Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sara Says It Best

The Bremer Family Christmas Letter 2013
(Through Sara's eyes)

We have a closet outside of our bathroom that holds all of the bath towels.  There are days when you climb into the shower and realize part way through that you were not focused enough to bring a towel with you.  Now standing in the shower, you think to yourself, “How am I going to get through this?”  There are really only two options- sulk, or adapt and use the hand towel that is already in the bathroom.  We have had numerous hand towel moments this year.  There have been some challenges; but we’ve dried ourselves off and made it through.

This past year we lost two family members.  Dad lost his grandmother, Dorothy, and Mom lost her dad, Glen.  We were fortunate to be able to spend as much time with them as we did, but it is still a deep loss in our family to lose both of them.  This has been a trying year, but also a year that has showed our family that we are there for one another.

Mom has also been spending extra time with her mother, Lorraine, as she has had a series of health problems this year.  She suffered a stroke in August, shortly before Grandpa passed away, and has had problems with her diabetes.  She is continuing to fight, and we are amazed by how strong she is. She is now in rehab adjusting to the loss of her leg above her knee. She, as mom put it in her blog, is a tiger! 

During all of this we have found moments to lift our spirits.  Believe it or not we have become a staunch Vikings family.  We seem to be having quarterly meetings with the team.  In January, Michael won an ultimate fan experience and got a VIP weekend with the team.  In May, Mom was asked to speak at a Fuel Up to Play 60 event with the National Dairy Council.  This meant that we got to spend a day ogling the players while they attempted to build a playground.  For Michael’s birthday, in October, we went to a Vikings game.  I’d never been to a game, and I’m not really sure if it’s my cup of tea.  Our biggest adventure happened this month.  Through mom’s blog, we were made aware of a photo contest that resulted in the winning picture getting a visit from a member of your favorite team.  With the help of family and friends voting, our picture won.  MN Viking running back Toby Gerhart spent an afternoon with us on December 17th.  He got a tour of our farm and even helped me feed some calves.  I hope it was as enjoyable for him as it was for us!
Toby, Michael, John, Sara, Jan

Mom seems to always be getting calls from various organizations asking her to assist at community events or speak about dairy issues.  Her blog has made her pretty gosh darn famous.  As I type this, she has over 25,000 page views.  She has been on WCCO radio in the twin cities multiple times this year, and was also asked to write a guest blog for Verizon. There have been trips around the state of Minnesota to explain the dairy industry, and she traveled to Kansas City to mentor other #DairyMoms about social media.  People are now sending questions her way to be answered on her blog as well.  I think this whole blog thing is gonna work out for her.

Mike is still working at HCTV in Hastings.  He is the program director, manages the student workers, hosts Take a Hike, Mike! and has a new program called The Pixel Power Hour. With his new show, he actually gets paid to play video games.  He reviews and summarizes video games, past and present.   Both of his shows have fan pages on facebook and clips from his shows are uploaded for you to see.  People in Hastings still awkwardly walk up to him in Walmart and McDonalds wanting to say hi to Take a Hike, Mike. HCTV has become Mike’s second home, and it’s perfect for him.

Dad is going to have to invest in a new shed, should he continue finding new toys.  This year he got a new wagon specially designed for moving round bales, and he purchased a TMR wagon.  Both of these are time-savers.  The new bale wagon holds more than our previous wagon, which means fewer trips and more time to do other things.  The TMR wagon is used to feed our cows quicker, and we can manage their food intake easier.  We have been amazed by this magical machine.  What used to take twenty minutes and two people, now takes three minutes with a single person.  Dad wasn’t focused on looking for time savers, but this unintentional decision has paid off big time.  He and I also teamed up to try something new this holiday.  We put Christmas lights on our barns this year.  That meant him hoisting me up 20 feet in the air with our loader tractor bucket.  With his steady hand, we have quite the festive farm.

Along with decorating for the holidays, I’ve found lots of things to do at school.  This year I have been putting my reading license to good use in my English classes. I officially received my Masters last spring!  I was also offered the opportunity to take on the role as one of two Literacy Coaches at the middle school; and will soon be working to help Social Studies and Science teachers with different reading initiatives in our building.  I also had the “good” fortune to give the staff commencement address at this past spring’s 8th grade graduation.  Let me tell you, it’s hard to come up with motivating words to students that are more concerned with hair growing in funny places than the fact that they are done with middle school.  It’s been an interesting experience doing this the past two years.

That’s our year in review, hand towels and all.  We hope that your year has been just what you hoped it would be.  If not, good thing we’ve got next year right around the corner.

Smiles and Happy Thoughts, The Bremers



  1. Great letter. Especially like the bit about the commencement speech and trying to motivate kids that are more worried about hair growing in funny places. Sometimes at HCTV I think Mike still gets distracted. :) Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year Bremers!

  2. Thanks Tom. Based on Sara's "hair growth" comment I think you can see why she relates well to 8th grade students. Happy holidays to you!