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Things we are just plain grateful for

Pregnant During The Coronavirus Pandemic

I’m 29 weeks pregnant and the time is flying by much faster than I’d like it to.

Spoiler Alert: FREE hypnosis track to relieve stress and anxiety at the end of this post PLUS some exciting news! 

We’ve been pretty quiet lately, just trying to get through one day at a time as this Coronavirus Pandemic continues to change the way the entire world functions.

When I was pregnant with Brig, the Zika virus was running rampant across the world. Now, pregnant with Waverly, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is wreaking havoc everywhere with a completely different set of concerns. We currently have 30 confirmed cases in the US Virgin Islands and it’s only a matter of time before cases and deaths in the territory mimic those of other regions all over the world. There’s no evidence yet of increased risk to pregnant women or babies, but of course there’s many unknowns.

The only thing keeping me grounded right now is the Hypnobabies Childbirth Education course I took when I was pregnant with Brig. I’m 29 weeks now and I’m so excited that I get to start week 1 (of 6) of my Hypnobabies Home Study course again for this pregnancy! The ideal time to start is 28-30w to leave enough practice time after the course is done but it can even be done on an expedited schedule for those that need to. With all the unknowns of this COVID-19 stuff and evolving options for prenatal care and deciding where to birth my baby, I’m SO grateful for this program, now more than ever. I’m easily able to enjoy this pregnancy, devote time and attention to my almost-3-year-old, and help him look for hermit crabs (that’s what he’s holding in the picture!) and lizards without being consumed by stress and worries. I’m confident that whatever happens, I’ll be prepared to have the best birth experience I possibly can, regardless of the things I can’t control.

For anyone that doesn’t know what it is, Hypnobabies a complete childbirth education and self-hypnosis course for easier, more comfortable and totally empowered childbirth (often pain free). Hypnobabies is NOT the same as Hypnobirthing yet contains some of the same basic concepts. During my first pregnancy I was introduced to the Mongan Method Hypnobirthing book, read it 4-5 times and marked up the whole book with notes and a highlighter, felt really excited, but ultimately decided it just wasn’t enough to prepare me for my birth. The tools in that book alone just weren’t enough for me. Many women love hypnobirthing; I just needed something more. I’ve heard an in-person Hypnobirthing course is much more helpful than just the book but that wasn’t an option for me at the time. Not long after I finished the Hypnobirthing book, I was introduced to Hypnobabies – which was created by someone who taught the Bradley Method for 10 years and also Hypnobirthing but recognized a need for more tools and a slightly different approach to childbirth as a whole. There are in person classes for Hypnobabies too (and now many instructors are offering remote/live video classes to keep social distancing) but I was SO glad to learn about the Home Study version during my first pregnancy which I was able to do at home in my own spare time whenever it was convenient for me.
They normally offer a hardcopy version of this Home Study which I still have from my pregnancy with Brig, but due to the current virus issues and mandatory business shut-downs, the only way to purchase the Home Study right now is actually their cheapest option – the new ONLINE version. It’s all the same materials just completely online instead of on paper. SO perfect for social distancing and still getting to take an awesome childbirth education course!! 😍
Hypnobabies is amazing for learning about all possible outcomes and choices during childbirth regardless of how your birth unfolds or where you birth your baby. It can be used for homebirths, birth center births or hospital births. While geared toward natural minded mamas to help eliminate and prevent unnecessary interventions (and of course provide the most comfortable, peaceful experience possible) it can also be incredibly helpful even if receiving an epidural or cesarean. It literally rewrites the way we think about childbirth, removing any negativity we may be exposed to now or in our past. There’s also an amazing support network facebook group and many instructors and admins are always available to help answer questions along the way.
If you are (or anyone you know is) interested in the online course or any other hypnosis tracks or training courses they have available, please consider using my affiliate links 💕 (I do receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you use my links. A little bit goes a long way and allows me to spend more time doing what I love! See announcement below 😉). Also, message me to get help finding the biggest coupon code currently available for the specific item you are wanting to purchase.

WHO LIKES FREE STUFF?

Even if you aren’t ready to do the course, or even if you’re not pregnant at all, Hypnobabies is currently offering a 💕FREE💕 hypnosis track for ANYONE to listen to for Eliminating Stress and Anxiety – such a powerful tool with everything going on in our world right now. No payment info required at all, totally free and only available for free download from now until the end of April. It’s a fabulous way to get a first hand feel of how the Hypnobabies audio tracks work:  https://www.hypnobabies-store.com/product/eliminate-stress-and-anxiety/?ref-hyp=WhyseBirth

Also Announcing…

Since doing the Hypnobabies course myself, I fell in love with it so much that I completed the training to become a trained Hypnobabies Hypno-Doula! I simply want to be able to help anyone that is looking for Doula support with their Hypnobabies birth because I wasn’t able to find it when I wanted it, here in the islands where I live. Regardless of how many people ever actually contact me, my heart is full knowing I’m able to – at the very least – offer Hypnobabies Hypno-Doula support (as someone familiar with and trained with the specific terminology and tools of the Hypnobabies program) IF anyone is looking for it, as I once did. Birth is such an amazing and beautiful experience and everyone deserves the support they are looking for 💕
I’ve chosen the name WHYSE BIRTH for my new business because I’m always asking WHY. Why do we do things this way, or why is it recommended to do things that way. I ask why almost to a frustrating level, but I can’t help it. I’ve always needed to fully understand things before feeling good about a decision I need to make. I put great value in staying open minded, learning, researching, using critical thinking, and making informed choices instead of blindly following the advice or recommendations of others, and I always recommend everyone else does the same. I’m always looking for a better choice, always asking WHY!
This name was actually chosen as a spin-off to the original (and very exciting) WHYSE project i’m currently working on and I hope to be able to announce that too in the coming months… stay tuned!!
I’ve created a Facebook and Instagram page specifically for my new business to share Doula and birth related topics. Check them out and Like/Follow/Share if you’d like to show your support!
I’d be SO happy to answer any questions I can 💕 Send me a message, I’d love to hear from you!

A Change Of Scenery

Lately all of us have been feeling like we were long overdue for a change of scenery. So we did a thing…

A few days ago we moved to the dock at Sapphire Beach Marina here on St Thomas!!

The slip we wanted finally opened up and we made the move as soon as Peter had another day off. As much as I despise dock life and would much rather be at anchor, it’s really the best option for us right now. There just aren’t very many good options for being a liveaboard permanently based in USVI. Ideally, we would love to be in an anchorage that has good protection from waves and open ocean swell, water clean enough to swim in, and easy access to shore, but that really doesn’t exist on St Thomas. Plus, Brig is at the point where he really needs to run off some energy every day and meet some other kids his age, so dock life is the next best thing.

Peter is currently signing on long term for a really awesome job opportunity (more on that to come!) which means we are ready to plant some roots again. Some days I can’t stop thinking about how much I loved our mooring in Sopers Hole on Tortola, but then I remind myself that it’s not even close to being how it was before. There’s nothing there for us right now. Our new life after Hurricane Irma is here… on a different boat, just an island hop away. I absolutely love living in the islands and eventually I hope to love it here as much as I loved our home in BVI.

Sapphire has a pool and a really nice beach. There’s a beach bar/restaurant, coffee shop, smoothies, and ice cream. It’s close to the safari taxi route and there’s even a taxi stand by the restaurant. Parking is free, but you have to pay for showers. There’s self service laundry on site. Water is cheap at only .10cents a gallon reverse osmosis. The slip rental cost is pretty pricey but we don’t have many options to choose from. We get a decent breeze on deck but it’s coming from our starboard side so it can get pretty toasty down below. In the evenings it’s imperative that we get screens in all the hatches and zip up the cockpit or the no-see-ums and mosquitos can get pretty vicious. Our electric bug zapper racquet gets used once or twice a night even with the screens in. I think the part I like the most about our new home is that we don’t get ferry wakes anymore!! Those Tortola ferry captains lay on the throttle and when we were out in Christmas Cove we got some catastrophic wakes every now and then. Nothing like red hook gets – but still.

I think this will be a good thing for us. At least we are still able to live Where The Coconuts Grow

When you don’t get to say goodbye

It’s been two weeks since she’s been gone. It doesn’t feel real and it’s taken me this long to find any words at all. There’s already been so many times I’ve thought about calling her and then my heart breaks all over again when I realize she won’t ever pick up the phone again. I always had to call twice because she could never get to the phone in time. She was busy in the garden or taking the dogs out or just waking up. She never called me because she said she didn’t want to bother us if I was trying to get Brig to sleep. 

I just don’t understand why she had to leave us so suddenly and without saying goodbye! There are so many things I wanted to tell her. Like how much I appreciate everything she did for me over the years, and how thoughtful she was, and how glad I am that she could meet my husband and my baby, and how sorry I am for not showing my appreciation nearly enough. I pushed her away so many times. She always had an opinion or advice to give especially when I didn’t ask for it. I think that bothered me because of how she also taught me to always think for myself and have my own opinions. But I know she only did it because she cared about me. When you’re growing up though, you don’t realize that your parents have feelings too. She protected my feelings. I never knew I had to protect hers too. 

It’s just not real. I still feel like she’s just over the mountains at her house, doing what grandmothers do. She was supposed to live forever. She was supposed to hold all of my babies. She was supposed to see my babies grow up. I was going to help her do so many things at her house. “When I come back next time…” I’d always say. I did what I could to help her with computer stuff over the phone but it was always too hard to explain. I always had her make a list of things we were going to do together when I came to visit next time. 

Did she know? Did she know that she would be leaving us so soon? Why didn’t she tell me how bad it was! Why didn’t she tell me to come there sooner! It’s times like these that living out of state or out of the country for that matter is so hard. I’ve been so far away from my family for so many years that you forget that the years are numbered. Time passes by. I know she was proud of me though, for going out into the world and not being afraid of taking chances and living a life of adventure. I know there are more things she was supposed to teach me. She taught me so much already though. I just wish I had let her into my adult life more. I wish I had shared a little more with her. 

She was one of the strongest women I’ve ever known. She was a protector. She never let me know if anything was wrong. Sometimes it felt like I was living in a bubble because she never wanted me to worry about anything. Was it an illusion or was it just Love? One thing I do know is that she loved me very much. She raised me from when I was just a baby and I had a good life growing up. 

There are SO many memories. Like how she taught me how to make oatmeal cookies, and the best pie crust, and how to wrap presents, and how to make believe. I remember the places we used to live. I remember going on the boat in the summertime up to the San Juan Islands and playing on the docks poking at sea anemones on the pilings and catching crabs with my net. I remember going off to school and the lunches she would pack for me. All of the visits from the Tooth Fairy and Easter baskets and Christmas stockings from Santa. The Halloween costumes she made for me. Birthday presents and ‘just because i love you’ surprises. I remember her letting me get black jelly beans every time we went to the grocery store.  The crafts she would make with me. Watching Disney movies. Taking her snorkeling in BVI for the first time, and taking her hiking to the top of Saddle Rock so she could check it off her bucket list. And then there is so much I don’t remember. So many memories I took for granted. I thought she would ALWAYS be there. She wasn’t just a mom or a grandma. She was Bean. She was different. 

I don’t know why Cancer affects so many people. It happened so fast. So suddenly. No one knew what was going to happen or how soon she was going to be taken from us. 

It’s not fair. I’m only 35 and the two people that raised me are both gone. I’m lucky to still be so close with both my mom and my dad but it’s different, it’s just not the same. I lived with my grandparents growing up and now they are both gone. I’m angry and sad and numb and in disbelief all at the same time. 

Now i’ve got a beautiful family of my own – a wonderful husband and a sweet sweet little boy. I know my grandparents were so proud of me. I just wish they could see. I wish they could see they did such a good job and that i’m so thankful for everything they taught me.

This past year has had so many life altering events for me. The birth of my baby, losing our home in Hurricane Irma, the passing of my Grandmother, and so many other monumental things in between. Some days I don’t know how to find the strength to get me through. Some days I forget that there are so many other people in this world that have much greater struggles.  On the other hand some days I can’t be believe how blessed I am. Life is a funny thing. Everyone has a story. “Everyone you meet is afraid of something, has loved something and has lost something” so before you judge anyone, remember they have feelings too. Hug your loved ones tight. Tell them you love them all the time. Don’t take one second for granted. 

Rest In Peace, Bean. I love you. 

You are home now, free of pain and back in the arms of the love of your life. 

 

Jeanne Frostad 

“Bean”

4.4.44 – 7.16.18

Forever, your little one.

Settling In

Brig, Betsy, my brother Brandon and I are settling in after arriving safe and sound in St Thomas a little more than two weeks ago. Peter had just arrived with our new boat from Antigua and everything was still in full on project mode. Day by day we’ve chipped away at the list and its just now starting to feel like home.

Every new boat comes with a few hiccups – a few surprises we couldn’t have anticipated. As soon as I got there the refrigerator and freezer keel coolers stopped working.  Peter only had the boat in the water for about a week at that point so many of the systems were being put to the test for the first time.  The good news is that Reefco, the local marine refrigeration company, was able to diagnose and supply the parts we needed. The bad news is how much the parts and labor cost us :( We began to work on getting on the schedule to haul the boat out to do the repairs.

We were on the dock at Crown Bay Marina for the first few days after arriving back in the islands, then moved to a nearby mooring that our friends Jesse and Stacey on SV Smitty helped us arrange.  When we tried to leave, our alternator and oil alarm were both giving us issues. Eventually we got it resolved enough just to get us up to Christmas Cove a short sail away but as we approached the mooring field that afternoon, our troubles continued.  The engine wouldn’t start! We calmly thought about what could be wrong and continued to try starting it a few more times. Suddenly it turned over… Our engine started and we anchored toward the back of the pack. We could have come in under sail but it’s always nicer to be able to back down on your anchor. A ton of boats were there already in anticipation for a regatta so there weren’t many spots to choose from. After we got settled Peter determined it was pure luck that we got the engine started just then and that it would NOT be starting again.

We had to wait almost a week to get Offshore Marine out with a replacement Electronic Control Unit, so not only did we have no way to start the engine, we still had no refrigeration. Our plans for hauling out to fix the keel coolers would have to wait until we had an engine to get us into the haulout slip. I’ve got towing on our new insurance but it wasn’t worth the hassle of filing a claim.  We resorted to eating soup, mac n cheese and pb&j.

Eventually we got it all fixed. We sailed back out to Christmas Cove now and we can finally relax! There will always be boat projects but we hope the major stuff is all done now.  Peter’s birthday was March 30 and luckily we got to spend it in paradise.

We’re all adjusting pretty well. Brandon is getting used to boat life. Betsy is so happy to be able to lay in the sun all afternoon again, and Brig is busy as ever. At 9 months he can walk around the whole inside of the boat using the walls for stability, he loves eating goldfish and he’s learning to like swimming at the beach! Peter and I are just happy to be back to where we belong <3

Our New Home

Almost exactly 6 months after Hurricane Irma flipped our world upside down, we finally have a new home!

She’s a beautiful 1981 Stevens 47, bigger than our last boat with three staterooms instead of just two. You may recognize the Stevens/Hylas 47 design as it’s the same kind that our friends on Totem have sailed around the world over the last 10 years. A true bluewater boat perfect for anywhere our next adventures take us. We will do a renaming ceremony soon to keep the same name we had before, Mary Christine. It’s only fitting as our last boat was named after Peter’s mom, and she will continue to keep us safe. Our order from DIY Lettering is in the mail now!

***

You’d think that buying a boat would be so much fun. It definitely was fun to search online for awhile, until we’d seen literally every boat on the market and still weren’t sure if we’d found the right one. We weren’t just looking for fun. We needed a home. We could sit around searching every day for something else to get listed, but instead we made a shortlist of five possibilities that fit our criteria and then started booking plane flights to get us closer to the East Coast.

The last blog update was when we were visiting friends in Georgia over New Years. From there we drove to go see a boat for sale in Alabama that ended up having some undisclosed issues we couldn’t look past. Then we flew to Florida where we got to spend a lot more time with family and friends.

We saw another two boats in Florida, one of which Peter really liked. I really did NOT like it but it was affordable and it would get us back on a boat, in our very own home, right away. We already had flights booked to go look at a boat in Antigua and one in Grenada, both of which were our top two choices after months of scouring YachtWorld, so we continued on our way.

The stop in Antigua was brief, just two days, but we got to catch up with our friends Rob and Deb from Cosmos Mariner. That’s where we first saw what is now our new home ;) We took a good look at the boat and I actually liked it more in person than on paper. At that point it was a definite possibility but we had one more stop to make to know for sure.

We flew to Grenada and stayed with our friend Steve on Lunacy, a Whitby 42 just like our old boat. It felt really good to be back in a familiar place on a boat that almost felt like home, but kind of strange at the same time. We were still homeless. I loved the boat for sale in Grenada but there were yet again some previously undisclosed concerns that we didn’t learn about until we saw the boat in person.  So, we made an offer on the Stevens, but it was rejected. Based on the work it needed we just couldn’t justify or afford to go any higher. With that, we flew back to Florida to regroup.

After a lot of soul searching and settling, I agreed to make an offer on the boat in Florida that Peter liked. Long story short the seller wanted more than we were willing to offer and the deal eventually fell through.

With our heads hanging low once again, I remembered there had been a tentative offer on the Stevens after ours. Just for kicks I emailed the broker asking if the boat was still pending or if it fell through. Turns out it was still available. The guy that came to see her just didn’t want to take on as many projects as it needed. With some serious number crunching, we made another offer and we were absolutely thrilled it was accepted!

I booked a ticket for me and Brig to go back to Washington State and pack up our things. It’s unreal the kind of stuff you can accumulate in such a very short period of time while living on land. Most of it is for Brig but there are a lot of things I needed to buy to replace the rest of what we couldn’t recover. Peter got a one way ticket back to Antigua and began preparing our new home.

It will be 5 weeks apart by the time we see Peter again… we fly out on TOMORROW!! I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. Far too much time apart over the last six months. Our baby is almost walking on his own and he turns 9 months old the day we leave. It’s all a blur.

Just how am I going to manage carrying all of our luggage, baby and dog by myself on two airplane rides? My brother, Brandon, is coming with me! There’s no way I could manage alone with both Brig AND Betsy. It’s an overnight flight out of Seattle so we fly into St Thomas on Wednesday afternoon where Peter will be waiting for us.

He hired our friend Rob to help him get the long list of repairs done faster and to help him deliver it from Antigua to USVI.  They both worked so hard to make it all come together. The first photo above is them leaving Jolly Harbour Saturday morning. Waiting for that next phone call was almost as bad as waiting for the call after Irma. I knew he would be fine but of course I was still worried. They made it safe and sound after a great passage!

Still wondering what happened to our old boat? The insurance claim was processed and paid relatively easily, it just took a little longer than it should have. We bought the boat back from the insurance company as part of the settlement and months ago Peter went back to BVI to get her all cleaned up. It was a monumental effort but worth it in the end. He was able to salvage and clean some of our personal belongings but some of it was either destroyed by the rats, water damage and mold, or impact from during the storm.

The most serendipitous part is how we met the guy that bought her. YEP, we sold her!!! At first we thought we would just clean her up and live aboard at our mooring ball until we could find our forever boat instead of buying a replacement that doesn’t really suit our needs. Then, Peter met Trent. His boat sunk in Irma and he just needed a place to live so he could continue working in St. John. There was still some serious damage that needed to be repaired, and the boat will never be as seaworthy as it was before, but it was doable. The thing is, Peter wouldn’t have felt comfortable selling her to anyone at all, but Trent does fiberglass, teak and finishwork by trade! And he has done many boat refits before. If there is anyone that could make this boat beautiful again it’s him.

Trent and his brother Tracy made fast work of getting the mizzenmast detached and basic systems functioning, then they delivered her down to Coral Bay St. John where she will get a little R&R ;) She’s in good hands and for that I’m thankful.

It’s Monday now and by Wednesday afternoon we will finally all be back where we belong: on a boat down where the coconuts grow 🌴

So what’s next?

We will be heading to St. John USVI where Peter hopes to find some work. The repairs our new boat needed didn’t leave us with much savings but we now have an amazing fully functional home.

This year we are choosing to be south of 12 degrees 40 minutes (Grenada) for Hurricane Season like we did the first two years. It was much easier to get insurance for “outside the box” and it’s statistically better odds for staying out of the path of another hurricane. We are required to be down there from July 1 – November 1 so we’ll probably start heading south in May or June. Until then you can find us in the Virgin Islands!