Saturday, November 29, 2008

I *heart* books

Did you know that I have a sick obsession with books, especially library books? I love the way they smell, the way they feel and the noises the pages make. I love that I can visualize the story in my mind. The characters and setting take on their own colors and details in my head. I delve into whatever book that I'm reading and it truly is a little escape from every day life. I love index cards and the Dewey Decimal System. It makes me so sad that you can now just type in your request and out comes the category name and number. I enjoy the process to find the book that I seek, wandering the aisles on an adventure and hoping and praying that my book is not checked out by another. And oh how happy I am when the book I yearn for is available. I told you...I love books.

When I was in elementary school our class would take trips to the library for story time with the librarian. I paid very close attention to how she cared for the book, her voice and the passion with which she read. I would dream of being an adult and of children coming to my library and reading books to them. I wanted to be a librarian and not too many people know that ;)

My mother still comments that while other kids were watching t.v. or outside playing I had my nose stuffed in a book. I read everything I could get my hands on. I pushed myself to finish large chapter books in just a few days. Many times the stories were so interesting that I read them in a day...snuggled up on the couch, oblivious to anything else. It was my little world and I absolutely loved it!

So here I am 20 years later and I realize that last night I stayed up until 1 am finishing the latest book on my nightstand. I am sleep deprived and my children are a little extra rambunctious and needy but I feel this great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that I completed yet another book. Today it's off to the library for more! I pray that my children learn to appreciate books the way that I do. Learn by example right?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

So, yesterday...I'll just attempt to recap just a bit.
We did pre-Thanksgiving at my in-laws home. Turkey was raw but the men improvised by barbecuing it (and it turned out pretty yummy). I tried not to verbalize my fear, but Sophie had e coli poisoning a few months ago from what we suspect to be ribs and I freak out any time she eats meat. She nibbled a bit, but pretty much embraced a "vegetarian" Thanksgiving Eve. The rest of the meal was mouth watering. I stuffed myself to the point of discomfort and enjoyed spending time with our family. The kids ran around playing (the Daddy's joined in too) and we enjoyed dessert.

We all agree that Miles is looking a bit more like Jay.

So today (official Thanksgiving Day). We awoke to more's a beautiful morning.

Sophie and Alec are making pancakes as I type this and Miles is still sleeping.

My coffee is wonderful and we are all enjoying our morning.

A few things that I'm thankful for:

~ God and His unending grace and forgiveness
~ My husband, children and wonderful family and friends
~ Our health
~ Our church (we adore Solid Ground and Pastor Rick)
~ The "right" to home school our children
~ Our warm home and the food in our pantry
~ Our jobs that provide for our needs
~ Our children's compassion for others and their needs

We don't get into the whole Pilgrims/Indians Thanksgiving Day in our home. What is politically correct and what isn't? Do we discuss the Pilgrims terrorizing Indians and taking their land? We've touched on Plymouth Rock, the ships and the journey; all the surface stuff. We've decided when Sophie and Miles are a bit older, maybe we'll provide the information and let them come to their own conclusion regarding human rights and fair treatment. We were fortunate to discuss human rights and constitutional rights with Alec during the recent election and I truly believe that he looks at things from a new perspective. For now, we use this day to discuss the things that we are thankful for and give thanks to God for all He has blessed us with.

So wherever you may be and however you choose to celebrate, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and pray that you fill your gut with fully-cooked turkey!

Love, The Frates Baby Farm

Friday, November 21, 2008

Nap Time

Today was pretty mellow in the Frates household.

I always tell people that another positive aspect of homeschooling is the option to run around in your p.j.'s until some ungodly hour and just see where the day takes you.

This morning we arose, made oatmeal, I of course got myself a little coffee and we started school work. Everyone was in a great mood and the morning was...peaceful. The kids took a break to play outside as Sophie needed to check on her horses...another one is pregnant. (Seriously, the best non-purchase ever. They live in the canyon below our home and she honestly believes they belong to her and claims them as such.) She told me today that she is their midwife. Ahh...she does hear the things her mommy talks about :) Have I told you I love this girl?

I have been fighting an awful headache for the last 3 days. It just seems to linger with a dull, ache around my temples and sinuses. I can't seem to figure out what the problem is. Along with my acne...I'm a bit of a mess. And no, I am NOT pregnant. So calm down people, take a deep breath. I have simply realized that 30 has struck me smack in the head (literally).

Miles went down for a nap at 2, Alec ran down the street to play with his friends, Pop went out to play a little golf and Sophie and I declared it NAP TIME!!! Oh how we love nap time together, just us two girls. We pile tons of blankets on my bed to make it extra fluffy and climb in together loaded with books. I read a bit of my "big girl" book and Sophie peruses her selection. We read to one another, sing songs and snuggle. I adore this child...she melts my heart.

Today she told me, "Mommy, thank you for being my mommy. I love you." I honestly teared up and thanked her for letting me be her mommy. I thought of all we went through the first year of her life. It saddens me that I looked at it so negatively. People even now comment sarcastically as to how "awful" she was. Oh...we were learning. I was new at it and she was new at it. We were trying to figure it all out.

I learned so much about myself and Sophie that first year. She may not consciously remember everything but I believe her soul does and we have grown so much as mother and daughter because of it. I love her spunk and spirit and realize that she is a little "mini-me." I see how much she wants to be like me and do all that I do. I think that we have a deeper connection and appreciation for one another after all that we went through.

I now understand what my mom was implying when she told me, "You'll understand when you have a daughter."

Mom, I understand...I truly do.

Monday, November 17, 2008


We make it a big deal to have family dinner together on the nights that Pop is home from work. Sophie and I make dinner and she sets the table while Bubba gets the beverage of choice for each person. Pork Chop usually crawls around the kitchen begging for food (so sad...he really is a baby not an animal).

Once the food has been served we go around and share stories about our day and what we are thankful for. We try to take turns saying grace but Sophie always seems to add a little bit to whomever is praying. She always thanks "Shesus" for bringing Daddy home safe from the Choo-choo train. (I do too.)

These are the moments that tickle my heart. I am so thankful to be a wife and mother. There are moments throughout my day that become frustrating and troublesome but I truly look forward to dinner as a family when I can sit in my chair, take a deep breath and be thankful for our family, our meal and all that God has blessed us with.

I adore the nights when I know that Pop will be home. I love that my stomach still flutters in anticipation of his arrival after being without him for 3 days. I love that we make each other laugh until our chubby cheeks ache. I love that he knows my mind, body and soul. He knows when I hurt and when I need that extra hug. I love that he can walk in the door and make me fall in love all over again. I love him profusely and I am so thankful for him.

Motrin Update

Okay so apparently shortly after I posted my last blog the Motrin website was not accessible. If you were unable to read the ad that they ran here it is:

Wearing your baby seems to be in fashion.
I mean, in theory it’s a great idea.
There’s the front baby carrier, sling, schwing, wrap, pouch.
And who knows what else they’ve come up with.
Wear your baby on your side, your front, go hands free.
Supposedly, it’s a real bonding experience.
They say that babies carried close to the bod tend to cry less than others.
But what about me?
Do moms that wear their babies cry more than those who don’t?
I sure do!
These things put a ton of strain on your back, your neck, your shoulders.
Did I mention your back?!
I mean, I’ll put up with the pain because it’s a good kind of pain; it’s for my kid.
Plus, it totally makes me look like an official mom.
And so if I look tired and crazy, people will understand why.

So I (along with many others) sent notice to every friend, hippie, midwife, doula, La Leche League member, (you get the point) and we spoke up. I don't even know how many letters were sent to the Motrin marketing department but it worked. We were offended by the ad and we let them know.
As of today, Motrin pulled the ad and responded with this: (if it's too small to read, please go to

Yeah, some of you are thinking that I'm nuts (my husband for example), but like I said, I'm "passionate" about a lot of things. Plus, it's very simple. We should not be "mocked" for choosing to "wear" our babies. That's all folks!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

No thank you Motrin!

I came across this add today. I am a bit confused. Apparently the fever-reducing, pain-relieving industry is so incredibly threatened by the natural, attachment and holisitic parenting community that they have chosen a new approach for their ad campaign. Check this out...and if you are as offended as I am, please speak up and write them a letter.

BTW...Pork Chop had a fever of 103 last night and I got rid of it using herbs, homeopathy and good old fashioned mama love.

But shhh, that might worry Motrin.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thank you for the visit Denny

Thank you Grey's Anatomy for bringing back my absolute fav person on your show.
Forget McDreamy...I heart Denny.
I have missed him and appreciate the return even if it is for a brief moment.
Poor, poor Izzie.

BTW...go buy "P.S. I Love You" immediately and get your Denny fix!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Okay...I am soooooo not a country music fan.

But after watching the Country Music Awards with Jay tonight, (he's suddenly turned country) I NEED Carrie Underwood's wardrobe. I want this dress!

Toddler Times

We dropped off my mom after a trip to the nail salon for a pedicure (at Sophie's request). After my mom exited the car Sophie had something to say.

"Mom, your mom is soooo sweet, I could eat her!"

To which I chuckled and realized I probably say that too much about others. Then she added,

"Mom, mom, mom....I'm gonna eat your mom!"

Should I be concerned?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Good Times

Last night was by far one of the most amazing "girl" nights I have ever had. Kari's shower involved scrumptious food, delicious desserts, cocktails, intimate conversation and some of the best women and friendships I know.

Thank you ladies for getting together to "bless" Kari and her little girl.

You are all amazing women and I love you bunches!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Too many hats

My husband teases me. The sad thing is...he's right. Here is how it goes...

Anytime we are at an event, meeting, appt., etc. and the word volunteer is brought up, Jay immediately tries to hold me hand(s). Many would think this to be endearing and a beautiful token of affection but it's not. Jay is attempting to do what I should be capable of doing on my own, but I cannot. You see, my husband knows that I have a problem called volunteeritis. The minute it comes to my attention that someone is seeking assistance, my hands immediately fly in the air. Maybe this stems from my early childhood and always being the first child to raise their hand in class when asked a question. (Yes, I was a bit of a suck-up and an "A" student, so what?) Here is an example. After "storing" 140 cases of chocolate from Bubba's baseball team, Jay made me swear that I would never again volunteer to be team mom. (Chocolate cases do not make pretty coffee tables). Okay, he was right. But really, what does he know? I am passionate about a lot of things!

Then I started thinking.

In the last five years I have been the following: wife, mother, nurse, office administrator, PTA member, homeschooler, sewer, sales rep, marketing rep, non-profit organization co-founder, doula, student midwife, receptionist and honestly, the list goes on and on.

Jay constantly tells me that I have too much on my plate and I ignore him and go on with my day. Well the truth is, it has caught up with me. My name is Jen and I wear too many "hats." So today is the first day that I am beginning the "filtering" process. My family and homeschooling are my priorities. I chose to stay home to raise and homeschool our children and I am now finding that I feel pulled in too many other directions. As a family we are blessed that I can be home. It's time to pray about everything else and truly listen to the direction that God wants me to go in.

And by the way, please don't tell Jay that he was right. I will never hear the end of it! :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

I am still in awe

Today was absolutely perfect and beautiful. I witnessed my very first homebirth and waterbirth.

I watched this laboring mother find strength from the deepest part of her soul. I watched as she welcomed the labor process and embraced each wave of contractions. As midwives and women we encouraged and supported but most importantly allowed this natural process to occur. I remember a specific moment when I looked around the room at the three of us tending to the mother. We were barefoot and gathered around her tub. Through each contraction we rubbed her back in unison as soft music played in the background. The only other sound made was the mother and her labor song. I thought to myself that this was a moment I would never forget. I thought of the many women before us who had labored this way with women tending to their labor and providing support through this natural process.

At approximately 8:30 am I watched a beautiful baby girl emerge from her mother in a safe, gentle manner, in water and in her home. We supported, encourage and watched as the mother brought her baby out of the water and onto her chest. This baby did not scream or arch her back in shock...she simply opened her eyes and looked up at her mother as if she knew she was home. Today was absolutely perfect and beautiful.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


My sweet Bubba wants to know more about being baptized. He "thinks" that he may be ready to do this because he "loves God so much" and "wants to do things that would make God happy."
Oh my gosh...he melts my heart.
I'll update details about this monumental event later.