. Two of these therapies take place before noon and other happens after lunch time.  Insurance covers all but $60 for these therapies, which means that Shaylene’s family spends $240 dollars, plus lunch while they are there, a month.
  3. Medications for Shaylene run around $180 a month. They have a new drug they’ll be starting soon, which will be very expensive- around $100 a month for this single medication.
  4. Trips to the Mayo Clinic always include at least one night stay.  They’ve once stayed 5 nights in a row for testing and therapies.  They have to pay for gas, hotel, and eating. The drive time is 5 and half hours one way.
  5. So far this year, they have been to the Mayo Clinic in Jan, Feb, March, April, May and will go in June and August and then every two months after that.
  6. They are looking into a medical stroller for neck support and better leg support since Shaylene can’t walk around for long periods of time.

Please visit her Facebook Community to follow her journey and offer support along the way- Shaylene’s Dream I hope you’ll join me as I support Shaylene and spread awareness for her rare disease!

How does this virtual 5k work?

  • First, you’ll need to register by clicking on the button below. You’ll pay and fill out your information at the same time.
  • The registration fee is $25. What does that registration fee get you? A beautiful medal- see below



  • You can register from now until July 20. Feel free to join the Facebook Event and share with your family and friends.
  • The virtual race will take place between Wednesday, July 23 {the day Shaylene and I were matched} and Sunday, July 27. You decide when to complete the race.
  • Print out the bib that will be sent to you via email
  • Next, sprint, run, walk, bike, jog, skip 3.1 miles to earn your 5k medal!
  • Take a picture with the bib after your activity and send it to me via email or post it on the Facebook Event page
  • Use the hashtag #Sprint4Shaylene when posting about this event on social media

Fundraising amount will be announced at the beginning of August and will be split between Shaylene’s family and the Dystonia Foundation.

  Register for the virtual 5k here

Please email shoelacesandbibs at gmail dot com if you have any questions. Thank you so much for your support! It means so much! I cannot wait to celebrate this amazing little girl!


And now for our giveaway results! Our two 3 month subscriptions go to: Ashley and Journey for my Baby!! Comment or email me (theresajpowers at gmail dot com) so I can forward your information. If I do not receive a response in 48 hours I will have to choose another number.

Read to me (A Giveaway!)

Sometime around 6 months of age we really started a consistent bedtime routine. Consumption of self fed foods necessitated a nightly bath (instead of every other night) and so the routine just fell into place from there: bath, a little bit of play/walk, milk, books and then bed.

I love to read (though I’ve been slacking more and more recently – does reading blogs count?) and hope Abby and Miles will too. I was a little too excited when I first saw Abby “reading”. I don’t always (read: rarely) have their full attention but I know they hear me.

There is just one problem.

We have a decent collection for a couple infants/early toddlers, but I get sick of them quickly.

About a month ago I was contacted by a representative from the app FarFaria asking if I’d be interested in writing a review in exchange for access to their app. My first thought was YAY NEW BOOKS! Then my second thought was YAY NEW BOOKS!


photo 1



FarFaria is an app available on both apple and android devices. It contains over 700 books with 5 new titles added each week. It is geared for children between the ages of 2-9. Each book also contains a badge indicating reading level:

P: Pre-Readers, Age 0+
1: Beginning Readers, Pre-K – Kindergarten
2: Progressing Readers, Kindergarten – Grade 2
3: Early Fluent Readers, Grade 1 – Grade 3
4: Fluent Readers, Grade 2 – Grade 4
photo 3
In addition, the app offers stores in a variety of categories:
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Adventure Island
  • Bedtime Bluffs
  • Goodland
  • Looney Lagoon
  • Preschool Playground
  • Fairy Tale Falls
  • Mt. Make Believe
  • Classics Grove
  • Genius Jungle
  • Sing Along City (yes, its sing alongs!)

photo 2When you choose a book you are given the option to “auto play”, “read to me” or “read myself”. As the story reads (or sings), at any time you can touch the screen and a drop down menu gives you the option to pause, read again, add to favorites or exit story. Should you choose to add a story to your favorites, it is added to a list that you are able to read offline at at any time.

photo 4


  • LOTS and LOTS of books! I know I sound like an advertisement here, but with over 700 books it would be REALLY difficult to run out of stories to read.
  • Reading level labels – obviously this doesn’t apply to us yet as the twins are only 13 months old, however as a Speech Therapist I am considering using this app with some of my older kids to work on things such as reading comprehension and fluency. The level labels make it easy to find something appropriate for them.
  • Option to have the story read to your child, or to allow your child to read the story him/herself.
  • Favorites list that allows your child to read any book on that list even when you are not connected to wifi (read: car rides!).
  • Even though this app is geared towards ages 2-9, in my opinion can be used from 0-9. Its never too young to start reading to your kids.
  • App is easy to navigate and child friendly
  • All kinds of books in one place! This makes travel so much easier (and lighter)
  • Books can be viewed both in portrait (with a large picture and the words on the bottom) and landscape (words on the left, small picture on the right)
  • No ads! (I HATE ADS)


photo 5Dislikes

I feel the point of reviews to is to have both likes and dislikes and feel everything has at least some room for improvement. With that said, this list is probably on the picky side:

  • The fact that the app was geared towards ages 2-9 originally left me feeling disinterested because the twins are a year away from the beginning of the age range. Sure, they don’t understand how to navigate the site, but that doesn’t mean I can’t choose a story to read to them.
  • Cost – I’m cheap and usually try to download free apps. Full app functionality requires  a monthly subscription. (For what you get, though, the price seems fair)
  • Nowhere on the app describes the reading levels – I had to email the rep I spoke with to find out this information
  • The pauses between pages in the sing along category takes away from experience and fluidity when you think about singing along.

Now for the fun part! FarFaria has offered TWO 3 month subscriptions to their app. To enter, leave a comment and I will choose two random numbers. If you recently liked or click like on my new Facebook page, I will give you another entry (let me know in your comment that you did). You do not have to be a blogger to win. This giveaway ends on Wednesday at 11:59pm EST.

Try FarFaria for Free: Download FarFaria and read one story every day for free with no obligation to pay.

App Store download link:

Google Play download link:


Whatcha Reading?

One of my 2014 resolutions was to read more. Its honestly an odd resolution for me as I love to read, but somewhere in the mix of pregnancy and parenting its taken a back seat to other things, namely diaper changing, spit up clean up in aisle 4 and running. After this latest injury, though, I figured if I can’t exercise I could at least begin reading more again.

So far this year  I’ve read , Where We Belong by Emily Giffin and the Divergent series and The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. In fact, I’ve read every book Jodi Picoult has ever written (with the exception of the one she wrote with her daughter). She even wrote a book called Sing You Home that touches on infertility. No, its no Shakespeare or The Great Gatsby (which I read in high school and did not like), and you probably won’t see me perusing the top 25 New York Times best sellers either.

Overall though I’d say my favorite type of books are Memoirs. There is something about knowing the author overcame the hardships or lived the hilarious stories that are written in these books that makes it easier to relate and find parallels in my own life (maybe once day I’ll get a chance to write one about the hilarity of twin parenting). I honestly wish we could have read more of this type of book in school, as I personally just could not get into what many think of as classics.

If you happen to be a teacher looking for good books to use in your classroom:

3 Great Memoirs for High School Teachers

Tired of assigning Huckleberry Finn year after year? These three memoirs will shake things up in your classroom while still providing age-appropriate learning and parent-friendly stories.

1: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

This autobiographical tale chronicles the lives and struggles of the Walls family, a nomadic, unconventional group of poverty-stricken hippies who move across the U.S. with no great purpose. Jeannette Walls was only three when it began, and by the time she ran away from home and went off to college, she’d learned quite a lot about life, love and perseverance through every kind of obstacle. Use this book to highlight the importance of goals and dedication through adversity.

2: I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

Written and co-authored by Malala, the young teenager who defied the Taliban in pursuit of equal learning opportunities for girls, this memoir makes for a thrilling narrative and an even more important lesson. Buy it in bulk from a mass retailer like BookPal and pass it out to every young female student.

3: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

A favorite of classrooms and high school curriculum, Maya Angelou tells the story of her childhood with humor and grace, even as she’s describing the racism and prejudice that haunted life in the 1930s. If you’re looking for a personal, memorable account of growing up in the early South, this is it.

Bookpal has books for all ages, certainly not limited to high school.

What kinds of books do you enjoy? I am open to suggestions for the remainder of the year in order to meet my resolution 🙂

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