simple joys: fresh flowers.

Yesterday was a gloomy and gray day in Florida. Ben and I ventured out to the veggie market in the morning for a change of scenery after two cups of coffee and an hour of baby talk. Tucked into the baby wrap, he quietly looked around at all the bins of fresh produce with mouth agape, no interest in his binky (unfortunately, a common theme). We settled on a bunch of yellowing bananas and a pint of fresh raspberries for Charlie’s meals the rest of the week.

Then, we made our way over to the tomato tables, squeezing past other shoppers in the narrow aisles, shooting smiles at those craning their necks to get a peek at Ben. The Florida tomatoes are at their best right now. Deep red and shining, you just know that they’re going to have that distinct fresh summer taste when sliced. We needed two for BLTs tonight (one for munching on with a grind of salt during dinner prep and one for the sandwiches). I picked the best of the pile that I could find after looking them over, as one does, smiling at the small woman across from me doing the same. My hands were getting full, but I couldn’t resist adding a pint of heirloom cherry tomatoes for salads. The colors were too pretty. I scurried over to the checkout counter before anything dropped.

A kind lady crooned over Ben’s little face curiously (and still quietly, thank goodness!) peeking out from his cocoon on my chest while waiting in line. She marveled over his one month old status (So alert! Well, he was a little late so he’s very awake to the world. So big! He was 9 pounds at birth! So lucky to have him! Agreed on that.)

We left with our bag of goodies, but I just couldn’t resist walking down to the flower market just two buildings over. And it’s tulip season! Tulips are my favorite spring flower and they just don’t grow here. Ditto for hydrangeas, daffodils, ranunculus, poppies and all the other beautiful spring flowers that I love. A bunch of tulips were just the thing to liven up the kitchen table this week. Ben and I went into the cooler to hunt down the perfect bunch and found this shy shade of pink near the back. Isn’t it pretty?

Do you ever buy fresh flowers? For some, it’s a weekly treat and it just may become mine too. Okay, okay, not every week (my husband sighs in relief). But maybe now and then. It’s brightening up our house and my mood immensely every time my eye falls on them. Just another simple little joy to be grateful for today!

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!!

simple joys: reading in bed

IMG_8783.JPG

In the spirit of celebrating life’s simple joys, you’ll find a new series here every now and then. Every day, we are left with the vast responsibility of our feelings – both good and bad, positive and negative. I’m hoping this series will help bring focus to the small, simple things that bring joy and happiness to my everyday life, and maybe yours too! I hope they might inspire you {and me} to look at your little life in the big world with a fresh perspective, realizing how nice it is to be positive, and perhaps to appreciate the ritual of making your morning oatmeal, or that ray of sun coming through your window just so, even the beauty of your empty *empty!!* laundry basket. Maybe – over time – we’ll see that there’s a certain kind of satisfaction in noticing that the daisy sitting on your coffee table really is beautiful, and you really are so lucky to have it hanging out in your house. And even if you do inadvertently walk through a spider web with your face while taking the dog out, your coffee really does taste amazing this morning…


I had nearly forgotten that I used to religiously read in bed each night. Then, this weekend, Mike came in with the mail and handed me a rumpled manila envelope with my name on it. Tucked inside the package was a book. A pass along from my mom who knew I had badly been wanting to read Little Fires Everywhere. Joy of all joys! How does one forget that they used to do something religiously for 29 years of their life? It was as natural to me as breathing. I simply could not happily fall asleep unless I read a chapter before bed. Physically I could, that is. But I was happier and would go to sleep with ease if I read a chapter of my book while settling in for the night.

Well, the valid explanation is that Mike and I welcomed a baby into our life who upended everything about our nights. And so my chapter a night habit took an almost six month hiatus because of the baby slumbering next to our bed each night. I loved having Charlie in our room, tucked in his little bassinet. Or even better, tucked in between us in bed. I loved hearing him breathe in and out, even as a metronome, and being right there next to him to nurse him through the night when he stirred. It was time to move him over to his crib though. He sleeps so much better with room to roll over and sleep on his belly or side if he wants to. He stirs and settles himself. But it still gives me little jolt of sadness to think about him in the room down the hall when he used to live right with us night after night. But just a little jolt. Maybe it’s a jolt of nostalgia rather than sadness. If I’m honest, we’re all sleeping better with him in his crib. It was time.

Reflecting on it now, the first couple weeks of crib sleep were a little tense for me. I was torn over wanting him to continue waking up through the night to show that he still needed me, and wanting him to sleep well so that he could get the sleep he needed. The whole wanting your baby to stay a baby, I guess. He’s to the point of sleeping through the night every now and then (two nights in a row this week!) which is a good thing. I’m coming to terms with the end of night wakings. I may be the minority, but I’ve always known that I would miss them when they ended. The snuggling of a sweet baby when the rest of world is asleep just can’t be beat. But our nights are starting to feel a little more like they did before we had Charlie. We have a routine down. Mostly. There are, of course, some nights that are exceptions. But it feels like now, nights (after 7:30pm) are steering back to being about Mike and spending time together, rather than the stress of if Charlie would or wouldn’t wake up. They’re also steering back toward going to bed a few minutes early so I can read my chapter in bed.

I forgot what a peaceful end to the day it is. Just a few pages to settle me down, to quiet my mind and move on from the day. Having a light on in the bedroom at night seems like such a luxury! Finding my pajamas when I’m going to bed instead of at 7pm when I’m starting to get Charlie ready. Flinging the covers off the bed, cracking open my book, turning a page as loud as I’d like, setting my glass of water down on the side table after taking a noisy drink, saying ‘night and I love you’s aloud to my husband. Ah! Luxury! Simple joys here. Its a simple joy to have – getting to read in bed. A thing I have loved all my life, and am remembering to love again.