Thursday, September 28, 2017

Passed Through Beaumont

Mom and Dad were in Louisiana, so the kids and I made a very quick trip over to see them. We are always happy to head East on I-10 because we pass through Beaumont and usually get to stop and see Liz' camp friends. 

This time we saw what Hurricane Harvey had done to the area. We did not see anything like this in Houston (granted, I don't think we were in the part of Houston that had flooded). But both sides of the streets in their neighborhood and throughout town were laden with flooded belongings and housing material. Our friends had had 5 1/2 feet of water (sewage water) in their home. Their church that they had evacuated to had also suddenly begun to take on water and their vehicles were lost in that flooding. They stayed with another family for three weeks and have now found a place to rent while they reconstruct their home. 

Elizabeth is doing a cookie fundraiser for their home. She has lots of orders to fill this week, but once it settles down, I'll post her blurb so my peeps can participate if they wish. You can also simply donate to the Goebel's if you would like to help them rebuild their home. Their PayPal email address is They (and many others from their church) have been amazing friends to Liz; we kind of like them. 

Strangely enough, I got no pictures of the kids with my parents. My phone kept dying on me every time I thought to take a picture. But we had a picnic with them at Girard Park in Lafayette. We sat together at church on Sunday. And we had lunch with Mr. Wallace and Mrs. Aline Hebert and family after church. We got to see my cousin's baby who had had surgery when she was born. My mom has been helping them take care of the baby. The kids were smitten with her. She was so precious. No tears the whole time we were there! 

We stopped at Lake Charles (the actual lake, not just the town). Liz has been wanting to every time we pass by. I thought, "What the heck? Let's do it." So we waded for 12 minutes and then washed our feet and headed back down the road toward home. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Clouse Sibling Reunion in WA

It's been five years since I've been to visit Washington, so this was the year to go again and it was Phoebe's turn to go with me.

Tonya's new place near Yakima, WA was the meet-up spot. Mike and Nettie had been at a family camp in Montana and drove over from there to spend some time with us. They live in Virginia, so it really was great how it all worked out for us to get together. Cory lives in Seattle, and he took time off of work to be with us.

Jordan is Jonathan's age. 
He's on the autism spectrum; he likes to take electronics apart, play with Playdo, and he was working on K'nex while we were there. He was very sweet to Phoebe and I and gave us hugs and kisses on the cheek. 

My dad was there a couple of the days too. Mom is in Louisiana helping my cousin's family with their baby who has had several surgeries in the past months.

Mike and Cory laughing at some video or meme. 

This was a highlight of our time. The last evening together, the siblings went to Cowiche Canyon for dinner. Tonya got a pork chop and I got a salad and we shared our meals. Very nice atmosphere. Modern/woodsy decor. I found out I'm not the only one who likes to listen to other people's conversations in restaurants. Cory said it's an introvert thing ~ we're very aware of what's going on all around us. 

We also finally discovered the one thing that we all had in common: none of us voted for Trump. We've all grown up going down different paths, so there were a lot of interesting conversations, especially between the two brothers. But it wasn't ever mean or ugly or disrespectful. Thanks, boys!

All us siblings got to be together 5 years ago at the family reunion, but we didn't hang out with just the four of us or anything. I don't think the four of us have hung out like this since I left home for college. I have to say it was so refreshing and enjoyable! 
I love you, Mike and Tonya, Cory and Nettie!

Aupa got the kids a raft and took each of them out on a pond. Tonya and I got a spin in it too.

We hiked to a woodsy park and found a calm spot to get in the Yakima River.

Joshua is into making slime, so he and Phoebe made quite a bit of it together.

Each day, the air quality got progressively worse as smoke from surrounding fires of the Northwest rolled in. The last day, as we were driving to Seattle, you could look directly at the sun without sunglasses. I don't think Tonya or Cory are in danger, but some towns are evacuating.

Grandma is living with Aunt Mary in Tacoma, so we stopped by to see her for a few minutes before heading to the airport. I think I'm a lot like Grandma in personality. She told us some stories from her growing up years. Her dad was a farmer in Nebraska. She lived in a sod house. She and her two sisters always shared a bed until they left home. They lived in town for a couple of years, and she decided to take herself to church one day (her parents were not religious, she said). At some point her mom followed. Then her dad and then her sister. 

Dad made these yarn bowls at my request. He made the bowls out of cherry wood for Elizabeth's birthday. He made my longish yarn blow from wood from Grandma's barn (he made one for Grandma too). She recently sold her property in Deer Park. I'm not sure if the barn came down or what, but we have wood from it now. 
I absolutely adore these!

When we first arrived in Seattle, it was too late to drive to Tonya's, so Cory had gotten Phoebe and I a nice hotel room on the lake (Lake Union? not sure which one). 

Fancy breakfast with a beautiful view (before smoke, thankfully).

We drove through the Cascades on the way to Tonya's. Phoebe took lots of pictures of the mountains. I do miss those mountains.

Tonya's backyard. She made a good move when she decided to buy a house in a small town. The school's are smaller and seem like they'll be a better fit for her boys. And you can't go wrong living in a farming community. She's surrounded by apple orchards and corn and vineyards. 

Aupa made gumbo for us ~ So delicious! We had it for several meals over the week because I'm not going to get good gumbo for a while. 

Phoebe and Joshua riding in Aupa's truck on the way to the River. 

Tonya's backyard pool. Uncle Cory is a great uncle to the kids!

Shadow is Tonya's new puppy. She's beautiful and a sweetheart. And she gets into everything!

The sisters! We were the middle children.

The calm place of the Yakima River. It took us a while to find a good spot since the river was flowing so swiftly. 

Aupa and Phoebe duking it out over Monopoly. They put the rest of us out. Aupa called it quits at 11:00 pm because it could have gone on for quite a while. 

The siblings sitting around and chatting. We covered many topics. We talk about politics and economics and our health issues these days. 

I wanted to include this picture of all four of us siblings, Mom and Grandma. She came to visit us in Louisiana one year, so this is us picking her up from the airport. We don't have a lot of pictures that include all four of us.

Grandma and Aunt Mary have their own little farm in town. They have chickens, rabbits, cats, dogs, ducks.... And a nice garden. Grandma has always had a large garden.