Savoring What’s Left

By Kate Riley August 10, 2011

Every season has its feeling.  For me, summertime is the definition of relaxation.  Warm nights spent barbequing, and lazy mornings sleeping in, waking up to the whirring of the fan.  I know many moms count the days until school begins and the weather cools, but this week I’m completely caught up in the notion of savoring what’s left of summer.  No schedules, no official bedtimes, no busy or hurried pace, just days that melt into one another.

Last weekend we went out touring some wineries along Olivet Road in the Russian River Valley, me with my Nikon, my hub with his palate, tasting, sampling and photographing for our new venture, a regional book on living in wine country.  We stopped at DeLoach Vineyards and while my mister sipped Pinot Noirs, I snapped pictures of the grounds and the kids played in the little brook out among the gardens. 

I watched them engaging with nature, sending their flip flops downstream like little boats tripping along the rocks only to repeat it over and over again.  I observed their fascination with the cool water as it ran over their feet, and their ability to completely live in the moment with no thoughts of the past or worries about the future.




Little kids are experts at living in the moment.  They embrace the seasons, the days, and the minutes wholeheartedly with no concern for anything other than the pursuit of adventure and play.  There are lessons to be learned there.

On the way home, my daughter noticed a blackberry patch with berries ripe and ready to pick.  She reminded me it was blackberry season, and time to stop and pick them.  Not later, right now.  If she hadn’t been in the car, reminding me of the obvious, I probably wouldn’t have noticed or stopped to savor them.  So we did. 


August is that crazy in between month that possesses both the lingering charms of summertime and the enticing pull of autumn.  I’m still clinging to summer in that same way as I did in that last hug when we sent our oldest off to college.  A few days ago, I created this printable art to remind us of some of the special things that make summer so great. 

summer is framed


I was watching again one of my favorite authors Doris Kearns Goodwin give a talk about learning from past Presidents on TED, a site I visit from time to time to listen to favorite creative people speak – definitely worth your click.  What struck me in this particular talk is the part where Goodwin speaks of the regrets of this particular workaholic President, his inability to feel real relationships with his family in the last moments of his life, and her firsthand knowledge of his intense sadness that occurred from years of concentration solely on work and individual success.

Finding a form of play and the time to relax is really the key to achieving balance and finding renewed inspiration.  This week I’m spending less time with the online community in order that I may spend more time with my family, thanks to that reminder from my children to live in the moment. 

Seasons change quickly, too quickly sometimes.  This week, I needed to step away from intense hours of blogging and social media, to breathe deeply, to go outside and explore our world with my favorite little people.  That’s what I’m up to right now. 


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  1. Love that Kate :) my little babies started middle school today and I am thankful fir every minute we shared this summer:)

  2. I’ve been reading so many articles and blog posts lately about slowing down. It’s so true. It’s a bit scary how some people are plugged in 24/7. There is nothing like the satisfaction you get from slowing down and enjoying nature. Lovely post.

  3. Slowing down is a hard thing for me to do but I am slowly learning. This summer we added another little one to our family and there is nothing like having a baby in the house again to make you slow down. We have enjoyed our sweet summer and I am a little sad to have say goodbye to another summer.

  4. Very well said, Kate!! I remember the feel of the cool water of a stream rushing against my legs and feet, seeing this image, really took me back to a simpler time. That is why my byline on my blog is,”Enjoy the Process!” I don’t care what you are doing, be in the moment. It is amazing what you will see and feel when you are totally aware of your surroundings and those that surround you. It sounds to me like you totally GET IT!!! Enjoy the rest of your summer. Kathysue

  5. You have put that ‘end of summer’ feeling into such well written words Kate! I wish I too was slowing down but as I just wrote in my blog, my husband just left for a military exercise in South Korea for three weeks. So instead of slowing down, I am “ramping up” right now acting as both Mom and Dad. Luckily my two boys are such great guys. Enjoy the rest of your summer with your cute kiddos!!

  6. Yes, it is true. This is NOT a dress rehersal! Great reminder to really see and study things in our world. All too often we simply glance at things in a hurried manner as we believe we must rush off to the next…whatever!

    Your daughter is just precious beyond words. What a treasure! That smile would make me cave to anything her little heart desired!!

  7. I love what you said – “Finding a form of play and the time to relax is really the key to achieving balance and finding renewed inspiration. ” So true! So glad you seek out that balance. We all have to be intentional about that. I love the image of them watching their flip flops float downstream!

  8. I, too, love summer. While my friends are counting the days until the kids go back to school, I’m avoiding looking at the calendar for fear the day is coming closer. I love having my three boys around. They are growing up way to fast for me.

  9. So true. Good for you! Savor away, the online community will always be here. Black berry season, however, will be over before we blink. I love the flip flop story, SO cute. I do not have children of my own but I work with some pretty incredible kids at my job and I can’t believe how fast they grow and how much they change. I love how kids can totally immerse themselves in whatever they are doing without any hesitations or reservations. It reminds me to jump into life and not just stick one toe in wondering if it’s alright.

  10. I relate to and enjoyed reading this entry. I am a part-time 4th grade teacher and begin school on Monday. As much as I am looking forward to getting back to a routine, it saddens me that the last 10 weeks have gone by so quickly. It’s been awesome to relax and enjoy summer with my 9 and 6 year old. The years fly by too quickly…can we at least rewind the last 10 weeks?

  11. I LOVE school holidays! It blows me away that you guys have summer in the middle of the year but I do completely GET what you mean about the long summer holidays because I LOVE them too :)

  12. I love to actually create relaxing activities for people around me…next weekend I take 26 people to a hotspring-cum-cold mountain spring! They are of all ages and nationalities! (I have blogged about the place we are going to) The last time we went to a Firefly Sanctuary.

  13. I like the sentiment…but you know there is always the irony of these things…being blogged about.

  14. Kate, this is a great post. I love that you stopped when your little one saw the berries. I definitely don’t “stop” enough and am always amazed at how quickly the times goes…..the seasons and the kids growing up.
    I can’t believe you and your hubby are writing a book! That’s so exciting and how on earth do you find the time??

  15. Thanks Kate, you just opened my eyes again to the summer. I was saying I was over the summer and ready for fall….but you made me reflect and want to SAVOR these last weeks or so before the “schedules” once begin.

  16. I love what you said – thanks for sharing! Last night my daughter showed me something new that she learned on her guitar, and we sang a Maroon 5 song together. It “should” have been her bedtime, but I went with the flow and it was beautiful to be in that sweet moment with her!

  17. Very well-put. Savoring every day — and celebrating small victories — are, I think, the keys to enjoying every moment of every hour of our lives. :)

  18. These days of summer are flying by too quickly. We (on Vancouver Island) have barely had a summer this year. And now that August is winding down, I’m wanting to hang onto the days. Learning to savor each moment as it comes takes a lifetime of practice. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I love the photo of the bare feet in the water.

  19. Wonderful sentiment in your blog today. I could feel myself relaxing as I read. As a nature center administrator ( ) we encourage families to give their children the gift of ‘less screen time and more green time’ everyday. Aw!

  20. Seems the seasons come and go more quickly with each passing year. Funny, I used to hear my grandma say the same thing when I was a little girl.
    My soon to be first grader grandson called me today today to tell me he had received a letter from his new first grade teacher telling him all about the surprises she had planned for the upcoming year.
    I remember my children getting similar letters when they were in grade school. Seems like it was yesterday…this time of year makes me a bit melancholy.

  21. Hi – first time visiting here and I love this line: “August is that crazy in between month that possesses both the lingering charms of summertime and the enticing pull of autumn.” It expresses SO accurately the way I feel about this time of year. Wondering if I could borrow that quote for an upcoming blog post…please contact me and let me know! Thanks a lot!

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