Posts Tagged ‘ tradition ’

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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How We Rode Out Hurricane Sandy

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Cynthia Roelle, mom to a 2-year-old daughter and award-winning photographer, shares her stories on how to entertain her baby and shows us through pictures how fun it can be!


Sometime in early October my husband and I started talking up Halloween. We were hoping to get our daughter excited about knocking on strangers’ doors and soliciting candy. She’ll do just about anything for M&Ms so it wasn’t that hard of a sell. At least in concept (the concept being chocolate, not ghosts and goblins).

However, getting her to say “Halloween” is a different story. It has taken considerable effort. It’s not that she can’t pronounce it–she can. But for weeks she insisted on calling it McQueen. As in, Lightning McQueen, which is funny because she has never even seen Cars. She has just heard her 3-year-old twin cousins jabber incessantly about McQueen and Mader. They’re as infatuated with those little guys as our daughter is with Elmo. But I digress…

We spent Monday and Tuesday trapped inside by the rain from Hurricane Sandy. Our pumpkins sat inside the foyer, brought in from the porch where high winds threatened to launch them into orbit. They practically begged us to give them faces. And so began our daughter’s introduction to the fine Halloween tradition of carving the jack-o’-lantern. In the midst of the biggest storm the Atlantic Ocean has ever seen.

As we soon found out, there’s not a whole lot a 2-year-old can do to actively participate in the pumpkin carving process. I mean, it’s not like you can arm her with a knife. Or even a sharpie for that matter.  She may have been able to scoop out the seeds except she refused to stick her hands in the pumpkin. However she had no qualms about sticking her entire head inside the pumpkin. I guess the best view is from the inside out.

When it was all said and done she seemed pretty pleased with our newly carved jack-o’-lantern. She planted a big kiss on his cheek and declared: That’s a pumpkin! Who can argue?







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