The Fit Family


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When I was a kid, my mom put us in the yard at 8 a.m. in the summer, and we didn’t return until dinnertime. During the school year, it was 3-6 p.m. If it was cold, there were coats. If it was hot, shirts were optional.

We ran around the cul-de-sac at the end of Birkshire Road in Fayetteville for hours on end. We’d play tag, hide-and-seek or a game my brother made up called Boy-Land. That was when the boys chased the girls. Tracy McDonnell insisted on equal billing so we sometimes acquiesced and played Girl-Land, which was just as fun. It was one of the few times in my life that a female actually showed interest in catching me.

Sometimes we would just stand in the front yard and spin around in circles. Our lives were centered around physicality. We’d come home sweaty and tired — likely burning more calories than my mom could shove into us, and she shoved a lot!

That is not the case today. My three daughters would rather watch Netflix than breathe. A nine-season show is nothing to conquer over a five-day school break. That’s like 90 hours of TV!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the most athletic person in the world. I don’t know the difference between a football and a hockey stick, and I have the coordination of David Hasselhoff (“Dancing with the Stars” season 11). But I exercise four or five times a week. I like to move.

I try to encourage activity with my girls. I promote the possibility of good weather: “It’s going to be 75 tomorrow. Nice day to spend outside!” Typically, I get no takers. Internet reception is spotty beyond the walls of our house, and jogging with a laptop can be cumbersome.

I try to beat them at their own game by finding activities they can do while watching a screen: “I found a great exercise video online. It’s Zumba! I think you’d enjoy it.” They disagree. Unless Phoebe from “Friends” is the instructor, they have no interest.

The only way I have found slight success in getting my teenagers to sweat is to hit the gym as a family. They seem to revel in watching me plunder through a group fitness class.

Once we landed in a sports conditioning class. I thought it would be a good fit for a rhythmless 50-year-old. I was wrong. Apparently part of conditioning for sports includes straddling a “stair” and crossing it in sync with the music. Who walks upstairs to a beat? It is not a practical exercise.

Another time my youngest daughter and I took Pilates. As the class began, the teacher announced that participants generally remove their shoes. I thought it was nice that she was informing the masses. As I untied my New Balance sneakers, I realized I was the only one without bare feet. Why didn’t she just come and tell me?

We all took yoga. I believe the woman on the mat in front of me could have stuck her head through her legs and licked her own back. I, on the other hand, can’t touch my feet, unless I’m sitting with my legs crossed.

At the gym we jog together, ride bikes together and work out our abs. I’ve even taken my teens through my rigorous weightlifting routine (well, it’s rigorous for me). But they always keep it real. “Dad, these are big weights. You’re pretty strong. Why do you look so scrawny?” They seem to delight in my misery. And I find joy that they’re doing something besides watching inappropriate clips from “Saturday Night Live.”

At my house, exercising together brings happiness to all!


Bruce Ham, who lives in Raleigh, started writing after losing his wife eight years ago and raising his three daughters on his own. He has written a book, “Laughter, Tears and Braids,” about their journey, and writes a blog about his family's experience at therealfullhouse.wordpress.com.

 

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July 2019

More than 1,300 makers from around the globe will gather to learn, share, and celebrate lathe-turned work. And with this year’s record-breaking turnout, it will be the largest woodturning...

Cost: Free

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
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Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
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Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

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Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

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Cary’s popular food truck rally also features music from local performers.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Cary
, NC  27511


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Enjoy food trucks and live music in Downtown Park.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Park
319 S. Academy St.
Cary, NC  27511
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Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
Borden Building and Grounds
820 Clay Street
Raleigh, NC  27605
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Sponsor: Historic Resources and Museum Programs
Telephone: 919-996-4364
Contact Name: Borden Building at Fletcher Park
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Ages 11-17 make comfort foods inspired by the South. Register online. Choose course #124743.

Cost: $44/resident, $57/nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC
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Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
Carrboro Cybrary
100 N Greensboro St
Carrboro, NC  27510
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-918-7387
Contact Name: Cybrary
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Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

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Flaherty Park Community Center
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Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

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Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
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Cost: See website for fees

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Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

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The world famous Glenn Miller Orchestra brings timeless classics like In the Mood, Moonlight Serenade, Chattanooga Choo Choo, Pennsylvania 6-5000, String of Pearls and Tuxedo Junction back to the...

Cost: $50-$70/person

Where:
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 East South Street
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Telephone: 919-996-8700
Website »

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Cost: Free

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Locopops Dessert Cafe
2618 Hillsborough St.
Durham, NC  27705
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Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
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Cost: $5

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Marti Kane
Website »

More information

Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
IngenuiTea Kombucha Coffee & Tea
514 E Williams St
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Sponsor: IngenuiTea Brews
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Immanuel
1017 Sunset Ave
Clinton, NC  28328
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Cost: $9/resident, $11/nonresident

Where:
Bond Park Community Center
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC  27513
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Cost: FREE

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Cost: $5

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Marti Kane
Website »

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Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

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Parent and child ages 2-5 water plants in the native wildflower gardens. Register online. Choose course #124907.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

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Ages 11 and older with special needs learn the basics of archery. Register online. Choose course #124599.

Cost: $15/resident, $20/nonresident

Where:
Bond Park Community Center
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC  27513
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Website »

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Cost: General Admission

Where:
TreeRunner Raleigh
12804 Norwood Rd
Raleigh, NC  27613
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Sponsor: N/A
Telephone: 919-410-7347
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Cost: $40

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The Poe Center for Health Education
224 Sunnybrook Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Ages 11 and older with special needs stroll through the woods. Register online. Choose course #124384.

Cost: $2/resident, $3/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Website »

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Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

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Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

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Cost: $7/nonmember. Free for members and ages 6 and younger.

Where:
North Carolina Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


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Cost: $5/person

Where:
Renaissance Centre for the Arts
405 Brooks St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Cost: $5/person

Where:
Renaissance Centre for the Arts
405 Brooks St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Website »

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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
1720 Guess Road
Durham, NC  27701


Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
Durham Central Park
501 Foster St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Website »

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Cost: FREE

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Duke Homestead
2828 Duke Homestead Rd.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $5/Adult, 4$/Senior (60+), $3/Child (7-16), 6&Younger Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Preschoolers (ages 3-5 accompanied by an adult) meet a real turtle and hike to see others.  Play turtle games and bring home a rock 'turtle' in a terrarium you design. Preregister online using...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Marti Kane
Website »

More information

Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
Morgan Imports
113 S. Gregson St.
Durham, NC
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Cost: Free

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Raleigh, NC  27502
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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

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Cost: $35/resident, $45/nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Enjoy a summer movie under the stars to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Purchase advance tickets online. 

Cost: $7/nonmember. Free for members and ages 6 and younger.

Where:
North Carolina Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

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