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!

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

more reasons to smile

Awhile ago I read a post on Crysta Bobylev’s blog {Shalom in the Home} that I’ve been wanting to share. Today I went back to reread it and find the link to share it here. Crysta wrote a beautiful post called “Stealing Away,” drawing a comparison between nursing {special time with my baby} and the Sabbath {special time with our King}. Check it out!

Week at a glance…

> welcomed Julianna & Peter home from KY with hugs {from me} and smiles {from Sophia}
> tried new food! {Thai fish cakes… interesting texture}
> got a super sweet email from one of my friends that made my day {thank you Hannah!}
> date night errands with Greg…
> lunch with my big brother {grin}
> made progress in Passion & Purity with Mary; discussed “does G-d want us to be happy?”
> joined a fun group of girls to support the National Network to End Domestic Violence by donating gently worn underwear to women’s shelters in Charlotte, an event publicized by Soma Intimates in Southpark {rewarded ourselves with lunch afterwards at Earth Fare}
> took Sophia to visit an orphanage {Thompson Child & Family Focus} and told her about children that don’t have mommies & daddies
> had a girls day out with my baby! {pedicure + eyebrow wax… 2 things I haven’t done since before she was born} SO proud of her sitting in my lap, watching attentively as mommy was pampered
> got a package I’ve been waiting for {a pretty photo book of Sophia’s baby pictures… surprise gift for Greg’s mom!}
> visited a new cafe in Pineville with my mother-in-law, sipped Tazo Lotus green tea in the sun
> had dinner at The Residence with family + the Stelzls {my cousins}… always enjoy conversation with Uncle Dave!
> made the decision {with Greg’s approval} to donate 10″ of my hair to an organization supplying cancer patients with wigs {nervous about it! But my hair grows very quickly, and has gotten very long… seems like an appropriate time to cut it for a good cause}
> got approved for a mortgage {the house search is officially under way!}
> yet to come: dinner with my niece {I became an aunt when I married Greg… we have a niece and nephew in Massachusetts. Alexis is visiting Nonni for a few days}; first Bella Torah service since the July break; and second week of our liturgical prayer discussion on Saturday nights!


Greg & Morgan, Planning, Squicciarini family, Wedding

4 Days

The week continues to fly by…

Yesterday contained: a trip to the spa w/ mom & the girls; the purchase of a “wedding glass” to smash {finally}; a few other errands; shopping w/ friends; a unique gift from mom; and dinner at a cute place in Blakeney, Zoe’s Kitchen. Meanwhile Greg had a pizza party at The Residence, including a special occasion tzadik class focused on elements of a great marriage! He also tried on his kittel {borrowed from Mr. Spurlock}, and said it “wasn’t as bad as he thought.” The kittel is a white robe the groom normally wears. It’s white, the color of purity, and a subtle reminder of his mortality {in Judaism, people are buried in these white robes}. Greg was imagining a bathrobe… not quite what he’d prefer to wear on his wedding day. Greg is really quite stylish. He has 2 years worth of GQ on our bookshelf, if that gives you any indication. {wink}

Today, Christine set up a special class for us at her gym! We spent an hour stretching/de-stressing, and then went to the sauna… {wow} This afternoon I finished emptying my room, prepared for the mikveh tomorrow, completed a slideshow for the museum lobby screen, and wrote my vows! Sooo productive. {grin}

Christine, Mary, and I took a run up to Southpark tonight in the Beetle, to make a few returns. Mary made us a “wedding week” playlist on her iPod with cute playful music we can sing along to… and we’ve been enjoying it the past few days! And speaking of shopping, I took the opportunity recently to place a few last-minute orders: Soma, Hapari, Folica, and Vistaprint. {grin} Because… it was necessary to stock up on a few essentials while I still have money in my bank account!

So it’s been 4 days without Greg. {wow} We’ve been talking about once a day, just to catch up for a minute – no long conversations. This has really spiked our anticipation! Tomorrow is the rehearsal, and I ran into Party City today and got a little butterfly mask to wear… I’ll try to get a silly picture of us in our masks. {grin}


Planning, Squicciarini family, Wedding


I need a new pair of shoes {who doesn’t?!} …to go with my white dress. The dress doesn’t go past the floor, which is great for walking around but means that the shoes will be on full display at all times {ah, the pressure of finding suitable footwear}.

So I looked around the internet… {including the adorable site} and found:

  • designers like Badgley Mischka, Stuart Weitzman, and Kate Spade make lovely “white wedding shoes” {no surprise there} & they cost 2-3x the price of my dress, which is so unfair…
  • there are a thousand white jeweled flip-flops on ebay… {why??}
  • according to the reviews dyeable shoes are not quite that simple…
  • as with everything about this wedding, there are a myriad of factors to consider… heel height, open toe or closed toe, shoe style {ballet? sandal? slingback? pump? boot?}, embellishments {flowers? ribbon? lace?}…

Mom says I should check a department store {ANY excuse to visit Southpark!} but really, will there be white shoes out in November? It’s worth a try… & I also plan to visit our local bridal store next week to see what they have. But… it seems so conventional to go buy a pretty little pair of bridal shoes just like everybody else! Trapped in the box of mindlessly extravagant conventionalism again… oh no. {help!} As I was saying to the woman at the alterations place today, they should have shoe rentals, since you only need them for a few hours and we all know *nobody* throws their white ribbon-trimmed heels on for a party anytime down the road – they absolutely scream “bridal.” {sigh}

Maybe I can go with silver. Silver heels with a wedding dress? Does that work? I feel sure I could re-wear a pair of silver shoes. Hmm.

What I need… is advice from the Shoe Queen, Lori Burroughs. {wink}