Thursday, January 29, 2009

Combat Zone

Some mornings are smooth and others are not. Today started out well enough. Sophia climbed in bed with me at 6:30 and we snuggled for a half hour before we got started with our day. We laughed and talked. Kees was in bed with us too, he had been there for a while. Sneaky little dude. Sophia is really excited because today she gets to show her class an invention. She and her daddy put together a couple of lights (red and green) that will indicate whether her brothers are allowed to come in her room. The switches will be inside her room and the lights outside.

At 7 I got out of bed to wake Coulter and then I went to take a shower. Still all good. While I was in the shower Coulter came in with his clothes so he could get dressed in front of the heater in my bathroom. Great. Sohpia got dressed too. I got out, got dressed myself and then with a bit of a battle, got Kees dressed. This is going well.....

I start down toward the kitchen at 7:45 to make breakfast and lunches. It's a few minutes later then usual and we have to leave at 8:05. I announce, "You're all having cereal today. What kind do you want?" Coulter says, "I want eggs." Me, "Nope. You are having cereal." Coulter starts screaming at me. Not cool dude! I take a quick inventory and there are only 2 kinds of cereal, Cherios and Chex and there is no milk upstairs. Kees says he wants hot cereal. Actually we do have hot cereal. OK. The hot cereal only takes a minute in the microwave so I pop it in. I start down the stairs. Coulter is following me screaming, "I WANT EGGS." Seriously dude, you are in danger of being in big trouble. When I reach the bottom of the stairs I can hardly move because once again, the kids have taken all of the blankets in the basement, all the pillows, the gymnastics mats and all of the stuffed animals, oh, and a bag of garbage just for fun, and stacked them all at the base of the stairs. I can't get past it. I climb over it all. I get milk, eggs (not for today but we're out upstairs), Smuckers PB and J's (for lunches), cheese sticks (lunches) and drinks for lunches.

As I am going back up Coulter is still yelling, "I WANT EGGS!" I yell back, "It's not going to HAPPEN! YOU ARE HAVING CEREAL!" He'll take hot cereal. I have anticipated this and made enough for Kees and Coulter. As I am divying up the cereal I am yelling about the junk at the bottom of the stairs. "You guys need to pick up after yourselves. It is really frustrating for me when I have to go downstairs and walk into a giant mess. The basement was clean yesterday and now it's a giant mess. I can get rid of all your stuff and it would certainly be easier for me. What do you think of that?" Sophia says, "We're just kids." I say, "I don't care. You need to help. There are 5 of us in this house and I am the one picking up stuff most of the time. Daddy does when he is home but he's been pretty busy lately." Sophia, "I forgot." And I yell, "Stop forgetting!" Seriously, I forgot? Am I suppose to take that as an excuse?

The boys have their breakfast and I ask Sophia what she wants. She says she'll take Life. I don't have any but there is some downstairs. I go back down. I pick up some of the crap at the bottom of the stairs and shove it on the day bed. I then throw the pillows across the room to the approximate location that they belong in. I grab the Life and head back up the stairs.

When I get up stairs Sophia is gone. I yell, "SOPHIA!!! WHERE ARE YOU?" She yells from upstairs, "I am up here." I yell, "GET DOWN HERE NOW!" She comes stomping down. I say, "What were you doing?" She says, "You scared me." I ask, "Have I ever hit you or hurt you?" She says, "No. But I thought you were mad about having to go get the Life and I thought that other stuff was life." She points to the Chex. I tell her I was not mad about going to get the cereal. That I am frustrated about the mess and the fact that they never clean them up. I also don't like everyone yelling at me when I am trying to get them all fed and make lunches. I pour her cereal and they all eat. I make lunches feeling like a total jerk the whole time. I know I shouldn't yell but it just makes me crazy and "We forgot" is such a lame excuse and I know it's BS! "We didn't want to clean it up." That's real. That's the truth.

So now I need to get my child raising bible back out. Taking Charge by JoAnne Nordling is my go to book when I need help. Check it out sometime.

Right before we all walk out the door I collect my kids together. We all group hug. I tell them that being a mom is hard and that I am sorry that I yelled so much. I also tell them that they need to help me. That when they leave all their things at the bottom of the stairs if I am not paying attention I could get really hurt. If I fall down and break my leg who is going to make breakfast and lunches? They look at me like, "Yeah, who?" They say they are sorry too. We all hug and say we'll all try to do better.

So that was my morning. Even though the yelling was 20 minutes of it it takes up 90% of what my mind remembers as this morning. By the time they all went to school we were hugging and kissing good bye. Being a mom is hard. They ARE little or "just kids" as Sophia says. But I know they can clean up. They do it at school all the time. Even Kees and he's 3 so I know it can be done. Taking Charge here I come.

May tomorrow morning be a better morning.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Conversation With Coulter

When I picked up Kees and Coulter from school today they were full of information. Part of my conversation with Coulter went like this.

Me, "How was your day today Coulter?"

Coulter, "It was good."

Me, "Great, what did you do today?"

Coulter, "We were building a castle."

Me, "That sounds really cool."

Coulter, "Yeah. And when Aparna's watch makes a noise it is 10."

Me, "What? When it's 10 o'clock?"

Coulter, "No, when it's 10."

Me, "Oh. And when it's 10 what happens?"

Coulter Thinking Duh, I just told you that mom.... "Aparna's watch makes a noise."

Me, "And then what does she do?" Thinking maybe she needed to go to the bathroom or needed to take medication or something.

Coulter, "She pushes a button and it turns off."

Ahhh... Thanks for the information dude.

So these are the days of our lives..... And just one of many interesting conversations I get to have each day.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Just One More Thing

Sophia's birthday is today and she is having a slumber party. 5 little girls, pizza, movie, cup cakes and a couple of brothers in the mix. When they were watching their movie I asked, "Who wants popcorn?" I received a resounding, "MEEEE, MEEEEE" from all of them. Kees was yelling, "I want some cockporn!" We're so proud....just had to share.....

I'm sure I'll have more to blog about tomorrow. Gawd I hope they sleep.

In Sickness and in Health

When you get married you take the vows. In sickness and in health, for richer for poorer (please not for poorer), in good times and in bad etc... I don't remember doing the same when the kids came along. Maybe that is all just assumed. If you are willing to do the deed then you have to accept the consequences. Last night I did.

At about 8:30 Kees came downstairs for the second time. When we heard him crying we just assumed he was half asleep and would have some lame excuse for coming downstairs. Bob met him at the bottom of the stairs and by his words and tone I could tell....Kees was sick. Bob stripped him and sent him into me so he could assess the damage and get some new PJs. Kees had thrown up all over our bed. He was able to hit every soft covering on our bed...NICE! Bob brought down PJs but Kees needed a bath, I was cold this was a no brainer.

Kees and I went up, I ran a bath and I cleaned him off. Just as we were about to get out, Kees threw up in the tub. GROSS! We got out and dried off. Bob set Kees up in his bed with towels under him, around him and a bucket just in case. When I was in my PJs I went in to check on Kees and he was coughing into the bucket. The way he was holding it it would have gone in, hit the back and then dumped all over him. No, no, no this was not going to work, "Come on Kees. Let's go to mommy's bed." I didn't have any sheets on the bed but we covered the bed in towels and I pulled the comforter up with no cover on it. He had his bucket close and I had a bunch of small towels at the ready.

I turned down the lights, got out my book and laid with him. And it was a good thing. 20 minutes later he threw up again. I cleaned his face, rinsed out the bucket and he laid back down. I picked my book back up. 20 minutes later..... This cycle went on for almost 4 hours. It was torture. Even worse was the thought of doing this all night! Luckily his stomach quieted down at about midnight.

When he woke up this morning he seemed fine. I have to admit it was really hard not to send him to school. I so wanted to have today to myself. I had a doctors appt and today is Sophia's 8th birthday. There are things to do to get ready. But I didn't do it. We went on with our day and Kees went with me. He was a bit wimpy but he seemed fine.

At the doctor's office he started to fall apart. You know when your 3 year old starts saying, "I'm tired. I want to take a nap." he's serious. We hopped in the car at 11:15 and he immediately passed out. He's still sleeping and it's now almost 3:30. I guess he was still getting over it.

So when it comes down to it, we don't take an official vow but we know, all the same stuff goes for kids as marriage. And even though your husband acts just as wimpy when he's sick he doesn't need you as much as your sick baby. In sickness and in health...... I sure hope health returns soon and that the sickness doesn't spread! Stay tuned......

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama From a Kids Point of View

So my kids have been very aware of the presidential campaign and now the change of hands of the government. We have talked about voting and why it's important. I don't think they will ever take it lightly. I explained that we as Americans (BOB....GET ON BOARD!) have the power to change the course of history by voting. And that if you don't vote you don't have a right to criticize. That you are responsible for how things go by how you vote. We all need to know that is not only a right but a responsibility. I think my kids in their little way understand. As a matter of fact, Sophia and I went through the issues and candidates together and she helped me vote.

Yesterday Sophia and Coulter were in school. Lots of kids stayed home during the inauguration. I had a party to go to and I thought that we should all be with our peer groups to share in the experience. Both Sophia and Coulter were able to watch the ceremony in their respective places, with their friends and from their different perspectives. Kees sat on my lap at the party. Upon seeing Barack Obama Kees yelled, "It's Orock Obama momma!" He was very excited.

Sophia came home and reported about her day. Some of the moms created an environment of excitement by bringing popcorn and lemonade and making it a special time. One of them even brought a card board cut out of Obama. Sophia thought it was real and was VERY surprised to see the president at her school. After watching the inauguration she reported to me that, "We got to see the president swear. He messed up when he was swearing. Ha ha ha ha" We laughed together that even the most important people in the world mess up and do it in front of EVERYONE! And if ever there was a time where more people were watching one event I'd be surprised.

was asking if Barack Obama will be president tomorrow. I told him that yes, he would be and that he'll be president for a long time. "How long mom?" I told him that he'll be president for at least the next 4 years and quite possibly for 8 years, and that he'll be 13 then....almost in high school. Coulter's eyes got big and he was very interested. He couldn't believe that someone could be president sooooo long. That is like, forever.

So they are all on board. They're excited because everyone around here is excited. I believe that this presidency will change the course of our country and history. I am hopeful for Barack's vision and for our country's future. The fact that volunteerism is being called on and that we all need to participate in our country's progression is exciting to me. When you are invested in moving things forward you feel a sense of pride and ownership. We are really missing that as a collective whole. Now is the time.

So that was our day. We are all excited and looking to a better, brighter future.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wormytails Bad Adventure

Coulter's class did a play today. Preschool plays are ahhhhh, interesting to say the least. Coulter and his classmates wrote, casted and acted in Wormytail's Bad Adventure. I have to say, it was hilarious.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

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2008 Christmas Letter

Here is the letter from last year.....

Dearest Loved Ones, this has been a fantastic year of blessings and growth. Our blessings are simple and extraordinary at the same time. I feel that it is a blessing that things have not changed too much for us. Bob continues his work at Kaiser Permanente as the NW Director of IT. Our children have grown in so many ways. And I am lucky enough to stay at home so I can be with the kids as much as possible.

-Christmas last year was an exciting one because Santa brought us a dog. We love our chocolate Labradoodle Iva. She was 8 weeks old when she was delivered via sleigh to our house and was an instant hit. We can not recommend this breed more highly. She is smart, calm and DOESN’T SHED! She is a wonderful dog and a terrific addition to our family.

-We spent our Spring Break on the beach baby. Yeah, just like all the collage kids. Only….well…. it was a little different then Daytona. We were in Manzanita on the Oregon Coast where it was snowing. I swear there was snow on the beach. And our crazy kids were out there bare foot running in the surf! We are raising REAL northwest babies. No wimps here.

-We were lucky enough to do some traveling around the NW this year. First we took a trip to Spokane to celebrate a friend’s 40th. Great fun. Next the Mounseys invited us to their fabulous cabin on Whidbey Island. All I can say is WOW the view. The Olympics are to your right, Cascades to your left and Seattle straight ahead, all from 300 feet atop a bluff. The Mounseys have one kid, Mathew, and we have three. Ahhh, Mathew was in shock to say the least but not in enough shock to stay away. The Mounseys later joined us in early July at Mom and Ed’s house. Mom and Ed were gracious enough to let us use their house while they were away on vacation. It’s the nicest vacation house I have ever stayed in. We were there for a week of good weather, food, friends and family. During that trip we spent the 4th of July with Dad, Sally and a host of others. We watched fireworks from their roof top garden. Spectacular for sure.

-And of course, our annual trip to Decatur Island in the San Juans. The weather was fabulous all week and we had our usual slow paced life where kids roam free and we stuff our selves with fresh crab. Seriously, our life moves so slowly there that one day I think the only “work” I did was make a flower arrangement. That’s a great day. Still one bathroom and 15 people and not a single complaint. We love this tradition / vacation. Our babysitters realized that with the passage of time they may not be needed in the same capacity. They schemed all week thinking that maybe they should learn to cook. They have as much fun as the kids. It was as wonderful as ever and is still the highlight of our summer.

-Bob’s job required some travel this year, 4 or 5 trips. Blah, blah, blah… My job also required some travel. I took a great trip to visit Ellen in California and another to Spokane for a girls retreat. Who knows what’s next. I can’t help that my job is so demanding travel wise. The kids like it when they have daddy to themselves and the menus and rules are relaxed. He runs a different ship then I do. I think it’s the good ship “Lollipop” or something like that. And the kids even required some travel. Uncle Rex and Aunt Tina took them to the beach for a weekend. Rex and Tina ran them ragged. At the end of each day the kids would fall into bed practically in a coma. I think they jammed a weeks worth of activities into 2 and a half days.

-This fall we had a Buchanan / Clark family reunion in Steilacoom with all the blended family together for the first time in years. It was a belated 70th birthday for my dad since they were in Europe on the actual day. My cousins Wendy and Robyne were there and we hadn’t seen each other for at least 20 years! There were a lot of people and a lot of chaos but it was really fun.

-We just returned from a Buchanan / Weber reunion in Puerto Vallarta. The weather was perfect, the kids all played nicely together and so did the adults. Most of our time was spent in the pool or at the beach though we did manage a couple of activities. Sophia and I did a zip line around the jungle canopy and then the lot of us made a day trip to a small village down the coast. It was a very successful trip on all fronts.

-Our kids are all doing well. Kees started school this year and not a moment too soon for his taste. Some kids cry on the first day. Kees essentially pushed me out of the room. He’s seen everyone else go to school his whole life, now it’s his turn. He is finally potty trained so that means no more diapers in our house. When he finally decided to go in the potty he reported to me that, “You don’t have any more babies in this house, only big boys.” He is right and while it’s a bit sad I am glad to be moving forward. He is starting to say funny things. On the plane to Mexico Bob had put the head phones on the boys and tuned them to the pilots. After about 30 minutes Kees took off his head set and told us, “I like listening to the pirates.” He is smart, funny and honestly a bit 3 right now if you know what I mean.

-Coulter is in his 3rd year of preschool and still loves it. He has the teacher Sophia had when she was there so he really feels like a big kid. He is cleaver, loves to laugh, is affectionate and very charming. He makes friends with everyone. He learned to ride a bike this year, in 30 seconds. Honestly, 30 seconds! Bob held him up and was trying to explain what to do. He said, “Dad, let go.” So Bob did and off he went like a BMX bike rider. Amazing! Some of his quotes from this year… “What is Portland’s last name?” “Mom, I fall awake at night and so I CAN’T go to sleep.” One night when he did fall asleep, or so I thought, I walked in to give him a kiss on the cheek. He rolled over, wiped the kiss off and put his hand on his chest. I whispered, “Why did you wipe it off?” To which he said, “I take them and put them in the treasure chest in my heart.” Then he smiled, rolled over and fell asleep. That is one of the sweetest things I have ever heard. He can be dramatic and frustrating at times but mostly he is lovely and a joy.

-Sophia is in 2nd grade and doing all the stuff she should be. Reading has become a favorite pastime. She just finished a 200 page book in a day and a half and was quite proud. When she finished she came downstairs to report, “Yeah, I finished that one. I put it to bed.” She can climb with the best of them, is a prolific artist and is a very good student. There is a funny streak in there and she can be very silly. And she is getting to be a bit “tween” ish so that is a bit scary. Sophia is wise beyond her years and sometimes I wonder if she was my mom in past lives because she guides me and keeps me grounded. She is considerate of others and wonderful with her brothers.

-It’s been an interesting year for us all. Portland is all a twitter about our new president. How anyone can get us moving out of the mess we’re in is beyond me but I am hopeful. We all need to pray for his wisdom and strength. Financially we’re all a bit poorer but do not give up hope. As a matter of fact, give more to your community it may be the best investment you make. We need to support each other.

-I hope you are all well. Remember Christ’s birth this holiday season and all the promise that means. Please keep in touch and if you need to catch up on our goings on you can check out my blog or of course call 503-460-9191, email –, write 2414 NE 36th Ave, PDX 97212 or just show up. We love having our friends here.

Merry Christmas to all and to all…… Blessings and prosperous New Year. Love, THE LEEKS

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Things Over Heard at My House...

The kids were sledding down our drive way. When Sophia would start out at the top of the hill she'd spell, "I A-M C-O-M-I-N-G" and then she would shove off. Coulter, not wanting to be out done, started spelling, "I M 10a 2 T 9."

Kees checking out a bruise on a banana..... "Hey mom. The yucky part is yummy. Right?"

Today on the way to school Coulter was telling Sam (a neighbor), "Did you know that my Papa is my mom's dad and my Grandma is my mom's mom. Isn't that WEEEEIRD?"

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Game of Life....

Tonight we had game night. We played the game of Life. Sophia had played with a friend last week and when I told her, "We have that game!" She was thrilled.

So tonight after dinner I went and got it. We set it up, we kind of checked the rules (it's been a while since I played) and started the game. Sophia, Coulter and I played on our own and Kees and daddy were a team. Kees picked a car, put in a couple people and started driving it all over the place. We tried to ignore him but he was a bit of trouble. We pressed on.

Sophia was pretty into it. She wanted to win. Along the way she learned a little about stocks, insurance and paying taxes. Coulter was, as usual, hilarious. Everytime he'd spin the spinner he'd throw his hands in the air and yell, "WAHOOO!" and start moving his car. We'd give him his money and take his taxes. He had no idea what was happening but he was having a blast. Kees....he drove his car all over the board and "helped" daddy.

In the end I ended up winning, which is of course AWESOME! But more importantly, Sophia didn't win and didn't cry. She's coming along. In the past if she didn't win it was all tears. I was really proud of her. Coutler left the table as soon as the game was over. As usual, he was in it during the game but the moment it was over he was off to the next thing. Ahhhh...he didn't win, not even close. But as usual, in Coulter's way, he did win because he had fun. And Kees, I am not sure he even knew it was a game. He may think we were all driving cars around roads together. I guess we kind of were.

So we are finally getting to the place where we can have game night. I love playing games and I am really looking forward to the next of many to come.

Monday, January 5, 2009

What a Hoot...

It's so nice when your kids get to the age where you can do something half way challenging with them. I am not one of those mom's that gets down on the floor and plays. Occasionally, I repeat, occasionally, I will but it's really just for a short period of time. I am not wild about easy puzzles, pretending I am a horse, a fairy, a car, a truck....etc. You get the point. I really don't like being taught as a student when the kid is the teacher. I know that it's good for them, it builds confidence and so on but I get so bored that I can't fake it and then they think they're doing something wrong. I am better just not going there. I do like to play tickle every now and then. We cuddle in bed a lot. Sometimes more then I would like because I wake up and there someone is. I can build a mean fort but I don't want to live in it. We bake together, that can be fun but more for them and less for me. Why can't we clean together? That's all coming....

Anyway.... Sophia went over to her buddy Ella's house yesterday and they made some cute little owls out of felt. Sophia wanted to make some more. Ahhh, I have felt, thread and a bunch of buttons and beads. I can do this. So I got it all out for her. She worked by herself for a while. She came crying to me, "It's wrong! I can't do it." I went in and sat down next to her and said I'd like to make one too. She continued to cry and complain. I said, "Sophia, if you continue to cry because you made a mistake I will not let you do this. It makes it no fun." She stopped crying. I helped her fix the problem. Then I started making mine.

First, look on line at pictures of owls. Cut one out free hand. It looks alright. Sew on a beak, eyes and a pouch. I told Sophia that it was for her. This was after she asked me if I was going to snuggle with it at night. She wanted a pouch on it....fine. I told her that would make it an Owlaroo. "Ha ha ha ha that is so funny mom." We had a nice time sitting side by side sewing. We had classical music in the back ground and the boys were playing with the dog. It was great. Sophia critiqued her's a few times comparing it to mine. I reminded her that I have 36 years on her and that I don't recall that we were having a competition. She calmed down again. I think that I will have to continue to give her praise and remind her of our age difference. I will NOT dumb my efforts down just to keep the peace.

So we made our owls. As it turns out we had a good laugh at my expense because mine looks like a cross between bat and a owl. I told her we could call it a bowel. I then had to explain what a bowel was and then she understood why it was so funny. So my bowelaroo and she actually made one that looks more like an owl then mine. Ahhh, not too hard when you see mine. She saw that I make mistakes and that it's about the process and the experience. I wasn't doing it to make a great owl, I was doing it so I could spend time with her and do something a little creative too.

It was a success because in the end we both had fun. The felt is still out and I am looking forward to our next project together.