Personal, Squicciarini family, Thoughts

like mother like daughter

In honor of my mother’s birthday this week, I’ve compiled a list of ten ways I have become a small version of her.

  1. My favorite place to store things is the trash can.
  2. I can’t walk into the kitchen without picking up the sponge.
  3. I tell Sophia, “You have to make your own fun.”
  4. My house is filled with soft neutrals.
  5. I drive a Honda Odyssey.*
  6. Napping has become impossible, since the minute I lay down a giant to-do list pops into my head and the only option is to get up and get back to work.
  7. I have become very picky about the quality of food I eat.
  8. My toddler is in training to take over many of the household chores. Like, next year.
  9. Boo-boos are met with “Is it bleeding? No? You’re fine.”
  10. I now shop at Talbots and other stores that are friendly to women who are Not Teenagers Anymore.


*I used to poke fun at my mother’s driving. She’s known for going a few miles below the speed limit, and never swerving from the right lane even if she ends up behind an old pickup going 35. I now find myself doing the same thing. How could I not?? For one thing, I didn’t take into account that driving a minivan is a whole lot different than zipping around in a Beetle. And the children’s safety is in my hands! So I now also stick to the right lane and let the traffic gallop by.

Baby, Bartos family, Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Squicciarini family

fall is here

{two} Weeks at a glance:

  • celebrated Simchat Torah by reading the entire Torah in one evening {1 hour, 3 mins!} with our wonderful community! {for a fantastic review, check out this post}
  • continued Passion & Purity with Mary and the Matthews Bible study with my Matthews ladies {!}
  • attended a bachelorette party for Julianna {BY MYSELF!! – Greg was home with the berry}, hosted by Christine & Mary at the “Squicciarini Urban Farm + Theater” …watched Father of the Bride & enjoyed my first cup of hot cocoa this season {yay for winter!}
  • made my annual visit to Matthews Historic Cemetery for my grandmother’s yahrzeit, along with Mums + the girls… there is a beautiful prayer in the siddur that we read at the gravesite, followed by teatime back at home. It was emotional to bring Sophia for the first time, almost as if I were introducing her… and I have been thinking about expanding our yahrzeit tradition as there are more grandchildren, over the next few years.
  • relaxing Erev Shabbat dinner at The Residence with my family, Ana Sochia, Jonathan Upham, Johnnie May, his daughter Gabby, and Jennie Gonzalez {I brought Giada’s mushroom crostada, always a hit}
  • Sophia’s first “kid” activity!!! My baby went with a group of Bella Torah children -without me!- to christen Josh & Julianna’s new {empty} apartment with a visit {I was told she listened respectfully to Uncle Joshua’s Bible teaching and behaved herself quite well}
  • helped friends & family move Josh & Julianna into their apartment + Isaac into his new townhouse, complete with two mezuzah-hangings afterward…
  • hosted a SURPRISE lingerie shower for Julianna on Rosh Chodesh Heshvan… a huge thank-you to Angela Voskuil & Rachel Allison for helping me put the party together! We nibbled on strawberries & Godiva truffles, sipped chocolate wine, opened {gorgeous!} gifts, and played a fabulous game of lingerie Taboo… so much fun!
  • visited Ana Sochia for cinnamon tea + Irish oatmeal and a fascinating story about her life
  • escorted by my dashing husband to Julianna’s rehearsal –> dinner… first down to Rock Hill to see the stunning wedding venue {Brakefield at Riverwalk} and then on to Georges Brasserie in Southpark for an absolutely delicious dinner of fresh trout! {Amelia Perez was kind enough to berrysit all evening for us}
  • visited Bartoast {Greg’s parents} for brunch with Aunt Julie & Uncle Jim… I brought Aran Goyoaga’s delicious toasted muesli, and we had a delightful time catching up + a walk in the neighborhood
  • dropped in on the CCMC birthday party to see my dear friend Jackie, meet her daughter & grandson, swap baby clothes, and show off my beautiful Sophia {grin}… also had the chance to meet Greg’s new business associate, Eric Fransen
  • yet to come: wedding week!


Baby, Bartos family, Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Squicciarini family

beach baby

Madison sent me a bunch of pictures from our visit to KY in July, and seeing them brought back fun memories of being there. {hello, Hacketts!} I haven’t seen Madison since then, but I’m hoping she is able to visit for Julianna’s wedding NEXT MONTH and stay with me again!

So… guess where the Bartos family is?! The beach! We are spending a few days at Myrtle Beach, and heading back to Charlotte on Sunday, just in time to pick up some fresh fish and celebrate Rosh HaShanah with friends! There was a lot to pack for this trip, even with just one baby. I have a whole new appreciation for my mom’s hard work in packing our family up to spend a week at Ocean Isle every summer! I think the carefree beach days are gone, but they’ve been replaced by responsibility, efficiency, and a firm intention to savor each moment here.

So far, Sophia LOVES the lazy river and the heated pool. She is curious about the ocean and determined to taste a handful of sand. She does not like Martin’s Restaurant.

Week at a glance: 

  • watched Singin’ in the Rain with Greg {a feature film, quite rare for us}… had the songs stuck in my head for days
  • joined the Improving Birth rally on Labor Day to protest the unnecessary number of inductions and c-sections in the US. Our first demonstration… so much fun! besides waving signs outside Presbyterian Hospital, we got to catch up with Jackie Kuschner!
  • purchased a Beaba Babycook on Craigslist… continued giving Sophia tiny amounts of pureed veggies at dinner time
  • had a celebratory dinner with the Squicciarini family of grilled kosher sausages: not sure if we were celebrating Labor Day or Peter’s return from almost a week in Tacoma, WA
  • made Tyler Florence’s Berry Trifle for the first time, with some assistance from Mary
  • played a small part in hosting Julianna’s lovely bridal shower at Laura Guido’s home {got a turquoise Cuisinart immersion blender for Julianna, one of my favorite kitchen tools!}
  • spent a delightful afternoon with my cousin Sarah Stelzl {& received a delicious homemade gluten-free pumpkin pie from her!}
  • went out to dinner with the extended Squicciarini clan {the fam + Josh & Isaac} at one of their favorite places, Arooji’s Ristorante in Southpark
  • hosted an informal birthday dinner for Greg’s dad {Jet’s Pizza}
  • spent a Shabbat day with the Bella Torah Community, then came home and read all of Howard Rutledge’s book “In The Presence Of Mine Enemies” {an inspiring POW account} with Greg
  • celebrated our first Grandparents Day with Sophia’s first art project! We used ink pads to make cards with her handprints, and delivered them to Grandpa & Nonni in Fort Mill and Grandpa & Grandma in Matthews {thank you for the reminder, Mrs. Martin!}
  • discussed conspiracy theories {9/11?} with Pete… saw a few eye-opening YouTube videos
  • randomly saw Julianna at the new Whole Foods, did the 2nd Matthew lesson with my little Bible Study group, took Sophia to Southpark Mall for a quick errand, and… packed for the beach!
  • drove to Wilmington in search of a gluten-free sweet cinnamon bread for Rosh HaShanah {mission: successful}
  • shopped the Tanger Outlets and got Greg a few pairs of socks at Clarks {he couldn’t resist their lifetime warranty}
  • yet to come: an afternoon on the beach and a quiet Shabbat by ourselves – can’t wait!


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

paddle boarding date


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 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 a happy baby, one that rarely cries, sings to us all the time, and always has a grin for strangers. I think the big tests 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

:: 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 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 + 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


Bartos family, Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Squicciarini family

happy birthday gregory!

Last Saturday started with a surprise birthday breakfast for Greg, and ended with a surprise birthday party that night! A crowd of friends burst into our apartment shouting happy birthday, carrying a gift {striped fedora}, a cake {amaretto cheesecake made by Chef Julianna}, a card {signed by everyone}, a balloon {“Happy Birthday from ALL of us!”}, a snack {one of Greg’s favorites, Mike & Ike’s}, and an appropriately fun toy {kazoos}. Greg couldn’t have been more shocked! After we distributed cake and iced coffee, Peter and Jonathan performed a brilliant song parody they had written in honor of Greg’s birthday, based on Matisyahu’s “Jerusalem” – it was amazing!

A huge thank you to my sisters for planning such a fun addition to our Saturday night study {good idea, Christine!}, to Pete and Jonathan for their creative tribute to Greg, and to my parents for their special appearance here to celebrate with us! “Surprise” was definitely the word of the day.

Happy Birthday, sweetheart. I love you so much!


Baby, Greg & Morgan, Squicciarini family, Thoughts

preparing for baby: 1 week to go

Well, I’m 39 weeks pregnant today. {!!} That’s more accurate than saying “1 week to go” because we all know babies rarely appear on their due dates. However, my husband generously took the day off from work next Sunday to spend it with me, so it would be pretty convenient if Raspberry was born on schedule.

In the last three days, I’ve had the following comments from strangers:

“Don’t have that baby right here!” {while walking in the park}
“You’re all baby!”
“That baby’s ready to come!”
“Must be pretty close – you’ve definitely dropped!”

Thinking back over the pregnancy, I have to marvel at how truly wonderful it has been and praise G-d for that! I’m amazed at how He has taken care of me along the way. It has literally been the perfect pregnancy: every single check-up was a good report about my blood pressure, weight, and health + Raspberry’s heartbeat, size, and position. The nausea I had in the first couple of weeks was so slight I can’t even bring myself to complain about it, and since then only two “issues” have come up: the first was when a test of my hemoglobin came back surprisingly low at the end of December, and we needed to quickly bring it up in the last two months {I’ve been taking a few supplements, with absolutely no bad side effects or problems absorbing the iron, and my last blood test showed a safe hemoglobin level!}; the second issue was a sudden onset of sciatica in the middle of January, which lasted exactly two weeks and then left as abruptly as it started {I can only assume the berry was shifting positions around that time}. Although sciatica was tough to deal with, in G-d’s timing it coincided with Madison Hackett’s visit here, and I think we developed a deeper bond as friends because of how supportive + encouraging she was as I hobbled around. So that was really a blessing!

Speaking of Madison, we have decided {after careful consideration} to give her the position of an honorary aunt for Raspberry. So the berry has Aunt Julianna, Aunt Christine, Aunt Mary, Aunt Adriah, and Aunt Madison. Five! That’s a bunch.

Anyway, I don’t know why the whole experience has been so good… perhaps this is G-d’s encouragement to have more children. Or maybe the hardest part is yet to come. Greg is SO excited about the actual birth – he has been eagerly reading The Birth Partner and Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way in preparation for his important role. As I start to get nervous, he is growing more confident. Again, this seems part of G-d’s plan. Greg is just the right person to get me and my famous “low pain tolerance” through the physically demanding work of natural childbirth.


In breaking news, my parents just called to say they bought a pack n’ play {Eddie Bauer, of course}. Rumor has it Julianna will be crashing on the couch while her bedroom is turned into a nursery for the grandchild/ren.

Baby, Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Squicciarini family

preparing for baby: 2 weeks to go

38 weeks today! I am happy to announce Raspberry Bartos is a full term baby now. She can arrive whenever… let me emphasize that, whenever she feels ready. Basically any day now. I have started to give her little pep talks about coming out into the world.

It looks like she is going to be larger than we thought – my baby bump has grown significantly in the last 2 weeks! Leigh measured it this past Wednesday at my appointment. Mums came with me this time to see the birth center and meet my two midwives, Leigh and Jackie.

The little berry had her first encounter with the second amendment today… we attended a 9-hour class to get our concealed carry weapons permit. Though I don’t currently own a handgun, Greg thought we should take advantage of the opportunity to get our permits together. It was excellent, entirely due to our instructor, Joe Balich! Highly recommend his class. The only part I haven’t done yet is the actual practice {proficiency test}, because we didn’t want to scare Raspberry with gunshots.