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.