It’s Been Awhile…

Apr 20, 2011 by

Sorry for my many long absences from this blog lately.  The third trimester is definitely taking its toll.

I feel a little bit guilty complaining, because I’ve had a pretty easy time this whole pregnancy and I know it could be so much worse! 

I don’t know what happened but in the last week I’ve started to feel like I’m literally losing my mind.  It’s not just “pregnancy brain,” although that is certainly an annoying factor as well.  I’ve been super moody, tired, physically exhausted, hungry but nothing sounds good, lonely, depressed, sad or a combination of any/all of the above basically every day.  It SUCKS!

Luckily, I had a regularly scheduled OB appointment yesterday and had the opportunity to discuss this issue with a doctor.  Thank God for small miracles.  I honest to God thought I might have a serious problem.  I have never EVER felt this way before…totally out of control, yet lacking any ability to stop my behavior/thoughts.  Those of you who know me will not be surprised to learn that I don’t deal well with a lack of control, especially over myself. 

My doctor informed me that between weeks 28-30, your hormone levels are at the highest they ever will be throughout your pregnancy.  In the first trimester, you are not used to ANY hormones, which is what makes you moody, sick and tired.  Then your body adjusts.  The third trimester, you have a huge upswing of extra hormones, so it’s kinda like being back in the first trimester all over again.  On the one hand, it’s nice to know that I am not crazy but, on the other hand, it’s frustrating that I can’t do anything about it except wait and hope for the best. 

She also gave me a depression evaluation test.  She explained that anti-partum (before baby) depression is actually significantly more common than post-partum depression, which I didn’t know.  It only contained 10 questions, your typical “Have you thought about hurting yourself or someone else?” and “Have you laid in bed at night, unable to sleep because you are worrying?”  No and no.  But then they snuck some in there that threw me off my game a little bit… “Do you blame yourself unnecessarily when things go wrong?”  Hmm…yes.  Absolutely. I thought that was just a personality trait.  Either way, social services gives this test to their clients and typically “red flags” them with a score of 10 or higher.  I scored a 12. 

The OB isn’t overly concerned, but does want to keep an eye on it.  After I explained to her that planting season has just started so I am spending quite a bit more time alone, she figured that issue combined with this major hormone swing, is probably contributing to “situational” depression.  It’s not something that needs therapy or medication, but she did “prescribe” stress-relief in the form of reading a book, de-cluttering, mani/pedis (that’s right ladies!) or whatever helps me chill out.  I suppose I already broke the rules by going to Walmart, but Hobby Lobby sort of cancels it out, right?  So I’m still on track. 🙂

Hope you guys aren’t missing me TOOOOOOOOO much while the Pregnant Express makes a temporary stop in Hormone Heights. 

I promise to be back soon with pictures of all my sewing/knitting/crafting/organizing projects! 

Love you all and thanks, as always, for reading.

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Silly Rabbit…

Apr 13, 2011 by

Although I regularly feature my mom on this blog, Dad has kinda flown under the radar.  There’s no specific reason for this covert behavior, however it IS a reflection of his real life.  He’s gone YEARS without any long-standing jokes about him, embarrassing stories to tell at every family gathering, etc.  I’m proud to say, today is the first day of the rest of his life.  His EMBARRASSING STORY life.  Welcome to the real world, Dad!

Normally Dad is a pretty regular guy.  See exhibit A:

Ever notice how people get prettier or uglier the more you get to know their true personality?

Here is what Dad looks like when you get to know his true inner self:

That’s right, The Cookie Monster.  Dad loves cookies so much that it’s almost a “problem.”  A serious disease called Cookie Love.  The man is obsessed.
Last week, my parents stopped by for the day.  We had a great time and headed out to wing night at a local restaurant.  At dinner, Dad gets this twinkle in his eye and says “I noticed you guys have a cookie jar on the counter now!”
I paused.  We do not have a cookie jar on the counter.  What is he talking about?  We did have some girl scout cookies sitting on the counter, but they were still in boxes.  Maybe that’s what he meant?  Mom knew something was wrong because of the look on my face, processing his comment.  Adam, however, caught on right away.
Adam: You don’t mean the dog treat container do you?
Dad: No, no, the clear cookie jar with the oreos in it.  Right there on the counter!
Me: Dad, I don’t know what kind of oreos you’ve been eating, but refresh me, what color are your regular Oreos?
Dad: Black, why?
Me: Did you happen to notice what color these “Oreos” were?  They’re tan.  The reason for that is the “Oreos” you just ate are called Peanut Butter Droolies and can be found next to the Iams at Walmart.  They are dog treats.
Dad: No, no, they’re cookies!
Me: No, Dad.  They’re not.  They’re dog treats.
Dad: Well, I guess I can’t help it. I’ve been on this diet with your mother and I haven’t had any cookies and I guess I just went crazy.  I couldn’t help myself.
Dear Lord.  The man is a MACHINE.  A cookie devouring machine.
The next day he told mom that he needed a whole bottle of Rolaids because the wings from the night before were “barking” at him.  I commented that perhaps it wasn’t the wings, maybe those dog treats caused HIM to bark.  He was not amused.
All I can say is get ready for Christmas, old man.  Bring.It.On. 🙂
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Makeup’s Here to Save the Day!

Mar 29, 2011 by

It’s no big secret that I love makeup.  Just the other day I was cleaning out my makeup collection and realized I have over 60 nail polishes.  SIXTY PLUS NAIL POLISHES.  That is ridiculous, especially if you’ve ever seen what my nails look like after I’ve tried to paint them.  Bella could do a better job, I’m certain.

My mom has been a Mary Kay consultant for as long as I’ve been alive, so I can just chalk my makeup addiction to her career choices…and besides, it’s fun to blame all your problems on your parents! 😉

Seriously though, I’m bringing this up now because I’ve started noticing a not-so-pleasant trend around Mason County.  Women, in public, sans makeup.  Yikes.  I thought it was just a bunch of trashy people who happened to hit up the grocery store at the same time as me, and didn’t think much of it…until one day I found myself at County Market, without makeup.  WTF?! NEVER did I think this would happen to me. 

Listen, it’s nice to not have to deal with one more thing when you’re getting ready in the morning.  I get it.  You’re late for work, the kids are screaming, the dog won’t take its morning poop, whatever…yet again, women put themselves last on the list.  Makeup, however, is not something you want to skip, ladies.  Trust me on this one.  There is not one woman on earth who looks better without makeup than with it.  Not one. 
Here are several pieces of what I’ll call “photographic evidence” that even the most beautiful people in the world need makeup:
Exhibit A: Jessica Simpson
source: curious
Exhibit B: Eva Longoria
Exhibit C:  Penelope Cruz
Newsflash everyone: If Penelope Cruz looks like ass without makeup, what do you think you look like?  GET OUT THE EYELINER. NOW!
Seriously though, no one has time for this shit anymore, I get it, I really do.  It is my mission to bring you products that are accessible to regular people at moderate prices until I convince you all that even a little mascara is better than nothing at all. 
The first product I’d like to feature is Mary Kay’s new Timewise Luminous-Wear Foundation.  You want a multi-tasker, this product is IT.  (Trust me, I have tried every.single.type. of MK foundation and there are several I don’t love.)
Here are a few of the attributes listed on the site:
-luminous/dewy finish
-safe for sensitive skin
-moisturizing complex enriched
Doesn’t that SOUND awesome?  Well, you’re right. It is.  I recently tried both of MK’s new foundations, Luminous-Wear and Matte-Wear.  I was really intrigued to test both products because a matte face seems to be he new hype and yet I, like many of you, I’m sure, have spent oodles of $$$ on illuminators/highlighters/brighteners trying to fake that dewy-but-not-shiny look…so the luminous formula seemed interesting too. 
I’ll be honest.  I did not like the matte foundation.  Not at all.  It’s heavy, smells like the MK sunscreen (yet has no sunscreen in it), it’s thick and it is really hard to get off.  On the other hand, if you have problems with your foundation rubbing off, the matte-wear foundation might be a great thing. 
On to my savior, Luminous-Wear.  This stuff is amazing.  It goes on smooth, doesn’t smell so much like sunscreen and the thickness/coverage is just right.  It will cover any old acne scars or red spots, but not leave you looking like you’re due on stage any second.  Another bonus (and this is true of the matte-wear foundation as well as all their medium coverage foundations) is you no longer need concealer.  At all.  If you put this foundation on your dark circles, for example, then let it sit for 15-30 seconds, it thickens up a little and works as concealer.  What did I tell you?  Multi-tasking! 
Last, but not least, it really does leave you with a dewy/glow finish.  I can’t tell you how many compliments I’ve received on my skin/face since I started using this product.  I keep hearing how I have the “pregnant glow” and wanting to scream from the rooftops “IT’S THE MAKEUP!” 🙂  And, in case you wondered, yes I am a glitter addict, but NO, this product will not leave you shiny, sparkly or frosty.  Just glowing. 
I know I said I would bring moderately priced products to your attention, and some people will find the $20 price tag for this formula outside the “moderate” range, but let me remind you, you no longer need foundation+highlighter+concealer.  If you weren’t spending $20 on the 3 of those products combined already, then you’ve been buying junk makeup and it’s time for an upgrade anyway. 😉 
I guess since I started this post blaming my mom for all life’s problems it wouldn’t hurt to end on a shout out, right? 
If you are interested in this product, or any other Mary Kay products, please check out her website:
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Haterade of the Day

Mar 16, 2011 by

Good news everyone!  Amendment 1 to SB 4 was narrowly defeated last week!  I know I promised to blog about this earlier, but I wanted to have all my facts straight.

I realize that I often blog about issues facing farmers in America, and yet many of my readers aren’t farmers and therefore may wonder why they should care, other than a sudden increase in the price of their Corn Flakes. Amendment 1 to SB 4 is a perfect example, and this is why:

Amendment 1 was also known as the “Agricultural Production Sales Tax Exemption Sunset.”  In layman’s terms, this amendment would have required sales tax to be charged on basically everything a farmer purchases for his/her business, including but not limited to: animal feed, seed, semen to inseminate livestock, tractors, breeding horses and fertilizer.  Take a minute to think about that. 

Fertilizer and chemical bills are coming due soon.  It’s not unheard of for a mid-sized family farmer to spend upwards of $45,000 on fertilizer/chemicals in ONE YEAR.  Though I will not share what we spend, it’s important to note that those of us who farm crops such as green beans, which have shorter growing cycles, and therefore are planted twice a year…well, they get fertilizer twice a year too.  So there you have it folks, what would have been a $45k bill, suddenly becomes a $49k bill JUST for fertilizer and JUST because of sales tax.  Don’t forget, that doesn’t include the tax that would’ve been added to the price of your new planter/combine, seeds and more.  Oh, and one more thing, not only would we suddenly be charged sales tax on literally EVERY THING we purchase for our business, we also would lose almost 100% of our tax deductions.  Who could afford that?! 

I know, I know.  Evvvvvvvveryone could care less if the farmers don’t get a break from the government.  After all, the media wants each and every one of you to know about the government subsidies, how ethanol is causing the food crisis and therefore the price of both food AND gas to rise, how corporate farms abuse their livestock and force animals to live in inhumane conditions.  Except none of those things are true. 

Sure, some farmers get government subsidies…because the government programs are set up in such a way that if you don’t accept subsidies on “good” years, then they aren’t available when you actually need them during a “bad” year.  I’ve already blogged about how this manufactured idea that ethanol causes both the food and gas prices to rise is factually inaccurate.  And, yes, there are corporate farms that abuse livestock, however, over 90% of farms are FAMILY farms and, if nothing else, we can’t afford to mistreat our livelihood (livestock). 

IF this bill had passed, our family could not afford to stay in business.  Period.  And we have a decent sized farm.  Think how the world would change if this bill had passed and hundreds of Illinois farmers had to go out of business.  That’s one reason non-farming families should care.  Because I can guarantee you, there would be a REAL gas/food price crisis if the farms suddenly disappeared. 

Hey non-farmers!  Need another reason to care?  This unimaginably STUPID amendment would also have eliminated most tax exemptions, deductions and credits for ALL businesses.  Do I have your attention?  If you own a business, this affects you.  If you frequent a business of ANY KIND, this affects you. 

Everyone in Peoria, please imagine the following scenario:  Caterpillar recently began re-hiring some of its workforce.  However, should this idiotic amendment have passed, they would no longer have any deductions on things like WD-40, steel or, gee, I don’t know, YELLOW PAINT.  You know, the little things.  How many people would lose their jobs over that alone?  Do I have your attention NOW? 

Anyone out there go to the dentist?  God knows we do!  Imagine how much your bill would be if dentists no longer had tax breaks for all the toothbrushes, floss, gauze, fluoride and mouthwash they use or give away! 
The list goes on and on. 

Fortunately, as I mentioned earlier, this bill was shot down…by a 4-4 vote.  That’s a close call, ladies and gents.  And as we all know, nothing ever truly goes away in the Senate.  I’ll be keeping my eye out for more news on this government-induced insanity, and you can be sure if and when it comes up again, you’ll be reading about it.

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Here We Go Again…

Mar 2, 2011 by

It’s come to my attention that due to the rising cost of food in America, the media people are starting up the corn wars again.  This time articles are even being written by normally reputable sources like USA Today, pronouncing ethanol as the behind-the-scenes reason for the uptick in your Froot Loops and HoHos. 

I admit that even with the knowledge I possess just from raising corn and living on a farm, after finishing some of these articles, I couldn’t help but wonder why people wouldn’t presume ethanol is to blame.  Thankfully, we have OTHER reputable sources like, ooh I don’t know, the Farm Bureau, to refute some of these (sadly, common) misconceptions. 

Here are some talking points for those of you out there who want to support me the farmers.

Because the govt. offers incentives for farmers who grow corn used in ethanol production, farmers are more likely to sign up to use their corn for ethanol. Meaning that corn which would’ve been used in food is being diverted to ethanol instead, therefore causing a drastic rise in the price of food due to a lacking supply of corn.

Fact #1
If the US govt. quit offering these ethanol incentives to farmers AND the acres that formerly went to grow “ethanol corn” were instead used for other purposes (including direct food production), the money spent by consumers on food would drop 0.3%, meaning a $5 box of cereal would now cost $0.015 less…so your Special K just went from $5 to $4.985.  Or, to spread that math out over a month’s time, the average $400/month grocery bill would drop $1.20.  Alert the media!

Fact #2
Without ethanol in our gasoline, a gallon of gas would cost 20-35 cents more.  That translates into anywhere from an additional $6 to an additional $10.50 PER MONTH, if you only purchase 30 gallons in a month.  I don’t know about you, but I have an 18 gallon tank, and I’m filling up once a week, on average.  So let’s extend the math to real life again. 

20-35 cents more per gallon x 18 gallons per week x 4 weeks per month (on a short month): $14.40 – $25.20 EXTRA in one month. I couldn’t afford that and I don’t know too many people who could. 

Fact #3
The U.S ethanol industry uses less than 3% of the world’s grain supply, and none of its food supply.

Fact #4
In the U.S., only ONE PERCENT of all the corn grown is needed to meet the demand of direct human consumption. That means only 1% of the corn grown here is sweet corn, people!  If you’re eating corn on the cob, you’re eating sweet corn, not field corn. Field corn is what ethanol comes from.  Case in point, last year we grew hundreds of acres of field corn…and planted 6 ROWS of sweet corn, just for fun, for our own personal use. In fact, less than 10% of field corn grown is needed for processing for food purposes. 

Fact #5
1/3 of the corn that goes into ethanol production is RECYCLED (hear that, green folks?) into the food chain as ready-made livestock feed called DDGS.  And, in case you were worried that the California cows might not be so “happy” anymore eating something with a name like DDGS, DDGS actually has more protein than pre-ethanol corn, so it’s much more efficient.  Efficiency makes cows AND farmers happy!

Fact #6
One more thing about the cow food:  Corn is NOT the sole source of livestock feed.  Up to 30% of cattle feed and 25% of swine feed comes from soybean meal.  AND, although 94% of soybeans grown in the U.S. become livestock feed, only about 40% of U.S corn goes to animals.

So…is anyone else now finding it nearly impossible to explain exactly how ethanol is the cause of the food price “crisis?”  What a joke! 

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