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!

Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Squicciarini family, Wedding

14 Weeks

This week we passed the 3-month mark, as I mentioned, and celebrated by hosting a “housewarming” party Monday night. There were about 20 people here, our largest social occasion to date… {grin} and we had a great time! The evening centered around the performance of a mitzvah {as it should} – affixing our mezuzah to the front door. Our beautiful mezuzah was something Greg gave me when he asked me to marry him. I’ve kept it in a little Brighton bag ever since then, waiting for the day we would nail it to the door of our home. Although we could have hung it up sooner by ourselves, we wanted to gather friends together to witness the event – and I’m so glad we did! In commemoration we opened a bottle of Yarden Brut, an Israeli champagne given to us as an engagement gift by the Spurlock family.

Still getting used to running events solo {quantities, layout, crowd flow, etc}… fortunately Christine helped me with all kinds of advice and she came over early, bringing snacks + a huge bouquet of giant sunflowers. {hug!}

We had asked each guest to bring a blessing for our home, but didn’t specify what type of blessing, so we ended up with some meaningful written blessings, as well as some physical ones {like a bottle of wine!} from our thoughtful friends.

I want to wish you both congratulations on your 3-month anniversary and new home! May HaShem bring your marriage every blessing imaginable & fill your cup to overflowing. May you always delight in the love of G-d and of each other! I Corinthians 13.13: “and now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
-Jennie Gonzalez
 
Enjoy your new home! May you be a blessing to everyone around you as you use your home and your wonderful gift of hospitality! Much love,
-Katelyn
 
Happy home! 🙂 You guys are already so hospitable in your new place. We hope this gift card just adds to the beautiful home you’ve already begun to create. We love you both dearly and enjoy being your friends!
-Love Emily & Jeremy
 
Congrats on your reaching the three-month milestone in your marriage! May HaShem bless your home always with perfect peace. May it be a place of refuge from the world’s troubles. May it be a place filled with HaShem’s presence, and may He reward you for so graciously following our father Abraham’s example in opening your home to others. Many blessings,
-Joshua S.

{thank you all for such kind words!}

our mezuzah
using it for the first time!

I love having friends over. I prefer it to happen when my home is neat… not really a big deal since our space is fairly easy to maintain. {grin} Our goal as a couple and as a family is to continually practice hospitality {cheerfully sharing food, shelter, and spiritual refreshment with those G-d brings into our life} through every circumstance. If we don’t open our home when we’re tired, when we don’t feel up to it, when we have an early morning the next day, when we’ve had a really busy week, when we don’t have enough space, or when our house isn’t perfect, then we’ll never do it, right?! Anyway, that’s our intention… now for putting it into practice. {grin}

The week concluded with a wedding yesterday – Chris Russell & Brenna Robinson were married at Ballantyne Country Club and we were delighted to be there and celebrate with them. On the way there we read the Sheva Berachot in honor of them, and I found a recording on YouTube that sounds exactly like a Hebrew opera! We didn’t really know anyone else there, although we have met the Russell & Robinson families before {& there were two sweet girls at our table who remembered us from Chris & Brenna’s engagement party a few months ago}, so basically it felt like a very elegant dinner date. {grin} We even got to dance! {yes… we do occasionally dance}. It was quite an enjoyable evening, and surprisingly we made it home in time for havdalah… an extra blessing. We are hoping to have Chris & Brenna over for dinner when they return from their honeymoon and settle into married life.

us at Chris & Brenna's reception

=)

PS: sorted through photos this morning and added a few pics of our seder! You can see them here – scroll down to the slideshow.

Bartos family, Greg & Morgan, Squicciarini family, Wedding

Wedding Details

~

WEDDING PLANNER{S}
a collaborative effort by the Squicciarini Family

LOCATION
Charlotte Museum of History

NUMBER OF GUESTS
about 150

FLORIST
the Hergenreters

FLOWERS
cherry red roses & pink carnations accented with camellia leaves

WEDDING RING
Sumpter’s of Charlotte

THE DRESS
vintage gown found at The Bride’s Closet in Charlotte, updated and embellished by Matthews Alterations
lace bolero, handmade by Allyn Squicciarini

VEIL
“Bernadette” waist-length pearl beaded veil, found on Etsy

SHOES
“Garrison” by Pesáro

GROOM’S CLOTHES
Dress pants and vest from Express, bow tie from Macy’s

JEWELRY
None… “the Ashkenazi custom is that the chatan {bridegroom} and kallah {bride} wear no jewelry under the chuppah {marriage canopy}. Their mutual commitment is based on who they are as people, not on any material possessions.” –Guide to the Jewish Wedding on Aish.com

BRIDESMAIDS ATTIRE
Black & white silk polka dot blouse, from White House Black Market
Wide black belt, from Kohl’s
Red silk flower, from Dillard’s
Black skirts and peep-toe heels from their own wardrobes

CAKE
Cannoli tower from Chef’s Catering, Matthews {representing the couple’s Italian heritage}

~

THE STORY
On a cloudy, rainy Sunday morning, people started to gather at the Charlotte Museum of History. The bride and her sisters got there first, accompanied by their stylists, and spread out hair + makeup supplies in the glass-enclosed conference room. A little while later, the bride’s parents + grandparents/relatives arrived, followed by the groom’s parents, and finally the rabbi, escorted by the groom himself. After assembling in the library to hear the groom deliver a short drash {Torah thought} and witness the signing of the ketubah, the men made their way to the conference room, where the bride was seated like a princess, attended by the women present. As family and friends observed, the groom stepped forward and took a long look at his bride, for the first time that day, before carefully pulling her veil down to cover her face. The bride’s father + grandfather and groom’s father took this opportunity to pray for their children and bless them with the Birkat HaKohenim {Aaronic Benediction}.

At 11am, the groom prepared to make his entrance into the Great Hall. Surrounded by men from the Tzadik Class {discipleship group} he belongs to, he walked down the aisle accompanied by a hip classical piece {A Fifth of Beethoven by Walter Murphy}. Once the groom had taken his place under the chuppah, the bride entered the hall with her mother + sisters and the groom’s mother + sister, to the music-box sound of Craig Taubman’s Lo Ish. The groom and bride faced each other in silent excitement as the rabbi welcomed their guests, and then both mothers took the bride’s hands and led her in seven circles around the groom. Mishehu Holech Tamid Iti {“Someone Always Walks With Me”}, a beautiful song by Ofra Haza, filled the room as the bride slowly circled the groom.

The two witnesses were called up to be questioned and examine the ring, the groom + bride read their personal vows {based on the 4 “I Will’s” from Exodus 6}, the Sheva Berachot {Seven Blessings} were sung by the cantor and translated by the groom + bride’s uncles, the destruction of the Temple was remembered as Im Eshkachech Yerushalayim {“If I Forget You, Jerusalem”} played, the wedding glass was dramatically shattered, and all too soon it was over… the couple made a joyful exit out of the hall and up the circular staircase to enjoy their yichud {seclusion} meal + first few moments alone.

When the groom + bride returned downstairs, they received their guests in a round atrium at one end of the museum. The reception concluded with everyone together in the Gathering Room to say the Birkat HaMazon {Blessing After Meals} + hear a repetition of the Sheva Berachot. At this point, the ketubah was read aloud, one man gave an inspiring prayer for the couple, and then the groom surprised the bride by singing the Eshet Chayil {Woman of Valor, Proverbs 31} – with the entire tzadik class!

The couple had another unexpected surprise when they were whisked away in a white limousine and taken uptown to a beautiful hotel… the perfect fairytale ending.

=)

Greg & Morgan, Planning, Squicciarini family, Wedding

8 Days

Fantastic day celebrating the upcoming wedding. Greg was honored with the maftir portion at our service this morning, and everyone loved my orange-coconut cake! Mr. Spurlock even sang the Sheva Berachot for us – our first time being “blessed.” {yay} Wore the new bright pink skirt Julianna brought me from Israel… love it! Felt like a princess. Everyone is excited for us… we had a discussion about Jewish wedding traditions this afternoon with the fellowship.

So Greg left for work tonight… and it was SO SAD. He is gone… for the whole week. Some of you may not realize this, but we do see each other pretty much every day. {grin} Since he works right here in Matthews, you know. Plus we’re always having events here at my house. This week is going to be tough! But I’m going to have a fantastic time with my sisters, and Greg has some fun plans too.

As my in-laws say, “everything is coming together.”

=)

Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Planning, Thoughts, Wedding

Decision

Well, we almost got away with a little inconsistency. We almost had a full “Jewish wedding” without giving up one tiny area of standard American behavior. Thank you, Julianna, for bringing this to my attention… {wink}

Jewish weddings have a pattern of sevens. The bride makes seven circles around the groom, binding herself to him irrevocably… there are seven blessings over the marriage, known as the Sheva Berachot… and the wedding ceremony begins a seven day celebration.

Obviously the seven days of festivities interfere with a pretty established custom… the honeymoon. A couple can’t be rejoicing with their family and friends if they’re stretched out on a beach in Jamaica. {wink}

So as Greg and I have been planning our wedding, we never really considered NOT taking a honeymoon. In fact, we talked about leaving right after the reception, since that’s one of the nice things about having a morning wedding – plenty of time to get on a plane and arrive at some tropical destination.

But… what’s our priority? Is it being by ourselves, or being with our community? Is it celebrating that we’re alone, or celebrating that we’re a new family in our community? After discussing these questions, we have chosen to stay in Charlotte for the week following our wedding, to begin our life together close to family and friends… and we will most likely take a short vacation sometime later in March.

I’m so happy about this decision! It’s definitely the right thing to do and far more consistent with our faith.

=)