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!

Bartos family, Greg & Morgan, Planning, Squicciarini family, Thoughts, Wedding

3 Days

Blessed are You, Adonai my G-d, King of the universe, Who has kept me alive, sustained me and, through one miracle after another, has brought me to this time. Amen.

*can’t believe* how much happened today…

We were supposed to go grocery shopping this morning, have lunch at the apartment, and do a mikveh there. But… little change of plans {due to an unforeseen delay in getting the electricity turned on}, we ended up postponing grocery shopping until tomorrow. {quote from Mums: “aren’t you glad we’re flexible?”} So I packed up the rest of my belongings, and we headed over to the apartment around 9am – put {more} clothes away, rearranged my kitchen with some new gifts {LOVE the food processor, Mrs. Burroughs!}, and made up the bed with crisp green & white sheets + my pretty pintucked duvet cover from West Elm + matching shams + embroidered bride/groom pillowcases. After about an hour, we went home, where I got ready for my mikveh.

The new mikveh location became my mom’s bathroom. She has both a shower and bathtub, making it the perfect place. I was a little uncertain about the whole thing… never done this before! Put together a basket of supplies: a robe, clean {white} clothes, towel, toothbrush/toothpaste, soap, a facial scrub, washcloth, etc… plus my instructions page from Mayyim Hayyim, and started by reading the seven kavanot {intentions/steps} they suggested. Excellent points! Here they are again:

  1. Here I am.
  2. The unadorned body is beautiful in itself.
  3. You fashioned the human being intricate in design.
  4. I am made in the image of G-d.
  5. The soul in me is pure.
  6. The breath of every living thing praises You.
  7. We can stand for justice; we can build a world of peace and justice.

These seven steps include taking a shower and thoroughly washing every part of the body {as they put it, “with thoughtful attention to the miracle of your own body”}. Then you get out, dry off, and continue preparing for immersion – brushing teeth, combing hair, cleaning inside ears and fingernails, etc. The immersion itself involves going completely underwater three times – surprisingly difficult in a bathtub! Still, it was a unique experience. It begins with a prayer {“May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to You, Adonai, my Rock and my Redeemer”} and ends with this declaration:

“My G-d, Creator and Sustainer of all life, may I step forth into a life filled with continued wisdom and deeds of kindness. May I step forward into a life filled with the blessings of new beginnings. May I be a loving mate, partner, and friend to my beloved. May the words of my mouth, the meditations of my heart, and this act of sanctification seal my devotion to a life of Torah {G-d’s instructions}, Avodah {worship}, and Gemilut Chasidim {acts of kindness}; a life of learning Your ways, a life of standing in Your presence, a life made holy by acts of loving kindness.”

Had a sense of calm and peace afterward, refocused on the spiritual side of my impending marriage. I know the water doesn’t literally do anything, but it symbolizes the change I am making, choosing to become “one with another life,” and the internal cleansing – spiritual purification – which I desire.

The girls made an incredible lunch – kind of our “bride’s luncheon” {fresh fruit, quinoa, poached eggs, dark chocolate, and Lambrusco – very light and healthy} and gave me a gift basket from all of them! It had a dainty scarf {to wear while praying, as married women do}, a handpainted pottery havdalah set + white candle, a sequined challah bread cover, and even sparkly Shabbat candles – I’ve never seen anything like them. Julianna brought most of this back from Jerusalem. {wow!} I’ve been reflecting that presents, at least to me, mean more when they are personal – implying that the giver understands me well enough to know my taste, for example {or beliefs, as the case may be}. These beautiful gifts from my sisters, symbols of our faith, meant a lot to me. I can see myself doing the same thing for them – in fact, I can’t wait! {grin}

After lunch we went to get our nails done – I opted for a French manicure and pedicure, wanting to keep the look elegant and not too flashy or conspicuous – and then went our separate ways to do errands. Mums picked up the flowers and delivered them to our “florist” {hug for Mrs. H}.

Tonight, of course, was the rehearsal, and it went beautifully {baruch HaShem}. I am very pleased. My family arrived a little early and set up the chuppah, including the tallit suspended above it, and it is perfect. Once everyone was there, we went through the first part of the ceremony several times, talked about placement and timing… Dad did a great job keeping us on track and directing everyone. A big thank you to Jonathan, Carl, Tiffany, and Brandy, for being there tonight! Oh, and the masks worked out very well! I felt ridiculous in mine but inwardly thrilled that we rose to the challenge of making this week different.

There is really nothing to be nervous about. {grin} My part in the ceremony, overall, is quite small. What I am feeling is more anticipation, almost impatience. As we practiced tonight I couldn’t wait to do this for real, in just a few days {hours!}. Getting married is something I am confident about – feeling pretty sure we are not rushing into it, but rather both ready to make a commitment, and ready to begin our life together.

A few other notes: 1} my Uncle Fred and Aunt Stephanie are in town!! We haven’t seen them yet, but they arrived tonight. It’s been a couple years since they came down {from NY}, so the Squicciarini family is psyched about having them here. 2} Got an unexpected note from my friend Jennifer Sisk, wishing Greg and I much happiness on our wedding day. Thank you, Mrs. Sisk – what a sweet email!! 3} Received a VERY unusual wedding gift, one that has an intriguing story with it {Venice and veterinarians…}. Unfortunately this post is already enormous, so I’ll save that for another time. {grin}

& check out Dad’s review of the tzadik class this past Tuesday – fantastic!

=)