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

starting a new year

We’ve reached half a year! Sophia was 6 months old yesterday. Wonder if I’ll be so meticulous in tracking small milestones with future children… {grin} So, an update. Sophia Ruth is a little over 13lbs… she is about 2′ tall, with soft light brown hair and big blue eyes. I think she looks like a little china doll. She has a healthy glow from our recent trip to the beach, and her hair is long enough to clip back with a bow. She’s not a heavy baby, and I don’t think she ever will be – she’s perfectly sized {fitting into 6-month clothes right on schedule} with a shapely little tummy and a great appetite. She is nursing 5-6 times a day and eating veggie puree once, around dinner. Her new favorite toy is a Tupperware container which she can open to “rescue” a toy trapped inside. {grin}

And a quick update on me… I’m feeling good! I’m about 5lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight, but feeling pretty much back to normal! It looks like these stretch marks are here to stay {sigh} but that’s not such a big deal, in the big picture. I can see how with subsequent children the body “knows what to do” and shows a baby bump much sooner. Mmm. By the way, we are not “trying for another one,” as someone asked me recently. {grin} Although {for the record} I would like more children. I pray G-d blesses us with others. {I say this for clarification, since during Sophia’s birth I had full intentions of never having another child. It’s truly a miracle how childbirth becomes a blur – filled with happy memories, not painful ones!}

Week at a glance:

  1. traveled home from the beach, restocked our pantry, and prepared to inaugurate the new year!
  2. enjoyed an absolutely delicious Rosh HaShanah dinner {baked lemon pepper cod with rice, carrots, sweet bread, and a fresh salad} with good friends, Taylor Traficanti & Lori Fritz
  3. gathered at McDowell Nature Preserve with our community and spent a rainy afternoon celebrating the holy day {Sophia’s first time to hear the shofar!}
  4. introduced our daughter to long-distance friends, Steven & Darnell Rogers {Asheville} and the Pohlman family {Lake Lure}… so good to see everyone!
  5. visited the Uphams for a spontaneous dinner and some great fellowship time
  6. read Sir Knight of the Splendid Way by W.E. Cule {Greg & I}… loved it!
  7. read How the Rosh HaShanah Challah Became Round {Sophia & I}… thank you Aunt Christine!
  8. took a night off from hosting Bible study to recoup and get some extra rest
  9. made my very first recipe from Bon Appetit Berry {a baby cookbook designed for Sophia by Aunt Julianna}, butternut squash & banana puree with a sprinkle of cinnamon
  10. went house hunting with our realtor, Lori McGowan… {while Sophia had a fun morning with Aunt Mary}
  11. had the pleasure of hosting the famous Henry Stelzl for dinner {a bistro meal of tomato soup and grilled cheese} + conversation afterwards
  12. dined at The Residence {the berry & I}, an amazing farm-to-table meal… my mom grew a huge pumpkin, harvested it, removed the seeds, filled it with broth, breadcrumbs, & cheese, and cooked it for a few hours – delicious!
  13. heard some sad news – the Hackett family won’t make it to Julianna’s wedding, unfortunately…
  14. joined my family again for an Erev Shabbat meal with some special excitement – Isaac proposed to Christine! {we ended the evening with a fabulous group hymn-sing around the piano}
  15. attended Bella Torah’s shacharit service {my father-in-law was the minyan man this week – way to go, Bartos family!}
  16. took a walk at the park with Julianna, spent a cozy Saturday night with my favorite guy, and started Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald…
  17. yet to come: a full week ahead, including Yom Kippur this Wednesday {tzom kal, everyone!}


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

paddle boarding

stand-up paddle boarding on the Catawba River

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 wet 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 the happiest baby I’ve ever seen – one that rarely cries, sings to us all the time, and always has a grin for strangers. I think the first big test 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 {grin}

:: played ‘hide and seek’ with Sophia… she found a hiding place under the pillow where I could “find” her {hug!}

:: 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 Grandma {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 + fiber-filled 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 ~


Married Life, Planning, Problems, Squicciarini family, Thoughts, Wedding

7 Days / An Excellent Wife Finale

Gabriela Upham {I really love the name Gabriela… so musical!} hosted a lovely party this afternoon honoring two brides, Autumn Gordon and myself. Autumn is getting married on May 1, just a few weeks after me. Mrs. Upham asked each person to bring a card with one of their favorite recipes on the front, and their recipe for “a successful marriage” on the back. I ended up with some yummy-looking recipes, and some great advice, plus a cute set of heart-shaped measuring spoons! {grin}

This seems like a fitting way to wrap up the “excellent wife” posts – with a collaborative effort from the ladies of Bella Torah:

Lori Fritz {gluten-free German Pancake}
“Bless the L-rd, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy Name! Bless the L-rd O my soul, and forget not all His benefits… Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things so your youth is renewed like the eagles.” {Psalm 103.1-5}

Karen Gordon {Lemon Dressing & Almond Spread}
“Let the good times roll!
” Many times I must purpose to be “fun.” Be purposeful in building strong positive memories during ‘low conflict’ times  – the recesses in your relationship. Know his love language and make choices to deposit into his ‘love bank’ {it won’t always come naturally}. Always purpose to find that good and speak it – then there will be a reserve in the bank for ‘resolving conflict’ periods. That ‘emergency fund’ will be a cushion for the conflicts. Never mention the ‘D’ word. Do NOT use it even if you may be thinking of suggesting that he may want one, such as… “do you want a divorce?” When dark times come, do not expect your husband to be G-d for you. Give grace. Often talking to a friend takes the pressure off the spouse to perform what he may not be able to offer.

Phyllis Robinson {gluten-free Blond Brownies}
“Marriage, ultimately, is the practice of becoming passionate friends.” –Mom
“Who is rich? The man with a wife of pleasant deeds…with contentment in his riches.” –Talmud Shabbat
“A pleasant home, a pleasant wife, and pleasant furnishings enlarge a man’s mind.” –Talmud Berachot
“The home should be perceived as a microcosm of the universe: the harmony that permeates the home and the family extends beyond, fostering harmony between families, communities, and ultimately, the nations of the world. In the absence of harmony between one’s own family, we can hardly expect to find harmony between strangers.” – Rebbe Menachem Schneerson

Diana Nunez {Passover Chocolate Torte}
It is my prayer for you as a new wife that as you leave the house of your father you would be bound to your husband in covenant love. I pray that you would abide in your Heavenly Father for the wisdom and grace it will take to love, respect, and honor an imperfect man. May you submit joyfully as unto Yeshua that your marriage might ascribe Glory to the Perfect King. May your lives together be like this Passover chocolate torte ~ sweet, deep, rich, and decidedly free of leaven. Remember my sister that ‘a little leaven leavens the whole lump.’ A ‘little bit’ of a critical spirit will deflate him and a ‘little bit’ of resentment will be like death to your marriage. Treat your husband today how you want your daughters to treat their husbands tomorrow. Start today to build a godly heritage for your children and your children’s children. “Therefore let us celebrate the Feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” {1 Corinthians 5.8} Mazel Tov and lots of love!

Adriana Vermillion {Mushroom Beef Burgers, Marinated Mahi Mahi, & Lemon Tart with Toasted Coconut}
In almost eleven years of being married to my wonderful gift from the L-rd {Ken}, I have learned that I needed to forgive quickly and show it through my behavior and through an unconditional love from me. Mazel Tov!

Suzanne Martin {Vegetable Rotini}
Remember you are a helper suitable for your husband {B’reshit 2.18}. Do things together – finances, yard & house maintenance – as well as the fun things. Show interest in his activities; find ways to help him succeed in his responsibilities.

Janet Spurlock {Passover Spinach-Cheese Lasagna}
Smile often, laugh easily. {When your day doesn’t go how you planned it, remember Janet isn’t perfect either!}

Gabriela Upham {Sweet Potato Casserole}
A gentle answer turns away wrath… foot massages help too.

Lynn Bowen {Heath Bar Frosting}
Always pray that bitterness will not enter your heart toward your husband. Go to your knees before you go anywhere else.

Beverly Hergenreter {Spinach & Mascarpone Soup} {Mrs. Hergenreter has already given me valuable marriage advice in person}

All in all, what a fantastic way to start my pre-wedding week! Greg had his “bachelor party” today as well – a shooting party with some of the men from our fellowship. I think he had a terrific time, and he certainly did incredibly well – he scored first place! {yay} Looking forward this week to seeing what each day will hold… final preparation, special time with my sisters {& MOM!}, and completing the transition to a new home.

Life is blissful.


Engagement, Greg & Morgan, Squicciarini family, Thoughts

The year in review

5770 {2009-10} has been one of the most momentous years of my life, in the sense of both reality and spirituality.

Since last Rosh HaShanah

I celebrated Sukkot at a scenic Tennessee campground,

volunteered with the USO,

visited our nation’s capital for a few exciting days with my sister Julianna {including a trip to the Washington DC Holocaust Museum},

was given a difficult challenge + the grace to respond with love,

attended the Mint Museum’s annual Black & White Gala and served on the Young Affiliates décor & logistics committee,

went to not one but two Straight No Chaser concerts with my fantastic siblings,

organized a study retreat to Lake Lure {hosted by The Pohlman Family},

heard Steve Lippia and the Trans-Siberian orchestra,

led a weekly Torah portion discussion with girls from our community,

helped to host numerous social occasions at The Residence,

attended the opera La Bohème and the annual Historical Ball,

made it through the formidable “How Much More” study from Bereans Online led by my aunt Lynn Bowen,

met both Jeremy Gimpel and Ari Abramowitz of Tuesday Night Live,

took a memorable beach trip to observe the Fast of Esther,

tried snowboarding {!} for the very first time,

bought an adorable car {VW Beetle},

went to the Quail Hollow Championship – my first golf tournament,

surprised my mom with a gluten-free trip to Blowing Rock for Mother’s Day,

visited the beautiful Shelton Vineyard,

learned more wisdom from my beloved grandfather,

watched my sister skydive for her 21st birthday {while earnestly praying for her safety!},

celebrated my own birthday several different ways {grin},

made new friends {Jason & Tiffany Workman, the Upham family, Alex & Lori Burroughs, Tonya & Mariah Helms, Joshua & Diana Nunez, Lori Fritz, Lina Prieto…},

saw a few films,

probably shopped a little more than I should have, and…

Gregory Bartos met me, swept me off my feet, and asked me to marry him… so the second half of this year was spent making wedding plans and counting down the days until March 6, 2011. 😀

Here’s a thought… next fall, I will celebrate Rosh HaShanah with my husband {B”H}.

With a heart overflowing with thankfulness to the Holy One, Blessed is He, and excitement for what lies ahead of us,