Monday, April 29, 2013

Happy World Wish Day!

Today, April 29th, is World Wish Day, a global celebration of wish-granting.  It celebrates the day Chris Greicius received his wish to be a police officer for the day, inspiring the creation of Make-A-Wish and the organization's global wish-granting movement.  Since Chris's wish in 1980, more than 300,000 children around the world have had their fondest wishes fulfilled by Make-A-Wish.  Ever 23 minutes, Make-A-Wish grants the wish of a child with a life-threatening medical condition somewhere in the world.  In Iowa, a wish is granted every other day.

Make-A-Wish is an organization that is very important to me.  I currently serve as the Vice-Chair of Make-A-Wish North Iowa and serve the organization as a wish granter.  Why did I get involved?  All because of my cousin Jake.  He received an Alaskan fishing trip wish after he was diagnosed with bone cancer when he was in high school.  Jake said that receiving his wish was something that meant so much to him and was the best thing that he did during his battle with cancer.  Because of Jake, I started volunteering and granting wishes for Make-A-Wish almost five years ago.  I even "Jumped for Wishes" in memory of Jake and in honor of all the Wish kids I've had the honor of granting wishes to last summer.

So what can you do to help this great organization?  In recognition of World Wish Day, Make-A-Wish has started a new campaign called "Wishes in Flight".  This air-mile donation program matches every mile donated, up to 1 million miles, now through August 31st.  Make-A-Wish needs more than 2.5 billion miles, or 50,000 round-trip tickets, to grant wishes each year.  Every mile donated helps wish kids and their families travel to destinations around the world.  Once donated, miles will never expire and are used to support wishes across the country.  This is a simple way of changing miles, into smiles.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hump Day (+ 1 Day) Bump Report

Here is a picture of me at my Godson's 1st Birthday Party
My Godson is on my lap while LP is playing on my feet
I didn't get to my 34 Week Hump Day Bump Report yesterday because simply, I was busy doing other things during the day, and then last night I decided to watch Duck Dynasty rather than blog...

Since not too much has changed since last week I have decided to do something a little different for this week's post.  My sister-in-law contacted me earlier this week for some help on a baby shower game.  She is putting together a Price Is Right Check-Out game where she is going to have ten baby products on display (that the new-mom-to-be will also get) and whoever is closest to the total price of the items wins.  It was fun to put together the list of items for her!  Here is my list along with the prices to go along - how well would you do at the game?
  • 4 pack Flannel Burp Cloths ($8.99)
  • 108 count box Size 1 Diapers ($24.94)
  • 72 count tub of Wipes ($1.97)
  • Diaper Rash Cream ($7.13)
  • 2 pack Pajamas/Sleepers ($8.99)
  • 60 count box Nursing Pads ($5.99)
  • Grooming and Healthcare Kit ($19.39)
  • Baby Gum & Teeth Brush and Gel ($2.99)
  • Sleep Sack ($19.99)
  • Newborn Pacifier ($3.86)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Thoughts this Earth Day

Today is Earth Day.  When I think of Earth Day I think of spring time, planting trees and community clean-ups.  I also think about the spring planting season on the farm!  However, this year rather than being in the field planting our crops, we are waiting for things to dry and warm up.

I ran across this quote in an article from Jay Baer, a national social media consultant, the other day and fell in love with it.  I was reminded of it today, on Earth Day, as farmers across the Midwest wait to plant due to current soil and weather conditions.  I decided to take the quote and place it on a photo that I took a little over a year ago of My Farmer planting corn.

On Earth Day we are reminded that everyone has a responsibility to respect and care for the land.  For some people, Earth Day is the only day they think of that duty by participating in an Earth Day activity.  For My Farmer and I, and other farmers across the United States, we make decisions all year long that look at how we can take better care of our land and resources.  Farmers have made changes in their traditional practices that have resulted in growing more food on less land and decreases in soil erosion, to name a couple.  We make those choices not only for the current year, but so future generations will be able to raise crops on the same land that our great-great grandparents did when they first settled here in the United States.

What are your Earth Day plans?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Operation Thank A Hero

Even though it may not feel like spring outside, I have been busy thinking through how fast the next couple of months are going to go by - spring planting, birthdays, baby showers, wedding showers, weddings, Mother's Day, graduations, Father's Day, and the arrival of MP (just to name a few).  An important holiday to add to that list, that came to mind to me today, is Memorial Day.

How many of you plan on celebrating Memorial Day?

Our flag flying at my home last Memorial Day
I celebrate Memorial Day every year by visiting graves of past loved ones and by thinking of all the men and women in the armed forces.  I haven't talked about this topic too much on my blog in the past, but I am a proud to be in a military family.

My sister (and her dog) visiting us at our house
after a weekend guard training in February

My youngest sister joined the Army National Guard when she turned 17.  Now at the age of 25 she is employed by the Army National Guard full-time, has been deployed to Iraq and is deploying to Kosovo this fall.  I am so proud our her service and to be her sister.

My other sister and my brother-in-law at the
Marine Corp Ball in November 2012

My other sister's husband, aka my brother-in-law, joined the Marines when he was 18.  Now at the age of 26 he is now enlisted in the Marine Reserves after serving two tours in Iraq and two stays in Japan.  I too am proud of his service and to be his sister-in-law.

So, you can see a couple big reasons why I think everyone should celebrate Memorial Day.

An easy way of celebrating Memorial Day and honoring our military heroes is by joining me in participating in Operation Thank A Hero.  This project is being led by a friend, and Thirty-One consultant, who is asking people to donate a Thirty-One Zippered Pouch to a veteran in an Iowa VA hospital.  Each donated pouch will be filled with items to make the veteran's hospital stay more comfortable, such as puzzles, toiletries, books, magazines, a get well card, etc.  If you are interested in bringing a smile to a veteran's face this Memorial Day, contact Joslyn Stock ( about ordering and donating a Zippered Pouch for just $18, or you can personalize a pouch for $26 (ideas include:  Thank You, Veterans Are Heroes, God Bless America, Service, Courage, Brave).  Orders are due May 10th and all pouches will be delivered on Memorial Day.

I thought this was such a great idea, I just had to share the message with all of you.  I donated two pouches, one in honor of both my sister and brother-in-law.  I hope you will join me in celebrating Memorial Day this year!

***Update May 15, 2013***

Thank you to everyone that supported this effort.  This Memorial Day 18 pouches will be given to veterans staying at VA Hospitals in Iowa.  Thanks once again to everyone that helped!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hump Day Bump Report

Me, LP and My Father-in-Law at the American Legion Nut Fry
Here's today's late-edition Hump Day Bump Report.  Tonight, My Farmer, LP and I joined My Father-in-Law and several neighbors at an area nut fry for supper and I'm afraid I didn't get my post done before we had to leave so we could be sure to get all the food we wanted to eat.  When we left the American Legion tonight they had served 240 people!  Here are ten questions to let you know how my pregnancy is going:

  • How far along?  33 weeks down - 7 weeks to go!
  • Baby size:  Weighs more than 4 pounds (the weight of a pineapple) and is over 17" long
  • Baby milestone:  The baby is now keeping its eyes open while awake
  • Are you going to pamper yourself any before the pregnancy?  I'm actually going to have a prenatal massage at the end of the week following a doctor's appointment and I'll probably get a pedicure in mid-May.
  • Is your husband going to have a dadchelor party?  I read about dadchelor parties in one of my latest pregnancy magazines.  From what I understand it is time for the dad to have some fun guy time before the baby arrives.  I'm not sure if this will happen (because hopefully we'll be busy planting our crops), but My Farmer does have a bachelor party for a friend at the end of May - so that should cover it, right?
  • How are baby names coming along?  I did spend some time earlier this week looking at some baby name websites but I need to share the ideas with My Farmer still.  Hopefully we'll come to consensus on a couple boy and girl names here within the next couple of weeks.
  • They always say that pregnant women feel hot/warm - are you experiencing any of this?  In general, I'd say yes.  I usually wear short sleeve shirts and even turned on the ceiling fan the other day in our living room.
  • Are you having "baby brain"?  I've had a couple "baby brain" episodes in the past but lately I don't think I've been having any "baby brain".
  • Have you installed your baby car seat yet?  No and probably won't for awhile.  The more room in the car for now, the better.  Since we know how to install the car seat pretty efficiently, it could and maybe will wait till we are on our way to the hospital.
  • Emotions:  I'm feeling well, just really tired.  I don't feel like I'm getting too much done during my day besides caring for my family and house - other things I should be working on, I'm not, because once I'm done doing the basic every day things, I'm usually sleeping...
Any help, ideas or suggestions to help me get more done in my day and not feel so tired???

Friday, April 12, 2013

Taking Advantage of Diversity

This morning on the Today Show there was a segment on Ottumwa, Iowa (roughly 175 miles south-east from me) that caught my attention.  The Immigration Nation segment talked about how the Hispanic population in Ottumwa has helped revive the town.

This news piece made me think of my own community of Franklin County.  I think our Hispanic population makes our community unique, and I'd like to see the citizens of Franklin County to take pride and ownership of this diversity advantage.

Franklin County's Hispanic population started in the 1940's, as Ferris Nursery in Hampton hired a migrant workforce.  Eventually this migrant workforce decided to make Franklin County their home.  Over the decades through present day, more family members have come to the area and have established roots due to the availability of shelter, food and employment (reasons why anyone comes and stays in a place).  
  • Franklin County has affordable housing; many Hispanic families have bought and fixed up houses in the community to create homes for their families.  
  • Franklin County also is home to traditional and Hispanic restaurants and grocery stores.  
  • Franklin County has a rich agriculture sector and strong entrepreneurship spirit that have created many job opportunities.
So what does Franklin County, 
and other areas of the Heartland with similar demographics, 
need to do to continue to benefit from our community's diversity? 

I know that our small community is surviving and thriving due to our Hispanic population.  Because of this diversity, I have amenities locally that you wouldn't see in other areas of similar population, and I want to keep and further develop those services.  

I'd like to create something to create awareness or understanding within the community to enhance cooperation and support between all of the community's members.

This has been something on my mind for a long time (and who would of thought that the Today Show would of encouraged me to take some action....).  As you can probably see, I don't know exactly what I should do but I want to do something.  What are your thoughts and ideas?  Do you live in a community with a similar make-up?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hump Day Bump Report

Mom and LP are getting excited for the arrival of MP in less than 2 months
The most common question I have been getting recently is in general, how am I doing?  I respond by saying that I'm doing well and that I am starting to feel more pregnant as the days go on.  So what does that really mean?  Well, it means that I want to sit down more and then whenever I get up I have to go to the bathroom...  And I'm generally more tired so I'm trying to sleep as much as possible now because I know how at the end of the first couple of months you wonder if you'll ever sleep all the way through the night again!  Here are ten questions to let you know how my pregnancy is going?

  • How far along?  32 weeks down - 8 weeks to go!
  • Baby size:  Squash
  • Baby milestone:  By this time most babies are "head down" - getting prepared for their arrival.  (I don't know how long it has been, but MP has been "head down" for a few weeks now.)
  • Are you having heartburn?  No heartburn for me yet but I guess we'll see.  They say if you have heartburn your baby will have hair.  LP was born with a full head of hair and I'm hoping MP does too!
  • Do you think you're "counting down" for the baby's arrival to early?  I've been asked this in the last week and my response is simply no.  We had fertility issues before we got pregnant with LP so when we found out we were pregnant with him I was instantly attached and felt a connection.  With MP's pregnancy we thought we were going to have to go through some infertility treatments again but then were surprised during the month we were going to have tests ran that we were pregnant again!  So a combination of being surprised and then already having one little guy that we love so much it just took me longer to get connected to MP.  But now I am connected and in love and am excited for the arrival of MP!  Counting down is just a way to celebrate!  (Also, it is hard to not know how far along you are when you visit the doctor every other week...)
  • Man you are big!  Are you sure you aren't having twins?  This is another question I have been asked lately and I know of others that are pregnant right now that have been asked it too.  No - I am not having twins.  And I guess I don't think I'm that big.  I've gained 13 pounds so far during this pregnancy which pretty much equals the baby and the fluids around the baby.  Sometimes I wonder if people forget how big you actually get during pregnancy.  Also, I wonder since women use to wear loose clothing that covered themselves up like muumuus and now maternity clothes are in line with current fashion and kind of show off the baby bump, if that adds to the questions???  Overall, if you see a pregnant woman - don't ask her this!
  • Have you bought anything new for the baby?  Still no.  I have ideas on what I want to get and need to get - I just need to shop for them!
  • Are you going to give a sibling gift from MP to LP?  Yes!  This is something else I need to buy sometime too...  There is a tractor back-pack at the local kids store that LP loves to carry with him whenever we go there and then is almost in tears when we leave and I tell him it has to stay, so I'm planning on getting him the back pack, a big brother book and a new tractor from MP.  Also, I'm planning on taking LP shopping sometime for something for MP.
  • Do you have MP's room ready to go?  No, but that is kind of on hold for now.  Check out my Wordless Wednesday photo to guess why...
  • Emotions:  I'm starting to think that I really need to get my shopping list of needs done because in the last week we have known two sets of parents that had their babies arrive unexpectantly 4-5 weeks early! While yes, I'm hoping that MP arrives a little early, I'm hoping he or she doesn't arrive that early!  But I guess this is God's way of reminding all of us that he makes the plans, not us or medical professionals...
So, it looks like I need to go shopping, what do you recommend to be on my shopping list?

Wordless Wednesday

What do you think this means for our family???
Stay tuned for more on this exciting adventure!

Friday, April 5, 2013

#UBP13 Blog Party!

So, at the beginning of the year one of my blog goals was to promote my blog more through social media and to utilize followers, so that is why I am linking up with 5 Minutes for Mom's 2013 Ultimate Blog Party!

Me driving tractor during this fall's corn and soybean harvest
Welcome any new readers from the #UBP13!  My name is Val.  I wear multiple hats, like many Moms do, but the most important two are being a stay-at-home Mom to a two-year old boy referred to as LP and a soon to be Baby #2 referred to as MP, who will bring our family to a total of four in a couple of months, and I'm a farmer who raises corn, soybeans and pork with my husband referred to as My Farmer - which brings it all together in my blog name:  Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids.

My Farmer, LP and Me (with MP in my belly) last month on our farm
I started blogging as a New Year's Resolution in 2012 and I'm always looking on how to do more and reach more people with my blogging and social media in general.  My blogs mainly consists of things either family or farm oriented.  I have to admit, when I started blogging I'm pretty sure the only people that followed my blog were my family and close friends.  Soon I started getting followed by other farmers and now I have really enjoyed meeting other Moms through blogging!

To find out more, check out the rest of my blog and my About Me section!  Besides my blog you can also follow me on my blog's Facebook page, on Twitter and on Pinterest.  I'm excited to be participating in my first Blog Party and Link-Up!

Farming - A Family Tradition (Part II)

In February, I wrote a post about Farming - A Family Tradition.  In the post I shared some of my family's farming history and legacy today.  I enjoyed putting this post together and since originally posting, I have used the basis of the post for a presentation for civic groups this winter.

My Grandpa, Dad and Great-Grandpa
working on the hay elevator in the Summer of 1981
I bring this up because my Grandma just sent me a copy of a photo she took in the Summer of 1981 of My Great-Grandpa, Grandpa and Dad all working on the farm together.  By presenting about my family's farming legacy and what the future holds at civic groups this winter, I have discovered how truly blessed I am to grow up and know my family.  My Great-Grandpa and his brother helped on our farm for many years.  My Great-Grandpa passed away when I was in elementary school, and his brother died when I was in junior-high.  My Great-Grandma passed away my senior year in college.  How many people get to have close relationships with members of their family three generations before them?

By growing up in farming families both My Farmer and I have gained the work ethic and pride of being farmers from generations past.  Because of this, we both feel a purpose to engage in farming and to continue our family's farming legacy.  (And may I add, the reason we fell in love - ahhh!)

My Farmer and I feel so proud of farming today and feel fortunate to be doing so.  When our families started farming in the United States through just recently, farming was a means of family support.  Today, farming has become a business.  Even though this may be, My Farmer and I strive for farming to be more than a business for us, for it to be a way of life, just as it was for our elders.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hump Day Bump Report

LP kissing the MP baby bump
Another week down and less than two months to go!  I had a doctor appointment earlier today and all was well.  The baby's heart beat was at 154, which is where it usually is, and my weight gained stayed even from my last appointment a couple weeks ago.  Here are ten questions to let you know how my pregnancy is going:

  • How far along?  31 weeks down - 9 to go!
  • Baby size:  Pineapple
  • Baby milestone:  All of the baby's five senses are working and major brain and nerve development is happening.
  • Share a little of your birth plan:  We're planning on letting the baby come when the baby is ready to come.  Also, I plan on probably just taking some pain medications and not an epidural.  With LP's labor, it happened so fast I didn't have the chance to even have any pain medications at all - he arrived 24 minutes after we checked into the hospital!  It'd be nice if MP came just as fast!
  • Are you going to do anything different this time during your hospital stay then you did with LP's?  I'm planning on bringing books to read to MP right away.  LP loves being read to and reading himself, so I want to start reading to the baby in the hospital.  Also, I am going to try to sleep as much as possible.  With LP I didn't want to miss anything and was busy talking with lots of people either in person, on the phone, through social media, etc.  This time I think I'll try to simply rest more.
  • Talking birth plans, what is your plan for LP while you're in the hospital?  Luckily for me, my Mom is a professor and doesn't have any summer classes or programs close to the due date, so she is planning on coming up to our place to help with LP.  I'm thinking I'll probably have LP visit the hospital once or twice a day.
  • Have you been having any Braxton Hicks contractions yet?  Yes, I just started having some Braxton Hicks contractions in the last week.  I had them with LP too and I just figure that they mean my body is preparing for MP to arrive!
  • How's sleeping going?  It has been going okay.  Sometimes it takes me awhile to get comfortable and for that, I'm thankful I have a body pillow!
  • Food Cravings:  Nothing too much again.  I'd say my appetite is pretty minimal.  If anything I've just been making sure I've been drinking plenty of water.
  • Emotions:  Pretty happy go lucky.  Other than that, I feel like I'm a little behind working on some things because I can get fatigued in the morning and afternoon and then at night it can be hard to find ambition...
What questions do you have for me about my pregnancy or about being pregnant for the second time?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter Blessings From My Family To Yours

I hope you all had a great Easter yesterday.  We were very fortunate to be able to celebrate the Resurrection with so many family members.

Our Easter Sunday started early, as my Farmer and I are youth group leaders for our Senior High Youth at church.  This means we have to open up the church in the morning and start the egg bakes and cheesy hash browns for the Easter Breakfast.  The Senior High Youth is also incharge of the Sunrise Service.  I love putting together the service for the youth and this year's service was based off a poem I found quite awhile ago:

A baby's hands, in Bethlehem,
Were small and softly curled.
But held, within their dimpled grasp,
The hope of all the world.

A carpenter's hand, in Nazareth,
Were skilled with tool and wood;
They laid the beans of simple homes,
And found their labor good.

A healer's hands, in Galilee,
Were stretched to all who came.
To Him to cleanse their hidden wounds,
To cure the blind and lame.

Long, long ago, the hand of Christ,
Were nailed upon a tree.
But still, their holy touch redeems,
The hearts of you and me.

This poem made me think of the powers of our hands, which then made me think about our five senses - sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch.  It was great to have my Mom and one of my sisters and brother-in-laws able to come to the Sunrise Service.

The Youth Group members that helped with the Sunrise Service
Following the Sunrise Service and Easter Breakfast, LP got to participate in the church Easter Egg Hunt for the first time.  A fun thing about the hunt was that after he would find an egg, he'd throw it on the ground to open up the egg to retrieve the candy.  Gotta give him credit for finding a way to open the eggs!

LP gathering Easter Eggs during the church hunt
Our Family Easter Photo - waiting for the second church service to begin
When we got home from church, LP got this Easter basket from My Farmer and I.  He also received a couple items from other family members too.

LP with his Easter basket
Then it was time to go to my in-law's house for Easter dinner.  At my in-laws we had a great dinner with many family members, LP and his cousin went on a scavenger hunt and everyone enjoyed watching the NCAA tournament.

LP and his cousin before Easter dinner
(We didn't even plan coordinating outfits but they went together quite well!)
The Easter Egg Hunt had to be inside the shop this year
(It was hard to keep LP's attention on gathering eggs rather than wanting into tractors...)
LP found an egg!
My Farmer and LP on the Easter Egg Hunt
What was your favorite part of your Easter celebration yesterday?