Time Marches On

Man, time just keeps marching on, doesn’t it? Even though it feels like I just posted Penny’s 10 Month update, it’s already been weeks! And a lot’s happened since then! Though she didn’t stay up to see the fireworks, we celebrated her first Fourth of July:

And the day after, she and I flew down to Atlanta for another visit with my sister, brother-in-law, and their three little munchkins!

Penny is becoming quite the seasoned traveler, and while she is really a very good baby on the plane, it just keeps getting more and more challenging for me. She is just soooooo busy, and soooooo nosy! She wants to be in everyone’s business, and I’m just trying my darnest to get her to stay with me. I mean, maybe just a tiny bit of stranger danger wouldn’t be such a bad thing, eh? At least on our flight back home she miraculously fell asleep for a portion of the flight. My arm went totally numb but it was worth it.

I had a great time visiting my sister, as I always do, but I gotta admit, coming back has been a bit of a bear this time around. Since traveling always makes time fly even quicker, and between our San Francisco trip & this one, I haven’t been able to really get settled back into a routine. So the days are kinda just whooshing past, and I’m just here like, okay, suddenly it’s mid-July. Penny is now ten and a HALF months old. I’ve got a huge slate of stuff to tackle for work before my next trip, for which Penny & I are heading back to Atlanta in a just few weeks for Alex’s first birthday (squee!)… and to see Taylor Swift (all my local DMV friends may have seen her show this week, but I bought the tickets for Atlanta a zillion years ago so my sister and I could go together.)

Whew. It’s just a lot, especially considering summers for my job tend to rocket past anyway. Plus, thinking about Alex’s first birthday being just around the corner makes me oh-so-very aware that Penny’s is as well (they’re only 3 weeks apart). Which means I need to start turning all of my many vast and unrealistic ideas for Penny’s first birthday party (just seven weeks away!) into an actually manageable checklist, lol.

Call it the burden of hosting events on the regular for my job, or just the fact that I am, indeed, a crazy Instagram mom, but I want this party to be the bomb-diggity! After all, it’s really the only one I get to do up completely and totally to my own whims, as something tells me that by next year, Penny will have opinions about what kind of party she’ll want, hahaha.

The other thing that’s been on my mind is that I haven’t been feeling very positive about myself lately. I’ve been feeling emotionally drained (Penny has almost completely weaned from nursing, and it hit me pretty hard last week especially), and have not been feeling confident or happy with regard to my body, my weight, and my health.

The hard truth is that I’ve let myself get out of control with some truly terrible eating habits (fast food in particular, sigh), and despite all of my best intentions and former proclamations (“I wanna get healthy for Penny! I want to be able to keep up with her forever! I want to set a good example for her!”), I hadn’t made any effort or taken any actual action to back up those claims. In fact, despite “knowing better,” I kind of kept doing, well, the opposite.

So, I just kinda stopped talking about it, and slinked quietly back into the shadows with my waffle fries. Which, I mean, hey, that’s fine, being fat is not a crime, it’s not really even an issue as long as you’re happy and feel good about yourself. Which I guess I kind of was, for a time? But I’d be lying if I said there weren’t cracks in my self-confidence, and slowly but surely, I started feeling less and less healthy, less and less good about myself, and less and less happy.

So, I finally hit my tipping point a couple of weeks ago. Sick of agonizing over my closet because my clothes don’t fit well anymore and being upset over how I look in candid photos and just generally not feeling good, I decided I don’t want to — and that I don’t have to — feel like this anymore.

So, I finally dragged My Fitness Pal back up from the depths of my iPhone’s app folders and hodgepodged together a plan. I’m cutting way down on sugar, trying my best to limit simple carbs (at least for this initial period — there is no power on Earth capable of keeping pasta from my life permanently), tracking everything, and, of course, eat mindfully & healthfully. And it’s working! I’m down 10 pounds already, which feels nice to say, though, the seasoned dieters among you know that’s mostly water weight. Plus, when you’re as heavy as I am, 10 pounds is also like, barely anything. But regardless, I’m feeling optimistic and motivated.

I do intend on adding fitness back in, as that’s obviously an important part of the health equation (though, as we also know, when it comes to weight loss specifically, it’s a much smaller part than what we eat), but I went to the gym for a step class with my sister while I was in Georgia and left feeling defeated and sad because I’m just so uncomfortable with my body right now. Also, I didn’t actually bring any real workout clothes with me, and I don’t think it helped that I was exercising in one of my regular tops, with two doubled-up nursing bras in lieu of a sports bra, hahahahaha.

So, baby steps. Literally. Carrying a wriggly, always-on-the-move, twenty-pound bundle of energy is my strength training right now, and chasing after her as she terrorizes the dogs is my cardio, lol.

And speaking of our little mischief-maker, we have an exciting new development… Penny finally (FINALLY!) cut her first tooth!

She is the Toothless Wonder no more! Which explains why she was shoving the local Georgia flora into her mouth incessantly during our backyard photoshoot, why she has been drooling up a storm lately, and also why she had a temperature the day prior to that little thing pokin’ on through. She’s got a real little chomper in there! (It’s her bottom left.)

And I think that just about catches us up. Here’s to looking at a brighter, lighter, happier, & healthier tomorrow (and the day after that, and the day after that) — as well as to getting these cutie pie cousins back together very, very soon! <3


  1. Hollysays:

    I have been a long time reader but don’t typically post on people’s blogs, but I have identified with you on the weight issue SO many times I had to comment. Thank you for sharing, it was like you ripped a page out of my journal and posted it online for me. Talking about slinking into the shadows with the fries captured it all. It made me giggle but I’ve been right there too. The tipping point for me was a health issue, and even then I denied it. It was only 2 months ago that I did just what you said and made an active decision that I didn’t want to live or be this way. It was really just that- a choice. I simply made some hard changes. It gets better over time and becomes your new normal!!! Thank you for your blog, I have enjoyed following your adventures of your family and watching your sweet Penny grow so fast. Don’t despair and be sure to put things into balance!

    • Thank you so much, Holly! It always is so motivating and encouraging for me to know that I’m not in this alone, and it sounds like we’re pretty close on track with each other! Congratulations on you making your own life changes, and here’s hoping that I’m able to do the same!! 🙂

  2. Nadinesays:

    She is so beautiful!! And everything you are feeling is totally normal!! If you get a chance, check out pnp411.com there is a free weight loss course that you may find helpful..Corrine is a master weight loss coach and she has a really great podcast but her teachings focus more on the mental part of losing weight and keeping it off for the long term!

    • Cindysays:

      Nadine, I have to thank you directly for mentioning Corinne – I checked her out the day I read this blog and have become an ardent follower!! Love everything she teaches!! Gretchen, do yourself a favor and at least listen to a podcast or watch the free course at pnp411.com. She incorporates common sense weight loss methods with the mental/emotional work that most programs and approaches just ignore. I am loving it and am down 8 lbs without counting a single calorie or restricting any foods. You can do this, keep investing in yourself!

  3. So much THIS! I have so much to say! First of all, first Birthday planning is stressing me out! I want it to be perfect, Pinterest and The Gram worthy, but funds and time are limited. I’m beating myself up over it, not realizing that no one really cares (especially the one year old to be) about decorations or the perfect presentation. Regardless, I need to step up my game on making her invitations and other stuff!

    Also, I love My Fitness Pal! I used it years ago with success, and started it back up a few months ago, lost some weight and then my life blew up. I became stressed, depressed and unmotivated. I quit logging in, I quit walking, I just basically have been hiding in my bedroom. But the major stressor “leaves” this week, so I plan to start fresh next week! It also really helped me to have a Fitbit because it would sync with My Fitness Pal and keep track of calories in and out, you should look into one!

    • Don’t let it stress you out! … I say as if I’m not totally thinking all the same things hahaha. I know so many people are of the mindset that the first birthday party doesn’t matter since they won’t remember anyway, but I’m like, the opposite. I feel like it matters the most for ME bahaha!

      But in the end, of course, as long as I get some pictures of Penny stuffing cake into her face and my family & friends being there, it’ll be great. But man, I really gotta pare down my ideas… I have way too many and the one thing I don’t want is to get so hung up in the details and decorations and whatnot that I’m personally not able to enjoy the party at all!

      We’ll see how it goes lolololol

  4. Grace Csays:

    Can’t believe your little girl is turning one so soon! It goes by so fast. She is so adorable.

    Traveling definitely gets harder and harder as they get more mobile, mature and opinionated. You are doing great.

    10 pounds down is amazing. Good luck mama ❤️

  5. Heathersays:

    Goodness it seems like yesterday that P was teeny tiny and here she is almost 1 already! Wow! Can’t wait to read about your plans for her big birthday!

    Big congrats on the 10lbs down! That’s a fantastic start!

    I did want to comment on the exercise front as over the last year I’ve lost a bunch of weight (after many years of going up and going down and back up and not caring for awhile etc etc). The biggest thing I did differently was NOT go whole hog into long, hard workouts that made me feel like I was dying at the end. I struggled with a 20 minute walk in the beginning, so that is where I started. 15-20 mins in the morning and 15-20 mins in the evening. I worked that up to 30 mins each time, as I felt able to. A Fitbit was fun for this as I gradually increased my goal steps. Then sometimes longer, sometimes faster, and eventually I have been able to exercise consistently at a much higher level.

    But there is NO WAY that I could have kept the whole “lifestyle change” up if I didn’t start with the small baby steps first. And of course, as I’m sure you know, diet is really key to dropping weight – the exercise is super good for you of course, but diet is the biggest thing. Not that you have to be super strict all of the time or anything, just that’s where you are going to get the biggest bang for your buck.

    Good luck! You’ve got this 🙂

  6. Lisasays:

    I eat super low carb but allow myself the protein pasta made from chickpeas. I only eat it once every two weeks or so, but with some Rao’s Marinara on it, you don’t even know it’s protein pasta! Highly recommend!

  7. Love to you my dear! I haven’t gone through childbirth, but I certainly know I’m not making the right choice, but need to feel a little better about my body. I’m hoping to start getting into a better fruit and veggies choice time, as well as limiting the mindless snacks.

  8. Abbysays:

    It’s amazing how the first (and second) year goes by so quickly! Can’t time just stand still. Penny is just so adorable <3

    Appreciate your transparency about your situation! I found the first year very challenging to fit in exercise and healthy eating. With transitioning to a new schedule and overwhelmed as a full time working mom, it took a good year to get into a routine. My son is about to turn 2, and I’m at a much better place. Good for you for recognizing you needed a change. What amazing strides you’ve made already!

  9. Jessicasays:

    The thought of exercising in a regular top and bra just makes me cringe so hard, I am throwing major kudos your way for going through with it!! Congrats on the 10 lbs. I’m in your shoes in a lot of ways (bigger, lost a ton of weight before, trying to lose it all again, new baby (he’s 9 months old), yadda yadda). It’s really hard. Small changes and slow progress, that’s all we can do, and then try not to beat ourselves up toooooo much. (Yeah, right.)

    Anyway, thanks, as always, for sharing a slice of your life!

  10. Awe love it Gretchen! 🙂 I am John Hooper co-owner and CEO of The Health Dare and have a passion for nutrition education as well! Would love to connect sometime. Here’s a snapshot of what we do with our 90 Day Health Dare Challenge to help our nation get healthy. During the 90 days clients are raving about their results reversing the symptoms of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, obesity, sleep apnea and high cholesterol in just a few weeks. So exciting!!! 

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