Baby, Personal

aaron henry bartos

My son was born on June 18 at 2.17am. He is just as sweet and easygoing as I imagined a third child would be. He has brown eyes, a big appetite, and a smile that absolutely melts my heart.

He is named after his father, Gregory Aaron, as well as Aaron {the first High Priest, brother of Moses} found in the Bible, and after my grandfather Henry. We have a video clip from Aaron’s dedication service on the Bella Torah podcast.

This pregnancy was harder than the past two. I looked the same as I always do – a basketball shaped bump, except you could fit about five basketballs in my bump. The usual aches and pains just seemed worse this time around. Could have been because we had three children in four years, I guess! I’m hoping to give my body a little break now, and push myself to work out more consistently, to gain back some core strength.

Aaron Henry is 7 months now, starting on solids and close to crawling. He knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to ask for it! His older sisters adore him, and of course, so do I.

=)

Baby, Bartos family, Squicciarini family

dedication

In Your loving arms we layย this wordless one so new…
The incarnation of our loveย we dedicate to You.
-Michael Card

Last month we had a dedication service for Zoe with our community, at my parents’ house. I wanted to mention it on here so I could record what we said about Zoe’s name. We have given both of our girls a short explanation of what their name means and why we chose it.

Continue reading “dedication”

Baby, Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Thoughts

january {2013}

since Hanukkah…

  1. my exceptionally talented brother has released his second album, to great acclaim. If you don’t have it yet, what are you waiting for?! {click here for more details} Which reminds me, Pete’s blog is amazing. I’ve almost decided to stop writing and just read what he comes up with. His posts can be pretty deep – even Sophia doesn’t always understand them. Take a look at www.petersquicciarini.com and see what you think.
  2. we moved! Our worldly possessions {which turned out to be quite a bit more sizable than we thought} have been transferred from Haven Ridge Lane in Charlotte to our new residence on Lauren Drive in Indian Trail, thanks to our fabulous Bella Torah community. So here we are, in our mid-twenties, owning a house! {technically, I suppose we own a part of it, for now} I absolutely love our new home. It’s an endearing little place, asking politely to be taken care of. The outside is a cheerful yellow; the inside is full of wallpapered borders. Sophia has her own room {for now, as my mother-in-law would say with a wink}, Greg has space to work, and I sometimes get lost in the kitchen because it’s so large. The only part left of moving in is to hang our mezuzah, which we plan to do before the end of January.
  3. my grandfather turned 75! The entire family {core Squicciarini group + Bartos segment + Spurlock segment + Alexander segment} went to Vero Beach, FL to celebrate with him! The memories I have from this trip are wonderful. I can still hardly believe we were all there! The night we arrived, we had a surprise birthday party for Poppop at the Grand Harbor club. It was a huge success! {click here for the video of his entrance, courtesy of my uncle Adam Berlin.} Kudos to Nana on an incredible job planning the party and coordinating the details of our visit. Greg & I stayed for a few days, enjoyed every moment with my grandparents, used their hot tub as much as possible, and even took a drive down to Pompano Beach to see Greg’s grandma one day.
  4. 2013 has started! Wow. It’s the year my baby berry turns 1. The year Christine gets married. The year my parents celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. And much more, of course. We “rang in the new year” with a mellow soiree at Isaac’s townhouse followed by a black & white movie at home… since we are no longer frivolous Young Things but responsible parents.
  5. we’re doing the Whole30 challenge through January! We were inspired by Christine and Isaac, who carefully researched this plan and put a lot of thought into determining they would do it. {“Planning and Preparation Are Key,” the Whole Nine website announces.} We, on the other hand, jumped into it hastily with great enthusiasm but little forethought, resulting in a few oddly mismatched lunches and some moments of panic at breakfast time. However, I’m happy to report we’re almost halfway through the challenge now and going strong! After a trip to Costco and several runs to Trader Joe’s, our fridge is brimful with fresh veggies and meat. The Whole30 plan cuts out sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, and chemicals {very similar to the paleo plan}. It focuses on vegetables and protein, with fruit and nuts in a minor role. I think it’s going to be a great “reset” for our family! So far, I’ve had the chance to explore new cooking methods, like making a balsamic vinegar reduction and creating my own pecan butter {yummy!}. The new diet has been an adjustment for Sophia as well… in terms of nursing, like switching from caramel frappuccinos to straight black coffee, I suspect. We’ll see how the rest of the month goes! I expect to be zipping around town with tons of energy and radiating good health.

=)

Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Squicciarini family, Wedding

wedding week {Julianna}

So. My sister Julianna got married last week. {!!} Still somewhat hard to believe. She and her husband, my brother-in-law Joshua Spurlock, are honeymooning in the city of love this week… and once they return, there will officially be two of us in what is becoming a select group of married Squicciarini girls who live in tiny homes a few miles from the Family Residence.

A review of the wedding week from my perspective as Sister Of The Bride

+ Sunday kicked things off with brunch for the ladies at 1pm {“bird’s nests” + baked brie}. The berry sat on my lap and happily sampled egg yolk, just like one of the big girls. We went up to Southpark Mall for a shopping spree afterward where I got headbands for both of us {Sophia: Nordstrom; moi: LOFT}. Meanwhile, the men went trap shooting with Joshua at the Charlotte Rifle & Pistol range.

+ Monday Julianna had scheduled appointments at {our new favorite grooming place} the European Wax Center. Sophia & I checked out Great Things consignment store next door and found a perfect {very chic} LBD for Julianna to bring to Paris! Later, I sent Julianna her Sheva Berachot schedule for the week – our community opened up their homes to celebrate the new couple each night.

+ Tuesday we had intended to meet for Bible study as usual, but we ended up changing our plan in order to bring a meal over to the Uphams instead. The gift Greg & I had ordered {from Israel} for Julianna & Josh finally arrived, so I wrapped it and added a “congratulations” card.

+ Wednesday we went to The Residence for lunch with a houseful of people – Uncle Fred & Aunt Stephanie {from Rochester, NY}, Jacob & Heather Meyers + their sons Asher & Zev {from TN}, and Mary Norris {from Israel}. That afternoon we all went for manicures and pedicures at My Bella Spa… I decided on a gold-lined French manicure {loved it!} and skipped my toes since they wouldn’t show. Sophia was such a good girl! {This was my first manicure since the berry arrived, and frankly I don’t see how other moms do it. If I hadn’t had a bunch of women passing Sophia around, there’s no way I could have given my nails time to dry! Needless to say, quite a treat.} The group headed down to Rock Hill to decorate the venue while I took Sophia home and made dinner. That night I went over to spend the evening with Julianna after her mikveh… she and Peter and I talked for an hour or two before bed.

+ Thursday {the big day!} Greg got off work early and we had an early dinner at Earth Fare on our way down to Brakefield. Sophia and I dressed in the Bride’s Room with the other girls and sipped sidecars while Julianna had her makeup done. Heather, the very pregnant photographer, nimbly climbed around the furniture to get some lovely preparation shots. The men gathered in the Groom’s Room to witness the ketubah being signed {complete with celebratory whiskey shots} and hear a Torah teaching from Joshua. Experiencing the wedding as an observer was breathtaking… I almost cried when Joshua entered the Bride’s room to veil Julianna and they looked at each other for the first time in a week – so romantic! Each moment was full of joy and anticipation. Their ceremony was almost exactly like mine {and now I realize that every wedding has little idiosyncrasies!}… short and to the point, rich with tradition, concluded by a triumphant shout of “mazel tov!” As for the reception, it almost seems like a blur… old friends to catch up with, new friends to meet, new family members to hug… it was spectacular.

+ Friday I made food for the weekend {Julianna and Josh did a photoshoot with Heather – sneak peeks here!} and we joined my family for an informal Erev Shabbat with the northern Squicciarinis {their last night in CLT}, the Grant family {from TN}, and the Wright clan {from FL}. Sophia loved playing with the Grant girls, Mara and Belle… I would have two amazing babysitters if they didn’t live so far away!

+ Shabbat ended the wedding week with one of the biggest Bella Torah services we’ve ever had… most of our regular members + the visiting Spurlock relatives and other out-of-town {and in-town!} guests. We had made arrangements to hold the service at the Holiday Inn, in their spacious conference room, and it worked out splendidly. {I have been spoiled by meeting at my parents’ home, where I can put Sophia down for a nap, but holding her gave me a chance to have terrific conversations with two women I admire greatly – Jessie Wilson and Diana Nunez.}

Quite a week…

Weddings are such sweet memories. I love how they bring so many people together, people that might otherwise never cross paths. I am already looking forward to the next one!

=)

Note: I don’t have pics from the wedding yet, but they’re coming!

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

a Sukkot to remember

Sophia Ruth and the blustery day

Sophia is starting to test our authority! She has become more willful in the last few weeks, wanting to grab things and shrieking loudly when she cannot have something. Yikes. Greg is determined that we will train her to be a calm and obedient child. It is hard to be firm with such an adorable little girl though!

Week at a glance:

>> got our lulav in the mail {from Israel!} and waved it joyfully throughout the week

>> joined Bella Torah Fellowship for the annual “Soup & Sukkah” party at The Residence {brought Susie Fishbein’s Tuscan White Bean soup… a reliable crowd-pleaser}

>> hosted our own Sukkot party, “Tapas & Tabernacles” and had a pretty good turnout! {an extra blessing: Greg had the amazing privilege of leading a minyan [10 men] in minchah prayers! A huge thank you to Greg Upham, Jonathan Upham, Joshua Spurlock, Isaac Alexander, Taylor Traficanti, Brock Wright, Greg Bartos Sr., Peter Squicciarini, and Joseph Squicciarini for being here and making that possible}

>> struggled with allergies {Greg & I}, constipation {Sophia}, and staying on top of household chores/grocery shopping during a crazy holiday week {moi}

>> made another house-hunting run with Lori McGowan – saw one of those houses that’s an utter mess, a complete disaster… had a vision of spending a few months {and several thousand dollars!} renovating it, ending up with a large, beautiful home… then watched that dream die as 1) reality set in, and 2) it was sold to someone else… probably a good thing!

>> met Julianna for a cappuccino at Dilworth to chat wedding details; settled on an appropriate wedding gift; and found a raspberry sweater for Sophia to wear at the wedding IN THREE WEEKS!

>> had the pear/Gorgonzola pizza at Brixx… yum! Need to recreate that one here pretty soon {which reminds me, fellow gluten-free locals, I am dying to try a recipe I saw for pizza crust made out of cauliflower – the reviews say it’s fantastic! Pizza party, my place.}

>> discovered, with pleasure, that Sophia is gaining weight and I am losing weight

>> dwelt in our sukkah, per the Torah command, on a few sunny afternoons… have not slept out there yet though!

>> attended Rivkah Pohlman’s lovely bat mitzvah in Black Mountain {read Kohelet [Ecclesiastes] on the drive there, one of the Sukkot traditions} and had a short but sweet visit with the Pohlman family

>> indulged in another black & white movie… we have now seen two Grant/Bergman films and enjoyed them both

>> participated in a mikveh [immersion] ceremony at Windjammer Park in Tega Cay with Rebecca Frank… chilly day for a dip into Lake Wylie! Congratulations to Rebecca for making a {brave} public profession of her faith

>> yet to come: another holiday! {the last one for a while}; a wonderful conclusion to z’man simchateinu [the season of our rejoicing] with tomorrow night’s reading of the Scripture; and a full week ahead

=)

Note: deepest sympathy to the Upham family for the loss of their grandmother this week! May Adonai, the Righteous Judge, comfort them. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Baby, Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Squicciarini family

bathtime

Week at a glance:

  1. first experience with Greg working from home! {this is going to be a new phase for us, on weeknights and Sunday afternoons}
  2. typical date night –> madly running errands all over Charlotte, one of which was the long-overdue purchase of a new vacuum {one day we are going to buy a Miele, but for now we settled with a middle-of-the-road Bissell with excellent user feedback and a good HEPA filter}
  3. vacuumed the apartment! {grin}
  4. had a quick coffee date with Mary, continuing in Passion & Purity
  5. started using My Fitness Pal {love the iPad app!} to record food/exercise in an effort to be a little more health conscious
  6. spent an enjoyable morning visiting Diana Nunez and her lovely daughters in their new home
  7. attended the Bella Torah Kol Nidre service as a family, dressed entirely in white {per tradition}… Greg wore white slacks and a shirt, along with his kittel; I wore a white eyelet skirt with a ruffled Loft wrap top; and Sophia looked like a tiny angel in her white Ralph Lauren pjs {the description is necessary because we neglected to get a picture, due to the solemnity of the occasion}
  8. observed Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, with {parts of} all five of the traditional prayer services – truly a day spent in prayer! {the berry & I did not fast this time… maybe next year I won’t be pregnant or nursing ๐Ÿ™‚ }
  9. broke the fast with the Squicciarini/Spurlock families + Isaac, Brock, and Mr. Wright… bagels, lox, fruit, cheese, and a cherry tomato clafoutis made by moi {yummy, but anything would have tasted good}
  10. met Christine at Natural Blendz on Monroe for a “blue mango” smoothie followed by thrift store shopping
  11. started building our sukkah! {Greg is using the same pipe/lattice method as last year so the construction should be pretty fast}
  12. went out alone {after Sophia went to bed Thursday night, leaving her daddy here to work}… savored the carefree nature of browsing through a store with no car seat, stroller, or diaper bag {grin}
  13. had a really nice long conversation with my mom-in-law about the upcoming holidays
  14. challenged myself {along with Hannah Lorence} to walk 4 miles at the greenway in Piper Glen, and did it!
  15. made plans… {1. our “tapas & tabernacles” event next Monday; 2. what Sophia & I are going to wear to Julianna’s wedding; 3. October’s Rosh Chodesh celebration; 4. a babysitter for Sophia during Julianna’s rehearsal dinner… etc.} {help!}
  16. spent a quiet Erev Shabbat here with Greg, perusing a section of Legislating Morality {Geisler/Turek} relating to abortion
  17. yet to come: lunch/portion discussion with friends, finishing our sukkah, and making soup in preparation for tomorrow night’s party!

=)