Thursday, December 29, 2011

Our Wedding: Getting Ready

The summer sun shined on the morning of July 30th, 2011. I woke up early and drew in a breath of relief that the day had come. Soon, all the preparation and stress would finally cease when I would finally be that man's wife. I put on a baby blue sundress and drove just a mile from home to my hair salon where I was joined by friends.

I applied my makeup in the silent calm of my own bathroom.

Alone with myself. I enjoyed that time before the whirlwind was to begin.

A group of special ladies, composed of family and dear friends, hosted a bridesmaids luncheon for my girls and I.

My hosts, Kay, Teresa, and Aunt Mary. They made the morning classy and special. Peaceful and sweet. Strawberry Chicken Salad, Hawaiian Sandwiches, and a decadent dessert were all apart of the midday pick-me-up we needed. And Peach Mimosas. They were important too.

With my flower girls, Lexie and Ellen-Claire

With the ladies in my life. Mrs. Pam, Joan, Nonnie, and Meemaw.

Family and friends.

Back at the church, just after stepping into my dress, I soaked in a few moments of the peaceful emptiness. I passed all the vacant pews, hoping there would be enough space to hold our most special friends and family. The hush was accompanied by the swishing of my dress on the floor and the ceiling fans humming over the aisle in preparation for the warm summer evening.

It was like being on an empty, quiet stage just before opening number of the final dance recital or in a quiet gym just before the big game. Feeling that space out of its element is so serene. The calm before the storm.

I wore ruffled, summer wedges...

...And my ring with the diamond my mom used to wear.

My bridesmaids each wore a different dress in a light shade of peach. I made each of them a wooden hanger with their name.

Airy and flowy. Summery and fun.

With a few hours before showtime, the wedding party met at the farm for some priceless pictures. In the 6 months that have passed, I have almost forgotten how the late July southern heat felt on my skin while standing by that barn! But I am sure those guys would be quick to remind me...

After the boys pictures were taken, Sean and I made our way around opposite sides of the farmhouse to the open area where we sat for an autumn picnic on September 12th, 2010; the day he asked me to marry him.

We're finally here. It's been a long but fast 7 year journey but this day came not a moment too soon. Or too late. Every breath, every change, every passing year developed and grew us into... us. The two people who could stand there that day on the verge of such a commitment, with unequivocal sureness and ease.

Upon seeing each other, there were no nerves. No anxiety. But butterflies of excitement. We knew undoubtedly we would see each other before the ceremony. We didn't see why we should stay apart on a day that is all about us together. A day we knew would disappear in a flutter. We were relieved to be able to enjoy the rest of OUR day together.

I made the gardenia hairpiece that I wore. One flower had a yellow butterfly pin in the center and the other, a peach flower.

I also made the guys boutonnieres and pocket squares.

Sean and his guys wore light gray seer sucker suits. The embodiment of a southern, summertime wedding. They wore them with classic white Converse Chuck Taylor low tops.

My girls and I traipsed through the garden to the barn for pictures.

Time was drawing near, but it seemed to hang on pause.

My flower girls were absolutely precious. They wore white sun dresses with flower halos that I made for them, and barefoot sandals.

Their mom, my cousin Jenni, with cousins Emily and Elizabeth constructed the sandals of organza ribbon, beads, and flowers.

I tried to cool down after coming in from the heat. Glistening sweat does not lend itself well to your wedding day debut!

Fred and I in the dressing room. We are used to getting ourselves all ready for showtime!

I peered out the church door window as our guests arrived. Don't you wonder what I was thinking?? Well...I was wondering just how well my whole look would hold up in the afternoon shower that suddenly came upon us just moments before we had to walk out to the church entry way!

I think we made it alright. We huddled in the foyer just moments before.

Come visit me again soon for our ceremony!

Visit our wedding page for more.

With Love,
Katie Gray

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Canon Reed, The Wedding Belles

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