My Summer Goal

By Kate Riley May 31, 2013

I took my daughter to get a haircut on Wednesday. For years she’s worn her hair in a sweet and simple ponytail, but looking at her with a shorter bob makes her look so much older and it hit me – she’s transitioning right before my eyes.

My sister came to visit last week and we were discussing the passage of time and I was telling her how very much I’m enjoying my kids at the age of 7 and 9.  She labeled it the “Sandlot” age and it struck a chord with me. Yes, exactly. They’re in that magical period of youth when they’re both adventurous and innocent, and I enjoy their curiosity and company more than words can express.


Today is their last day of school which means they’re now home with me for June, July, and part of August. I’ve made summer lists in years past of all the things we want to do during the summer and I try to stick to them, but this year I have only one goal, only one thing on my list. 

Because I know what will happen. Summer will pass all too quickly and autumn will be upon us an we’ll all be thinking about pumpkin patches and Halloween haunts and then the holidays will be here all too soon. And I don’t want to think about any of that right now. So my only goal this summer is to slow down.

hot air balloons sara norris

I don’t have any links to share this week. I’ve been busily cleaning and prepping the house for the party we’re hosting this weekend to benefit the local school. And we just found out yesterday that a close cousin’s husband has passed away, so we’re grieving for her since she’s just lost her dear husband. I find myself on both sides of an emotional pendulum – hosting a huge summer soiree and attending a funeral in a matter of days.

It’s left me feeling drained and so now I’m focused on things that matter more than long hours spent in front of a computer. I’m focused on slowing down and savoring the magic of a summer spent with my sweet kids who are coming of age.



So you’ll forgive me if during the months of June and July I’m blogging a little less than normal. I can’t define what that means other than I’ll post when I have something to share or say, and take a day off if I don’t. I have a promise to keep to myself, to slow down and live in the moments that matter.

Wishing you all a fantastic summer weekend.

photography by Sara Norris



  1. Hi, I’m so glad to hear that you’ll just focus on enjoying your kids this summer. When my two kiddoes were little (they’re grown now and we have six grands) I used to so look forward to having lots of down time with them in the summer with no agenda! Even though there may be valid reasons for others to feel like summers home with their kids is hard, for me I just relished it! I always felt a pang of sadness when school time rolled around in Sept. (we lived where school waited til after Labor Day)…….enjoy, enjoy and sing alot! (Don’t think I’ve ever posted on your blog before now but this just resonated with me today.)

    • Thanks Karen! I have heard it said to me many times by mothers who’s kids have left the nest, I can just feel it deep down that this is an important thing to do for me and for them.
      I appreciate your comment!

  2. This is best and right plan to have! Enjoy!
    We should all have a plan like this in our lives.

  3. You’ve archived your site so well that we’ll be okay as we tackle our own DIY and design projects this summer. Thank you for all you’ve done and do to share your passion with us and…thank you for this post and reminding us to slow down and savor as well.

    You consistently rock. I’m sorry I was a lurker for so many years. You’ve always been appreciated.

  4. Good for you Kate! Yes, you will want to savor ever minute of them at this age. Now that our girls are almost 20 and 23, the years just seem to fly by. So sorry to hear of your loss. I hope you have a wonderful and restful summer.

  5. I read your blog, but have never commented. I have several friends with newborns or toddlers who are always saying “I cant wait until Grace is 3 so I can…” I’m like you and just want to savor every memory and press the pause button and just be thankful for this moment. I’m home from maternity leave (dreading going back to work :( ) with my five week old and can’t believe how he is growing up before my eyes…tearing up now darn hormones!

    • Ha, been there Stephanie, yes I remember crying at everything with a newborn, you’re right, you’ve got to cherish these moments because they fly by so fast. :)

  6. YES!! I am glad you will be taking time to spend with your family. Even though I will miss your posts! As everyone around me is scheduling camps and events for their kids this summer, I have scheduled nothing. My 2 girls are 8 and 5 and I want to spend as much time with them as well. I am sure we will find plenty to keep us busy. I too love their ages. Have a great summer!!

  7. Blogging will always be here – your growing munchkins are not going to be munchkins forever. Now is the time to make the memories that you and they will fondly reminisce about when they are older. “Remember whens” around a future holiday table are what you can make right now. You will be so happy you did :)

    Enjoy your summer XO

    So sorry to hear about your family member. Thinking of you.

  8. I thought about this last night as I pinned another “100 best things to do in summer” list on pinterest. (Curse you, pinterest!) While I do feel like it is important to have some kind of structure to our days, maybe slowing down and enjoying each day is more important. I am going to try and let go a little this summer too.

  9. Kate,

    While I am a regular reader, I am not a regular commenter but felt compelled to break form today. Good for you. I really applaud you for saying it out loud! Being ‘present’ with my kids as often as I can is harder than I’d like to admit and my excuses for why I’m sometimes not are not very good ones. I’m trying to be/do better and have struck out on a similar approach to yours this summer. Your post today came just at the right time. There is a beautifully-written parenting site by a writer/mother that I follow now that’s inspired me to get on the right track, her focus is really about being present with your family. It’s struck a chord with me so I thought I’d share considering your topic. Cheers to a family-centered summer!

    • Thanks so much for the link Jen, I’ll hop over to read it, and I thank you for your lovely comment!

  10. I’m so sorry for your loss … I found after my grandmother died that I hurt just as much over losing her as I did knowing that my grandfather was alone.
    And, good for you, Kate… enjoy the next two and a half months! I hope you create some of the best memories by not trying to hard and just savoring the time. We had a little girl eight weeks ago today and I find that I just savor it so much more knowing she is our last… :)
    Best wishes doing the final prep for this weekend-

  11. Enjoy your family and your summer, CG! You definitely have the right idea of what a summer break should be – make those memories while you can!

  12. Middle school age is also my favorite. My granddaughters are 11 and 13 and so full of excitement about life and learning. They are reading great books and going on school field trips. My sweet 13 year old is sharing recipes with me. And my 11 year old is so funny I laugh with her until my tummy hurts. I love your blog and you are an amazing business women. I worked at home for years while my children were growing up and out of high school. If you and kids do something fun please share it with us in blogland. I’m speaking for everyone. But I personally would like to see what you all are doing to enjoy the summer.
    Always a blogger
    Betty @ My Cozy Corner

    • Thanks Betty, I’m sure I’ll be adding a few of those “what we’ve been up to” posts or sharing some cool places we’ve visited.

  13. So sorry for your family’s loss, Kate!

    I give you two thumbs up for not stressing over summer posting. It’s such a special time of year, and such a special age. Funny you mentioned The Sandlot…was thinking of showing it to the girls some time soon.

    Here’s to a summer spent enjoying family, at the pool, in the backyard, lemonade and Popsicles in hand. ;)

  14. I don’t blame you one bit, Kate. This is time you can’t get back and it so easily slips by when we’re not looking. Take all the time you need and we’ll be here when you get back. :)
    I so miss ds being little. He’s 39 and just gave us our first grandchild. A precious little boy that I hope he always remembers is more important than any thing else in the world. I think he will. He’s always
    saying, Hey Mom…Remember when we ??? I love it! I remember every moment.

  15. I think it’s excellent that you’re slowing down for the summer- family supercedes posting any day! I’m so sorry for your family’s loss, and I’m glad you’re taking some time. In the meantime, I’ll just drool over your updated house tour and wish I could keep my furniture that clean and bright :) haha!

    • Thanks Stephanie, I’m a big believer in slipcovered furniture, especially in the dining room and family room, in fact the PB sofa slipcovers are in the wash as I write, we’ve got guests coming over tomorrow and they were lookin’ pretty dingy. It happens, that’s life!

  16. I read your post with envy… My son is 21, and my daughter just graduated high school last weekend. I recall the busy, messy, exhausting, exhilarating days of my children’s little kid summers. Enjoy! Enjoy! Take a moment for a hug, and breathe! That scent that is particular only to your own sweet kiddles… If only you could bottle it! Though the days are long, the years are short. I’m glad you are cherishing this time

  17. Good choice Kate. You are a wise mother and a talented blogger, so we shall wait and see what happens. Keep us posted on sights of where you go this summer. I know you live in a beautiful area, so that is eye candy enough. And we will all be here when you have creative decorating ideas. It will make us feel normal that you are not always creating!!!

  18. Slowing down is good. I don’t make summer “bucket” lists anymore. I find them stressful and way overused. Enjoy every moment with your children…Sorry for the loss in your family.

  19. Good call…it feels like they will be little forever, then one day they are driving and then graduating from college and moving across the country!

    My twins will be 28 (!!!!!) this December. I left a corporate job to work part time in their school when they were in kindergarten. I was lucky enough to be in a position to scale back to part time-I know not everyone has that ability-and it changed our family dynamics for the better.

    All these years later, my children are close to each other and us, and they still love the gift of our time more than anything else-except maybe a surprise check for some flea market shopping, LOL.

    • Thanks for sharing Susan, yes everyone’s situation is so different. I feel blessed to be able to make the choice. :)

  20. Hi Kate, serial lurker here, but I wanted to say that I love your blog and think it’s great that you are taking it slow this summer. Enjoy the time with your kids, and your readers will follow along whenever you are inspired to post. Have fun!

    • Thanks serial lurker Sally, I appreciate that so much! There will be plenty more time to decorate come fall. :)

  21. yes! this is so beautiful!!! your family needs you sooooo much more than we do ;o) have a blessed summer that is filled with many cherished moments!

  22. Spend as much time making memories! Usually it is the unplanned ones that are the sweetest. It is those memories that carry you though the sad times. Take care.

  23. Why do your posts always seem to hit home for exactly what is going on in my life, too? :) First off, I’m sorry to hear about your cousins hubby. That’s awful :( Second, the notion is slowing down hits home because sometimes we try to do too much and life creeps by without us realizing. Thanks for the making me see that we all need rest and appreciating moments that are gone too soon.

    Thrift Diving

  24. Hugs to you and your cousin…I’m so sorry for your loss.

    I think your plan for summer is a wonderful one, I’ve found myself with the same plan. Life is passing far too quickly right before our eyes.

    God Bless you…

  25. Me too. I woke up this morning thinking I just want to play with them. We have been so busy there hasn’t been much of that lately. Thanks for this post at the beginning of a very special season and a reminder!

  26. Thank you for this post. My children are 8, 6, and almost 2. Of course my children enjoy new adventures, but one consistent desire of theirs is to spend time together as a family. Time is fleeting…spend it wisely.

  27. You are my favorite DIY blogger for a reason.
    You definitely recognize when you need a break, instead of pushing ahead. :) (Not to mention your projects are amazing!) I’m spending a day with my oldest daughter today. She’s turning 6 soon and she had a pretty stern talk with me about needing mommy to herself for a bit. She’s growing up so fast… They all do!

  28. Good for you. I try to tell myself and my kids (15 and 17) to live in the present moment and enjoy every day. Life is too short. Sorry for your cousin’s loss. May you have many lazy and fun days with your kids (love that age!) and make lots of special memories. Enjoy!

  29. Kate, I’m so sorry to hear about your cousin’s husband. Praying for her and the rest if the family.

    Do have a fabulously slow summer that will last longer than past summers (one can hope.) We’ll be here when you get back.

  30. That IS the magical age! My son graduates from high school this week and it is emotional as we move towards empty nesting but at the same time so happy and excited for the future for our son. That spectrum of emotions that you’re experiencing in a different way this week with your loss and a party is understandable. I think your summer goal is wonderful and wise. Enjoy it, it goes by so fast!

  31. Kate,
    I rarely comment, but this is so good for us moms to hear. My kids are 10, 8 and 3, and this IS a magical age. I love their innocence and excitement, and this summer we’re doing a big road trip to visit my husband and my siblings who all live in the midwest. We live in Central CA. I was dreading the trip at first, but now am so excited to experience this with my kids at this time in their lives. Enjoying the moments. Seeing cousins and meeting the newest. Fireflies. Seeing the amazing land formations God has created. . .

    Our homes can always be changed, and we can always strive for improvement with them, but our kids could care less about that, and want our time! I write this as I still look at my honey-oak cabinets and stairs, wanting desperately to put mommy-hood on hold so I can improve the look of my home, but have to tell myself, does it REALLY matter?!

    Your home is amazing and the projects you tackle are inspiring. I’ve loved your site since I first stumbled on it a year ago. Thank you for slowing down and enjoying your littles. I hope this summer is the BEST for you and yours!

  32. Thank you for your perspective! My kids are grown and out of the house. It goes by too soon and I wish I could get that time back!

  33. Good for you! While I so enjoy reading your blog, I, too, will be unplugging more as summer approaches, so don’t worry – you won’t lose us:). I’m sorry to hear of your family’s loss. Life is too short, so we need to cherish each moment with our kids. I know I try, but I’m guilty of rushing through each stage as well. Good reminders of what is truly important! I hope you have a relaxing and memorable summer!

  34. You will never regret or forget the memories you will have of this time.
    So wise. I applaud you.

  35. Love your plan for the summer ! It’s the best and right thing to do. Time goes by so quickly that it’s really important to enjoy spending all the time you can with your kids. When my daughter was growing up I had the same feeling that you are having now and I’m so glad that I took time off from work whenever I could to spend time with her. I especially cherish all the summers I enjoyed with her. Have a wonderful summer !

  36. I also have a step daughter who is 9 and was just telling my sister how much I’m enjoying this age. It really is magical. She is just starting to bud in to a young lady and she is so excited about it and our conversations have definitely changed. I’m inspired by your post and think I’m going to take the lesson in it because I’m really stressed out about the added responsibility of juggling a kid at home 50% of the summer and my work. I think I may just give myself the permission not to work as much and savor this precious summer with her. Kudos to you for inspiring us with this message and I am so sorry to hear of your cousin’s loss.

  37. My favorite age for my Son was 10. It seemed the planets were aligned. Though we did take a couple of trips during the summer, the rest of the time we flew by the seat of our pants.
    Enjoy this summer and the spontaneous beauty of it all. Sorry for your family’s loss.

  38. That is exactly what you should do. You will never get these days back. The past is past, the future is to come and we all must live for the moments we have NOW. Just 2 years ago I went for what I thought would be a routine procedure that would help my chronic pain in my neck. That was so not the case – the injection caused a blood clot on my spine and I was instantly paralyzed from the neck down. I was taken by Care Flight to a great hospital and the surgeons prepared my husband and I that I would either die in surgery or very probably be paralyzed for life. That is when I started to cry because I had so much more to do in life. The surgery took several hours and I was admitted to Intensive Care, then onto a floor with constant care and then onto Rehabilitation – Altogether 16 scary days. Thanks to my Lord and Saviour, I was not paralyzed and obviously lived through surgery and I know it was not luck ( as everyone constantly told me ) and I told them it had nothing to do with luck – it was a tremendous blessing. I am sorry this is too long but thank you and have a wonderful and blessed summer.

  39. I don’t blame you one bit for slowing down. Childhood is so fleeting. I feel like I can’t even remember when my four year old was a baby and my almost 8 month old is growing so fast and it makes me sad to think that this is it. My baby will really only be a baby for another few months. Enjoy every little minute with your family. Take lots of pictures and videos and hug and kiss them like crazy…while they still let you;)

  40. I love reading your blog and this was by far my favorite post as of yet! Enjoy your summer!

  41. It’s a good thing you are having fun with your daughter. Happy memories with our children is a treasure worth keeping. You’re doing the right thing. :-D

  42. Kate, I love this post and relate to it so much. My kids are 6 and 8 and I am looking forward to spending time with them this summer, too, and trying to be really present with them. My 6 year old was recently invited to a friend’s birthday party and said he didn’t want to go – he’d rather spend time with his sister, dad and me having family time. I was shocked. Then I thought what a gift that is. How lucky I am that he wants to spend time with me. I know he won’t always feel that way and friends will have a growing importance in his life. But right now, he wants to hang out with me, still holds my hand when we walk places and loves to curl up next to me and read together. I want to treasure every minute of that!

  43. As much as I LOVE reading your blogs, I love it even more knowing that you’re spending more time with your family. Thank you for setting a good example as a devoted wife and mother, you’re so much more than great DIY furniture and style. :)

  44. Hi Kate, I’m a reader and not a commenter unless something really strikes a chord with me. I’ve always been amazed by your dedication to your blog and your business while balancing your responsibilities as a woman, wife and mom. I’ve often wondered “How does she do it? She’s like the Energizer bunny… she keeps going and going and going with terrific and inspiring content. When does she put her feet up, relax and enjoy life?” It’s not to say that you don’t love your life. I’m sure you do. I’m simply happy for you. Happy that you’re going to take more time hang with your family. Happy that you’re going to take time to refresh and not maintain a firm blogging schedule. My girls are 7 & 9 and it’s going to be a great summer of fun and adventure for us. We will see where the wind blows rather than having each day planned. I’m glad it will be so for you too!

    • Thanks Michele, I love what you said, “see where the wind blows” – such a great philosophy for summer months spent with kids!

  45. I was scrolling through my Reader Feed and saw your post & thought I am so on the same page and it is apparent so are a lot of other readers. It’s strange b/c for the first time in a long time I do not feel the pressure to blog. If anything the opposite has occurred where I feel like I can post when I want to b/c I want to, not b/c I have to. And a lot of that is due to my kids as well. It was eye opening to me to realize that in this past while I had taken more photos of my projects and crafts than I had of them. And that was a wake up call b/c I thought this is completely wrong and needs to change. So I love that you posted this b/c I feel like a lot of bloggers out there feel like they need to churn out content like clockwork to stay in the game and all that does is make them miserable. Kids grow up so fast and time flies and life with them outside of a computer is way more important than showing a tutorial etc. You have a great body of work that can speak for itself that surely can hold it’s own ground when you’re at the beach with your kids. As you should be!

  46. You made me tear up Kate ill raise my glass for a beautiful summer in slow motion and to your always inpiring, genuine, little corner of the web.

  47. Oh, sweet friend, I understand this so very much. I go through phases when I am enjoying posting daily, and then a couple times a week gets me through so I can focus on the really important things. You’re a great mama, and you’ll sure enjoy all these moments!

  48. Great post. I was the only one in our neighborhood that looked forward to school being out so I could do things with my son. You are such a great parent (Matt too) and your children will have such great memories.

  49. What a wonderful goal. I think we all need to slow down a bit and enjoy life. My daughter is with her dad for the month of July, in another state, so I’m trying to make the most of June, as she will start school almost as soon as she gets back.

  50. If there is one thing I’ve learned in the two years since I became a Mommy it’s that time is fleeting. We’ll be here when you’ve had time to spend with the kids. :)

  51. Hi Kate –

    I just started following your blog a couple of months ago, and really enjoying it. In Feb of this year, I made some major changes and decided to start slowing down, I have had my own business in the recruiting world for 11 years and life became too full. I did not have enough time with my 2 awesome kids and time for myself as well. Couple of months have gone by – I have more time with my kids – started blogging and really enjoying life! So have fun – and slowing down is fun! Enjoy the summer.


  52. This is our last week of school and I’ve been having many of the same thoughts. And yet I’m sitting here fretting about not having my post finished for tomorrow. Here’s to a summer of living in the moment!

  53. Good for you Kate, you won’t regret it!! Mine are grown, when I look at old pics I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed!!!

    All the best and don’t forget we’ll still be here…’re a sweetie love your blog!!!
    Kathy :)

  54. I just wanted to let you know I enjoy reading your blog. It is a guilty pleasure :-)
    There are so many good articles to read in your blog that a few days off won’t matter.
    Your words reminded me of my son’s favorite song

    Slow down, you move too fast.
    You got to make the morning last.
    Just kicking down the cobble stones.
    Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy

    Here’s for a groovy summer,


  55. Here Here! This is good advice for everyone, kids or not – and you are especially reminded of this by your loss, so sorry to hear… Life flys by and summers go by faster – start with anticipation – end with the feeling of where did the time go – we have to make our days count and find happiness!

  56. Kate, first, let me say I’m sorry for your loss. I think things like that certainly make us take a deeper look at our lives and see what we can do to improve it. And I feel you when it comes to slowing down. My oldest is turning 5 next week and starting kindergarten in August. Where has the time gone? I’m so busy pursuing my goals and dreams sometimes I feel like I’m missing things. I told myself that my goal was to do one fun thing a week with my kids – like take them to the beach, the zoo, the splash park, wherever. Otherwise, I find myself getting caught up in the day to day stuff that is always there and just never goes away. So my rooms have laundry piled high that need to be put away. My sister said it best to me one day, “The second I realize that the laundry is never going to be done, is when I stop trying to finish it.” Ain’t that the truth?! Slow down, and enjoy the kids. We’ll all still be here when you’re back to it in the Fall! Have a fabulous summer.

  57. I read your blog frequently, however I have never left a comment. Your post today really resonated with me. I have three grown children 31, 27, and 23 and if I could go back to those carefree days when they were much younger I would do so in a minute. You will never look back and regret time spent with your children. I relish every memory, especially the summers. I am a “Mimi” to my 31 year old daughters twin 4 month olds (Maggie and Mason). I keep them 4 days a week, so i now have the oppurtunity to do it all again. Here’s to hoping my aching back holds out! I hope you enjoy your summer and have no guilt about slowing down. I’m sure you and your family will make memories that someday far off in the future will bring many a smile to your face. Enjoy

    • Thank you Nancy, I too look forward to those years as a “Mimi” but loving my first shot at this :)

  58. I love this. I’m doing the same thing and published a similar post just yesterday. My boys are 6 and (just turned) 9, and I love, love, love this age. I plan to soak it up and worry about pointless things less.

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