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


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 🙂 }
  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!


Baby, Bartos family, Squicciarini family


Sophia Ruth, a few hours after she was born

a picture, finally! Some of you are probably mystified why it’s taken me this long to get a photo posted! There’s an easy answer: SLEEP. {grin}

highlights of Sophia’s first two weeks of life:

  • about a thousand feedings {grin!}
  • visits from all of her Squicciarini aunts {& a few soon-to-be uncles} + both grandma’s
  • first time outdoors – a walk to the mailbox with me
  • a special blessing from her daddy at Erev Shabbat dinner
  • visits to both the Bartos & Squicciarini grandparents
  • more presents than she could imagine
  • two checkups at the birth center
  • the arrival of her social security card {yes, she’s in the system now…}


Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Thoughts

Update 6.17.11

On a typical Friday afternoon, Greg is at his office finishing out the work week and I am at our home, preparing food & making sure the house is neat. He gets home around 6pm {sometimes with a bright bouquet of flowers for me} and we spend the next hour or so on personal projects – he takes care of any outstanding work for his G Agency clients while I look at a portion commentary like the Rabbi’s Son or write a quick torahgirl post. By 7.30pm we’re wrapping things up, I’m getting dinner on the table, and we’re sitting down for kiddush {I light the candles, Greg sings the Eshet Chayil [Proverbs 31], we remember creation + the exodus from Egypt + the World to Come, we bless G-d for the wine & bread, etc.}. Shabbat dinner by ourselves always means a good hour of conversation, sometimes longer. Occasionally we’ll have a lively discussion, perhaps a “hot-button” issue where we debate both sides, usually SOMEHOW related to raising children – one of our favorite topics. {grin} After dinner we’ll usually read a chapter from one of our current books-in-progress, concluding with more conversation as we catch up from the week and savor the peacefulness of time alone.

I like to think about our future children on Friday nights, wondering what they will be like and praying for them. This is an excerpt from my siddur:

Master of the world: grant us the privilege that our children be illuminated with the Word of G-d, and be healthy in body and in mind, possess good character traits, and be occupied in the Word of G-d for its own sake. Grant them a long and good life, and may they be filled with the Word of G-d, wisdom, and fear of Heaven. May they be beloved above and desired below. Rescue them from the evil eye, the evil inclination, and from all manner of punishments, and may they have healthy senses for Your service. In Your abundant mercy, make us worthy {my husband and I} that You fill the number of our days with many good and pleasant days and years, with love and peace. May we be privileged to raise each of our sons and each of our daughters for the Word of G-d, the bridal canopy, and good deeds.

Prepare for each of our sons the girl who is his mate, and for each of our daughters the boy who is her mate, and may they not be pushed away for others, Heaven forbid! Bless our handiwork to give them generous dowries and gifts, and may we be able to fulfill what we have obligated ourselves to give, and to marry them off in their youth to their mates with ease, satisfaction, and happiness. May good fruit emerge from them – righteous children who earn merit and give merit to all Israel.

May Your Holy Name not be desecrated through our efforts, nor through those of our offspring, Heaven forbid. Fulfill all our heartfelt requests for the good with health, success, and all good things, and may the glory of Your great Name and the glory of the Word of G-d be exalted through our efforts, and through the efforts of our offspring and of our offspring’s offspring. Amen, may it thus be Your Will.

May the expressions of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart find favor before You, Adonai, my Rock and my Redeemer. Amen.

The first few lessons in our “Messiah Unveiled” study have been about the Word of G-d. What is the Word of G-d? Is it the Bible, or something more? Can the Word be heard? Seen? Wasn’t the Word in the beginning, with G-d? Something to think about…


PS: Greg arrived tonight with a mint plant for me, which he explained would be more useful than flowers because we can use it for cooking. And garnishes. And the occasional mint-flavored beverage. {grin} Shabbat shalom everyone!

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

12 Weeks

  • NEWS: my darling sister Julianna is being courted by a young man of our acquainance, “of whom I greatly approve” …sooo exciting! They make a wonderful couple – we look forward to spending time with them and getting to know Joshua better. 
  • gave myself this cute peasant tee in navy blue from LOFT as a “start of summer” treat… got the idea from Lori Burroughs, one of my style icons. {grin}
  • Christine writes some of the best thank-you notes I’ve ever seen! 2 or 3 of her vibrant enthusiastic notecards are displayed around my house as a constant *smile.*
  • had my in-laws over for Erev Shabbat dinner this week! We had chilled cucumber-dill soup, tilapia fillets with yellow squash + pineapple + lemon wrapped & baked in parchment paper, a balsamic strawberry salad, rice, and 2 miniature loaves of gluten-free bread {using my lovely challah cover from the Squicciarini girls!}.  It was yummy! Mom & Dad {Mr. & Mrs. Bartos} thoroughly enjoyed the meal. {sigh of relief!}
  • finished Galatians this week! {yay} Over the past few months I have been impressed by the passion these ladies have for studying the Scripture, and humbled by their insights. This was my second time through Galatians {the second of many times, B”H} and I’ve been SO encouraged by how much more I understand. {“lightbulb” moments!}
  • Baruch HaShem, we cleared up a serious misunderstanding this week and restored a relationship with a very special family we know. Although I wasn’t aware of the details before, there is such a feeling of peace knowing that everything is alright.

random thoughts

  • changes in moi since marriage:
    • highly motivated to make bed perfectly every morning {first thing you see upon entering our home}
    • significant increase in muscle tone – embarrassingly apparent I wasn’t doing enough manual labor {=housework} before!
    • developed close relationship with mother-in-law due to weekly phone calls & frequent interaction
    • more emotional – crying at anything these days! {which I *think* is really healthy…}
  • was asked on Shabbat if I am completely “settled in” to married life, and surprised myself by confidently replying yes!
  • continually amazed by my husband’s diligence… love our mornings together… feel like we are learning and growing together. {married life currently = blissful}


Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Wedding

The Week in Review


  • Location: the Hergenreters’ home in Indian Trail
  • Participants: Rick & Beverly Hergenreter + Emily, Katy, Sophy, & Jeremy Wright
  • Served: chips + veggies & guacamole, enchiladas {I think…}, Southwestern coleslaw, and gluten-free dessert
  • Talked about: the wedding {of course}, religion, Justin Bieber {Sophy’s input}, the Hergenreters’ wedding, the situation in Libya, the upcoming presidential race, the end times, raising children, to hug or not to hug {men}, vitamins/supplements, etc…
  • Notable for: appetizers! & placecards!


  • Location: the Gordons’ home in Rock Hill
  • Participants: Joe & Karen Gordon + Noah, Anna, Tim, Josh, Isaac, & Ellie
  • Served: gluten-free brown rice tortillas with all the fixings and gluten-free dessert
  • Talked about: the wedding {of course}, Autumn and her wedding, the Gordons’ wedding, how easily things get broken, intricate clay figurines the Gordon kids have made, travel – everything from log cabins to the Caribbean, some of the interesting hobbies Mr. Gordon has had, Israel, etc…
  • Notable for: vintage glassware! & an excellent merlot!


  • Location: the Spurlocks’ home in Charlotte
  • Participants: Rick & Janet Spurlock + Joshua, Jeremiah, & Judah
  • Served: gluten-free spinach lasagna, salad, challah bread, and gluten-free dessert
  • Talked about: the wedding {a little}, the Spurlocks’ wedding + early life, Twitter & how to use it, folding clothes & other important habits, some fantastic trips the Spurlocks have taken to celebrate their anniversary, John Piper, different practices of our faith, Jeremiah’s experiences at school, etc…
  • Notable for: champagne! & sending us home with leftovers!


  • Location: the Martin’s home in Matthews
  • Participants: Scott & Suzanne Martin + Joshua, Katie, Josiah, and Micah
  • Served: chicken with blackberries, baby carrots, snap peas, rice, and gluten-free dessert
  • Talked about: Greg’s job, what the Martin kids are working on in school, etc…
  • Notable for: singing the entire Birkat HaMazon! & a gift!


  • Location: the Uphams’ home in Charlotte
  • Participants: Greg & Gabby Upham + Jonathan, Michaela, Andrea, Ben, + Mr. Upham’s mother; Joshua & Diana Nunez + Shiloh, & Lori Fritz
  • Served: chopped salad, challah bread, salmon, wild rice, stuffed tomatoes, and parve gluten-free dessert
  • Talked about: mission trips, apartment complexes, gluten-free cooking {teff flour?}, the Torah portion, Classical Conversations, plans for the Bella Torah ladies, Facebook/Twitter, stalkers, post-pregnancy fitness, etc…
  • Notable for: Erev Shabbat! & the imaginary disco ball at midnight! & a gift!


  • Location: the Vermillions’ house in Charlotte, and The Fox & Hound, a restaurant near them
  • Participants: Ken & Adriana Vermillion, their 2 kids + their friend/houseguest Ryan
  • Served: cheese & veggies {appetizer}, burger {Greg} and salad {Morgan}
  • Talked about: marriage in general, our first week, how they met Ryan, Ryan’s background in Jungian psychology, Ken’s background in software development/coding, the Vermillions’ Chicago fellowship {Beit HaTzur}, theology, Christianity, etc…
  • Notable for: Havdalah! & a comical run around Ballantyne!


  • Location: P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, a restaurant in Southpark
  • Participant: Alex & Lori Burroughs
  • Served: Chang’s Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps {appetizer}, gluten-free Beef A La Sichuan {Greg}, gluten-free Chang’s Spicy Chicken {Morgan}, and gluten-free Flourless Chocolate Dome {shared}
  • Talked about: the wedding {of course}, our first week of marriage, Elevation Church, psychology, the Puritans, fashion, the Burroughs’ wedding, Bella Torah, wedding etiquette, etc…
  • Notable for: a special reading! & an Erev Shabbat invitation!


To those who hosted us, thank you. We were honored by your hospitality! We look forward to returning the favor. {grin}