Monday, February 1, 2016

An Extremely Long Yearly Summary for 2015

    Hello from the Hackings! Yes we are still alive! We apologize for the lateness of this letter but, aside from the craziness that comes with raising a large family, we have been on one heck of a ride this year, sliding, headfirst, right into 2016. The year went by in what felt like one fast breath for our family.

    We have decided that 2015 was a year full of memories, growth and endurance for our family, experiencing both exhilarating moments that we never wanted to let go of and exhausting lows that we wished we could have passed through a little more quickly.

January brought birthdays for Ethan- 7 and Brooks- 6, and a baptism for Talon as he proudly turned 8 in December, the year before.



February sent Ellie and Anjella on a road trip to be there when a dear friend was also baptized. We were so grateful that we got to witness the baptism, visit with them, and stay with them on a girl's dream come true, very beautiful, very large horse property used for breeding and raising Paint horses.
    I don't think Anjella will EVER forget this trip! Ellie, who had been sharing a bed with Anjella, got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and never came back to bed.
   Anjella woke 2 hours later to find that Ellie had never returned from the bathroom. After searching the whole house, she woke most of the adults in the home and they all searched the whole house again, as well as the surrounding horse property. 
   Terror filled those that were searching for her as they all feared that Ellie, with high functioning autism and deep passion for horses, had slept walked outside to be with the horses, in the freezing temperatures, and had never made it back into the house.
   Eventually she was found in bed with grandma and grandpa Wilkey, sleeping at their feet, covered with blankets! That is surely a tale that will be told to Ellie's children!



   March brought a life impacting surgery for Anjella, a full hysterectomy, in hopes of restoring her health to her. Life kind of held still that month for the Hacking family. We were all so grateful that we were able to celebrate our sweet, happy Bailey's 4th birthday before the surgery!



   April brought another surgery for James' Father. This time on his lungs, as he was having a lot of trouble breathing. It was later discovered that he has a slow moving Leukemia.Ugh....
   James' brother, Mark came out to visit their dad while he was recovering. We were so happy to get to spend some time with him. While he was visiting us he worked all day on a room in our home that needed some repairs done. We were so grateful for his help, love, and his time.
   Easter is always fun. The kids were able to attend a special Utah Foster Care Easter egg hunt and Anjella's parents were kind enough to tag along and help out.
   April also brought the pinewood derby, where Charlie (and Dad) earned 2nd place.


   May brought us Mother's Day, our 17th wedding anniversary, the end of the school year, all the end of the school year PROGRAMS, some warmer weather, and soccer. Lots and lots of soccer. We had 7 children playing Summer Soccer this year!
   Talon also tried out for a competition hip-hop team and not only made it on the team, but he also earned a full ride scholarship to his dance school. The very generous owner of the school really wanted Talon to develop his talent for dance. He shared his talent in the school talent show, as well as at a dance performance that loved ones were able to attend.
   The warmer weather brought beautiful, healing, warm rays. Our family all enjoyed playing up Provo canyon, or just hanging out in our back yard having bar-b-ques.


 June was the best month EVER! June and July were unbelievably CRAZY FUN months! June brought  Anjella's parents moving to Utah and Anjella's sister and the Kentucky cousins to our house for a month long visit! Can you believe it? 17 children were residing at our house for a whole month! It was a never ending party at the Hacking home!
   We spent the time Kayaking at Deer Creek Reservoir, swimming at 7 Peaks, Splashing through splash parks, camping near Hacking Lake, hiking up Hobble Creek Canyon, visiting Hogle Zoo, running a muck at Cabella's, admiring the art at the chalk festival in Salt Lake, playing games and staying up late talking. We were also able to go to a family get-together at Anjella's aunt & uncle's house, complete with a parade and fireworks!
   Anjella's brother Mark and his cute wife also came out here for a visit before their new baby arrived. We were finally able to meet her!
   And we celebrated  Father's Day, Cassandra's & Matthew's 14th birthdays somewhere in between all that.





   July just continued the party. It started off with the wonderful experience of going to the temple with Valorie's family, so that their family could be sealed together forever.
   The experience was beyond amazing, as not only were Valorie, Gerry and their children sealed to each other, which was amazing enough, but Valorie's grandparents were sealed to each other, Valorie's mother sealed to her parents, and Valorie was able to be sealed to her birth parents, connecting 4 generations of family together for all eternity. What an honor and privilege to be able to participate in that glorious, memorable experience.

 July also brought a family reunion for Anjella's side of the family. The family spent time picnicking, catching up, playing in the park, throwing water balloons, and ice blocking down a HUMONGOUS hill. It was so wonderful to have so many family members all together at one time!

   We celebrated the 4th of July by going to BYU to watch hot air balloons lift off at the freedom festival. Then we were able to experience the candy bomber flying over our city and dropping candy bars out of a flying plane to waiting children below. And THEN we all gathered together at Poppie & Grandma Joan's (Anjella's parents) house to watch the Freedom Festival Fireworks, eat goodies, play and visit later that night.

   We celebrated THREE birthdays in July! Ellie turned nine, Owen turned SIXTEEN, and cute little Kate celebrated her 8th birthday with us!

   But as all good things much come to and end, we said good bye to Valorie and her family, as they made the long trek back to Kentucky.

   Since we love being out doors snuck another camping trip in, this time to Heber. The kids loved the huge fallen log we had to cross to get to our camp site. But our family's highlight of this camping trip was watching Matthew catch several fish with nothing but a fishing net and his bare hands! The kids didn't want to ever leave the lake!

   August meant it was time to start school again, but not before celebrating Allison's 7th Birthday, taking one last camping trip to Vernal, reuniting with one of James' favorite cousins after many years apart, and Owen, Matthew, and Charlie going to a color festival, where they throw chalk in the air... and at each other. Ellie loved August because her and Talon had a blast attending their first rodeo. One of the young competitors even let Ellie ride her horse around the parking lot!

In September we celebrated Emma's 5th and Amelia's 8th Birthdays. They were born on the same day, 3 years apart.
   Allison also had corrective surgery on both her feet in September. She was so brave! She had to be in non weight bearing, casts that came most of the way up her thighs. Then she wore below the knee walking casts for 4 weeks, and then specially made braces that she will discontinue in January (2 months!). She enjoyed the wagon rides that her family would take her on while she was still in recovery.

   October - Amelia turned 8 in September which meant she was able to be baptized in October. Funny story, when we were taking Amelia's baptism pictures, up Provo Canyon with all the beautiful Fall leaves, a whole bus full of Chinese tourist saw her in her beautiful white dress and all wanted to take pictures with Amelia. She felt like she was princess! She looked SO beautiful, we could see why they all wanted to get their picture with her!
   October also brought the Chili Cook off at church. Anjella won 1st place this year for the Pumpkin Chili that she made. It was so delicious and unique! She won 1st place for the dessert portion of the competition too, but due to a mix up with the voting numbers, two people had the same number. They said they knew that Anjella had won, but due to the fact that Anjella wins the 1st place dessert trophy EVERY year, they were going to give it to the other person. It was funny and Anjella was very happy to let her friend have it this time!
 With all the beautiful Fall weather, James & Anjella snuck up to Sundance with some close friends for a date night, to ride the ski lift, look at all the beautiful Fall leaves changing color, and to have a fun picnic dinner. It was so fun!
   It rained a lot in October but with a small break in the weather, our family also was able to go to the pumpkin patch in town where we picked out our Halloween pumpkins, rode the hay ride and wondered through the hey maze. Trick-or-Treating was also a blast with so many wee ones to dress up and enjoy it! We got way too much candy again this year, like always!

November was a harder month. Talon had to have an urgent surgery due to some unexplained internal bleeding. It ended up being polyps. Luckily it wasn't a hard fix and he was back to normal in no time!
   Anjella & James, and James' dad were able to go on a very quick weekend trip to California to visit James' brother and sister, thanks to the generosity of James brother and sister living just up the street. They watched all our kiddos while we were gone!
  Our sister (in-law) has had some health problems and we both felt like we needed to make that trip down to go see her. It was SO GOOD to see them, talk with them, spend time with them, and just hug them.
   The day after we got back, Anjella had surgery again. This time on her foot due to a foot deformity. The surgery was a little more complicated than everyone anticipated and left her foot broken in 4 places, and added 2 screws, a pin, and a whole lot of pain and swelling. She had a long recovery ahead of her but she is hopeful that the outcome will be worth all the pain!
   Since Charlie is in 5th grade this year, he got to go to special camp for 2 days with his class. He had so much fun!
   December was just plain Chaos! We all were sick all month. We had school Christmas singing programs and Matthew's Ballroom performance, and we were able to ride the polar express train, put on by local families in our area. You get to ride a small train and visit Santa then get back on the train and ride through the neighborhood listening to Christian Christmas music and view pictures depicting Christ's life. It is really nice!   
   Anjella worked on a digitally built, family calendar for the Hacking side of the family, while she continued to recover from her surgery, and she slept. A lot.
   Talon and Amelia had their hip-hop dance performances, which they had a lot of fun at and really had a chance to shine.
    We had two kiddos that lost their two front teeth for Christmas this year, Brooks and Allison. Brooks lost both his front teeth the same day only a few hours apart and as soon as I got a picture of both of them Allison pulled out her third front tooth! Craziness!
   Anjella, luckily started walking, err hobbling around Christmas Eve so we were blessed to spend that day with James' brother's family and their parents, and have a quick hello from cute Aunt Marsha.
   We also celebrated FOUR birthdays, James' birthday, Talon's 9th, Charlie's 11th, and Anjella's 25th... again. December went by in a flash and before we knew it, January was here again.
   We hope all is well with your families and that you had a wonderful fun and exciting year as well. Thank you for all the love, support, and prayers that you send in our family's direction. They are appreciated more than you know. God bless you all!

 The Hacking Family

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