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The Education of Summer

Summer can teach us a great deal.  For one, she can teach us the art of slowing down and relishing in a fleeting season.  She can teach us to take advantage of opportunities such as jumping in cold bodies of water, saying “yes” to that last minute, spontaneous trip.  She can encourage us to wake early to watch the sun rise, or beg us to stay up late searching for shooting stars. She teaches us that in this life, it is all about the little things that only the natural world can provide that bring rich love and deep happiness.


Summer is magical, days infused with sun, the smell of coconut laden bodies, the tart taste of lemonade on salty lips, walks in summer rain, ice cream, late nights where the sun seems to shine endlessly, dresses and sandals, fans and sweaty bodies.  Summer is a feeling wrapped with nostalgia for the past and creating memories for our children to carry them into the future.


Summer is freedom and Popsicles, dreams and hope.  Summer is the reminder that life is short, seasons are impermanent and life is meant to be lived.  Summer is fresh fruits, vegetables, music and bathing suits.  Summer is joy spread across tired faces at the end of each remarkable day.


Tuesday Round – Up


Here are a few thoughtful links this week to ponder before we embrace a new week and are on the official countdown until school is complete for the year.

Have a listen to this NPR piece entitled, “How to Get Your Kids To Do Chores,” through their, “How to Raise A Human” series.

This funny, heartwarming and terribly sad podcast by This American Life entitled, Break – Up, especially Act Two…my gosh, that is so gut wrenching.

Grateful for the group of ladies that showed up on our latest hike.  Thank you.

This great song by George Taylor entitled, “Stay Warm.”

Looking forward to seeing new locations in the Swiss Alps this summer…whew is our summer packed with some alpine charms, hikes, mountain houses and delicious food.   And of course, one small get-a-way to a favorite island, so our toes can touch some sand and our skin can absorb some salt water.  Bliss!

And finally, this quote to remind us of the joys of summer.  “Enjoy the little things in life, because one day you will look back, and realize they were the big things.” – Unknown


LEGO® – A Family Perspective



*The images that appear in this piece were taken at “Art of the Brick” in Zürich and created by Nathan Sawaya.

Travel Tip:  Remember, we need not travel far to enjoy culture, art and good food.  A couple of years ago, we enjoyed the incredible exhibit entitled, “Art of the Brick,” by Nathan Sawaya in Zürich.  It was an awesome experience for both of our children and us as well.

Now onto more thoughts on LEGO!

The topic of LEGO’s comes up often in our house, usually with two to three people defending their legitimacy, while I simply don’t understand all the rage that surrounds these colorful, plastic, interchangeable building blocks. The name LEGO, is short for “leg godt,“ in Danish, which means, “play well“ a bit of information I learned while putting together this little piece on one of my least favorite household toys. Don’t get me wrong, they are wonderfully creative and time occupying toys, but they are better appreciated in schools, or other peoples homes. Created in 1932, this Danish company is now a household name and one that gets a great deal of attention and questioning in our home.


We often wonder, how much is too much? With Chima, Ninjago and a whole slew of other articulating, wonderfully marketed objects, how many creatures/buildings/cars does one family actually need? I, the primary cleaner of the household often wonders, why there are so many little pieces all over the floor, under my feet (ouch) and now, well, honestly in the vacuum.  What to do when that one absolutely necessary piece goes missing and how to recover when the piece cannot be found?  What to buy friends for their birthdays, easy, LEGO? Why are some people so good at creating masterpieces out of little plastic pieces while other (ahem me) have such a hard time constructing anything?  I mean, honestly, how do you create something out of nothing?   Hence, the need to create this little piece outlying the joys and dislikes of those tiny, colorful, plastic bits.


  1. They’re awesome! How many toys can you build, take apart, re-build, mix together, etc. Master Builder or not, these little bricks will have the kids coming back for more, all the time.
  2. Let your creativity flow! What ever you can think of, you can build; and there is a whole bunch of other things you never thought of that someone else has built, or combinations, which still continue to amaze.
  3. They just keep getting better and better! Ok, so the main bricks are the same, but they are always adding new and better ones. With all the LEGO® systems out there, it really is unbelievable. I had no idea you could build a spider with articulating legs!
  4. Your kids will gain tactile skills, or adults will refine their own. I have yet to see improvements in spatial awareness and attention to ones surroundings, but being able to form synapses to connect the imaginative part of the brain to the doing part, is already a step forward.
  5. Kids and adults (why not mention the older folk) will be able to create physical representations of their ideas. Another skill, perhaps more pronounced in, let’s say, engineers, is analytical thinking. Ok, this is perhaps a big step for kids, but LEGO® initiates the basics by using a prescribed amount of shapes forcing one to create anything from what is available.
  6. Some children (OK, let’s get real, adults too) can be entertained for hours creating, imagining and showing off their latest masterpiece. That not only enhances concentration, it nourishes creativity. Get building!

Here comes the cons…

  1. They’re plastic! How much more plastic does the world need? So, you can wash them, who care’s. oops, I think one just went down the drain.
  2. Little, tiny, teeny pieces all over the place to step on, kick under the couch, find months later, or listen to your child as they cry in agony when they cannot locate their sword for their beloved Ninjago. Oh dear.
  3. I love the sound they make as they go clink, clink, clink bouncing up the tube of the vacuum cleaner, less to manually clean off the floor.
  4. There are more sets than anyone can image. The more the better…well, not in this house encouraging consumerism is something we are trying to steer clear of, but boy, with so many options available at the stores, our little ones long for more.
  5. My favorite tactile skill is the one where one child throws LEGO® at another. Those little blocks can hurt when they are propelled at high speeds across a room.
  6. Some people, (ahem) like myself just are not natural builders. Without an elaborate, step – by – step guidebook, I am simply lost and to be honest, really frustrated. All I see are bricks, not magical fancy houses, cars, trains, birds, or spiders. Bricks I tell you, all I see are little -plastic- bricks.
  7. Did I mention those tiny bits are all over the house, in every room, each bathroom and turn – up in the most peculiar places, like stuck to the bottom of my feet?  Plus our cat likes to collect them and play with them at all hours of the night.

*This post is dedicated to the little and big people in my family.  I do see the merit of those bricks and despite my inability to build anything of interest to anyone, I do love to see my kiddos (big and small) come together to create their own little masterpieces.  Well done team!


Father’s Day


“A father is neither an anchor to hold us back, nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.” – Unknown


Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there and to the dad of our home.  This is a day to celebrate all of your the fatherly accomplishments.  From the moment our children entered our lives, you have offered unwavering support not only of them, but of us, as a unit, and as a family.  You show up each day with love in your heart and dedication in your soul.  You have wiped tears, calmed fears, loved and nurtured us all, and today we celebrate the father you are and the father you long to be.

2014-12-21-Hike_33Thanks for choosing us, loving us and giving us all you’ve got.  To this family, and to these people, you mean the world.  Happy Father’s Day Robert and here’s to a wonderful summer and incredible memories that are about to be made!


“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”

– Clarence B. Kelland

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”             – Theodore Hesburg

And this little video for all the dads out there that “shred!”

This article by NPR entitled, “Which Countries Guarantee That New Dads Get Paid Maternity Leave?”  on the breakdown of paternity leave for fathers.  Shame on the countries who offer no paid leave.

Thank you Robert!

And to my own father, who was one incredible man, full of wisdom, love and inspiration.  Despite your premature departure, your lessons are far reaching and still have a profound impact on the person I aspire to be.  Thank you for the love and for all the gifts you have bestowed upon me.  You are missed each and everyday.