Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

 It’s been a year filled with blessings of the Lord and growth for our family. Highlights: running out of gas on trip to Denver in Feb; marriage of my sister Sheree in April; family stay-cation in June including happy camping at Yuba lake; family reunions in Midway, Seattle, and Hobble Creek; trip to Las Vegas in the fall, St. George service trip in December; John and Lani trip to Chengdu; visits from family and friends, daily fun in our home and answers to prayer after prayer. Here’s a little update for each of us.
Katrina (3): smiles, laughter, cuteness.  A blessing to our family! She told me yesterday she loves serving because it makes her happy.  Easy to love. Loves to talk, talk, talk especially at bed time. Happy to play with friends, unhappy to run errands with mom. Also loves hugs, tickles, being read to, and using scissors to cut paper into really tiny pieces; loves anything tiny.
Joseph (6): fun, fun, fun. Quick to forgive, quick to help, eager to learn; Bikes, army men figures, legos, treasure chests, card games like Monopoly deal and Skip-bo, Great Dalmuti—amazingly keeps up with the older crowd; capable vacuumer, improving leaps and bounds in reading and piano skills, loves reading “Indian in the Cupboard” with his dad, kind friend to his mom, protective older brother; great at making deals, chasing people at recess, being a good friend at school and bringing peace to all.
Maria (8): loving heart, remarkable persistence, Chinese tenacity, loves to write, beautiful cursive and recently started the Harry potter series. She loves playing with the younger children, especially babies (good thing a new addition is coming to our family in 2013!). She tells me so is so excited and pats my growing middle. One of many goals she kept, was finishing the entire Book of Mormon before she was baptized. At times it seemed impossible to her mom, but she was self-motivated and often read for 40 minutes a day to accomplish her goal. She uses this stick-to-it-ness in piano; she’s willing to play songs repeatedly to get them right—all self-motivated. Younger siblings love it when she is home as she is so attentive and playful with them.
Annemarie (10): peacemaker, helper, reader, inquisitive, hard worker, master counter wiper: She really is a thoughtful, kind-hearted girl. She often will be the one willing to share or do without to bring peace and happiness to her siblings. She even shares ice cream and other favorite treats! She reads on average a book a day, yes that is over 300 books this year, at least. She can read, write and speak in Chinese. She pretty much amazes her parents. She also has improved a lot with persistent practice and can perform hymns, and some fun recital songs. Her hair is long and blonde similar to a favorite Disney character. She loves the scriptures.
Levi (11): valiant, kind, smart, leader, great cleaner and launderer: is learning that diligence pays off. He participated in his first piano competition performing “Tarantella” and “Scherzo in D minor” receiving “superior” marks from all judges. He also has seen rewards for effort and work, receiving all possible awards as a Webelo, earning the “super achiever award”, and already has 8 merit badges. More importantly, he is the most energetic playmate at home and makes all his siblings and especially his mom laugh and laugh. Very kind and thoughtful to Katrina. Uses his computer skills, more for family history research than computer games.
Lani: working on mastering motherhood, wondering how many times her children will need to forgive her for mistakes made; truly finds joy in her children, grateful for time to landscape, study, organize, write and love; enjoys: speaking to youth, traveling with her husband, speaking with her husband, finding super deals; thoroughly loves: playing with, cooking with, cleaning with, learning with, reading with, memorizing scriptures and poems with, talking with her children. Celebrates gospel learning and teaching. Grateful for a thoughtful, unselfish, brilliant (not to mention handsome!) husband who works magic in his family and professional life.
John: patient homework helper, full of ingenuity, time-efficiency master, proficient dish-washer,favorite professor and speaker to youth and Time Out for Women, writes, writes, researches and writes some more. 12 articles (wow!) published this year (see for his favorites), and a new book called The Big Picture with Deseret Book. A 2012 highlight for him was being a guest professor in China for one month with Lion Education.
Frequently the volume at the dinner table is way too high, or it seems no one is happy, but we are learning to follow my grandmother’s saying that “a grateful heart is a happy heart” and count our blessings rather than the perceived problems. We really miss this grandmother who passed on in March of this year, but we are grateful for her uplifting influence on us of love, forgiveness, gratitude, and kindness. We hope amidst all the chaos of a young family we are developing these Christ-like attributes as well.

Merry Christmas! Love, John and Lani Hilton Family