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We are so excited to announce our MOM (Motivating Mom of the Month) for June! Each month we will take a moment to honor one of our local FIT4MOM LSBWK NoVa Moms for her efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle and for her dedication to the program. This month we honor Amy Gamulo from our Burke village!

I have made some great friends since joining Fit4Mom and Amy is definitely one of them! Pushing a stroller with 2, sometimes 3 kiddos, challenging herself physically during a workout, and making everyone she meets feel included and special…all with a big smile on her face! This lady has got it going on! I admire her on the daily for the kindness, humor, and strength she radiates! I always look forward to working out, chatting, and laughing with her almost every day during and after class. Thank you Amy for being YOU! Love ya!

~Candice Agustin, Burke Stroller Strides Instructor

Amy is our resident pun queen! We are so happy she decided to join us and share her killer humourand workout skills with us last year. Since then, she’s added to her crew by caring for her niece each day and we are so impressed that she is juggling three kids on a regular basis. Amy, thanks for keeping us laughing and thank your kiddo for keeping my kid entertained during class!

~Jenny Bezos, Burke Playgroup Captain

Where are you originally from?

I grew up near Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and moved down here five years ago to be with my husband. I go home occasionally to stock up on maple syrup!

When did you join FIT4MOM?

I joined FIT4MOM in March 2017.

What classes do you attend?

I am almost always at the Burke Stroller Strides and Barre classes on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. My four-year-old, Teddy, gets so excited when I tell him it's an exercise class day: he loves seeing all his FIT4MOM friends!

Who is your workout buddy and their age?

My tagalongs are Teddy (4), Charlie (1.5), and my niece, Ellie (4 months), who I watch during the day while my sister is at work.

What is your favorite thing about FIT4MOM?

Just one?! The people. The workouts. The motivation. The instructors. The bonds. The sharing. The baby holding. The Moms Nights Out. The inclusion. The squats. The squats. The squats. The bubbles! The field trips! The Village.

What is your current job? Or what did you do before staying at home (if you don’t currently work outside the home)?

I was a teacher, a lifetime ago. Then I worked for the International Monetary Fund when I moved here.

Share your thoughts on the concept of “it takes a village” – is it important for moms to join a village?

I didn't want to like FIT4MOM. I didn't want to be part of a moms' club! But after my first class, I couldn't stop thinking about the group of moms who seemed so tight. I wanted (needed!) to be a part of that! And now I am (sorry, Candice, for being a part of such a close-knit village that I sometimes chat during class!).

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

Ugh, declutter the house, without "helpers." Yes, I'm that kind of exciting.

I am happiest when...’

...the people around me are happy. And the house is clean.

#FIT4MOM #themotherhoodisreal #strengthinmotherhood#Fit4MomLSBWKNoVa #ourvillageisyourvillage#motivatingmomofthemonth

#May2018MOM #thanksforyourdedication #ourmomsrock#momfriends

#strollerstrides #strollerbarre #allthemoms

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Your proud wives, daughters, granddaughters, sisters & friends!

It is time to celebrate all of the men in our lives! Whether it is a father, husband, uncle, family friend, grandfather, and more - many of us have men we look up to and want to celebrate this weekend. Here are a few words of thanks and appreciation from our Fit4Mom family!

My husband works so hard, and then comes home and is an amazing father and husband. One of my favorite parts of the day is watching the kids’ faces light up when he gets home. I couldn’t ask for a more loving and supportive partner. Love you to the moon and back! - Jenna

My husband is the most involved father. He is so busy with work, but always makes time to do special activities with the girls! - Victoria Redman

I appreciate that my husband goes above and beyond at night, even after a full day of work. - Jess Short

My dad would drop whatever he is doing to come fly down and help me if I ever needed his help.

Seeing the exchange of love in your eyes to hers as you walk through the door at the end of the day brightens my world. Thank you for being an amazing father to our two beautiful girls! - Emily

My husband was a man who didn’t necessarily want to have children- he didn’t care either way. Now that he is a Dad, he just loves it. He is fun, loving, caring, and the ultimate “Tickle Monster.”

My father taught me how to take care of my car, how to find treasures in the world around me, and how to take a spontaneous adventure. My husband shows me the value of patience, the importance of a good plan, and intense love for our sons every day. Both of these men are incredible examples of what it means to be a dad. Happy Father’s Day! - Laura Davis

My husband is my favorite “father figure.” He is a hard worker who puts his family first, and we are grateful. -Kate

I couldn’t be more grateful to have had the best dad in the world, who showed me what a true man and father is, and loved me into who I am today. I wish him a happy Father’s Day in heaven. I know he is proud of the amazing father my husband is becoming, and how he always puts us first. - Lauren Nguyen

My husband, Matt, deserves a huge shout out from me because there are no limits to his dedication and hard work for our family. Love you, husband! - Stephanie Curl

I am so grateful to my husband for his enduring patience and extreme love for our children. In particular, he patiently cuddles with our four year old until he falls asleep and if needed, crawls back into that toddler bed in the middle of the night.

To my Husband, Thank you for loving all the crazy! We appreciate you! - Candice and your girls

I’m so blessed to have a dad that has taught me the most important life lessons: live every moment to the fullest and don’t stress over things you can’t control. He’s the best! - Abbe Minor

I admire my husband’s dedication to our family. He works hard to support us and tries to do all he can to spend time with myself and the kids. Best Dad and Husband Ever! - Melissa D’Avilar

Nick is an amazing dad that gives everything to us! - Cassie Morrell

Jordan is the best best for Wyatt and keeps things fun and silly! - Jessica Bonds

Chris is always able to make the kids laugh, no matter their mood! - Kelly L.

Clayton never loses his cool- even when both kids are screaming!” - Laura D.

I appreciate that my husband gets home from work and goes straight into daddy time until our baby goes to bed. He also does all of the dishes so I can have “me” time at night”.

Andrew will always let me have “me time” every day by giving our baby a 30 minute bath while I relax.

I appreciate that my husband puts his family girls first at any expense. He supports me as a mom, especially while breastfeeding.

He helps me find the time to work out for my mental and physical well-being!

He always tries to make me smile, sings silly songs, and takes care of yard work.

My husband supports breastfeeding and pumping. He always makes sure the bottles and pump parts are clean. He helps with everything and all of the hard nights.

He is so loving and thoughtful with our son!

I appreciate that you let me sleep and feed me.

He is our rock! The best parent and role model we could ask for. We love you!

Dad, thank you for being my guiding star throughout my life and an amazing G-Pa to all of your grandchildren. We love you! - Love, Emily

I am grateful for my fahte’rs musical influence. I appreciate all the sacrifices.

Dear Hubby, Thank you for going above and beyond to take care of our babies. I appreciate the true partnership and how you never feel that parenting is a mommy-only job. Thank you for waking up in the middle of the night, outings, and everything else you do! - Dana

I’m grateful for Jamil coming to work out with me. I think we are setting a good example for our baby.

I appreciate when my husband washes the bottles.

Feliz Dia de Papi! Happy Father’s Day! Thank you for taking care of baby girl so I can go to sleep at 6pm J We love you with all our hearts!

Dear Dad, I am grateful for always being there me, for being a role model, and someone who my son can look up to.

My husband and my dad - Hardworking Handy men!

Thank you dad for teaching me so much and supporting me.

Mike (Dada), for being such a fun dad.

Dad - Mr. Mom for me and my sibilings - cooking, laundry, kids taxi service, wedding planning- EVERYTHING!

Supporting, loving, fun!

Always knows what to say to make me feel better.

Jordan - for teaching me how to have fun and be silly! - Jessica

My husband - he’s caring and fun.

He lets his wife sleep in on the weekends and cooks dinner!

Husband- Career goal setting

My dad gave me a love of science and math.

Jeff Summers (Dad)- Thanks for teaching me independence. - Cate Ware

The father figure in my life that I’d like to thank is my husband. He’s an amazing father to our baby daughter - he showers her with love, has spur of the moment dance parties with her to make her smile, writes her stories that he turns into books, and so much more. He is usch a great support to me- he has taken over a lot of the cooking to make sure I get fed while I focus on breastfeeding. He changes diapers in the middle of the night so I can get an extra r5 minutes of sleep before the next feeding and he tries to get me to nap (even when I fight it!). He encourages me to take time for myself and values fitness as a family. - Jen Ward

To my husband Jeff. You are truly a great role model for our little Julia. She is learning so many valuable lessons from you about trust, integrity, honesty, importance of family ties, and that a family's work together to overcome all the daily challenges of our hectic lifestyles. And most importantly she's learning that the NAP always comes first - otherwise it might not get done! Thank you for all your support on this crazy ride with me! ~Shannon

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The official textbook answer:

Body Back® is a results-based workout designed for moms who are ready to take their fitness and vitality to the next level.

But here's a better {REAL} answer:

" The FIT4MOM Body Back Program provides accountability, guidance & support. It is exactly what I've been searching for. Strength, Energy, Self confidence. That's what I've found. YOU CAN TOO! I'm so excited to continue working it out with my sisters in Motherhood and I can't thank all the Body Back team members and fellow clients enough for pushing me past my comfort zone because that's where the good stuff is! The hardest part is taking that first step. ! ~Candice A.

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Get to know one of our awesome Team Members, Sheila McCracken! We have an amazing, dedicated and talented team of moms here at FIT4MOM LSBWK NoVa, and we want you to get to know a little more about each one of them. So for June, we'll put the spotlight on Sheila McCracken, Stroller Strides, Stroller Barre, and Fit4Baby Instructor for our Burke Village.

“I met Sheila at Stroller Strides in Burke prior to her becoming an instructor. I was immediately struck by her calm nature and warmth. When she told me at a Moms Night Out that she was starting the process to become an instructor, I knew she would be amazing. She had become such a genuine and encouraging friends, so it seemed natural that she would bring those qualities to her classes. Even when I’m having a hectic morning, Sheila and her Stroller Barre class always bring me a sense of calm and strength…2 things I can always use more of! Whether reading a story to the kiddos, telling us “you got this, mamas!”, or catching the core ball that my toddler inevitably throws, she always radiates grace and positivity. I feel lucky to call her my teacher, classmate, and friend!”

~Abbe Cohen Minor, Burke Stroller Strides/Stroller Barre Mama

“Sheila has such a calming voice and personality. She is always smiling. IF you’re having a bad morning and get a chance to talk to her, her positive energy can instantly make you feel better. She’s a great instructor and you can tell it’s something she enjoys doing. She always looks so graceful when demonstrating the moves for the workouts and you can tell she’s got some dance background. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Sheila and look forward to taking more classes with her!”

~Victoria Redman, Burke Stroller Strides/Stroller Barre Mama

Read on to get to know more about Sheila and her time with FIT4MOM LSBWK NoVa.

1. Who are the members of your family?

Me, my husband John, and my two boys Jack (4) and Joseph (16 months).

2. Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in NoVa?

I’m an army brat, growing up mostly overseas in Germany and Korea. I’ve

been living in NoVa for about 8 years now and it feels like home!

3. Where do you typically teach?

I teach Stroller Barre in Burke, Fit4Baby in Burke and Lorton, and sub Stroller Strides all around town!

4. Tell us your story about how/why you became an instructor for Fit4Mom LSBW NoVa.

I was getting more involved with Fit4Mom because I knew it was helping me be a successful stay at home mom. It gave me structure to the day, socializing for me and the kids, and exercise for body and mind. I thought, I’m going to be here either way, I might as well be an instructor! When Shannon posted that she was looking for more instructors I applied and got certified!

5. What is your favorite thing to teach?

I love all the Fit4Mom programs but Stroller Barre is my baby. It’s a combination of ballet, yoga, and pilates- all of which I’m extra passionate about.

6. What is the BEST thing about being an instructor?

Just being a part of Fit4Mom, especially the built in social aspect of it. It helps because I have social anxiety which I had always been ashamed of until recently. I’ve since learned to be kinder to myself. Even if I’m “lacking” in that way, I know I still have so much to offer. I think we all just want to be loved and accepted for who we are. My favorite Fit4Mom hashtag is #AllTheMoms because we are here for all the moms! There’s no mold to fit. You come as you are.

7. What is your WHY? Why do you keep doing what you do?

My why is to maintain a healthy body and mind so that I can be of better service to my family.

8. What is one of your current wellness goals?

To be able to do the splits!

9. What is a fun fact that many may not know about you?

I joke with Shannon about this, but I actually have a motorcycle license!

10. Anything else you'd like Our Village to know?

Just that I hope you all feel the love I have for you. Moms are so strong because we have to be and that really inspires me to push through!

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We are so excited to announce our MOM (Motivating Mom of the Month) for May! Each month we will take a moment to honor one of our local FIT4MOM LSBWK NoVa Moms for her efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle and for her dedication to the program. This month we honor Dana Russo from our Springfield village!

Dana leads a busy life trying to pack so much into a day, but she is also making that crucial time to take care of herself with Stroller Strides & Body Back. Although I have only known her a few weeks, I love her focus, determination, and honesty. She is an inspiration!

~Barb Archambo, Body Back Instructor

Dana is such an inspiration! She works full time, takes care of her two girls, and takes care of herself each week at Body Back and Stroller Strides. I am always amazed watching her with Janie and Tessa at Friday playgroups. She is able to balance it with a smile.

~ Jenna Parkhurst, Springfield Stroller Strides/Barre Instructor

Talk about determination! This woman is unstoppable and admirable. I remember meeting Dana early last fall at one of our Body Back open house events and I will never forget our conversation that night. She felt defeated and overwhelmed by everything around her. I encouraged her to come to Stroller Strides first to connect with other moms that would be able to support her on this crazy ride of being mom to twins! She signed up on the spot and never looked back. Here we are 9 months later with her in Body Back as well and she is fully committed to both programs. She attends Stroller Strides if and when her schedule allows; she has a supportive hubby, Dan, who shows up with the gang at our family workouts. On top of Dana’s busy schedule she finds time to really listen to others around her and gives amazing support in just the right dose (That’s a big thank you from me Dana! 😉) YOU ARE TRULY AN INSPIRATION TO ALL OF US! Thank you for believing in us and our programs to give you strength and empowerment to be YOU!

~Shannon Link, Franchise owner

Where are you originally from?

New York City (Queens). I had a pretty thick accent up until college. It comes back when I talk to my mom and friends from the “neighborhood” or if I ever get angry or a bit tipsy.

When did you join FIT4MOM?

September 2017

What classes do you attend?

Stroller Strides in Springfield every Saturday and every other Friday when I’m off from work and Kingstowne Body Back (I’m doing an AM/PM combo).

Who is your workout buddy and their age?

Janie and Tessa who are about to turn one.

What is your favorite thing about FIT4MOM?

Everything! Seriously, I love everything about it. I love the Stroller Strides classes where I can exercise, socialize, and entertain Janie and Tessa all at the same time. The other moms are super supportive, non-judgmental, and always have good advice. I love participating in the Friday playgroups and cherish the friends that we have made. Janie and Tessa LOVE the “smile song.” We sing it at home and they always laugh and smile, even when they’re in the midst of a minor meltdown.

I recently started Body Back classes and I love the more intense workouts, the “me time,” the meditations, and I especially love that I’m seeing results – I can now wear some of my pre-pregnancy clothes!

How has FIT4MOM changed your lifestyle choices?

The Stroller Strides and Body Back classes (even the ones at 5:15 AM) have made me WANT to exercise. And the nutritional component of Body Back has made me (and my husband) start eating healthier and controlling portion size.

What is your current job? Or what did you do before staying at home (if you don’t currently work outside the home)?

I’m a civil rights attorney with the U.S. Department of Education. I took about three months off last summer and then went back to work fulltime. The work is often rewarding and I love being able to help students, families, and schools. Luckily the agency offers flexible schedules – I work very long days, but I have every other Friday off, and I usually work from home two days a week, which is another nice perk.

Share your thoughts on the concept of “it takes a village” – is it important for moms to join a village?

Absolutely! I love this village and can’t imagine the past nine months without it. Some examples of how great this village is – the other day I packed food and bottles for the babies but left everything on the kitchen counter as I rushed out of the house to Stroller Strides. I felt so defeated, but Stephanie generously and without any judgment, gave me a cup of Cheerios and a sippy cup filled with water so that Janie and Tessa could remain content through the class and during playgroup afterwards. One day in the winter I had forgotten my regular stroller and couldn’t figure out how to use our new stroller that was in the car. I was just about to head home in defeat when I met Amy and her twins in the parking lot. She helped me setup the stroller and saved the day (literally!). Jen introduced me to Mum Mums, Bex shared advice on surviving toddlerhood with twins, Brittnay is great to swap stories with since our babies are around the same age, and Shannon and all of the other instructors provide amazing support and motivation during each and every class! These are just some of the examples, there are so many more. I hope to help other moms in our village as much as they are helping me!

What is your favorite beverage?

These days it’s definitely a Starbucks latte with soymilk (sometimes a grande will do, but many days call for a venti!)

What is your favorite dessert?

A warm chocolate chip cookie (or a cold chocolate chip cookie, or really any type of cookie!)

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

Take a nap! And if my nap didn’t last the full 4 hours (which, likely it would), I’d take a relaxing bubble bath without the company of the baby monitor.

What is your ultimate child-free vacation destination?

An all-inclusive in Jamaica. We went there for our one-year anniversary and hope to go back one day.

How has becoming a mother changed you?

I’m definitely plumper and more sleep-deprived. But, also more fulfilled and happier than I ever thought imaginable.

I am happiest when...’

I come home from work and the babies clap and kick their feet in excitement. I pick each one up and give them a huge hug and tons of kisses. Also whenever we have a leisurely Sunday morning and my husband and I can have a cuddle fest with the babies, dog and cat.

Thank you DANA for being a part of OUR VILLAGE and for sharing some of your story with us! We are lucky to have you and your family as a part of this amazing support system

Check back in June for another MOM of the month announcement!

#FIT4MOM #themotherhoodisreal #strengthinmotherhood #Fit4MomLSBWKNoVa #ourvillageisyourvillage #motivatingmomofthemonth

#December2017MOM #thanksforyourdedication #ourmomsrock #momfriends

#beingthebestpossibleME #youarenotalone #SafeNonjudgementalZone

#regainingconfidence #bodybackHIIT #strollerstrides

#wearethegluethatholdsthefamilytogether

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Get to know one of our awesome Team Members, Candice Agustin! We have an amazing, dedicated and talented team of moms here at FIT4MOM LSBWK NoVa, and we want you to get to know a little more about each one of them. So for March, we'll put the spotlight on Candice Agustin, Stroller Strides Instructor for our Burke Village for FIT4MOM LSBWK NoVa.

Candice and I met about two years ago when we both had infants and were new to Stroller Strides. I loved her energy and dedication. She attended class nearly every day and worked so hard to reach the goals she set for herself. Now as an instructor, her positivity is infectious and leaves me feeling strong and confident after each class. She is also a rockstar mom and it shows in how engaged she keeps the kids during class (and outside of class - she has a sizeable toddler fan club). We love you, Candice!

~Kelly Lynn, Burke Village

I first met Candice this January. She was so positive and upbeat about the program. I was at the crossroads with both my fitness and parenthood. My little one was finally ready to get out more and I was ready to get off the couch and get moving again. I’ve never been the kind of person that’s been into group fitness but I was immediately put at ease by Candice during my first class. Candice is upbeat, hilarious, supportive, encouraging, and relatable. She strikes the perfect balance between getting me to work hard in class and being understanding when it’s not my morning. She’s just thrilled to see me! I can’t thank Candice enough for being there to help cheer me on. She’s helped me achieve fitness goals that I’ve never thought possible. Fit4Mom has changed my life in such a positive way and I have Candice to thank for bringing me into the fold. She’s the best!

~Alix Freeze, Burke Village

Read on to get to know more about Candice and her time with FIT4MOM LSBWK NoVa.

1. Who are the members of your family?

The Agustin family consists of two beautiful girls names Aurora (age 9), Anila (age 2) my handsome hubby Pete and ME!

2. Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in NoVa?

I am originally from Raleigh, NC but have lived in Fairfax, Va for almost 7 years!

3. Where do you typically teach?

You can find me teaching and participating at our lovely Burke locations! Abiding Presence Church and Burke Lake Park.

4. Tell us your story about how/why you became an instructor for Fit4Mom LSBWK NoVa.

I decided to take the plunge and become a Stroller Strides/ Stroller Barre instructor, August 2017 after almost a year and a half after joining FIT4MOM classes! I was nervous but excited to take my passion for fitness up a notch and I am so glad I did! You Mamas and Babes are my EVERYTHING!

5. What is your favorite thing to teach?

My favorite class to teach would be Stroller Strides! I absolutely love creating fun but challenging workout routines to suit every stage of Motherhood.

6. What is the BEST thing about being an instructor?

It is my passion to lead and watch women come together and take care of themselves both mentally and physically. They are my daily inspiration!

7. What is your WHY? Why do you keep doing what you do?

I can't thank my FIT4MOM family enough for giving me the resources and opportunity to keep doing what I love to do.

8. What is one of your current wellness goals?

Balancing a healthy nutritional lifestyle. Big shout out to the Body Back team and program for guiding me! LIFE CHANGING!

9. What is a fun fact that many may not know about you?

I've shared this fact with some but I am pretty proud of losing almost 80lbs since having my second daughter in Jan. 2016. Thank goodness for one little Facebook Ad about FIT4MOM LSBKW group fitness. I fit in one hour for myself every morning, 5 days a week and two years and many new best friends later, I have the body I have worked so hard to achieve!

10. Anything else you'd like Our Village to know?

I appreciate every single team mate, mama friend and baby friend. I just really want to say THANK YOU again. The acceptance and love that my children and myself receive since day one brings me to tears. I am who I am because of this Village. #squadgoals! Love you all!

Candice, thank you so much for your dedication to our moms! Your energy and enthusiasm keeps us coming back for more!

Check back in June for our next team member spotlight.

#teammemberspotlight #May2018spotlight #ourinstructorsrock #weightloss #hiitworks #highenergy #ilovestrollerstrides #themotherhoodisreal#parentingishard #motherhood #FIT4MOMfriends #strengthinmotherhood #ourvillageisyourvillage#Fit4MomLSBWKNoVa #FIT4MOM #postnatalfitness #postnatalcare #strollerstrides#strollerbarre #runclub #bodyback #feelinggood#beingstrong

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As a mother of 6 months old twin boys, the answer is YES……my hands are completely full. However, I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. These two baby boys are the “life” sized lemonade I made with the big fat lemon life threw me. In 1997 I met, and married, my life time mate. Or so I thought. After 14 years of marriage and 3 amazing kids, my husband Capt. Nathan Nylander was killed in action while deployed to Afghanistan. My whole world, as I knew it, came crashing down around me. All the plans we had, gone. All the time we expected, gone. I was left with nothing but my thoughts and memories along with all the goodbyes and “I love you” I took for granted. At that moment I knew my life was going to be different, but I never imagined it for what it is now. The lemon in our lives seemed too mighty to squeeze. Everyday I lived on and made it through for my children. My pain and agony had no place on my face. I could only force myself to smile, and show my children that life must go on. It had to or what was the point of living.

Soon after Nathan’s death, I found myself in a relationship that in a million years I would never have thought I’d be in. This guy was too young, too soon, too close. Everything you can convince yourself was wrong with the relationship I tried on myself. Blake knew and worked with Nathan, and to him, it was a sense of obligation that brought him to us, but a blessing from God that he stayed. My children and I were in a dark world, but Blake’s persistent presence every day kept us going. My eldest at the time was only 12. As you can imagine, losing your dad at that age was devastating. My son sank into a deep and dangerous depression. My daughter, 9 at the time, cried herself to sleep every night clinging to anything that was her dads to get that last scent, that last feeling of closeness. As for my youngest, he resorted to self-blame. How do you tell a 7-year-old, his daddy’s death is not his fault without breaking down? My heart hurt for my children. As moms you all know that feeling. Your newly walking baby falls and hurts himself and you run in to swoop him up and comfort him. Your heart breaks to see them cry in pain. Or your 5 year comes in with a bad scrape from falling on the swings and mom comes to the rescue with a kiss and band aid. For my kids, at that moment, their biggest “band aid” was Blake. He comforted them and lifted their spirits in a way that only someone with a truly huge heart could. How could I not fall for the man who saved my children? That’s when I began I peel that sour fruit that was a nuisance in our lives.

After 4 years of marriage, Blake got the baby bug. Why wouldn’t he? He was 13 years younger than I and at a stage in life where most of his peers and men around him were becoming new dads. Only problem was, I physically could not have anymore kids. In 2007, I had to endure a full hysterectomy. Adopting was an option, but I really wanted my husband to experience the feeling of having his own, biological children. That’s when the idea of surrogacy came into our lives. Although, our babies would not be biological to me, I had no objections to raising his kids, seeing how for all this time he was helping me raise mine as his own. In 2016 we began our journey using an agency in Canada, but the whole process was abroad in Ukraine. In October 2017, our boys, Russell and Connor were born at 37 weeks via c-section. Completely perfect, healthy and loved. At 44, I was a mom again to not just one, but two babies. Not what I thought I’d be doing at my age, but this time it was different for me. This time I was going to be present all the way. By then my older 3 were, 18, 15 and 13 and I already knew how quickly time will pass.

After our loss, my perspective in life is completely different and my everyday ways of life are not so much focused on the motions we all go through. Now I focus on the bigger picture, the what ifs, the would haves, and should haves. I no longer allow them to haunt me. Whatever my kids or husband want to do or share in, at the moment, becomes my top priority. For years, I spent too much time worrying about petty things - was the house picked up, were dishes all done, was the laundry basket empty. Time I took away from precious little moments I should have been paying more attention to. No more. The time to be a mom is now. The time to be involved and focused is now. Believe me in 18 years, and I promise they will come fast, you will have all the time you will want or need to keep house or run errands, etc. When my boys fuss because they want to roll around a while or take a stroll around, I stop everything and do it. When my daughter says, “Hey mom, lets go to mall,” just because, or my 14-year-old wants a new game at Game Stop, I am ready and out the door. The times my eldest takes the time to call his mommy from college (usually because he needs money, but who cares), I am completely his for that moment. There is no chore, no meal, no dirty clothes, or unmade bed that will take me away from these moments. I know this will sound very cliché, but take it from someone who has squeezed that lemon juice and sweetened it up, “tomorrow can not guarantee what you have today”. Live every minute. Kiss those babies whenever you can or want, whether they are 6 months or 19 years old. Tell them you love them. But most importantly of all, don’t miss a single minute of it. Live every day as if it was your last, so that in the end you can look back without regret and without remorse for what passed you by. Every day, I drink my lemonade with joy and happiness enjoying every sip.

#inthelineofduty #lifethrowsyoulemons #thankyouforyourservice #theultimatesacrifice #mommingsohard #strongmom #determinedmom #bestfriends #whatwedoforourchildren #bestmomaward #hardtimes #support #drinkthelemonade #choosetobehappy

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It’s the most wonderful time of year! This month is all about YOU mama! We are kicking it off with a few Mother’s Day craft ideas from our wonderful Playgroup Captains! We also have 2 new Playgroup Captains to introduce to you!

Introducing Mandy Welch, Springfield Playgroup Captain

Let’s meet Mandy!

Mandy is mom to 6 month old Natalie.

“I have been a member since November 2017. I love fit4mom because it makes you feel not so alone in the journey of motherhood. You realize you’re not the first person to go through it and definitely not the last. The other moms come along side you and help in every situation. I am so excited to be PGC to share my creativity with others and celebrate life’s special moments such as birthdays and baby showers. I want to help create special memories for mothers and their children.”

Mother’s Day Craft Idea - Hand and Foot Print Sign - http://www.inspirationalmomma.com/diy-love-hand-foot-print-sign/

Introducing Brittany Meyers, Lee District Park Playgroup Captain

Let’s Meet Brittany!

Brittany is mom to Tyler (9 years old) and Makenzie (2 years old).

“I have been a part of Fit4Mom since November 2017. I love that it is so much more than a workout class. It’s like a family. I am excited to help children have fun while learning new things.”

Mother’s Day Craft Idea - Shrink a Dink Handprints - https://www.thebestideasforkids.com/shrinky-dink-footprint-keychain/

Reba Poskey, Woodbridge Playgroup Captain

Reba is mom to Anastasia (1.5 years old).

Mother’s Day Craft Idea - Handprint Sun Catcher - https://www.thebestideasforkids.com/handprint-suncatcher/

Jenny Bezos, Burke Playgroup Captain

Jenny is mom to Arwen (5 years old) and Lorelai (2.5 years old).

Mother’s Day Craft Idea - Clay Jewelry Holder - https://mycreativedays.porch.com/homemade-mothers-day-gift/

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Week 2: Be Fearless

Hey mommas! Whew – week 2, am I right? Let me tell you that it was tough…a busy week at work, a weekend out of town, a wedding and much too much champagne. My food journal this week had lots of red on it this morning once Coach Becky took her pen to it. I did a particularly poor job at journaling my snacks and I was up two pounds at weigh-ins last week. I always think, “I’ll jot this down later” and lo and behold…later never happens. But, despite falling off the bandwagon slightly, I will give myself a pat on the back for 1. Making it to two BB workouts and 2. Getting in a family workout on an off day. And when I say family, I mean the whole family. It was a sight. My husband hopped onboard the afternoon workout train, which he never does, my toddler was attempting to do lunges and pushups while hanging on my back and the baby was toddling around wanting me to pick her up in between movements. It was a raucous sight for about 28 minutes, but you know what? We got it in. And it was actually kind of fun and I wish I had taken a selfie. J

So, this week’s theme was: Be Fearless. And as we pushed through workouts and as I {not so frequently} journaled my food and thoughts, the act of being fearless was constantly on my mind. When I was much younger, I ran marathons, drove billion dollar warships, and gallivanted through foreign countries without a care in the world. And I’m sure you’ve been fearless in different ways in your pre-mama life too. I’ve always thought these things and this type of lifestyle were benchmark aspects of be young and fearless. And I remember, after I had my son, thinking I wanted to get back to that fearlessness and being a bad ass because in a way, I felt like motherhood made me more cautious and reserved. And in some instances, it has. But in fact, the reality is that moms are some of the most fearless women I know.

Because, as women and mothers, there are so, so many ways we are fearless without even knowing it. Fearless in the fact that we get up and face the day with our babies {no matter their age} and take what comes at us. Ear infection? We’ve got this. Taking two kids under the age of two to the grocery store? It’s handled. Managing getting to work on time, working a full day, only to get home and get kids to soccer, piano and gymnastics? Done, done and done.

Fearlessness isn’t necessarily about what we’re doing, but rather the fire driving us to go a little bit further, to put aside a fear and embrace an element of the unknown. Sure, diving off a cliff or jumping out of an airplane require certain amounts of fearlessness. But being fearless also means that we take on challenges and do what needs to get done for our kids, our families and ourselves. And YOU momma! You are fearless because you’re getting your workouts in, tracking your nutrition and taking this time for yourself. So keep rockin’ on momma and let’s all roll to week 3! Here’s hoping I can channel some fearlessness and get back on the nutrition train ;-)

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How Lucky We Are to Have Someone that Makes Saying Goodbye So Hard

"Today we bid our Springfield/Kingsotwne Playgroup Captain Miss Jen Gerlach farewell from the team and from the NoVa area. She and her family are headed to PAX River MD to their new duty station. Thank you for all you have done for our village of moms and babes. It has been an absolute pleasure having you on our team - best wishes on your new adventures. Friends for life!"

~Shannon Link, Franchise owner

“Jen Gerlach will forever be at the top of the amazing moms that first come to mind when thinking of our life-changing Fit4Mom village in NoVa. When I initially began the Stroller Strides workouts, I was shy and questioning if I could physically even complete the exercises. Then Jen gave me a supportive cheer and high-five after a particularly challenging exercise and made an effort to chat with me after the class. Those chats have now evolved into playdates and a lifelong friendship. Jen will forever hold a special place in my heart for showing me what amazing Mamas there are that make up Our Village!”

-Stephanie Hoff Curl, Springfield Village Stroller Strides Mama

“Jen ahs been a great support, especially for someone like me who is a new instructor. She’s always enthusiastic and willing to help, whether it’s to entertain the kiddos or reach out to a new mama that’s passing by. Playgroups were always well-planned and geared for all ages. She will be greatly missed!”

-Katie Taves, Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre Instructor

“Where do I even begin?! Jen, you are going to be missed by everyone in our community. Your willingness to help every mom in our village is going to be hard to replace. You have become such a friend and we will miss you, John, and Clara. We wish you well on your next adventure!”

-Sarah Recker, Springfield Village Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre Mama

“Jen was one of many mamas I met on my first day at Stroller Strides. I’ll never forget how kind and welcoming she was. At a time where I felt very alone, she made the feeling go away in just the few minutes I was able to talk to her. She has a kind soul, can talk to everyone and can make anyone feel welcomed! She also implemented that welcoming feeling when she was our Playgroup Captain by having creative crafts and treats that included all the littles - yes, even those babies! Thank you Jen for helping our community in making all the moms feel welcomed. I know I am going to miss seeing you, John, and Clara every week!”

-Brittnay Watson, Springfield Village Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre Mama

A Message from Jen to Our Village

“When I had my first class with Fit4Mom, I had no idea that a village was what I was missing. I had bee to other groups and met other moms, but nothing was clicking. Either I felt judged, out of place, or our kiddos didn’t get along. But then I had my first class and that was it. My husband even mentioned seeing a difference in my demeanor when I joined. I instantly found support, friendship, and felt like I could connect and be myself. The workouts keep me feeling strong, get us out of the house, and I’m constantly connecting with a new mom. We have a move coming up and it’s going to be a tough one for us all…we have made some amazing friends. Luckliy, we won’t be too far so we can get some visits in here and there. I will never forget this amazing village of momma’s and I am so thankful for you all! Off to another adventure, see you lovelies later! Keep in touch! XO”

~Jen Gerlach, Playgroup Captain in Springfield and Kingstowne

#FIT4MOM #themotherhoodisreal #strengthinmotherhood #Fit4MomLSBWKNoVa #ourvillageisyourvillage #strollerstrides #strollerbarre #farewell #goodluck #seeyoulater #thankyou #playgroupcaptains #playgroups #freeplaygroup #communitybuilder #community #moms #momsoftoddlers #toddlercrafts #keepingkidsentertained #springfieldmoms #kingstownmoms #ourteamisamazing