Think About Their Eyes!

This post was sponsored by Think About Your Eyes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

I remember our oldest son mentioning a few times here and there that he couldn’t see a clock that was far away, but he didn’t talk about it that much, so I didn’t do anything about it. As someone who has never had vision problems, it didn’t occur to me that he might be having trouble beyond what he said.

At his first yearly checkup at our pediatrician after the first mention of difficulty seeing, he was still able to pass the vision test, so I thought we were all good. We were also homeschooling at the time, so he wasn’t sitting in a classroom struggling to see things written on the board. As the next year went on, however, I heard him say, “I can’t see that,” more and more often. By the next year’s physical, it was confirmed that we needed to see an eye doctor.

As I said, I don’t wear glasses or contacts, so this was new territory for me. Thankfully, my husband has worn glasses since childhood, so he has been able to give Big J advice and support from another glasses-wearer. He was nine-years-old when he had his first eye doctor appointment and we found out he was quite far-sighted. A prescription was given and glasses were ordered.

I will never forget our oldest son’s reaction when he first put on those glasses. He could suddenly see so many things he had never seen before – the individual leaves on a tree, our kitchen clock from far away, and much more. He was so excited and I was so emotional! I thought glasses might bum him out a little, but it was the exact opposite – it was all joy!

Big J Glasses

All of this happened right before he started going to school and I am so grateful for that timing! As we’re starting a new school year, I know that he is not impeded by poor vision in the classroom. No child should worry about their education suffering because they cannot see. And eye doctor appointments are not only for kids with glasses or contacts as 50% of parents believe. That’s why this new program, Think About Your Eyes, is so important!

August is Eye Exam Awareness Month, so now is the time to prioritize your child’s eye health. I’m partnering with Think About Your Eyes this month because 25% of school-age children have vision problems and I don’t want you to miss them in your child like I almost did with my son! 24% of parents are like me and wait for their child to complain about vision trouble before getting an exam. He didn’t know what “normal” vision was, but one comprehensive eye exam showed us that he needed help. I really wish we would have had his vision checked sooner.

80% of what children learn comes through vision, so getting those eyes checked as school starts up this fall is crucial. You will help ensure there are no visual obstacles to learning and you could prevent more serious complications that could occur from untreated problems.

Check out this video from Think About Your Eyes:

Need some help scheduling those exams? Check out this doctor locator from Think About Your Eyes! They’ve got you covered for making this important task easy on you!

Let’s celebrate Eye Exam Awareness Month by scheduling eye exams for our kids!

Have you had your child’s vision checked lately?

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Cleaning is Better with FREE Caldrea Products!

This post contains affiliate links.

TRUE OR FALSE: Cleaning is a necessary evil in my life.

Most of the time I would say TRUE. I’m not the best at keeping a clean home and I can’t really say I love it. However, since cleaning is a necessity (yes, with three boys, but also just cleaning up after my messy self), I have to decide whether it is going to be a burden or a blessing for my family home. Sometimes, you just need the right perspective to change chores into happy, productive work. Maybe a spoonful of sugar would help, too?

I also think having the right cleaning products – ones that work well and smell good – can make any chore better. And when those amazing products are FREE?! Well, you know it will be a good cleaning day!

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Have you joined Grove Collaborative yet? It is this amazing subscription service for all things natural and healthy for your home and family. Cleaning supplies, personal hygiene, hair care, and much more are offered in this easy to use and affordable program! I love the ease of use and the great variety of fabulous products they offer, but my favorite thing is when they offer FREE STUFF!

Pear Blossom Agave

Today, you have the chance to try out Grove Collaborative and get a gorgeous set of Caldrea products, including:

  • Free Caldrea dish soap
  • Free Caldrea countertop spray
  • Free Grove Collaborative dish brush
  • Free shipping

This set is valued at $30 and is yours free as a new Grove Collaborative customer!

Want to get your Caldrea set and see for yourself why I love Grove? Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up for Grove Collaborative here and you will receive the Caldrea offer for free!
  2. Answer 4 quick questions about your home that Grove Collaborative will then use to customize your products — this takes under 30 seconds!
  3. Once you’ve answered the questions, you can finalize your basket of products to suit your household needs by adding or removing items.
  4. To receive this offer, your order needs to be a minimum of $20. Choose the combination of products and scents you love and receive in your first box. I’m a big fan of Method hand soap and I’m giving Dr. Bronner’s organic hand sanitizer spray a try this month!
  5. You made it! Click Finish & Pay and place your order. Don’t forget this special offer is only available until July 24 or while supplies last.

Bonus savings tip: Don’t forget to sign up for Grove Collaborative’s free 60 day VIP trial after you complete your first order! I love being a VIP ­­ it saves me time and makes shopping with Grove even more affordable. For 60 days, you can save too, with free gifts and shipping, price matching, exclusive sales, and personal service.

If you are already using and loving Grove, you can still get free stuff! Just click here to get a beautiful free wooden scrub brush with your next order!

This offer is only good through July 24, 2016 or while supplies last, so claim your free Caldrea gift now! Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll help you out!

Please note that Grove Collaborative currently does not ship to Canada, Hawaii, or Alaska.

Which yummy scent will you be choosing for your free gift?

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I Ran a Marathon

I ran my first marathon on Saturday.

It was not at all what I expected and I mean that in the best way possible.

The panic and fear didn’t really set in until the week of the marathon. Every negative scenario that could ever happen in a marathon was on a loop in my head – bad weather, nobody to run with, intestinal problems, leg cramps, hitting the wall and not getting past it, the race being canceled, and a million more horrible ideas. The forecast for Saturday was not helping at all – high of 82º and sunny, also known as a marathoner’s worst nightmare. Hot = BAD. We had a nice long drive on the way up for me to really freak out about all the “what ifs.”

Pre Race Jitters

The Fargo Marathon is unique in a lot of ways. First of all, it starts and ends in a dome. This is GREAT for chilly mornings when you would normally be shivering at the start line, and it is really cool to run into the dome to cross the finish line with everyone watching from the stands. Fargo also has participants from all 50 states and a large Canadian presence, so the race starts with the singing of both the Canadian and American national anthems. The race also starts with a prayer (I TOTALLY needed that) and the finisher medals have this inscribed on the back:

Let us run with perseverance the race that is before us. -Hebrews 12:1

The Hubby and I dropped off our bags at gear check, then walked hand-in-hand to the floor of the FargoDome. He gave me one last kiss after I found my pacer and headed up closer to the front (where the fast people are). I knew I needed The Hubby’s hand leading me to the start because he has been my #1 supporter through my entire running journey and has believed in me 100% as I trained for this marathon, even when I had no faith in myself at all.

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As my hubby taught me, so much of running a marathon is mental. I knew I would need to be focusing outside of myself most of the race to not let my mind get the best of me. This is one of the main reasons I decided to join a pace group – not because I really wanted to finish in 4:15, but because I wanted to be with other people who had approximately the same pace as me.

Once in the starting corral, I quickly found a few other women who were running this marathon with a similar mindset. There were four women I ran and talked with throughout the race. They were a huge help in calming my nerves before the start and quickly found many things in common besides being crazy enough to run 26.2 miles! One had flown in from California and was running her second marathon. Another was a medical student from my hometown in South Dakota, and another was a mom from Omaha who shares my love for the Run Like a Mother community.

Because the internet is a crazy, awesome place, I was introduced to Andrea by my friend Crystal. Crystal knew I would be running my first full in Fargo and saw Andrea mention the same thing. We found each other at the start and had the best time running 15 miles together. I was lost in great conversation with her and the miles just clicked by. I am super thankful for those 15 miles because I know they kept me from freaking out about the warm weather and many miles that still lie ahead.

Between mile 15 and 16, I ended up on my own. I was so terribly worried about this very thing happening, but I was in such a good mood that it didn’t phase me like I thought it would. Here’s the thing that I REALLY didn’t expect for my first marathon: I couldn’t stop smiling.

Run Happy

The whole race, I had a goofy smile plastered on my face. I can only give you two reasons for that smile in the middle one of the most grueling things you can put your body through:

  1. I had been training so hard for this day and it was finally here. I was actually running a marathon, not just thinking and worrying about running a marathon. This brought me so much relief.
  2. The joy of the Lord. You know those things you just can’t explain? That’s what this felt like. I had prayed that God would help me enjoy the race no matter what happened. I wanted the memories of my first marathon to be joyful ones and God answered that prayer abundantly.

I received so many comments in the last ten miles about how happy I looked and that is exactly how I felt.

Thumbs Up

The race was not without its struggles. During mile 17, without anyone to talk to, I started to think too much about how my body felt and how many miles were left. Bad idea. Thankfully, I had a plan in place ahead of time for just such a struggle. I was running this marathon to raise awareness and financial support for The Mercy House, a maternity home in Kenya. Although I wasn’t wearing my “Miles for Mercy” shirt (because it was WAY too hot), I knew I wanted to pray for the women and children at The Mercy House and all those responsible for its existence and continued service. For the next two miles straight, I prayed for the founders, the staff, the supporters, pregnant moms, new moms, and moms transitioning to a new way of life.

Those two miles were both extremely meaningful and important to me, getting me through what could have been a very rough patch. That time of prayer led me right up to mile marker 20. The mile marker I had been so scared to face. My longest run during training was 20 miles, so every step after that mile marker would be the longest I had ever run. TERRIFYING. Except it wasn’t. On race day, I passed mile marker 20 and felt invincible because I could feel God with me. My joy was still bubbling over.

The last 6.2 miles were also amazing thanks to the spectators. Fargo really comes out to support all of the runners. I especially love running through the neighborhoods: people out on their lawns, music playing, funny and inspiring signs, kids giving high fives. The atmosphere is always so great, but I had two new favorite things this year.

In the later miles of the marathon, there were official water stops, but there were also lots of unofficial water and fuel stations. I took some Kleenex from a spectator early on (lifesaver) and I grabbed an orange slice to suck on twice in the last six miles. Those orange slices were GLORIOUS. Sticky, but delicious. And the stickiness wasn’t a big problem thanks to my most favorite thing from the local spectators: WATER.

Fargo residents, thank you for turning on your sprinklers and hoses and setting up misters at the curb. I’m sure your water bill from that day will be insanely high, but myself and every other runner around me just loved you for it. Oh, and my favorite, the group of kids with water guns who (with my permission) absolutely drenched me sometime after mile 20. Kids, I love you.

A lot of things happened in those last few miles and I can’t remember exactly when they happened. Miles 21 through 25 are a bit of a blur. One of the most uncomfortable moments was somewhere between mile 22 and 24 when I dumped water over my head and ended up with salt from sweat in my eyes! It took me a good mile before my eyes weren’t stinging or blurry at all, but that water sure felt good on my head!

People have asked me if I “hit the wall” and the answer is yes, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I’m not sure why, but it could have been because I walked through every water station through the whole race, kept myself fueled with my Honey Stinger chews, and made sure I didn’t let my thoughts go negative. My legs started to feel heavier, but there was never a point where I thought I couldn’t keep going. Praise the Lord for that! 

Then it was there in front of me: the FargoDome, with lots of people lining the way and the glorious finish line waiting inside. I was grinning from ear to ear, but I also felt the emotion start to well up, especially as I passed mile marker 26. Just .2 to go. I also knew from watching my husband finish this marathon three times that there would be a camera just outside of the dome filming runners and showing us up on the big screen inside the dome so our friends and family would know we were coming.

I entered the FargoDome with no one else around me. I’ve never been alone entering the dome or crossing a race finish line. It was surreal. I spotted my best friend amongst all the other spectators before the finish line. She had finished the marathon relay an hour before me and was snapping pictures and cheering me on. As if I wasn’t joyful enough already, this made me smile even bigger.

Crossing the Line

Just a few steps later, I crossed the finish line of my first marathon with a time of 4:21:28.

VictoryBW Finish

As I crossed, I heard my husband yelling my name and saw him with the biggest smile on his face. The tears came quickly. I sobbed behind my sunglasses, but they were all tears of joy. I walked right over to him for biggest hug, kiss, and congratulations. He was beaming with pride and I was overflowing with joy and gratitude.

Getting the Medal 2 Getting the Medal 1

I had to keep walking or I might have fallen over from exhaustion. I also had to keep walking to get my medal, get to my husband and friend, and get to the food! My medal around my neck, my favorite people next to me, a banana in my hand, I left the floor of the FargoDome as a marathoner – tired and sore and a little bit in disbelief of what I had just accomplished, but overwhelmingly happy and so extremely thankful.

Three Musketeers Post Race Blog

I’ll save those thanks for another post because this is already the LONGEST BLOG POST I’VE EVER WRITTEN (appropriate since this is the longest I’ve ever run!), but I had to process all the feelings and remember every moment of the biggest accomplishment of my life. If you read this all the way to the end, you deserve a medal, too.

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I ran a marathon and, call me crazy, but I can’t wait to do it again.

Official Finisher Photo

Marathon finisher. Boom.

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Race Day Essentials: Post-Race

This post contains affiliate links.

We’re wrapping up the Race Day Essentials series with the things I need after the race is over. It took me a while to figure out what my body needed after a long or hard race, but that ended up being due mostly to not hydrating well enough in the days leading up to the race. Now that I have that part of the puzzle figured out, my stomach isn’t as sensitive and I’m not quite as picky about what I can eat.

Not included in this list is the MASSIVE amount of food that can be handed out at the end of a race. I usually eat 90% of this food and have ZERO guilt. I love when races have salty things like pretzels and chocolate milk – not necessities, but definitely favorites.

The lists have been more about food and products I use on race day, so I also left off a few experiences that must happen post-race: lots and lots of pictures, a long warm shower, wearing my medal everywhere we go, and maybe even a nap! There really is nothing like the runner’s high after a hard-run race!

Here’s today’s list:

MY POST-RACE

Banana – Some people like a banana before the race, but I prefer mine after! I think the banana has become a healthy post-race comfort food for me and they are usually available at the finish line, so I never have to look far for one!

Water – Again, this is a no-brainer.

Deep Blue Rub – We NEVER leave for a race without packing Deep Blue Rub. It is a MUST MUST MUST for us. The natural cooling and warming combination is just what our legs need after a long, hard race. I apply it to my problem areas (calves, quads) after a long, warm shower…sigh… I don’t sell essential oils anymore, but if you’re interested in this rub, you can get more info from a trusted friend of mine here!

Calf sleeves or compression socks – These get put on right after the Deep Blue Rub. As The Hubby once said after he put on his very first pair, “It’s like they’re giving my legs a hug!” He was totally right. And my legs are SO much happier with me the rest of the day (and for days afterwards) if they get a nice post-race hug. I don’t prefer one over the other, but use them in different situations, depending on the weather and what I’ll be wearing the rest of the day. I love these “Run Happy” calf sleeves from Brooks Running and Pro Compression makes my fave compression socks!

Bzees shoes – My feet are the most hurting part of my body after a very long run and the last thing they need is to be squeezed into an uncomfortable pair of shoes. I tried flip for a while, but I often get a blister between my first two toes, so flip-flops went bye-bye quickly. Then a pair of Bzees entered my life.

Bzees originally sent me a pair of shoes to review last year, and those shoes have been packed for every single race since. My feet need some support, but also some room to breathe. My Bzees feel like clouds from heaven for my feet. In the above photo is a new pair they sent me this year and my feet loved me for packing them on my trip to Nashville a few weeks ago for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. Yes, I got these shoes from the company to review, but I would buy them again with my own money in a HEARTBEAT. They work in any weather with almost any outfit I might choose post-race. My love for Bzees has no bounds. For reference, the pictured pair is the Sparkle Sling Back and I also own the Relax Slip-On – they are all machine washable!

You could also add to this list food, food, and more food, especially a nice burger or steak and some frozen yogurt, but that all just depends on the race and the day!

And that is the conclusion of the Race Day Essentials series! If you missed them, check out my pre-race and race-time necessities and share your favorites!

What do you need or love to have after a race?

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Race Day Essentials: Race Time

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The “Race Day Essentials” series continues today with the items I must have during the actual race. If you missed day one, you can check out my pre-race essentials here!

One of the best pieces of advice about running a race is, “Don’t try anything new on race day.” This is especially true for me during the race. I don’t want to eat, drink, or wear anything I haven’t trained with, so my list is pretty specific. These are the items that have passed the test for my race day!

As I said in my previous post, these are the items I use and must have on race day, but your list may look very different. The posts are meant to give you ideas, not something you should copy exactly. Try lots of things and go with what works for your body!

Here we go with what I must have during a race:

MY RACE-TIME

The perfect shoe – Before I begin on my love for Brooks Running shoes, you need to know that running shoes are a very personal thing. Do NOT go buy a pair of shoes because someone else really liked them. If you are serious about running, you need to go to a good running store and have your feet measured and gait analyzed to get recommendations for your feet. I’ve tried a few brands and models, and Brooks shoes are the only ones for me. My race day shoe is the Ravenna and I’ll be wearing those awesome animal print ones for my first marathon! Side note: do not run a race on brand new shoes. Plan ahead to break them in before the big day!

Balega socks – Just the right amount of cushion, very few blisters, fun colors – Balegas are a winner for both The Hubby and me!

Arm sleeves – I obsess about the weather and what to wear for races. I don’t want to be cold, but I absolutely can’t stand having too many layers on and getting too warm. Arm sleeves are a fabulous solution for those races that start out chilly, but warm up fast. I can wear them with a tank top and push them down or even take them off if it gets too hot! I pack them for every race, just in case.

Honey Stinger Chews – I mentioned the Honey Stinger Waffle in yesterday’s pre-race post, but the chews are the first thing that got me hooked on this brand. They are soft, naturally sweet, and come in several yummy flavors. I have tried MANY kinds of fuel during a race, but I’m not looking back. Honey Stinger is the one for me. I particularly love Pink Lemonade, Cherry Cola (with caffeine!), Fruit Smoothie, and Pomegranate Passion Fruit.

SPIbelt – How do I carry those Honey Stinger Chews with me? I’m glad you asked! It took me a long time to figure out the best way to carry things with me because I HATE to carry anything extra during a race. I doubted I would find a fuel belt I really liked, but the SPIbelt totally won me over. It looks so small, but stretches to fit whatever you need to fit in it. You’ll have to experiment with how you like to wear it and how much you will carry, but I’ve found it to be handy, versatile, and comfortable. It always carries at least my fuel and phone, both which take up a good amount of room!

GPS watch – During a race, I need to know how I’m doing with my pace. Enter the GPS watch. Sometimes it helps me hold back at the beginning of a race. Sometimes it reminds me I need to push myself a little more. I try not to obsess over it and mostly just check in at each mile. I would go crazy racing without it. CRAZY. I have a very basic Garmin Forerunner (mine is older, but most like this model) that does everything I need and The Hubby has a model with more functions and details.

Pace band – I can get “running dumb” during a long run or race. Trying to calculate where I should be time-wise in the later miles is almost impossible. Pace bands do all that work for me. My next half-marathon goal is 1:55:00, so I have a pace band that tells me what I want my time to be at each mile. For the marathon, my goal is to finish, so I picked a pace band to help me keep steady and hold back a little. When I pass a mile marker on course, I check my watch and my pace band to see how close/far off the times are and adjust from there! The Hubby and I also use these when we pace races.

Tomorrow, we’ll wrap up this series with what I need to recover right after a race! See you back here for the final installment!

What is always with you during a race?

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Race Day Essentials: Pre-Race

This post contains affiliate links.

The only thing on my mind right now is running.

Ok, well there a few other things, but running has taken over most of my brain because my first marathon is almost here. There is a LOT of nervous energy flowing through me right now, so I’ve decided to combine it with my running obsession to write a few posts I’ve had planned for a while!

The Hubby and I really, really love races, so we’ve had time to really perfect our pre-race, during race, and post-race routines. This will be my first marathon, but after 13 half-marathons, I know what helps my mind and body get through a race and recover afterwards.

I don’t usually post on Sundays, but I couldn’t wait any longer to get this series started!

Today is the first post in my series “Race Day Essentials,” so we’re obviously beginning with pre-race essentials. Tomorrow, we’ll move on to essentials for during the race. We’ll wrap it up the next day with my post-race must-haves. It’s going to be a fun week – at least I think so!

My disclaimer on all of these posts will be the same: These are the items I use and must have on race day, but your list may look very different. The posts are meant to give you ideas, not something you should copy exactly. Try lots of things and go with what works for your body!

With that, here are my pre-race essentials:

Pre-Race Essentials

English muffin + peanut butter (not pictured) – I eat an English muffin (or this homemade English muffin bread if I’m at home) with peanut butter (and sometimes honey) two hours before the race starts. If it’s a really early race, I’ll eat it and go back to bed, but sleep usually evades me at this point!

Coffee – This is a new development for me this year and I’m loving it. I’ve always loved coffee, but this is the first training cycle where I’ve had it before almost all of my long runs. I like the results. I plan to have some at least an hour before my first marathon – I’ll let you know how it goes!

Water – Do I even need to explain this? Good.

Body Glide – Necessity. Training for this marathon has revealed all sorts of new chafing problems, so I’m using Body Glide like never before. On my 20-mile run, the seam on the back of my pants rubbed my lower back raw. I had no idea, but that spot is getting Body Glide every time now, along with many other places. Body Glide – don’t run long without it.

Honey Stinger Waffle – I eat this amazing piece of deliciousness on the way to a long race. It is naturally sweet and just what I need for an extra boost of energy to start the race. We’re both obsessed with Honey Stinger products. You’ll hear about another one in the race time essentials.

Chapstick + sunscreen – One of the last things I do before dropping off my bag at gear check is put on some chapstick. I can’t stand having dry lips during a race and the sunscreen is a must to protect my skin for the 2+ hours I will be running! My chapstick must have it’s own sunscreen (the yellow EOS in my running bag and SoftLips in my fuel belt) and I prefer spray sunscreen so I can apply it quickly myself.

Come back tomorrow as we’re moving on to my necessities for the actual race!

What are your must-haves before a race?

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These Kids Are Runners!

I’ve been a runner for just over three years now. The Hubby started running a few months before me. Running has changed so many things about our lives for the better and our boys have taken notice.

This spring, our nine-year-old, Big J, mentioned he would like to do a 5K. We looked at the calendar and picked out a race in our area for the end of July. Big J and I sat down with the Couch to 5K plan and made a training plan for him to check off for eight weeks.

He amazed us during those eight weeks. If you don’t know about the Couch to 5K plan, it starts with long intervals of walking and short intervals of running. As the weeks progress, you walk less and run more. Big J did some runs with The Hubby or I outside, but many of them were on the treadmill. He was so dedicated and got through every single training run, even during the week he went to camp.

Along the way, Little J, our seven-year-old, decided he wanted to try the one-mile race on the same morning. He did some treadmill walking and a few spontaneous runs during his big brother’s baseball practice, but no formal training.

On race day, the one-mile race was first and Little J had Daddy by his side. We really had no idea what to expect from him, but when they took off, I thought it might be a while before they made their way back.

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Imagine my surprise when we saw Little J headed towards the finish line less than ten minutes later!

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The Hubby was surprised as well because Little J ran the whole time and finished with a time of 9:50! He came in second!

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Little J says he can’t wait to do his next race to get better and get another medal. I love it.

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Big J’s 5K race started a half hour later and I had the privilege of running with him. We said a little prayer before we started – for strength, endurance, and a fun experience!

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Summer races in Nebraska are not my favorite. Even with an early start, the humidity was no fun and the sun was shining down pretty bright. All of this just makes it even more impressive that Big J only walked for a few seconds a couple times the whole race. And he’s just like his mama – talking most of the time.

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I peeled off at the end of the race to let him finish on his own, sprinting those last few minutes with cheers and pictures and an announcer calling his name, telling everyone a nine-year-old was coming in at 34:53!

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Yes, I cried. When both kids crossed the finish line. The perseverance and determination they showed through training and the race left us incredibly proud. We saw a new side of them. Running means so much to us and we could see how much our boys enjoyed this running experience. These kids are runners and are already thinking about what races they want to do next, maybe when it is a little cooler!

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Our boys also know the best way to celebrate after a great race. We teach them well.

Are your kids interested in running? Have they ever run a race?

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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?

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Refreshing, Healthy On-the-Go Summer Drinks

I am a #NowWellness Blogger Ambassador. I have received monetary and product compensation for this post. This post contains affiliate links. All opinions, recipes, and ideas are always my own.

Summer is a time of practices and play dates and vacations. Basically, even though things technically “slow down” in the summer, we’re still always on the go, but in a more fun way! Amidst all the travel and play, we have to grab something quick to eat and drink in between activities. It can be hard to keep making healthy choices. 

I’m a big fan of products that make it easy for me to make healthy choices in a hurry, so I’m loving these two mixes from NOW Foods that I can add to my water or juice this summer to keep my body in great working order!

Summer Drinks

I actually love drinking water, but I do prefer some flavoring to add variety. And water is super important for my body, not just for everyday life, but also as a runner. If I’m not getting enough water, my whole body suffers. It is not pleasant.

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I discovered a new flavoring option from NOW Foods that is perfect for on-the-go hydration! Slender Sticks are sugar free drink sticks containing natural ingredients, natural sweeteners, and 10 super fruits! The Acai Lemonade flavor makes for a lovely summer drink that can be enjoyed in a mason jar on my deck or in a water bottle as I shuttle the kids to another summer activity. One packet is enough to flavor a regular 16.9oz water bottle. I’ll be keeping a few packets in my purse for easy use – it’s super delicious!

I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want in the summer when we’re traveling is an upset stomach. At home, I have Greek yogurt almost every day, which contains probiotics which help support proper digestion. I can tell a difference when I’m not eating my Greek yogurt. But yogurt doesn’t travel well without refrigeration, so I’ve been looking for other ways to get my probiotics on the go. I’ve found a solution in these great packets from NOW.

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The NOW Probiotic-10 packets are vegetarian-vegan, as well as dairy, wheat and gluten free, and they are super easy to use! This also makes is great option for those who can’t have dairy products. Just add one packet of this unflavored supplement to 4-6 oz of water and drink up to keep your intestinal tract in great working order. Probiotics aren’t glamorous or yummy on their own, but you’ll be glad you added them to your water or favorite juice this summer.

When my body is well-hydrated and my digestion is functioning properly, I can enjoy summer with my family with much more gusto! How do you make sure you are physically at your best during the summer?

 

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It’s a Healthy Thing at Smoothie King!

This is a sponsored post for Smoothie King. I was compensated for this post, but all opinions are 100% my own!

I have a thing for smoothies. REAL smoothies. The kind made with fruit, not syrups and added sugar.

Turns out we have a great new place in Omaha that feels the same way about smoothies! I had the fun privilege of joining a group of Omaha bloggers to try out a huge variety of the awesome smoothies offered by Smoothie King!

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Smoothie King has been around since 1973, but they just made their way to 90th and Center in Omaha two months ago and I’m thrilled they are here!

Smoothie King Collage

Before we even tried a smoothie, I noticed that Smoothie King is not just about smoothies – they are all about all-around health. The store has an active lifestyle theme, from the decor to the additional health food items sold in the store. Their motto is, “Smoothies with a purpose.” And that purpose is supporting a healthy lifestyle for Smoothie King customers! I love that!

Now about those smoothies, because we all know that’s the main event here…

Smoothie King Omaha

We got to try NINE different smoothie flavors during our night at Smoothie King. I honestly liked all nine of them, but I most definitely had my favorites! Here are the flavors we tried:

  • Angel Food = banana + strawberry (Smoothie King’s #1 seller)
  • Mangofest = orange + mango + pineapple
  • Lemon Twist Strawberry = strawberry + lemon + papaya (skinny version)
  • Almond Mocha High Protein = coffee
  • Chocolate Gladiator with Peanut Butter and Banana = choose two fruits or one + peanut butter + either chocolate, strawberry or vanilla protein)
  • Berry Carrot Dream = carrots + orange + apple + strawberry + banana
  • Pineapple Surf = pineapple + strawberry + kiwi
  • The Hulk Vanilla = butter pecan ice cream + banana
  • Peach Papaya Greek Yogurt = just what the name says!

So here’s a funny thing: Smoothie King’s #1 seller (Angel Food) and the taste testers’ favorite of the night (The Hulk Vanilla) were my two least favorite – and they were still delicious! I loved all of the others, but I was particularly fond of the Lemon Twist Strawberry which was made “skinny,” which means they left out the turbinado sugar and saved me 100 calories!

Smoothie King Samples

I didn’t think I would care for the Berry Carrot Dream, but it was seriously yummy. Anything coffee is always a hit for me, so the Almond Mocha was fabulous. And my smoothie go-to – chocolate, peanut butter, and banana – did not disappoint! We also got a sneak preview of the new Greek yogurt smoothies coming to Smoothie King in July – I’m a BIG fan of Greek yogurt in my smoothies!

Smoothie King Up Close

The point is you just can’t go wrong with a smoothie from Smoothie King! They will have something just for you – vegan, kale, fitness, high protein, every kind of fruit – the list goes on and on! Each smoothie comes in three sizes – 20 oz, 32 oz, and 40 oz. There are also 12 oz smoothies just for the kids! 25 of the smoothies offered at Smoothie King are under 300 calories for a 20 oz!

Smoothie King SizesYou really need to visit Smoothie King for yourself to experience all the goodness, but I have one more thing to convince you to stop by…

Smoothie King Drive-Thru

That’s right – DRIVE-THRU! And there was much rejoicing from all the parents, am I right?! A healthy drive-thru option is a reason to cheer for me!

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I know you’re ready to hop in your car to head to Smoothie King, so let me help you out – I’ve got a $50 gift card to the Omaha store to give away to one of you! To enter, leave a comment with which smoothie flavor you can’t wait to try! For extra entries, follow Smoothie King on Twitter and/or Instagram and tweet the following message:

[Tweet “A $50 gift card to @smoothiekingoma?! I’m in! Enter to win here: #smoothiekingomaha #omaha”]

Make sure you leave a separate comment for each entry! This giveaway closes Friday, June 26th at 9PM CST! 

So what flavor will you try first?!

 

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