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Family Newsletter - June, 2009

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From: Frank and Jo

We've had a busy few months as a family: Michael and Angel were married, Nikhil and Jen had their little one--Eva, Holly graduated, and Gwen, Debbie and I went to Costa Rica for Gwen's 55th Kodai Reunion. So take a little time and look at all the neat photos below and see what's been going on. The next event for some of us is our sister/spouses gathering here in Ft. Collins during the weekend of July 4th. We have a busy schedule: setting up a plan for World Peace, figuring out a perfect alternative fuel, finishing planting Jo's flower gardens....

From: Margy

Here are a few photos from Angel and Michael's wedding....at our home Friday, April 10th. We plan to see all the aunties and uncles in Colorado in July.

From: Loey

Eva Elena Jaisinghani was born on May 25th - she and her parents, Jennifer and Nikhil, are all doing well. Niks and Jen are delighted with their little girl who is already going for long walks in stroller in downtown DC. They head for Montana in July and then to New Delhi for 4 years. Eva will be the 5th generation of the Hiebert family to live in India. She is also destined to be a great quilter........

Spring has finally come to Montana and color is returning to the Bitterroot Valley. We are still trying to 'finish' the place and have come a long way but the outdoor chores in Spring seem endless. It was fun to take a break and head for DC to take care of a newborn.

From: Harlan

I'm sorry that I've been 'missing in action' lately. A lot has happened:

Mary's health continued to decline after her thyroid was removed in early 2008, and we learned last winter that she has Lyme disease, and probably has had it for several years. She's being treated for it, and is getting better, but it probably will take some time. Carol has taken a family leave to shuttle her to doctors, etc., and is enjoying being off work for a while, but it's only been about 10 days at this point, and she still gets called by people at work, so it's not exactly a vacation.

Katie is doing fine, about to graduate from middle school, and playing lots of soccer. Unfortunately, the girls in the league are getting rougher as they get older - she had 3 cracked ribs earlier in the season, and at a tournament last weekend she was knocked down and got a badly sprained shoulder. And finally, two of my colleagues and I started a company in Jan. 2008, but didn't really do much with it until Sept. of last year. Since then, things have been picking up steadily, especially since January of this year, and I'm now officially 'too busy'. We got an office last week, and went out yesterday to buy furniture and get it in place, and this morning I'm sore from assembling chairs and desks. The work part is going well - we're funded by research grants from the government, and the science part is going VERY well. Within the last couple of weeks we've been brought in by an agency to consult on various swine flu issues (which is a little outside our expertise, but we have a virologist in Texas working with us), and our first task is to see if we can make a useful model of how the disease propagates. So that's my excuse for not responding lately, and I hope that people will buy it.

From: Eloise

Graduate Holly with Professor Mom

Holly graduated from Eastern University this spring. She will be attending West Chester University to get an MA in Philosophy next. We went on a family road trip to Canada (Montreal) to celebrate. Andy still has two more years to go at Eastern, and will be headed to Lithuania on a semester abroad next spring.

From: Gwen, Debbie and Jo

Here are some photos from the trip we took to Gwen's 55th reunion. Costa Rica is absolutely stunning. Maybe we should have our next Hiebert reunion there.

Debbie was in charge of our curry dinner at Margaret Smith's home in Monteverde. SO delicious.

We went across the top of the rainforest on long bridges and on the 15-section ziplines. That was an amazing time. Great fun.

We spent the last couple of days out by the Pacific Ocean beach; went through a reserve where we saw sloths, monkeys, coatimundis, iguanas and other neat animals.

Thanks, Gwen, for this neat, neat experience.

From: Steve

This spring I have been out exploring what the yard of my new home has to offer. Although new to me, it has been here about 50 years and had several prior owners, each who added some plants and landscaping that has made this a rather eclectic place. Lots of little nooks and crannies filled with plants and bushes I am still trying to identify.

So this spring I have been out with my camera capturing images of the small, urban park that is my yard. Lots of blossoms in the bushes and trees, and a great tree out front to sit under and watch the sun go down behind the foothills. And as the current owner, I have decided to add a few of my own touches, like starting to create a small path through the garden behind the garage. But mostly I have been waiting to see what surprises pop up on their own - and I have not been disappointed yet!

For most folks these may seem like mundane things. But since this is my first real yard (after living in apartments and a mobile home for years), I am still having fun with it. Hopefully the eventual drudgery of mowing the lawn, weeding and hauling dirt around will not diminish my enjoyment of this little sanctuary.

We all need some touch of nature in our living spaces - helps keep us grounded when life gets too busy.

From: Phyl

The news from Fresno is that we bought via auction a foreclosed house four doors down to fix up as a rental for international students. "Fix up" is a mild term for sanding a floor, repairing tiles, installing oven and dishwasher and bathroom sink which were ripped out, yanking wallpaper off walls and rugs off floors prior to repainting/getting new rugs, and lots more. The yard is fiercely overgrown. However there are two grapefruit trees--one pink, one yellow--and a grape arbor and pomegranate tree AND swimming pool (minus filter and pump of course) and all kinds of rose bushes, so good possibilities. Tomorrow Karen is coming to use her newly-acquired knowledge to prune the roses, Fran also to help wherever. We've found bargains at a Habitat for Humanity store and yard sales to furnish the place. This will keep us more than busy until our reunion in July. Elmer's family has a reunion in Canada at the end of July.

The other news is that Ken and Fran have a sabbatical planned for India, leaving in January. Fran applied to teach ESL at Kodai; if that works out, two of the children can go to school there free. They very much want us to go along for the first month at least, Elmer to stay with Ken in Shamshabad, I to go with Fran to Kodai. How about that! We are seriously considering it.

And yet other news is that some weeks ago Elmer experienced a problem with his right ear as he was walking from the post office to the car. He could hear nothing in that ear, just like that. It's called Sudden Total Hearing Loss. Not quite accurate, because he heard a constant noise, kept asking if it was thundering or if the water was on. After weeks of doctor visits and medications, his hearing came back to 20%, then 65%, then 75%. If it gets to 80% he can use a hearing aid. That other problem in Scotland of the clots in his lungs seems to be well under control, he has plenty of energy. . . though physical work tires us both out way too soon!!

From: Noah

Noah and Steve built a lookout platform up in one of Steve's pinetrees. It's REALLY high!

and last but not least...

Headline: LOIS K. KNAPP's IT team receives amazing award!

A Web-based application that helps University of Montana students map out the courses needed for their academic careers has garnered a prestigious award for its campus designers. The Academic Planner application won a 2009 Hugi Excellence Award in the Business Processes and Systems category of a competition run by the NorthWest Academic Computing Consortium. The award will be presented during a June 10 NWACC summit at Salishan Resort near Lincoln City, Ore. The application was written by UMıs Information Technology department in close association with the Registrarıs Office.

This application is based on one that Loey and Rudy developed for Kodai School while Loey and Gary were there. Rudy and his family came to Montana last year to help work on this project at U of Montana. Loey, along with a colleague, will go to Oregon to accept the award. Way to go, Loey!