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…