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 KodakGallery.com 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!