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A Midwest Life Posts

Top Summer Essentials

Hello!  I didn’t get this post done yesterday because I was busy celebrating with Max!  We have a preschooler!  Technically we celebrated his birthday all weekend by going to the zoo on Saturday and then on Sunday we went on a picnic, the zoo, had cake and opened his present from Asher (we bought a swing set but it won’t be arriving until later this week).  It was a full summer weekend of fun!

It was also the first weekend that was really nice and we were at home for this year.  Since summer seems to finally be here to stay (I feel like I have been saying for the past month) I am sharing my summer essentials.  These are products I use pretty much everyday during the summer and they help me not only fend off the heat and sun but also help me look a little more put together as a mom who basically lives outside once it warms up 🙂 .


Sunscreen: We all know about the importance of sunscreen, especially for the face.  I have been using Cotz sunscreen for awhile and love it.  I don’t feel it at all on my face and I can even buy a tinted color to help even out my skin tone a bit on days I’m not wearing makeup!  The tinted sunscreen can be a little too dark for me (although is claims to be translucent), especially if I don’t have any tan yet but it works really well once I have been in the sun a bit.  I have never gotten burned while using this brand, even in the Caribbean!


A nice pair of sandals for everyday: Since I work from home and am with my kids either at home or just around town I almost never wear nicer shoes than a simple pair of sandals in the summer (I’m not a huge shoe person!) .  I love finding a pair of sandals that are practical, comfortable, yet at least a little stylish so I look more put together.  I have ones similar to these that work great pretty much everyday.


A couple hats: I don’t really own a lot of hats but having a few really good ones helps keep the sun off my face and keeps my hair from getting too bleached by the sun.  My hats are all at least a few years old but the I have a hat similar to this one that I love.  I also have a bigger sun hat and a Cubs hat similar to this that is probably nearing 10 years old?  I keep telling David I am going to get a new one but it is still in really good shape so I never take the time to do so.  I also, of course, have a running hat which is just a basic baseball hat!


A good book: Summers are meant to include a little relaxing!  I have a list of books I want to read a mile long but I just finished this book and highly recommend it.  Especially if you are a fan of memoir type books.


Refreshing face mist: I discovered these types of sprays a few years ago and am hooked!  I am still working on find the perfect brand and type for me but they really do not only help my makeup look better on the days I wear makeup but also make me feel more refreshed as I use it throughout the day when being outside in the heat.  I haven’t tried this one yet but it is on my list to try this summer, and I typically like Tarte’s products so I’m hoping it works well!  I have heard good things about the Rain forest of the Sea product line so far.

These are five of my top must have products for summer.  I am off to spend some time chasing around two crazy toddlers for the day.  It is suppose to rain so it should be a crazy and busy day with them cooped up all day!

What is your must have product for summer?

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MedCity Marathon Recap

Hello!  How about a quick marathon recap?  It fortunately isn’t too late, only 8 days later thanks to a busy week with David traveling again and a certain toddler deciding to boycott bedtime all week 🙂 .  Last Sunday, (May 29th) I ran the MedCity Marathon in Rochester, MN!

MedCity Marathon Finish


My official finish time was 3:43:49 with an average pace of 8:33 per mile.  I actually finished 9th woman overall and 3rd in my age group!

Overall I loved the race and had a great time.  It was well organized and big, but not overwhelmingly large or congested.  Everybody was super friendly, both the volunteers and the spectators.  I didn’t really know what to expect or what my goals should be going in to the race but I had kind of set a goal of finishing in under 4 hours and keep a relatively easy pace throughout the race.

The race starts in Byron and the first six miles went by really quite fast and were also the hilliest so it worked out great!  I personally think the Rochester area is really pretty so I didn’t mind the hills and they really aren’t bad, they are more like little rolling hills than anything else.  Once we got into Rochester there were more spectators and over all I never really got bored with the course (am I the only one with this problem?).  There were water stops about every 2 miles so I didn’t need to stop at each one even though it was by far warmer on Sunday than it was during any of my training runs!  I trained in 30-40 degree weather and it was 60-70 Sunday morning, definitely a temperature range I’m not used to running in yet, especially with the humidity 🙂 .

MedCity Marathon

The week before the race I ended up getting the flu and then having a huge allergy flair up so while I wasn’t feeling 100% I was still hoping to meet my goals.  My training went really well.  I completed all my runs (running 4-5 times a week) except for my 20 miler!  I ended up not feeling well the week I was supposed to run 20 miles and never completed it!  Mentally, this was more nerve-wracking than anything else.  Just in case this happens to anyone else, don’t let it concern you!

I also started having trouble with my foot just a couple of days before the race.  It has been bothering me on and off for the past couple of years and when it started to feel a little sore I cut out speed work which seemed to help up until the last week.  My doctor had said to keep it stretched and ice it and that it was fine to continue running as long as the pain didn’t worsen throughout training and it really wasn’t horrible until the last week.  Obviously I wasn’t about to not run having just finished all of the training and my x-rays looked good (no stress fracture) so I just iced and stretched a lot before Sunday.  While the icing and stretching may have helped it still hurt quite a bit by the end of the race and I am still not running yet.  I went to the doctor on Monday and was told to take a week off but I will have to play it by ear since, while it is significantly better it still isn’t great (it is a tendon issue and the marathon really aggravated it).

Overall I had a great time and hope to be able to run this race again someday, both the half marathon and marathon if all goes well!  I don’t have any current race plans for the rest of summer as I am waiting to see how my foot heels but I hope to run a 5k in late summer/fall!

Do you have any summer running plans?

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How to Sleep Better

Sleep!  That thing everyone loves but can never seem to get enough of to be well rested.  Did anyone else know that May happens to be National Sleep Better month?  Sleep is such an important element of our health yet seems to also be quite neglected most days.

sleep problems

I know I’m guilty to staying up a little too late or sacrificing my sleep in some other way!  While I tend to not have too much of a problem falling asleep (I have two toddlers to keep up with!) I do struggle with waking up a ton and simply not getting enough sleep.

Here are the 8 most common sleep problems:

sleep 1 sleep 2


Are any of these problems relatable for anyone else?  I can certainly relate to a few!

Anxiety.  I tend to always want to fix everything for everyone making me worry all the time.  While I have had good intentions of trying meditation I have never actually taken the time to meditate!  (Unless in a health class in college counts!)  I do believe it can be incredibly beneficial.   I am already a strong advocate of stretching before bed but, since having Asher I tend to simply collapse into bed without stretching.  This summer I plan to not only (finally!) try meditation but also start stretching again!

Temperature.  We don’t have air conditioning so this is a big one.  While it does tend to cool down it often times isn’t enough to sleep comfortably.  Some things we have learned that help maintaining a comfortable temperature when you don’t have central air are investing in high quality fans.  They need to be a good quality so they will last through a lot of use as well as be quite!  Close the curtains when the sun is shining in.  I know!  Close the curtains!  It is a bummer but you probably aren’t in your bedroom all that often during the day anyway so it you won’t be sitting in the dark 🙂 .  When all else fails, buy a window unit.  We ended up putting in a small window unit that was actually surprising both quiet and effective at keeping our room a comfortable sleeping temperature.

These are the two sleep problems I encounter most often.  Making sure to keep your bedroom a comfortable and inviting place to sleep is so important in eliminating sleep problems and getting a good night’s rest!  Casper has done some of the work for you and offers a mattress and pillow that are sure to help you towards the perfect night’s rest 🙂 .

What sleep problem do you struggle with most often?

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Get your feet summer ready

I was provided the following product in exchange for an honest review.

Hello and happy weekend!  I am excited to be sharing a new product today that I have been enjoying.  With the summer rapidly approaching (Max and Asher’s last classes are this Friday!) I know quite a few people are looking forward to wearing sandals and enjoying the warmer weather.  However, I know I tend to neglect my feet a little more in the winter and, especially with running, they could use some help to get back to looking their best for summer!  I don’t have the time to always get out  for a pedicure when needed so lately I have been using the Emjoi Micro-Pedi.  It is easy to use, affordable and best yet, effective!  The Micro-Pedi works to remove dry, rough skin leaving your feet looking and feeling soft in a matter of just a few seconds.

micro pedi

I was actually surprised at how fast it worked for me as I had some pretty serious rough spots from running so much but both feet combined only took a matter of a couple of minutes total.  While there wasn’t as much of a visual difference for my feet before and after, they felt significantly smoother.  It also seems to last quite a while for me which is great!  I originally thought this may be something I would have to do every day or so to keep my feet looking and feeling their best but that isn’t the case at all.


The Micro-Pedi opperates using two double AA batteries and has pretty low maintenance.  You simply need to change the roller every few uses!  You can check out and order the Emjoi Micro-Pedi here for $39.95 with free shipping.  It is also available online at Amazon as well as drugstores.  It is the perfect beauty addition to get summer ready feet!

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Top ten baby names I didn’t use

I hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing Mother’s Day weekend!  Today I am sharing ten of my favorite baby names 🙂 .   I have seen this topic around a few places and found it interesting to learn what names others love but didn’t choose for their babies for some reason or another.

Before I move on I just have to verify, no, I’m not pregnant not have I been successful in convincing David to move from his stance on maintaining a man on man defense 🙂 .

top ten baby names

First up, boy names!

Thomas.  I love this name and think a little Tommy running around would be adorable but David wasn’t as on board with it so it was nixed.

Lincoln.  David did not like this name at all for some reason and wouldn’t even consider it but I think it is super cute.  Although, I have no idea on what a good nickname would be for this little guy.

Harrison.  A good, strong name, in my opinion 🙂 .  Once again, David wasn’t a huge fan.

Jude.  I love the idea of simple, one syllable names and this one fits the bill.  However, David was not interested in using any names that can be found in a Beatles song (I have no idea why) so it was out.

Christopher.  I love this name.  It is possibly my favorite but I love the whole name and not any of the nicknames so we didn’t choose it 🙂 .

Girl names!  I’m not going to share the actual girl name we had decided if we did happen to have a girl so these are my other top picks.  (Just so everyone knows, I was the only who knew what we were having.  David wanted it to be a surprise but I wanted to know so I found out and kept it a secret both times!)

Eleanor.  I love this name but again, David, not so much.  Also, the Beatles.

Lucy.  A nice, one syllable name I love!  However, again, those darn Beatles 🙂 .

Elizabeth.  This was actually also my grandma’s name and even though she didn’t like it I happen to think it is a great name 🙂 .

Liberty.  I became obsessed with this name after driving by small lake once called Liberty lake.  David didn’t share my enthusiasm though.

Grace.  We actually both love this name and if we would have ended up with two girls this probably would have been Asher’s name!

It was difficult for me to narrow down my top five for each boy and girl names!  If I am ever able to talk David into more babies we may choose one of these names!

What baby names do you love?

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