Posts Tagged ‘ Holiday ’

Would You Trade Romance for Glue on Valentine’s Day?

Friday, February 15th, 2013

This Valentine’s Day Cynthia Roelle, mom to a 2½-year-old daughter and award-winning photographer, says goodbye to roses, chocolate and romance and shares how the holiday has taken on a new meaning since having a child.

Do couples with small children still celebrate Valentine’s Day? I mean with roses, chocolate, and romance? Because we sure don’t. I can’t tell you the last time my husband I spent a truly romantic occasion together. But that doesn’t mean love isn’t the heart of the holiday.

This Valentine’s was all about our daughter’s love for glue. Man does she love glue. If something breaks she pipes up with “we can glue it!” And the more glue the better. Why use a dollop when you could use great gooey globs of it? We go through bottles and bottles of glue at our house. It’s the stuff that holds our family together.

Yet somehow this fact escaped me when I planned some Valentine’s Day crafts for me and my daughter to make together. Four. I planned four glueless crafts and she wanted no part of any of them. Somewhat reluctantly, I scrapped the plan and broke out the glue. Did she ever go to town.

This Valentine’s Day won’t go down in the annals of romance and our craft won’t be an instant hit on Pinterest. But that’s okay. It was filled with love. Okay, so it was her love for glue more than anything else but still. I loved every minute of our time together and loved watching her glue with glee. My husband loved the floppy heart craft and basked in her delight when she presented him with it.

I wouldn’t trade any part of it for all the roses and chocolate in the world. I only wish I could bottle the love and let my daughter squirt it all over the world.

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Death (Valley) on the Day of my Birth

Friday, January 4th, 2013

I turned forty-whexianoehna (that’s a giant sneeze sound for “something”) over the holiday. Phil and I have a tradition of going to a museum on my birthday. One year, to gain perspective on how little I mattered in the scheme of the universe, we went to the Natural History Museum. We were living in New York and it was a time that I was questioning my purpose in life (pre-kids, clearly).  Just walking through all those exhibits documenting civilizations past really did help pound home the idea that I’m just a blip. We all are. Depressing? Maybe. Or just a good way to stop taking yourself so seriously.

This year we were immensely enjoying our first “staycation.” We kept toying with the idea of going to San Diego for a night with the kids, or to Palm Desert. We couldn’t make a decision/commitment, so we just left everything loose (which resulted in the best week we’ve had in years).

Phil kept asking what I wanted to do for my birthday, but I remained noncommittal. I was having too much fun just “winging” it. On my birthday it was raining. Here’s how the day shaped up:

Me: “Hmm…what should we do today? It’s raining.”

Phil: “It’s not raining in Death Valley.”

An hour later we had packed up the kids and were heading off on a 5-hour road trip to one of the most extreme places on earth. We had booked the last hotel room at basically the only hotel in Death Valley: Furnace Creek.  (They have a sister property down the road as well).

In case you didn’t know, Death Valley holds the record for the hottest place on earth (134-degrees back in July 1913). This time of year though, it’s chilly. As in 54-degrees or so. The week between Christmas and New Year’s is also their busiest. But by busy, that only means one hotel in a huge swath of desert.  The hotel isn’t even that big. We didn’t fight RV’s for road space or gobs of tourists at the 3 restaurants. It was the perfect time to go.

A friend of mine asked, “How did you entertain kids in that place?”

For us, it was easy. We told Fia we were going on an adventure. We’ve done it before to other stranger places, like the Saltan Sea. Someday when she’s a teenager, she’ll probably roll her eyes and beg to stay home. But at this age, she is totally game and gets as excited as we do (though she doesn’t know over what). And Emmett, well, he is the easiest, most chill baby in the world. So we were golden.

 

On the way up we stopped in two ghost towns and explored.

By the time we arrived at the hotel it was dark and their restaurant was sold out. So we just plopped down at a table near the lobby-bar and enjoyed a lovely birthday dinner. With wine of course. (I know this is starting to sound like a book report, but I am a bit rusty from taking so much time off.)

The next morning we began our adventure. We started off at the Sand Dunes (where George Lucas shot some of the scenes from Star Wars…remember when C3PO and R2D2 crash in the escape pod?). We said to Fia, “Look at this!! This is like the biggest sandbox ever!”

 She screamed in delight and took off running. We played hide and seek. We played chase. Emmett giggled on my back as I ran after her and Phil. It was a blast.

 

An hour later, we headed to the lowest point in the U.S.: Badwater Basin. It’s basically a lake of hardened salt, 282 feet below sea level. There, we played catch with rocks of salt. We even licked some. We ran all over, feeling it crunch under our feet.

From there, we pulled over spontaneously at what’s called Devil’s Cornfield. It was an even more extreme feel of crunching land. I honestly could have stayed in that field and crunched all day.

On the way back home, we stopped at the famous Amargosa Opera House in the ghost town of Amargosa. By famous I mean you probably have never heard of it. Fia and Emmett were both sleeping, so Phil and I took turns getting out of the car and checking things out.

We got home at 9 pm, thus concluding our 2-day, 1-night, whirlwind tour of Death Valley. And another year where I got tremendous perspective on the day of my birth: I am the luckiest woman in the world.

More Pics:

Above: Em standing on sand. Below: Fia being tossed (I was more gentle than it looks) down a hill of sand. By choice.

 

 

 

 

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Holiday Charm: A Great Gift!

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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10 Things I’m Thankful for This Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Cynthia Roelle, mom to a 2-year-old daughter and award-winning photographer, shares her saga to lose the “baby weight” and reunite with her formerly slender self.

There can’t be much worse for my diet than a holiday synonymous with gluttonous overeating. I could spend today chewing over the setback tomorrow could bring. Or I could focus on what I have to be thankful for about my weight loss plan. I chose the latter.

10. I’m thankful I had only 25 pounds to lose. That is, as opposed to 30, 40, 50 or more.

9. I’m thankful for my husband, most days. When I told my husband I wanted to lose 25 pounds he said all the right things. It’s just that, well, he kept talking. For some reason he felt compelled to point out how hard it was going to be to stick to my plan through the holidays. I could have punched him. When I started back in September the holidays weren’t on my radar.

8. I’m thankful for crappy Halloween candy. Halloween could have been a nightmare but for the fact that I waited until the last hour to buy candy. You know, when the selection was crap. Forget doling it out a piece at a time. We gave it away by the fistfuls. Every last piece. There was no bucketful of leftovers to tempt me through New Year’s.

7. I’m thankful I started my diet when I did. Come January 2nd, when the gym is packed with walking New Year’s Resolutions, I’ll be just one week away from my goal weight.

6. I’m thankful for Lose It! It’s an app. It’s free. And I’m here to tell you it is gold money. I’ve already lost 15 pounds.

5. I’m thankful I’ve already lost 15 pounds. I figured that was worth repeating. It’s like a whole turkey.

4. I’m thankful for tofu, but not tofurky. My brother-in-law is so worried I’ll be serving tofurky tomorrow he’s planning to bring his own bird. As a quasi-vegetarian I enjoy a soggy block of tofu as much as the next guy but tofurky just doesn’t cut the mustard.

3. I’m thankful I don’t own elastic waistband pants. If ever there was a day to be thankful for the elastic waistband, surely it is Thanksgiving. But I’m thankful that even in my darkest, fattest hour, I never succumbed to this fashion catastrophe.

2. I’m thankful I won’t be serving muffin tops with Thanksgiving dinner. I can probably speak for everyone at our table on this one. Having pants that fit is definitely something to be thankful for.

1. I’m thankful for my baby, despite the baby weight. There’s no amount of weight to be gained or lost that could change how thankful I am for my sweet little girl. She’s worth every last ounce, and then some.

Diet-wise, that just about rounds out the holiday for me. If you’re also dieting through the holidays, let me know what you’re thankful for. And if you have any tips to get through tomorrow I’d like to hear those too!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Fia Friday: Easter-Panda-Time!

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Fia hasn’t met the Easter Bunny yet. But at her little “transitional” school (ie: pre pre-school), they had a big Easter Egg hunt. Of course she loved it. We’re going to do a big one here since we now have a great yard. One of my best friends, Pamela Thomas, is coming from New York with her two girls, Emerson (age 10) and Elliott (age 7). So excited to see them. They are one of the families I miss the most since moving to LA.

Sidenote: Pamela’s company is in charge of the prenatal photo contest I wrote about if anyone out there is pregnant! We’re looking for the best sonogram/ultrasound photo of your baby. I’m one of the judges. Click on this link for more info.

Okay, back to Easter: My only problem is Fia still won’t see the Easter Bunny even though she will have had two egg hunts. We do happen to have a panda costume (don’t ask). Two actually. I asked Pamela if she would put it on and pretend to be the “Panda Bunny.” She’s game. Fia may grow up to have an Easter Bunny Identity Crisis (EBIC), but we’ll deal with that down the road. I’ll post panda pics next week!

And just for fun…here is the panda outfit. It actually looks kind of creepy. Wonder if she’ll scare the other kids?? Hmmm. This may not be my most brilliant of ideas…

Scary or Sweet Substitute for Easter Bunny?

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