birthdays and holidays

The past two months have been busy but not crazy, busy. Wait a minute…who am I kidding? It’s always crazy, busy trying to keep up with the family and all that’s going on.

Not only did we celebrate the big holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) but also a couple of birthdays, too.

Less than two weeks after Colten and Taylor’s wedding, we celebrated Thanksgiving. Our family gathering was near 100% that day…we were missing Jenna. (She made a trip to Colorado that weekend.)

Because our family is growing and our house is staying small, we have to eat in two locations. So, Grandpa and I made the sacrifice (HA!) and ate in the kitchen with the littlest people in the family.


I’m guessing Nora was already done, cleaned up and playing with toys when this picture was taken. Yep…still using the same ‘ole oven to cook with. 

Toys had to be moved from the area the table was now sitting in the living room to the front door entryway. What this did was create a tiny little toy room for the kids. I think they sort of liked it. 

Our Thanksgiving “selfie”. 

Nora’s second birthday would be next in the line of celebrations. She turned two on December 5 but we wouldn’t celebrate until the following Sunday (12/11). Jamie tried to get a party in the previous weekend but the flu bug decided to enter the Hermesch house and we all agreed to wait until after the big day.

Callie and I decided we’d use the time and get the Christmas tree up. We really wanted to find a pasture cedar tree again. Taylor and Colten told us we could come to the “farm” and look. We pulled on our boots and played “follow the leader” through the pasture, through the creek, up a hill and along the old railroad tracks (which are no longer there). We found nothing. Callie and I opted to make a trip to the Menard’s in Omaha and purchased a nice tree. We’re hoping the story of Christmas 2017 includes a pasture cedar tree.

To tell you the truth, I worried about that Colten and that chainsaw more than anything. 🙂 The buildings on the horizon are what Taylor and Colten purchased this fall. They are in the process of gutting the house and re-doing it with the help of Colten’s dad. They’re so excited and I can’t blame them!

Welcome to the family!

Jim decided December 12 was going to be his day to return to Sapp Brothers. So, we took one day of the week prior to that day to attend the big farm show in Lincoln. And guess who got to go along with us…

This was little boy heaven! 

We were up and down in so many tractors, combines and whatever had wheels under it. I certainly felt like I had had a full day workout by the time we left.

This picture makes me smile every time I see it. I just know one day, this little guy will make someone a great salesman!

“GA! That looks like Nenna’s combine!” (and it is like Nenna’s combine)

Eli thought he should be able to take a picture of Ga. So I let him.

We attended the farm show on Wednesday and then celebrated Nora’s birthday a few days later, on Sunday.

He wanted to play with that toy SO BAD! Birthdays are hard on the one not getting to celebrate!

Jenna and her “mini me”.

Happy birthday, little princess!

We babysat the kids while Jamie and Curt went to his office Christmas party. They spent the night – which means Ga inflates the air mattress and the three of us sleep on the floor – this time by the Christmas tree. At some point during the evening, Nora took the blanket off of Jim so she could use it. But she didn’t want Papa to be cold, so she covered him up with their coats.

This is the only picture I have to show you for Jamie’s 31st birthday. 31…am I really THAT old? Shoot, I remember being 31 and it really feels like it was just yesterday – until I look in the mirror. I went to Omaha early on her special day and bought Krispy Kreme’s and chocolate milk to help celebrate the day. Callie and I went over and helped eat a few and sat around most of the morning before we headed to Omaha to Christmas shop.

Christmas Eve day tradition is to decorate the sugar cookies at Grandma’s house which gives the moms time to tie up any loose ends – shopping, wrapping or just taking a nap. Nora wasn’t too concerned about helping decorate. She wanted to eat a few but was more concerned about playing with the dolls and that was okay with us.

The cookies turned out marvelous! Thanks for coming over to help, Tate!

This was a year of Christmas tradition transitions. I realize we can’t continue doing what we’ve done for the last 30 years when kids grow up and get married. I know this. But the changes are difficult for me. It’s time to figure out new traditions so the kids can start their own. We kept the one tradition this year that Jim’s mom and dad started years ago – celebrating Christmas together on Christmas Eve with oyster soup. We get together with Jim’s sister and her family at her house, gather around one very large table (which I wish I could also do), eat together and then open gifts. We stopped buying individual gifts (except for the little people) and take one gift per person for a gift exchange. This is always fun and it never fails to provide for a good laugh or two. We were missing a few family members – Holly and Isaac and Colten and Taylor (other family commitments).

After we left Maureen and Harvey’s house, we headed for a midnight service at a church in Omaha to end the day of festivities.

Christmas morning wasn’t the typical crazy morning that we were used to. The only ones in the house that morning to begin the day were Jim, me and Callie. Taylor and Colten came over late morning and had breakfast with us before scooting to their next family gathering in Omaha. The plan was to get everyone together for supper that evening and to open gifts.

I’ll have to admit, I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. I love Christmas and I love my family and it’s very difficult to have to share them. But I know I must. So, I deal with the emotions the best way I can and try to sort things out in my head. Times change, kids grow up, traditions must continue yet change, as well. Sort of hard for me to get used to being the “old” generation – not responsible for making a holiday special. Although, I don’t want to completely give up on making it special – in some way. So, I will find different traditions that will keep everyone together, if only for a little while. And I will soak them up, much like Mary did after Jesus was born. I think all of us moms can fully understand.

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

As I was sitting at the kitchen table, pondering and feeling a bit sorry for myself…there was a knock on the living room window. THE KIDS CAME EARLY!! 🙂

This is what Christmas is all about!

Everyone else showed up in time for supper. When that was over and dishes were cleaned up and food put away, we opened our gifts. We had decided to do things a bit differently this year. Rather than everyone spending money on gifts for everyone, we decided to spend the money on a family vacation and drew names for the holiday. We have a beach house rented for spring break in March. We’re all looking forward to being right on the ocean for several days. I. Can’t. Wait!

Out of pure silliness, I found some cheap cardinals for the kids to put on their Christmas trees. One of my favorite additions to the tree every year is my Grandma Dickson’s cardinal which she always had in her Christmas trees. So, I thought it would be one tradition that could be passed on. I sat the bird on Curt’s shoulder and Nora wanted to see it. Curt was talking to her about the bird as though it was real. She was a little concerned and hesitant about being that close to it.

These two. 

The third night of celebrating was at Mark and Candi’s house. This included supper together again – the best fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy you’ll ever eat – and more gifts to open. The best part? Just being together (although we were missing Colten as he had to go back to work).

The last hoorah for the break included an afternoon with Callie, Brooklyn and Jillian. We decided we needed to go ice skating at the Mahoney State Park. I hadn’t been on ice skates in over 30 years. Yep…I put them on and went out on the ice. No…I didn’t fall and I think I surprised the kids that I could actually still do it.

Because there were so many people with the same idea we had that afternoon, we left early and decided to go to a movie. It was a fun afternoon and I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did!

This catches me up on the happenings of the final two months of 2016. Almost…

There’s one more surprise and something fun to look forward to in 2017 – July, to be exact. Baby Hermesch #3 will be joining this crazy family and we can’t wait. I’m hoping God has it planned for me to be able to leave the wheat fields of Colorado (or wherever we may be) to help Jamie out for a week or so.

Happy 2017 to you and your family! Another year ends and another one begins. A clean slate to look forward to and a new date to get used to writing on my checks. Thank you for being a part of ours in 2016 and I hope you follow our journey through 2017!

7 comments on “birthdays and holidays

  1. Judeen E Rikli says:

    You never disappoint, Tracy—-you have a “God-given talent”—thanks for sharing!!! Blessings in 2017!!! So excited about little baby dear who will be joining our neighborhood!!

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      Well, I don’t see that “God-given talent” but am so thankful you do and you enjoy it. 🙂 Baby…ahhhhhh sounds so nice, right?

  2. Margaret Smith says:

    Wishing you and your family a very happy, healthy, loving 2017!

  3. Tom Stegmeier says:

    Great family pic’s Tracy. The place Taylor & Colten have is like sooo Nebraska !!! Seems like this past fall was the time to be making babies,Our Megan is due in July , My crony Missy is having her first at the end of June & your Jamie in July also. The cycle of life continues !!! Oh by the way July babies rock my Mom will be 90 on July 16th this year.

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