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I was sitting at a table at a favorite local brewery, enjoying a beer, talking with friends, and watching my 2.5-year-old son climb up the stairs and go down the slide over and over again on the playground. It was a beautiful fall day—just the right temperature and the sun was shining. At one point, my son wanted to play with stickers. He came over to me, retrieved a sheet of stickers, and went back to playing on the playground. He then proceeded to share his stickers with the other kids on the playground and the other moms, who were helping their children navigate the stairs and slides. My son was striking up conversations with the kids, the parents, and even occasionally asking for help from the closest mom to get off the slide. Over and over again, other moms comment to me on how sweet and friendly my son is. I take pride in this. I’ve worked hard to teach him that it’s always best to be nice, share, and take turns. His father and I remind him to say “please” and “thank you”, which he often does now without reminding.

This sounds pretty picturesque, right? You would think that I was sitting content and enjoying the situation—weather, friends, drink in hand, and well-behaved kid running his energy out. What parent doesn’t want a friendly kid, quick to share with good manners?

But instead, I sat there filled with anxiety. I can’t tell you what I discussed with my friends and husband that day. My mind was completely occupied with the thought that if I turned my back for one minute, my son would easily walk off with a complete stranger who offered him candy or ice cream or stickers. On another occasion, when I dropped him off for a date night at a local kid’s entertainment venue, he showed shockingly little hesitation in acclimating to the new environment, adults, and children. It didn’t matter that he’d never been there before.

How do I teach my son that it’s not okay to go anywhere with a stranger without talking to Mom or Dad first? More importantly, how do I teach him this without scaring him? Or erasing his innocence? I love that he’s so friendly and willing to share, I’d hate to do anything to ruin that.

I do remember bringing this up to my friends at one point on that day at the brewery. One responded, “Why do you have to teach them stranger danger? Kidnapping is not that common, but maybe my viewpoint will change when I have a kid.” Yes, it may not be extremely common—I may be more likely to get in a car accident—but I also remember several news articles about kidnapping or attempts within the Northern Virginia area in the past year. If this were to happen to me and my son, I struggle to imagine how I could recover from it. So if there’s a chance, and there’s anything I can do to help prevent it, you better believe I’m going to do it.

These questions quickly became an obsession of mine, growing into constant anxiety and worry. It’s something I bring up with my therapist who I am seeing to manage post-partum/pregnancy-related anxiety (On a side note, these sessions have been very helpful. PP Anxiety is a thing just like PP Depression. I encourage you to talk to someone if you think this may affect you). And I mean it when I call it an obsession. It plagued my dreams and distracted me whenever I was in public with my son.

Instead of looking at it and teaching it as “stranger danger”, I chose to pursue a “stranger awareness” tactic. My son is only 2.5 so still pretty young to understand many things. I decided to start by asking my son general questions following interactions with a stranger, usually centered around if he’d take something from them or go somewhere with them. For example, he engages in conversation with the cashier at checkout at the grocery store. Upon leaving, I ask him, “If that lady, the cashier, offered you candy, would you take it?” Not surprising, he usually says yes. My response is simply “I know you like candy and want candy. But remember, we don’t take things from people we don’t know without asking Mommy or Daddy first if it’s ok. We always ask Mommy and Daddy first.” In another case, after playing with the neighbor girl who is about 10, I may ask “Would you go over to her house and play with her?” Again, he usually says yes and I remind him “We don’t go places with other people without asking Mommy or Daddy first.” It doesn’t address the potential “dangerous” aspects, but it starts to reinforce asking our permission in an appropriate way for his age.

We have a long road ahead of us, but it’s a start, and it makes me feel less anxious. And importantly, I’m not crushing his spirit and friendliness in the process. I don’t have all of the answers and am always open to suggestions on how to address these complicated issues. But in case there is anyone else just starting on this path, know you’re not alone, the anxiety is real, and we can do this.

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"We love going to Candice’s classes! As soon as I tell my toddler we’re going to stroller strides she yells, “See Miss Candice!” and usually gives her a hug when we arrive too. Candice always brings tons of energy to her classes. I can count on a great workout, unique and seasonal songs, and maybe some extra dance moves thrown in too. She makes everyone feel comfortable and it’s easy to tell she loves what she does." – Rebecca Carlson, Burke Village Mama

"Candice is another of our Burke treasures! She thrives on making our mamas work and building our community. Even before she was an instructor, she was already the girl who worked hard at class and still had energy left over to cheer on and motivate the rest of us. I was so excited when she decided to join the team. She makes every class fun for moms and the kiddos. Everywhere we go, people oughta know—we love you, Candice!” – Jenny Bezos, Burke PGC

"Candice is kind, positive, and absolutely captivating. In fact, I'm pretty sure I do fit4mom just to hang out with her. She can turn anything into a song, whip your booty into shape, and soothe your baby at the same time. I feel so lucky to have unknowingly walked into one of her free classes two years ago. I can't imagine motherhood without her." – Sara Friedman, Burke Village Mama

1. Who are the members of your family

The Agustin family consists of my Hubby Pete, myself, Aurora (11), Anila (3), & Prinny the cat.

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

I am originally from Cary, NC and have been a VA resident for 7 years. Took some adjusting but I really feel at home now :)

3. Where do you typically teach?

My Fit4mom home base location is Burke Lake Park and Abiding Presence Church also in Burke. I really enjoy working out when I’m not teaching so you can usually find me floating around Springfield Mall, Lorton Link Family Fitness Studio & Potomac Mills Mall

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

I stumbled across Fit4mom-LSBWK through Facebook, after many years of searching for a moms group that did more than drink wine @ 10am (which also doesn’t sound like a bad idea but not what I needed at the time ;) Tried the free trial class at Springfield Mall and instantly fell in love with the exercise and community. Our Village Momma Bear Shannon, noticed how head over heels I was about joining classes and finding success in my wellness journey, she asked me to join the team and after some anxiety wondering if I could actually hang with the awesome instructors, I took the leap of faith and said yes! I couldn’t resist the chance to share the fit4mom mission with #allthemoms. I love my job! <3

5. What is your favorite thing to teach?

My FAVORITE program to teach is Stroller Strides for a couple of reasons. First is - I LOVE CHILDREN! I think they are the most precious thing life has to offer and I love spending time with the babies and the big kids! I love to watch them learn and grow! Second, I love to sing and be silly. Stroller Strides keeps me feeling feisty & young! And last, the full-body exercises have truly strengthened me and helped me get into the best shape of my life and I love sharing my fitness knowledge with other women through their own fitness journeys. Secretly, I would love to one day get certified in Body Back because I LOVE HIIT!

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

The best thing about being an instructor is forming the bonds with #allthemoms. Motherhood is real and it’s real tough. Fit4mom instructors are a special kind of people. We understand what the postnatal body needs and how it feels to balance womanhood, work-life, stay at home life, parenthood, married life, stress and wellness all bundled into one body because we’re there too. We get it! I truly feel like my life purpose outside of motherhood is relating, strengthening and uplifting all women. You can’t find this at a gym or on a DVD.

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

I keep going simply because I NEED THIS. Moms come to us because they need support, motivation, friendships, strength to get through motherhood. I stay because I need them just as much for the same reasons.

8. What is one of your current wellness goals?

My current wellness goal at the moment is cutting out caffeine ( so far so good, I haven’t had a soda/coffee, etc in 3 months and I’m loving how I feel! ) and taking more time to do the things I love. Like doing NOTHING sometimes! LOL

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

Fun fact about me - I’m a wild girl at heart! I love to go dancing, try new experiences and be spontaneous! Who wants to go get a tattoo?! Right now?! Hehe!

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

Something I would like to share with our village is never, EVER, be afraid to share your story. Our community is packed with women who are understanding, non-judgmental, supportive, beautiful-hearted people. I used to keep inside things about motherhood, married life, my personal life, all bottled up because I didn’t want to bother people with my dramas. Meeting you amazing people over 3 years ago has truly made me feel secure with who I am because of the support and love that you continue to give no matter what I have to bring to the table. I love you all so much from the bottom of my heart for always listening when I’m feeling a hot mess and hugging me when I’m feeling down. Thank you for having me Fit4mom fam. Love you!

#fit4momlsbwknova #instructorspotlight #welovecandice #wildatheart #

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"Lauren is a Fit4mom OG! I’ve been attending classes with Lauren for the past 3 years and it has been such a pleasure to get to know her and her family. I always love to laugh, chat about our crazy little people and get strong with her! She gives nothing less then 100% of her best effort every class and makes new mamas feel welcome into our village with her amazing smile and personality. Lauren is one special lady and we are so lucky to have her with Fit4mom." – Candice Agustin, Stroller Strides instructor

"Lauren Nguyen was a mama with whom I really felt a connection with early on in my Fit4Mom journey. She has a calm and warm demeanor that immediately makes me feel like everything is going to be ok, no matter what kind of day I'm having. She's realistic and respectful when discussing all aspects of motherhood, sharing her own experiences and always willing to listen and sympathize with my struggles. Lauren and her kids are such a special part of our Burke village, and I feel so fortunate to know her." – Abbe Minor, Leads Manager and Burke Mama

"Lauren's warm smile and calm demeanor are a-maz-ing! I love how dedicated she is to attending class and setting a great example for her littles! You rock Lauren!" – Joy Robb, Stroller Barre Instructor

1. Who are the members of your family and where are you originally from?

My family consists of my husband, Hoang, and kids, Madelyn (3) and Joseph (1). I am originally from New York, but have lived in Northern VA for most of my life.

2. When was your first Fit4Mom class and what do you remember about it?

I first attended a Stroller Strides class in 2016 when my oldest was less than a year. I don't remember much from that time period because she didn't sleep (ever) and neither did I, but I do remember that she cried most of the class (because she hated strollers, car seats, life...) and I was ready to just give up and leave early, but the instructor took her out of the stroller and held her while she taught so that I could work out.

3. Where can we find you? What is your Fit4Mom routine these days?

I attend classes at the Burke location.

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

My current job is keeping these kids alive on a daily basis, and attempting to help them to become kind human beings. Pre-kids, I used to teach students with severe emotional and behavioral disabilities. Raising toddlers is way harder.

5. What are 3 of your favorite things?

Chocolate, music, and sleep.

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

I've dreamed about this answer: I'd scrub and organize my house from top to bottom without little people undoing it all behind me, get through a portion of my untouched to-do list in quiet, and eat alone, sitting down, without having to share.

7. What has being a mom taught you?

That my heart now lives outside of my body, and that this makes life way more beautiful and way more terrifying.

8. What is your funniest or most embarrassing mommy moment so far?

Probably anytime that someone (too frequently) stops me in a store, restaurant, school, church, etc., and tells me that they recognize us from <take your pick: a store, restaurant, school, church, etc.>, and then tells me how cute my kids are and how they are exhausted just watching me parent them.

9. Any words of wisdom for other moms?

Be gentle with yourself and with your kids, and learn to forgive (both yourself and your family members) the way that toddlers are able to forgive-- unconditionally and immediately.

10. What is your favorite thing about FIT4MOM? What would you tell someone thinking about joining?

FIT4MOM is a great place to get a good workout when you want to have your kids with you, but it has also been a place where I've been able to ask all of my questions of moms with kids the same ages, where I know I can come when we're having a hard morning at home and my kids will be safe and happy, and I can get some much needed adult conversation. It has given us routine and predictability, and great relationships (for both me and my kids).

#fit4momlsbwknova #motivatingmom #strollerstrides #strollerbarre

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The temperatures are dropping and the crisp chill in the air is the best time to start experimenting with different chili recipes! Chili is healthy, versatile, and easy to throw in a crockpot or instant pot all fall and winter long. It can be made with beef, chicken, or vegetarian, Spicy, sweet, or a little of both. The possibilities are endless!! And, it freezes well!

A few of our tried and true favorite recipes:

https://happymoneysaver.com/darn-good-chili-recipe/

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/268082/instant-pot-white-chicken-chili-freezer-pack/

Chili serving suggestions:

Top with cheese, cornbread, and sour cream. Or put on top of a baked potato, sweet potato, or mashed cauliflower. Serve with a side salad to round out a yummy meal!

#chili #freezermealofthemonth #fit4momlsbwknova #monthlyrecipe

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"Aneta is one of the strongest women I have ever met. She gives no less than 100% when she’s in class. During our stroller based classes, she makes mothering Victoria look so easy - she has it under control. Time for her and fun for her baby. I love it when Aneta tells stories of her motherland - Poland. We sort of have a kinship due to our European backgrounds - it’s great to connect in that way. I’ll always remember the day I met her and her precious NEW family in Occoquan. Yes, I’m a stalker of babies and moms - actually I think I approached her husband John first (outside of a coffee shop!) and he was enamored with our program and was excited to see Aneta gain friendships through motherhood. Aneta - THANK YOU for being such an inspiration to others around you - let the light continue to shine!" - Shannon Link, Franchise Owner

"Aneta is one strong mom!! She works so hard in every class she comes too. She has motivated a lot of moms, and including me!!" - Missy Greely, Stroller Strides and Body Back Instructor

" I love Aneta's energy and smile in every class she comes to (and she comes to a lot)! Our littles are a few weeks apart and it's been a blast getting to know them both. Plus her plank time is impressive!" - Joy Robb, Stroller Barre and Body Ignite Instructor

Who are the members of your family and where are you originally from?

My husband John and our baby girl Victoria 22-month-old. I am originally from Warsaw, Poland. I visited the USA for the first time in 2005, and moved here in 2007. I lived in Maryland, prior to moving to Virginia for work in 2016.

When was your first Fit4Mom class and what do you remember about it?

If I’m remembering correctly, my first class was in February 2018. My husband came for support (it was a weekend family friendly class). I didn't know what to expect, I just showed up for the free class. After the class my first thought was that the Moms really worked out hard. I could feel my muscles were burning...I liked it and I signed up!

Where can we find you? What is your Fit4Mom routine these days?

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, you can find me at the BB class in the Lorton studio, on Fridays I try to attend the playgroup at the Potomac Mills (sometimes I join STC). I love S360 classes. If my schedule allows me I drop in on Mondays, and sometimes on Saturdays.

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

Currently, I am a SAHM. Before that, I was worked as an HR manager.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

Working-out, drinking coffee, and making my daughter laugh.

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

Go on a date with my husband:)

What has being a mom taught you?

To be more patient, how to take 5-minute showers, and multitask in the kitchen.

What is your funniest or most embarrassing mommy moment so far?

I think the time when we were in the pool. The moment when I didn't catch her as she slid down. She slipped out of my hands and went straight under the water for a few seconds. I got scared, but when I took her out she was fine and surprisingly happy asking for more! I guess I can say thanks to swim lessons:)

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

Don't forget about yourself...go work out, meet with your friends, reset:)

What is your favorite thing about FIT4MOM? What would you tell someone thinking about joining?

It’s a great opportunity to make yourself get out of the house and to be around other moms. I love the fact that Fit4Mom allows you to work out with your kids. They offer such a variety of classes for your body and mind, and awesome events/field trips. I am always discovering fun stuff to do, or places to go thanks to our village! Not to mention the BB Transformation Program...I got my body BACK:)

I am so happy that Shannon found me because I don't know if my motherhood would look the same without Fit4Mom. You need to try it!

#Fit4Mom #motivatingMOMofthemonth #bodyback #strollerstrides

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We talk about breastfeeding, the soreness and bleeding nipples, when our kids are constipated, their tantrums, the laundry list of what’s leftover after pregnancy like incontinence, stretch marks, varicose veins, bigger feet. You name it, we talk to our mom friends about it. We talk about the struggles to get pregnant, being in labor for 36 hours, having an emergency caesarian. Everyone has a different story and each of their stories is special. But why don’t we talk more about our losses? Miscarriage is as common as most anything else we discuss when it comes to motherhood. Around 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, this number would be higher except some are so early, many women mistake it for their period. I get it, some people don’t want to talk about it. Just the thought of it hurts, whether you’ve experienced it or not. Sometimes though, you may want to know you are not alone. Just like everything else motherhood brings our way, there are others there with you.

It’s been just over a year since we started our journey for #2. But before I go into that, some background. We tried for two years to get pregnant before we finally did fertility testing and found out we had a minor fertility issue. We met with a doctor at a fertility clinic to discuss our options and found that an IUI procedure could work for us, less invasive and less expensive than IVF. Sign us up! No luck on the first cycle, but on April 25th of 2017 I found out I was pregnant after the second cycle. How lucky were we that after only 2 tries, it worked! I had a pretty seamless pregnancy all things considered. I went to the hospital 4 days before my due date with a migraine and spiked blood pressure, turns out I developed preeclampsia and my little man was born on New Year’s Day via c-section. He’s been the absolute best thing I’ve ever done, ups and downs sure, but the most happy and healthy little boy. Fast forward and just like many others we get into a groove, we’re so blessed to have such an awesome little boy, it’s time to shake things up and start trying for #2! Back to the fertility clinic we go, we opt for doing the IUI route again, why wouldn’t we?! Of course, I haven’t gone into that process, because well looking back to the first time, it seemed so simple. Unfortunately, this time it was not. I mentioned IUI is a less expensive procedure, but that does not mean it’s free. Insurance does not cover any of it and the meds are what really get you! Injecting myself countless times with the fertility meds, the ups and downs of the additional hormones running through you. Not to mention the constant monitoring, going into the clinic almost every other day for bloodwork and ultrasound so at that perfect time, we do the procedure and then we wait an excruciating 15 days for the blood test to find out if it worked. So incredibly grateful for my good friend that would watch D during these countless appointments, not to mention having someone to confide in and with this whole process. It’s not easy, we wanted another baby though so it was worth it.

August/September 2018 we start our first cycle, shots every night, bloodwork/ultrasound every couple days until the timing is right and we have our IUI done. Two days before I’m scheduled to go in for the pregnancy test, I get my period. They have to be thorough though and I still go in for the blood test, they call that afternoon, I’m pregnant! What, but I’m bleeding? Sometimes that happens early on they say, we’ll keep monitoring to make sure your HCG level continues to rise as it should. But the bleeding doesn’t stop and after a couple more tests, it’s determined it was a chemical pregnancy. Such a cold, technical term for an early miscarriage, as if that term makes it hurt any less. You haven’t built a bond yet, but it still makes you feel like your body failed you, at least that’s how I felt. Why didn’t my body do what it’s supposed to do? Age counts, at 37 my egg supply is not what it used to be. On the positive side, the procedure did work so that’s at least good. Time is against us, no use in waiting, let’s gear up for round two. Higher dose of meds this time, fertility shots every day, go into the clinic for bloodwork and monitoring almost every other day. Hormones are running wild and I’m just trying to stay sane. This is a 365 day a year business, our bodies don’t take days off so on Christmas Eve I go in for the pregnancy test and patiently await the results. They call that afternoon, pregnant! No better Christmas present than that! Fertility clinics continue to monitor you the first few weeks to ensure everything looks good before graduating you to your own OBGYN. At our 6-week appointment, you can see the teeny tiny little heart beating, but the doctor looks worried. The placenta is larger than it should be at this stage, but he doesn’t want to jump to conclusions yet, it’s still so early, let’s come back in 2 weeks and take another look. I feel great, just like did with my first pregnancy, no morning sickness, more tired, but I’m also chasing around a one year old this time around. We go to our next appointment and there’s no heartbeat…. They can somehow tell it’s been recent, ‘have you felt any different?’ I’m sorry, what?? Should I feel different? Should I have known something was wrong? Should I have felt it when my baby’s heart stopped beating? Such a ridiculous question, right? You never feel the heartbeat even with a full-term pregnancy. But these are the places your mind goes. Should I have known something was wrong? Was it something I did? All these thoughts constantly running through your mind, should I have done this, what if I hadn’t done that. Your rational side telling you that you’re being silly, it wasn’t your fault, you did everything right. But the irrational side always wins in these situations, always… The sonogram they gave me at the 6-week appointment still sits in my nightstand drawer. I know it’s probably not good to keep it, but I don’t feel like I can throw it away either.

Again, I thank God for good friends. I’m so grateful to have had a friend who knew what I was going through, who knew exactly what to say and what to do. I’m also so very sad that I had a friend that knew what I was going through. I could not have gotten through this without her and I hope she knows how much it meant to me.

Once again, my body wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do and I had to have a D&C scheduled. Not a pleasant experience at all, although I can’t imagine the pain of the alternative. However, a couple days of walking around knowing your baby no longer has a heartbeat inside of you is simply torture and I can’t stop crying. But I have a 1 year old and I can’t curl up in bed and let it all out like I want to. It’s in the shower, in the car, in the laundry room. We opted to have testing done to see if it will show a reason for the miscarriage and it did, additional chromosome 22 which is an abnormality = it wasn’t a good egg. As I’m sure most women know, you’re born with a certain amount of eggs and that’s all you get. Stands to reason, the older you get, the older the eggs get. Here come the thoughts again - maybe it’s not meant to be, everything happens for a reason, don’t be greedy, you have a perfect, healthy child already. I’m heartbroken. But it’s still not over. The fertility clinic still has to be thorough and I have to go back in shortly after the D&C for another blood test, just to be sure my levels go back down. I procrastinate on this, I don’t want to have to go for another pregnancy test, but I have to and I forget to let my nurse know that I had scheduled it. She didn’t know to put the orders in for what needed to be done. So there I am in the waiting room, barely keeping it together because I do not want to be there in the first place and the wait is getting ridiculous. Then a nurse comes in and asks what I’m there for, and I can barely keep it together enough to tell her that I’m there for a pregnancy test to make sure nothing is left behind after the D&C. How can this be happening? What did I do to be going through this?

My husband and I take a little break; we get away to clear our heads. After much back and forth, we decide one more try. We agreed at the beginning we’d go three rounds, let’s finish it out and what is meant to be, will be. Round three begins, start the shots, start the monitoring. Everything looks good, the procedure is done and now we wait those 15 excruciating days again. 13 days later, bleeding starts… But again, test is positive! They continue to monitor and my levels continue to rise as they should. But I know something is not right, unfortunately this is not my first time. After a few days the bleeding stops! Great, they were right, sometimes it just happens at the beginning. At our next appointment, they can see the gestational sac which is a good sign, it’s still very early. A few days later, more bleeding but only lasts a couple hours. As I mentioned earlier, this is a 365 day a year business so luckily, I was able to go in on a Sunday to make sure everything still looked good. They no longer see the gestational sac on the ultrasound… another miscarriage… that’s makes 3 in 7 months…

How do you process such heartache, how do you get rid of all the irrational thoughts, how do you stop the tears? You start with time, lots and lots of time. Thankful once again for that perfect little boy I am so lucky to have, thankful again for having a good friend to talk to who knows what to say and what not to.

Now we’re left with the unanswered questions. Are we ok with just one? Are we meant to be a family of 3? Will D ever get to be a big brother? Do we feel whole? It all takes such a toll – emotionally, mentally, physically and financially too.

It’s been almost 6 months since the last one and I write this now as it’s somehow therapeutic for me to. If you’re reading this and had to go through any of these experiences or ones of your own, you are not alone and it’s ok to talk about it if you want to. I’m sorry to all the women who have to go through any of these pains, sadly I guarantee a woman standing next to you has been there too, it’s terrible that so many of us have. Hopefully, you are stronger coming through it. Hopefully you have or will soon have your rainbow baby. Hopefully one day I will too.

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We have had SO many new team members join us over the past month or two! Our growing team means more classes and services for all of you! Learn a little about a few of our newest instructors, managers, and playgroup captains. Hopefully, you get to meet all of our awesome team members soon!

Abbe Minor, Leads Manager

1. Who are the members of your family? Me, my husband Kyle, our 2.5 year old Owen, 2 kitties, and our pup

2. Where did you come from before here? I grew up in New Jersey, went to college in Rochester, then moved to DC for work before settling in Burke.

3. How/Why did you become a member of the Fit4Mom team? Fit4Mom has been such a crucial presence during my motherhood journey. It was somewhere to go, then something to do, and now it's all about the "someones" we want to be around. I've been eager to get involved with the team in some capacity, since I believe in our mission so deeply. The timing and nature of the Client Relations Manager position feels like it will be a wonderful fit.

4. Where do you typically attend class? I'm usually at Burke!

5. Fun fact we may not know about you: My sport growing up, other than a couple of years of JV Volleyball, was dance. Starting at age 4, I've always been involved in some combination of tap, jazz, ballet, or lyrical...I also did some West African dance and Middle Eastern belly dancing!

Katherine Sadusky, Kids Yoga Instructor

1. Who are the members of your family? My husband, Rob, & I have two sweet girls. Clara Anne 2.5 yo (Jan 17) & Lillian Grace 9mo (Dec 18).

2. Where did you come from before here? We are a military family and were stationed in Ramstein, Germany. I absolutely loved it & hope to live there again!

3. How/Why did you become a member of the Fit4Mom team? Before having my youngest daughter I was an early childhood teacher ( PreK3 - Second grade). I heard about Kidding Around Yoga through Fit4Mom. I looked into becoming KAY certified & it seemed like the perfect way to share my passion of teaching with setting an example of a healthy lifestyle with children!!

4. What do you teach? Kids Yoga! Monday’s at 10:45am, come join me!!

5. Fun fact we may not know about you: I traveled to 20 countries in my twenties (17 in three years) & in my thirties, I hope to bring that number to 30!

Courtney Czerwinski, Woodbridge Playgroup Captain

1. Who are the members of your family? Me, Chris (hubby), Declan (1) and a little boy on the way.

2. Where did you come from before here? I am originally from Pittsburgh, PA

3. Where do you typically attend class? Potomac Mills Mall

4. Fun fact we may not know about you: Before I became a Stay at Home Mom, I used to teach Middle School

Bekah Johnson, Stroller Barre Instructor

1. Who are the members of your family? Me, Bekah, and Matt, married almost 6 years. Joshua is 3 and loves trucks, dinosaurs, and anything loud that crashes and bashes. Caleb is 17 months and loves climbing and throwing food everywhere

2. Where did you come from before here? We lived in Alexandria for almost 5 years prior to moving to Fairfax (near Burke) last year, but both my husband and I were born and raised in Minnesota.

3. How/Why did you become a member of the Fit4Mom team? I don't remember when I first thought of it, but even prior to having kids I thought I would try teaching fitness part-time while raising my family. I love being active and I really enjoy teaching. At this stage in my life I need the support of The Village, which is why I chose to teach with Fit4Mom verses a gym.

4. What do you teach? Stroller Barre! But I would like to gradually add other certifications. Maybe Zumba or Pound someday!

5. Fun fact we may not know about you: I love traveling and have an adventurous spirit.

Daisy Rincon, Kidding Around Yoga Instructor

1. Who are the members of your family? I’m Daisy, born and raised in California, mama of one little boy Morgan Jr., wife or Morgan.

2. Where did you come from before here? California

3. How/Why did you become a member of the Fit4Mom team? I became certified back in August and loved it ever since then! When I took my training, I never realized how much of an impact I would have on children. I became an instructor because I believe, that yoga help to balance body and mind, it is healing, nurturing and grounding as well. I also wanted help children and families to again more peacefulness.

4. What do you teach? Kidding Around Yoga

5. Fun fact we may not know about you: I play the guitar!

#newteammembers #growingteam #fit4momlsbwknova #fit4mom #moreclasses #allthemoms

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The temps are getting cooler, the smell of leaves are in the air, and it is time for all things fall and PUMPKIN!!

Move over PSL, there are a lot of healthier pumpkin options to help you get through October without overdoing it. Our weeks are busy and we don't always have time for all the fall baking we would like to do. But don't fret! We have a few options that can be prepped ahead of time, will check off your pumpkin box, and are good for you too!

Everyone loves a good energy ball. They are easy to make, easy to double (or triple), and great for taking on the go for a snack. Filled with tons of goodness, just a hint of sweetness, and all the pumpkin punch you need! Make these ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze! Two of our favorite recipes are Pinch of Yum Pumpkin Energy Bites and Two Peas and Their Pod Pumpkin Energy Balls.

Still looking for more pumpkin? Look no further! Another great make-ahead breakfast is overnight oats. There are SO many variations to this awesome breakfast recipe. Make a large batch on Sunday to last a few days. Top it off in the morning with your favorite berries and a few pecans, and you have a breakfast that tastes and smells like fall in a bowl. There are so many recipes out there, but here are a few tried and true. We love Ally's Cooking Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats and Everyday Meal Prep's Pumpkin Protein Overnight Oats.

All this talk about pumpkins is making me want something now. Too bad the weather feels a bit more like summer in Virginia this week. Next week looks cooler so be sure to add these to your menu for next week!

#pumpkin #healthyfallcooking #mealprep #overnightoats #makeaheadmeals

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"Erin is a pleasure to have in class. Most times she has all 3 of her boys with her and somehow manages to not only come to class but is on time or early! She’s a great participant in class and her boys are so well behaved. She makes this motherhood thing look easy!: – Candace Prabhaker, Instructor

"Erin comes to class with all 3 kids in tow which is pretty motivating for those of us that struggle with only 1 or 2. She always has a bright and outgoing personality that is encouraging." - Karlee Goeres, Instructor

"I love having Erin in class! She works hard and does something each week to get out and take care of herself, even with 3 boys! She is an awesome boy mom and exudes a sense of calm and patience. Thanks for showing me that 3 is not only possible, but you can also rock it!" - Jenna Parkhurst, Instructor

Who are the members of your family and where are you originally from?

My husband Cody and our three sons Jackson(4.5), Logan(almost 2.5), and Mason(8months). We have surprisingly always lived in Northern Virginia!

When was your first Fit4Mom class and what do you remember about it?

·My first fit4mom class was back in February once I was cleared from my doctor after Mason was born. I remember finally feeling like I had found other moms that I could easily talk to about anything. I couldn’t believe I had waited so many years to give it a shot!

Where can we find you? What is your Fit4Mom routine these days?

·You can find me at STC...I try to go M,W,F...and I am ready for our school routine to get back to normal so I can attend more often. I really love Barre!

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

·Before I became a stay at home mom, I did preschool administration work.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

Going to the beach, eating cookie dough, and sitting outside at night looking at the sky.

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

I’d love to go to a beach or lake and sit alone with a glass of wine and just relax! Not have to do any thinking!

What has being a mom taught you?

Being a mom has taught me to cherish all moments, even the littlest of things!

What is your funniest or most embarrassing mommy moment so far?

My most embarrassing mommy moment has been when I accidentally hit my son Jackson's head with the car door and had to take him for stitches. I felt terrible! But in my defense...he moved his head at the last second.

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

Relax, breathe deep, and have fun!

What is your favorite thing about FIT4MOM? What would you tell someone thinking about joining?

My favorite thing is the community of mamas! From the instructors to the other moms you can talk to anyone about anything judgment free! It’s wonderful! Even if you aren’t big into working out it’s something all moms need to give a shot!

#Fit4momlsbwknova #motivatingmomofthemonth #momofboys #momof3

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With their rapidly growing bodies and excess energy, kids need a lot more sleep than adults. A five-year-old, for example, needs between ten and 12 hours of sleep each night. Unfortunately, many parents struggle with getting their little ones to embrace bedtime and fall asleep on time.

If this is you, one thing you may want to include in your child's nighttime routine is giving them a healthy snack about an hour before they go to bed. Foods that contain tryptophan—an amino acid that can encourage drowsiness—make good choices. Turkey and chicken meat, bananas, light healthy carbohydrates such as popcorn or unsweetened cereal, and non-sweetened dairy foods can all help your child fall asleep.

There are several types of foods that should be avoided at bedtime, as they can have the opposite effect and keep your child awake. Here are five foods kids shouldn't eat at nighttime.

1. Sugary Foods and Drinks

Sweet foods before bed do not lead to sweet dreams. While research hasn't quite determined why sugar interferes with sleep, one theory is that the spike in blood sugar it causes disrupts our sleep hormones, affecting our ability to sleep and stay asleep through the night. Plus, sugar isn't good for teeth and contains empty calories. It's far better to give your child a small apple, banana, or a handful of grapes if they're craving something sweet at bedtime.

2. Caffeinated Foods

It goes without saying that any foods with caffeine shouldn't be consumed at bedtime, but they should also be avoided earlier in the day as well, as caffeine has a half-life of five to six hours (that's how long it takes the body to eliminate half the drug.) Its effects can linger on longer.

It isn't just found in soda, either. Hot cocoa, chocolate, and some types of ice cream can contain caffeine, so you may want to restrict these foods after dinner. Instead of serving chocolate cake after dinner, try making a healthy fruit-based dessert such as these grilled peaches with coconut nice-cream.

3. Spicy/Acidic Foods

Although children aren't as prone to heartburn like adults are, some spicy foods may cause discomfort and keep them awake. Acidic foods such as orange juice, pizza, and spaghetti sauce don't make suitable bedtime snack choices as your child may burp up the acid.

4. Fatty Foods

Fatty foods such as red and processed meat can make your child's digestive tract work harder, making it more difficult for them to sleep well. The high protein content in these foods can also interfere with sleep.

5. Cruciferous Vegetables

Yes, veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and cabbage contain antioxidants and other nutrients that are great for kids. But the high fiber content of these foods also tend to make them gassy and could keep your child up later. You may want to serve them only at lunch or in small portions at dinnertime to prevent them from interfering with sleep.

These Bedtime Food No-Nos Are Not Just For Kids

Although kids should avoid eating these types of foods to get quality shuteye, adults should stay clear of them as well. Know how much sleep you need and then create a bedtime routine for you and your child, so both of you will always feel your best and ready to take on the day together!

When you and your child have energy from a great night’s sleep, you can enjoy working out together. Check out our mom workout classes with Fit4Mom to find a fitness routine that is right for you.

#nutrition #foodstoavoide #bedtimeroutine #fitmoms #fit4momlsbwknova