With Bea and Tilly Woo

Generally speaking, relaxing isn’t my special talent.  As we all know, the saying, “A mother’s work is never done,” is quite true.  I have a hard time putting everything I need to accomplish to the back of my mind in order to stay in the moment, and sometimes, take a little break.  This quality isn’t one of my best because it leads to stress and general unpleasantness.

My kids all seem to know how to relax.  I wonder if I did as well at some point in my distant past, but lost the ability somewhere along the way.  Is that simply part of being a grown-up?  Forgetting how to “play?” It shouldn’t have to be.

I tend to fall into the trap of belief that accomplishing those never-ending items on my mental to-do list will bring me peace, but in reality it often becomes a fruitless chase.  Yes, I must do my work, but it is also important to abandon my list both mentally and physically on a regular basis.

Yesterday while Mabel took an early evening nap, I stepped away from our house and all the work for a walk.  I carried my camera, something I don’t do quite so often these days.  I brought along our naughty “Tilly-Woo” and Beatrix joined me as well.  We stayed out till almost dark playing with Tilly and picking pokeberries. I didn’t have to worry about dinner because we were eating leftovers.  It was the perfect evening.  I wondered why I don’t do this more frequently.  Maybe because we don’t have leftovers for dinner often enough?

I guess the moral of my story is that if you cook enough food for dinner on Monday, you might actually get to relax a little on Tuesday.  And in my case, I might end up with some pokeberry yarn.



  1. Very interesting remarks. I am 90 years old and have to pay someone else to work. Wish i didnt have

    to relax but must confess its great to feel free from all the pressures of earlier years and more time toget ones thoughts free to thank god for his goodness and ever present help in times of need. I love ginnys blog and often think it would be nice to see her and all her family. From the uk.

  2. Yes, a mothers work is never done so I guess that is a reason we need to schedule play dates for our self and relax once in awhile. I know if I wait until all my chores and to-do list is accomplished to take a little time off, than I will be waiting until I am dead.

  3. Leftovers are a mother’s best friend. I don’t have the tribe you have but I often cook enough for my small band for two nights. It always pays off to not have to cook one night. As for being busy, wow, thank you for always sharing such insightful thoughts! I often wonder as my kids lay around having no problem relaxing if I ever did that myself? Seriously, I don’t remember!

  4. On days that I know are going to be very busy or if I want to have some free time, the crock pot is my best friend. I really don’t enjoy cooking; I’ll do it, but I’d rather be doing something else. Pinto beans, pulled pork, jambalaya, stews, curried chicken are crockpot dishes we’ve had recently since starting school. It’s such a relief when I have dinner covered and don’t have to rush home or stop a project early to feed the hungry savages. My husband is also pretty adamant about the time after dinner as free time. There’s dishes to do and clean-up, but he tells me flat out to stop rushing around. He makes me stay at the table and talk with him and the kids or we go for a walk or sit outside in the waning summer evenings on the swing and drink wine. He definitely knows how to relax after a long day.

  5. These photos are so soothing and beautiful. Just what I needed to see today.

  6. Tilly Woo is too adorable! Look at that sweet face!

  7. Tilly looks good! Has her mama stopped trying to kill her?

  8. From your photos it looks as though you relax (no – live in the moment) a lot. It is surprising to hear that you can take such lovely photos in a state of ANY anxiety at all!

  9. Such a good reminder! I have a hard time relaxing too, which is probably one of the many reasons I love knitting so much. 🙂 And that yarn- wow! Such a gorgeous color.

  10. wow, this is such a wonderful color, and the way you showed the process, how it all happened, very many thanks!

  11. The food thing is endless and exhausting, seriously. I love to cook but NOT every day. The days when I order out (I know this would be unreasonable with a big family) are so much easier. We have so many delivery services in Portland right now it has been life-changing. All because I don’t have to deal with shopping or cooking (every. single. day). I get it.

  12. I always enjoy your pics. Tilly is adorable. Bea looks taller. And that color is just simply gorgeous

  13. Elizabeth G says:

    That is a beautiful poke berry yarn color! When we were children, my sisters & I played with poke berries all the time. We used to pretend we were making Irish Spring soap with the green ones. Lol I haven’t thought of that in a long time.

  14. what a productive evening when you didn’t plan to be productive and I bet you a penny making pokeberry dyed wool was NOT on the to do list 🙂

    beautiful photos and the perfect light capture!

  15. Pokeberries! As kids, we would gather them to make “ink” and then find a chicken wing feather for mama or daddy to cut the tip to a point (literally a quill pen). We would write and draw for until the ink ran out! Fun! Polk salad (the plant pokeberries grow on) is toxic if mature…must not be for goats — or do they refuse to eat it?

  16. It is so hard to end up with leftovers when you have a houseful of kiddos! They just want to eat it all. I used to kind of hide what I wanted for another time. Then I came to the part where we just have too many leftovers cause everything makes too much for two even when I halve the recipe.

    I think that the drive to get things done and never take a break is just how some of us are wired. I am for sure. Once I was praying with a friend and she prayed for me to learn to rest. We had never even talked about that. It sure was a wake up call for me.

  17. I like that Bea has on winter boots with a sundress. 🙂

    It’s always so nice to step away with just one child in a large family. I love how those times just naturally develop too. They are so special!

  18. Wow!! The Pokeberry color is AMAZING!! Wish I knew where to find some of those berries…….so beautiful!!

  19. I have always known how to let go. My childhood was full with scenes like the ones above. Somehow I have since given birth to three (going on four) children who struggle daily to account for unspoken for time. A wander in the woods, playing in the creek I played in as a child is torture. I love my children deeply for who they are and the absense of dreaminess certainly makes some parts of homeschooling easier but sometimes they’re like little accountants with bad tempers! I try to embrace the advantages. They are passionate, they are determined, they are often brilliant.

  20. Leftovers help tremendously! But it is easier for us (currently a family of 3). I, too, am always chasing the “I can relax when I finish this, this, and this list.” But it never really ends. Fortunately my husband is good at getting me to relax and go on family walks or drives, or watch a show with him while we cuddle or I crochet. 😀

  21. I have been trying to work up to doing “batch cooking” but have yet to get that organized. But leftovers are great, but would probably be hard to do with your big family that is also made up of teenage boys!
    I have been eyeing some pokeweed down the street and I think today is the day. I want to make it weak so as to get a lighter color. Hum…..I wonder….I take my remaining 16 year old goat out in the evenings and walk around with her. It’s amazing what they will and won’t eat.

  22. The yarn is so lovely! The color is amazing.

  23. I’m exactly the same way. Every night I’m exhausted just honking about the stuff I have to do the next day. My husband is constantly telling me to “take a day off”. Even when I try to relax I’m thinking about my next article, blog post, homeschool lesson or what dog I need to rescue for a shelter. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one. I think I’ll take an evening walk today 😊

  24. If we’d only believe that taking this time actually transforms everything else somehow.

    The pictures are absolutely lovely and inspiring. And you hit on one of the very simple cures ~ leftovers!

    I read once that in Mary and Joseph’s time, they prepared all of the food for Sunday on Saturday in order to keep holy the Sabbath. Today, I redouble my efforts. Thank you for this simple and timely post.

    God bless you.

  25. Your ookeberry yarn is wonderful . Get a slow cooker thing. Cook more often in it you’ll get time off this way.

  26. That yarn colour is amazing!!

    Be assured that even in a household of two the chores are never done. The washing basket is always full, the fridge needs to be restocked and every available surface is scattered with the details of our lives.


  27. Me and you both… Always so much to do.

    Love the yarn!

  28. Tilly Woo is adorable and makes me miss my Nubians from growing up. My husband doesn’t want to do goats for reasons I understand (mainly naughtiness!) but I love them still.

    I am so much the same. I was a slow person before I became a housewife and mother to many little ones. My head spins always and I’m always trying to catch up an keep up. I never do. I used to tell myself when I got down about it (daily): “Someday it will all get done”. It didn’t help. I’ve switched to “It will never be done, and that’s okay”. Take some time to slow down and just breathe or walk or sit…also okay. I must always remind myself this, and I still don’t make many times. I thought my mom was a workaholic when I was younger. I have since become her.

  29. That’s lovely yarn! I also have a hard time relaxing. Even when I do it, I feel a bit guilty because there’s always something that I “should” be doing.

  30. I learned from my Mother’s example how to relax; but more and more I feel a pressure to ‘prove’ that I am ‘worthy’ by being busy. So I am still working on that. Slowly reading _Present Over Perfect_ which in part is about this. I am so glad for your nice evening and a peaceful time! lovely pictures! 🙂

  31. Ugh, yes. I’m so bad at relaxing as well. I really can’t shut off my brain in a chaotic,messy, disastrous environment (aka my house with 3 children three and under!). I’m convinced I’m
    genetically predisposed to this (my mom is the same) so I’m going to have to work at this.

    Love the goat. The pictures are priceless.

  32. That YARN! It’s so pretty! My cochineal and indigo yarn is sitting beside me right now. 🙂
    Relaxing is hard. I remember when I worked for the Senate I’d come home and get all the chores done and then I’d want to relax, but I felt like there was more I should be doing, or I should be going to sleep….not reading, etc. I definitely think the leftovers encourage relaxation! Maybe have one night a week of leftovers? 🙂

  33. Jaclyn Trafton says:

    I find it difficult to stop my mind and the ever-growing to do list, unless I am reading. I challenged myself last year to read 100 books in a year, and believe I will reach my goal at the end of November. When I read, I’m completely still. My husband says he loves seeing me relax and enjoy myself, so much so, that he frequently stops at the library to bring me more books. I’m an editor by trade, but I find that the hours spent reading have made me a better wife and mom, as I no longer feel impatient or frazzled.

    I love the yarn by the way. Here’s to more evenings of fun and adventures.

  34. I love the pokeberry yarn! I’m also relax-resistant. I’m not sure why…it’s hard to sit still when my brain keeps ticking off all the things I need to do. Maybe more leftovers would help here, too.

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