Bartos family, faith, Planning, Thoughts

an attempt at tzom kal

This Sunday ends the “three sad weeks” between tzom Tammuz and tisha b’Av. Have to say I’m ready to get back to normal life! This particular area of Judaism spans a wide range, both in Jewish and Messianic practice, ranging from no observance to a list of limitations that grow increasingly strict as the ninth of Av approaches. Personally I think it’s kind of a choose-your-own-adventure. For us, we’ve developed a structure for our family that limits our enjoyment (shopping, partying, traveling, swimming, and movies, for example) during this time in order to join with Israel in mourning over Zion and praying for the swift return of Messiah.

Continue reading “an attempt at tzom kal”

Bartos family, Berries, Planning

passports for kids: a quick & easy guide

We submitted passport applications for all four of our children this week. Our next adventure is on the horizon: we came up with the idea to “reward” the kids for their amazing work on our state park goal with a trip to Canada! Our first international trip will be to attend a little friend’s bat mitzvah in Ontario this November. It’s a surprise for the berries, so don’t tell them! I’m hoping we can pack up and leave in the morning as if it’s a normal park trip, but then we keep going… all day… (ha)

The passport process can be a little overwhelming, not to mention costly. We learned a few things along the way, which I’ll outline here as a resource for other families. Continue reading “passports for kids: a quick & easy guide”

Bartos family, Planning, travel

if you had one day in the outer banks…

Here’s our “Bartos Family Travel Guide” for the Kitty Hawk/Roanoke Island area:


Go on a Wild Horse Adventure tour! We had a fantastic experience with this company. The cost is completely worth it (and we saved $$$ by booking the first tour of the day, 7.30am). They use a customized Hummer H1, with wide comfortable seats, including boosters for kids. Eva and Aaron Henry used their own car seats for the tour. It’s a little bumpy going over tire tracks on the sand but we felt safe! The Spanish mustangs are beautiful wild horses and it’s amazing to see them out on the beach.Β  Continue reading “if you had one day in the outer banks…”

Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Planning

no place like home

We bought a house today. {!!!}

After a few months of searching, we found an adorable little house in the heart of Indian Trail {Union County} and made an offer on it. The negotiations concluded this morning as we signed the deed, becoming homeowners for the first time! We are thrilled at how perfectly this worked out – our apartment lease is up in a few weeks, and we are ready to transition our family into a new home. Baruch HaShem for His direction and provision every step of the way!
Time to start packing…


Baby, Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Planning, Squicciarini family, Wedding

paddle boarding

stand-up paddle boarding on the Catawba River

Recently I’ve heard some attachment-parenters {I’m not one, but I have a few good friends who are} talk about the incredible bond they have with their babies, from co-sleeping, baby-wearing, and demand-feeding… and I want to note, for the record, that I have a pretty terrific bond with my own little girl! Sophia has never slept in my bed, and I don’t wear her in a sling all day long, but she’s absolutely a mommy’s girl. We LOVE to spend time together! She is just getting to the point of being affectionate, starting to give little hugs and wet nibbles that could pass for kisses. There are moments when I want to pick her up the second she starts fussing, or rock her to sleep every night, but in the end I have to do what I think is best for her. So far we can’t complain about the results! She’s the happiest baby I’ve ever seen – one that rarely cries, sings to us all the time, and always has a grin for strangers. I think the first big test of our parenting will come in the next few years though!

Week at a glance:

:: whisked Greg away for a birthday trip to the whitewater center {the longest we’ve ever left Sophia – my super babysitters watched her for over 5 hours!}… felt like we were newlyweds again {grin}

:: played ‘hide and seek’ with Sophia… she found a hiding place under the pillow where I could “find” her {hug!}

:: RSVP’d for a hugely important wedding on October 25

:: hosted a Bible study in my home {doing the book of Matthew from a Hebraic perspective with some wonderful ladies}

:: made wild blueberry & pecan granola with Mary

:: spent a typically productive evening with Grandma {my mom} – catching up, eating dinner, fixing the washing machine, & making baby food!

:: tested out a few veggie purees with Sophia… she’s a big fan of banana but doesn’t care for peas {yet!}

:: looked at more houses {we have some great possibilities!} and actually met with our realtor on Friday!

:: had a spontaneous family pizza date! + a visit to the brand-new Whole Foods

:: continued planning Julianna’s bridal shower {!!!}

:: met Christine at the renovated Stallings Park for walking + fiber-filled berry smoothies

:: had a pleasantly impromptu visit from Julianna in the middle of Shabbat preparations {the usual exchange: she brought me ginger-infused artisan muesli & trifle ingredients; I gave her an empty tupperware & a borrowed cookbook}

:: yet to come: hosting a new couple for dinner {Lori + Taylor} and then a quiet Shabbat by ourselves ~


Baby, Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Planning, Thoughts


Still pregnant.

Alternating between wild elation {ANY DAY NOW!!!} and depressed frustration {WHY is it taking so long to have this baby?!} on a day to day basis. Maintaining a stable emotional level is not as easy as one might think at 41 weeks of pregnancy. Even though, really, I know this little berry will come at just the right time, the uncertainty is still tough! Especially when we have to start talking about options for how to proceed next week {41 weeks + 5 days is the unofficial cut off}.

Waiting is actually incredibly helpful… I’m so ridiculously excited about meeting this baby girl that I’ll be thrilled when labor starts, instead of nervously anticipating the pain ahead. {grin}

Greg used the expression “single parents” to refer to us recently, as in “This could be the last party we go to as single parents!” which I thought was hilarious, since we’re married… and it ended up being hard to describe our current state! Childless parents doesn’t work, because we kind of have a child… and a married couple is close, but technically we’ll always be a married couple… so we gave up and decided it doesn’t really matter anyway. {grin}

Ready for a quiet day tomorrow, savoring peaceful moments with my wonderful husband…


I shall thank Adonai wholeheartedly, for I have completed nine months of pregnancy, and Adonai has thus far helped me and rescued me from evil mishaps that can strike a pregnant woman and her fetus. O Beneficent One, Whose compassions are never exhausted, I therefore beseech You for mercy that You sustain and support me when Raspberry comes to be born, and grant me strength when I give birth to her. Please Adonai! Sustain me that I may be saved, preserve me from sorrows, such that the baby emerge from me for peace, life, and relief. May there not be in her nor in any of her limbs any damage or deficit – neither mishap nor happenstance, neither illness nor affliction, neither pangs nor pain, neither plague nor sickness. Prepare milk in my breasts to nurse her, and grant me the favor of raising her for Your service and Your reverence.Β 

Adonai, hear my voice when I call, be gracious to me and answer me. Hear, Adonai, and favor me; Adonai, be my Helper! May the expressions of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart find favor before You, Adonai, my Rock and my Redeemer.

-Artscroll Ohel Sarah Women’s Siddur, p. 1005, my adaption

Baby, Greg & Morgan, Planning, Squicciarini family


Still waiting… {grin}

Finished my labor book today! It has a bunch of visually motivating pictures, with room for journaling thoughts during labor if I feel like it. A huge thank you to Julianna, Christine, and my mother-in-law Jeannine Bartos for showing they cared by taking the time to select + contribute pictures for me! Meanwhile, Mary has made me a 4-part playlist on iTunes, starting with energizing songs for the initial stage of labor and concluding with sweet, softer music for when the berry meets us. {!}

The amazingly friendly people at Trader Joe’s have sent me a lovely pink orchid in celebration of Raspberry! {via Julianna, who has been doing my grocery shopping} LOVE it!

Spending the rest of this evening with my darling husband, still just the two of us…