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!

=)

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

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

beach baby

Sophia’s typical finger-over-nose pose

Madison sent me a bunch of pictures from our visit to KY in July, and seeing them brought back fun memories of being there. {hello, Hacketts!} I haven’t seen Madison since then, but I’m hoping she is able to visit for Julianna’s wedding {NEXT MONTH} and stay with me again!

So… guess where the Bartos family is?! The beach! We are spending a few days at Myrtle Beach, and heading back to Charlotte on Sunday, just in time to pick up some fresh fish and celebrate Rosh HaShanah with friends! There was a lot to pack for this trip {and we only have one baby…} I have a whole new appreciation for my mom’s hard work in packing our family up to spend a week at Ocean Isle every summer! I think the carefree beach days are gone… but they’ve been replaced by responsibility, efficiency, and a firm intention to savor each moment here.

So far, Sophia LOVES the lazy river and the heated pool. She is curious about the ocean and determined to taste a handful of sand. She does not like Martin’s Restaurant. {grin}

~

{missed last week’s update – oops} Last two weeks at a glance :

  • watched Singin’ in the Rain with Greg {a feature film, quite rare for us}… had the songs stuck in my head for days
  • joined the Improving Birth rally on Labor Day to protest the unnecessary number of inductions and c-sections in the US {our first demonstration… so much fun!}; besides waving signs outside Presbyterian Hospital, we got to catch up with Jackie Kuschner! {my midwife}
  • purchased a Beaba Babycook {!!} on Craigslist… continued giving Sophia tiny amounts of pureed veggies at dinner time
  • had a celebratory dinner with the Squicciarini family {not sure if we were celebrating Labor Day or Peter’s return from almost a week in Tacoma, WA} of grilled kosher sausages
  • made Tyler Florence’s Berry Trifle for the first time! {with some assistance from Mary}
  • played a small part in hosting Julianna’s lovely bridal shower at Laura Guido’s home {got a turquoise Cuisinart immersion blender for Julianna, one of my favorite kitchen tools!}
  • spent a delightful afternoon with my cousin Sarah Stelzl {& received a delicious homemade gluten-free pumpkin pie from her!}
  • went out to dinner with the extended Squicciarini clan {the fam + Josh & Isaac} at one of their favorite places, Arooji’s Ristorante in Southpark
  • hosted an informal birthday dinner for Greg’s dad {Jet’s Pizza}
  • spent a Shabbat day with the Bella Torah Community, then came home and read all of Howard Rutledge’s book “In The Presence Of Mine Enemies” {an inspiring POW account} with Greg
  • celebrated our first Grandparents Day with Sophia’s first art project! We used ink pads to make cards with her handprints, and delivered them to Grandpa & Nonni in Fort Mill and Grandpa & Grandma in Matthews {thank you for the reminder, Mrs. Martin!}
  • discussed conspiracy theories {9/11?} with Pete… saw a few eye-opening YouTube videos
  • randomly saw Julianna at the new Whole Foods, did the 2nd Matthew lesson with my little Bible Study group, took Sophia to Southpark Mall for a quick errand, and… packed for the beach!
  • drove to Wilmington in search of a gluten-free sweet cinnamon bread for Rosh HaShanah {mission: successful}
  • shopped the Tanger Outlets and got Greg a few pairs of socks at Clarks {he couldn’t resist their lifetime warranty}
  • yet to come: an afternoon on the beach and a quiet Shabbat by ourselves – can’t wait!

=)

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 ~

=)

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

balloons

Under normal circumstances, a few months isn’t a whole lot of time to get to know someone, but I’ve spent every day of these past five months living with my baby girl, and I feel like I know her inside and out. I know each of her little expressions – her wide grin, her curious face, her determined lower lip, her pout… I know her moods, when she’s feeling energetic, happy, peaceful, tired, restless, hungry, snuggly, frustrated, or nervous… I know how she likes to be held, and how to calm her down… I know all the little sounds she makes… and I also know which toys she likes and which ones she thinks are silly. I know she loves her mommy and daddy. I couldn’t be more proud of my baby! She has brought so much joy into my life.

Week at a glance…

  1. met Greg at Earth Fare to chat + shop houses online
  2. had dinner, a bath {Sophia}, & a whole bunch of conversation with the world’s youngest CSSP
  3. got a surprise gift – a gorgeous Urban Decay eyeshadow, from my stylish husband {is he not the coolest guy ever?!}
  4. visited Christ Covenant Church for a birthday lunch with Greg’s coworkers
  5. helped Julianna {@MrsSpurlock2be} assemble dozens of wedding favors {and let me tell you, I would attend the wedding JUST to get one of these… sooo pretty!}
  6. joined an awesome group of people at The Cowfish for a yummy ahi tuna burger {Sophia’s second time there, no wasabi for her this time}
  7. had a planning session with Laura Guido & Mary Squicciarini to nail down the details for Julianna’s bridal shower {!!}
  8. attended Joshua & Julianna’s {beautiful} Tenaim Service {our first chance to give marriage advice – such an honor!}… what a meaningful concept to outline goals for engagement
  9. spent an evening with Amelia Perez {2.5 miles at the park, followed by tea at home}
  10. continued reading through The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot with Greg
  11. went to a children’s consignment store {my first time visiting Kid To Kid} and shopped baby stuff with Hannah Lorence
  12. indulged in gluten-free pizza {a rare treat!} at Fuel
  13. celebrated Sophia’s 5-month “birthday” by giving her an exersaucer {who came up with that name, anyway?} which she LOVES! {grin}
  14. planned out the next 2 months {whew! we will have to stop and catch our breath when November starts} on my pretty new calendar
  15. talked to one of my favorite people {hello, Poppop} 🙂
  16. nursed in public for the 2nd time {eek} with no problem
  17. had a quiet Erev Shabbat at home {Greg brought me flowers!}… Sophia sat quietly through the entire Kiddush
  18. yet to come: Bella Torah Shacharit service and the final night of our prayer discussion series ~

=)