Christmas 2007 Dear Friends & Family, 2007 has been a year of changes for the Lius, but we feel truly blessed. The biggest news, of course, is that in August we left behind the extraordinary city of Portland, OR, to move to our new home in Tribune, KS. We’ve traded public transit for cozy proximity, 24-hour convenience for endlessly helpful neighbors, and mild but often gray weather for the world’s most unpredictable climate. So, two out of three ain’t bad. The primary reason for the move, of course, was Robyn’s career. In June, she completed her MPH program and her residency in Preventive Medicine. After years of training, she had to go out and look for honest work. We explored opportunities in the Portland area as well as across the state of Kansas, and after a lot of thought and prayer we settled on Tribune. This job has been a fantastic fit for her, as she gets to practice the full spectrum of family medicine including outpatient clinic, obstetrics, hospital medicine, and emergency medicine. The hospital system that employs her (Greeley County Health Services) is very progressive and innovative, and has been a great place to share ideas and try new things. Ridley is perhaps the person most affected by our move. At the beginning of 2007, just after she turned 3, Ridley began going to school for the first time at the Bodhi Tree Center Chinese Immersion program. There she not only discovered what it’s like to follow instructions from teachers and focus on group activities with other kids, she also met her first best friend, Caroline. Outside of school, Ridley developed a very deep and loving bond with our neighbor across the courtyard, Lynn, and her elderly mom, Vivian. Our move meant that Ridley had to leave the people who meant the most to her, and make a fresh start. Luckily she was able to start preschool in Tribune (“English preschool,” she calls it) shortly after we arrived. Although I don’t think anyone will ever replace Caroline and Lynn in her heart, she has continued to thrive and has made many new friends, both old and young. In less happy news, Ridley got diagnosed with asthma this year, and is taking a daily steroid inhaler to control it. She’s tested allergic to peanuts, cats, and certain types of fish. She always hated peanut butter, and now we know why! They did not test for a button allergy, and we’re still trying to figure that one out. Prior to our move, 2007 saw a lot of progress in Jonathan’s art career. Along with our good friend Erik, he delved into the new medium of game design, creating a multiplayer board game based on the book Watership Down (breed those rabbits!). In April, his Etch-A-Sketches got a lot of publicity with a feature story on Oregon Art Beat, a weekly show on Oregon’s public television station that showcases Oregon artists of all stripes. When the show began its “Viewer Favorites” summer repeats, Jonathan’s segment was one of the first ones picked. And, if you’re a fan of overpriced children’s gear and neurotic parenting articles, you may have caught Jonathan’s work in an issue of Cookie magazine. Since the move, Jonathan has been somewhat hindered by preoccupation with the girls and a lack of usable art space. He has, however, purchased a big shiny new iMac to expand his computer graphics skills, and is pondering a small photography-and-Photoshop business. Naturally, our youngest family member is the one who has changed the most this year. In January, Hania celebrated her first 100 days and figured out how to eat from a bottle. Now our one-year-old runs, points, laughs, chats, shares, snuggles, acts coy, and in general amuses her parents and big sister several times a day. She is less verbal and more analytical than Ridley was at this age, preferring to figure out her own solutions to getting what she wants rather than using words or signs to ask us. We love her dearly and can’t imagine our family without her. As we look toward 2008, we have some big plans. Right now we’re renting a house in Tribune, and there’s not a lot to buy. So we’re designing our dream house (within reason): maximum energy efficiency, a home theater, an upstairs loft with windows on all sides… none of this has become reality yet, but we’ve picked out a lot in town and talked with a builder who may be able to help us. We also love riding our custom-fitted Trek bikes with the Burley Ladybug trailer, and hope to do a Bike Across Kansas ride in June if we can manage the training schedule. We’ve already joined some of the Action Teams that are helping to create ways for Tribune to be an even stronger and better community, and we look forward to seeing what impact our actions can have on the town. Western Kansas probably isn’t on anyone’s top 10 list of vacation spots, but we really do hope that you can come and visit us, to see first-hand why we’re so happy here. With much love, Jonathan, Robyn, Ridley & Hania P.S. If any of this is news to you, you might want to check this out: www.NewsOfTheLius.com!
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