Thursday, August 22, 2013

Children of the Corn: His and Hers

So first let me say, my mom came up with the idea for this entry, and Seth came up with the title.

I am having a baby this fall. Seth is also having a baby this fall. The baby I'm carrying is human. The baby Seth is having is growing in fields all over Fulton and Pulaski county.  Because every human in the world likes to speculate and predict what to expect, we both have been doing some pretty intense math formulas to predict our "babies'" birth weights.  

So lets all review what we learned in 5th grade math, order of operations. Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and...Subtraction? I don't remember all I remember is being taught, "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally"to remember them.  My sister, Michelle (who we fondly call Aunt Shelly) is a math teacher and of course got Eli a onsie that said "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally" except she crossed out Sally and wrote in a Sharpie "Shelly." It's the one and only time I've ever seen math be cute.

So here we go folks, the HIS and HER edition of the Farmer's wife.


It all started on Monday when Seth got home from work to do yield checks on some of the farms.  My dad came up to pick up his trailer, and got wrangled into helping Seth with the task.  I think Seth often gets chosen for this job because he has this amazing ability to walk into a corn field and easily be a half mile in before any normal person would be 5 rows in. He must be part deer. Have you ever tried walking through a field of corn? Not easy at all, and Seth could do the 100 meter dash in a field of corn and make Olympians look slow.  Anyway, in farming there is a LOT of math involved. Anyone who knows me is well aware that math is definitely not my strong suit at all.  Thankfully Seth and Dad both just love math and talk about how wonderful it is because "it's always right" or "it's true" and all of that sounds good and well but to me math is a way to torture people.  Anyway, at this time of the growing season, many farmers like to predict what their yields will be to get an idea of what to expect come harvest. This is achieved by the following formula:

 "A"(# of ears in 1/1000th acre) x "B"(average # of rows per ear) x "C"(average # of kernels per row) x "D"(average value for seed weight)

number of ears in 1/1000th acre: For 30 inch rows (how far apart the corn rows are), 17 feet 5 inches is equal to 1/1000th of an acre.

(and this is where Seth got annoyed with me asking questions as he actually is doing work for his company right now, so he took over typing while I ate a fudgesicle!)

"A"So to calculate this, you lay down a tape measure 17' 5" and count the number of ears on each stalk per that distance.  Avoid counting the real small ears.  They just mess up the formula.  

"B" To do part B, all you do is count how many rows of kernels are around the ear of corn.  This will usually be an even number from 12-24.  They say to take at 3 ears at random when doing this.  

"C" To do part C, all you do is count the number of kernels per row.  Avoid counting the very top kernels that look to be very small or not developed.  Again, do this for the same 3 ears you picked on step "B".

"D" Comes from a chart.  If the corn has been under irrigation and the kernels are very dense and heavy, .013 is used for this value.  An average number to use is .01116.  If it has been very dry and the kernel is light, then use .009.  (Rain makes corn, Corn makes whiskey....)

Lets say you walk your field and for 17'5" you count 31 ears of corn.  Your average number of rows is 16 and your average number of kernels per row is 32 on normal conditions, no irrigation, so...
31*16*32*.01116= 177.13 bushels per acre. 

OMG! You are all going to run out into the nearest corn field and do this now, aren't you!?! Haha, just teasing! The only two people probably interested in that will be my sister and my dad.  The point is, farming is HARD. Not just the physical work, but the mental work too.  When I talked to my dad later on, he was pretty impressed by all of it....but not as impressed as Seth's corn field walking ability.

Eli helping Seth


So, I'm in the final weeks of my second pregnancy and starting to get antsy. Antsy is a nice way of saying I'm getting really impatient, uncomfortable, and excited for this baby to arrive.  I always think its fun to hear what people predict as your due date or when/how you will go into labor, what the baby will look like, how big he will be, etc.  Eli was a good sized baby (8 lb 3 oz) and I loved that he was an eight pounder.  I was starting to get curious on how big this little guy in my belly was going to be this time, so I did some research on if there is a way to predict this.  I was expecting my research to lead me to some old wives tale like "If you belly button has popped out, your baby will be under 7 lbs" or "If you stand on your head and pull on your left ear, the weight will magically be written in stretch marks across your belly." But, I actually did find a reputable equation, formulated by doctors and math nerds and its proven to be within 15% of the actual birth weight.  It doesn't actually predict what your baby's birth weight will be, but it can tell you what your baby weighs at that moment of your pregnancy.  Close enough for me! (Disclaimer: this formula won't work until you are at least 26 weeks along and isn't accurate for women with high blood pressure or gestational diabetes.) 

Birth weight (g) = gestational age (days) x (9.38 + 0.264 x fetal sex + 0.000233 x maternal height [cm] x maternal weight at 26.0 weeks [kg] + 4.62 x 3rd-trimester maternal weight gain rate [kg/d]] x [number of previous births + 1]). Then another paragraph of information on what the numbers mean.

Yes, I also nearly threw the computer across the living room when I read all of that ridiculousness above. What the heck HARVARD, you expect ME to do that kind of math? After another fudgesicle and digging out Seth's fancy TI-83, I sat down with a pad of paper and simplified it to this to make it easier for anyone out there who is pregnant in their last trimester and curious what their baby weighs. Sorry this is really long, skip to the bottom if you don't care and just wanna see an adorable photo of Eli!

Step 1:

If baby is a boy then A = 0.264

If baby is a girl then A = -0.264

If you don't know the gender then A = 0

Step 2: 
B = 0.000233 x (maternal height in cms) x (maternal weight at 26.0 weeks in kgs)
for those of you who don't do metric: Divide your weight in lbs by 2.2 to get it in kgs, to figure out your height in cm, google it :)

Step 3:
C = 3rd-trimester maternal weight gain rate = (# of kilograms you've gained since you hit 26 weeks) divided by (# days since you hit 26 weeks).  So say you are 38 weeks 2 days (268 days pregnant) and have gained 12 pounds since 26 weeks (182 days pregnant).  So you would convert your 12 lbs to kg, and then divide it by 86 days (268 days-182 days)

Step 4:
D = C x 4.62 x (number of previous births + 1)

Step 5:
E = A + B + D + 9.38

Step 6:
F = E x (gestational age in days)

Remember F is in grams, so this number will be ginormous! At first I thought "oh my gosh my baby is going to weigh 3,505 pounds!?!!" Oops! Just move your decimal up three spaces (so mine was 3.505752) then multiply that by 2.2 to get it in lbs. So my baby is predicted to weigh at this time of my pregnancy 7.7 lbs! Pretty cool right!

Eli and I comparing our bellies!

Phew! I dunno about you, but I'm worn out from all this math! Time for bed and dreaming of big chubby baby cheeks and big yields in the fields this fall!

Farmer's gotta make sure everyone gets fed!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Baby Shower go to gift

I know it seems like EVERYONE is having babies these days. From Kate Middleton and Kim Kardashian to your college roomate or sister-in-law, it seems like we preggos are thundering all over the earth.  Due to that, there are a lot of baby showers to attend to!  Before I ever had kids, I never knew what to get people at their baby shower. I always knew not to get tons of clothes, because everybody always gets them tons of clothes and then they don't have any gear.  But I also hate to buy gear because what if its not the right style, color, brand, etc?

At my baby shower for Eli almost two years ago, one of the doctors I work with who is the most practical person I know, got me the most practical gift ever. It was a small tupperware filled with all the things I would need in the middle of the night when the closest drug store is over 30 minutes away.  Ever since then, I've adopted this idea to give to all my new mom friends.  I simply grab a medium sized plastic tote, and then head for the pharmacy department of Target and go to town! I like to call it my "Midnight Madness Kit!"

 Its a great gift because its not gender specific, it isn't something many other people think of, and its a great way to help a new parent stock up on things they may have forgotten or not known to buy. You can also control how much you spend by either making a small kit or a larger kit. Keep in mind, all parents have different view on medicine or nursing, so I always try to steer clear of anything "controversial" unless I already know the mom pretty well.  I try not to buy bottles or pacifiers because all parents have their own specific preferences on those as well as any baby formulas or foods.

If you're ever in a bind over what to get a friend for their baby shower, or their registry is thinning out, this is a great one to do! Trust me, they will thank you!

This was a basket I did for a friend having a little girl.  Included is: Pedilayte, Hylands Teething Tablets, Vick's Vapo Rub, Vick's Vapo plug in diffuser, cute ice pack with fun cartoon characters, infant orajel, Infant Tylenol, Aspirin, and Benadryl, Gas drops, saline drops/spray, Boogie Wipes, Munchkin autoclave bags, and pacifier clip.  For the mom I like to throw in a box of breast pads and tucks pads...and if I know the mom REALLY well, I'll even throw in a bottle of stool softeners too :)  


So, I realize its been since April since I've last posted! I have no excuse for this, not even the fact that things have been very busy, because, when aren't things busy?

All I can say is, summer has flown by! It seems like just yesterday it was Memorial Day weekend and now suddenly its already August (not to mention NEXT MONTH we're having a baby!)

Planting went pretty well, we had some big rains that called for replanting, but other than that it should be a good year! Seth got an irrigator at his new farm he bought last year, and it was finally turned on the other week for the first time! Seems so silly that farmers pay so much for a huge sprinkler that you can't even run through and play games in!

Seth has been very busy with his full time job as a surveyor and on the farm that we don't see him much, but he's hoping to work a lot now on the farm to make up for times he will miss this fall when the new baby is here.  Though, I doubt he will miss much time in the fields because harvest is Christmas for him, and I'm pretty sure a little boy named Eli would rather be riding in the combine with his dad than stuck at home with mom trying to figure out this whole newborn baby thing again.

Speaking of which, this pregnancy has gone so well! Pregnancy is not my favorite thing in the world, but man, this time has been so much easier, yet so much harder in some ways.  For one, I realized the whole "eating for two" thing is a huge lie and Eli has kept me so active and busy that I can't mope around about silly things like heartburn and achey feet.  Up until last week I firmly believed this little guy wouldn't come until mid to late September. September 17 has been the date in my head ever since we found out even though it should be sooner.  Then last week I landed in the doctors office having contractions and already dilated, so he could just be here soon after Labor Day.  I've always thought it would be funny to have a baby on Labor Day.  Now that I've been through child labor once, there isn't anything "funny" about it, but I still think it would be cool to say "I'm in labor!" on Labor Day.  Anyways, that's where its harder this time around. No naps, no sleeping in, no moaning around feeling sorry for myself or my swollen feet...but nobody wants to be around anyone like that anyways, which is probably why Seth has been so much happier around me this time!

 I know I've shared before that castor oil was my secret to inducing labor with Eli (still may not be true, but it seemed to work) and this time I'm pretty sure it will be mowing the yard.  I've been mowing now and then all summer, and I've discovered its a lot bumpier than I remembered (lots of bathroom breaks!)  So anytime after September 15th, don't be surprised if you see a large sweaty crazed pregnant woman, voluntarily mowing your yard or ditch banks. It will just be me trying to induce labor!  I have definitely been getting antsy, ever since we moved Eli into his new room this spring, I immediately had the nursery ready as if the baby was going to leap out of my body and into his crib at any moment. Huge mistake. Now I don't have another project to do, so one day while Eli was napping I found myself re-washing and re-folding all of the teeny tiny baby clothes and smelling them and playing "pretend baby" and laying different layettes into the crib.  I know, I need help. I also packed the baby's and my own bag for the hospital this weekend, and I feel like I'm getting ready for Christmas!

Enough about baby stuff...

Like I said, this summer has flown, and there is no way I can put it all in words, nor would anyone really want to read that, so I'll just post pictures instead and promise to not let it be so long between posts again!

Eli hard at work "drilling beans"

We had our own vegetable garden this year.  It did pretty well, especially considering half of it accidentally got sprayed along with the rest of the bean field! Eli became quite the helper with the landscaping and long as he got to man the hose, he was happy to help!

Eli helping his dad knife anhydrous on his Uncle Grant's new farm

Hot summer days call for cherry popsicles!

Eli is always excited when Seth gets home from work! 

This is where Eli will be spending a lot of time this fall! 

Everyone has to earn their keep! 

Happy Fourth of July! We spent our weekend with close friends and family

Fourth of July wouldn't be complete without the annual lawnmower race.  Seth was in first for the better last half of the race  and was FINALLY going to win...until someone flipped him over in the final turn.  It was a huge bummer and would've been so fun to see him take the checkered flag! Thankfully, he wasn't hurt too badly!

We had another great annual summer party

and the kids just keep coming!

Our neighbors spoil us by taking us on boat rides up at Culver.  Eli decided boat rides = nap time

Lots of our afternoons are spent like this! And yes he has trunks on, no skinny dipping in the kiddie pool!

Eli's spent his summer nights cruising for chicks in his new ride

We went up to the lake in Minnesota, and Eli found his new obsession is fishing. Like grandfather, like grandson!

Eli is too cool for these chickens! He got to have his first elephant ear at the fair
as for the baby boy in my belly...he's growing about as fast as the corn in the field next to the house!

...and Eli enjoys bouncing around on his little brother already!

Can't believe our little guy is already a year and a half old! It's been a great summer and we're excited for all the new things to come this fall!