Saturday, October 24, 2009

Worst Blogger Ever

Yes, that's me!!! I'm hoping that as everything calms down after Giselle's gorgeous wedding, I will be able to blog a bit more about our lives and gets pics up of the kids (for Grammy, Ma and Connie). See you soon!!!

P.S. School is going great for everyone in this house. Alec and Sophie are excited about all of the projects that we have been working on and I am planning on taking my NARM exam to become a Licensed Midwife August 18, 2010. I am beyond excited!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back to School

We began our first official week of homeschooling last week. We found a few different ideas for curriculum and we are on fire to learn. We are trying several different approaches with Alec this year. After more research and testing we realize that Alec is very much a visual and kinesthetic learner. This year, the majority of his subjects will include hands on projects and something new that we learned about, Lap Books. He gets to cut out things, glue papers and draw, draw, draw. He is thrilled. So after one week of school he came to me tonight and asked what time we were starting school tomorrow because he couldn't wait to work on Science. I am beyond excited and my heart is overjoyed that he has this desire to learn. He can tell you all about the Skeletal and Muscular Systems of the body :)
Sophie is having fun with her curriculum as well. We have started a daily reading lesson and she is now using a "Five in a Row" program. We have even found a few Lap Books that she is interested in. Of course her first choice is...Butterflies! She is learning everything that she can about these beautiful insects and has grown quite fond of her scissors, glue and markers. This should be one incredibly decorated lap book. I'll be sure to post pictures.
I feel so good about the choices that we have made with our children this year. This is something that I pray about constantly and I have to consciously open my heart to God's instruction. I know that this is where He wants our family to be and although some days can seem overwhelming and frustrating, He gets us through them and on to the next day. I am excited to see this desire and spark in my children and their creativity simply amazes me.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Dad, I love you and thank you for being simply amazing. Happy Father's Day.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Be careful what your pray for

As a student midwife I am able to have my own clients. It works quite well because my precepting midwife oversees and participates directly in all of their care but I am the primary health care provider and I catch the baby, speak directly with the client and schedule all prenatal appointments, etc. It may sound a bit complicated but it is a great way for me to get in specific clinical experience and also offer the client competent midwifery care at a discounted rate.
When I discovered that I felt ready to begin taking my own clients I began to fret just a bit. Jay and I had several conversations regarding where I would "find" these clients. So, we prayed and prayed and prayed. I wanted to be sure that God would place the "right" clients in my path. I wanted women that truly felt prepared and empowered to have their babies in their homes. These first few ladies had to be special ladies. Within a few weeks, the phone began ringing and I now have five clients of my own! At this point if anyone else calls I will have to direct them to another student midwife. I'm busy, busier than I ever expected to be and I am so thankful for these amazing women.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A little madness

Today Sophie volunteered to organize the cabinets under the bathroom sink. She told me that they looked so messy and she had to fix it. For the the next 20 minutes she proceeded to remove all contents from the cabinets, spray and wipe down the shelves and place everything back in their own strategic place.

I'm scared...very, very scared.

Also...we gave Miles his first "bubble" bath today and he flipped his lid. I mean really...he was scared to death. He was petrified of the bubbles and hopped from one foot to the other, trying to get away from them. Sadly, it may have been one of the funniest things I have every seen.
I have never seen a child this concerned over bubbles in a bath.

And Alec...we won't even start.

And so ends the story of the "special" Frates children today.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ahh, thanks Ma!

Today my wonderful mother offered to drive my children to her house so that I could get a "long" run in. My plan was to run from my house to her house, about 4.5 miles...not too bad. I made this plan at 9:30 am before going outside to feel how incredibly hot it was. Ugh...
Alec wanted to ride his bike with me and help carry water. He loves our little adventures. We had a great plan!
My mom insisted on following me in the car as she was worried that someone was going to hit me on the narrow streets. It was sweet.
Needless to say, I made it about 3 miles before I thought I was going to pass out. It was way too hot and the sun was a bit intense. Thank goodness for my concerned mama following me. I gave up on my run, jumped in the car and enjoyed the air conditioning the rest of the ride home.
No more day time running on hot days. I guess I will have to force myself to wake up early if I want to keep this running thing going. Eek, it's going to be a long summer.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Just a little break...sorry it's a long one.

When I chose to enter the path to becoming a Licensed Midwife I knew that my life and the life of my family would change. I anticipated middle of the night phone calls, being called away during family events and relying on the help of family and friends to care for my children. This week was a test of my dedication and passion for birth and all it encompasses.

Monday morning I received a call at 7:30 a.m. that a mama was in labor and progressing rapidly. I got ready, grabbed all of my gear and ran out the door ready to meet the other midwives at the home. This laboring mother lives approximately 30 minutes from my home but the I-1o freeway at this time of day...ugh. I arrived around 8:30 and found the mother laboring in the hallway. She greeted me with a smile and told me that "it was time." I helped her into her birthing tub so that she could have the "water birth" she dreamed of. This was her first homebirth and second child. Her two year old daughter looked on, curious but relaxed. In between contractions the mother sang "Twinkle Twinkle" and played games with her daughter. I sat back amazed at the serene environment that this family created for the arrival of their new child. We listened to calming music and chatted about Twilight books (we had this addiction in common :). During contractions and pushing she closed her eyes and entered her "zone." At 9:05 a beautiful baby boy emerged in the water as his mother pulled him to her chest. She cried and repeated, "I did it...I did it and he is perfect. I am so happy we were at home." It was a beautiful birth and I feel incredibly blessed that this family chose to include me in this intimate moment.

Tuesday morning began with prenatals at my precepting Midwife's home while she attended another birth. At 2:30 p.m. we were off to do a 24 hour prenatal at the home of the mother that had delivered the day prior. All was well and at 5 p.m. we headed to another client's home for a "home visit" to prepare for the upcoming birth. We always schedule home visits at 36 weeks of pregnancy so that we can see the client's home and meet the people who will be attending the birth. We go over the labor process and answer any questions that the family may have. This is a very important meeting and lasts approximately 2-3 hours. I got home at 9:30 and went to bed.

Wednesday was a fairly uneventful day. The kids and I had a chance to visit with friends (have I mentioned how ecstatic I am that the DeWitts are back!!!). It was a wonderfully mellow day.

Thursday morning my phone rang at 6:30 a.m. with another call from Karen (my preceptor) that another mother was in labor. She also mentioned that THREE women were all in labor at the same time. I immediately started thinking full moon, new moon, something. But no, there weren't any lunar issues responsible. We simply had anxious babies that wanted to greet the earth.

I arrived at the mother's home at 7:30 a.m. and found her laboring easily on a birthing ball. She was quite comfortable and I assumed she was early in her labor. The other midwife arrived at 8:30 a.m. The mother's family began to arrive and over the course of a few hours I saw her progress to the final chapter of labor. This birthing mother participated in yoga classes and daily stretching throughout her pregnancy. Many time through contractions I swayed with her, stretched with her, squatted with her. She was flexible and allowed her body to move the baby exactly where it needed to be. At 12:45 p.m. we welcomed a beautiful baby girl. Her older sister looked on in amazement. I later found out that the first night following the birth, the older sister stayed up most of the night holding her baby sister, quieting her and telling her how beautiful she was. She was so proud. Incredibly proud even for a 4 year-old. It was a beautiful experience. Several hours later I went home to be with my family. It was a wonderful day.

Friday morning began with a 24 hour post-partum visit to the mother's home to see how everyone was doing. I brought Sophie with me so that she could see the new baby. She loves what I do. If the family doesn't mind, then Sophie comes along here and there (another amazing aspect to midwifery). She loves asking me about all the births and the "baby catching" that I do. She is intrigued and tells me that someday she is going to be a midwife. Jay just laughs and reminds me that she could become an obstetrician and what will her hippie mother do then? Ugh...we'll deal with that situation later.

The remainder of Friday was dedicated to our family. We all went to Long Beach and took the kids on the Queen Mary and then they got to go on a Russian submarine. Alec really enjoyed the submarine. We finished the day off with an impromptu trip to California Adventures for a few rides. It was just the day we all needed. A little family rejuvenation...

By Saturday morning our group of midwives had "caught" 7 babies. It was an incredibly busy week and everyone slept quite well by the end. All of the births went well and it warms my heart to know that each mother and babe are in their homes resting and being waited on. They are in their own "germ field" and are not in a hospital being exposed to ridiculous amounts of bacteria and germs. Have I mentioned the Swine Flu??? That's a whole other post...

I text my husband each time a baby is born and he always has encouraging comments and "high fives" to share with me. He supports me 1,000,000% and reminds me that I am finally doing what I have always wanted and what I was born to do. I pray in the silence of my car each time I am driving to a birth and leaving a birth. I wouldn't, couldn't do this without knowing that my God is the one in control. Just as a I remind all of these mamas, I am not in control of your birth, you are. I am there simply to help the process and remind you how capable you are of birthing your baby. This is your birth and you can do it.

Have I told you...I absolutely love what I do.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Run Through Redlands

I survived my first 5K this year in the Run Through Redlands. Considering I started preparing four weeks prior, I'm incredibly pleased that I placed 47th out of 141 women in my age group. I didn't have a time/placing goal, I just wanted to run/jog the entire 5K without stopping and I did it. It was exhilarating and I was so encouraged by having my family there to support me.

Mandy was amazing! You have to read her blog for more info. She placed 2nd in her age group, missing 1st place by 1 second!

We had such a fun morning and I awarded myself by stuffing my belly with fluffy pancakes after the race :)

Sophie was NOT happy here and refused to smile for the camera :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter 2009

So let me start this off by saying that we actually made it to church on time for Easter Sunday. Unfortunately Jay had to work (stinkin' railroad). The kids had a bit of a difficult time all getting ready at the same time. It's hard to get everyone showered, fed, dressed up nicely and out the door in an hour. Miles kept trying to run out to the backyard to play on the swingset (NO! Please stay clean!!!), Alec chose to argue with me about every little thing (remember he's 13) and Sophie was absolutely content twirling in her Easter dress and telling me how adorable she looked. Sometimes I just have to sit down and laugh (or cry) as our house remembles a funny farm.

We got out the door and were driving to church when I glanced in the mirror and realized that during my manic morning I had failed to finish putting makeup on. What else is new? grrr.

We finally flew into the parking lot, slid into a parking space as Alec commented, "Mom, you're like the fast and the furious; like a crazy race car driver!" I hushed him quickly, reminded him to please not repeat that in church and made a mental note to self to double check the kiddos' carseats before heading home.

Church was wonderful. Pastor Rick shared a great message regarding the validity of Christ being on earth, being crucified and arising from the dead. He spoke of skeptics and atheists and shared great ways to stand firm in our beliefs as Christians. We also sang one of my absolute favorite songs "From the Inside Out" and I was brought to tears as I sang my heart out for my Lord. It was just the moment that I needed.

We stopped by Grandma Joan's house to visit before heading out to Grandpa Stinky's. Miles fell asleep in the car and I got a nice 3 mile run in at Grandpa's house. We then headed home and collapsed for a few hours. It was a wonderful day and the kids had a great time visiting with family.

Miles isn't too sure about all of this.

My favorite picture of the day. This sweet, sweet smile.

Constantly moving...potential injuries at every corner.

That's a dragon on his face - face painting at church :)

Twirling...her favorite thing to do

A little visit to Granpa Stinky's house

This is the blessed disaster that walked into the living room after awakening from a nap.

Happy Easter everyone!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bye Bye Nappies

So today it's more cloth diapers. I've been contemplating this idea for the last 3 months. My life has changed dramatically since January and often there are times when my children rotate through three differerent family members in one day. Births are incredibly unpredictable and I never know when I will get called or how long I will be at a families home. All that being said I do not have time to wash diapers, let alone be sure that enough of them are packed if the kiddos have to been shipped out at a moments notice. So hello disposables, you are back in my life for some time. Cloth diapering was a wonderful choice for our family for the last year and a half and boy did we get great use of them! I would still greatly encourage families to consider this option. It really is a great, soft, natural alternative to the stiff paper disposies. I'm off to pack diaper bags with snacks and I have Peer Review.
BTW Mandy, Sophie awoke without a fever and is feeling perky and back to her usual self. I hope that Jonas got some rest last night and is feeling better. :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A weekend recap

This weekend was dedicated to the chickens. Oh God bless my husband and father-in-law. For without these amazing men, I wouldn't have a coop for my new chickens. They slaved ALL day Saturday and Sunday and we now have a home sweet home for Mimi, Nana, Penny and Mula (the kids have officially named the chicks). Tomorrow they will be introduced to the coop and slowly begin to acclimate to the outdoors. Mandy and the boys came over to hang out. The kids had a great time playing and the weather was beautiful. Aside from a few mishaps, all went well. Everyone still has their fingers and we even stayed out of the emergency room! Here are some photos from our busy weekend.

The Frates men discussing their plan of attack.

Miles and Tias both wanted to ride the quad. I think that Miles is trying to distract Tias so he gets off of the quad.

Miles seems to be getting a bit angry.

Notice my mother-in-law supervising on the sidelines? I think Jay is starting to realize just how much I'm like his mother :) Love you Cathy!

Sophie and Jonas helping.

Even Miles wanted to help out.

The final touches.

The door for the nesting boxes.

The best looking chicken coop ever!!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to my dear hubby and wonderful father-in-law. You both did an amazing job and I sincerely appreciate you!!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Welcome Sweet Madeline

Yesterday I spent the entire day at a homebirth. I got called at about 6:30 am and I was off. I arrived at the mother's home and we realized that she was still in early labor so we enjoyed some time visiting and getting a bite to eat. The morning seemed to progress fairly quickly and by 1:35 pm we welcomed Madeline into this world. She weighed in at 7 lbs. 11 oz. and 21 inches long. Mom did an amazing job as this was her first homebirth and her third child! "Daytime" births are a nice welcome as the majority of our babies are born at night. Mom and baby are doing great and I am absolutely ecstatic for their family.

She was sooo alert and kept looking around to see who was there.

Look at those huge feet!

This is how we weigh the babies.

"The Midwives" and baby Madeline

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

She's Gone Country

Yesterday was a very productive day. I awoke feeling motivated to get things done in the yard. This is what I started with:

After hours of weed pulling, rock removing and tree root digging I began rototilling to get the soil prepped for our garden.

The dogs attempted to help me. Notice that my sweet, helpful 13-year-old son is nowhere to be found? He conveniently had other plans with his friends.

After working allllllll day and making a trip to Ace Hardware for chicken wire (the dogs, and any other canyon animal/rodent will attempt to destroy my precious garden) I was done for the day. Notice this pic was taken after dark. I still have some work to finish up today but I am incredibly happy with the veggies we chose.

Tomatoes, (sweet cherry, Roma, and San Diego) Lettuce, Bell Peppers (yellow and green), Yellow Squash, Jalapenos, Red Chili Peppers (Jay's fav), Beans, Oregano, Basil and Parsley. Phew...lots of yummy stuff! We still have another area that we are planting this week where we hope to plant carrots, onions, cilantro and more! I'll put pics up when all is done.

The second part of the day began with an ongoing idea that I've had. Quite often I have to remind my husband that in theory I have AMAZING ideas that usually turn out with great results (refer to the vegetable garden above). Jay happened to be at work all day and I decided to give him a call.

"Uh, hi honey, how's your day going? I've been working really hard on our veggie garden and I think that you're gonna like what I've done. By the way, when you get home don't mind the baby chicks in the kitchen." *Click*

You see, Jay has limited phone time at work and I wanted to be brief and to the point. :) I also wanted to give him time to ponder our new life with chickens. We've been talking about getting laying hens for some time. I like the idea of knowing where are chickens come from and how they are cared for. Fresh eggs every day! They are still small and have some growing to do but if all goes well, we should have eggs by summer.

Oh yeah, um honey, could you possibly get started on building our chicken coop? Puh-lease? :)

Sophie is in love...

These are Americana chickens, known for laying large, beautiful colored eggs in blue and green shades. The kids thought that this was especially cool.

We will be happy to share with friends and family this summer! Come by and pick up your eggs.

Jay, I saw a goat for sale yesterday....whatcha think??? Goats milk and a built in lawn mower?? Sounds tempting.