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Training starts today!

Last week I made a decision that will hopefully change the rest of my life…for the better!  I have decided that I will be registering for a 5K that will be taking place the weekend of May 8th.


Why is this such a big deal?

Well… if you know me, you are probably already laughing hysterically at the idea of ME  running a 5K, let alone the fact that the 5K is in just 72 days and I've never been a runner.  Heck... I'm not able to walk a quarter of one mile right now. It’s insane! 


Reasons why it’s surreal…

  • I’m a smoker (sorry to everyone that did not know I had started again).
  • I have pretty bad health due to chronic pancreatitis.
  • Aside from chasing my 19 month-old around, I’m a couch potato with a VERY sedentary lifestyle.



What do I hope to gain by this?

  • I will finally quit smoking once and for all.  I've been smoking off and on for 17 years now. 
  • I want better health.  
  • I want to be able to live to see my son grow up and at this pace, with my health the way it is, I will NOT be there for that in the long run.
  • I want to encourage others… if I can do this… ANYONE can do this!
  • I'm not getting ANY younger.


Training starts today!


I have 72 days to do this thing.  Friends can follow my progress by visiting this blog.

A "How To" article on looking better...

 Little One had decided to go to bed a little earlier the other night (an hour), so I decided to curl up on the sofa and read the latest “American Baby” magazine that had come in the mail that day. American Baby is a monthly magazine that I somehow got on a mailing list for when I was pregnant. It's a really good magazine and caters a broad category of mothers, from pregnancy through the toddler years.

Each issue of this magazine is packed full of helpful tips for new mothers on parenting, how to save money, what the best toys are, and where all the good deals are for babies...so imagine my excitement when I got to an article called “Help Me Look Better”. The story was about how they took six new moms and made them “look better” by helping them find clothing to flatter their figure. Their “before” pictures were not bad looking by any means. All six of the women looked very nice – but yes...of course they were all looking indeed FABULOUS on the next page in their “after” photos. The after photos also included information on the clothing that the women were wearing in the photos - in fact, one pair of heels cost $349 and another pair that one of the other women had on was $178...FOR SHOES!!!

WOW! This magazine really has new mommies figured out don't they? I mean...what wouldn't make a new mom feel great by rushing out and buying a pair of $349 high heels? One problem with that theory: about 90% of new moms are young and likely don't have $349 to throw around on one pair of shoes. Honestly...what were they thinking by putting this article in this magazine? Dumb. As a reader, I guess the point they were trying to make to me is that if I want to “look better” I need to spend a lot of money.

I was irritated when I read that article, so I decided to move on to the next article in the magazine: “Can You Afford to Quit Working” - I just had to laugh.


My blog on MySpace, Facebook and Windows Live is mirrored from my website: www.beccastrat.com



Well…it’s that time of year again. For some reason, fall brings out the writer in me. Even though the time I get to spend on it right now is far less than years past, I’m still getting the urge.

NaNoWriMo is quickly approaching and I had already decided that I would not participate this year…but will I? I have soul-searched as far as my writing is concerned and have decided to move my main focus into the “parenting blog” gig. I still plan on keeping up with my thriller/suspense novel writing - but have been trying to come up with some sort of story idea that I could possibly use for NaNoWriMo 2008. I never had problems coming up with story ideas…so last night I lay awake in bed thinking of different situations and people I’ve known over the years for ideas for characters and story lines.

I had this friend for several years…we were very close and then one day he just got kind of strange. It was almost like he started to have a “thing” for me or something. At any rate…I was very uncomfortable with the situation but didn’t want to even bring it up because I knew that it would ruin our friendship. At a certain point he just got to be too much and I realized that the friendship was going south because of the way he was acting - so I had no choice but to bring it up. I made the mistake of opening Pandora’s Box by telling him that I was uncomfortable with our friendship via email…and his wife found it…and then she got mad at him… and then me (which I‘ll never understand how it was my fault). In hind sight, later I don’t even think that he had a “thing” for me - I think he just had some sort of issues at the time and was just being a clingy friend, one that just needed extra attention for whatever reason but the whole thing just came off to me as strange. Three years later I’ve come to realize that it’s probably a good thing I’m no longer friends with he and his wife because they do not associate with me and my hubby anymore - so I can only assume it’s because they have not been able to deal with that issue amongst themselves and to be quite honest…I just simply don’t have the time for that stuff. It’s too bad really because some good friendships were lost there.

So what is the point I’m getting at by even talking about that situation? Well…it’s situations like that which fuel a writer’s mind. Odd relationships…odd friendships and “what if’s” make a super foundation for a GREAT thriller/suspense novel. You can get MILES for your muse out of situations such as that.

So…with NaNoWriMo being just two weeks away, I’ve decided to go for it. I will not stress out to cross the finish line this year though. I have won three years in a row - but this year my focus is on my family, first and foremost.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, my writing niche will be more driven towards “parenting blogging”. I haven’t decided if I will keep my website, www.beccastrat.com, up and running, or if I will take it down and operate mainly through networking websites (which I currently mirror my website‘s blog on Facebook, MySpace, and Windows Live). That is all still up in the air.

One thing that is not up in the air, and will happen for sure, is that I will keep on writing. Every time I try to put my manuscripts in a drawer to take a break from them for awhile, I can constantly hear them calling to me…they just can’t be put away.

To go back to my website CLICK HERE

Seasons change and so does everything else

I’m officially in the last two weeks of my Maternity Leave. The whole “return to work” thing is bittersweet to me. First of all…I’m very anxious to get back to work and get back to having adults conversation during the day. Secondly, I will dearly miss my little guy during the day…it will be so hard to leave him.

Little One is now six and a half weeks old. In the last six weeks I have learned so much about him and he has learned so much about me. We went through a rough colicky phase and experimented with bottles, diapers, and all sorts of baby things. There were many things to laugh at - it has been a great time…but yet I cried much of the time thanks to post partum depression.

Tonight I had Little One in the stroller and we were walking around the neighborhood. At 7:00 in the evening the temperature is dropping very fast these days. Green acorns littered the side of the street and collided with the stroller wheels .as we made our way along the walk. We got around a quiet stretch of the neighborhood and the crickets and grasshoppers were confirming that fall is right around the corner. Visions of seeing Little One in a snowsuit popped into my head and I realized how precious and fast young life is.

In November of last year I found out I was pregnant. Those that read my blog know that I was not real excited about this pregnancy. Hubby and I had not planned on having kids but apparently someone else had a plan for us. I cried for four days out of devastation when I found out I was pregnant…but tonight as I was on the final home stretch of our neighborhood walk, I looked at Little One who was laying all content in his stroller just looking up at me…I cried for another reason…I love everything about this guy and I love everything that I’ve been through with him (yes…that includes labor and delivery) - I wish I could freeze everything in time right now. I don’t want it to change. But as the signs of the upcoming fall season are starting to appear in nature…so is the reminder that Little One gets older everyday and he will not always be this sweet little baby. I will cherish every moment that I have with this little guy and this winter when I’m dressing him up in his snowsuit I won’t be sad that it’s all going so fast…I will keep my chin up and remember that each day is just a new adventure with Little One - and it will be just one of the first of many more adventures to come.

To go back to my website CLICK HERE

...a "30 something" first time mommy.

Here’s the scoop:
Dylan Michael. Date of Birth 7/12/2008 3:29pm
7 pounds 2 ounces, 19.5 inches

I’m almost to the end of the first month of “Mommy Boot Camp” and there is a lot that I have learned…and much more to be learned. First of all, I thought I’d have a lot more time than I do. I was pretty excited about having eight weeks off work to get a few projects done. This week marks the middle of my maternity leave and I’ve done nothing as far as projects go. This is okay though because I’m getting some precious time to bond with my son - who teaches me new things every day. I’m also learning that there is a whole new level of “tired” out there. I don’t think I’ve ever been more tired in my entire life.

I have not been very good with updating my blog as I’ve just not had the time - but I’m starting to settle more into a routine at this point so it’s getting a little easier. It took me some time to think “outside the box” (I really do hate that stupid saying) with this whole baby thing. Essentially the first few days we had Dylan here at home he would wake up an eat and then fall back asleep over and over…he was never awake much and so when he was awake I would sit and hold him in my living room. One day he threw me for a loop and stayed awake most of the afternoon. It didn’t dawn on me until that evening that I had spent the entire day just sitting in the living room holding him - almost like I didn‘t know what to do with him! The next day I “thought outside the box” and hauled him around with me from room to room during his awake time and I taught him all there is to know about folding laundry and cleaning (you can never start boys too young right? LOL).

Dylan is a sweet little boy. I call him the baby I never knew that I wanted. I definitely did not ever plan on having children - but I do feel that there is a reason I have Dylan now. I love him to pieces and can’t imagine life without him at this point…and we’re only 24 days into this whole baby thing.

For many years it’s always been all about me and Hubby. I’m a pretty self-centered person and I have my own routine and schedule that I don’t particularly care to deviate from (sometimes I tend to get ugly when “change” is involved). That part of my life is now over. I’ve always had someone taking care of me - and now the tides have changed…I’m now in charge of taking care of someone - and I would not want it any other way.

I definitely love my little Dylan (A.K.A. Dill Pickle). 

To go back to my dreadfully unupdated website CLICK HERE

...even closer

The last four days have been pretty crazy around here.

It starts out Friday morning bright and early (or dark and ugly I should say) when our water alarms downstairs started going off at 1:30am.  We were in the middle of a torrential rain storm and the drain tile system apparently just couldn’t keep up with what was coming at us (we later found out that a manhole had also popped up down the street as well and all that water ended up in our back yard as well).  Normally Hubby is gone when stuff goes wrong around the house…but to my excitement he was home (I literally was excited he was home for this).

Naturally Hubby had to do most of the work…moving furniture…sucking up water…drying….and disinfecting everything.  I wasn’t much help because starting two days before this I realized that I was really having a harder time getting around.

riday afternoon, after not sleeping much of Friday night from the flooding, I had my doctor appointment where I learned a couple more very important things….one of which is that there mucous plug is gone (sorry if that’s TMI) and the second important thing I learned is that the doctor found upon examination that the baby IS READY to come out already – earlier than I even thought.  The baby had dropped quite a bit in the week and a half from when I saw him last.

“Have you noticed that you’ve been waddling or anything?” he asked me.  I hadn’t noticed waddling…but I had noted that it had been harder to get around lately and then there was the one day at work when one of my co-workers took one look at me and said that I looked like ten miles of bad road (but it felt more like 50 miles…you just gotta trust me on this one).   

At any rate…I will be having this baby soon and the doctor was genuinely concerned about the whole thing because the hospital/doctor that I have chosen to deliver my baby are for “standard” care only – and so they just wouldn’t feel comfortable delivering a baby less than 36 weeks gestation.

So…I gotta somehow get it through to my son that he can’t come into this world until AT LEAST June 21st when I officially roll into the 36 week pregnancy category. 

Look at the calendar and you will see that June 21st is only 12 days away.  YIKES!  

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Though I have proof-read the heck out of this blog entry prior to posting…be advised that I recently purchased a new notebook computer and I’m still getting used to the new keyboard on the thing.  To make matters even more complicated, my baby belly now covers the bottom row of keys when I’m typing with the notebook on my lap.  Hence…typos.   YIKES!

I have been explaining to the doctor when I go in for my prenatal visits that I’m almost dead certain the due date they’ve given me is wrong.  They’ve given me July 19th.  I have had four ultrasounds during this pregnancy and they do consistently point to within a week of that day…but I know they are wrong.  At this stage in the game…three weeks is a big difference because it could mean the difference between whether your labor is allowed to proceed or whether they will try to stop it.  Being born too early by even just a few weeks, the baby could have some lung development issues.  I figure my due date to be around June 28th….but the doctor gives me a firm July 19th and he is not budging.   I share my concerns about my due date each time I’m at the clinic.  He’s convinced of July 19th and I’m convinced the date should be June 28th.  There’s no compromise…and believe me…I’ve tried to cut a deal with him on this issue…

“So here’s what I’m thinking,” I tell the doctor all serious-like at one of my appointments, “I’m thinking that since you’re saying July 19th and I’m saying June 28th, maybe we could go halfsies and say July 5th?  Huh?”       He’s sticking with July 19th and that’s all there is too it!    Apparently it doesn’t matter…there are just some things in life that are not negotiable.  When it comes right down to it…it’s just a date after all (and I’m a silly goose for trying to negotiate my baby’s due date with the doctor…think about it…I’m being crazy!).

Now…in all of the reading materials I’ve run across on pregnancy it’s written that if you are less than 37 weeks pregnant and you experience cramping AND low back pain at the same time you should call the doctor right away as you could be in preterm labor.  So naturally when I had this pop up on me last week I was a little concerned.  I mentioned it to a few friends who’d been pregnant not too long ago and they all explained that they had the same symptoms I was having…when they were at the same stage that I’m at.  So who do you listen to?  The book?  The moms?    I was frustrated and confused with the conflicting information.  Since it had been three days with these symptoms and they just weren’t going away, I decided it was best to call.  Thanks to the lawsuit happy society that we live in, every time you call the doctor about anything they basically tell you the same thing…that they really just need you to come in and be seen.  

I did go in and everything turned out to be fine.  I was not going into preterm labor but he told me that the pain could be my body telling me that it’s time to start slowing down and take it easy.  Take it easy?  TAKE IT EASY?   I don’t do a damn thing now as it is – how am I supposed to make THAT easier?  

He then preceded to tell me that… “…we gotta keep this little boy in there for at least three more weeks.”

WHAT?  Did he just say three more weeks?   “Ahhhh ha!  That would bring us to the end of June…say June 28th…wouldn’t it?”   I said to him.    

“Not so fast.  I’m just not going to change your due date,” he reaffirmed to me…again.

I’m getting to the real uncomfortable end-stage symptoms of pregnancy and I just know that there is NO WAY that I can go another seven weeks until the baby arrives.  The actual birth timing will be interesting.  I think that my own intuition will win out and he will be born the end of June.  Of course I want to be right – who likes being wrong?   But what I really want is a healthy baby no matter what date ends up falling the closest to the birth.  I guess we’ll find out in three…or….six weeks.  Time will tell!

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I’m learning a lot about the emotional roller coaster that pregnancy can bring along with it.

I seem to cry over the most small thing. The other day I forgot to buy Miracle Whip at the store and I needed it to make a salad I was preparing for dinner. Most people would have just made a quick trip to the store to buy the Miracle Whip and complete the recipe…or they would have moved on and planned a different side dish for dinner. Of course I did nothing real logical about it…instead…I sat and cried for AN HOUR over the whole situation! Hubby finally could see the agony I was in and ran out to buy me Miracle Whip. Bless his patient heart!

I’ve also started having some other unusual guilt feelings and bizarre nightmares. The guilt feelings strike me as “motherly”. Example: Hubby needs to go in for an eye exam and he will more than likely need glasses. Tonight I was going through the packet of materials for Hubby’s employer sponsored “vision plan” The documentation mentions that there are only certain frames and lenses that would be covered. After reading this, a vision popped into my mind: Hubby standing amongst an aisle of eye glass frames and he was told that he could only pick off a certain side The side he could pick from were the frames covered under our plan and they were all cheap and crappy frames that looked horrible. I felt guilty… I want the best for my Hubby and so if he doesn’t want a pair of the cheap and crappy ones he can pick a pair of the more expensive ones. I will note that this was a day dream…and I felt very sick to my stomach watching him have to pick the “bad glasses” in my mind. UGH - that is bizarre! Of course I always want the best for him…but I’ve never had it affect me to the point where I almost cried during a day dream! This must be a motherly instinct building inside of me.

The bizarre nightmares I’m told are common during pregnancy. The other night I had a dream that I went to the day care center to pick up my baby after work. The problem was that I didn’t know what my baby looked like so I was wandering around the room looking at all the babies, hysterically crying when I couldn’t find him!

A nightmare that I have almost every night is where I’m at a funeral and I’m as big as ever pregnant, ready to go into labor any second. At this funeral I’m walking through crowds of people standing around talking and I’m trying to get to the front of the mortuary. When I get up to the front of the room I look in the casket and I realize that I’m at Hubby’s funeral! How tragic! I wake up to this one at least once a night and when I do, I have to look over and touch him to make sure he’s really there.

I just didn’t realize what hormones can do to a woman’s mind. WOW! 

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The Baby Registry...

Recently, Hubby and I had the pleasure of registering for a baby shower. We were both “in the dark” as far as what we would really need for baby…but Hubby was “in the dark” on the whole registry process. When we first arrived at Target to register, Hubby was shocked when the Customer Service Rep handed us a scanner to scan the wanted items into our registry.

“What are we supposed to do with that,“ Hubby asked me in a very confused way. I explained to him how we find the items we want to add to the registry and then we scan the bar code. He was rather shocked by the whole thing. I honestly think that he thought “registering” at a store meant that you simply walk up to the Customer Service desk and notify them that I‘m pregnant. I’m actually not sure what he really thought, but clearly he was not real happy to realize that he was going to be in the store “all afternoon” (as he put it). 

I got this great idea to help eliminate his irritability with the whole situation: I put him in charge of scanning the items. With the scanner in his hand, we made our way to the Baby Department. We walked among the aisles…shocked and overwhelmed…unsure of what we really need and which products got the best ratings. Hubby’s frustration with the situation seemed to fade once he realized the fun he could have with the scanner.

We had a good system going. I would look at an item, hold it up, and he would scan the bar code. He got pretty good at it and before I knew it, he was scanning behind his back and then lifting up his leg to scan items under his leg. At one point, he held up the scanner like it was a Star Trek Phaser Gun and began “shooting” other shoppers as they walked by.

An hour and a half later we had pretty much covered all the territory I really wanted to. Hubby looked sad at my announcement that we were done, but then I saw a light bulb over his head come on and a big smile appeared on his face…”But wait…does Target have ice fishing power augers?”

So here I was, in the middle of the store trying to explain to my grown-man Hubby how putting an ice fishing power auger on a baby registry would be inappropriate. His response…

”I guess a four-wheeler is out of the question?”

Gotta love him!

To go back to my website:  CLICK HERE

I’ve been so terrible at keeping up my blog!  I know…I know…I whine about that almost every time I do write an entry.  I don’t understand why I don’t update more often because this “surprise” pregnancy sure has given me PLENTY of topics to blog about.  I have been keeping a list – so now I will begin to attempt to update this more regularly (and yes…you’ve heard that a dozen or so times before too haven’t you… LOL).

This pregnancy has done wonders for my pancreatitis problem.  As of January 14th of this year, I’ve had little to no problem with my pancreas, which had been an ongoing problem with me since July of 2004 when I was fist diagnosed.  I’ve been able to indulge in food items that I haven’t been able to touch in years!  It’s wonderful!  Neither the doctor nor I understand this phenomenon that we’re calling “pancreas miracle”.  It is highly likely that the pancreatitis will swing back into full effect once the baby is here…but in the mean time, I’ve been able to put on TONS of weight (and if you have read my blog in the past – you probably know that weight has been an issue…I’ve struggled to gain weight since I got sick).   Okay…so maybe not TONS of weight, but I have gained a lot of weight – and it’s a good thing.  This way, if the pancreas problem comes back to haunt me after the baby is born…I’ll at least have something to fight with this time.  

I’ve had so many people ask me why I don’t have any photos of me pregnant on my website, MySpace, LiveJournal or Windows Live pages.  To be quite honest…I’m not happy with the way I look.  While I’m anxious that I’ve put on some weight…I’m also a woman…and I think it’s wired into women’s brains to not like weight gain, regardless of the situation.  There are no known photos of me thus far in the pregnancy…I’ve managed to dodge the lens!  I probably will post some photos…eventually.  But in the mean time, I keep telling my friends to just picture a great big swollen blonde talking wood tick…that pretty much sums it up – you get the idea.

I’ve had several ultrasounds with my pregnancy and they have been able to determine that I’m carrying a boy.  As of the time I write this, I figure he’s about 14 and a half inches long and weighs about two pounds.  We’ve thought of a couple names so far, and the name that both hubby and I seem to agree on is “Jack” (of course it’s early yet…and  will more than likely change a hundred or so times – LOL).

Not only is my body going through a few major changes…but my house is too, primarily my office.  My office is officially going to be the bedroom for my little boy.  I’m in the process of dismantling the room.  We do have one other spare bedroom in our home that would also make a good office, but I have decided that I would really like to have a “guest bedroom”.  So for a stint I will be sharing my office with the family room – and I don’t know how that will work (me trying to write while hubby has his turkey hunting videos blasting in the background), but we’re going to test it out. 

I have put my novel work on the back burner right now and have begun to focus more on the nonfiction freelance side of things.  I still plan on keeping up with fiction…but I will just be working on smaller projects for a while.  I’m also toying around with the idea of web publishing my NaNoWriMo 2007 novel, My Murder, on my website in electronic format as a series.  I will keep everyone posted on that.

Well, as I mentioned I have PLENTY of topics to blog about and I will do that separately…for now I just wanted to get an update out there.

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