Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 in Review

The year 2014 has been an incredible year for the Hilton family. One aspect that dominates the year is traveling. One out of every six days in 2014 our whole family was out of town together. The majority of these days came from a super trip we took in June – August in which we went to Disneyland for a week with John’s parents and then to Chengdu, China for five weeks.
China was an incredible cultural experience for all of us. John enjoyed teaching at Sichuan University; Levi audited the three classes that John taught and it was a great bonding experience for them. Both enjoyed singing at the KTV night. Lani loved the opportunity of spending lengthy periods of undistracted time together. Highlights included hiking through a tropical forest alongside a series of waterfalls and spending time with a Chinese tutor. Annemarie, Maria and Joseph were able to practice their Chinese and had many new experiences. Whether it was riding in a taxi (they would take turns sitting in the front and talking with the taxi driver) navigating the bus and subway systems, having their feet massaged by fish nibbling, serving at an orphanage, or simply playing with Chinese friends. Katrina and Rebekah were often stopped in public places and people wanted to take pictures with them.
Additional family trips included time in San Diego with Lani’s sister Lacy, an adventure in Nyssa, Oregon where we reconnected with our roots (Levi and Annemarie were born in Nyssa), time in Seattle to visit John’s grandfather before he passed away, two trips to Las Vegas to visit John’s sister Janet, and three days in Mexico doing humanitarian work.
John and Lani also traveled to Greece, Italy and England on a work-related trip that turned out to be amazing. Highlights included being on Mars Hill, in Corinth, the Vatican, speaking at the Rome Institute, and 3rd row seats at Wicked in London. They also spoke together (and separately) at Education Week. John loves his work as a religion professor at BYU and Lani is a happy, busy mom.   
Rebekah (1) provides joy and sunshine to all she comes in contact with. She especially loves living next door to Lani’s parents and siblings. Her first words were “Thank you” and she learned how to say “yes” before “no.” Yes! Katrina (5) has loved Kindergarten, especially the monkey bars. She has started piano lessons and sang a solo at the ward Christmas party. She loves to play make-believe, read books with mom and dad, and all things Frozen. Joseph (8) does well in school and enjoys learning Chinese. He is taking piano lessons and loves playing the theme song, “Pirates of the Caribbean.” He works hard doing odd jobs for neighbors so that he can buy Lego Chima books.
Maria (10) is an outstanding student and amazes both her Chinese and English teachers. She is extremely diligent and recently earned a laptop by writing in her journal for 365 days. She loves the violin, piano, and chasing her younger siblings and making them laugh. Annemarie (12) writes essays and books in both English and Chinese and excels at everything she attempts. She has found several ancestors on Family Search and has enjoyed going to the temple to do work for them. She is a super mother’s helper, especially with Rebekah.  Hooray! Levi (13) maintains a 4.0, works hard on his piano business (he currently has eight students) was an outstanding Deacons Quorum President, and recently won his wrestling tournament, pinning all of his opponents. He is a thoughtful and kind brother, particularly to the girls.

For more on the Hilton Family Adventures in China and Mexico, visit http://thehiltonfamily.org
To learn more about what John’s up to professionally see http://johnhiltoniii.com (Religious) and http://johnhiltoniii.org (Open Access Scholarship).

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