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Blog

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Not long ago our family had to PCS again. Being a military mom makes some things more difficult. Most of us are forced to build support systems every three years. In my last duty station, I had a few good friends with kids, and thankful my family was close. Then we had to PCS again.

The fear and the wonder of what and how I will survive hit me immediately, especially being a mom of two little ones. I remember on my way to VA I was so worried to have friends again, and I was just overwhelmed. I remember when I arriveded in Alexandria one day I was sitting in the hotel room looking for things to do, with the worry of how to even start my life again. Somehow I ended up on the Fit4Mom lorton website. I can't remember how.

I looked at the schedule of the classes and I got so excited to see so many classes on the schedule. At the same time I felt a little intimidated with the idea of showing up to meet a bunch of moms. But with nothing to lose, I took the opportunity to join the group. Soon after I signed up I went to the first class in one of the malls. I immediately felt welcome. Thank god the same week they had the monthly meeting and I got to meet Shannon, a really kind woman (and friend now) who navigated me, and patiently answered all my questions about each class.

All of the moms made me feel so welcome which was something pretty new to me as it was the first time I was in a group. I met really nice women, just like me, who weren't afraid to share their lives and their family. Since then, everyday I am so thankful for this group of women who share the life of motherhood. I will be forever thankful to Shannon, and thankful for her kindness since our first meeting!

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Nikki Bennett is a stay-at-home-mom and wanna-be writer. You can follow her on twitter @theconstantmama and check out her blog by the same name on WordPress. She’s been with FIT4MOM since 2019.

Motherhood! It's wonderful, beautiful, amazing, and so fulfilling. It also hurts! Not just labor and delivery. Everyone knows that hurts. I'm saying momming hurts too. The actual day-to-day motherhood. I had no idea how achy and over-touched I would feel. ...or how stepped on, pushed, pulled, jumped onto, bumped into, head-butted, scratched and pinched I'd get. In general, the physical torment, that would be a natural (usually unintentional) by-product of daily interaction with my kids, was not something I expected or prepped for.

Everyone told me what pregnancy would be like and what to expect during delivery; I even took a class about how to manage the pain of childbirth. I talked for hours with friends, mentors, and health professionals about how to survive the aches and pains of pregnancy, manage the intensity of childbirth, and how to prepare for postpartum safety and recovery. But the thing no one warned me about is how much motherhood hurts! This may seem whiny but I think it is fair for us to indulge in a little whining now and again, Mamas. After all, we are patient with so much whining from our littles. We can whine a little too. Sorry-not-sorry! I digress, my point is: I wish I had known what was coming and how to cope with this new phase of life where I can't always control how I'll be touched. I am not just talking about the pain associated with breastfeeding (dear goodness, that could be another post entirely!) or how being a stay-at-home-mom means being around my kids all the time, which means more time getting bumped into and bashed and pulled on. I'm guessing this is to some extent universal and experienced by all mamas.

I think all mamas are going through extra physical strain and extra ouchy scenarios at a time when our bodies are hormonal and trying to heal. There's just so much that can add to the pain and strain: the holding them and rocking them; the lifting! it's non-stop; the dancing and singing with sign-language and choreographed movements; the crawling around with them; the always squatting!--to pick them up, to pick up their toys, to try not to further hurt your back as you lift something heavy... Oh, and here's a current favorite of my littlest one: the scratching! Is my 8-month-old sharpening her talons on the sides of the Pack N Play or something? Why is it that no matter how often I tend her nails by nightfall they can slice me open?! My chest looks like I've been mauled regularly by a kitten. And yes, I have tried mittens or socks on her hands, but then she won't nurse because she is trying to take them off! So I just let it happen because I feel defeated and I really, really, want to go to sleep too! And the threenager likes to head-butt all a sudden. I think my pelvic bone is bruised from a particularly violent head-butt that came out of nowhere when I thought we were having enough fun during our daily dance party. But apparently MMA was the new plan and that was her way of delivering the memo. And the 8-month-old has a helmet! so when she hit me hard in the ear the other day it hurt so bad I thought "it must be bleeding." And insult to injury: that was my good ear! The other one isn't up to par because she shrieked right into it when her sister did something apparently amazing and her vantage point right up by my ear was the perfect place to notice it and celebrate in the loudest way possible. She's also the loudest baby ever, I swear. Call Guinness Book, people.

There are so many little injuries from this kid: one morning after a shower, when she was about six months old, I discovered several vibrant-purple circular little bruises on my upper thighs and I panicked. I asked my husband, "Am I dying? What is this?" We talked it through and he suggested it was from the baby, not some strange, potentially-fatal thigh bruise disease I hadn't yet heard of. He made a lot of sense when he suggested they were from the baby learning to jump and stomp in my lap. She's so cute I didn't notice any pain but that had to be it: I realized she's just heavy, wicked strong, and I am pale. And also easily distracted by the pure joy of her giggles.

All this is to process and acknowledge the most unexpected effect of motherhood on me: I ache. A lot. And in many ways. Each alone makes perfect sense, but all at once, it feels like a lot. And my chiropractor can't fix it all. Exercise helps. I need and want to get stronger. I have strong girls and when I can pick them up and carry them with less back pain, I feel proud. I am so grateful for FIT4MOM and my new friends through Stroller Strides classes. Because though these girls hurt me, I want them with me. Even for my workouts. I want them to see me taking care of myself. And I feel so much less anxious after some cardio. So I want them to learn that too: exercise is good for us in many ways, not just physically.

Anyway, I think motherhood hurts and/or mothering can often be ouchy. Turns out, my kids are unintentionally abusive, but whoa are they cute! And we say "no pain, no gain," right? I think this closeness (uncomfortable though some moments are) is something all three of us will be forever grateful for. Because "the little things" are actually a lot bigger when the people I love most are this cute and little. For example, when the threenager jumps on my lap demanding to be tickled she has the most amusing look on her face. And when my eight-month-old bear claws my shoulder during one of her fierce hugs my first thought is not of scars (that is my second) but rather that this love she has for me--so much gratitude and excitement and intensity--is the best feeling in the world. And so worth any pain they can manage to cause. My "Mama Aches" are worth noting and need venting, and they're worth it.

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“I met Sara through the INOVA New Moms Group. It was there that she introduced me to Fit4Mom and for that alone, I’m appreciative of her. Beyond that, Sara always knows the right thing to say to provide comfort, support, or a laugh. She is down to earth and provides the perspective and encouragement that I need to survive motherhood. Plus, we wouldn’t make it to class most days if my toddler wasn’t so eager to go see Jack!” – Laura Chonko, Stroller Strides Mom

“Sara is a devoted Stroller Strides mom! She always takes her workouts to the next level which challenges and motivates the rest of us during class!” - Karlee Goeres, Instructor

“Sara is a great mama to have in class and our village! She was a dedicated Stroller Strider before and during pregnancy #2, and then came right back without missing a beat. She’s laid back and easy to talk to, which makes other moms feel welcome!” – Katie Taves, Instructor

“Sara is a rockstar S360 mom! She goes on those 5 out and back runs with two boys in the stroller whether it’s 65 degrees or 25 degrees! She is very easy to talk to and always seems to have good advice!” – Annie Sevel, Instructor

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

My husband Jon and I have been married since May 2016 and Jack is nearly 2.5 and Andrew is 7 months!

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

My first class was in February 2018 and I think it was one of Jenna’s first classes back after Isla was born! After a not as great experience with another Fit4Mom chapter I knew immediately that this village was going to be a great fit for us!

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

I usually go classes at Springfield Town Center and try to get in one S360 class per week.

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

I currently work part time as a personal trainer working with clients ranging from 30-94 and I spent 9 years as an Officer in the US Army Reserve.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

Wine, good food, and sports!

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

Massage followed by a quiet dinner with fun cocktails and wine.

What has being a mom taught you?

Letting go of what you think you thought was going to be the plan and just rolling with reality.

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

When Andrew was about 2 weeks old we went to one of our favorite diners for breakfast. As soon as we arrived Andrew spit up all over himself and me and then right after we ate Jack proceeded to throw up all over me. I think both boys left in just diapers and I left in a nursing tank and vomit covered shorts. I have not been back since.

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

Don’t get caught up in some else’s Instagram life and remember that their kid has meltdowns over being handed goldfish instead of graham crackers too.

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

I love that I can show up to class and know that I’m not the only one going through toddler struggles or a teething baby and that for an hour or we are all in it together. I would tell any mom, whether struggling or not, that joining this village will give you the support you need to get through whatever comes up with the challenges of raising kids today.

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Our team is ever-growing and we want to introduce some of our newer team members to our community! Read on to learn more about Tara-Rose, Amanda, Kara, and Sultana!!

Tara-Rose Javed

1. What is your position with Fit4Mom? - Instructor for S-360

2. Who are the members of your family and where did you come from before Virginia? - . I am married toy amazing husband, Moeen and we have three amazing children! Ariana is 8, Elyas is 6, and Aydin is 1. We are a military family, and before arriving in Virginia, we were living in Georgia. We have been fortunate enough to live in Colorado, Arizona, and Tennessee, also. Our home state will always where we are from, the great state of Michigan.

3. What do you love about Fit4Mom? - There is so much to love about Fit 4 Mom! I was initially hooked by the energy and love the tribe possesses. You not only get an amazing workout from any class you attend but while there you have some incredible mama friends cheering you on along the way!

4. Where do you typically attend class? - . I attend classes at, Burke Lake Park, Abiding Presence, and Link Family Fitness Studio.

5. A fun fact we may not know about you - One fun fact about me is in my past life, I was an Elementary Education teacher. I hold 5 valid teaching licenses.

Amanda Martin

1. What is your position with Fit4Mom? - I teach morning Body Back in Kingstowne on Tuesday and Fridays.

2. Who are the members of your family and where did you come from before Virginia? - My husband is Drew. My daughter, Kendall, is 4 and my son, Griffin, is 15 months. My husband and I are actually both from this area originally. I went to TC Williams High School in Alexandria, which was the high school in the movie Remember the Titans. I left to go to college at William and Mary and then moved back here after I graduated.

3. What do you love about Fit4Mom? - I love that Fit4Mom combines working out with a mom tribe. Working out has always been important to me. When I decided to stay home after Griffin was born, I really needed a mom tribe and I found it with Fit4Mom. Everyone is so supportive of one another. When Griffin burned his hands last fall, so many mamas in our tribe offered support and prayers and still everyone asks how he is doing. It really means so much to me! I think Fit4Mom is what has kept me from completely losing my mind

4. Where do you typically attend class? - I go to Burke Stroller Strides, and I go to Body Back, S360, and KAY classes at Link Family Fitness.

5. A fun fact we may not know about you - I was a competition dancer growing up. Like a slightly less crazy version of the show Dance Moms. Also I never learned how to ride a bike.

Kara Powers

1. What is your position with Fit4Mom? - Woodbridge Play Group Captain

2. Who are the members of your family and where did you come from before Virginia? - Husband, Jeremy, 1year old Blair, and our golden retriever, Piper. Baby girl #2 is due August 2020! I grew up in Fairfax County and ended up in Richmond for a few years after college before moving to Lake Ridge in 2016.

3. What do you love about Fit4Mom? - I love the supportive Mom Tribe and the ability to get a workout in with my sweet girl by my side.

4. Where do you typically attend class? - Potomac Mills Mall & LFF

5. A fun fact we may not know about you - I have my minor in Ballet!

Sultana Karim

1. What is your position with Fit4Mom? - I am the Fit4Baby Program Manager.

2. Who are the members of your family and where did you come from before Virginia? - My immediate family is from Bangladesh and different parts of the US. I grew up in New Jersey for several years before I was enrolled in Milton Hershey School in Hershey, PA when I was a teenager; and it is that same place where I met my husband (who is from Illinois). The family members are Aaron (husband), and Pranavi (daughter).

3. What do you love about Fit4Mom? - There are so many things that I love about Fit4Mom. I enjoy the fitness classes with and without baby, the community, fun field trips, mom night out events, educational events, and play groups.

4. Where do you typically attend class? - Sunday-Body Ignite at the studio, Monday-Body Ignite (once a month) at the studio, Wednesday- either Stroller Strides at Potomac Mills mall or S360 at the studio, Friday- Stroller Strides at Potomac Mills Mall, and Saturday- Stroller Strides at Potomac Mills Mall

5. A fun fact we may not know about you - My favorite video game is Mortal Kombat!

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We are taking our playgroups virtual! Each day this week we have had something awesome for our mamas to look forward and Friday it will all come together with a virtual playgroup. This week, we will be doing a color and shape scavenger hunt and sensory bin play. If you missed our live sensory bin demonstration, follow along below:

What you will need:

-dried rice

-food coloring

-ziplock bags

-aluminum foil or baking sheet (to dry rice on)

-objects for kids to search for in the sensory bin

Have kids scoop rice into small ziplock bags. Add 6-10 drops of desired food coloring and teaspoon of water to the bag. Mix up to color the rice. Dump out on a baking sheet or foil to dry (15-30 minutes). You can do multiple colors or keep it to one. Add dried rice to your sensory bin container and add in other items. Ideas for St. Patricks day - gold coins, lucky charms cereal, other green objects around the house (crayons, markers, etc)

Want a sensory bag to go? Add the rice to a small ziplock along with some little objects. Tape the top shut and then ask kids to find the various objects in the rice without opening up the bag. Great to have at the kitchen table while you are getting lunch or dinner ready! Or take along with you in the stroller for a walk!

And don't forget to have your sensory bin on hand for playgroup Friday!

Show us your sensory bins and tag us in your post!

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Three years ago, I was a military professional in a challenging and satisfying career. Today, I am a stay-at-home mom with the privilege of homeschooling two of my four children. Sometimes I am asked how I made this transition, and I can sense the unasked question, “Why are you homeschooling?” Here is a brief glimpse of what led to this major transition.

While I was pregnant with my fourth daughter, my oldest daughter (who was in 2nd grade at the time) started refusing to go to school in the mornings. She would hide, beg not to go, and repeatedly asked to be homeschooled. My sister and sister-in-law both homeschool their children in Nebraska, so while we were aware of the concept, we really had no idea how it works. At the time, I was planning to transition out of the military after my baby was born and begin staying home full-time. Why not give homeschooling a try, I thought. It had to be better than the sickening feeling I had when wiping tears from my daughter’s face and insisting she had to go to school.

The first step was providing the school system a notice of intent to homeschool, proof of qualification (the minimum is a high school diploma), and a list of subjects to be taught in the coming year. Next was choosing the curriculum, a daunting task given the plethora of options available. My sister made a fantastic suggestion—go to the public library to check out books on various homeschooling curricula and philosophies like unit studies, Montessori, classical, even one called unschooling. Hence, without spending a penny, I was well on my way to exploring the world of homeschooling.

That first trip to the public library was a fateful one. I noticed a book about reading problems and decided to add it to my pile. Later that day, while nursing my newborn baby, I flipped through the book on reading problems and found a list of dyslexia symptoms. Stunned, I stared at the list; this single list described my daughter to a tee. Quickly reading the chapter on dyslexia, I was convinced she has it. We decided to arrange private testing, which confirmed my suspicion—she has dyslexia.

Dyslexia is not something you outgrow; it’s a learning disorder that makes reading difficult and with the right support you can learn to overcome. With the encouragement of our daughter’s evaluator, we began an intensive reading and spelling program specifically designed for people with dyslexia. In just two years of homeschooling, my daughter has made tremendous progress. She will pick up books to read on her own whereas before she would avoid reading for pleasure or education. Can you imagine how amazing that is to see?! My daughter, the one who used to cry when we asked her to read for just 10 minutes will now pick up a book. For fun. On her own!

At this point in our homeschool journey, we are not focused on if or when she will return to mainstream school. We enjoy the flexibility of homeschooling and the freedom to choose our subjects, pace, and content. We have a fantastic faith-based co-op and supportive friends.

Certainly, we have days that feel agonizing. Days when she doesn’t want to do her schoolwork or I feel exhausted from single parenting while my husband travels for work. However, the relief I feel in understanding how her brain works, where she excels, and where she struggles far exceeds any rough days. Although homeschooling is not an option for every child or parent, I have tremendous gratitude for those who encouraged me to listen to my mother’s intuition with regard to my child, her needs, and my abilities.

Thank goodness for a little girl who expressed her struggle, and that my ears and mind were open enough to respond.

Do you want to learn more about homeschooling in Virginia or the reading and spelling program we use? Here are some helpful links:

VDOE :: Private Schools & Home Schooling

Virginia Homeschool| Home Educators Association of Virginia

Bright Solutions for Dyslexia

#homeschool #momofgirls #dyslexiaawareness

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“Missy brings such great energy to class! Her classes keep me laughing and working hard and that hour just flies by. She makes every class exciting for both moms and kiddos. She's a great part of our village!!” - Kara Powers, Woodbridge Playgroup Captain

“My first Fit4Mom class was with Missy and she made the class such a great experience that I was sold! Her energy is contagious. She always comes up with exciting ways for us to exercise to the songs while singing. We are lucky to have Missy ” – Courtney Czerwinski, Stroller Strides Mom

“Missy is such a great motivator. She was the one who ran my first class and she definitely makes you put in the work. And she is right there, putting in the work with you! She’s a true fitness inspiration and someone who can make you actually want to come back and work out!” – Margo Dallas, Stroller Strides Mom

“Missy is such a warm, welcoming, and inspiring instructor whose classes are so much fun! Just like she is!” – Danielle Kama, Body Back Mom

1. Who are the members of your family?

I’m married to my wonderful husband Bobby, and we have two boys, Andrew and Brady. We have two doggies, Buddy and Bailey!

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

I grew up in Charlotte, NC. Moved to Burke, Va when I was 16. Been in the NOVA area ever since!

3. Where do you typically teach?

I teach Stroller Strides at Potomac Mills Mall, Body Back at the Studio, and Run Club on the weekends. So a little bit everywhere.

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

Well, I never imagined I would be doing this. If Shannon never came to me and asked. Who knows. But I’m so glad I took the steps to become an instructor because it’s one of the best decisions I have made.

5. What is your favorite thing to teach?

It would have to be Stroller Strides because I get to be silly and funny with the kids. Stroller Strides is just so fun and upbeat to teach.

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

Definitely, seeing moms coming out and working hard. No matter what class I’m teaching, I see that in every mom that I teach.

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

I think I want to give each mom the courage and empowerment that I needed, after having kids.

8. What is one of your current wellness goals?

I have been on a health journey since having my second child. Since having Brady I lost 85lbs, and become the strongest I have ever been in my life. So one of my current goals is to just keep going to stay healthy.

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

Well, some know that I have a twin brother. We don’t look alike or really do anything like twins, so he is more just like my brother, but we share the birthday!

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

That I’m so grateful to be part of this village! And you guys let me lead your classes each day. I’m always so inspired but each of the moms I meet, and how hard they work each and every day for their littles!

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“I’m always so happy when I get to a Body Back class and Kristin is there! She’s always so kind and positive, and I love how she pushes me to work harder! She is so fast! Whether we’re chatting about our au pairs or commiserating about how many burpees we have to do, I always enjoy being in class with Kristin!” – Amy Vanden Boogart, Body Back Member

“I’ve been taking Body Back classes with Kristin for about a year now and I’m always amazed at how consistently dedicated she is to her fitness! She’s so fun to be with in class- always up for a challenge, will give you that extra push you need to run just a little bit faster, and she’s always got a funny story to make you laugh.” – Monica Lennon, Body Back Member

“It seems like Kristin never misses a workout! She is so dedicated and is always working hard in class with a smile on her face! She is easy to talk to and very supportive of other mamas!” – Annie Sevel, S360 Instructor

-Kristin is like a beautiful ray of sunshine in every class. She has a warm, friendly personality that helps everyone feel welcome. And she knows how to bring the heat in the workouts! She motivates moms with her dedication and intensity!” – Megan Schmid, Body Back and Body Ignite Instructor

“Kristin is strong and dedicated. She has a winning attitude and always gives 100% at our workouts. I love having her as part of our Burke Early Birds crew!” – Becky Krispin, Body Back Instructor

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

My husband Bob and I are originally from Rhode Island. We’ve been married for 10 years. We have two boys named Luke (6) and Benjamin (2).

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

About a year ago, a friend posted on Facebook that she was considering doing a transformation session and was looking for someone to join with her. I hadn’t been exercising at all in the past year since my youngest was born. I didn’t really know what Body Back was, but I thought signing up for the session could be the push I needed to start getting healthy again. I remember being so proud of myself for waking up and making it to my first 5:15 am class. The other moms were really welcoming, and Megan was very patient and encouraging as I tried to keep up and not get tangled in my band. In the days afterward, I felt like I’d been run over by a truck. Thankfully, it got easier after only a few classes, and I’ve never been that sore again.

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

My typical schedule now is Body Back on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings. I add in Body Ignite on Sunday mornings.

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

I am a hospital pharmacist, and my practice is within the Emergency Department. I also run our pharmacy residency program.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

Traveling, being outdoors, and trying new foods.

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

I would either sleep or go on a date with my husband. Typically, we do dinner and drinks so I would do something special like the theater or a concert.

What has being a mom taught you?

I would like to say patience, but I’m still working on that. Truly though, being a mom has shown me that love is limitless.

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

It’s hard to pick a favorite funny thing. My two-year-old especially is at the age for saying and doing cute and ridiculous things. Simple joys like pancakes or a favorite song make him yell hooray and do a little dance. It’s fairly common to find he’s dumped sand in his hair or drawn with marker on his face.

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

We all have moments where we struggle every day. Trust your gut and be kind to yourself.

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

This morning in my Body Ignite class, there was a mom in my row whispering to the mom next to her. She was saying things like “you’re doing great” and “I’m so proud of you.” It’s the only place in my life where moms actually talk like that to each other. For any mom that is looking to feel healthier, happier, and a sense of belonging, I would encourage them to join.

#fit4momlsbwknova #motivating #momofthemonth #strongmama #bodyback #bodyignite

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"Jenny is one of the most creative and giving people I know. She quietly jumps in to help if she sees you struggling, usually with bubbles or coffee in hand. She makes the most amazing snacks and comes up with incredible craft ideas. My kids and I look forward to Friday playgroups so much! She's one of the best parts of coming to Stroller Strides." - Laura Wooley Davis, Burke Mama

"Jenny is one super amazing mama and friend! Whenever you see her at class she has a smile on her face and compassion in her heart. Jenny is so warm & welcoming and always does her best to support new and veteran mamas in our village. You can find her pushing a stroller to calm the babies, blowing bubbles to make the big kids giggle, chatting and laughing with the mamas about all things motherhood and feeding us yummy coffee and homemade goodies. Outside of Fit4Mom Jenny is someone you want to be around because she’s always into having a good time! We love you Jenny Bubbles! Thank you for being you and the best partner I could have ever asked for!" - #Burkeisforfit4momlovers #andjennybubbles, Candice Agustin, Stroller Strides Instructor

"Jenny carries a sense of peace and calm that makes others feel more at ease when they're around her. She is a playgroup magician, making every Friday fun for both kiddos and moms. She is also goes above and beyond to keep the kiddos calm and entertained while the mommies workout, often walking a fussy baby, blowing bubbles, or providing fun toys or books. We are so thankful to have Jenny as our Playgroup Captain!" - Rebekah Johnson, Stroller Barre Instructor

"There is so much I could say about Jenny Bubbles! I feel so spoiled by her! She brings homemade baked goods and coffee for us every single Friday even if it’s not a snack playgroup. I count on that coffee! But beyond her baking and crafting skills, she does the relational part of her job so well. She brings a caddy of books and toys for whining kids and will stop her own workout to blow bubbles for everyone or push around a fussy baby. There have been times when I’m frustrated with one of my kids or I’m busy nursing a baby and she will take them during playgroup to get a snack or even do that week’s craft with them. She goes out of her way to introduce herself to any new moms and engages them in a conversation between stations so that everyone feels welcome. She really goes above and beyond. Finally, she has a novelty sock collection to be envied." -Rebecca Carlson, Burke Mama

1. Who are the members of your family?

Me, Sal, Arwen (7) and Lorelei (4)

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

I consider myself a native now. We moved a lot when I was a kid but I’ve been in Fairfax since I was 12.

3. Which location(s) do you typically attend class?

You can find me in Burke Body Back and Stroller Strides a lot and occasionally at the studio.

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

Shannon made me do it! There was an opening back in 2016 and, while I wasn’t sure if I was crafty enough then, I sure am now.

5. What is one of your favorite playgroup activities?

I think my favorites are always the crafts because it is so satisfying to see children and moms create something special. But I also love it when the kids take an activity I think will last for three minutes and play for an hour all together.

6. What is the BEST thing about being a PGC?

Getting to know all these amazing moms and kids!

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

Everyone says “because of my kids” for this one, but I’ve somehow made it past that stage. Now I just love being involved in this community and helping new mamas get some of their sanity back. If only for an hour.

8. What is one of your current wellness goals?

My current wellness goal is to significantly lower my intake of SUGAR. It’s been a struggle for the past few years but I’ve recently been proud to tell my Navy dad how I actually enjoy black coffee now *insert goofy emoji*

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

I can mostly play the ukulele but only to entertain myself and my kids. Who knows, maybe I’ll be brave enough to bring it to playgroup someday?!?!

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

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—come to your workout class even if you think you aren’t feeling it (unless someone is sick!) You don’t have to pretend you’re okay, but you won’t feel better just sitting around the house. The village is here for you!

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"Sultana radiates all things Fit4Mom! She has an amazing smile and energy in class. Her Halloween costume and decorated stroller were on point. I love her enthusiastic posts during challenges such as the 12 Days of Fitmas! Keep it up mama!" - Joy Robb, Stroller Barre, Fit4Baby, and Body Ignite Instructor

"Sultana has so much to offer to our village. She attends classes and other events regularly. She is also very supportive and helpful to all other Mom's. I love her competitive nature and having her in our village!" - Courtney Czerwinski, Woodbridge Playgroup Captain and Stroller Strides Mama

"Sultana is a GO GETTER and I love it! She always has such a positive attitude and is always so friendly- not only to regular members but anyone new. Her laugh is seriously contagious, and she’s great at taking over the countdown for exercises (bahaha she’ll know what I mean ) I’m happy that I met her and her precious fam through this group!" - Joanna Hicks, Woodbridge Mama

"I am so thankful Sultana brought me into FIT4MOM. She’s always in class; her attendance is amazing. She is so patient and kind to all the moms, and her daughter is so sweet! She’s a great mom, a great friend, and I admire her!!" - Nikki Miller, Woodbridge Mama

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

My immediate family is from Bangladesh and different parts of the US. I grew up in New Jersey for several years before I was enrolled in Milton Hershey School in Hershey, PA when I was a teenager; and it is that same place where I met my husband (who is from Illinois).

The family members are Aaron (husband), and Pranavi (daughter).

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

My first Fit4Mom class was the Fit4Baby class in Woodbridge when I was in my second trimester (2018). I remember how welcoming everyone was. I actually enjoyed the Fit4Baby class more than the prenatal yoga classes that I was going to.

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

You would usually find me at Stroller Strides class at Potomac Mills Mall at least twice a week and at Body Ignite class on either Sunday or Monday at the studio.

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 decided to stay at home, I was a Licensed Counselor at Action in Community in Prince William County (ACTS PWC). My office was located in Old Town Manassas. I developed the counseling program in domestic violence and sexual assault programs. I provided therapy to children, adolescents, and adults who were survivors of domestic and sexual violence. I also presented on the topics of trauma, child sexual abuse, and the effects of domestic violence on children.

Currently, I am a support group facilitator volunteer with Postpartum Support Virginia. I facilitate two support groups each month at Sentara Hospital in Woodbridge and attend quarterly maternal mental health coalition meetings.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

My three favorite things are watching my favorite shows (such as The Flash, Dynasty, How To Get Away With Murder, Almost Family, etc,.), exercising, and sleeping.

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

I would go on a date with my husband. We would go to a comedy club and then a candlelight dinner.

What has being a mom taught you?

It has taught me that time is short. So, be mindful and cherish every moment. Also, take pictures!

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

I’ve had several embarrassing moments when nursing. I forget where we were but I was nursing Pranavi and she unlatched because she heard a noise and milk was spraying everywhere- the side of her face, on my shirt, and even on the person sitting next to me. Oops! One time, I tried to catch the milk with my hands. That was a mistake! I didn’t catch any milk instead I had a sticky hand and a wet shirt.

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

My words of wisdom would be to take care of yourself, it is okay to ask and accept help from others, accept and love yourself, and cherish every moment.

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

If someone was thinking about joining, I would tell them to DO IT! There are so many things that I like about Fit4Mom. I enjoy the fitness classes with and without baby, the community, fun field trips, mom night out events, educational events, and playgroups. I think it is worth every penny!