Baby, Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Squicciarini family

november

month at a glance…

  • hosted Mr. & Mrs. Joshua Spurlock, along with my parents, for a very elegant dinner here {used my “family” china, the set of Haviland Blue Garland inherited from my great-grandmother}… thrilled to have a chance to honor the new couple in our home!! And SO proud of my husband for opting to learn the Sheva Berachot by heart and sing them for Josh & Julianna! {Isn’t he amazing?!} It was a very special time for us… kind of like “paying forward” the memorable hospitality we were shown during our own wedding week last year. {My goodness, was it only last year?? We are starting to feel like old married people!} One of my favorite parts was dessert, a surprisingly scrumptious gluten-free buckwheat pumpkin pie topped with parve pumpkin flavored soy vanilla ice cream {yum!}… another was when Joshua carried in a tree to give my parents… a brilliant and noteworthy gift for those horticultural enthusiasts.
  • took the newlyweds to the airport so they could catch a plane to Paris!
  • stood in line with Greg & the berry for 2 hours to vote early… worth every minute just to hear one of the librarians say: “We’ve seen a lot of babies this week, but I must say yours is the cutest one I’ve seen yet.” {grin!}
  • had a Shabbat picnic at the newly renovated Stallings Park… beautiful weather! Tried to put Sophia in one of the baby swings but she objected loudly.
  • painted a little nightstand for Sophia to match her dresser {a piece of furniture leftover from Mary’s move into Julianna’s old room at The Residence}
  • tried this recipe for gluten-free kung pao chicken and loved it!
  • attended a 13th birthday party for my cousin Jonathan Stelzl {kind of a “becoming a man” event}, an Italian potluck down in Waxhaw complete with speeches by the articulate Stelzl children, blessings, and singing
  • ventured down to VW for some maintenance… the berry waited very patiently with me for, yes, an hour. To get a new headlight put in. And that was with an appointment. {sigh}
  • celebrated Rosh Chodesh Kislev at The Roost {the Spurlock II’s} with a cozy little crowd + fancy French-sounding beverages
  • pulled out my yarn stash and started knitting! Yay for cold weather!
  • 2 dates with Christine – first a consignment store run in downtown Matthews with tea at Dilworth, then a leisurely stroll around Southpark
  • moved the berry up to 3 meals a day… typically oatmeal or mashed banana for breakfast; applesauce, hummus, or yogurt at lunch; and a veggie or protein for dinner {still nursing her about 4x/day}
  • had a “men’s” Erev Shabbat here, one of our largest meals around the table {Greg, Peter, Brock Wright, Caleb Eades, and Colby Foster, plus Mary [my assistant chef], Sophia, and I}… a great evening! Thankfully there was enough food!
  • double dated with the Spurlock II’s at Dean & Deluca… we sat around a hightop table sharing hot spinach artichoke dip comparing notes on married life – loved it!
  • spent a very very quiet weekend laying low in our home, getting extra rest and recuperating from a cold that attacked our family {the berry’s first one… a pitifully stuffy nose and tiny cough}
  • yet to come: Thanksgiving!

=)

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, Married Life, Planning, Squicciarini family

new traditions

Feels like we’re constantly having to develop new traditions… I suppose there’s always a new “first” in marriage though. Keeps us on our toes!

{the new month}

Rosh Chodesh, the start of a new month, is kind of a big deal in Judaism. The question was, what should we do to celebrate it? Last Tuesday {April 5} was the 1st of Nisan, but unfortunately I had a bad cold & didn’t have the 1) creativity or 2) energy to do anything. {sad face} So… next month is our big chance!

{monthly honeymoon}

I hope that phrase is clear yet not too personal! {grin} Recently we had our first week “apart” {a practice based on Leviticus 15}, which we were prepared for in theory but my goodness… it wasn’t easy in reality! We had decided to make this week ENTIRELY different from the rest of the month – really set it apart – in a couple of ways. One of them was not kissing each other. You know, I didn’t understand quite how tough that would be. I’ll be honest with you – I enjoy kissing my husband! {grin} It’s one of those totally natural things. The whole experience was brand-new for both of us, needless to  say. Kind of like a trial run. Over this next month, I’d like to 1) come up with a few meaningful activities to do during the week; 2) re-evaluate and refine my practice on the last night {currently it involves a bubble bath + reading Scripture, but I think I can add to that}; and 3) continue making our “monthly honeymoon” an incredible special time.

{purim}

Our first married holiday came and went pretty uneventfully. We attended a Purim party and chose to go as classy characters {Prince William & Kate Middleton}… which is what we’ll do every year, if it’s up to me. {grin}

{pesach}

To have our own seder {& invite friends}, or not… that was the decision. After weighing all the options, we are joining my family at The Residence next Monday night {yay!} and then hosting our own “Second Seder” the following night. {Greg’s family will be out of town, so we didn’t have to choose who to spend the holiday with.} We’ve invited a group of friends from Bella Torah to spend the evening discussing Passover and hopefully seeing new insights into the Exodus story! I am… a little nervous. This will be our first BIG social event. If it all works out, it should be pretty cool. {Mrs. Spurlock, I’m going to make your matzah lasagna – looking forward to trying the recipe!} Eventually, like a few years down the road, we plan to consistently use the seder as a teaching/ministry opportunity.

{end of pesach}

The final night of Passover is super important. My family has a long-standing tradition of going out to eat {Maggiano’s Little Italy, Southpark}… something to do with FINALLY GETTING TO EAT BREAD. {grin} Although that tradition had lost much of its attraction with the advent of a gluten-free lifestyle. I don’t think Greg’s family has any particular customs… and I’m not sure what we’ll come up with! {it’s Monday night April 25 this year, I think.}

that’s about it…

for now. {grin}

=)

p.s. Happy birthday to my dear friend Diana Núñez, the California Girl {hug!} ~ may it be a good one!

Greg & Morgan, Married Life

pictures & updates

Here is the promised slideshow! The pictures are in no particular order… there’s a bunch of landscape shots {it was beautiful!} but definitely several of us as well. I may post a few of my favorite ones separately, maybe on a “honeymoon” page.

Speaking of which, I spent this morning updating my site pages {who is torahgirl, who’s the lucky guy, when’s the date, faq’s}… check it out!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=)

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

4 Weeks

Hello! I’m home! The trip was everything a honeymoon should be. It was fun & lighthearted, relaxing & casual {no schedules}, and the two of us on our own. We came home with the essentials: pictures, memories, and souvenirs. {grin}

We had an amazing time and some fantastic experiences… I kept a journal of what happened each day so we could remember everything.

Highlights

  • Learned more about each other – for instance, arriving at a new place: Greg is a bundle of energy, running excitedly all over the place; I slowly get acclimated after a careful inspection & run through my mental checklist. Poor service at a restaurant: Greg is amiable and non-confrontational, preferring to smile and keep everyone happy; I become visually disappointed when the service doesn’t fit my {reasonable!} expectations.
  • Realized quickly we wanted to avoid tourist traps! Baruch HaShem for a man G-d placed in our path the very first day who gave us some really helpful suggestions. Found a cool local grocery store, figured out the bus route, and explored our surroundings.
  • Had the {rare} chance to watch TV – saw a few episodes of Chopped {love it!} and other cooking shows on the Food Network.
  • Saw a glass piano, an Orthodox Jew wearing a swimsuit with tzitzit, something called “vitamalt” listed on a menu, cars driving on the wrong side of the road {grin}, and a Bahamian gift store run by Asians.
  • Greg successfully haggled for a Cuban cigar, and smoked it on our balcony one night. {his reaction: “It was VERY well-made… and I forgot how much I don’t like the taste of cigars.”}
  • Found that eating gluten-free AND kosher in the Caribbean is nearly impossible, resulting in a consultation with the chef at each restaurant we went to. They were always polite and agreeable… though not necessarily competent. {grin}
  • Over the course of a week, went from naively asking cab drivers “how much?” to firmly naming our price and negotiating with confidence.
  • Didn’t feel well one day, and fell more in love with my husband as he took excellent care of me.
  • Was one of only three people on the beach wearing more than a string bikini {grin}, as usual… & didn’t care! {trivia: I teasingly asked my husband if he wanted me to get a sexy swimsuit, for our honeymoon, and being the tzadik that he is, he patiently reminded me of our obligation to set an example of modesty and appropriate behavior for those around us}
  • Took a long walk one night, almost by accident – we caught the bus to Arawak Cay to have a fresh fish dinner {Greg got fried grouper fingers}, and ended up walking 4 miles back to Wyndham afterwards, enjoying the ocean view and our conversation the entire way.
  • Had pretty poor service one night for dinner, and although we didn’t complain about it, unexpectedly received a complimentary bottle of wine – just in time for Shabbat! The next night, we ordered room service after havdalah and it took them a while to get our order right, but the staff surprised us with a little gift the following day – Gouda, an apple, and water crackers! {= cheese party… fun!}
  • Visited downtown Nassau one day, including Fort Fincastle and the Queen’s Staircase, learned some of the island history, shopped on Bay Street, and took a carriage ride!
  • Came up with “trip traditions” like having breakfast in the bathtub, eating Lay’s classic potato chips {I’m not much of a chip person but… wow}, the food network, trying a local drink, etc…
  • Part of my wedding gift was going to the spa one day – Greg found a place called The Dermal Clinic just a few miles from where we were staying, and I had a customized Dermalogica facial there Monday morning. WOW. The service was incredible, the atmosphere was soothing & professional, the equipment/techniques were advanced – it was wonderful!
  • Brought home a beautiful limited-edition wave-shaped cup + plate for our home – the colors look like me {pinks}, the shape looks like Greg {aesthetically pleasing -wink-}.
  • Rode around the island on a moped one afternoon {moi! C’est incroyable, no??} and LOVED it! {mopeds are a first for both of us}
  • Had safe travel {baruch HaShem!} and a safe return to our home. Greg’s mom had us + my family over Thursday night so we could tell them all about the trip and share our pictures. It’s good to be home!

=)

Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Thoughts

Honeymoon

Well, this is it! We’re in Atlanta, catching a plane for Nassau in about an hour. {wow!!}

Greg is wearing tan chinos + a laidback blue striped buttondown & brown loafers. I am in white cropped pants + a black & white embellished tank top & black woven wedge heels, w/ silver jewelry and wavy “island” hair. {grin} Yes, we did bring sunscreen. I knew someone would ask. That’s if there IS sun…last time I went to south Florida the temperature plunged to 30-40 degrees.

We will be back next week, to resume normal life. At the request of my husband, I am traveling sans laptop…so this will be a peaceful retreat from technology. {or a “computer fast,” depending on how you look at it -grin-} Not sure what the wifi/cellular situation will be anyway.

I’ve told a few people that waiting a week or two is one of the best decisions we made, in my opinion. Getting to know each other, and understanding our habits/quirks/idiosyncrasies in the comfort of our own home – while developing our own routines – has been invaluable. Plus, we greatly enjoyed the chance to continue our wedding celebration with friends & family! So regardless of the societal standard to depart immediately following the wedding, my advice would always be to postpone a “honeymoon” trip.

Ciao, readers! When I get back we will evaluate this blog and see if we can find a new direction for it, aside from the mundane details of my life. {grin}

My husband says “Salam {greetings} from the crystal clear shores of paradise.”

=)

Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Thoughts

1 Week

hello! it’s me… finally. This is my 1-week anniversary! Exactly a week ago I was at the Westin with my new husband {!!}, and we had just returned from a late dinner at the hotel restaurant {the Ember Grill}, where I had a portabello mushroom and something sparkly to drink.

thoughts…

  1. still enjoying married life! Haven’t felt overwhelmingly homesick {yet?} as I was afraid of… using all my time and energy toward new home + new spouse.
  2. no wonder there are books called “More Hours in My Day!” Where does the time GO??
  3. making a real schedule for this week ahead, now that we’re past the first “party” week. {grin}
  4. saw my family Wednesday afternoon when Mums graciously let me come over to do a load of laundry and have coffee with her. {yay!}
  5. after fitness-free week of decadent eating, need extra effort in the 10 days before our honeymoon!
  6. leaving March 23 for honeymoon… will be gone for 8 days. Do not expect posts. {very subtle wink}
  7. no wedding pictures yet. I repeat, none. When I get some, from various friends/relatives, trust me, you will see a few. The good ones. {grin}
  8. had fantastic first Shabbat… attended Bella Torah shacharit service as usual, arrived on time {thank goodness}, remembered to bring a platter of food for oneg, & left mid-afternoon to have some time to ourselves before dinner. 
  9. feeling relaxed + excited about the week ahead! It’s going to be busy. Just occurred to me recently that every week is going to be “busy.” Should start saying it’s an average week unless we literally don’t have time to sleep. {wink}

=)