Your Ears Will Love These Headphones!

I received these items to review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own!

I’ve had my fair share of bad experiences with headphones and running. This pair hurt my ears, that pair wouldn’t stay in my ears, the other pair started shorting out and shocking me while I tried to run…yeah, not so good luck with headphones and running.

Whenever someone tells me I should try a certain pair of headphones because they love them, I usually pass. I just don’t believe there is one magical pair that works for every runner…but maybe I’m wrong. Panasonic recently sent me two new pairs of headphones for our active family to try out and we’re loving both of them!

Panasonic Headphones

All of the headphones I’ve tried for running in the past have been in-ear headphones. Most of them either hurt or fell out. I was pleasantly surprised to find this wasn’t the case with the Panasonic Sport Clip Headphones!

Sport Clip Headphones

They are very lightweight and fit perfectly over and in my ears, holding snuggling but not with too much pressure. The sound quality is exceptional and they also work with your smartphone so you can answer calls while running! I don’t do that very often, but it is a nice feature to have!

Bone Conduction Headphones

While I loved the sport clip style, it was another pair of headphones that really blew all of us away. Panasonic Open Ear Bone Conduction Headphones are like nothing else I have ever tried. They don’t go IN your ears, they sit on the bone right in front of your ear. You hear the music through vibrations in your skull. It sounds crazy, but it totally works and everyone in the family had to try them!

Big J Headphones

The nice thing about using these headphones for running is they don’t plug up your ears completely, so you would be able to hear a car coming or a biker passing you on the trail AND hear your music with great clarity. This is a really valuable safety feature for outdoor runners. And that makes these water-resistant headphones the perfect choice as you’re training for your summer and fall races!

Speaking of races, we’re adding another race runner to the family this weekend as our oldest (nine years old) has been training for his first 5K! We have been so impressed by his dedication to sticking to a training plan, doing three runs a week, some outside and some on the treadmill. He followed the Couch to 5K program for eight weeks and the big race is this Saturday!

Headphones Warm Weather Pack

It’s going to be a warm morning, so we’re packing a great water bottle and cooling towel for after the race. Not a big fan of the heat and humidity, but it comes with living in Nebraska!

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I’ll be running with Big J for the 5K and probably crying when he finishes. Yes, I’m that mom. Our seven-year-old will also be doing his first one-mile race with The Hubby that morning! This running lifestyle has become quite the adventure, but I wouldn’t have it any other way and I LOVE sharing it with our whole family!

What’s your experience with headphones for exercise? Do you have a pair you love?

Summer is for S’mores!

I participated in a Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for OshKosh B’Gosh. I received an OshKosh B’Gosh gift card to facilitate my post and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Can I be honest with you? I’ve kind of always dreaded the arrival of summer. There have been parts of summer I’ve enjoyed – swimming, family vacations, no school – but I just wasn’t crazy about the heat and humidity and being out in it at all.

All of that has been changing this year. Maybe it’s me, but I think it has to do more with my kids. They’re growing up and we’re able to take off on adventures as a family more easily. We’ve been playing outside, exploring our city, staying up later, and I’m starting to think summer can be quite glorious.

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I think the most wonderful of all are the summer nights.
We’ve enjoyed have family play dates with friends in the evening so we can share the joy that is…

OshKosh Smores Supplies

S’MORES.

OshKosh J Fire Pit

We are blessed to have a beautiful fire pit and seating area in our backyard, the perfect location for the perfect yummy summer activity for a play date or sleepover!

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The combination of a warm fire, gooey treats, and kids is magical.

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It’s fun to have variety available when we make s’mores with guests! We mix it up with different chocolates – dark chocolate is my favorite, Big J loves peanut butter cups, and I’ll let you take a guess at the top choice of Little J…

OshKosh Hersheys

With all of the fun chocolate options, every kid can have a custom treat they will enjoy! We somehow ended up with one kiddo who just wants the roasted marshmallow by itself and one who wants all the parts of a s’more, but wants to eat them separately. I just don’t understand.

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S’mores and summer fun go hand-in-hand at our house and we love them both even more when we get to share them with friends!

We are also totally loving the new summer play clothes the boys picked out at our local OshKosh B’Gosh store this past week!

OshKosh Surf

I’ve always thought of overalls and denim when OshKosh B’Gosh was mentioned, but they are quickly becoming my go-to store for bright, fun summer looks for my boys. The boys were actually EXCITED to be shopping in the OshKosh B’Gosh store and that is a BIG DEAL!

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With sizes 0-12, we were able to shop for all three boys in one store and we had piles of tops and shorts they all loved. The deals at OshKosh B’Gosh were so great that we were able to get everything they wanted – ten tops and four pairs of shorts – for under $100!

OshKosh Shark Face

I can’t get the boys to wear anything excet their new OshKosh B’Gosh clothes and that’s fine with me! I love their bright colors, hand-drawn original designs, and great quality.

OshKosh Shirts

I think these outfits match their personalities quite well, don’t you?! And Little J’s dino shirt (top right) glows in the dark, which is so perfect for an evening play date!

OshKosh Whole Shark

I should probably mention that if you’re going to do s’mores for a play date, please allow some “burning off all that sugar” time. They’ll need it. Trust me.

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See what I mean?!

I love my boys. I love spending summer with them. And I know you will love the new summer styles from OshKosh B’Gosh as much as we do, especially with this great discount through July 13th!

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Find your local OshKosh B’Gosh store here, grab your kids, and enjoy finding them some fun new summer clothes together with 25% off your purchase of $30 or more! You can also use this deal online with the code SUMMER25 at checkout.

You can join in on the #HelloSummerFun action and be inspired with OshKosh B’Gosh on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

 

Your turn: talk to me about your favorite s’mores combination! We are always looking for new ideas!


Take Us Out to the Ballgame!

Summer. Baseball. Family. Fun.

These words just go together, don’t they?!

In Omaha, you can add three more words: College World Series.

Every June, college baseball fans from all over the country converge upon our fair city to cheer on their teams and it is quite the sight to see! The Hubby and I attended a College World Series game back when we were a young married couple without kids. That was back in the days of Rosenblatt Stadium, the long-time location for this baseball championship that is no longer standing.

We hadn’t been back to the College World Series or the festivities surrounding them since they moved to downtown Omaha, but we made it a priority this year! With the boys getting older and being more interested in actually watching the game, this was the perfect year to take it all in!

CWS Opening Day Collage

We had such a fun time attending the Opening Day festivities – meeting players, watching practice, playing games, eating yummy food! It was a great way to see the stadium and teams up close for FREE!

The fun didn’t stop there, though, because The Hubby picked up tickets for us to attend two games, including one featuring LSU, the team our oldest son had decided to cheer for in the tournament! Imagine the excitement when the boys found out we were going! Honestly, I was just as excited as them!

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One of the biggest differences between attending the Opening Day activities and the game was the weather! On Friday, we were wearing hoodies and jeans, but by game day on Tuesday, it was in the upper 80s with LOTS of sunshine! We came equipped with the necessities – hats, sunglasses, water bottles, and plenty of great Banana Boat® sunscreen!

As a mom, I know how important it is to make sun protection a priority. Sunscreen does more than protect against sunburns. It protects against long-term effects that are not always visible, like skin damage and skin cancer.

Banana Boat® sun care products are tested in seven conditions – sun, pool water, ocean water, wind, sweat, sand and extreme heat – to provide safe and effective broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection for the entire family. The Hubby and I prefer Banana Boat® Sport Performance® Lotion Sunscreen with PowerStay Technology™ for our active lifestyles as runners and as busy parents of boys!

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Our trip to this ballgame ended with an LSU win, three happy boys, and no sunburn! It was a smashing success and we we went back for more later in the week Looks like we have a new yearly tradition!

Have you had a memorable trip to a baseball game? Tell me about it!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Banana Boat® . The opinions and text are all mine.

Mary Poppins + The Rose

I received tickets to Mary Poppins from the Rose in exchange for this review. I was not compensated in any other way for this review and all opinions are 100% my own.

I wrote last month about my return to the world of musical theatre – watching, not acting – with the amazing musical, Once, at the Orpheum. Last Friday night, I had the pleasure of taking my boys along for a magical musical journey when we attended Mary Poppins at the Rose!

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The Rose is a performing arts theater in Omaha focused on enriching the lives of children and their families through live theater and arts education. They strive to make the arts accessible to all children, with shows for all ages and programs to provide tickets for low-income families. Each season at the Rose features seven shows, plus two premium shows such the one we attended last week!

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The actual theater building is magical on its own, with beautifully sculpted interiors, gorgeous decor, and a ceiling that changes from clouds to stars with fun lighting. Just being in the theater is an experience, but we were in for a bigger treat when our show began!

We’re big fans of Mary Poppins, but the stage musical varies a bit from the movie with which we’re so familiar. That wasn’t a concern at all because the songs we love so much – “Feed the Birds,” “Spoonful of Sugar,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” and more – were still there and the new ones were delightful as well!

The cast was all local actors and the talent was amazing! The boys were agreed on their favorite cast member – Michael – and song – “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” They were able to meet “Michael” afterwards and this gracious 11-year-old was kind enough to give them each an autograph on their kids’ programs!

My favorites were the same as my favorites in the movie. Bert was just as Bert should be – charming, fun, wise, and a great dancer. And I’ve always been a sucker for a great group dance number, so I was totally won over by “Step in Time.” I especially loved the tap and the boys loved the special effects that had Bert dancing on the ceiling!

Remember how I mentioned I cried during Once? I actually had tears in my eyes during several of the big group dance numbers at Mary Poppins! And they weren’t even sad songs! There is just something about seeing a group singing and dancing so well together that gets me all emotional. I’d call that a sign of a wonderful performance!

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The Rose has so many extra little things that make the night special for families. The kids received programs as they entered with a plot summary and tons of fun activities to go with the show! Little J was thankful for the free booster seat that helped him see better from his spot!

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Before the show and during intermission, kids are welcome to look down into the orchestra pit to watch the musicians prepare for the show.

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At intermission of the two premier shows, there are chocolate chips cookies, bottled water, and pop available for $1 each! It was the perfect little treat in between acts! And at the end of the show, actors are available for Q&A with the kids and autographs!

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Before we even went to Mary Poppins, our family had purchased a membership for next season and we are all so excited to use it! A family membership to the Rose is just $95 and includes 4 tickets to each of the seven regular season shows. With your membership, you also receive discounts on the two premium shows of the season and classes, member-only opportunities for backstage tours and show-themed family classes, and a free member day! This is an amazing deal for such great exposure to the arts for the whole family!

Mary Poppins runs Friday and Saturday nights, along with Saturday and Sunday afternoons through June 28th. Purchase your tickets now and take the whole family!

 

Weekend Snapshots

We packed a whole lot in to this wonderful weekend, so get ready for some photo overload in this week’s Weekend Snapshots!

Our weekend was spent in South Dakota with family starting with a little time in Brookings…

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I’ve been going to Nick’s since I was a little girl. It’s one of those old-fashioned diner places that serve hamburgers right at the counter and I just love taking our kids there now! Nick’s is a must if you visit Brookings!

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Another must in Brookings is the Children’s Museum of South Dakota! I’ll have a full post on the museum soon if you’re thinking of visiting, but we spent the afternoon there exploring, playing, and learning! It was a hit with all of the kids, ages one through nine!

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We capped off our time in Brookings with a visit to see my grandparents! I love that our kiddos are able to get to know their great-grandparents and spend time with them!

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We spent Saturday evening downtown Sioux Falls, starting at the beautiful Falls for which the city is named! The city has done such a lovely job making a beautiful park to surround the Falls. There were four couples having wedding pictures taken in the twenty minutes we were there!

If you live in or are visiting Sioux Falls, you have to check out Fiero Pizza in downtown Sioux Falls. This build-your-own pizza place is super fun and super delicious! Each pizza is around $9 and we had eight pizzas for the ten of us. The adults each had their own and some of the kids split pizzas with a little left over. We also had a dessert pizza to top it all off! Two thumbs up from everyone in our group! To add to the fun, the table tops are chalkboards, so the kids made some art before and after eating!

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Downtown Sioux Falls also has a fun sculpture walk. Beware the alligator!

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Sunday morning found us at one of my happy places – the tennis court! The Hubby and I played some mixed doubles with my parents and the boys hit around a little as well. The older two start up with tennis lessons again this week!

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The zoo is always a great choice with our guys, so we headed to the Great Plains Zoo for the afternoon. The petting zoo and giraffes were favorites, but the kids were pretty cute, too! That face by Double J is what happens when he’s crabby and I ask him to do a crazy face. that kid. And my niece is the cutest, agreed?!

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The whole reason for our weekend getaway, other than spending fun time with family, was to celebrate our twelfth wedding anniversary! We had the best date night to celebrate, having a fabulous dinner where we talked + talked, then seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron! There is no one I would rather spend time with and I love this man way more than when we said “I do” twelve years ago! He’s just the best. The end.

Whew! I’m tired just recapping our weekend, but it was a great one!

How was your weekend? What were the highlights?

I’m linking up with Erin at Her Heartland Soul for Weekend Snapshots!

 

Weekend Snapshots

Hooray for three-day weekends! Three-day weekends mean our Weekend Snapshots are coming to you on a Tuesday this week and I’m pretty sure I’ll be confused about what day it is all week. Who’s with me?! Here’s what our Memorial Day weekend looked like…

We finished up school last week, so summer has officially started and these guys are pumped about it! They got their summer fun buckets Friday night and have been wearing their new sunglasses nonstop ever since…even when it’s raining.

This mama celebrated summer by trying the new Crafted Press from Caribou Coffee! It’s not my normal sweet latte or mocha, but I really enjoyed it and will try it with a shot of caramel next time!

A new exhibit came to the Durham Museum this week and we spent Saturday checking it out! The exhibit, Lost Egypt, is perfect for the kids – lots of hands-on learning and creating! The highlight, though, is a REAL MUMMY. Yep, this whole exhibit was a huge hit for our family and we’ll be heading back a few times before it leaves at the end of summer! Oh, and that’s our new camel friend, Mahrud. He’s pretty friendly.

We all tried dipping our fries in our Frosty for this first time this weekend. Verdict: DELICIOUS.

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Sundays are salad night for The Hubby and I. This is my new favorite creation: BBQ chicken, corn, bacon, red pepper, romaine, and spinach. I think I’ll use the leftovers to recreate this for lunch today because I’m drooling just looking at the picture.

Also in the boys’ summer bucket were some foam water guns! The sun FINALLY came out on Monday, so it was a full-on battle in the front yard! I know this will be a regular occurrence all summer long!

  

Memorial Day just wouldn’t feel complete without some grilling and S’MORES. Of course, after a beautiful, sunny day, the wind picked up just as we headed out to roast our marshmallows, but we made quick work of it…and messy work of it! Messy is the best way to eat s’mores – the only way to eat them, really! S’mores are also the reason I keep baby wipes around.

                  

We cannot forget the whole reason for our long weekend. Memorial Day is a day to remember that our freedom is not free. A time to say THANK YOU to those who serve + have served + to their families. We are humbled by the sacrifices they make to protect us. We celebrate, but we also solemnly remember with much gratitude.

How was your Memorial Day weekend? What were the highlights?

I’m linking up with Weekend Snapshots over at Her Heartland Soul!

Weekend Snapshots

I’ve been connecting with more bloggers in my area recently, and one of those is the lovely Erin from Her Heartland Soul! We finally met in person at Once (the musical) last week where we both enjoyed ourselves immensely! Erin does a fun link-up every Monday morning called Weekend Snapshots and, in an effort to chronicle a little more of life at “home with the boys,” I’m going to be joining in! And here’s my first edition!

Our weekend started with having friends over from dinner. Hosting people makes my heart sing and we haven’t done nearly enough of it since residency began. The Hubby actually took this first step and invited friends from work, and despite the doctor of that family being called back to the hospital twice, we had a lovely time while they were here!

While we were having dinner with friends, Big J was at a sleepover for the birthday of one of his best buddies. I use the word “sleep” loosely because they didn’t sleep. At all. Which resulted in this on the way home Saturday…

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Bless his heart. He also slept for FOUR hours that afternoon. I’ve never seen that boy so tired and completely out of it!

While the big boy slept, the rest of us spent a bunch of time outside – The Hubby mowing, the boys riding and scooting, and me taking pictures. Of course. I’m not a huge fan of summer, but I do love being outside as a family!

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Faces of JJ

Mowing
Scooter and Bike

j and JJ bikes

I’m just dying over Double J’s face in that last one. Really, I die over all his crazy, silly, adorable faces. Last child for the win.

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Obviously we had to refuel after our outdoor adventures and Five Guys was the perfect remedy to our hunger. Mmmm…burgers…

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When your nine-year-old asks to cuddle and watch National Treasure, the answer is always yes. And it must be documented because I know he won’t want to do this forever.

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We ended the weekend on a yummy, healthy note. Turkey burgers from Costco are one of our favorite quick healthy meals and summer veggies make the perfect side dish! I can’t wait to head to the farmers’ market soon to grab some local fresh produce – maybe that will be a part of the next Weekend Snapshots!

What did your weekend look like? What were the highlights?

 

Sensible Portions Puffs: Snacks for the Whole Family!

This is a sponsored post from Hain Celestials. I was compensated for this post, but all opinions are 100% my own.

I know I’m not the only mom who has kiddos CONSTANTLY asking for things to eat, right?! I’m always on the look out for better-for-you snacks to feed the whole family when they need to munch on something. The boys have found a new favorite in Sensible Portions Puffs from Hain Celestials!

Puffs

Made with organic corn and no fillers, Sensible Portions Puffs are baked and deliciously seasoned bite-size poppable treats for the entire family to enjoy! Sensible Portions Puffs are made with the belief that an after-school snack, or a movie-watching treat, can be fun and delicious while also being a better-for-you, smarter snacking option.

Puffs Eating

The boys take after me and like something a little salty for an afternoon snack along with some fruit or string cheese. I don’t want them to fill up on junk, especially with dinner right around the corner. Sensible Portions Puffs satisfy that salty craving with their four yummy flavors: Veggie, Cheddar, Tomato Basil, and Sour Cream & Onion.

Puffs Boys

The boys loved all four flavors, but the Cheddar were definitely a favorite! The Hubby enjoyed all of the flavors as well, while I had a strong preference for the Veggie Puffs! These really are the perfect thing to snack on – low-calorie and without any nasty fillers! You can grab your own at WalMart stores for just $2.88 a bag!

I want your family to be able to give Sensible Portions Puffs a try, so we’re giving one of you four bags – one of each flavor! To enter, just tell me about your favorite better-for-you snacks for your family! For an extra entry, tweet this and come back to leave a separate comment telling me you did:

Tweet: Enter to win 4 bags of #SensiblePortionsPuffs from @homewiththeboys! http://ctt.ec/3dJF1+ #giveaway

Leave your comments by Monday, May 11th at 8PM CST to be entered!

Art Works for Your Kids!

Omaha has so many amazing things to offer for families! At the top of that list is the Joslyn Art Museum. Thanks to a grant starting last year, museum admission is now free, with the exception of the featured traveling exhibit.

We’ve always loved the Joslyn, but our love has grown with the addition of Art Works, a 1,500 square foot interactive space where kids can experience the visual arts!

Art Works

Art Works features nine stations where kids can paint, draw, build, and create art of all kinds! This permanent space offers new experiences with each visit as stations are updated to go along with current museum exhibits! During our latest visit, the focus was on Georgia O’Keeffe’s Flowers!

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The digital painting stations are a big hit with all of the kids!

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Double J would paint there with real brushes (and no mess) for hours – every mom’s dream! All of the boys enjoyed this, especially when they realized they could email me their creations, like this one:

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Isn’t that fun?! They were so proud of their masterpieces and my inbox filled up quickly!

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The portrait station is super fun! You can use the mirror to draw a self portrait or the transparent side to draw a portrait of a friend! Or just draw around the oval like Double J.

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I personally love the pottery station where kids can draw on vases with dry erase markers! It’s brilliant! The station has photographs of ancient pottery for inspiration. I think I enjoyed drawing on these vases as much as the kids did!

But the biggest hit with all of us was…

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…the stop motion animation station! Seriously – this was SO MUCH FUN! The station has two computers with two different backgrounds and tons of figurines to use.

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The boys were so creative once they figured out how to put together a movie. I love this exposure to an art form they wouldn’t normally experience! They were also able to send their finished videos to me by email so we can enjoy them over and over.

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I haven’t even touched on all of the great stations in Art Works – sketching, wooden building blocks, and lots more! We’ve been twice and will be going back frequently to create and explore. And remember – it’s FREE! If you live in the Omaha area or you’re visiting, make sure you take your kids to the Joslyn for all this interactive art fun!

What kind of art does your child enjoy? Which stations would they like at Art Works?

By the way, this is NOT a sponsored post and I was NOT asked to write this post by the Joslyn Art Museum – we just love it and I wanted to share it with you!

This is How We Do St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day is my thing. One of my favorite days of the year and always has been. I’ve got all kinds of Irish ancestry and we like to celebrate it any way we can!  It was a big deal at my house growing up, I made it a big deal for my students when I was teaching, and now it’s a big deal for my own family!

We traditionally celebrate with lots of green, some Irish soda bread, and beef stew for dinner, but our St. Patrick’s Day festivities have evolved a little over the years.

The biggest addition has been the Irishman race the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day! It’s held in my hometown and involves 5 mile, 5K, and 1 mile races all in one day. This was my third year running it with my childhood best friend and The Hubby ran it for the second year this year! Of course, I get all decked out in my green for this race…

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Three races in one day is a unique challenge and the Irishman is one of my favorite race days of the year! It is extra special because I get to experience with my hubby and my best friend!

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The weather could not have been more perfect! I finished with new PRs for the 5 mile {43:30} and 1 mile {7:50}, as well as an overall PR for the day {1:17:38}! The Hubby finished 11th on the day – out of 212 people! And we had some cute spectators waiting to watch the parade with us after the race!

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As for today, actual St. Patrick’s Day, we’re not going with our traditional beef stew, but we’ve got lots of green going on!

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And I’m wearing my favorite Irish shirt along with my KraftyKash map necklace of Dublin!

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Fifteen years ago, The Hubby and I were in Ireland on a band trip and we started dating on St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. For this Irish girl, nothing could have been more romantic! I can’t believe I’m posting this, but here we are on that trip…

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Oh my, how we have changed…except I still make goofy faces in photos. That will never change. And I’m more in love with this guy than ever before – that part just keeps getting better!

One last thing: We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day big because of our ancestry. I mean, my family actually built a super famous castle in Ireland, for goodness sake. But St. Patrick’s Day is an important day for all Christians to celebrate because there is a lot for us to learn from the man for which this day is named! I share his story with our boys ever year and you can read more about it on the Tommy Nelson blog in my recent post called The Faith and Forgiveness of St. Patrick!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day from our family to yours!

 

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

Christ shield me today
Against wounding
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.

~The Prayer of St. Patrick