Thanksgiving with the Kramers

My Thanksgiving started out not the best.  I was in the shower and couldn’t help but think of what I wish Thanksgiving could be…  I longed for the days when my husband Kramer was still living.  Ah, holidays can be hard.

I tried to let it pass.  Feel the feelings and let them go.  I had Kalissa’s boys early.  Craig had to do chores on the farm.  Kalissa was working overnight and wasn’t home yet.

Then the doorbell rang.  Weird??!

Karl had arrived the darn it.  My door handle broke.  Ugh.  Add insult to injury.  I’d already been feeling bad about Kramer not being here.  Adding this it was not what I needed.  Then I was mad..and then I was a mess.


I’ve done this often enough.  I know this happens in the grieving process.  I just try so hard to not let it be at times like this.  I don’t want to dampen the festive mood.

I tried to fix it.  No luck.  I called Buck, no luck.  Ugh.  Then Buck said he’d love it if I took his kids home with me.  Lora is a manager at a retail chain and would not be home for the next week except to grab a few hours of sleep so that would work out well.  He’d come and pick them up on Saturday and fix my door.

Karl and I jumped in my van.  I took cross stitch.  He drove and by the time we pulled into Buck and Lora’s, I was finally feeling a little more like myself.

and with that…the chaos of 9 grandkids went underway!!  Here’s my much wanted grandma picture…

None of the pictures were very good.  They were all a different version of chaos.


Kalissa braided Lucy’s hair and then she discovered she could make a mustache with her hair.  We all discovered we could too.  HA!! Karl already had one in place.

Emmett, Kelli’s guy, showed us all his newfound crawling skills.


Lilly, Buck’s little girl was a little overwhelmed by us all so she got a little extra grandma time.


Here is Carver, Emmett, Eli, Lucy, and Scotty.


Kayla with her son Jasper and Eli.

The kids had every toy in the house out.  Gannon was infatuated with these Magnetic Tiles.  I ended up ordering a set for my house.  Find them HERE on Amazon.

The other kids joined in playing too.


…and more and more kids joined.


Scotty and Carver started playing with them too.


Lucy just makes me smile.


Here’s Jasper.  The kids all played great together.  I honestly think this was our best holiday with them all.  Typically it’s a lot of crying and tattling.  None of that this time around.


Here’s Emmett.


While the kids played, the adults did too.  It was Ticket to Ride fun for us.


Not all of us played.  Kalissa slept.  Remember she worked the night before.  The kids started cleaning up and threw all of the stuffed animals on Kalissa.  She slept through it all.


Here is proof she’s under there.  The poor girl worked the overnight shift the night before and she was tired.


We all had a good laugh over this…

This is the first picture I’ve ever taken that Gannon willingly took.  I love his smile.


Here is a picture of Kelli’s family.  We tried to get a good one…no luck.


Here is the sibling picture…Left to right:  Buck, Kalissa, Kayla, and Karl on the couch…Kelli is in the front.

Then I took a picture of everyone there minus me…


Then Lora took a picture of the original family and no in-laws.  What a group!

Oh my…what a day!  I started out kind of sad but it’s honestly super hard to be sad when my life is filled with all of these people who love me unconditionally.

That was Thanksgiving 2021.  I had a few more days of fun with the kids as Buck’s kids came home with me and Kalissa’s came for a play day.

25 thoughts on “Thanksgiving with the Kramers

  1. Jazz

    OMG, Emmett’s already crawling? Isn’t he one of the twins who were just born, like, last weekend?
    What a great family!

    Reply
    1. Judith Fairchild

      Oh the happiness in those pictures they would pull anyone of out of the darkest blues.. I kow how you feel about missing Kramer. You and I are are in the same boat. I’m just more used to missing my husband.but your grands filled the hole for the day. Such happiness to enjoy.

      Reply
  2. Samantha M

    Such lovely photos Jo! What great memories of the day. I love the ones with you and all the grandchildren :-) It’s lovely to see how they’re all changing.

    Reply
  3. Nicole Hanson

    My husband of 54 years, died two years ago on Christmas Eve. Until a week ago life had been going well until out of the blue, I had a meltdown! That was a bad day. But you allow yourself a bit of a pity party, then pick yourself up, dust yourself off and march on. The days get better again. You are right, the holidays are the hardest. So glad that you have quite the brood to keep you busy and laughing! Am so glad your life righted itself again! Wishing you joy, and may your treatments go well, so your health will return. Blessings

    Reply
  4. Angela Short

    Your family is amazing! The pictures are great. I truly love the pictures of you & all your grand kids. They are all being themselves! Wonderful pictures! Take care.

    Reply
  5. Donna

    I know people like sitting pictures but chaos pictures to me are the best because it shows everyone having a good time, loving each other, and being themselves.
    And you, my friend, are just fine. And well loved.
    Love and prayers

    Reply
  6. Kim J LeMere

    Jo, you are blessed. All of those wonderful pictures show us just that. The happy smiles say it all. Kramer was there, you can see him in his children and his grandchildren. Happy Thanksgiving to the Kramers!

    Reply
  7. Kate

    Oh what a great family!! I remember some of those days long ago. So sorry that day started hard for you, holidays are just a hard day when somebody is missing. You are so blessed to have those kids and grandkids.

    Reply
  8. Ellie

    So glad your Thanksgiving turned into a wonderful day after a bad start . The pictures are wonderful because they show so much personality and that you’re having fun! That’s the best.

    Reply
  9. Debbie B

    What a beautiful family day of celebration! So glad you could all get together. Those kids are growing up way too fast. Enjoy every moment!

    Reply
  10. Carol Stearns

    20 years from now, I’d llke to see a pic of the kids on that couch with you in the middle. Who did the cooking? What a great family! Hard to be sad when you have all that kid energy bounding around. My sister’s husband died in June and I know it will be hard for her this year.

    Reply
  11. shirley

    7 years since I lost my husband. The melt downs are part of the holiday as much as realizing what is good. I realize, also, that I am lucky my kids were grown and on their own. This year, there again is overwhelming sorrow, as covid took the life of my 42 year old daughter. She left behind her husband and 4 teenagers. My heart aches watching this young family meneuver grief and appreciate I am able to help them as they help me. Angry because it seams so unfair, but thankful the kids aren’t babies and did get to know their mom. I let them know it is ok that we have the melt downs as we work rhrough it all. Though they are sad, they are thankful they had their mom unlike the 4 little girls who lost their highway patrol dad in an accident recently in their community. It still hurts. I pray we all realize our strength and try to make it with happy moments.

    Reply
  12. Chris

    My granddaughter 4 soon to be 5 loves the magmatic tiles plays with them all the time. Your kids will have so much fun.

    Reply
  13. June

    You are so Blessed with such a Beautiful and Loving family. I am glad your day “turned around” for the better. I miss my mom and dad and sister and brothers on Holidays. Not the same as a spouse but my older sister was much like a mom to me growing up. She lives in Wa state. Her husband has brain cancer. Prayers for all this Holiday season. ( my screen door handle broke off last week-and it was metal) lol
    Praying for you especially.

    Reply
  14. Kathy Rockey

    That’s a great picture. I have taken one of all 6 of my grandkids every year. It’s a challenge. I started out with 3, and there are more and they got bigger and we moved to a bigger couch. I love every one, crazy or not. Mine are 8-13 and they really like being together and all the fussing and tattling will go away and they will have a great time together. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  15. Julie

    Jo thank you for being so honest with your grieving process! This was the first holiday without my mom and it was hard. You help me realize that it will always be hard and that is OK. I can acknowledge it and continue. I love the chaos pictures! I used to get so frustrated trying to get a nice picture but finally realized that a real life picture was more reflective of the memory!! Happy holiday to you and your family!

    Reply
  16. The Eclectic Abuela

    I love the pictures with the grandkids. Sure, it may be chaotic, but none of them is screaming or sticking a finger up a nose!

    Reply
  17. Anne Fisher

    Yes–the holidays are not fun—we all are so conscious of missing –me–my husband and kids–their dad–even though it’s been 36 years without him. But we don’t say a lot about it most of the time. We just know how we all feel. He had just had his 50th b’day. I was 47 with 4 kids at home with me–2 in high school. Guess I don’t have the meltdowns, but emotions and tears are very close to the surface a lot and they do take over, off and on. Glad your kids and grandkids helped with “pushing away” at least some of the emptiness. Loved all the pictures, seeing your family all together and the special memories that were created. Wow–the twins are growing -so cute–starting to crawl and explore too!! All 9 are adorable.

    Reply
  18. Penny

    What a lucky mama and grandma you are. Grieving is so hard and different for each individual. We just walk through it one step at a time. My dad passed away in March and when I called my mom today she was having a hard day. Some days are like that. I’m in Washington and she is in Idaho so I can’t just run over to give her a hug. Please know there are lots of us thinking about you and let those cute littles love on you. You have a beautiful family.

    Reply

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