What’s happenin’? Tis the season… to make sure you don’t get sick. That’s what season it is.I’ve been doing my best to prevent it – as I am literally typing this with my diffuser running with that Thieves stuff steaming out – smelling up my whole house. I don’t know that much about oils, but they say this Thieves stuff helps get rid of all the germs. Thanks to Daniel’s mom, we have some soap too, so I’ve been suffocating myself with it any time after I go out in public. Personally, I think it stinks. But #whateverittakes. Also, I thought I would be getting like extra credit or something for straight putting drops of that thieves oil on my face – right under my eyes and nose. It turns out that burns for a good 20 minutes. Pretty bad. Don’t do that. 

And here’s the thing…sometimes we can prepare so hard to not get sick, butttttt it just happens. None of us are immune. So, if you’re reading this, here’s to you and I living a healthy, fulfilling life during these next couple of months until we’re in the clear! I really just say this to speak positive vibez over my life – and your’s too, of course.

I’ve met a lot of great people in the gym. Our best friends were met in the gym. I’ve learned a lot from the families around me – the ones a couple steps ahead of where Daniel and I are right now. And with that said….people are always watching you (in a good way, not creepy way… hopefully). But for real. I’ve loved being able to watch how women in the gym interact with their kids. Nobody is perfect, but I am thankful for the great examples I have to look up to. 

One of those people is my friend, Allison. (I’m a fan of the name). Allison and her husband, Nate were doing CrossFit at CFEC way before I started. They are both a HUGE part of the gym. Nate runs 99% of the social media for CFEC, and I love getting compliments from other gyms, or just people in general, about how great of a job “the social media” guy does. Nate also helps out with the KidFit program at CFEC, which is run by my hero of a friend, Kelly Wilson. A couple of handfuls of people have come and gone in helping make KidFit the incredible program it is today, including myself. But NATE the GREAT has been there helping for a looooooonnnnggggg time – or as long as I can remember. God Bless Him.  

Allison and Nate have three children – Tyler (who is a little older, and I haven’t seen too much), Sammy (who has pretty much grown up in the gym, and Marley (who was also raised in the gym). Marley and Sammy are in middle school – which can we all agree is hard work? Those years were the most awkward. They’ve both been involved with fitness and extracurricular stuff since as long as I’ve known them.

 Ok, well Nate and the kids are stealing Allison’s show now, but I wanted to give you some background info.

Allison is one of the coolest people I know. She works hard – in and out of the gym. She’s a fighter. Nate calls her Red, and she lives up to it. She’s one of those people that loves other people whole heartedly, but I wouldn’t cross her the wrong way. She’s transformed her life through fitness, staying active, and being mindful of what she eats. And on top of all of that, she makes a mean key lime cupcake. She also makes these newish ones that have ice cream in the middle. I ate one on my birthday – along with some sweet potato cake, and I was up all night swwweaaaatttttingggg. I dunno how she makes cupcakes and stays looking how she does, because I would be eating all the “messed up”ones if I were her. 

Alison is strong. She can lift all the weights, she has beautiful kipping pullups (that she has put a lot of work into), and she can go to a dark place in a workout. But more importantly, she is STRONG is how she carries herself – and it’s noticeable to other people around her, including me.

I don’t have kids yet. I want kids…one day…maybe sooner than later. But that will come…just not in the next 9 months. BUT I love other people’s kids. I also think that it is our responsibility – ((as in all of us)) – to make sure that kids grow up feeling confident in who they are, and what they have to offer the world around them. 

I’m sure being a parent is tough. Being a kid is tough too. As a kid, you’re growing up, sometimes not feeling the best about yourself. And sometimes that makes you do dumb things.<—–speaking from experience. As a parent, what you say, and how you respond to your children, can make or break them. This includes what you say about yourself. If you walk through life always bashing yourself, especially the way you look, you better believe your children are going to follow your lead. 

I asked Allison a couple of questions (more like 4), and her responses taught me a thing or two – maybe they will for you too!

1. Why is projecting a healthy body image and self esteem important to you and your family?

For as long as I can recall my Mom has battled with a poor body image and self-esteem. Growing up I can remember her calling herself fat and doing fad diets. I watched her yoyo diet, losing and gaining weight. I heard her talking with her friends about diets and their weight and what foods they were “allowed” to eat. She would walk for exercise but never was super consistent because of “life”. I grew up following right in her footsteps. I remember thinking that I was just too fat at the age of 13, a very trying age for young ladies. I vividly recall her walking in on me in the kitchen while I was measuring my Cheerios to get the right serving size and she blew up. I didn’t understand then why she reacted that way but now that I have an impressionable daughter of my own, I get it. She realized too late that she had passed those habits on to me because, like all little girls with cool Mamas, I had been watching and learning from her.  I decided that my little girl would NOT learn those things from me. Now, we have 2 boys as well and obviously a healthy body image and self-esteem are very important for ALL of our kids, I just relate more to my little mini-me because I know what it’s like to be a girl.

2. What are some habits, hobbies or mindsets you and your family practice to help?

I think I am quite fortunate that I have this built-in reminder to love myself and to be kind to myself. Knowing that Marley is watching and learning from me when I’m not paying attention has taught me to give myself a little grace. It has also taught me to push myself harder and to make better food and lifestyle choices. Nate and I are very active in and out of the gym. We let our kids see us enjoying exercise and eating healthy foods and we celebrate our health and the cool things that our bodies can do. We encourage them to try new sports and new foods and we talk about how certain food choices fuel the body to perform. We also try to teach balance and that we all need to give ourselves a little grace here and there and that resting is important.

3. Give an example of a time you have come up short in this.

I have come up short a LOT. I battle with myself daily and sometimes the negativity wins. From time to time I have let Marley see me in those negative moments, not loving myself very much. When that has happened, though, I am immediately convicted and let her see me change my negative attitude. Although it is important for our kids to see us being positive, I think it is just as important for them to see that we do struggle sometimes. They need to know that it’s ok to feel yuck sometimes but that it is not ok to stay that way and that we are responsible for picking up ourselves as well elevating others when they are in the same boat. When you realize that a little someone is watching you to learn how to be a good person it really makes you want to be a much better human…

4. How has CrossFit, or just fitness in general, impacted your family?

We have always tried to be active and to get outside and play with the kids. Nate and I would go to the gym and he loved running. I was very inconsistent with exercise and fitness, though. Five years ago we started doing CrossFit at CFEC and life has quite honestly never been the same. That’s a great thing! Shortly after we started, KidFit came about and both of our youngest kids participated and loved it. That experience awakened in them both a love for sports and physical activity. Sammy plays football and wrestles and Marley is still active in KidFit and gymnastics. The coolest thing about being a part of CFEC, though, is the people there that my kids look up to. They see that we are all different but that we all have certain strengths. They see the community lifting each other up and cheering each other on. I am so thankful for the many awesome examples that my kids have to look up to. They are learning to be a team, to lift each other up and to give their all in everything that they do.

Allison finished it off with this :”If we teach our kids to love themselves and to look for the good in others and to lift them up, to take care of themselves and to see their self-worth, we are setting them up for success. They are watching and learning from everything we do and say. I feel that the best way to project a positive self-esteem and body image onto our babies is to make it a habit of practicing these things ourselves, even those days when we’re not really feeling it. ;)” 

I love all of this, but especially that last part. Remember as you go about your 2018 that people are always watching you (like I said, hopefully in non creepy ways). But they are watching how you react, how you respond, and how you carry yourself. None of us are perfect, especially me. BUT, we all have the opportunity to influence and empower the next generation, so make the most of it!

 photo by @JoshWilsonPhotography   

photo by @JoshWilsonPhotography