Tuesday, December 27, 2011

~This Christmas~

Hi friends!

Our schedule has been action packed, yet relaxing this holiday season. The time off has been both necessary to our sanity and healing for our minds! Here's what we've been up to...

Christmas Eve was spent at our church's family life center for the Reginelli family party.

Oh whatever would we do if there were not 32 dishes to choose from on the football field sized table? We might starve, surely.

As is tradition, Nonnie banged on her pot with a metal spoon to quiet everyone down when it was time to eat...waves of the resounding gong and fear for our lives sent a hush over the crowd for her to welcome us all and bless the food. Countless trips to the intensive care unit over the past 6 months have not robbed this feisty lady of one ounce of spunk. Her stubbornness and fight have allowed her to survive the ringer...and be here this Christmas to lead the crazy circus. For that, we are so grateful.

Jenni read "The Right Way to Celebrate Christmas"
Dad looks so intense. Is it gonna be right?? Is it gonna be left? Right...Left??

A bit about our family's history of being peasants in Italy and surviving the journey to America in a disease-ridden boat, was shared. It is incredible to hear each little detail that made our lives the way they are. If they had been rich, they never would have come to America. If they had been weak, they never would have survived. Closing remarks stated "We are all here because they were such brave people."

The room was transformed into the annual Bingo hall.

The Santa made his arrival from The North Pole!

Nonnie always looks so absolutely happy for this.

Kelly probably didn't know she would be Mrs. Claus that day!

The kids + Sean had fun playing in the fun house. The family excitement is so wonderful, but the calm of being back home when it was over was amazing as well!

Back at our house later that night, Oliver kept sniffing out his present from under the tree and whining to open it early. I left the room to pour our Holiday Tea and came back just in time to see him sneaking a corner of wrapping paper off of his toy.


Guilty as charged, Poop. You will just have to wait. I hid his present in between a few branches so he could make it til Christmas morning.

Me, Sean, and the dogs spent the rest of the night in our newly completed home theater (more on that later!) watching a Home Alone/Home Alone 2 double feature. Popcorn from the popcorn machine, bottled coke, and Nutella on crackers filled me with joy!

Morning came and Sean and I opened our little stocking stuffers from each other. Since his Christmas project for himself was the movie room projector and speaker system and my gift to myself was my camera that is on its way (no more crappy blog pics!) so we set out with a $20 limit and alot of creative thinking for each others little gifts. I liked it so much, we may start a new tradition. He noticed I always listen to Pandora on my Iphone while doing my DIY projects so he got me a speaker amplifier. I noticed he always mentioned needing a tie clip so his tie doesn't get in his way while teaching and coaching. We also thought of a 6 pack of glass bottle cokes to be combined with his parents big gift...a phone cover...a magazine...Blow Pops. Too much fun.

After we opened ours, we ended the dogs misery by finally saying. "You can go get your present!!" Oliver perked his head to the side, scurried to the tree sliding on the wood floors, and retrieved his in record time.

Owen looked stunned, so we gave him a little help. Oliver helped him rip his open.

Sean's parents came over to exchange gifts. Sean got a mini fridge for the movie room!

We love it!! We stocked it with Coke right away.

I brought Prosciutto Parmesan Breadsticks to Nonnie's. The fastest, easiest, yummiest thing you can contribute to a holiday party! Bake Pillsbury Breadstick dough according to package. Wrap with prosciutto, sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Delicious!

Sean helped Nonnie finish up the ravioli.

"Nonnie, now what do I do?"

"Shake it real good, make sure you get all that water outta there."

The master adds the sauce.

Time to eat!

We opened presents in the den. Jason blew up an inflatable deer target.

Sean said "And here comes Elmer Fudd."

At times we held our breath as darts shot around the room, skimming by breakables and valuables at every turn. "Just don't shoot for the face," Jason advised him then went to another room.

Oh No! Gabe shot three very valuable items...Sean!...Steven!

And Phillip!

Classic moment.

Gabe didn't think that us playing a joke on his parents and telling them he shot the guys in the head was very funny! So cute.

We later went outside for family pics and playtime.

Bows, darts, guns, and helicopters made for some happy boys!

Uncle Larry, Jason, Sean, and Gabe set up the Hot wheels track.

We ate goodies all day long, visited with family, and finally retired home late that night to relax.

The day after Christmas, Sean and I enjoyed a day of shopping. The streets of Memphis and the stores were deserted so we had the best luck finding awesome deals! That night, we met his parents and friends at Blue Fin for Sean's sushi birthday dinner.

And now...we're trying to get things back in order and finish as many projects as we can while we have the time off. This time to rest, nest, and spend with family and friends is such an absolute blessing. I've been so filled with happiness this Christmas and sincerely hope that you have been as well.

Greetings, from all of us, to you!
The Grays

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