Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lake Effect Snow, a Surly Teen, and a Very Warm Christmas

Happy Sunday after Christmas, everyone! It basically hasn't stopped snowing for the entire month of December so I thought I'd highlight yet another lake effect snowstorm in our Sunday photo. Just in case you can't see for yourself, Bria is mightily unhappy about it.  Even though I let her wear my Brand New Awesome Suitable for Antarctica Snow Boots. Ah well. I can't please everyone.

IMG_7254 snow angel Sunday photo web

Sophia, on the other hand, couldn't make a snow angel fast enough, even though she wasn't wearing snowpants. A little thing like that wouldn't stop her! She is a professional snow angel maker, after all.

We had a lovely Christmas and continue to have a lovely Christmas vacation, even with all the snow. If you'd like to hear all about it, complete with about 852 photos, keep reading. If you're only here for the Sunday Photo, I advise you to stop now before you are forced to look at 852 photos of Overstuffed family Christmas Traditions.


On Christmas Adam (December 23), we had a somewhat insane day full of cleaning, baking, frantic last minute shopping, and delivering neighbor gifts. But we hunkered down that evening with our silly Christmas socks (maybe not-so-silly Christmas socks this year) and cuddled together to watch George C. Scott's A Christmas Carol. We watched it on our amazing new TV that we've had since October, but is our Christmas gift from my parents. Thanks, Mom & Dad!  We have really loved not having a dinosaur for a television!

Christmas Eve Dinner

Christmas Eve was spent mostly just being really excited that it was Christmas Eve! And doing some preparations and having fun together.  In the past, we've done our Christmas Eve dinner with friends, but this year I was feeling the need to just be with my own little family. The Maestro felt the same way, so we had a very nice Christmas Eve dinner of pot roast, carrots, peas and potatoes with just the five of us.

Christmas Eve Dinner Place Setting

Of course, I always love to make the table beautiful on holidays. It's a tradition for me, and one of my favorite things to do. The place card holders were purchased a couple of years ago on an after Christmas sale (I've used them at other Christmas dinners, too). I made the napkin rings by stringing a small ornament (purchased at Target's dollar spot) onto a piece of grosgrain ribbon and gluing the ends together. About as simple as you can get!
IMG_7201 Bria Christmas Eve Dinner webIMG_7203  Sophia Christmas Eve dinner webIMG_7206 Chloe Christmas Eve dinner web

I make my girls' (and Joel!) dress up for holiday dinners. They don't have to be super fancy, I just don't like them to be in sweats or tee-shirts for our nice dinners.  I should have been born in another era. Because if I could make them dress super fancily for dinner, I totally would. But I will take what I can get. I sure do have beautiful girlies, don't I?

IMG_7211 Christmas jammies 2013 web

After dinner, we opened up our Christmas pajamas--always an exciting event!  This year, the girls' PJs all had Christmas doggies on them.  Joel and I got some, too, but nothing worth taking a photo of.  Just nice and warm.  Once our pajamas were on, we headed upstairs to listen to Amahl and the Night Visitors by the light of the Christmas tree up there.

IMG_7227 Christmas Eve web
And somehow Joel and I fit in all that mess, too!

By necessity (which has, of course, become tradition), we all sleep upstairs together on Christmas Eve. The girls' bedrooms are upstairs, while The Maestro and I sleep in a bedroom downstairs which happens to be right next to the Christmas tree.  We can't have them seeing their gifts without us, so we sleep upstairs with them! They usually fall asleep at some point during the opera, but this year Sophia listened to the whole thing and was too excited to fall asleep after that. I was glad that Santa doesn't fill our stockings because I finally told her I had to go down and do that before Santa actually came. When I came back up, Joel left to go fill my stocking, and I cuddled with Sophia until she finally fell asleep. I crept back downstairs to find Joel working on putting together Sophia's Santa gift--an art easel.
IMG_7219 Santa gift web

I helped him with that, and then we crept back upstairs to work on Santa's gift for Bria and Chloe.  New bedspreads, lamps, and a mirror for their room.

IMG_7221 from Santa webIMG_7223 from santa webIMG_7224 from Santa web

Oops. No photo of the lamps. And Santa didn't realize that one of the shams was a Euro sham--so I have a couple Euro pillows on their way to the house via Amazon Prime which should be arriving tomorrow. Can't wait to see what it all looks like totally complete.

The Maestro thought that this was a super weird gift for Santa to bring them, but I assured him that new bedspreads were on both of their lists (they've had their old ones since we moved here more than four years ago), and that they would freak out about getting a mirror. We also peeled off all of the cute decals that were in their room--I don't have any photos of those on the blog, but they were flowers and caterpillars and frogs and the like. They are too old for that kind of thing now (sniff, sniff).

IMG_7220 Santa gift web

Santa left them a scavenger hunt since he couldn't bring their whole bedroom down to the living room. At first, Sophia thought her art easel was for all three of them, so there were tears (who ever heard of tears on Christmas morning?) when the older two found their new and improved bedroom. It took a while for me to figure out what was wrong, but as soon as she understood that the art easel was only for her, she perked up considerably. And, just as I predicted, Bria and Chloe were over the moon about the new bedspreads and especially the mirror.

The Maestro and I miraculously got to bed before midnight this year. I don't think that's happened since Bria was teeny-tiny. Amazing! I wouldn't say we slept well all cramped together with the girls and the dog, but we'll do anything for one night, especially if that night is Christmas Eve.

IMG_7231 Christmas morning web

And then it was Christmas morning!  Sophia woke up at about 8:15--a little early for us, since we typically don't get up until around 9:00 on Christmas morning. Joel always makes them stand at the top of the stairs while he gets his video recording ready to capture their faces on Christmas morning.

We only do Santa gifts and stockings before breakfast--and you know what was a huge hit in the stockings this year?  Their coupon books. Who knew that they would be so thrilled to be offered the opportunity to skip chores and music practice? And to go on a date with Mom and Dad?  Okay, so I totally knew, but it was really fun to see how much they liked those.

After a lovely breakfast of bacon and pannukakku, we opened gifts.  And this is where I stopped taking photos (for which you're probably grateful).  I actually did really well this year to keeping in budget and keeping the gifts under the tree few.  The Maestro spoiled me absolutely rotten, though.

His goal was to keep me warm this winter.  I got a heated throw, the amazing snow boots previously mentioned, cozy slippers, a warm jacket to wear in the house, a warm outdoor headband, and a new Kindle. According to Chloe, the Kindle is to keep my mind warm.

I was so cozy after opening everything, that I had no desire to get up and bake the pies for Christmas dinner with our friends. And when I did finally get up, the dog had stolen my heated throw blanket in no time. But I let her share with me while the pies were in the oven.


And I didn't even bother to clean up the aftermath.  It could wait a while--I was finally WARM!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas as well!  I'm working on my word for the year and I will have a post all about that coming up soon.

Happy Sunday!

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Lara Neves
Lara Neves

Lara is mom to three daughters—two teens and a tween. She loves to share her parenting and homemaking triumphs and failures here at Overstuffed! She was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2015 and has been fighting it ever since. When she isn't working on her mother of the year award, you can find her reading, singing, or taking photos.


  1. Love the bedspreads! Love them. Where may I ask did Santa get them? I am in the market for a new bedspread. And what kind of kindle did you get? I am also in the market for a new kindle, I want to know your opinion.

    And I wish you could come to WC with me too! How fun would that be? Too bad Wendys doesn't have a gluten free menu, we could go eat there for old times and look at the parking lot where the SMTC used to be.

  2. Merry Christmas! I love your posts, but don't comment much. I thought you would like to know that there is a pretty racy ad on your sidebar for League of Angels.

  3. Thank you, Sheila. I've blocked that ad now...hopefully it stops showing up!