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Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
Revelation: Christmas is best with no company!
Revelation: I’m a homebody.
Revelation: I generally don’t like people staying with us…especially over Christmas.
If you didn’t notice, I totally checked out. Why? Because I was having the most enjoyable time with Phil, Emmett and Fia. I just decided to disappear. Poof.
This year I wasn’t pregnant, we didn’t have a newborn, we weren’t traveling, and we didn’t invite anyone to visit. And guess what? It was, hands-down, the most enjoyable Christmas to date. It may even trump our Christmas adventure pre-kids to Mali, West Africa in 2007.
Yes, the extreme adventure-travel girl, people-person and people-pleaser in me just took a massive break. It was our first “staycation” and I gotta say, it was amazing.
Phil and I both realized what it means to have our own family, our own tradition, and to frankly be selfish about it.
It’s not that we don’t love our families, but just having an entire week where each day we’d wake up with the kids and say, “What should we do today?” was simply blissful. To not be mopping and sweeping up after company or planning meals or dealing with drama–that inevitably comes with family–was relaxing beyond belief.
We went on glorious hikes, we took family naps, we went to the beach and the desert. We saw friends. We watched movies. I now understand why the word ”family tradition” was invented. We now have ours.
Em on his new trike. His feet don’t quite reach, but he loves it anyway! A good gift to grow into.
Fia’s grandpa made her a beautiful doll bed. Santa brought her favorite friend, Olivia. Between the two gifts, she has been entertaining herself for days. I love to watch.
Olivia needs lots and lots and lots of naps. Even though Fia doesn’t want to take them herself. (BTW–this is the only picture where I think she actually looks like me. Fia, not the pig.)
A-Wayne in a Manger. (get it? The cat? He’s in the manger?)
Christmas dinner, and drinking wine from my friend Kerstin Walz, who launched her own wine label this year, Stark Wine. It is delicious. I sent it out as Xmas presents to those in my life who appreciate good wine.
Having dinner with good friend Jenn Lee. Phil is there too, but he is taking the picture. Obviously. Goal: try not to over-explain in the New Year. Like I just did.
Nothing better on a Christmas day hike than your baby falling asleep on your back. Delicious.
This may be one of my favorite pictures of Fia to date. Notice the rodent hat and the sparkly shoes. Phil graduated from Madison, so naturally he was hoping for a Badgers win in the Rose Bowl. Didn’t happen, but at least he had his best cheerleader with him.
Okay, so below is when things got really adventurous. Mid-week we decided on a whim to go to Death Valley. That blog is coming tomorrow, so check back. Here’s a sneak peek:
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Amargosa hotel, Badgers, christmas, company, Death Valley, doll bed, drama, family tradition, Olivia the Pig, Rose Bowl, santa, Stark Wine, staycation, vacation, visitors, Wisconsin Badgers | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Have Baby, Will Travel, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Moving to Los Angeles, Must Read
Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
Cynthia Roelle, mom to a 2-year-old daughter and award-winning photographer, shares a great gift idea that travels the world.
With the holidays fast approaching, Jill asked if I’d like to write something about my charm bracelet. Giddy with the thought of enticing others to start their own charm bracelets, I was more than happy to oblige. Now it’s 2:45 in the morning, my brain is fried, and I’m questioning my enthusiasm. But here goes:
I love my charms. I started my bracelet about 10 years ago when my husband and I moved to Germany. Over the years I’ve traveled the world with it. I’ve planned trips to augment it. I’ve lost it. I’ve found it. I wrecked my friend’s BMW for it. (Not my fault!) I even ran across a country for it.
Okay, so Liechtenstein is itty-bitty, but run across it I did. Our course meandered from the Austrian to the Swiss border through a spectacularly beautiful Alpine valley. It was a memorable and fun eight miles, though purely a ruse to get my friends excited about a 500-mile round trip for a half-inch blob of silver. Fortunately, Liechtenstein was charm-friendly.
It’s a quest to find the quintessential charm for each place I’ve been. A gondola from Italy, an elephant from Thailand, a Taweez (talisman) from Iraq, and a Ganesh from India are among my favorites.
The most coveted are those with moving parts—the hula girl with the grass skirt that swishes and sways; the windmill with blades that turn; the beer stein with the lid that opens and closes; the Swiss cowbell with a miniature clapper so inordinately noisy I had to glue it down.
My bracelet is a travelogue of all the places I’ve visited. It’s a transportable collection. An instant conversation starter.
It pains me to admit this, but my beloved charm bracelet is also bothersome beyond belief. It’s heavy, for one. A no-joke one-arm workout. And it jangles to the point of distraction, for another.
It also pokes rakes my wrist if I wear it more than an hour or two. But the worst part is that it gets caught on everything. The darn Minoan Goddess with her pointy little snakes-that-may-as-well-be-fish-hooks is the principal offender. Clearly I’ve offended her highness. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve gotten my arm hung up in some impossible position…I’d buy more charms.
Collecting them is oh-so-much fun. In fact, I have not one, but two charm bracelets. Apparently I’m into self-torture. I justify it though because I had no choice but to split out the domestic and international charms when I could no longer lift my wrist. I know, it’s a terrible problem to have.
I’ve charmed numerous friends, Jill being one of them, into starting bracelets of their own. And when Fia was born, I bought her a bracelet and her very first charm. I think (and Jill agrees) that it’s a sweet and unique baby gift! Think holidays, everyone!
Of course, I’ve also started collecting charms for my daughter. She’s only 2, so I haven’t mapped out the details. And she hasn’t been to 40 countries like I have. Yet. I don’t know if I’ll save them up and give them all to her when she turns a certain age (I imagine her opening the box and squealing with delight), or if we’ll collect them together on our family’s travels. Both options hold appeal.
Either way, I look forward to sharing many charm adventures with my daughter.
If you, too, share a love for charms, tell me about your collection. Or if you’re interested in starting a charm bracelet of your own but have questions—from where to find charms to how to attach them—leave a comment and I’ll tell you what works best for me.
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Airplane, baby on plane, bracelet, charm, charm bracelet, christmas, gift, Holiday, jewelry, present, silver, tradition, travel | Categories:
Cynthia's Guest Blog, Have Baby, Will Travel, Mom Tricks and Tips
Monday, December 26th, 2011
Author’s Note: Join me every Monday as I share Fia’s ongoing milestone (mis)adventures–from potty training to talking to everything in between. Mayhem and mischief guaranteed on Milestone Monday!
Christmas is funny with a tot. On the one hand, the holiday has so much more meaning to me since I get to see it through her eyes. On that same note though, because I’m seeing it through her eyes, I understand why no parent should waste their time making too big of a production.
I knew she wouldn’t totally “get” that she wakes up on this day and has presents from a red old fat guy. However, for my sake, we still wanted to create a holiday as if she understood.
Christmas Eve Phil and I were up late, assembling the trampoline and the easel for her. We put all the gifts under the tree. We drank Eggnog (well, I did. Phil drank Chimay). We listened to Christmas tunes. I loved it. (Granted, growing up, my family Christmases were highly dysfunctional, so the opportunity to do it right is kind of a cool milestone for me personally.)
The Night Before Xmas....
On Christmas morning, she came downstairs with us, saw the toys and the gifts, and made a beeline to the television. ”Sesame Street,” she said, pointing. Bah humbug. We both cracked up. We had it coming. We managed to distract her long enough to get her to jump on the trampoline then open some of the gifts, but it was the end of the day before all were opened. I’m glad I didn’t put gobs of time into it. Seems like you would just be setting yourself up for disappointment.
But still, I consider it a perfect day. We all took a 2-hour nap. Heaven. Then a 2-hour hike, followed by a delicious dinner. You don’t get many days in life like this. I’ll take it.
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Saturday, December 24th, 2011
Fia Loves Frosty
Author’s Note: Join me every Friday for a dose of cuteness as I share snapshots of Fia. Adorable photos are guaranteed on Fia Friday!
I am now in the bad parenting category. Fia isn’t going to meet Santa this season. She will surely need psychotherapy in life. We waited until Friday afternoon to go to meet him. I figured since it was a Friday, people would still be working. Major oversight on my part. It was a parking lot just to get into the mall. Then an hour+ wait to sit on Santa’s lap.
However, wandering around the outdoor mall (gotta love LA weather!) was this guy, who Fia knows probably more than Santa. She couldn’t get enough of him… zero fear. Just lots of hoggging of hugs. We finally had to drag her away to give other kids a chance.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!
Fia and Frosty
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Fia and Daddy in front of the Xmas tree