Laughter as often as it comes

The babies are back and the new one is growing and, whew, where does all this life go so fast?

Six weeks until my due date with this little creature inside of my belly. The way she turns or pokes or prods or whatever it is exactly she’s doing sometimes startles me. Like last night, curled in bed next to the rock star, little pieces of feet or something┬ábegan protruding just underneath the thin skin of what was once the inside of my bellybutton.

I could feel the body parts, someone else’s body parts, under my skin. It’s unsettling. And amazing. Sort of at the same time.

This hasn’t been the pregnancy I envisioned, and it’s been difficult for me to not compare this experience with my last go-round at growing a baby. Then, my life basically on the brink of imploding, the pregnancy was second string to the emotional mess I’d made of so much else. I ate very little, I cried all the time, I exercised a lot … consequently, I gained only 25 pounds and was back in my pre-pregnancy clothes within two weeks.

That part – the appearance part – was lovely. So was the labor and delivery, which was fairly quick and easy and uncomplicated. And, of course, the sweet, sweet baby girl, who along with her brother, continues to make my world go round.

That was all good, despite the mess of the rest of my life (those dark days, of course, would eventually lead to where my life was supposed to be all along, and for that, I am thankful). But at the time, I wasn’t sure where we would all land.

So this time around, happily married to a supportive, gentle, trusting man, I gave up exercising months ago and I’ve pretty much been eating whatever I want. I’ve already gained 33 pounds.

(Which, yes, does freak me out, and if anyone follows me on Pinterest explains the numerous workout pins of late).

But the baby is growing as she should, and I’m rolling myself out of bed each morning as I should and ignoring the swollen stumps my legs and feet have turned into as best I can and getting on with it all, enduring, moving forward, with anticipation and hope and laughter as often as it comes.

Isn’t that, at the end of the day, the best we can do anyway?

Looking forward with laughter and love and hope that tastes like sun just might be the answer to it all.

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Why stepping on the scale might be for mad women

Dear Body Weight,

I don’t understand you.

I don’t understand anything about you.

Sometimes, I don’t even like you. I don’t like the way your numbers look when I step on the scale. I don’t like the way the old you teases me on my driver’s license. I don’t like the way I just can’t comprehend the way you work.

Your erratic behavior is beyond me.

Though I realize I look just fine considering, I’ve been working out. For you, for me, for my husband, for those jeans who have grown lonely in my middle dresser drawer. I’ve adopted a pretty smart workout regimen, if you ask me. It’s the most total-body conditioning I’ve done in a long time, years. Body Weight, do you hear me?

My weeks look something like this: Monday – Run, 4 or 5 miles. Tuesday – Bike, 20-30 miles. In spin class. Taught by an instructor who could beat anyone in a fight and look great doing it. Wednesday – Swim, 40-45 minutes. Laps. Swimming laps. With a swim cap on. Do you get what I’m saying? Thursday – Bike. Spin class. Intense. Same as Tuesday. Friday – Run, 4 or 5 miles. Saturday and Sunday are for resting if I need to, running or yoga if I want to.

I’ve been doing that for the past three weeks. And, sure, it’s not the most intense workout regimen in the world. I’m sure I should be lifting weights on a regular basis and spending more time on my core. I know these things.

But… I feel good.

I feel healthy and more energetic. I even feel stronger and a little firmer. I like the exercise. I like the variety. That one day in the pool every week seems to heal everything. Though I’m not a great swimmer and swallow more water than I should admit slogging through those laps, I feel great afterward.

It’s taken time and effort, but I’ve decided the exercise is worth it. My health is worth it.

Yet, when I step on the scale the numbers are all wrong. If I was charting this shit, the line would be climbing in the WRONG DIRECTION.

What the @!*$%* is up?

Why, Body Weight? What did I ever do to you except pay attention? Why are you the biggest number I’ve ever seen on the scale (aside from pregnancy, which doesn’t count)?

I don’t understand you.

Is it possible I’ve put on nearly 10 pounds of muscle? In three weeks?

Is it, Body Weight? Is it?

I didn’t think so either.

Well. Maybe this is thanks to 33. What do you think, Age? Is this your fault?

Love/Hate/Sigh (but onward anyway),

Veronica

Bigger jeans

When I purchased the jeans late last summer, they were a tad big. I remember wearing them to the Bon Iver concert at Stir with my love last September. I remember they were clearly too big, like having-to-hike-them-up-repeatedly-as-we-walked-to-the-car-afterward too big.

Memories are nice, aren’t they?

Now, those jeans are my go-to. They fit great. This is both nice and horrible – at the exact same time.

This summer has been one of reckoning when it comes to body image. I am the same weight this morning as I was any morning last summer – 125 pounds. But those pounds have apparently decided to rearrange themselves on my frame. Specifically, they’ve decided to congregate on my hips, lower tummy (I can forever blame this on my babies, right?) and back part of my upper legs (OK, my butt). My jeans fit fine over my calves. It’s just the top part that’s problematic.

After putting on another pair of jeans that last fall I thought were a little too baggy for my liking and being so uncomfortable in them earlier this week that after 10 minutes I knew I couldn’t make it through the whole day sucked up in that denim, I changed. And my body image went from worrying about whether I’d been gaining weight to actually saying, “I have a problem.”

Do I really have a (First World) problem?

Depends on your perspective, I guess.

A few years ago, my ex-husband told me after having not seen me for several months that he liked my new “curves,” despite the muffin top.

I’m still deciding whether that was a compliment or a dig, but I’m pretty sure I know.

An ex-boyfriend’s dirty old friend once said he liked his women with “a little something to hold onto.”

I can’t say I miss seeing him around.

My husband, who remains wonderfully close to perfect, could care less what size I am. I honestly believe him when he tells me I look great.

How good does that feel.

So this is what I know:

— Getting old does not come without challenges.

— Being a grown-up is harder than we ever thought it looked when we were kids.

— Sitting at a desk all day will not help your metabolism.

— Running once a week doesn’t allow you to eat ice cream as often as you’d like.

— It doesn’t get any easier. But we adjust and we grow and we get stronger and BETTER.

— Like yourself. All the time. It’s hard, but keep trying. Decide everyday that you deserve the good, the better, the beautiful. The peace.

And? Choose to enjoy getting to buy new jeans!

“Bigger jeans” from “Eat, Pray, Love”

Something to see, baby

My yoga teacher likes to share quotes with the class.

Yesterday, hers was about friendship, about choosing wisely who you let in as a friend. Be careful, the quote said. But once you decide to friend someone, open up. Tell them things you would only tell yourself. Be real about it all. Be genuine. Be true.

I’ve been thinking about that. About the notion of friends and acquaintances and Facebook “friends.” About all the people we know and how many of them we actually know.

Not very many.

And I think that’s OK. A friend of mine a few months ago over lunch told me that she’d read somewhere we could only ever have two true friends.

Two.

I might argue the number could fit on one hand because I do feel I’m lucky enough to have at least five good, true friends, if not a few more. But I definitely agree with the notion.

People are afraid of opening up. That’s why the social circle of friends at the bar or the gym or work or our kid’s school is big – and safe. Usually, you’re not expected to talk about your insecurities or your failures or your bad skin or bad relationships or any of that. You just show up and make small talk and drink and laugh or sweat or watch the girls chase your son around.

And I know that not everyone is lucky enough to have a close friend who’s known you since you were someone else (a kid, literally or figuratively) or a friend who’s known you a much shorter time but gets you just the same. A friend you trust and love.

I know I’m lucky to have a few of those. Definitely on my list of things I’m thankful for.

I’m meeting one of those friends this afternoon. Another of those friends just booked a flight to Omaha for my wedding in April. Yet another one is planning to make the 11-hour drive from Western Colorado. I’m hopeful another one will be able to fly in from the East Coast. The few others live here already and will be there, too. I hope they know how much that means.

I can’t talk about friendship without thinking of my best friend growing up. We had countless sleepovers, camp experiences, Ouija board freakouts, first kisses (with boys!) … and so much more. I can’t do the relationship justice in words.

The time since I’ve seen her last is far too long, and I’m fairly sure I’m long overdue returning an e-mail. But I think about her everyday.

And last night, while driving back from dropping my babies off with their grandparents for the weekend, this song came on the radio. I turned it up.

“Pink Houses” – John Mellencamp

This one always makes me think of my childhood true friend and all the others I’m lucky to have now.