the friday post – vol. 14

It was an eventful week at our house. Charlie’s birthday, a dinner out for Mike’s work last night, the Halloween dance at school for me another night, and Charlie’s one year check up complete with shots. Phew.

I’m also starting to feel very pregnant this week at 25 weeks. We go in on Monday morning for our anatomy ultrasound, so we’ll find out if this baby is a boy or a girl! I remember feeling like Christmas was coming early when we had our ultrasound with Charlie, and I’m starting to feel that tingle of anticipation that I had last year.

I can’t believe it’s Halloween next week!! We still haven’t gotten Charlie a Halloween costume, but he’s been wearing his little pumpkin outfit nonstop. Such a crowd-pleaser when we go out and about. This weekend we must get him something, or else he may have to be the paper bag prince.

In our entertainment news, I’ve been obsessed with listening to this podcast called Homecoming. It’s a fiction podcast, so it’s kind of a combination of feeling like you’re listening to an audio book and a tv show. So good. I’m saving the last episode for my drive home today after school.

Plans this weekend include the beach, laundry, a clean house and long walks around the neighborhood to check out everyone’s Halloween decorations.

handmade halloween cards.

We sent out these little handmade Halloween cards over the weekend. Aren’t they sweet?

I saw a tutorial on Pinterest a couple weeks ago and immediately put them on my crafting list. I love browsing Pinterest for ideas, and it always gives me a little burst of festivity around this time of year. Right now my feed is a a cornucopia of holiday crafts, decor, cozy foods, and baby things.

These cards were a fun little way to kick off the holiday season. I’ve tucked a couple away to remember Charlie’s tiny hand at one year old and sent the rest off in the mail to all of our nearest and dearest.

Click here for instructions for how to make some handprint cards of your own!

In other crafting news – I made this pumpkin yarn garland for the mantle a couple weeks ago, and started knitting a bright red, festive hat for a very special gift come Christmas.

the friday post – vol. 13

Whoa it feels like eons since the last one of these things, am I right? This week was a little wonky with our little bug going home from school sick on Tuesday and staying home to fight the virus for a couple days. Feverish babies are no fun, but it was nice to get some extra sweet snuggles, lounge around in jammies and to take in lots of disney movies on the couch. Today is a teacher professional development day, so it’s been an easy week school-wise. We’re in the thick of the school year now, and time is just moving along with no holidays in sight until Thanksgiving.

Charlie’s been doing some funny new things lately – pointing at everything, saying “dada” “mama” & “baba”, grabbing his hair with his yucky food fingers during meals, and running around everywhere on his own two feet. He’s obsessed with the backyard – especially butterflies and bougainvillea blooms, and turns ONE on Tuesday!

It sounds like we’re heading to a work thing for Mike on Saturday, but other than that, we’ve got not a thing going on. We’re planning to get Charlie (and us) a family membership to the Zoo for his birthday next week, so I’m thinking we might make a little early birthday trip there this weekend. Charlie’s at just the right age to start looking at all the animals.

Mike was in Denver for a bachelor party last weekend – solo mommy all weekend eek! But we survived! I’m just looking forward to being two parent strong this weekend, getting Charlie’s few birthday presents wrapped, and whipping him up a Halloween costume.

What are you looking forward to this weekend? Something wonderful, I hope!

xx, em

baby in a tin, a note on being resourceful.

Who needs a baby pool anyway? This first weekend of summer break was too, too good. I’m feeling all sorts of happiness about it. The first weekend is important, you know? It sets the stage for the whole summer. And it’s going to be a good one – I can feel it in my bones. How could it not be, with this kid?The heat and humidity swooped in with a vengeance this weekend, so I pulled the little tin beer cooler out of our outdoor side table, gave it a good wipe, filled it to the brim with the hose, moved it to a shady spot (all talk of not hanging out under the mango tree aside 😂) and tucked Charlie in it to splash away to his heart’s content. When I pulled him out thirty minutes later, happy & tired, I wrapped him and his wrinkly toes in a big striped beach towel. He took a solid two hour afternoon nap after that. Such goodness! Just love this little man so much. So, moral of the story? You don’t need to buy a thing to have summer fun. Running water? Something, anything to hold it in? You’re good! Or really pull out all the stops and hook up your hose to a sprinkler – or even just a sprayer head. No need to go out and buy anything. Although you certainly can if you so fancy! Find summer fun around you wherever you are! I’m finding that Charlie doesn’t care (nor I!) one bit if something is new, old or found. He loves his new shaker toy as much as the little Tupperware I filled with rice. And clearly he loves the tin as much as a baby pool 😊. But let’s be honest – I’m reeeeelly excited to put him in a real pool when we’re home in Indiana next week!! The tin was such a sweet solution for a hot, humid Florida day, but nothing beats the real thing. Just a note to remind (mostly myself) that money need not be spent for summer fun! ☺️

happiest of summer breaks.

Just popping in to say that it’s officially summer break over here at the Metroka house! I go back on Monday to turn in my school keys and to have lunch with my teacher friends, but Charlie’s tagging along for the day so it hardly counts as a work day. ☺️

Mike is at a golf outing for the day, so Charlie and I are making lists and mango bread, plotting out our summer plans. The real fun begins next week with a visit gulfside to see our sweet college friends, then up to Chicago home to Indiana to see friends and family. There’s a tightness of excitement building in my chest! I have a feeling this summer is going to go by in the blink of an eye with a million memories to keep! These are the days and we’re going to make the absolute most of them!!

the friday post – vol. 12

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Ahhhhh Friday! And ONE WEEK LEFT OF SCHOOL! I could not be more thrilled. I had my last classes in the library today (movie week!), and it feels good. Even if you work a “regular” job, I’m sure you’re celebrating this Friday especially because hello long weekend! We don’t have anything special planned which will make it feel even more relaxing.

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It’s been so rainy lately that we have these sweet little mushrooms popping up all over the garden! The rain has been fantastic for my herbs and the grass, but not great for our enjoyment of the great outdoors. It’s raining as I write this and I’m feeling like this weekend may be a cozy and peaceful one with pitter pattering on our rooftop.

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I made Ina’s chicken parmesan this week with a side of garlic bread from my loaf of no-knead bread. It was especially good. Mike emphatically stands that it’s not really chicken parmesan because it doesn’t have a red sauce. He thinks it’s really just a salad with breaded chicken which is totally fair. But still delicious. I had this recipe on the menu this week for my *new* recipe, but we didn’t get around to it because of a few extra after school events! It’s getting shifted to next week and I’m still excited about it.

It’s officially rosé wine season, and I have jumped right on the bandwagon with my whole heart. So refreshing! Such an easy summer bevvie! I want to try this recipe for rosé sangria which sounds amazing. I may just have to host a happy hour so I can try it. 🙂

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Everything is blooming around us right now! Trees, flowers, bushes! I don’t know why, but I feel like I’m noticing all of it especially much this year. We had our jasmine vine on the front porch in bloom a couple weeks ago, and now it’s the roses. What’s next, I don’t know!

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I’m so looking forward to a quiet weekend at home with my two boys (plus Wendy) , lots of snuggling, too many belly laughs, and happy hours every night. 🙂 What are you looking forward to this weekend? Something wonderful, I hope!

xx, em

the show i’ve been waiting a year for.

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I read about pbs’s new show in July of last year, and I’ve been ticking off days on my calendar! The Great American Read finally debuted Tuesday night on pbs, and it was everything I had hoping for and more. Okay, okay. I did fall asleep about halfway through. It was two hours long! It’s hard for a tired schoolgirl mama to stay up that long! The list of 100 will be talked about in episodes over the next months, and voting will determine the number one Great American Read. I think it’s so fun! I love book hype.

I printed the list off in checklist form the other day so I could track what I had and hadn’t read. I’m embarrassed to say that I’d read not even half of the books. Some of the books included surprised me! The Notebook!Gone Girl! FIFTY SHADES OF GREY!!? THE best?? I just don’t know. Harry Potter though – my number one as of right now. What do you think? You can vote for as many books as often as you want, and I’ve already gone in to vote for five or six. I haven’t even read them all, so it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around which one is going to be the best! I need to get reading this summer. 🙂 I may just have to do a few re-readings too! I’m trying to talk Mike into a couple’s book club with me, but I might have more luck convincing my mom of a mother-daughter club. Right, mom?

If you missed it – you can watch for free online here!

first mother’s day.

My heart is so full after the sweetest weekend with my two boys. I’m feeling spoiled!

Mike sent me off to have my nails done on Saturday while he snuck to the store with Charlie to pick up groceries for the most delicious Mother’s Day dinner. I’m fairly no frills when it comes to self-care, but getting pedicures is my guilty little pleasure. I only go if Mike sets it up for me for a special occasion or if my mom is in town. 🙂 The last time I got a pedicure, I was 42 weeks pregnant (natural induction attempt 548), so it was such a thoughtful treat. Saturday night we went out for ice cream on the beach with the happiest baby on earth. I had blueberry, Mike, salted caramel. We shared little bites with Charlie and he would’ve eaten the whole cup if we had let him! Rain fell all through the day on Sunday so after Facetimes with both of our moms, we headed to the Norton Museum of Art, our favorite rainy day outing. Charlie’s first visit! He wore his Eric Carle “I Love Mom” hungry caterpillar shirt and everyone commented on what a handsome, sweet boy we have which warmed my mama heart. The Norton is undergoing some major renovations, so open now are only a couple wings of their permanent art collections. The perfect size for a six month old art newbie, and a nice no-fuss outing for our little family. It was my one Mother’s Day request since it clearly was not panning out to be a beach day. Our dinner was amazing. We had an appetizer of shrimp with St. Elmo’s cocktail sauce. Mike made the steak on the cast iron skillet (rain!) and it was so so tender that I think it may be our new favorite way to make steak rather than the grill. Asparagus, smashed red potatoes, and mushrooms cooked in butter topped it all off. My mouth is still watering. And the best part? I didn’t lift a finger. Mike did it all while I played on the floor with our little man and drank my wine. 🙂 Best Mother’s Day ever. The first of what I hope will be many homemade Mother’s Day gifts. 🙂 I hope each and every mom was spoiled rotten on Sunday. You deserve it!

the friday post – vol. 11

Oops. It’s a Saturday post again, isn’t it? Oh well! I was enjoying my post work cocktails too much to muster up the energy to post last night. I made a blueberry simple syrup from Charlie’s leftover baby food and mixed that with torn basil, a wedge of lemon, vodka and soda water. It gave me new life. Happy Mother’s Day weekend you guys! Godmothers, Mothers, Grandmothers, etc. you all rock! Mikey (sweetest man alive, have I mentioned that?) made me an appointment to have my toes done today. I feel like a new woman! It’s been such a good weekend already.

Charlie is seriously on the move now. His scoot has turned into this little crawl with kind of a bum leg that kind of scoots along with him. He’s all over the house! We really have to keep our eye on him – especially because he has an endless fascination with electrical cords and all things Wendy (her food, her toys, her tail). Three weeks left of school! Next week is book fair so it’s going to be a little crazy in the library. The kids love book fair so so much though so it’ll be fun. I put up little string ball lights on the front porch this morning and am just tickled by them. They’re so festive. I tried to capture a picture but it just doesn’t do it justice. I’ll have to try again at dusk. Have an amazing Mother’s Day weekend all! I only wish I could be with my own mom this weekend for Mother’s Day. Then it would be complete. But a FaceTime will have to make do this year.

make time to go outside.

ac983487-c73f-497a-aa50-89acf3e740e3It’s been a hectic couple of weeks at our house. Last weekend was full of friends and extra happenings which carried over to this week. There are just phases like that, you know? Weekday grocery runs, broken glasses, morning work events, lizards in the kitchen, diaper issues. I won’t go into details, but phew it’s been a week!

We’ve always been lovers of walks. They’re so good for the soul. But the last couple weeks we’ve fallen out of our nightly walk habit. And because of it, I feel like we haven’t had time to really catch up with each other. I mentioned it to Mike earlier this week, and the last two nights we’ve made time to go outside. Just a little walk around the block to the water with Charlie in his stroller. There’s something about walking next to each other outside that takes conversation to the next level. We’re so much more likely to dig deep and talk things through for real rather than if we were sitting at home. It just gives me a little sigh of relief at the end of an extra busy day.

There are tons of studies that show spending time outdoors reduces stress, increases creativity, and causes a shift toward more positive moods. I know I feel so much more connected and relaxed after a daily constitutional around the block. So this is just a little reminder to make time for yourselves to go outside and run, bike, walk or just sit. You’ll feel better afterward! And guess what? If you have a baby – they’ll feel better too! Going outside can actually help them sleep longer and better at night.