Man, this family jammed a lot of activity into a three day weekend. Along they way, I hope we’ve created some special memories for the kids. I believe we have.

Friday, after school, we took the kids horse back riding along with their cousins and my brother who were visiting. This was a delayed Christmas gift for the families. All the parents agreed last year that none of the kids needed any more stuff under the Christmas tree. We agreed that we wanted to give the four kids a shared experience. Horseback riding was the one we setttled on. None of the kids have been riding before, so it was new territory for all of them.

It was a fantastic time. By the time the ride was over and we were on our way to dinner all 4 kids were talking about how much they loved their assigned horses and how much they hoped that the next time we go back they could all ride the same ones. Very cute.

Saturday, Erin and I took our kids to Youngsville to participate in a 2 mile family mud run/obstacle course. We met a good friend and her two kids and we all had a grand adventure running, crawling, sliding and scaling our way through the various challenges. I could not be prouder of how the kids, all of them, met the challenges before them.

Two moments stood out for me with Lil Bit.

One, the girl has ridiculous ups! You know those 5 foot high round hay bales? Yeah, she can scale those in a single bound! There were three of them set about 50 feet apart. The challenge was to run up, get on top of and then over them. My 5 yo daughter watched adult after adult struggle to overcome those hay bales. She even watched me run ahead from our place in line and offer cupped hands for a couple of women to step into to give them a boost over.

When it was Lil Bit’s turn I asked her if she wanted me to do the same for her. Nope. She sprinted up set her feet and sprang up high enough that once her knees hit, she could scramble to the top! She then stood up to full height and leapt off the other side with a glorious celebratory donkey kick. By the time I’d cleared the first hay bale, watching out for the rest of our crew, Lil Bit had cleared all three bales and I had to call out to her to remind her to wait for the rest of the group!

The second moment came on the slip n’ slide. There was a wet plastic slide set on a slight decline that dumped you into a 20 foot wide pool of little more than knee deep (for an adult) water. I went first on this obstacle, so that I was through and waiting on the far side of the pool when Lil Bit took her turn. She did a great headfirst slide all the way down the tarp, into the pool and began to doggy paddle across.

Mind you, Lil Bit’s just 5 and still learning to swim. Most of the time she swims with a life jacket. She was about a third of the way across the pool when I could see the expression on her face change. She suddenly realized she was swimming without her life jacket and she was starting to panic.

I called back to her, “You can stand up, Hon. Just stand up!”

She hollered back, “I don’t want to! I want to swim.” With that her mind settled down and she set herself to stroking her way across that pool! I was so proud to see her overcome that fear. Really awesome.

Whirlwind had his fun too! He was pretty pleased with himself for scaling a 12 foot, slick as grease, mud hill free hand while everyone else used the provided rope. He counted that as a special accomplishment to be sure.

When the day was done both kids wanted to know when the next obstacle course is scheduled, so I guess that was a win as well. In fact, we’re all planning on taking part in a road run in October. That event will be TRULY special, if all goes according to plan, but more on that another day

Today at the gym both Erin and Whirlwind really impressed me.

Erin because she decided at the last second that she wanted to take on the day’s assigned Hero WOD “Kevin” solo, rather than feel like she was being carried if the event was turned into a partner WOD. We’ll forgive her the fact that she announced this as the clock was counting down from 10 seconds to start and that it totally threw off my mindset. It earned her some hearty cheers from the assembled group of athletes and earned me some good-natured ribbing because my workload had just doubled! 😉

I was very proud of her for taking on that challenge and seeing it through to completion.

Whirlwind impressed me because he accompanied me through the WOD as much as was appropriate.

The Hero WOD consists of three rounds of 32 deadlifts at 185#, 32 hip touches, and 800M farmer’s carry with 15# dumbells.

I wouldn’t let Whirlwind do anything approximating a deadlift. He hasn’t had any training. So he sat those out. But while I did 32 behind the back passes with a 40# kettle bell, he knocked out every single hip touch! He also grabbed 8# dumbbells and accompanied me on every farmer’s carry. He frequently set a pace that I had to really hustle to match.

Lil Bit had her fun today as well. She thought dancing her way through the Roxanne burpee warm up was a gas. While most grown ups were standing around dreading the next time the Police belted out Roxanne, Lil Bit was dancing in place. Hips swinging, feet bouncing, arms swaying. It was contagious. I had to join her.

She also accompanied everyone for the first 800M run, but then sat out after that. Or so I thought.

When Whirlwind and I left for the second round of 800M, I invited Lil Bit along. She said, ‘No,’ so I instructed her to stay in the box with the coaches. Well about 100-125 M up the road, Lil Bit goes dashing by me. I was about to holler at her until I realized she was being encouraged and accompanied by Coach Stephen. He’d finished coaching the preceding boot camp class and talked Lil Bit into taking one more run. The smile on her face as she passed me on her way back from the turn around point was just fantastic.

For the third round, she and Coach Chad had a bit of fun. Whirlwind and I were marching out our last round and I could hear Lil Bit cheering us on from about 150 M out. I thought, “That’s weird. I shouldn’t be able to hear her that well this far out.” Then it clicked, “Oh shit! She found the gym’s megaphone!”

I kept marching but turned around to steal a look and there she was stomping up the street shouting into the hand held microphone accompanied by Chad who was carrying the bull horn for her! It was way too funny.

Erin and I are so grateful to all the coaches and the Crossfit Durham community who permit us to encourage the kids to take part in the WODs as their able. I lost count of how many times other athletes complimented the kids or cheered them on as they worked out with us. That’s so wonderful. It makes the kids feel great to feel like they’re part of all of the action and the group.

All in all, a pretty fabulous weekend.

Oh yeah, this is my fitness blog right? I worked out Thursday and Friday. Yada-yada-yada. I finished “Kevin” scaled in 37:17 today, but in the grander scheme of things those details don’t feel important right now. Watching our family grow and adventure together feels so much more vital.