Posts Tagged ‘ travel ’

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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Fia Friday: Babes In The Bayou

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Before Thanksgiving I took the kids on my own (gasp. Read about my horrendous challenging trip down there) to see my Baba Yaga (Aunt Nancy) outside New Orleans.

Emmett had never been to her place on the bayou, but Fia had. When she was 18 months I took her down there. What a difference another 18 months makes. The first time around she almost murdered Peg and Peepers, the lovebirds. This time it was far different. She took poor little crippled Peeps under her proverbial wing. Every morning all she wanted to do was hold him, lie with him, put him on her head…you know, all the normal things people do with birds.

 

Granted, at times she accidentally put him in a chokehold, but alas, he did survive. And not just barely…like last time. My tot is growing up and she is learning what it really means to be gentle (sorry, I’m getting mushy with her 3-year birthday on Sunday).

Oh, there were other things too…the stuff of the swamps.

Frogs…

And lizards…

And giraffes. Wait? Huh?

The giraffes are one of 3000 animals on 900 acres of land at the Global Wildlife Park. I would say it was amazing, but, well, we did think at one point we might not survive. Baba has a bad shoulder. Emmett is 9 months old. And in our private tour we took– which consisted of a flatbed pick-up with some benches and rails but nothing else–there were moments of sheer pandemonium…and a little fear that we might get eaten, or more realistically, bitten, by a zebra…or five. We didn’t realize that by taking the private tour, you get so up and close and personal, you may not make it out alive. At least if you’re with tiny tots.

Oh, and I should also mention who our guide was: an 18-year-old kid who clearly never had been around babies, at least not while four-wheeling. He was tossing us all over the place. We would be screaming in the back as we got pushed from side to side. I’d be holding onto Emmett for dear life, while trying to fight off buffalo mouths full of saliva on one-side and elk antlers nearly blinding us on the other. All the while he’d be up front, gassing the engine and yelling to us about the difference between a black duck and a camel. Or something to that effect. I honestly didn’t hear a word he said.

All he told us before he took off was, “Zebras bite, elk have antlers that can maim and the giraffes like to get into your space.” Then he plopped a huge bucket of corn down, gave us some cups to throw feed out, and went flying. By the end, we were covered in corn dust and spit from many species and utterly tuckered. I wish I could post the video…but technology isn’t my forte and I could barely keep my son alive, much less capture pictures to show the chaos that ensued.

That day was about the perfect example of how Baba and I roll. Just like we did on our Kilimanjaro adventure…laughed through the hazardous feat. Like I said before, no one quite “gets” us, but that’s the way we like it. I do think Fia is going to have that same kindred spirit with us. And Emmett, well he just goes with everything. BEST BABY EVER. And a reminder that there’s never a dull moment in the Bayou with Baba.

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How Easy Is It To Get Rid of the Pacifier?

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Could it really be this easy? Or did I just get über-lucky? Did something that I have anticipated (and dreaded) having to do for 3 years just come and go without a fuss or protest? I was envisioning sleepless nights, Fia calling out to us, begging for her pacifier back. I pictured me begging Phil to just give in. I hate to see my baby sad. (Yeah, I know, get over it. At least when we are talking about a piece of plastic that has long worn out its welcome.)

None of my fears came to pass.

Maybe it’s because her lip rash gave us such a good out. “Honey, the doctor says you can’t use your pacifier anymore.” Maybe it’s because she’s going to be 3 on Sunday. “Fia, you’re about to be a really big girl. And only babies use pacifiers.” Or maybe she was just ready to let go.

On Sunday we watched the Elmo episode for the 103rd (and hopefully last) time, about Bye Bye Binky.

On Monday night, 6 days before her birthday, we packaged up her “Bagdee,” wrote a note saying that Fia hoped the baby on the receiving end would find comfort in it, and sent it off. To, well, my mother-in-law’s house. I didn’t know where else to address it.  Knowing her, she’ll keep it and someday when Fia is really a big girl, we’ll show her the note and the pacifier that gave her parents such angst (and even made our former nanny pissed at me).

She came down with a stomach flu and fever on Wednesday. “She’s really uncomfortable,” I said to Phil. “Should we give it back to her?” I got an emphatic NO. And further pointing out that she hasn’t even asked for it. So why would we offer it up?? Um, right. Good point. I don’t know…because I’m a mom and want to do anything to make my child feel better???? Maybe I need a pacifier.

At any rate, I have written at least 11 blogs about the pacifier and posted many a picture with Fia and that thing. I’m happy to say, I think those days are over. (At least until Emmett has his turn. But so far, he doesn’t seem to be as attached.)

This is one milestone I’m not overly sentimental about. In fact, I’d much rather see her smile…and now I will. Even at night.

The picture above was when she was about 18 months old. I always wanted her to have one in reach.

This pic from Halloween. Such a pretty mouth.

 Why cover it up?

 

Pacifier picture at top via Shutterstock

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You Know You’re Crazy When…

Monday, October 15th, 2012

…right before you get on a plane with your husband, you email your closest girlfriends, your aunt and your brother a document titled “Final Wishes” that spells out exactly how you want your children raised, what type of schooling they should have and what sort of life you want them to live should you perish.

Yes folks, it’s called rock bottom crazy and I hit it last week.

Phil and I were flying to a wedding in Sante Fe. This is the first time we left both kids behind. Something I regretted and vowed to never do again. (Though drinking until 1 a.m. at the wedding and then sleeping in was a treat so I may retract that sentence.)

Earlier in the week I had our will all updated, legal guardians set, etc. But then the what-ifs started to creep into my brain. In a last minute frenzy I typed up the document and sent it out. Thing is, I didn’t feel crazy. Still don’t really. It made me feel saner.

After my cousin was killed earlier this year, I figured that having your bases covered was prudent. My aunt and brother agreed. My two girlfriends told me to go back to my shrink (who happens to be a hypnotherapist). I am heeding their advice, but more for my general need for a tune-up.

Needless to say, we got back safe and sound. My heart was aching for my babies and I said I wouldn’t leave them again. Then a work gig came up and 48 hours later I found myself flying to New York. Ack. But it was a quick 1-day shoot and I was back. My plane didn’t crash. And Phil didn’t go, so at least one of us would be around, god forbid.

My next trip is in a month. To Vegas. With one of my best–and most fun–friends. (Yes Dena, I’m talking about YOU!). Phil will stay home, so I’m covered. But after that, I swear, I’ll never leave my kids again… or on second thought, just seek the professional help I clearly need.

Anyone else want to tell me their version of crazy to make me feel better?

 

Airplane picture courtesy of Shutterstock

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Do You Hate Music Class? Let’s Confess.

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Emmett’s music class makes me barf. Not literally, but I seriously hate it. Why? With Fia, all we did were Mommy and Me classes, including music. Perhaps it’s the teacher. Or the sticks banging on a hardwood floor, jarring all my senses. Or maybe it’s the fact that the teacher keeps saying, “When your child starts to make their first noises, like lalala, that proves Music Together is working. They are vocalizing what they hear from the class. That’s why it’s so important to listen to this music at home.”

Are you f-cking kidding me? Homework from a baby music class? Attributing first sounds to the world’s most annoying CD? I think when Emmett coos and laaas he is simply developing language skills that happen um, normally. Who in their right minds listens to this sh-t at home anyway? Okay, I’ll admit on our mom-kids getaway last week it was the only CD in the car. And Teddy and Fia were whining so we put it on. But it was STILL IN THE WRAPPING PAPER!!! BECAUSE I HAD NO INTENTION OF EVER LISTENING TO IT!!! (By the end of the drive I was ready to shoot myself.)

Maybe I’m just having an off-day, but I’m not sure I can take another class. Twirling a scarf around while trying to get my groove on with Emmett at eleven o’clock in the morning is just not fun. I suck at dancing anyway. Unless I’m drinking. Then I think I’m really good.

This is the difference between your first and second kid. The first time around you’re looking for connections with other moms. You’re also looking at how to get through the day. With number two, you’ve already got it down. I don’t need any more mom friends. I’ve got my posse and between our Failure Hours and beach trips, my calendar is full and our club is closed.

Maybe instead of class I should park myself next door at the taco stand, eat my burrito and have him laugh at the Spanish music blaring. I won’t leave with a headache from excruciating songs in my head. Plus, for $5 it’s a much better deal. And god willing, it won’t make me barf.

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