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Posts Tagged ‘Exercise’

For The Littlest E’s 4th birthday, Tom and I told him he could get a dog as one of his presents. So, last Labor Day weekend we went on the quest. Our first stop was Wylder’s Holistic Pet Center & Rescue in Studio City. A friend recommended we go there and she was spot on in the recommendation! There were a bunch of dogs in the pen looking eagerly at people as they walked in. Our son’s face brightened when he saw all the four-legged furries excitedly waiting for him to come play with them. We asked him which one he wanted. He pointed and said, “I’d like the black one.” That is how Pepper joined our family.

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She is part Schnauzer and terrier (we’re just not sure which kind, perhaps Cairns Terrier), and she’s the best dog ever. Peppy Girl blended seamlessly into our family and into our hearts. She’s great with kids, potty trained, and is protective in a healthy way. She’s such a sweetie, and The Littlest E LOVES her. It took Pepper some time to warm up to Tom though because we think she witnessed abuse in her old home from a man with salt and pepper hair. After a week, she realized that Tom was a good guy and she loves on him all the time.

 

While we welcomed Pepper into our lives, we had to make some changes. Dogs need to go for walks, especially Pepper who is energetic and loves to be outside. We developed new routines, including The Littlest E’s and my morning routine. That now includes the morning walk. I’ve come to cherish our morning walks for the exercise, to let Pepper exercise and take care of her morning business, but mostly I enjoy the extra one-on-one time I get to spend with my son. I know this time together is fleeting. He’ll be going off to Kindergarten in the fall and I’m not sure what time we’ll have to leave the house to get him to school. I may end up walking Pepper alone in the early mornings before Tom leaves for work. That remains to be seen.

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Some mornings it’s rush, rush, rush, we are running late and my usually energetic son is taking his time walking so I’m having to yell, “Come on, let’s get moving!!!” Or, he’s so focused on picking up every stick or touching every wall of every home on our way to let Pepper do her business. It can take a long time and I get wrapped up in ending the walk before we’ve even begun the morning journey because we’ve GOT to get to school. I forget to experience the NOW and be present with my little boy and dog.

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Then there are the walks where my son says to me, “Mom, can I hold your hand?” Sometimes he just slips his hand into the one that’s not holding the leash and we walk together, mother and son. Those are the best walks. His hand feels so small in mine, yet strong and warm. One day mine will be the one that’s small. On those walks, time doesn’t matter, so what if he’s late. I’m bonding with my son. We enjoy each other’s company and that’s priceless.

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One morning he asked me, “Mom, do you want to learn a song?” “Of course,” I replied smiling down at him. We spent the first half of that walk with him teaching me the words to his song. He’d sing a line; then I’d echo it. The second half, after Pepper had pooped, I taught him one of the songs I know. Those are the mornings I treasure, being fully present with him, not worried about getting anywhere, when the world is just the two of us spending time together outside with our Little Furry hustling along, sniffing the ground and exploring life.

Images: Melanie Elliott

© 2015 Melanie Elliott

 

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From time to time I write about health, or issues with health.  If I’m not healthy, or taking care of myself, it affects my ability to parent The Littlest E.  This past winter/spring, I dealt with chronic illness.  After numerous blood tests and a scratch test, my doctors attributed it to allergies for which I recently started treatment.  While sick, it impacted the time I spent with my son and the activities we did.  Did the activity require a lot of energy?  Because a number of times, I just didn’t have it.  The balance of playtime and down time was frustrating to find, especially for my energetic son.   We made it through, and I’m grateful not to feel sick anymore.

A couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with osteopenia in my hips.  That means my bone density in my hips is lower than normal.  If untreated, it may lead to osteoporosis.  My doctor at the time, told me to take extra Vitamin D, get in the sun more often since I’m so pale, and do weight-bearing exercises such as running, jogging, etc.  We hadn’t yet picked up The Littlest E from Ethiopia so I figured I could start jogging again.  And I did . . . briefly.

Once we brought our son home, my jogging went right out the window.  I was a new mom of a 12½-month and struggled enough with new mom issues let alone have time to exercise.  The Littlest E and I did go for many walks with him in his stroller, but it wasn’t fully weight-bearing or cardio.  If I could do it over, we’d probably have gotten a jogging stroller.  I put off running.  Actually, I found a multitude of excuses not to run.  No time, didn’t have a sitter, too many chores, didn’t belong to a gym, fear of jogging in my neighborhood, and I was way too tired.

I can be a great rationalizer, even when all of my doctors agreed I needed to do cardio exercise.  My rationalization was simple; I’d start running again when The Littlest E began preschool in the fall of 2011.  That isn’t too far off, I thought.  I also figured carrying my son as much as I did, had to account for some weight-bearing exercise and hula hooping is cardio, right?  See what I mean, great rationalizer.  This is all coming from someone who, ten years ago, ran two marathons, one in Venice, Italy, as a fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation complete with six-month training program (having never run before), and one in Los Angeles purely for me.

The Littlest E started preschool last September going twice a week from 9-12.  I kept my word and started running/jogging again.  I LOVED IT.  It’s a love/hate kind of thing though, dreading the prepping, the stretching, and finding reasons why there’s no time to run, but when I’m out there, it’s AWESOME, meditative, invigorating, and once in the “zone,” there aren’t many better places to be.  I even hooked up with an amazing group of moms on Twitter called #MomsRunning, who gave me lots of encouragement.  But I got busy and found excuses not to run, then I got sick.  Again, I rationalized; I’ll go when . . . You fill in the blank.

Recently, my pulmonary doctor and allergist both suggested running, and I finally took their suggestions to heart.  It’s good for my breathing, it’s good for my body, and it’s good for my spiritual wellbeing.  Since The Littlest E started preschool more fulltime, I HAVE the time to run, let’s be honest, jog, and have run out of excuses NOT to jog.  My dear friend, Mysie, was just in town visiting from Australia.  She does mini triathlons and is amazing!!  We ran a couple of times while she was here and I got that same invigorating feeling being out there, feet hitting the pavement or dirt, breathing in the air and living completely in the moment.  It was wonderful.  I promised her I’d start jogging again.  She told me she’d check up on me.  I told her I’d take an invisible Mysie with me so I didn’t have to run alone.

It’s going well so far.  I only jog around 3 miles, and it feels good to be back.  Went for a jog this morning after I dropped my son off at school and it was great.  I entered the “zone” close to the end of my first lap, totally in the moment.  North Hollywood Park’s tree-lined track provided ample shade and the breeze felt cool on me as I jogged while the sun beamed its warmth on my shoulders.  I’ve written about the importance of Mom-Me time, and this was quintessential Mom-Me time.  I’d missed what happens inside me when I jog.  I missed my brain clearing and the ideas that come streaming in.  I missed the pooling of sweat at the base of my hair, and I missed how wonderful it is to exercise and feel my face redden, knowing I’m getting in a solid workout.

What’s most important is that I FEEL better after I jog, too.  This helps my mental, physical and spiritual health that, in turn, helps me be a better mom to my son.  Who knows, maybe there’s another marathon in me still.  For now, I’m taking life the way I always do, one day at a time and one jog at a time.

Images: Spec-ta-cles, Melanie Elliott, Dru Bloomfield

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