Snowvember: The Holiday Movie.

It had all the makings of a zany holiday movie.

A lingering virus! A snowstorm! A man in a Santa Claus suit walking a llama! Houseguests for four nights! A parade! A power outage and a turkey that needed to get right into the oven! Ah, the holidays. Ah, late November. Ah, snow. I like two of out of three of those things, and I just make do with the rest. We hadn’t had even one normal week in November. There were half days for conferences. A full day off for Veteran’s Day. Scarlet missing a school day one week for a cold. Des missing two school days the next week for a cold. Then I got the cold, and then we found ourselves expecting a true white Thanksgiving.


This year my mother-in-law and her husband (my other father-in-law) were supposed to host Thanksgiving. My father-in-law and his wife (my other mother-in-law) were going to come up that day. My parents and my sister and brother-in-law were all going to come up Wednesday and stay for either two or three nights. I was still sick from the previous week and I was pretty much couch-bound and completely lacking in any ambitions or abilities to see myself as a worthy.. anything, but mainly – mother, photographer, writer, friend, wife, pet owner. I was hit hard by the bug. Days later, I’m still questioning such things.

Luckily I had wonderful help from Cassidy and from my parents during their longest stay to date – four nights!

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And no, Mom and Dad. We didn’t get sick of you. Des keeps asking where you are.

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And so, my parents came up on Tuesday night. We went out early Wednesday for new shoes and Starbucks treats and then we played in the snow. That was to be the last time we’d leave the house for two days, but we didn’t know it at the time..

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Six inches of snow fell, pretty fast and furiously. My in-laws live about a half hour or so north of here and with leaves still on the trees, they lost power that afternoon and wouldn’t get it back for three days. And so, we hosted Thanksgiving at our house. We had about 12 people and it was pretty non-stressful. My little sister and brother-in-law came up that morning, and then my in-laws came over with the uncooked turkey and other sides. Now they were pretty cheerful, having had no power in their house overnight, and with no idea of when it would be back. When we finally sat down to dinner to say what we were thankful for, I said I was thankful for my kids. Scarlet said she was thankful for her school (awww!). My mom said she was thankful for my older sister falling in love with and marrying a wonderful man. We got a lot of “Awwws!” for those.

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I may say this every year, but this year was the best tasting Thanksgiving dinner I’ve ever had.

The next day was shopping downtown and it was not nutty, despite it being Black Friday. My sister and brother-in-law went back home and it was just a lot of quality meals and grandparents time with my parents and the kids. When Cassidy and my dad played Scrabble, my mom and I snuck in a couple of Hallmark Christmas movies. Why do we watch bad Christmas movies? It’s because they feel good. It’s because we watch them after the kids are in bed and there is no work to be done and we don’t have the brainpower for anything else. We do it because it’s a bonding activity. We do it because it makes us slaphappy beyond belief as we both mock and enjoy the movies at the same time. We do it because time is precious, and getting together over something made for pure enjoyment is good use it. We do it because it pairs well with cookies and popcorn.

My parents left after our town parade and breakfast on Saturday and the rest of the weekend was rest and catchup. Oh, and good news! Our farmer neighbor is up to his old tricks – walking around town dressed as Santa, and leading around a llama.

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Our zany holiday movie is winding down and the snow is melting. I certainly have a turkey hangover. My in-laws did get their power back on Friday night. We did get our Christmas tree but it’s not 20 feet like last year. It’s a modest 12/13/14 feet. It’s gorgeous. More on that later. The holiday parade was short and sweet. More on that later too. I suppose this movie will have a sequel or two. Episodes, really. Speaking of which, surely you saw the Star Wars Episode VII teaser trailer by now?

And now, our holiday movie in stills from the snowy scenes. I didn’t film during the dinner scenes.

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(She’s both Egyptian and Siberian, and it looks like she embraces both parts of her heritage.)

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All characters were played by themselves. All sets were on location at our house.

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We all did our own stunts.

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No humans or animals were harmed in the making of this film, except that a fresh turkey was cooked, Scarlet stubbed her toe, and Des got some snow in the collar of his jacket. And we can all agree on how cold that can be.

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The End.

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How was your holiday/holiday weekend?
Do you enjoy bad (and good) Christmas movies?
Have you ever seen Santa Claus leading a llama around your town?
Did you play in the snow over the weekend?

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  1. Wow, as much as I am not a fan of the cold and snow, your weekend looked amazing. How is it that we live only a few hours south and didn’t get even a dusting of snow and you got this much?! Seriously amazes me and still so happy you had such a wonderful holiday. We totally had a wonderful and magical weekend and will totally be sharing a bit of it for Wonderful Wednesday myself – so stay tuned 🙂

    1. I can’t wait until Wednesday then! I don’t know how we got such a storm, but I seriously can’t understand how people live in Buffalo. Now that is insane.

        1. I will try to be on time! I know I am always late lately, because of my workload. I always want to be the first to comment on your blog. I always get there eventually.

  2. What an incredible Snowvember movie – loved it! My hat’s off to the jolly old man if he can get 8 Llama dashing through the sky. That pic is great. I heard about your power outage in your state and wondered if you guys were affected. That would be a yes. That is awesome how everyone circled the wagons so to speak to make it a wonderful Thanksgiving for all of you! Ha, I recognize the snow falling out of the trees on Scarlet…been there so many times myself 🙂 Athena is SO beautiful! And oh lordy did I ever get goosebumps when the Star Wars trailer came out the other night. A 3-pronged light saber..hmmm.. Great post, Tamara! 🙂

    1. It’s funny because we were not directly affected at our house, but I guess we were for our plans. My poor in-laws.
      Our neighbor really loves his llamas. He definitely has more than eight. Maybe he is getting a sleigh together. The way he does that for kids is truly amazing. I want to give him a big hug but I don’t want to creep him out!

  3. We were in DC and they didn’t really get much snow. There’s not really much here either. But your snow pics look awesome. We ran a race and did lots of fun stuff and spent a lot of time driving. But it was worth it. And then I slept in both days this weekend. I didn’t watch any holiday movies but my son and I watched Divergent and MockingJay this weekend and they were both awesome. I’ll be sharing a little bit about our trip later this week. I’m sorry you were sick…that is a bummer!

  4. Ahhhh snowww!! I’m gonna have to look for fake snow here. Or snow village! Lol. It’s pretty cold here though with the usual December rain. I love your holiday “movie”.. sounds so much fun with all the families around. 🙂

    1. So what is cold like for you? I know when I lived in San Francisco, 50 degrees would be cold. And in Florida, they think even higher than that is cold! You just get used to what you get.

  5. We had quite a bit of snow not too long ago so I don’t envy you at all that snow. It does look like everyone enjoyed themselves though. I’m looking at those pics of Des and he looks like he just grew overnight. He looks sooo tall. Here’s hoping that your weather gets better as the week goes on. We’re having a cold front tomorrow and I”m not to happy to hear that.

  6. Thank You, Tamara for taking us on a snowy sentimental journey through your Thanksgiving Weekend. The snow gives your handsome home a very special kind of charm, almost like it was meant for snow. Even with all that snow these are such heartwarming pictures of Cassidy, . Scarlet and Des, and your Egyptian/Siberian beauty. I’m happy that you with your lingering cold Tamara, and all your house guests enjoyed Thanksgiving Weekend.

  7. So, so wonderful and so much of the same happened here! We had family guests for five days and it was amazing. A few people got sick but got over it, there was a lot of movie watching, some shopping but mostly eating and drinking. I want to rewind and start back from last Wednesday!!!
    PS – we should make a sledding playdate for the kids!…with hot chocolate and treats afterward of course!

    1. That sounds so nice! And definitely like what we had.
      I think we should definitely make a sledding play date. There are great hills here, and I’m sure there are great hills there! Been too long!

  8. Stunning pictures! My holiday was similar to yours, minus the virus and the snow! After Friday’s post, things did slow down a bit. We had a nice quiet weekend with my sister-in-law and the grandparents. And we bought our Christmas tree. I was quite surprised because the one my husband brought home was considerably smaller then the years past?!?! So, we went out and bought a second tree. Should be interesting…

    1. Oh that should be interesting! I think my husband thinks ours is small because last year, our tree was so tall. Whereas, I think this tree is huge.

  9. I love this post. You guys make the snow look so fun! I have had fun in the snow approximately 1 time, and every time after that it is just a pain! I need to work on having fun in it. Sounds like your holiday weekend was a comedy of errors, but it still went well. I was home in Louisiana, and it was so so warm, which was pretty great. Not as beautiful as yours, but really, when you’re wearing shorts in November, that’s all that matters!

    1. I think that sounds perfect! Thanksgiving in shorts. We had Thanksgiving in snow pants. And then I had a winter wonderland photo shoot, but I didn’t want to wear snow pants because they make me feel bulky and like I can’t move fast, so I just got my knees very wet and cold.

    1. You know, that makes me think. I remember when I was younger, a cold would be one week final. Ever since I had kids, colds last up to two weeks. I don’t feel completely lousy for two weeks, but I’m not 100% for two weeks. Is this an age thing, or our colds different than they used to be?

  10. We only had less than an inch of snow in Chicago, but I have to say I don’t think we’ve ever had a white Thanksgiving! Emmy is a big fan of the original Star Wars movies, and wanted to watch the newer ones because all the boys at school have seen them. So far we’ve watched I and II and will watch III pretty soon. My husband is not a big fan of movies in general (he’s an unusual guy) and I have to give him a lot of credit for watching them with the girls and not saying a word of criticism! He’s a good daddy.

    1. Aww! What a good dad.
      I have a feeling, that store was in your future. But I can’t even remember a white Christmas, much less a white Thanksgiving! I remember a lot of white New Year’s Eves.

  11. I’m not sure how much snow fell in Eastern Mass, but only a couple inches fell around where my parents live, so now playing in it for us (plus I didn’t have any of Eve’s snow stuff). Your home looks so magical in the snow! I wish we had someone leading a llama through the streets of Somerville. I saw that once in Cusco, which is only slightly more expected since Cusco is an actual city with lots of cars driving around. And I didn’t watch the Star Wars trailer, but Sam was playing it for someone so I heard it. I can’t believe they’re making another one!

  12. You got so much snow up there! My SIL in W Mass was without power for about almost 2 days. We had rain. Lots of rain that went sideways and upside down at one point! I’m glad you had a wonderful visit with your family and it turned into the Thanksgiving unplanned but so beautiful

  13. The holiday weekend was mostly amazing. I loved having our family together and just taking things easy. I got a couple of naps in and started doing a little decorating for Christmas. I love your snow photos – a true winter wonderland. That is really cool about the llama, I remember that from last year (which does not seem like that long ago). Hope you are feeling better!

  14. We out-drove the snow, although we didn’t get much here. Sounds like you had just the Thanksgiving weekend you needed to fully recover and prepare to face December with renewed energy. And I’m sure you ate lots of mashed potatoes, right?

  15. I love how you did the pictures where it looks like it’s snowing. I’m going to have to try that this year! I also love how the winter gear your kids have on looks next to the white! Your dog is bigger than I thought she was, at least compared to Des! I always dread saying what I’m thankful for at dinner, it’s too cheesy. 🙂

    1. It really was snowing, but to achieve the effects of the massive snow was a little different.
      So I has to be the kind of wet snow that sticks to trees. And then you have somebody shake the branch over a willing participant, and you take photos while it happens! I don’t know if you use manual but my shutter speed was pretty fast.

  16. Well it wasn’t a holiday but we were snowed in too! 12 inches my friend! Eeek! I couldn’t move my car out of our parking lot so we hunkered down inside. We did put up our tree though!

    I love your snowfall pictures. I can never get a good action shot of snow or rain falling from the sky. It’s not the photographer right… it’s the camera?! *wink*

    Even though there was a lingering virus, it sounds like an extraordinary and unique Thanksgiving… one to remember!

    Wishing you a lovely day.

    1. For the snow shots, it was snowing at the time and I always use a shutter speed around 250. however. We definitely upped the drama. I had Cassidy or Scarlet shake the wet trees, and then big snow piles fell on willing participants.

  17. That is a lot of snow. I like it, but in moderation. My daughter would want to keep the llama.

    I love your snow photos. Mine always come out too bright.

    1. Honestly, this is only 6 inches. We are used to a lot more.

      It can be hard to get proper exposure for snow photos. There are all sorts of tricks.

  18. I already want to visit you for many reasons but Santa and the llama seal the deal!! Have you read the Lllama Llama books to your kids? They are some of my favorites! Can’t wait to see your tree!

  19. I LOVE your holiday movie and would watch it over and over again 🙂 Bonus: Happy ending and those adorable babies<3
    Your never seem to disappoint Mrs. Tamara, those pictures are thee MOST beautiful pictures to date!!! I'm in love with the snow shots! I know you'll think I'm crazy, but I MISS SNOW.
    Can the llama Santa man come here? My neighbors need some Holiday cheer, it seems as we're the only ones with it here 🙂

    1. That means a LOT because lately, I have been worried that I’ve lost my photography touch. So for you to say that my most recent photos are beautiful is pretty needed!
      Not sure Santa Llama will travel, but maybe the trend will catch on down south.

  20. WOW! That is A LOT of snow. I miss seeing snow like that. When I lived in Maryland we had some of the most beautiful snow falls. Of course, in Louisiana, it never snows, and if it does…or even has a 20% chance, the schools and roads close down and people drive like insane maniacs. I am glad your Thanksgiving turned out wonderful. 😉 We had a great time here, I actually cooked everything the day before so I wasn’t rushed and enjoyed the morning and served our Thanksgiving meal at noon. No Christmas movies, No Santa, and no Llama. Although, I am envious of those!

  21. I don’t appreciate missing the dressed up Llama!!! Lol Glad it was such a wonderful holiday 🙂 So much family, so much fun! You guys really got hit with snow up there – We received a few inches on Wednesday but it quickly melted off throughout the day due to the heavy rain we experienced earlier. It didn’t stick! Which I’m happy for since driving in that weather around here is a whole production. I’m watching the Carbonaro Effect; and if you don’t you ought to because it’s hilarious. People are so gullible!! Happy Monday love and feel better! -Iva

    1. I wish you could have seen the llama man! He will be back.
      Today it was 50° and most of the snow melted already. We all kept saying that it felt like March.

      1. Oh man so do I! I love llamas!! Lol. Yesterday was so lovely – it was in the 50’s too – felt so nice. Today it’s back to low 30’s – freakin’ cold. For me anyway, lol. 🙂

  22. That is a lot of snow!!! Your mom seems like such a fun mom/grandma – every picture of her she is laughing and having a good time!!!
    Our movie would be much more boring – we took Thursday completely off but worked the rest of the weekend. I’m looking forward to some days off around Christmas!!!

  23. I didn’t have any snow this weekend…on wednesday there was a snowlike gross mix of snow and rain that made everything slippery but nothing accumulated to write home about…so many GREAT snowy pics, but dad and des made my evening!

  24. That definitely sounds like an epic Thanksgiving. We had the Husband’s family over on Thanksgiving day, and then it was time for a baking frenzy that lasted until Sunday night. And sadly, no I hadn’t seen that trailer yet. Not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. I guess 2015 we’ll all know in a year!

  25. i LOVED Snowvember I think that’s a repeat watch/ read! If it ever snows that much down here in Southern Arizona, we should all prepare for the apocalypse 🙂 Right now we are in the 80’s and our house will be full all winter with our friends and family looking to escape the cold!

    1. I don’t blame your family and friends at all! My in-laws hate winter so much that they just rented a house in Florida for the whole month of January. We are definitely trying to visit them.

  26. Sounds like you had a wobderful time with your family. We had a good weekend. The weather was really nice in Arkansas(over 60 degrees). So we enjoyed some time at the park riding bikes on Saturday.

    1. That sounds so awesome! I do like our seasons but I don’t like this one. I think it would be fun to live somewhere where you don’t know what the temp will like be in the winter. That was what San Francisco was like.

  27. So much snow! So much fun! It looks so beautiful and magical. And sounds like a lovely and great holiday with your family. Speaking of Star Wars, Everett has been obsessed with it lately so we decided to let him watch Episode 4 over the weekend. It was so so awesome to watch it through his eyes. His older brother on the other hand, well, let’s just say he didn’t love it so much and may have been up half the night with nightmares! Happy Thanksgiving indeed.

    1. Cassidy showed Scarlet parts of the movies when she was very young. She was fine with all of it, except one of the monsters that she should not have seen. She never watched the movies in full, though. Just the palatable parts.
      Hope you had a great weekend!

    1. Happy holidays to you! I am definitely feeling better. Just a week ago I was so sick. Now it’s just a remaining sniffle, but that could be the extreme cold weather.

  28. See I love the pictures of the snow and the fall, but I don’t wish I was there because it would be way too cold for me! 🙂 So sorry that you’ve still been sick. But I’m really happy for you all that you got so spend such wonderful, quality time together.

    1. Thank you! I have been feeling better. One thing I don’t like is that we don’t really get surprises. It is just cold. When I lived in San Francisco and when I visited the south, you can get surprised with high temps.

  29. Gorgeous pictures! We only had a few snow flurries on Thanksgiving, which is alright by me. It sounds like you had a wonderful weekend! I love watching cheesy Christmas movies. Last night, I watched Nativity 2. Such a ridiculous movie but in a good way 🙂

  30. Oh Tamara!!!! I am just SO blessed by seeing those GORGEOUS photos and coming by to take in your poetic words full of life and light and embracing all that is good and worthy of praise!!! What a WEEK!!! And you produced a perfect movie…

    I wish I was in it though… maybe next year. Sigh.

    1. I think I’d be a good movie producer! For really low budget ones…

      Totally wish you were here. I just heard “Clouds” on my Pandora and I thought about you a lot.

    1. He’s so nice! I know him when he’s not in the Santa suit (shh.. don’t tell Scarlet) and he absolutely loves his llamas. He has a ton of them and one was very old and sick and passed away and he was as broken up about it as you can imagine.
      Well, you an imagine. You’ve lost a pet.
      Now why did I bring this magical conversation down? I’m sorry!

  31. So much wonder in your pics. I am impressed that you captured so much goodness even though you weren’t feeling a hundred percent.

    I celebrated Thanksgiving in Dallas – such a full holiday with food, fun and family. It was perfect.

    Hope you are on the mend.

    1. Thank you so much! Not only that, but I’ve been in a really downer mood about photography lately. Like thinking I suck. So that helps.
      Dallas sounds nice!
      So glad it was perfect for you.

  32. Ahhh…that snow was gorgeous! I’m so glad to hear you all had a wonderful holiday, despite some of the mishaps and impromptu snow. We had pretty seasonable weather here in Georgia, kind of cold, but bearable. Now its 70 degrees and sunshiny this week. I’m hoping it sticks around for a bit, but that might be wishful thinking! Loving all of the moments you capture of your kids in the snow, so cute!

    1. Your week sounds amazing. We’re booking a trip to Disney World.. again.. in January and I swear I’m already checking the weather forecast. I remember how good it felt. It was a polar vortex up here and I was not very homesick..

  33. Santa and a Llama? That is a kids book – you know that right? You have to write it! Instead of “Is Your Mama a Llama” it could be Rudolph the Red Nose Llama. Or no, HOw the Llama Saved Christmas! Oh and the snow is gorgeous as is your family!

    1. What a great idea! I love the idea of the llama wanting to be Rudolph, or wanting to be a reindeer or take a reindeer role.
      They really are such characters. I ran into one in our woods, literally, recently but it just came over and gave me a stare down.

  34. I am absolutely going to misspell this…Ready? Your photos capture quintessential New England. Breathtaking. I am glad you are feeling a bit better and glad you had a yummy Thanksgiving!

  35. Ohhhh your Thanksgiving sounded WONDERFUL!! Crazy but wonderful. I love your laid back attitude cause it would’ve been easy with all of that going on to get majorly stressed, but sounds like you guys all made the best out of it and it all turned out amazing. And that snow…gorgeous!

  36. Haha!!! I love your crazy yet not crazy and completely perfect holiday weekend!! I can’t believe you got so sick and you had just posted about not being sick in x amount of years! Gosh, stupid universe. But I doubt you’ll catch another bug for a very long time (and I just knocked on wood).

    Your llama farming neighbor is amazing.

    1. I knocked on wood too! I usually get sick once a year. Although when I was pregnant, it was definitely more than that. Before kids it was once every two or three years. Because I used to sleep.

  37. *Galactic Feels Intensifies*!!!!! 🙂
    You knew I’d be all over that right?
    Your house looks so darn pretty in the snow. Mine just looks cold.
    your whole world looks pretty in the snow.

  38. I think it’s sweet and awesome that this Thanksgiving was your favorite so far! And the snow scenes are just gorgeous and magical!!!! LOL on the Santa with the llama.

  39. 1. The holiday was OK for me, and the more times I say that, the more I realize that I’m awfully damn lucky to be invited to a house to small and to have enough stuffing to stuff me even when the turkey runs out.

    2. Yours is officially my favorite Christmas movie. The Christmas movie I watched had Bruce Willis and guns in it. come to think of it, maybe it wasn’t a holiday movie after all.

    3. Never have seen Santa with a llama, but when I was a teenager, I played Santa for the neighborhood kids. I was so nervous they’d recognize me, but they didn’t. Also, my parents took pictures of me – acting like I was drinking tequila from the bottle. Ah, Mexican-Americans.

    4. Snow play? I’d have a better chance at scoring snow on the street than playing with the real stuff in the yard. I’d much prefer the latter, for the record.

  40. I can’t believe how much snow you guys got! And that you were able to see a llama (taboot taboot–I know you said your hubby is a Phish fan so I think he’ll get the reference) 🙂 Pictures are stunning per usual. I love one of the first pics with your daughter and mom pondering the meaning of the snowman. So cute! I love holiday movies this time of year, too. Especially all the oldies (Rudolph and the Grinch) but also “Home for the Holidays.” One of my very favorites and I try to make it a point to watch it each year.

      1. I think that’s the best idea I ever heard. You could do a 13 doctors of Christmas thing and have a different doctor themed item every day. A big scarf on the fourth day…and sneakers on the 10th.

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