Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Epiphany!
The Hilgeforts have had a full and blessed 2022! Hard to believe it is already 2023. It seems the kids are getting older and we are moving from having babies and little ones everywhere – to teenagers and more teenagers. Always praying God will surprise us with another little one! It feels too long since I have seen some of you, so I am sitting down to write a full Hilgefort report.
Drew finished his Fireman/EMT program at Cincinnati State. He passed the firefighter certification back in May. He is currently studying for the EMT portion and will be taking the test this month. That is all that is standing between Drew and a job at a firehouse! If I needed to be carried out of a burning building or needed a door kicked down, I would want someone like Drew to do it! He really enjoys what he is doing and I am happy for him. We need the good guys to help take care of us! He is currently also working at Chipotle. I believe he eats at least one meal of Chipotle a day. Ha! Many of you have seen him there. Some have even walked out without paying accidentally. Drew also has his first official suit. Now to take care of it!!!
Cecelia is a senior. Sadly, she tore her ACL this past summer and was unable to play her senior basketball season. She has handled this great disappointment with courage and strength. We have been so proud of her. She is healing well from surgery. Even though she only had 3 years on the court at Turpin she still managed to hit 1,000 points and was close to 1,000 rebounds. C has been a tremendous help in schooling her younger siblings this year. She is an amazing teacher. She plans to go to school to be a Montessori teacher after graduation. She has had lots of hands-on experience already in her own home. She continues to be a lifeguard at the YMCA. She also began helping coach a special needs basketball team.
Gianna sees and does all things beautiful. What can she not do? She loves to bake. Her desserts are not only tasty but decorated artistically. She has taught herself to draw. She uses this skill to design dresses, shoes,or make striking cards. She also uses clay to make the most darling tiny creations. She made my mom a mermaid and coral arch for Christmas! She has carved out a little niche in our basement to call her own little crafting area. Big families require creative thinking! Gianna also works at the YMCA as a lifeguard. She is a junior.
Joseph is a freshman and has been doing well in his studies. He is doing an online HS program called Angelicum. It is demanding and time consuming. He manages his own time well and I do not have to worry about him getting his work done at all. All you homeschool moms out there know what a gift this is! Joseph went deer hunting for the first time but came up empty handed. I am sure he will be bringing home meat to feed the family soon enough. He gets lots of shooting practice playing air-soft with his brothers and friends!
John is a seventh grader. When he is not running around with his brothers, he is reading. My goodness does he read! He read The Hobbit and all the LOTR books in a matter of weeks. He kept sneaking away to a quiet corner and delving in. Johnny also just has a knack for fixing things. You got something you need to have fixed – John is your man.
Peter is a little too smart for his own good. He is a 5th grader. He has a quick wit and a little too quick of a tongue. Hmm. Not sure where he got that quick tongue?! Ha! Peter has a tremendous eye for detail and the stamina to finish difficult tasks. He worked tirelessly to put together a robot he got for Christmas that had a ridiculous number of pieces. The review specifically said it was hard, so Santa thought it would be a challenge that would take some time. Peter had it done in a day. Peter is orderly which is difficult in a very disordered bedroom he shares with his brothers!
Mary Catherine also has a quick wit and cracks Tate up with her zingers she gives mom. She is definitely a chip off Tate’s block. She is a 3rd grader. She also loves to read and is an easy student. Mary loves art projects. She has enjoyed learning to cross stitch. A highlight of Mary’s year was our Mom’s and Daughter’s Nun Run in July. We visited 4 convents in Tennessee and Alabama. We spoke to the nuns at all but one convent. It was an enlightening, fun and holy trip!
Jimmer Jams! James is a second grader and full of energy. He is my left handed student. He is my most improved student from last year. I couldn’t get him to sit still to save my life. This year, his work is neat and he fidgets at least 60% less. Ha!! James has a tender heart and a deep love of Aunt Liz. He has promised to take her to the prom. Sweet, busy boy! A highlight of his year, James received his First Communion in May.
Therese Rose, my first grader. She is smart as a whip and an excellent student unless she is being the Thorny Rose. Therese has a little bit of her namesake’s attitude that she will have to learn to quell. Dez is usually her teacher and has demonstrated tremendous patience with her precocious student.
Thomas Athanasius is the sweetest, easiest little boy. He tells me he is my sunshine and he is! He loves Baby Yoda – which we don’t have the heart to tell him is the Mandalorian. He hasn’t even seen the show. Just loves that little green guy. I have never had a 4 year old so carefully color in his pictures. He is doted on by the entire family. I am very grateful for my little Thomas. I keep telling him not to grow up too fast.
We had lovely vacations to the beach, Lake Hope, and my parents houseboat this past year. Jes and I were able to take most of the kids to visit Dad, Laleh and Michelle in Alabama too! So many good memories. Such a gift.
Speaking of gifts, a big highlight of the past year was a girls weekend I took down to Key West to visit my parents who were down there for a month. By girls, I mean moms! Between the 4 of us we have 33 children! Praise God, our husbands allowed us to go on this magical four day trip. It almost feels like a dream that it ever happened. Just to name a few highlights we drank Cuban coffee, petted a manatee, swam with a shark (we really did! I scared it off though 😆), went on a sunset boat cruise, took a scenic plane ride, and laughed all weekend. It was truly, truly blissful. My parents were the most gracious hosts even though I stole my dad’s beer cooler. Ha! Have to see me to get the full story.
I also love playing volleyball on Tuesday nights with my women’s quads team, Kris Kross. We took home 3 championships until they bumped us up to a higher league. We are truly the old ladies in this league. Ha! However, we are up for the challenge, competing and hope to be at the top sometime again!
Tate continues in his work at Ohio National Financial Services. He works from home every day but Wednesday. He also seeks to help and serve priests as much as he is able. Tate loves nothing more than to be home with his family. He continues to compete against his boys in football games in the backyard and basketball games in the cul de sac. Can’t keep him down even at almost 48! Someone always seems to come in crying from those games – but it’s never Dad. Ha!
We are thankful for the gift of your friendship, love and prayers. Please be assured of our prayers for you. Who knows what the year ahead holds for each of us. We try to live each day to its fullest, giving honor and glory to God. This is often a messy affair and I always say don’t sneak up on our house. You never know who may be yelling. I am old enough to know first hand that God is with us through the good and the bad. We need not fear.
I pray I am able to see each of you, laugh with you, and hug you this year! That’s right, introverts like my husband, I am coming for you!!! Please do not hesitate to reach out or stop by and visit us on Berrypatch.