Monday, December 21, 2009

Moms Get Kids

A few weeks ago, I took Liam for his 5 year old physical, which was notable for a number of reasons -- not the least of which is that I can no longer claim to have "five under five"! Having my first-born turn five is a major rite of passage. He is now, more than ever, officially a kid... which reminds me, it's about time I updated the name of this blog! My little man is most certainly a toddler no more! He is a real little guy. He goes to school. On a bus! He gets homework, he gets himself dressed and he has strong opinions -- about pretty much everything. Including, understandably, a trip to the doctor that involves getting several shots.

Shots are something that Liam, like most kids, not only dislikes, but morbidly fears. When he sees that needle coming, he turns into a possessed creature I hardly recognize. He screams, wiggles, cries, squirms, thrashes and makes an already unpleasant experience almost intolerable. When it's all over, it's as if a violent storm has passed. The calm is instantly restored by the doctor's promise that he can visit the "treasure chest"... which led me to wonder aloud, "Wow! You lucky guy! You get a trip to the treasure chest. But what about me?! What does the Mom get?!" To which Liam replied with a wisdom well beyond his five years, "Moms get kids!" As in, Duh Mom. Moms get kids!

The words really struck me -- perhaps even more so now that we're in the heart of the season to give and to get. Like many folks, our family is cutting back this year. We won't be giving -- and don't expect to be getting - as much as we have in the past. And this makes Liam's simple and astute observation a timely reminder to be grateful for all that we do have. Kids! We've got kids aplenty! And, at the the end of the day, there is nothing in any treasure chest that can beat that. Well, on most days anyway! ;)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Baby Steps

I still can't believe that we've survived our first year with triplets... and two other needy little tykes as well! People constantly ask me "how do you do it?" and the answer, quite frankly, is that I really don't know! The time has passed so quickly that it's all a bit of a blur. Ok, a major blur. But if I try to recall how it is that a year (at this point, thirteen months, to be exact!) has suddenly passed us by, I suppose there have been two keys to survival:

  1. A sense of humor. While there were (and still are!) days when it all just falls apart, we've found that the best antidote is to just laugh. Frequently. We find that we're (all SEVEN of us!) often at our wits end at dinnertime. Des and I are tired and cranky (well, I am, anyway!); Liam is absolutely shot; Ciara is demanding attention -- most often by crying/howling/screeching over some minor offense like "my toe hurts!". The babies are crawling and tottering and rolling on the floor simply looking for a little love which, while the dinner is burning and the other two are fighting, is hard to come by. Then, inevitably, the crying starts. All three babies, perhaps with Ciara chiming in as well and then Liam whining to be heard above the din. It is at this point, on a good day, that Des and I just look at each other and laugh. Really really laugh. Because truly, the scene in our kitchen is absurd! And if we don't laugh, we might cry or scream or whine or yell -- which, we've learned the hard way, is stooping to the level of our five under five -- and believe me, this is best NOT to do! So, when all else fails, just laugh. Out loud. Like you mean it. And, if your house is like our house, soon you will all feel better.

  2. Take it one day at a time. As an admitted super-planner, this doesn't come naturally to me but, I've gotten better over the course of the past year. While I'm still no pro at being "in the moment", I've gotten better at accepting each day as it comes. And also, accepting that my plan for the day is quite often bamboozled by circumstances completely beyond my control. Like when we missed the football game for my 20th high school reunion last week because one of the tots came down with a fever. Or like realizing that a day at the beach is, no longer "a day at the beach"! If think too far ahead, I start to freak out. For example, we now go through about five gallons of milk a week. At least. So, I wonder, how much milk will be consumed when they get bigger? What will happen when they're teenagers? They are going to eat us out of house and home! This leads to the remarkable revelation that one day, they will indeed be teenagers! And then they will drive. And then I'll be up at night worrying about them all making it home safely -- instead of being up at night checking temperatures and administering doses of Motrin and Tylenol.

Which brings me back to the present and reminds me to just take it one day at a time. To approach this amazing road that lies before us with baby steps -- a good lesson to remember as each of our babies is starting to take his very first steps.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Where does the time go?!

It is well past the time I promised myself I’d be in bed as I once again wonder… where, oh where did the day go? How have three weeks flown by since I last updated this blog? Well, let’s see. Here’s a brief snapshot of the past few weeks.

One little lady proudly turned “free” and was pleased as a princess to celebrate at Cupcake Kitchen and Build-A-Bear with two equally adorable little pals. One of the more amusing moments for me was when a lady saw us leaving the mall and asked “Wow! Are they triplets?” When I chuckled and responded “No, just friends.” She said “Phew! I was going to say, you must really have your hands full!” Ah, if she only knew…

Three little “Cubs” officially turned one and were the jolliest of party guests as family, friends and neighbors joined us at the park for birthday cake, some festive live Irish music and cool, blustery weather that was more than a bit reminiscent of Ireland itself

Our anniversary coincided with Columbus Day and although we did manage to make it out for lunch, we had to chuckle when Liam asked during the typical dinner mayhem that night “hey, when are you guys going OUT for your anniversary?” Well Liam, when you’re old enough to babysit the other four kids, I suppose! ;)

Speaking of dinner, we now officially set the table for seven. Yep, seven. Four chairs and three high chairs crammed in with five tots whining, wiggling and weasling out of eating their vegetables. The joy of abandoning the formula when the babies turned one (which was supposed to translate into dollars aplenty!) has been replaced by the cold hard realization that these kids are going to eat us out of house and home! With five under five, dinner tonight consisted of a large roast chicken, a big pot of mashed potatoes, about a pound of string beans and almost a gallon of milk. To our dismay, there are not enough leftovers to satisfy any of these voracious Cubs! (For the record, there’s a good chance that a few glasses of wine were consumed as well… ;)

Then there’s bedtime – just try brushing the teeth of FIVE overtired tots recovering from a prolonged and ugly Halloween buzz. It’s not surprising that Liam and Ciara think they can do it themselves but really, I wasn’t expecting any sort of attitude from a trio of one year olds who just yesterday sported costumes as both precious pumpkins and cuddly cubs (pictures to follow!). The point is, it takes a LOT of time to brush five sets of teeth!

Amid all this commotion, my life outside our little Lyons Den has gone bonkers. Work is crazy busy and I’m once again traveling – in the past two weeks, I’ve been to Chicago twice and Pittsburgh once. I’ve stood up my running partner twice because I literally don’t know what day it is. I’ve been the lucky recipient of 10 stitches in my back as yet more skin cancer was removed – which reminds me to remind you, WEAR YOUR SUNSREEN. My optimism has not paid off in this regard – I have learned the hard way that I will not get tan. As Ciara likes to dramatically put things, “never ever in my whole life!” Although, she’s typically responding to a declined request for Noggin…

So, with days filled from the top to the bottom, it’s no wonder that several weeks have just flown by in the blink of an eye. Or, for that matter, that 20 years have suddenly flown by and my high school reunion is next week! I’m pretty sure that I can’t be that old and that there must be a typo somewhere on the eVite I received. But, if I’m to believe what my friends and high school diploma tell me, It really has been two decades. I’m sure I won’t be the only one who is shocked at how quickly the time has flown by...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What a difference a year makes!

With our little “Cubs” about to turn one this weekend, I find myself continually marveling at what a difference a year makes. Flashback to early October 2008…

I was, for the most part, marooned in my bedroom, constantly in pain from the sheer weight of three babies in my belly and lamenting the fact that the world seemed to be passing by just outside my window. As I shifted and shuffled and tossed and turned and tried anything and everything to ease my discomfort, I was frustrated that I couldn’t partake in the annual pumpkin painting fun but determined that I would bake cupcakes for Ciara’s second birthday… which, somehow, I did.

In October 2008, I had to sit down to brush my teeth but couldn't reach the table when I sat down to eat dinner. I couldn’t wait to meet these babies but I was petrified that all the horror stories I heard might prove true… perhaps their lungs would be undeveloped or they would have vision problems or heart issues or worse. Perhaps they would spend months in the NICU – and I wondered how we would ever manage that nightmare with a just two-year old and not yet four old waiting for us at home.

And then, October 10th arrived and, miracle of all miracles, none of those horror stories proved true. With all three of our "cubs" weighing well over five pounds, my physical discomfort was instantly eased and my worries evaporated the moment I heard their first healthy, hearty cries. Oh, the cries. The delivery room sounded like a nursery… and, with three newborns heralding their arrival, indeed it was.

Against all odds, we were discharged from the hospital in just four days with all three of our new charges. We were welcomed home with fanfare, family and friends. And then, with the pregnancy, delivery and helping hands at the hospital behind us, our true journey began.
We were lucky to have a baby nurse assist with the night feedings for the first three weeks. And boy, did we relish the sleep we got then. What happened next is a bit of a blur. I know that we somehow managed to feed three babies eight times a day and two toddlers three times a day. On a good day, I think the dog got fed too. I know the bottles got washed, the laundry got done, the visits were made to the pediatrician. I know I managed to shower daily (well, almost!) and at some point, I even started to exercise in earnest. I know there were days, many of them, when I detested the sound of my own shrill voice by 9AM. And days when I had to swallow my pride and ask for help. And was stunned by the many ways that help came…

Dinners were delivered. The “big kids” were whisked away on playdates. Diapers were delivered. Encouragement was endless. Baby whisperers seemed to appear out of thin air on our doorstep. I’ll never forget a particular Sunday afternoon when I had truly just had it. It was hot and humid and after a full weekend of sleep deprivation, cranky toddlers and crying babies, I was wiped out. That’s when the “boys chorus”, as we affectionately call the deafening cacophony of three crying cubs ,launched into high gear. And, that’s when my neighbors and friends just marched right in the door, up the stairs and said “we’re here to help.” And help they did.

And so it is that we have survived the first year with identical triplets and a grand total of five under five. We’re keenly aware that our journey has only just begun and we’re truly looking forward to seeing where the road takes us. Happy First Birthday, little Cubs.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Picture Perfect

So, here it is the end of September and I find that despite my best intentions, I’ve been remiss about updating this blog as frequently as I’d like. Trust me, it’s not for a lack of things to say but rather, as you might imagine, the lack of time to articulate my thoughts! With October just around the corner, I find myself thinking of many things – many things that manifest themselves in my ever-growing “to do” list. A random sampling includes: drop off snacks for back to school night (I had to bail on the brownie baking – that was too ambitious even for me!), plan Ciara’s third birthday, buy birthday presents. Buy shoes for Liam and Ciara. This one’s a priority – with this morning’s temperature hovering in the 50s, it seemed downright irresponsible to send Liam to school in “water shoes” and Ciara out in Crocs. Too small Crocs that give her blisters. But, on the upside, there was rain in the forecast today so I justified it by thinking of the fun they might have splashing in puddles. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway.

With the first of October just a day away, the biggest thing on my mind is the fact that these amazing babies of ours – the “Cubs”, the “trips”, the “puppies” – well, they are about to turn one. And really, how does one go about celebrating the first birthday of three little guys who completely defied the odds, who were each born weighing as much as a “singleton” and, with their first birthday less than two weeks away, are babbling, crawling, eating us out of house and home and doing all the things one-year olds do… including incessantly playing in the dog’s water bowl and flat out refusing anything that even closely resembles jarred baby food… because, of course, as they seem to know all too well, their true baby days are almost behind them. Those mewing newborn cries, the forced tummy time, “back to sleep”, nighttime feedings, and all those first milestones – rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing, these are all behind us now. And, as conventional wisdom suggests and each day affirms, the time has flown by far too fast.

Fortunately, I’ve documented it ALL in pictures. Yep. Everything. Three babies in one crib, three babies in three cribs, babies in bouncy seats, bumbos and Baby Bjorns. Babies on the front porch, babies in the back yard. Babies in car seats, swings and strollers. Babies at the beach, at the park, at the pool. Babies with siblings, babies with parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. Heck, I even have a ton of picture of babies with the DOG! Which brings me to a troubling item on that aforementioned “to do” list. What, pray tell, am I supposed to do with all of these pictures?!

An album commemorating this remarkable first year – and that fact that it looks like we’re all going to survive it with our humor in tact – would seem a reasonable thing to do. So, with that goal in mind, I logged on to to create the perfect photo montage of our Cubs first year. On the first go-round, I uploaded 972 photos. Shockingly, this included only pictures from October – February. For real. 972 of them! I decided I better get started so I selected an album, devoted an hour and a half that I should have used to get some much-needed sleep, and then, CRASH! My internet connection was lost and, since I hadn’t saved my “project”, all my work was lost. Stupid, right?

Well, it gets worse. Because I won’t be deterred! I log back on, recreate the first 18 pages of the album, make some additional progress and then, bleary-eyed, decide to upload a photographic sample of the next few months. This time around, my “sample size” exceeded 1200 pictures. And that only got me to July. No joke. Since I could no longer see straight and was facing about 4 ½ hours of sleep at best, I decided to call it a night. And, I haven’t gone back. Although, in the spirit of full disclosure, that was only last night. I still have plenty of time to finish my project before the Cubs turn one on October 10th. But really, I feel like there is a lesson to be learned and shared here. My attempt to memorialize the past 365 days with a photographic journey has reminded me that I often get so caught up in capturing the “right” moment that I often fail to just “be” in the moment and appreciate the many amazing moments that have filled the past year. While I continually try to capture the perfect picture, I too often lose sight of the fact that life isn’t picture perfect. So, that album might get done… and, it might not. Either way, I’ll relish the few short hours of sleep I get before a new day (and new photo ops!) dawn…

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What I did on my summer vacation

Is it possible that summer is really over? All the signs are here – shorter days, school buses and a chill in the evening air. Even so, it seems remarkable that summer has – once again – slipped away so quickly. It seems that the passing of time is picking up speed with each successive season… and if I reflect on all that occurred during our summer of 2009, it’s really no wonder…

Liam went from a kid who clung to the steps of the pool with fear in his eyes to a confident and proud little fella who passed his deep water test. The highlight of his summer was repeatedly hopping off the diving board and swishing down the water slide to the enthusiastic applause of three generations of family supporters – me and Des, my Mom and Dad, my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. He was so excited by his accomplishments that he requested a “celebration” complete with a “cake and band on the front porch” – gotta love the way this kid thinks!

Ciara went from a “baby” in diapers to a “big girl” who boastfully starts most mornings by proclaiming that she is “totally dry Mama! Totally dry.” This new “big girl” is our very own fun and fearless female. She’s the life of any party, often still singing in her bed as we’re tucking in for the night. She approaches pools, beaches, parks and virtually any social setting with fearless abandon and, despite four brothers and a block full of boys, she’s girly to the core and happily flaunted her first ever manicure courtesy of Aunt Pat.

As for the triplets, well, what can I say? The quiet, still, bottle loving babes that were the Kevin, Declan and Cormac I knew back in May have been replaced by a trio of babbling, crawling, finger food loving little guys. They are, in the best possible way, like a little pack of puppies – gleefully rolling over each other, taking each other’s toys, eating each other’s food (and, if they get their way, mine too!), following me around, trying to climb up stairs, pressing their little noses against the doors and screens, and eventually, just crashing into a deep sleep from the never-ending activity. And, much like puppies, they are, frankly, just adorable. They are big, happy, roly poly boys who turn each and every day into our own private Romper Room.

As for me, well, as I reflect on the summer, there are first the startling statistics regarding the amount of formula and Cheerios consumed, diapers changed, barf cleaned up, laundry done, bags packed and unpacked, lists made and tasks completed. This is often my default – the quantifiable list of to-do’s that are now done. But, far more importantly, when I think of Summer 2009, I’ve actually had a LOT of fun. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and secretly marveled that we pulled off an impressive number of fun family adventures in the short time that spans from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

We went to Cape Cod, the place that rejuvenates our senses and refreshes our souls. Twice! We visited friends at a lake in Connecticut, spent weekends with family at the Jersey Shore and East Hampton, stayed with pals in Fairfield and Boston, and spent quality time with my parents and grandparents. And, we did all of this on our own, with five kids under five dragged along for the ride. We did it as people repeatedly remarked “Wow! Don’t you have your hands full!” and “Oh dear, I hope you have some help.”

With the summer behind us and a new school year ahead, I am happy to say that yes, we do have our hands full and, thanks to our amazing friends and family, yes, we do have help! I am also happy when I think back to a conversation Des and I had last year – when we drove to Cape Cod in June 2008. I was about five months pregnant with the triplets and our future was uncertain at best. I optimistically noted that, while it might be years before we returned to the Cape for a summer vacation, I could see a light at the end of the tunnel – I could see a day, perhaps five years in the future, that we were driving a mini-van full of cute kids north on 95 for our annual summer getaway.

Well, it didn’t take five years, it only took one. Once again, proving the power of positive thinking and, of course, the fact that time really does fly by!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ready set go... going, going, gone!

I think these pictures say it all... the babies are offically on the move! And so a whole new era begins... stay tuned for updates from the Lyons Den as we deal with babies on the go. Naturally, one of their favorite places to go is into Liam and Ciara's room... which, as you might imagine, isn't actually going over that well at all. To be continued...

Be Good to Yourself

Like many busy moms, I struggle to find the time to exercise, eat properly, get enough sleep and catch up with my friends. I can somewhat routinely care for five kids, a large dog and, on a good day, even my husband but, it seems almost impossible to find the time to take care of myself.

I think of myself as relatively low-maintenance. I don’t wear a lot of makeup. I don’t blow dry my hair. If it takes me a long time to get dressed in the morning, it’s only because I’m still trying to locate items in my wardrobe that disguise “Big Bertha” – the deflated party tent that replaced my belly when Kevin, Declan and Cormac moved out.

In any case, all things considered, I really am fresh off of an extended year where I was truly committed to taking great care of myself. I had to, I told myself. I’m doing for the babies. In fact, I believe we all go to great lengths to ensure our physical and emotional well-being while we are pregnant and/or breastfeeding – ultimately, we justify our semi-self-indulgent actions because we are doing them for someone else.

We tuck ourselves in to bed early. We make sure we take our vitamins. We eat breakfast. We stash healthy snacks in our glove compartments and desk drawers. We eat balanced meals. We stay connected to our friends, relying on them for wisdom and support. We permit ourselves little treats. Or, does a pint of ice cream count as a big treat? Either way, we exercise. Perhaps not hard-core body-battering exercise but rather, well-intentioned toning, stretching and perhaps even a bit of yoga. Which is how I got to thinking about all of this in the first place.

Last Monday night, I had the unique pleasure of taking a Sunset Yoga class. As the sky turned from blue to pink to lavender to grey and the stars rose up above us, I tried to turn my focus inward. I tried to ignore the nagging to-do list that was racing through my mind and the pesky mosquitoes that were feasting on my ankles. Needless to say, I don’t have much of a yoga “practice”. While the triplets have perfected their downward dogs as part of their crawling routine, the closest I’ve gotten to a downward dog is when I yell at Finn (our spunky lab) after he raids the garbage can. So, as you might expect, I found this yoga class extremely challenging.

I tried desperately to wrestle my poor bod through a Vinyassa that the other ladies seemed to execute effortlessly. I had to repress the urge to cry “Timber!” as I toppled over from an attempted tree pose. I really only found solace in the child’s pose – perhaps because with so many kids at home, this one was a natural for me. As I mentally beat myself up for my lack of coordination and inability to focus, I heard a voice say “be good to yourself.” It was the yoga instructor. And, while I’m not sure her whispered words of wisdom and encouragement were necessarily directed to me, I took them to heart.

There I was on a stunning summer evening with the opportunity to zone out, lighten up and savor a few “all about me” moments. And how was I spending them? Lamenting my lack of skills and processing a to-do list that there will never be enough hours in the day to complete! Enough, I decided. That’s enough. I had stumbled upon something that I’ve now moved to the top of the daily to-do lists.

Thanks to Sunset Yoga, I have a renewed commitment to simply be good to myself. Perhaps it’s not a revelation to you, but I’ve just realized that it is OK (more than OK!) to take care of yourself even when you’re NOT preggers or nursing – what a remarkable idea! I suggest that you try it too.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Count Your Blessings

This past week we had several vivid reminders to count our blessings. Frankly, we had a really tough week with a lot of sick kids. Declan was still cranky and recovering from an ear infection while Kevin and Cormac both have clogged tear ducts and look like they’ve been slimed – think of that green goo that they dump on whoever the “it” celeb is at the annual Nick Kids Awards. Not cute. Additionally, all three babies are teething which, not surprisingly, has them up at various points during the night. And at 3AM, well, I’m sorry to say, they are not too cute!

Despite sick, teething babies, things were going pretty well until I got home from work last Tuesday night to find Liam writhing on the floor, clearly in terrible pain, claiming that his head hurt. I took his temperature and it was 103. And I panicked. My formerly cool, calm and collected self instantly googled “toddler/fever/headache” and diagnosed Liam with meningitis. I would have had him in the car and on the way to the emergency room had he not chose that moment to toss up the remains of his lunch. On the living room rug. Since there was a lot of clean up to do and vomiting doesn’t seem to be a top symptom of meningitis, I headed for the washing machine instead of the ER.

Fast forward to Wednesday after work. It was like Groundhog Day except that while Liam reclined on the couch happy to watch Noggin and clearly on the road to recovery, Ciara christened me with the remains of her lunch and so, back to the washing machine I went. While three babies screamed for their bottles, Des tried to clean up dinner and I bathed a feverish, distraught little lady, I seriously wondered how we were going to make it through the night.

That’s when there was a knock on the door and three neighbors marched in, demanded babies, grabbed bottles and marched back out – promising to return the little guys after they were fed and quiet. And so they did. And so I had a chance to settle Ciara down, tuck Liam in and change out of my barf soaked clothes. I even got to have a brief chat with Des without the din and demands of our five under five. We are lucky, we thought – so very lucky to have saviors for neighbors! (As seen in photo above!)

Over the weekend, we were reminded again of just how lucky we are… we met a family at the pool who has 3 ½ year old triplets -- all born far more prematurely than our little guys and all suffering the consequences in one way or another. The parents were friendly, outgoing and appeared to be handling the challenges of their children in a truly admirable way. Seeing this family in action reminded us of the true miracle of our babies’ birth.
Last but not least, we heard yesterday that one of Liam’s best friends fell off a swing and fractured his skull. Fractured his skull. Can you imagine? The very words send a chill down my spine. Thank God, he will be ok. Although, if you’re reading this, please keep him in your prayers. And just imagine what his poor family is going through – one minute a vivacious 4 ½ year old kid with long lashes and a shy smile is happily swinging away and the next minute he’s in an ambulance with a fractured skull.

These are all good reminders that when the days are long, the nights are longer and tempers grow shorter, it’s worth taking a moment to count your blessings. We are blessed to have incredible neighbors. We are blessed that our triplets were born at 36 weeks and have no developmental delays. We are blessed that Liam and Ciara haven’t thrown up in a few days. And, while we’re at it, we are blessed that we haven’t bought a new rug for
the living room yet – our old one hides all those barf stains just fine, thank you very much.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Kodak moments: July 2009

Thought I'd share a few sweet snapshots from the past few days. In this case, the pictures really are worth a thousand words so, I'll do my best to make this post short and sweet!
What amazes me most when I look at these pictures is that it appears that we're leading a very normal life -- and indeed we are, despite the rather unique circumstance of having five kids under five! It is so validating that we are able to be out and about, to socialize with friends and, well, to just be -- at home or away.
Like many other families, we had an action-packed 4th of July weekend... we spent the 3rd at the beach, the 4th included a parade, a pool and fireworks and on the 5th, friends had us over for a barbeque... needless to say, these are very good (and very brave!) friends!
We look forward to many more summer adventures although, we admittedly crammed a bit too much into the July 4th weekend extravaganza and we are now paying the price... Ciara spent Sunday night throwing up in her "big girl bed", Kevin has a nasty cold, Declan has an ear infection that has kept us all up for nights, Des' back is still aching from lugging so many kids to so many places and as for me, well, never one to learn my lesson the easy way, I'm still intent on planning the next adventure. Stay tuned to see where the Lyons Family Circus lands next... and trust me, if it's a place near you, you'll hear us coming! :)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Away we go!

The Lyons Family Circus recently returned from a soggy week up on the Cape. It was our first real getaway with the triplets , toddlers and family dog in tow and the goal was as much about some much needed R&R as it was about simply proving to ourselves that we’re a mobile family unit!

With a fair bit of pride and big sense of accomplishment, I’m pleased to report that we are indeed a mobile family unit. After successfully packing everyone (and what seemed like everything) into our getaway car, we hit the road with visions of sand castles and sunsets dancing through our heads. The ride itself was uneventful. In stark contrast to previous years, no one threw up on 95 North, traffic was minimal and everyone napped. We even stopped for a lobster roll lunch and were smug with our success once we arrived at our friend’s house in Hyannis.

We unpacked and settled in anticipating a week filled with days on the beach and evenings on the porch – sipping wine while our little “cubs” peacefully snoozed in their pack & plays and bunk beds. At about 3 AM that night, our sweet dreams were interrupted by a distinct panic call from Liam on the top bunk. “I can’t see!” he screamed. “Mom, help me down, I can’t see!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” he sobbed. And so it began…

Liam got pink eye. In both eyes. Accompanied by a cough so violent that not once, but twice, it caused him to throw up. In the top bunk. Then Ciara got pink eye. In both eyes. If you’ve ever had t o administer eye drops to a feisty four year old and drama queen two year old, you clearly understand that at this point, the R&R we were seeking on the Cape became the elusive brass ring that would never be reached.

Declan was the next to go down with pink eye, followed by Cormac, whose fever hovered near 103 for several days. It seemed that a big black cloud had descended upon us – in more ways than one! While the sun was vibrantly shining the day we arrived, it was quickly replaced by storm clouds, rainfall, thick fog and chilly temperatures as the days passed. As we watched the rain fall and listened to our coughing kids, we pondered just packing it all in and heading for home.

But, we had to remind ourselves that we are not quitters! We were not going to give up on our vacation, our respite from work and household projects just because of some sick kids and soggy weather! With new resolve, we decided to reconsider what our vacation would entail. Sandcastles and sunsets were replaced by lazy mornings lounging in pajamas and leisurely lunches at local watering holes -- and, for those of you who might be wondering – yes, you can have a leisurely lunch and enjoy some chowdah and a beer with five kids along for the ride!

So, while our week away wasn’t what we envisioned, planned for or hoped for – and while it most certainly wasn’t brimming with R&R – it was a good break from our daily routine. It was an affirmation that we can get out, dine out and hang out with our five tots. And, perhaps most importantly of all, a reminder that sometimes the best things in life don’t happen according to plan… simply having Kevin, Declan and Cormac in our lives should serve as a daily reminder of that simple fact!
Wish us luck and warmer weather as consider a return trip to the Cape later this summer…

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Take me out to the ballgame...

Amid stunned stares, gaping jaws and colorful comments, the Lyons Family Circus arrived at the new Yankee Stadium for Sunday's game vs. Tampa Bay.

Granted, most people wouldn't drag five kids under five to a baseball game. And, most people wouldn't take those five kids on public transportation, naively trusting in its reliability... especially when taking those five kids to the game requires also bringing along 6 bottles, 4 jars of baby food, 6 spoons, 3 burp cloths, 3 bibs, 8 diapers, 7 sunhats/Yankee caps, sunblock, a box of 50 wipes, "Baby Sharon", 3 lovey blankets called WeeWees (long story...), tissues, Purell, water bottles for the "big kids", 2 double strollers, and, thankfully, 2 grandparents and an aunt and uncle!

But, for better or for worse, we're not like most people and so, to the new Stadium we went! We arrived easily enough and attempted to "blend in" by opting for the two double strollers instead of the traffic-stopping combo of the triplet "limo" and double jogger... not that I've jogged anywhere lately but, that stroller really turns on a dime!

In any case, it seems that "blending in" is not currently an option for us and try as we might not to draw attention to ourselves, there's just something about three babies and two toddlers in pinstripes that are prone to draw a comment or two. Some of my favorites (which we've heard many times before) include...

"Better you than me" -- um, yes, I would say so!
"Are they all yours?" -- um, no, we grabbed a few while were on the train.

After settling Liam and Ciara in their seats with Mima, Pop-Pop, Aunt Kristin and Uncle Al, Des and I made several laps around the Stadium in an effort to explore all the new dining options, bars, beers of the world and, of course, to attempt to lull the babies to sleep. No luck though. While we could get two out of three sleeping, one of them was always committed to seeing the next at-bat... it seems that the triplets made a pact to make sure someone was always awake to take in the action.

Much to our surprise, all five kids, two parents, two grandparents and an aunt and uncle lasted the full nine innings. And, even better, the Yankees had a come from behind win. Feeling fairly accomplished, satisfied and even smug about making it through the entire game with nary an incident to report, we headed back to the train. And watched it leave the station. So we waited for the next train. Which didn't stop in our town. Still smiling smugly, we decided to feed the babies (again) while Liam and Ciara chilled in the stroller and we waited for the 5:33 train home. Which we discovered at 5:31 would be arriving on the opposite track. So, to end our day, we raced to the elevator with diapers, bottles, kids and Yankee paraphernalia flying. Down we went, over we went, up to other side and then onto our train just before the doors closed. As we once again became the focus of stunned stares, gaping jaws, and colorful comments, we couldn't help humming "Take me out to the ballgame", knowing that we'd do it all again.

1, 2, 3 Little Cubs

Ah hah! At last! It's taken a bit of time but I've finally figured out how to make technology work for me! Here are Kevin, Declan and Cormac about a month ago... stay tuned for some more recent pics and a recap of our trip to Yankee Stadium on Sunday.. :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

When it's good, it's very very good...

Life in the Lyons Den: June 3, 2009

Well, it’s an old cliché but it truly is amazing how quickly the time flies by! Our little “cubs” will be 8 months old next week, Liam’s last day of pre-school is just around the corner and two-year old Ciara has just discovered ponytails and princesses…. suddenly relishing her unique position among her four brothers!

I returned to work in March and while the daily departure and reentry to the “Lyons Den” is a trick indeed, I’m enjoying the adult conversation, intellectual stimulation, break from bottles and diapers and, perhaps most significantly, a paycheck!

Des continues to function as the ideal candidate for the Dad of the Year award – artfully juggling his law practice, three babies, two toddlers and me – and somehow, doing it all with a smile of his face.

Don’t misunderstand though – it isn’t all roses! I feel like our life is like that old nursery rhyme… when it’s good, it’s very very good and when it’s bad, it’s horrid! The good news is that the horrid days are few. I’ll share a few highlights (and lowlights!) with you here and have promised myself that I will share updates, observations and random thoughts (and yes, even pictures!) on a more routine basis – which is setting the bar fairly low given that I’ve, um, never contributed to my own blog! In any case, here goes…

When it’s good, it’s very very good…
Each morning when I walk into the babies’ room, I take a peek inside a crib and see one precious bundle sweetly snoozing with his bottom up in the air. As I marvel at the cuteness of it all, I have to wonder, is there anything cuter than a baby sleeping with his butt up? And then I realize that the only thing cuter than ONE baby asleep bottom-up is THREE babies asleep bottom-up! TOO CUTE!

Then I typically open the shades and am consistently in awe as I am greeted by one, two, three little heads that pop up like little groundhogs to greet the day with great big goofy, toothless grins – and these wondrous grins, I might add, are all directed at me. This is very very good.

… but when it’s bad, it’s horrid.
It might be just moments after this sun-filled reverie that, well, all hell breaks loose. Though the following event is the exception, not the norm, it is nonetheless an event we have faced in the past and will likely face again…
As I pick Kevin up to kiss his sweet smiling face and change his diaper, I notice that the aforementioned face is covered with snot. As is his entire mostly bald head. Additionally, to my dismay, there is dog hair stuck in the snot, which comes as a bit of a surprise given that our 80 pound canine pal Finnegan was most certainly not sleeping in the crib! In any case, with Kevin cleaned up, I turn my attention to Declan – and notice the nasty stench emanating from his crib. Oh no, I think with dread as I hoist him out. But, oh yes, I am facing a dramatic case of back-poo. Gross. Up to the neck, stinky gross back poo.

I decide I will need a cup of coffee before I take on this challenge and head downstairs to discover Des cursing at the coffeemaker because something is clogged and his super-strong brew, typically as black as night, is the color of, well, back poo. Not good.

I head back upstairs to find Liam (always an eager reporter), who excitedly informs me that Ciara has woken up with something “wet, smelly and gross” in her bed. I take a peek in and find my poor little lady covered in vomit. After cleaning her up, I return to the babies, where I decide to take the path of least resistance and change Cormac. He is not snotty, he is not stinky, he is sweet and he is happy to see me. As I bask in the joy of only having to change a wet diaper, I let my guard down and am christened, once again, by Cormac the Freestyle Whizzer.

As I go to shower and get ready for work, I have to wonder if anyone else I know has been elbow-deep in boogers, back-poo and barf all before 8AM. I also wonder how I forgot to pick up my pants at the cleaners and how I will squeeze my post-baby body into anything in my closet but, that is clearly a story for another day.

Like I said, most days are very good days. And some days are very bad days. I usually know which kind of a day it will be well before 9AM. And, good or bad, they all fly by far too fast… leaving very little time to update this blog. Which, as you see, I have found a way to do tonight -- as yet another good day comes to a close.