Keeping Kids Active

Anyone who has watched their child on the playground knows that most kids are naturally physically active and love to move around. But what might not be apparent is that climbing to the top of the monkey bars or playing tag can lead to a lifetime of being active.

As our kids get older, it can be a challenge for them to get enough daily activity. Reasons include increasing demands of school, a feeling among some kids that they lack sports skills, a lack of active role models, and general “business” in families.

Children of different ages present differing needs when it comes to physical activity. Preschoolers need play-based activities that help them in developing important motor skills. Such activities include tossing and catching a ball, hopscotch, and follow the leader.

School-age kids generally have a desire to spend more of their time on sedentary pursuits such as video games or television. During this time it is important for parents to help guide their children to physical activities they are interested in, enjoy doing, and feel successful doing. Such activities can include traditional sports such as basketball and soccer to less-traditional such as biking, swimming, and martial arts. Simply encouraging a set amount of time spent playing outside can help with encouraging activity.

As a parent it is crucial to be active yourself and support your kids’ interests. If you start this early enough, they will come to regard activity as a normal and fun part of your family’s everyday routine. It is never too late to start.

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Ancient Fitness Secrets

January is the hallmark month of weekend warriors. It is the a month of pledges, promises and possibilities. It’s the month of commitment, causes and conviction. It’s the month of gyms, joggers and jumping jacks. January necessarily beckons every American adult to set their sights on lofty goals and new achievements. What do you think is the top resolution for 2013?

You probably don’t need to call a friend or use a lifeline. You guessed it, it’s to get fit, according to the Washington Post.  It’s an admirable goal. You can count yourself exceptional if you actually follow through, that according to Time magazine online. 

I wonder what makes the difference between successful strategies and failing philosophies when it comes to getting fit? Could it be motivation? I won’t pretend to know what motivates you. There are dozens of articles with lists of 50 suggestions, 25 solutions, 12 scenarios and a half dozen secrets to achieving your fitness goals. But certainly, finding the key to your stick-to-it-iveness is what will work.

As we closed the chapter of 2012, I read through the Christmas story one more time. But this time, the familiar story brought new questions to mind. I wonder, have New Year’s resolutions always been a practice of forward thinking, successful people? Did Mary ever worry about her waistline? Did Joseph ever measure his biceps? I doubt it, but there’s no doubt this couple was fit, healthy and strong. What was their method?

The road from Nazareth to Bethlehem was no 5K. And with being pregnant before the journey started, Mary hardly had time to train. Despite the hazy, glowing portraits, there is no mention of Mary ever riding a donkey. No, the path that Mary and Joseph probably traveled was 80-90 miles, on foot.

Then, consider this: After Christ’s birth they traveled from Nazareth to Egypt and later back again.
Although only five trips are mentioned, Jesus himself likely made the trek from Jerusalem to Galilee nine times. Each trip was approximately 68 miles walking distance. *

New Year’s resolutions can seem daunting. That’s why most of us last until March before shrugging our shoulders in resignation. This year, instead of making big promises, paying big bucks for gym memberships or setting your sights on a marathon, what if you just said you’d walk more?

Do you think that’s doable? An achievable goal maintained is much more profitable than a daunting goal forfeited.

* Source: The Official Website of Arthur Blessitt and Yahoo Answers

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Don’t Do Your Workout In the Kitchen!

I’m willing to bet that you’d rather put in a good, sweaty workout than join the crazy kitchen marathon that always ensues around the holidays. There are races to be run down supermarket isles, heavy lifting with shopping bags, too much work, too little rest and then more pounds to show for it! How does that work? At least with a quick bootcamp you can shed the extra pounds!

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from my little sisters. But this awesome tip from my baby sister, Rachelle, has to be one of the best. Before I share it, let me also tell you that Rachelle is the founding artist of WeavingSunshine.chelle

Rachelle and her husband both work full-time. Living in Dallas, she will spend half of her life stuck in traffic. She’s expecting and she has a fun puppy. She has far too many things to be wasting time in the kitchen. So last week, she decided to put in 5 hours in the kitchen one Sunday, so that she could reap the benefits of many a restful weeknight in the future. The recipes she used make more than enough for 2 people, so they will enjoy at least two dinners from every meal.

I found this set of recipes and the grocery list, courtesy of another group of sisters. I hope this saves you oodles of time and energy both during the holiday season and in the midst of many future busy, delightful days of life!

Six Sisters’ Stuff


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“I Should Do That” – and she did

This blog has told the stories of several women who put their physical training to good use. These ladies, of all ages, have shared how they used their passion for fitness to benefit others. Let me introduce you to one more, Diane Lindquist.

Diane just completed the Marine Corps Marathon. This is an iconic race, held in D.C. every October. It is known as the “people’s marathon” because 30,000 runners from age 14 to the 90-year-old veteran, Jonathan Mendes, who became the race’s oldest finisher in 2011, compete simply for the purity of the race. There is no monetary prize.

“I chose to do a marathon because when I finished the half marathon I had no injuries and I felt I still had some left in me. I heard so much about the Marine Corps marathon, I wanted to experience it myself,” Diane said.

The Marine Corps Marathon is famous in the race world. As soon as registration opens, the race is usually full within hours. Suddenly, at the end of a very busy day, Diane realized she had missed her chance to register.

“Why don’t you try running for a charity?” her husband asked. At first she was concerned about raising money, but she boldly decided to stretch outside her comfort zone. Diane chose to use her marathon to support Jill’s House. By race day, she had surprised herself, raising $1252!

Diane tackled training systematically. She selected a popular plan called, “Run Less, Run Faster,” by the F.I.R.S.T. institute.  Training isn’t supposed to be easy, but Diane found ways to make the most of every moment. “Running is my therapy,” she said. “It’s cheaper than therapy! But the hardest part is when I have to run alone, with no one to help pass the time. I’ve learned to use that time to have conversations with God.”

In fact, Diane credits God with getting her into running. She was inspired by her sister and friends who had begun running 10 mile races and half-marathons. “Then, God just opened my mouth and I said, ‘I should do that!’”

Diane says that running is teaching her to rely more on God. “I want to learn to be more positive and not become my worst enemy when the running becomes a challenge or there is pain.”

Post Marine Corps, Diane is staring undaunted into her next challenge. “I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon,” she says.

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Weighing In…

I am sure that most people can relate and admit that there are times when you know you know you are “all that”. You have committed to a healthy lifestyle and have stuck with it for a whole week. You have gotten up before everyone else, gotten your workout in, and have a healthy breakfast on the table. You feel ready to conquer whatever will be thrown at you next. Then, your confident self, steps on the scale for a little extra validation of how great you are doing and then……… it all comes to a screeching halt.

Stepping on the scale does not always make us happy. There are times in our lives that the number that we are seeing does not compute with what we are doing in our everyday life and when that happens our motivation and mood can take a MAJOR nose dive.

It is at this point where your mindset can be a make or break. On a good day you assume that you’re retaining water, fat is turning to muscle and the next day it will be down. On those days it is just a number that will change with variables.

Other times a disagreement with the scale can leave you feeling like you’ve been kicked in the gut. You decide you’re a hopeless case who is never going to meet her health and fitness goals and make your way to the fridge. Or, maybe you’re prone to the opposite behavior and begin restricting your diet and run an extra five miles that day. Either way, there is no healthy escape.

We are all prone to either reaction on any given day. In order to foster a healthy attitude as we work on our healthy bodies follow these five pointers when you’re drawn to check the scale:

  1. Don’t weigh yourself every day. Many factors, especially water retention, can cause your weight to vary significantly from day to day. Don’t get sucked into those daily fluctuations in weight—your mood is likely to follow. Who needs another reason to be moody?
  2. Your weight can vary 2-4 pounds during the day so when you do hit the scale, do it at the same time each day. Morning, when you first get out of bed, is best since that’s when most of us are at our lightest.
  3. Be sure to use the same scale each time to weight yourself to avoid confusing accuracy with variance.
  4. Before stepping on the scale be sure to think through the consequences of meeting or not meeting your goal. Only step on the scale if you are confident you won’t let an unexpectedly high number defeat you.
  5. Chuck it (as in garbage can not against wall). Remember that your weight doesn’t tell the whole story. Instead of judging your progress by the number on the scale, gauge your success by how your clothes are fitting, your energy level, your body composition, or your general state of health.  After all, that’s  what living a healthy lifestyle is supposed to be anyway.
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Fighting Cancer One Race at a Time

Introducing Erin
Erin is a Mom who regularly attends Moms Who TRI bootcamp and is participating in the Taylor Love Triathlon. This past Monday she organized and hosted a kids triathlon (1oo swim, 1 1/2 mile bike, 1/2 mile run).  Ages 4-15 participated and it was a wonderful event. Erin and her family have quite a story which can be read and followed on The following is an entry Erin recently wrote regarding the upcoming triathlon. I invite you all to read it and be inspired like I was.
I know you haven’t heard from us in a while, but as long as we have this CaringBridge site, you can count on a journal entry or two in September because it’s CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS MONTH. We’ve shared this fact many times, but it bears repeating: 36 children are diagnosed with cancer every day. Please take a second to really think about that. That’s 252 new diagnoses this week; 1,080 new diagnoses this month. Those numbers are staggering; they’re absolutely sickening when you start assigning names to them and realize that each of these precious children have a unique life and story.
You know Sadie Mae and what she has had to endure in her short lifetime because of cancer. Every year, 13,140 children, just like Sadie, embark on their own cancer journeys. Each of those children has loving parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, neighbors, etc. And although the overall survival rate for children’s cancer has increased from 10% to 78% in the last 40 years, approximately 2,890 of those dear children who are diagnosed with cancer each year do not survive. I can’t even fathom what the depth of our grief would be if Sadie was one of those 2,890 children. It’s terrible, it’s unthinkable. It’s the truth: children are diagnosed with cancer and are dying from it. It’s got to change. Only research cures cancer and childhood cancer, in particular, is severely underfunded. That’s why we try to do our little part to raise awareness and money for childhood cancer.
This year our family is celebrating Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in the actual month of September by participating in the Taylor Love Sprint Triathlon on the 16th. Anna is going to swim while friends Mike and Althea handle the biking and running. Ethan and I have been training for months, so it sounds silly to ask you to consider signing up now, just a couple of weeks before, but how about creating a relay team like Anna’s? If you think running 3.1 miles is no problem, find a friend who feels the same way about biking 15.4 miles and another friend who can easily swim 400 meters. There is no age limit for the swim as long as the participant can safely swim 16 laps and follow directions; the minimum age for bikers and runners is 14. Think about it. Seriously! It’s going to be a lot of fun. Sadie will be there to cheer us on.
We are also gearing up for our one and only major childhood cancer fundraiser this year – the Northern Virginia CureSearch Walk on October 14. We help to coordinate it, but Team Sadie’s Stars is all Anna’s. She will host her annual lemonade stand this weekend during the Burke Centre Festival, so please stop by on your way to or fro. As always, all donations will be sent to CureSearch in the name of Sadie’s Stars. The greatest satisfaction that Anna derives from the Walk every year is having all of her friends together in one place, supporting this cause about which she is so passionate. I can’t tell you how meaningful your participation is to all of us. Please mark your calendar and join us, if at all possible. We totally understand that it is difficult to attend on a Sunday morning and is nearly impossible for all of you out-of-towners. If that’s the case, would you consider being a “virtual walker” or simply make a donation to Anna’s team? We’ll do the walking for you! Search for “Sadie’s Stars” under Team Rank.
Finally, a medical update. I’d love to tell you that it has been smooth sailing since Sadie earned her remission status in the spring. Ethan and I were so thankful and wondered out loud to each other if we could really put the fear of cancer out of our minds. We tried. We made all sorts of fun plans for the summer and swatted down the nagging questions about possible late effects of treatment. The girls had been passing a stomach bug back and forth that presented with a fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. At one point, Sadie had a high fever, but none of the GI issues; she would, however, whimper, “My chest hurts,” while clutching it. Who takes complaints like that from a new 3-year-old seriously? Our pediatrician does and ordered a chest x-ray. She thought that Sadie was developing pneumonia so she ordered an antibiotic and a follow-up x-ray a week later. That x-ray showed absolutely no improvement. What now? We rushed, carrying yet another suspicious x-ray, to the pulmonologist who originally found Sadie’s tumor sitting on the top of her right lung. Long story short, he does not suspect cancer. It appears as though Sadie has significant scarring in both lungs; one of the chemo agents she had likely is to blame. We were so relieved it wasn’t cancer. Then we were so sad that she was permanently damaged in this way. We will just have to watch her closely when respiratory illnesses pop up and make sure that they don’t get out of control. As Dr. Chester said (I’m paraphrasing): It stinks, but Sadie is here today. We will always feel terrible about the choices we had to make for Sadie when there really weren’t any good choices at all. Honestly, we hope and pray that the worst is behind us, but it feels as though we will never really be able to say that Sadie’s cancer journey is over.
We appreciate your continued prayers. Love Love, Erin
p.s. The first time I read about the triathlon on Taylor’s CarePage, I totally dismissed it. The next day, I actually had to find the message in my trash folder. So if you’re at all entertaining the thought of doing it with us, think about Sadie. When I’m swimming my laps, I like to picture Sadie frolicking in the pool. She truly is a spectacle. Sometimes we would hear audible gasps as she flung herself off the diving board and swam to the side of the pool. She seems to be part fish and absolutely loves the water. SWIM LIKE SADIE! When I’m biking, I like to picture Sadie seated on her tricycle. She zooms all around on that thing, but has not yet mastered the pedals. Although I think the “correct” way to ride it is to pedal, all she cares about is that she’s moving from point A to point B and is having a great time. BIKE LIKE SADIE! When I’m running (and usually bemoaning how much I dislike running), I like to picture Sadie running, arms flailing about. Like me, she’s not fast, but unlike me, she seems to delight in the mere fact that she is able to run. RUN LIKE SADIE! Don’t delete this message – you may want to access it tomorrow so you can sign up for the triathlon on September 16. 🙂
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Sleeping Beauty?

As fall approaches, the school bells toll and your summer schedule hits the fan. Hopefully, in a short matter of time your family will establish new bedtimes, homework routines, exercise plans and regular date nights. Wishful thinking, right?

Often the first thing to go when life gets hectic is a good night’s sleep. If you’re really disciplined, you can tuck the kids in right on time, even if the sun is still poking its head over the horizon. But more than likely, as their sleepy heads hit the pillow, you’ll traipse purposefully back to the kitchen or the computer to clean up the dishes or bang out a few quick emails (or check Facebook).

Tomorrow morning, if you’re really disciplined, you’ll pop out of bed without hitting snooze and squeeze in a quick fitness DVD before the kids wake up and before the sun stretches its glowing arms. Most adults can cling to this type of routine for several weeks and the real warriors can do it indefinitely. But is that smart?

It’s not really news that our bodies crave 7-8 hours of sleep each night. It’s just not practical. However, did you realize that your waist line might be suffering? You might be dragging your body out of bed and into the gym and sabotaging your goals over night.

In an article for WebMD, Mark Mahowald, MD, director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Hennepin County said, “On average, we need about 7.5 hours of quality sleep per night. If you are getting this already, another half hour will not help you lose 10 pound, but if you are a five-hour sleeper and start to sleep for seven hours a night, you will start dropping weight.”

So what are you going to do? What real steps can you take to increase your time under covers? You set big weight loss and health goals. You’ll do anything to reach them, right? What about getting a little more sleep?

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SPIN – it’s more than a workout

If I say SPIN, what do you think of?

If you’re reading this in the framework of fitness, you probably just imagined a room full of low-profile bikes. Dozens of sweaty people are pedaling as fast as they can and getting absolutely nowhere! But they’re loving it. Someone is at the front of the pack screaming directions over the crush of loud, motivating music.

And you’d be right, that’s definitely SPIN.

Or you might think of the bajillion proverbial plates you have in the air. Somehow, in a superhuman feat you manage to keep your life precariously balanced and a serving of every friend and family member’s happiness whirling at all times. Good for you! Right? Is that good?

In light of a greater fitness – your soul’s fitness and your mental health, I want to propose another definition of SPIN. I recently heard an interview with a couple, the authors of a new book, From Hectic to Healthy. As time marches on and we are entering into the unrelenting demands of a new school year, I think this is appropriate.

Seasons: We often refer to our lives in seasons. There’s the season of singleness, newly wed, parent, mid-life (crisis), retirement, elderly, etc. Cognitively, we’re OK with that, except for always wishing we were younger. But do we live happily in the season God has given us? The authors of this book suggest that we begin to feel overwhelmed when we try to live outside our season.

If you’re struggling to find time to fit in your workouts, or any other important aspect of your life, ask yourself if you are trying to
do this thing in light of your current season. Be reasonable, give yourself some grace. Challenge yourself, yes, but remember
there is season for everything and the time for all your dreams and goals will arrive in God’s timing.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven,” Ecc. 3:1.

Priorities: set your priorities according to your season. By the way, your health is YOUR responsibility and it’s important to your family too! So don’t put that at the bottom of the list. God has been persistently reminding me lately that REST is a key component of health!

Isolation: You probably feel like isolation is something you would pay to have! Many women are in the season of kiddos and chaos; happy family times, but tiring nonetheless. Or you may be feeling isolated from adult companions.  Spinning your life faster to include more things isn’t the answer! Find one thing, start with just one, from the bottom of your priority list and draw a big black line through it! Now, go join a Moms Who TRI bootcamp – get your friendship and fitness in one, enjoyable hour!

Neglect: This is MOMS Who TRI, and the only things moms frequently neglect is themselves. That’s what Moms Who TRI is all about. It is an environment for busy moms to prioritize their health, spend time with their children and enjoy fellowship with other women.

SPIN – This fall, ditch that feeling of spinning your wheels and getting nowhere. Discover and fully live in your SEASON. PRIORITIZE and let something go! Don’t ISOLATE yourself, or maybe you need to eliminate something so that you can hide away by yourself and refresh for just a moment. Don’t NEGLECT your health behind the guise of being too busy to workout. You are important, too!

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Shifting Focus- From Corporate to Motherhood


When I was younger, I had my whole career planned out. Work my way up through the corporate ladder, achieve wealth and notoriety, and help to make the world a better place. You know the drill. I never dreamed that I would be a stay-at-home who worked 15 hour days (at a minimum), changed diapers like a champ, and receive a 0 % yearly raise.

Somewhere along the way my career-driven mind gave way to my family-orientated heart. My career goals- as lofty as they were- got replaced by personal goals. My goals to achieve shifted from climbing the corporate ladder and qualifying for an annual bonus to teaching my son to read and my youngest to potty train. I am currently COO of Hench Inc. and my employees include my two boys and our dog. My husband, CEO, is often MIA as he is in charge of the raising of funds and my employees are frequently in need of remediation.

Looking back do I regret my choices? I can unequivocally answer, “No”. I would not miss for any pay raises the look in my son’s eyes when we throw the ball together or go to the park. I wouldn’t miss their school plays or t-ball games for a meeting that may get me the position I am hoping for.

Sometimes I still feel a jealous twinge when I see an update of a fellow friend who has got another promotion or pay raise. But then I look at my two amazing children and I know that I am helping to make the world a better place by raising one child at a time.