Here are updates for each of the Hill clan:
Nathan is still working at Good Point Recycling. In January of this year, he was promoted to Vice President of Operations, and does a lot of the Environmental Health and Safety regulations for the company. He likes his job a lot, and the job provides a lot of flexibility, which we really enjoy as a family. Late this fall he has also started doing some real estate investing in his "down time". That has been really fun and exciting-- its been neat to see Nathan follow his dreams and accomplish goals. It will be fun to see where this takes him. He is one of the most hard-working and creative people I know-- its inspiring to watch him go for it. He has also enjoyed working with the young men in our church congregation. He has taken them on lots of camp outs, and loves helping them set goals and be responsible for their own program. Nathan had so many great men to look up to while growing up, and its really fun to see him implement some of the things his favorite church youth group leaders did for him. Nathan has also had some fun ideas of his own-- he got each of the young men a briefcase and binder to help them learn to be organized, efficient, and professional. Many of these young men are preparing to serve full-time 2 year missions for our church. We have a small ward, but there are 12 young men-- we love them! We've had them over for a sleepover/fishing trip and I love cooking piles of pancakes and spoiling these great boys. Nathan loves them too-- and I love watching him work so hard to help these boys. It has been a great year for Nathan!
This has been a really wonderful and rewarding year. I feel like I have had a lot of personal growth this year and have really enjoyed being a mom and a wife. Its been one of those years where I learned a lot about myself, and what is important to me, and where I want to focus my time and energy-- that can be really hard as a mom!! We put others needs before our own-- but this has been a great year for me in learning to say no to some things, and yes to the things that bring me fulfillment and joy! I finished up my contract with the school district in June, and have been home full time-- and I love it! Some of my goals this year were to get better at housekeeping (because I have definitely been on the struggle bus when it comes to keeping my house clean). It is hard to keep my house as clean and tidy as I want it to be! Especially with two little ones! And I am definitely doing better! I am still no Martha Stewart, but I do have a system for getting laundry done. Like, an actually system where laundry gets washed, dried, and put away in a somewhat organized fashion. Its a miracle! I have developed a love for homemaking, and did lots of canning this year as well. My big goal for next year is so do a huge garden. I can't wait!
We took two big trips this year, that were REALLY fun! We went to Utah/Hawaii for 3 weeks in August (for James and Melanie's wedding), and then I took the kids to Washington to visit Blake and Julie for 2 weeks in November, and then Nathan joined us for the week of Thanksgiving and Jacki and Scotty's wedding. I loved having the freedom to be able to take the kids for a few weeks and spend time with family! And Blake and Julie were WONDERFUL to let us come and invade their house! It was a blast. In August, after we got home from Hawaii, we moved to a bigger place here in Vermont. We had been renting a tiny apartment right in town, and we moved to a small house about 4 miles outside of town right next to a farm. We love it!! We have a nice big yard, great neighbors, and A DISHWASHER! haha Moving is SO MUCH WORK! The next move we make will definitely be into our first home. We aren't in a huge hurry to buy, but we always keep our eyes open to homes for sale in the area. In the meantime, this place is perfect and we feel so grateful!
We also embarked on a fun family adventure in September to go 4 months without eating meat. I ate almost completely vegan/plant based, and Nathan and the kids ate a vegetarian diet. I was really interested in increasing our health as a family, and learning about alternative sources of protein that weren't animal based. I just felt like as a family, and the American diet in general, we consume way too much meat. I did a lot of research into other world cuisines, and was amazed to see how many countries and cultures eat a predominantly plant-based diet. We have always loved Indian food-- and so many dishes are vegetarian. And the vegetables are prepared in a such a beautiful and thoughtful way. Also, I started learning about WHERE my meat was coming from and how unhealthily mainstream meat is processed and I wanted to look into healthier options for me and my family. It was REALLY hard at first. I learned that almost everything I cooked for my family had meat or dairy in it-- all of my favorite family recipes were meat/cheese based. I wanted to learn how to feed my family using only plants. Once we got the hang of it-- it was AWESOME! We all love eating that way. Even Nathan! I couldn't believe it. We still plan to eat mostly plant-based, but can see ourselves eating meat sparingly. But we could happily go weeks and weeks without eating it.
Our little Junie turned 3 in November and I can't believe how grown up she is! She is such a fun, caring, compassionate little soul. She is so thoughtful and remembers small details about people that she loves and cares about. She loves to ask me how I am doing, and it always very concerned about the well-being of those around her. She is also strong willed and LOVES to socialize with other kids her age. She loves to put an "ie" at the end of everything she says and it is the funniest and cutest thing ever. Sometimes Nathan and I can't figure out what she is saying! Here are some fun examples of her faves:
show-ie (she calls tv "watching a show", which is now "watching a show-ie!")
You get the picture. It cracks us up. And she loves to be cozy! If she is on the couch, she wants to be snuggled up in a blankie so she can be "so so cozy cozy mama!" She has a chirpy little voice and melts the hearts of just about everyone she meets. She is also just learning how to throw the most magnificent tantrums I have ever seen!! Sometimes by the end of the day, between her and Wyatt I just collapse into bed at 8pm. Motherhood is intense. And awesome.
June starts ballet classes in January which she is SO EXCITED ABOUT! She cannot wait to go to her class and talks about it everyday. She loves to watch little clips on Youtube of random little girl ballet classes and recitals and points and giggles at the screen exclaiming " Its my class!!! They are dancing! I'm gonna dance with them? Class has a potty? Those girlies are my friendsies! That little girlie is SO CUTE mama!" I can't wait to take her to class!
Our little Wy-guy is such a darling. He is 18-months old, and so fun and full of life! He is so sweet and loving, and tenderhearted. He is also a total wild man dare-devil! Nathan and I joke that we have the emergency room on speed dial because he has NO FEAR and we are constantly chasing after him to help keep him safe. His favorite new thing is to climb up into window sills and balance precariously on the edge. Its terrifying.
He is starting to say lots and lots of words and has such a generous and giving heart and temperament. He looks you right in the eye and nods his head and says a string of gibberish words, and you just know he is telling you all of his most wonderful little thoughts. You can't help but just love the kid. He is a total cheeser and poses for pictures and loves to dress up in crazy outfits. On Christmas morning, we gave him a snow suit, and he LOVED it and wanted to put it on and open all his presents while wearing his snow suit. He likes to wear boots, and hats, and coats, and June's dress up clothes, and costumes all over the house. He also loves trains and dinosaurs, and Olaf from Frozen. He has a total joy for life and it is contagious. You can't help but be in a good mood around him. He is such a fun age right now, and we are loving every minute-- and trying to keep up with him!
There is a little update on our family! We are just enjoying life and trucking along. I will include some pictures below. Its been a wonderful year and we feel so grateful to our Heavenly Father for the blessings and goodness that fills our lives. We are grateful for the hard times too, and feel God's love lifting us up when life doesn't feel very easy. Wishing you all a very Happy New Year! xoxo