Monday, December 20, 2010

Keeping the Merry in Christmas and Happy in Holidays!

Tis the season! Time to trim the tree, make a list, check it twice, talk to your kids about being naughty or nice. There’s a wintry chill in the air and a spirit of festive warmth all around us. Why then, are we consistently bombarded with news stories and magazine headlines geared toward “keeping your sanity this holiday season”? Are we making ourselves crazy? All the shopping, baking, entertaining and striving to create the perfect holiday memories seem to be sucking the happiness out of our “Happy Holiday” intentions.

This can’t be good for our kids. How can we expect them to comprehend the true meaning of the season when we, as parents, are so often caught up in the mayhem? Here are a few simple ways to remind your children that this season, giving really is better than getting:

 1. Give it up. If your house is like mine, it’s about to be bombarded by an influx of shiny, new playthings that will turn today’s favorites into tomorrow’s castaways. I suggest you take a pre-emptive strike and enlist your kids’ help in cleaning out the toy box, toy bins, toy baskets, basement and bookshelves. Encourage them to say good-bye to the old – not only to make room for the new but, far more importantly, to teach them that a child in need deserves a good deed. This is their opportunity to do some good this holiday season; to “share” their gently used treasures with those less fortunate. So, take your kids and the books/toys/gadgets they’ve outgrown to a local children’s hospital, shelter, nursery school or even a thrift shop. (Call first to be sure they are accepting donations!) Tis the season to teach our kids that helping others is a great gift… one that will last a lifetime.

2. Give your time. With Christmas right around the corner, why not plan a family event that focuses on the gift of time? How many times have we all said “oh, how I wish there were more hours in the day! Just think of all I would accomplish!” Well, here’s something you can easily do – find a few hours and take the time to visit grandparents, volunteer at your local charity of choice or even just spend some time together as a family. Tis the season to unplug and tune in to those around you; this just may be one of the best ways to spread the joy of the season.

3. Something’s gotta give. When you “just say yes” to everything – the school bake sale, the Christmas pageant, the cookie swap, the class gift – you stretch yourself far too thin. Speaking from personal experience, I know that this can make you the overtired Grinch you detest rather than the jolly St. Nick you’d much prefer to be. This holiday season, do yourself (and your kids!) a favor and just say no. Giving up a few of the things you think you “have “ to do – whether it’s sending cards, wrapping gifts or baking yourself into a frenzy – will result in a happier you… which, of course, translates to happier kids. So, tis the season to “just say no” -- to doing too much and to the perfectionist ideals set forth in those charming Norman Rockwell prints.

Tis the season to be jolly… remember that and you and your family will indeed have a Happy Holiday season and a most Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Girls Day Out

Today was a delight of a day.  I managed to take it off and spend it exclusively with my little lady and one of my favorite aunts.  Just the girls.  No big brother, no little brothers, no one to steal the spotlight from my four year-old princess (or alternatively, drama queen!) in training.  Today was just for us and I must say, it was stellar. 

We took the train to the city and walked over to Lord & Taylor to see the windows and meet my aunt.  This aunt is the kind of aunt you wish for -- she's the one who let me play with her makeup, helped me through my teenage angst,  and got me a CB jacket for Christmas circa 1984.  If you were in eighth grade in the 80s and leaned toward the Preppy Hand Book side of life, you know just how cool that CB jacket was... it was the perfect complement my matching Bermuda bag and headband.  But, I digress... 

Today we marveled at the windows, strolled through the windy city streets and bonded over lunch.  If you were to ask Ciara about her favorite part of the day, it wasn't the train ride or the Rockefeller Center tree or the windows at Saks or the huge plate of cookies she devoured with hot chocolate; it was "having lunch with Auntie Pat when she gave me my special bracelet."

Just as we sat down, Auntie Pat presented Ciara with what can only be called big-girl bling... a silver charm bracelet with a little angel because, as she put it, Ciara is her angel.  While my little lady seemed rather unimpressed with the beautiful gift upon tearing it open (instantly remarking "why isn't the pizza ready yet?"), just a few hours later, it stood out in her mind as the highlight of a day filled with highlights.  It's the first thing she told her Dad about and the last thing she took off before bed.  It has a special place in her room just as the memories of this day will forever have a special place in my heart. 

Today was an excellent reminder of just how good (and perhaps even necessary!) it is to take a day off to bond with your little ones... as I'm told repeatedly and am starting to see firsthand, they really do grow up so fast.  So, why not treat yourself to some quality time with them and enjoy it while it lasts?!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree: A Tale in Four Parts

Decorating the tree just isn't what it used to be.  It used to be that we'd gear up for a big day out and hike into the woods somewhere to find the perfect tree.  After several heated but friendly debates about trees that were too tall/short/fat/thin, we'd settle on one, lug it home, bring it inside and decorate it.  Possibly with a nice bottle of wine and a fire in the fireplace.  The next day, we'd wake up, turn on the Christmas tree lights and revel in the glory of our totally terrific tree. 

When did this last happen?  Hmmm.  It's hard to remember -- perhaps because for three of the past six years, we had a newborn (or newborns!) at Christmas time and I'm suffering from major case of mom-nesia.  What I can tell you based on our recent tree-trimming experience is that what used to take a day, now takes at least week.  Our annual tree-trimming has become a tale in four parts:
  1. Buy the tree. This may or may not be a family affair.  Last year my husband bought a tree on the way home from work one Friday night.  No debate, no fanfare.  It just arrived on our front porch.  And there it stayed for several days until we found the time and energy to lug it inside.  This year it was a family event -- at a local supermarket.  Not exactly prime for photo ops and warm, fuzzy memories!
  2. Bring the tree inside.  This year, we successfully managed to get the tree from the porch to the living room and into the tree stand all in one day.  Quite a feat with five little ones tearing around -- two of whom were giddy making lists for Santa Claus and three of whom "no like that guy!".
  3. LIght up the tree.  We learned the hard way that toddlers like to get tangled up in the lights so we now put them on after our little ones are all tucked in.  This year, it was a random Tuesday after a long day of work.  We were both bleary-eyed and even Burl Ives crooning in the background couldn't put us in the Christmas spirit. It felt more like an obligation or chore rather than the festive event it used to be.  Even so, it was nice to come down the next day to see our tree all lit up... even if the branches were still bare!
  4. Decorate the tree.  Now, this is it -- the grand finale, the moment we've all been waiting for.  It's Friday night and the kids have been asking for a week if we're ever going to decorate the tree.  I've lugged boxes of decorations up from the basement, Christmas tunes are blaring and our five little elves are eager to get the job done.  And indeed they do.
It is finally beginning to look -- and feel -- a lot like Christmas.   So what if what used to take a day now takes a week?  So what if a few ornaments broke in the process?  So what if the tree is a bit crooked, has some bare spots and all the ornaments are clustered together in just a few spots?  We had fun.  In fact, we had a lot of fun.  And when Liam said, "we're really happy, huh Mom?", it was as if Christmas arrived a little bit early this year.  Because really, what more could any parent want than that? 

Monday, December 6, 2010


It was bound to happen. In fact, it has already happened several times with less significant consequences. Me, looking at three identical toddlers, asking these adorable, wide-eyed little boys who is responsible for an array of grievances that range from ripping books to throwing sand. They have mastered the “not me”, “he did it”, finger-pointing, blame averting response like little con-artists in training -- leaving me to wonder, “Geez, they just turned two, what’s next?!”

 Well, I didn’t have to wait long to find out:

Yep, our couch. There was an artsy adventure that apparently included a ball point pen, one (or more?!) of my trio of tots, and our beige couch. This is the couch we got when we were first married; the color was chosen because it would hide the fluffy golden fur of our retriever.  The notion of a dark patterned couch to hide the pen stains of toddlers never even crossed our minds.  Ah, if only we'd known.

In the past eight years, this couch has been chewed by our second dog, baptized by breast milk, christened with newborn spit-up and now permanantly adorned by our budding artiste... or artistes... the only question is, which one?

I will say, one of them had a pen in hand and, since I naturally jumped to conclusions, he was swiftly removed and none too pleased about it:

It was then I realized I nothing but circumstantial evidence.  This guy insisted another guy did it and that guy pointed his finger at the third one.  None of these fingers had ink stains and all three tykes were insistent that it wasn't him -- leaving me to simply shake my head, search for the stain stick (wish me luck!) and wonder what will be next.  Stay tuned because I'm quite certain it will be something and, I'm quite certain these three mischievous tots are sharing in the sense of victory that my "not guilty" plea elicted from Suspect Number One:

Friday, December 3, 2010

What to wear?!

With the holiday season upon us, it’s only natural to wonder what to wear. So many events, so little time! There’s the preschool pageant, the Sunday sing-along and perhaps even a Saturday night soiree. The ideal outfit will easily transition from day to night, resist wrinkles, and make you feel great when you wear it.

That’s why my guys have chosen the ever-so-fashionable Huggies Jeans diapers. You know how hard it can be to find a pair of jeans that fit but, as you can see, these seem to instill both style and confidence…

… they provide the perfect posterior lift…

… and they really look great both coming and going.

Sure, they may not provide quite enough coverage for the winter chill that has settled in but, when the party gets hot, why not show then what you’ve got?!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Giving Thanks

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving has already come and gone.  I'm still digesting a few too many servings of mashed potatoes and apple pie and I'm not at all ready to trade in the turkey trimmings for tree trimming.  I'd like to pause a bit to just be grateful for all we have before we start making lists of all we want and all we hope that Santa will bring.  In an effort to preserve this fleeting season of thankfulness, we're focusing on what we're thankful for when we say our evening prayers.  

The bedtime prayer in our house is a tradition that started when our oldest, Liam, was about two.  Back then, they went something like this...

Mom and Dad:  "Dear God, Thanks for this great day."
Liam:  "Tomorrow is going to be a new day."
Mom and Dad:  "Thank you for our health and for the roof over our head."
Liam:  "Thank you God for my arm, it's not broke and thank you for the hair on my head."

Needless to say, you gotta love a two year old's perpsective on health and shelter and, we always like to joke that at the time, Liam had barely any hair on his head but, my Dad and grandfather sure were grateful for what little they had left!  In any case, there's nothing like little kids to remind you of what really matters and it is in that spirit -- in their spirit -- that I share a few more things that we're grateful for here in the Lyons Den.

"Thank you God for... cozy beds, cars, dolls, dogs, rain, sun, the stars and the moon, for Murphy (our Golden Retriever who died almost three years ago, as remembered by Ciara, only four!), for birthday cake, for the beach, for swimming pools, for school (an especially astute thanks from our now almost six year old!), for the people in Haiti and the people in Chile (we think they mean to say God Bless them, but thanks will do!), for toothpaste and for little brothers."

Enough said.  We're grateful for all five of our little Cubs, for each other and for the fact there is only one piece of pie left in the fridge.  Tomorrow is indeed a new day and, it just might be the day when the Christmas decorations come out and we transition from the season of Thanks to the season of Giving.  Amen.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Easy Giving

Just in time for Thanksgiving, I've discovered a nifty new tool be thankful for...

This neat little site makes it easy for you to give, give, give... a weekly allowance for each of your eager-to-earn offspring!  You can create a personalized allowance tracker for each child and one of my favorite features is that when you designate tasks, you can specify whether they are for good behavior (Credit!), bad behavior (Debit!) or extra earned (Bonus!). 

Admittedly, my kids are a bit too young to fully reap the rewards and actually log on and track their own progress but, that day will be here soon enough.  When it comes, they will realize that beyond the importance of learning to do the right thing and contribute to household tasks, there is strong monetary motivation to help with recycling, make their beds and feed the dog.  Likewise, they will see their hard-earned bucks disappear for violations like not listening, not doing homework or needing to be dragged out of bed for school each morning.

As for me, I'm glad to have found a convenient way to track their chores, contributions and occasional missteps -- it's a great way for them to learn from their mistakes and take pride in thier accomplishments.  And, with Thanksgiving upon us, I am officially grateful that our little tots are becoming happy helpers... I always knew there would be benefits to having a big family -- I just didn't realize how quickly they'd extend to not having to take out the trash!  Bonus!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What does a Mama say?

This weekend, I came up with a pretty ingenious game for our two-year old triplets, if I do say so myself!  Now, we all know that it's tons of fun to ask your tiny tot what various animals say...

What does a cow say?  MOO!  What does a lamb say?  BAA!  What does a duck say?  QUACK, QUACK, QUACK!  What does a kitty-cat say?  MEOW!  What does a lion say?  ROAR! What does a rooster say?  COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO!  The rooster has really been my favorite until now.  Until my clever new addition to this age-old game of toddler wits:  What does a Mama say?

Now, with a sassy four year old and a savvy six year old in the house, this question could be answered in a number of unfortunate and unflattering ways...

NO!  Stop it!  Did you hear me?!  STOP YELLING!  Hurry up!  Let's go!  NOW!  Finish your breakfast/lunch/dinner!  Put your shoes on.  NOW!  Don't hit/bite/kick your sister/brother!  Go to your room! NO!  Drink your milk.  NO!  How am I supposed to know where your shoes are?  TIME OUT! Clean up!  NOW!

If only I'd thought of this smart little toddler mind-game when my first two were just tots.  But, as I always say, better late than never.  I am quite proud to have three chirping little cherubs at home who will now (and hopefully for quite some time to come!) answer the question "What does a Mama say"  buy enthusiastically responding "I love you!"  And, since there are three of them, I get "I love you, I love you, I love you!"  I know, it is a bit self-serving but really, nothing beats it.  And, if one of them thinks that a pig says neigh and a horse says oink, well, as long as they know what a Mama says, that's good enough for me! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Have you ever seen a "Cub" fly?

It’s official. Our little Lyons Cubs are ready for take-off. The tickets are purchased, the excitement is mounting and my four-year old has already packed her bag -- she seems to have inherited my genes for advance planning!

On Christmas night, we will be flying the friendly skies from New York to San Francisco to visit my sister and her family. The only thing is, as you may have noticed, the "friendly” skies are gone. The have been replaced by hostile skies filled with haughty flight attendants, hungry passengers and, from what I hear is the worst case scenario, BABIES! Yep, you got it, just when you thought air travel couldn't get any worse, it did. You’ve gotten used to standing in long security lines and paying to check a bag, but children? Messy, noisy, tantrum-prone children?! They apparently represent the next wave of indignity.

Don't believe me? Just check out this article from last weekend's New York Times Travel section ( Passengers Push for Child-Free Flights. If these ornery folks have anything to with it, you probably never will see a "Cub" fly… unless, of course, you happen to be on our flight this Christmas… in which case, consider yourself warned!
 Are you an advocate or opponent of tot-free air travel? All thoughts welcome!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Five Tips for Surviving the Season of Sniffles

With a first-grader, a preschooler and three toddlers, our house is rampant with runny noses, shared stomach bugs and whatever the illness du jour may be… Coxsackie virus? Strep throat? Fifth’s disease? We’ve had them all and, survived them all thanks to our following five must-haves:

1. Paper products and lots of ‘em. In our house, noses run like faucets and there’s a box of tissues in every room. Even so, we sometimes run out and then there’s a roll of toilet paper or paper towels in every room. Classy, right? What can I say? Desperate times call for desperate measures. Especially when a virus suddenly spreads from noses to bellies and we find ourselves short on T.P. just when we need it. The morale of this story? Don’t wait ‘til the kids get sick – stock up now and when you think you have enough tissues, toilet paper and paper towels to survive the season, buy a few more. Then you should be all set.

2. Surprizzles. What is a surprizzle, you say? A surprizzle is a small, unexpected little treat. A modestly-sized surprise. Something that evokes a room-brightening smile on even the darkest of days. I’ve learned to make our dark days brighter by keeping a few surprizzles on hand at all times. Kid has a fever and you want them to chill out in the tub? Give them some cool tub crayons to keep ‘em busy… and, as an added perk, teach them to clean the tub afterwards! Can’t stand to hear “I’m bored” one more time? Whip out that new video that you nabbed for $4.99 the last time you were at Costco. Got a little fella who needs a pick me up? A matchbox car almost always does the trick. And, for a little lady who’s feeling sick and blue, a nice new coloring book will give her something to do. Keep a few surprizzles on hand and I guarantee that your sick days will be a bit less dreary.

3. Caffeine. No joke. A sick day is almost always preceded by a sick night. The kind of night when you just might have run out of tissues, toilet paper and paper towels. The kind of night when you may have done three loads of laundry after midnight. The kind of night where your tiny tot slept in fitful feverish bouts while you watched over them wrenching your worried hands. When the sun finally rises, your sweet little sickie will likely snooze ‘til ten but you still have to get someone else to school, empty the dishwasher, walk the dog and have your best Florence Nightingale act perfected for when your Sleeping Sickie rises. So, do yourself a favor and the next time you’re at Costco or wherever you go, in addition to that cheap DVD for the surprizzle stock, buy the super-sized bag of coffee or another case of Diet Coke or whatever it is you are into. You’ll be glad that you did.

4. The basics. I make an annual trek to CVS and stock up on Tylenol, Motrin, and pretty much anything else that catches my eye in the jam-packed kids medicine aisle… Benadryl, bacetracin, calamine lotion, hydrogen peroxide, band-aids of all shapes, sizes and Disney characters, you get the picture. And, cleaning out is as important as stocking up… I recently had to clear out the tiny tots cold/cough medicine (looks like the FDA or the AAP changed their mind on that one!), all the stuff that Johnson & Johnson recalled this summer and a slew of old expired bottles. Believe me, you don’t want to be looking for this stuff in the middle of the night. You’ll sleep soundly knowing that you’ve got the goods in place for the times you really need it.

5. A back up plan. Someone to take your big kid to soccer if the little ones are sick. Someone who will cover for you at work when you have to run to the pediatrician. A friend you can call who’s seen it all before. Someone who might come over just long enough for you to take a shower… and, possibly make you that cup of coffee you will surely need.

With these things in place I know I can handle the cold and flu season that looms ahead of us… now, if someone would just bring us some nice home-made chicken soup, we’d be all set!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Run Mom Run!

It came, it lingered, it kind of kicked our ass, and now it’s just a memory. The 2010 ING New York Marathon. Sunday was the big day. My husband Des ran like a rock star. Well, maybe that’s not quite the right analogy but, you get the gist of it. He ran 26.2 miles and crossed the coveted finish line with a smile. Not that I saw it, mind you -- I was running down Central Park West, bobbing and weaving my way through weary marathoners and their families in a desperate attempt to see my man cross the finish line. My day was a marathon of sorts in its own right and it went something like this…

5:30AM: Husband wakes me from snuggly slumber; informs me it's time to drive him to the bus that will deliver him to the starting line in Staten Island

6:15 AM: Kids wake up.  All five of them. Thanks Daylight Savings time, that’s just what I needed!

6:30-9:30AM: Feed kids, dress kids, make beds, tidy rooms, empty dishwasher, walk dog, pack provisions… LOTS of provisions… granola bars, cereal bars, cheese sticks, yogurts, apples, PB&J sandwiches, water bottles, juice boxes, goldfish, fruit snacks and more!

9:30-10:00: Load tots and provisions into car. Double check for five hats, five pairs of mittens, two double strollers, blankets, camera, posters, change of clothes (and Advil!) for Des post-marathon, change of clothes for kids in case of unforeseen vomit/crap-out/rainstorm or other potential disaster

10:00-10:15: Repeat the Hail Mary as I leave kids double-parked in running car while obtaining three green balloons (our visual marker for Des to locate us on the sidelines)

10:15 – 11:00: Drive into city while trying to explain to five kids under six why they will still see their Dad even though they saw the marathon start on TV and are convinced they already saw him run by; the notion of distance, time, and staggered starts is not making an impression on them; simultaneously explain why I can’t drive on the West Side Highway while administering their typical in-transit snack and beverage service

11:00-11:30 Locate parking garage, ditch car, unload contents as described above, say more Hail Mary’s that my parents arrive before I lose a triplet on Amsterdam Ave.

11:30-12:00: My parents arrived! Load all kids and assorted sundries into two cabs across town, unload once again, assemble strollers, load with supplies and proceed to our first viewing spot: 92nd and 1st

12:15: Panic. "Athlete Alert" informs me that Des is running a 19 minute mile and has an estimated 8 hour/53 minute finish time. Initial thoughts: "OMG, he’s hurt" followed by "Sh*t! I didn’t bring enough to keep them busy for almost 9 hours!"

12:30-1:15: Juggle, struggle, muddle, cuddle, bounce, bop. Anything to keep the kids contained and entertained while we wait for Des to run by. Optimism prevails as murmurs on 1st Ave. confirm that "Athlete Alerts" have gone AWOL.  Faith is restored. My man is on his way.

1:20: He arrives! He looks great!  He's run over 17 miles! As planned, I hop in to run a few with him in hopes of keeping him from "hitting the wall". I abandon my parents on 92nd and 1st with five kids, two strollers, all the crap we’ve lugged in for the day and instructions to meet me at the finish -- 67th and Central Park West. I look back, see the fear on their faces, wish them luck and then I run. I don’t look back again.

1:20-2:20: I run six glorious miles with Des. What fun! Up First Ave., over the Willis Avenue bridge, into the Bronx, out of the Bronx, through Harlem and down Fifth Avenue to Central Park. There are bands, choirs, a cheering crowd and refreshments along the way… this is great! Then it dawns on me.  My mile six is everyone else’s mile 24... and it sucks to be them. And I am imposter!  I chirp to Des that he’s done it, the worst is behind him, that from here on it’s literally just a walk in the park and then, with promises to see him at the finish line, I jump out of the race and into the Park.

2:30 I know it will take Des about 20 minutes to reach the finish line.  The clock is ticking as I battle the crowds. I don’t know where my parents or kids are. I am freezing cold. I realize that in the frenzy of the day, I haven’t had breakfast or lunch and I start to regret that I didn’t take a banana or Goo when the nice people on 5th Ave. offered it!

2:35 I literally stumble across my family while cutting across the Great Lawn. A triplet is gagging and turning blue in his stroller. No one knows why. My four year old mentions he may have been given a gumball. I freak out, pull him out, and pound it out of him. Then I rather curtly inform those closest to my heart that they won’t make it to see Des at the finish but I must try so, once again, good bye!

2:36-2:56 I am alternatively stuck/climbing fences/dodging weary runners and racing down Central Park West to get to the finish. I finally arrive to see a text from a friend “Congrats Des, you did it!” I am too late. I am crushed.

3:00-3:45 I get pushed into the post-marathon runners corrale. I can’t find Des, I can’t get in touch with my parents. I am still cold, tired , hungry and suddenly surrounded by like-minded folks with one teeny exception… they just ran 26.2 miles and have a medal and a warming blanket. I have nothing but a bunch of texts congratulating the husband I can’t find.

4:00 I find him! I hug him. I kiss him. I cry. A lot. It’s over. And, while I missed his photo-finish, I realize that I also missed the point. The point is that he did it. He made it. He achieved his goals – physically, emotionally, even financially. He raised thousands of dollars to fight lung cancer, ran through the five boroughs and crossed the finish line with a smile on his face.

As for me, well, next year I just might make t-shirts that say Run Mom Run because truth be told, I too covered a lot of miles on marathon day!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Run Dad Run

On Sunday, my husband will be running the New York Marathon. While I can kind of take credit for getting him into running, for urging him to accompany me on the routine 5 or 10Ks that we’d run in the city pre-kids, I most certainly can’t take credit for the 26.2 miles he will complete this weekend.

It is with wonder and awe that I’ve watched him train over the past few months. While many start marathon-training in the spring or sooner, Des didn’t start until late this summer, after his brother passed away. We lost Conor to lung cancer at the age of 47; he was diagnosed in February and was gone in July. We watched him suffer and, I can’t help but note that we suffered too. We intimately experienced the horror of this disease and, not surprisingly, it hit Des especially hard.

Conor was his big brother, his best friend, his confidante, his rock. He taught Des how to throw a fastball and field a ground ball; how to throw a football and drive a stick shift. More recently, he was the guy we relied on to walk our dog, help feed the triplets and always appear with a smile on his face and a helping hand.

Des also lost his Dad to lung cancer. His Dad was a genius of a man who, ironically enough, devoted his life to researching the disease. They are now both gone, both far too soon. But, rather than sit around and mope about how unfair life is, rather than wallow in sorrow, rather than turning into a bitter, angry man, my guy has channeled his energy into something positive. He decided to run the marathon to raise money for lung cancer research and, while he's not yet run the race, he's already exceeded his finanical goal.

He has literally pounded pavement and trails near and far, in darkness and light. He’s given up the second glass of wine, late night TV, Saturday morning Ultimate Frisbee and much more, all in the name of reaching this goal. While the spoken goal is completing 26.2 miles and crossing the finish line in Central Park, I think there are unspoken goals as well; I think there is a desire to find some good in the evil of this disease and to find peace after an especially tumultuous time in our lives. With all my heart, I hope he reaches all his goals – those spoken and unsaid. I will be cheering him on and, with five kids in tow, suspect I too will feel like I have run a marathon by the end of the day!

If you wish to make a donation to help fight lung cancer – to help fund research that will fuel early prevention and perhaps one day even find a cure, please visit:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween?!

I’m not convinced that my little Lyons Cubs had a happy Halloween. And, the more I think about it, the more I realize that until kids are three or four, Halloween is really more for the parents than for them. Personally, I’ve taken great joy in dressing mine up in ways that I find amusing and entertaining because, hey, they really can’t talk back yet and it makes for a good (FUNNY!) photo op.

This year, while my five-year old fluctuated between being Derek Jeter and an astronaut, it was easy enough to humor him and let him be both; he had a strong opinion, there were no dollars attached to creating the Jeter uniform and he made a good argument – he didn’t want to preview his “real” Halloween costume at school on Friday. Fair enough.

Our four year old decided to be a dragon. We found ourselves in TJ Maxx a few weeks ago and were drawn to the costumes near checkout. I was proud of her for switching up the princess theme from last year, for shunning the stereotypical costume for something a bit more unexpected. Although, I’d be remiss to not mention that at times, her behavior would peg her as a dragon – no costume required! To her credit, she was a very nice, very cute dragon; as she put it, “I am Puff the Magic Dragon and my fire will only kill you if you’re mean to me.” Yep. Lesson learned – don’t be mean to this little lady!

Then there are the triplets. They just turned two a few weeks ago and as far as I’m concerned, have no say in Halloween. Which is why I turned them into the Lyons Cubs. Just one look tells you that they weren’t thrilled with my choice – especially since I turned their day upside down in my attempts to have everyone well rested for the town parade, which started at 2:15, right in the middle of naptime!  A smarter, kinder mom may have skipped the parade. Perhaps she would have suggested that Dad take the two big kids while I stay home with our napping Cubs. Nope, not me. Here’s what I did:

I stuck them in their cribs after church, just a bit past noon. Though they were confused and saying “Lunch mama, need lunch mama”, I said “Nope, you need a nap! You need a nap NOW so that you’ll be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the big parade!” In fairness, they had a large, late breakfast and I don’t think they were starving but still, as they murmured something about cheese and crackers, I slammed the door and went to dig out the lion costumes. When I went to get them up at 1:30, it was clear that they never slept and were now quite drowsy and quite possibly hungry as well. So, I did what any sane Mom trying to be punctual to the parade would do, I stuffed them in their costumes, told them they could have a snack later and hurried them out the door.

From what I can tell, my tiny trio of Lyons must think that Halloween is a day when you get put in your crib without lunch, taken out when you’re on the verge of sleep and extreme hunger, stuffed into a too small, scratchy outfit, are subjected to ridicule, bright flashes and the oohs and aahs of an endless stream of strangers and then, just when you’ve gotten the hang of a bizarre ritual called “trick or treat” -- when you’re finally allowed to climb the neighbor’s stairs and, better yet, there is a lollipop waiting at the top -- Mom whisks you away, takes your pop, force feeds you some dinner and plunks you back into your crib. And we wonder that little kids are scared by Halloween?!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Collegiate Day

Last Saturday was our annual “Collegiate Day”. Collegiate Day is my husband’s opportunity to drag us all down memory lane, to his glory days at Fordham and to experience whatever sporting event may be in progress as we stroll the campus with tots in tow. Previous Collegiate Days have been only minimally successful… one time it was raining, one time there was nowhere to park, almost all the time the Fordham Rams have been brutally defeated in the game du jour. But this time was different.

The sun was shining brightly as we pulled into the lot just after 2:00. The parking lot appeared to be full but after the security guard looked somewhat aghast into our overly-stuffed minivan, he kindly ushered us in. As we rolled out of the car and I went to get the strollers (yes, strollers, plural – we typically hit the road with either a double and a single or two doubles) out of the back, I realized we had a made a rookie mistake. The only stroller we had was a single – a single stroller for 2 year-old triplets at naptime and a barely four year old who had nodded off in the car. Not good. But, as it turned out, not so bad either. They all rose to the occasion and the triplets in particular appeared to feel like Big Men on Campus as they strutted their stuff over to the football stadium.

Upon our arrival sometime during the third quarter, the Rams were losing to the Lafayette Leopards but most of our crew could have cared less about the action on the field; they were far more interested in the “big teddy bears”… the mascots of each team who were in turn terrifying and fascinating to all five of our kids. As they made a game of high-fiving the Leopard and the Ram and then hiding behind my legs, things on the field took a turn for the better; Fordham actually won the game in the last thirty seconds (the first such victory during my almost decade-long participation in Collegiate Day!). As the band played on and the players proudly paraded off the field, it was a real Americana moment… there was a crisp breeze rustling the prime fall foliage, just a few wispy clouds in an otherwise azure sky and a prevailing sense of camaraderie and accomplishment as the crowd pushed its way out of the stadium.

We headed over the quad where the bouncy castle had unfortunately been deflated and packed away but the kids were happy enough to toss a ball around and have a few snacks. As we headed back to the car, we remarked that it was “the best Collegiate Day ever.” And then it got even better.

As we dodged and weaved our way through the dusky lot with our stroller-free roamers trying their best to lose us among the parked cars, we happened upon a tailgate in full swing. This was no ordinary tailgate and it was conveniently located just a few spots away from our car. We paused to take it all in while the kids helped themselves to the beanbag toss.  Then we met Mike and Nicole -- the hosts with the most. The first time they asked us if we wanted a beer we refused, “A beer? Now? With all these kids?! Ha! No, no, that wouldn’t be wise. Nope. No way. No thank you.” I mean, it’s not like we were just lamenting all the keg parties on campus that we hadn’t been invited to that night. It’s not like we were almost desperate to top off our nearly perfect day with a perfectly poured pint or anything. Except for that, of course, we were. So we eventually said yes. And much to our amazement, this amazing group of Fordham alum, spouses and kids included us in their formerly private party.

Before I could say “that’s ok, you don’t need to feed all five of our kids dinner”, they had totally set us up… juice boxes and hot dogs for the kids, beer and chili dogs (Chili Dogs! Yummy yummy chili dogs!) for me and Des. They insisted I sit down (There were chairs at this tailgate! And I did sit down!) and, as the kids played in front of the fire (not too close and don’t worry, Mike is one of New York’s bravest), Des and I enjoyed a beer and a memorable moment… the crackling glow of the fire and the pine-scented smoke, the Fordham flag and the American flag, side by side,  slowing waving in the early evening light, the Direct TV (yep, you got it!  They had TV at this tailgate!)that had broadcast the game for this group of avid fans who may or may not have made it into the stadium (a sign of a really good tailgate!), the super-sized grill which boasted a big pot of expertly spiced chili in addition to enough hot dogs to feed the whole football team, and this group of pals who were bound by such memories and were kind enough to include us in their festivities. They even went so far as to honor us with the “Best Newcomers” award – an honor that would indicate that we just may be invited back next year. This Collegiate Day will be hard to beat but, I’d venture to guess that these folks just might be able to do it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Me and My Pocket Rocket

One of the questions I constantly get asked is “how do you do it?” There seems to be particular fascination, wonder and awe as it relates to ever getting out of the house with so many tiny tots and their associated paraphernalia. Now that my tots are all toddling and bottles have been replaced by sippy cups and water bottles, one answer to the “How do you do it” question is “My Pocket Rocket.”

What is a Pocket Rocket, you say? Ah, it is a nifty wonder of a water-proof, well designed tote that comes in an array of cute colors and patterns. And, it is aptly named because the Pocket Rocket has SIX pockets – and that’s not even counting the ones on the inside, which create the perfect home for my cell phone, lip balm and the snot-soaked tissues that I don’t want free-floating among the array of snacks I must constantly pack.  So...

Diapers and sunblock and plentiful wipes,
Surprises to soothe all sorts of gripes.
Raisins and Goldfish and Cheerios galore,
My fab Pocket Rocket holds all of it and more!
So my dear pals should you need a bag to get about,
I'd highly recommend a Pocket Rocket from Scout!

To get a Pocket Rocket of your own, visit:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Practically Perfect is Good Enough

I suffer a bit from being a perfectionist. Ok, a lot. Or, perhaps it’s not me, but the people around me who suffer most. I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that even though I know it’s insane, I will reorganize the dishwasher so that it’s done my way, which, of course, is the right way and therefore, the only way. On the odd occasion that my husband puts the kids' laundry away, instead of simply saying thank you, I’m prone to point out where things should have gone. I encourage all five kids to line up their shoes in perfect pairs and at times, can't resist laying out matching socks and underwear with their outfits -- just as I liked to wear mine when I was a kid… perhaps that’s where this all began.

I thought that having triplets would cause me to loosen up, to let go a little, to lower my standards or perhaps more aptly put, become a lot less anal!  But, alas, it’s not to be. The triplets and the daily challenge of juggling five kids five and under have really just upped the ante on my naturally perfectionist streak. I aspire to be like Mary Poppins – “practically perfect in every way.” I’ve even been known to sing “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down!” and say “Spit spot!” with a kind (although admittedly forced!) Mary Poppins smile as I hurry my kids along.

All that said, I know my yearning for perfection is extreme and has a fair share of downsides. I didn’t quite realize it until we went on our annual quest for the perfect pumpkin last weekend … an annual quest that is the traditional warm-up for the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree. As we ambled about the pumpkin patch with the camera clicking on a crisp fall day, I overheard some other insane Mom say to her kid “Put that one back. It’s all dented and dirty.” To which the kid whined back “but Mom, it doesn’t have to be perfect!”

So perfectly said and so absolutely true. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Whatever "it" may be. I let my Imperfect Poppins relax a bit after hearing that and, while I know it won’t last, I want to remember that kid’s voice in my ear because it could well be the voice of one of my own children. “Mom, it doesn’t need to be perfect.”

It was with this in mind that I went to bed last night before straightening the rug on the living room floor and with Legos still strewn on the coffee table. This morning, I tried not to flinch when my daughter rejected the matchy-matchy outfit I laid out and went with a funky look of her own. And when my oldest pleaded, “but Mom, I don’t WANT A shirt with a collar”, I said ok. Ok.

While my perfectionist, uptight ways are good for keeping everyone on a schedule, clothes in the right drawers and getting us out the door on time (most of the time!), I also know they can be overwhelming and overly controlling. And, I know that I really don’t want to hear my kids making public pleas for imperfection. So, I’m going to resolve to be better about accepting "good enough" versus  uncompromising perfection and, as a starting point, I have several very lop-sided pumpkins on the porch to prove it!

(NOTE: We picked our pumpkins at Stuart's Farm in Granite Springs, NY, about an hour north of NYC and highly recommended for family fun and, great donuts!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Top Ten Tips for Surviving Tots Under Two

Our family just experienced a major milestone – well, in fact, several of them. On 10.10.10, our identical triplet boys turned two and we celebrated the fact that we have all survived these sleep-deprived, chaos-filled first two years; two years that have been made all the more intense, challenging and yes, even fun by our three little guys and their big sister and brother, who are four and five years old.

We’ve juggled a lot in the Lyons Den as we’ve struggled with how to feed three newborns while entertaining two toddlers, finding a car that can safely and comfortably accommodate five car seats (Hello Swagger Wagon!), and eventually figured out how to get out of the house in less than two hours (hint: don’t bring it all with you!). In reflecting on what have been the busiest (and possibly blurriest!) two years of my life, I realize there were a few keys to our surviving – and at times even thriving – this remarkable time with five tots under five:

1. Don’t forget the “me” in Mommy. I’m a firm believer that a happy mom is the key to a happy family. “Me time” is essential and, as my husband and kids will attest, everyone benefits from it. I love my early morning runs, my occasional yoga classes, my book club and the rare girl’s night out. These things are all a part of the me I was pre-kids and that me still exists. Remember the “me” in you and you’ll be a better Mommy too – I guarantee it.

2. God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt. Or put another way, babies don’t need baths every day and dirty binkies are A-OK! Trust me, this is true and will make your life much easier. In the winter months especially, one can argue that frequent bathing can dry out tender newborn skin so, if you’re as wary of a slippery baby as I was, relieve that stress by limiting bath time to just 2-3 days a week. As for that dirty binkie –or bottle, or blankie, or biscuit or whatever – well, we have a 5-second rule… which has kind of evolved into a 10-15 second rule… if it’s on the ground for just a (relatively!) short while, it’s fair game to be picked up, brushed off and popped right back into the kid’s mouth… unless, of course, your dog gets it first in which case, a good rinse or replacement may be required!

3. Baby Proofing is good but rules reign supreme. I marvel that there are folks out there who make a living “baby proofing.” Don’t get me wrong, certain things are absolutely essential; we don’t leave cords from blinds dangling where tots can reach them and we keep medicine out of reach. We have a gate at the top of our stairs and are big believers in outlet covers. But the rest of the stuff they try to sell you on? Toilet seat locks and stove knob covers and all the rest? Save yourself the money and set some rules instead. Rules are good. Kids actually like to know what the boundaries are and are astute enough to respect them far sooner than you think. Don’t be afraid to scream “HOT!!” or “OUCHIE!” or even a good old-fashioned “NO!!!” They will get it, they will learn from it and you will be grateful that when you wake up to pee in the middle of the night, the potty is not in lock-down.

4. Out and about beats in and insane. All our kids were born in the fall in the Northeast. The time of year when the leaves fall, the wind blows and the temperature plummets. I remember taking my firstborn to the pediatrician on one such blustery day and asking if it was ok to take him out for a walk. Her response: “Do you think people in Siberia never leave the house?! Of course you can take him out! Just bundle him up and you’ll both be fine.” And we were. The fresh air did us both good and I wholeheartedly believe it tires tots out. So, if perchance you’re interested in exhausting your newborn in the hopes of four to five hours of uninterrupted overnight sleep, this is a good way to go. No matter how long it takes to get out of the house (and I know firsthand that it can take a while!), just do it. Pack up and go. You and your tot will both be glad you did.

5. Just say yes. Being of rather proud and stoic Irish descent, I’m not one to ask for help and my husband wouldn’t think of it. When the triplets came home from the hospital, there were many offers of help. “Just tell us what we can do” said countless family and friends. “Oh no, we’re FINE” I’d reply as I wiped the sleep from my eyes and staggered by them in a daze. Fine? Really? No way! We were so NOT fine. We were exhausted and overwhelmed and it took getting a nasty case of bronchitis when the babies were six weeks old for me to finally “cave in” and accept the kindness and assistance that had so readily been offered. I only wish it hadn’t taken me so long. It turns out that when people offer to help, they mean it. So do yourself a favor and just say yes -- and don’t be afraid to be specific about the help you need. Take it from me, it will be much easier – and a lot more fun - to survive the first two years with a little help from your friends.

6. Trust your gut. It recently expanded to provide you with the little bundle (or bundles!) of joy that it seems everyone including the mailman has something to say about. Bottle or breast. Work or stay home. Binkie or blankie. Organic or not. Whatever it is, do not believe everything you read or hear and do take it all with a grain of salt. Just do what feels right to you. After all, there is a reason for the old adage that “mother knows best.” You do.

7. Plan ahead. Anticipation goes a long way toward prevention and this holds especially true when it comes to tiny tykes who are prone to melt down when they are tired, hungry, overwhelmed, or all of the above. I often tend to push myself – and my tots – far past the breaking point and the result is always the same… simply put, not good! My advice would be to keep your bag packed with sippy cups, yummy snacks and wipes aplenty. Plan activities for times when you – and your offspring – will be at your best. And, while you’re planning, plan to cut yourself some slack because no matter how much you anticipate, there will be days when things go awry – as in the time when one of my kids puked so many times at the doctor’s office that I had to drive him home in a pumpkin costume. It wasn’t part of the plan but, it makes for a good story!

8. Just say no. This is as important as learning to just say yes. While “no” will be a word you undoubtedly (and at times, regrettably) overuse with your little one/s, you need to incorporate it freely and guiltlessly to requests like “could you host Thanksgiving dinner?” or “can you bake four dozen cupcakes for the school fundraiser?” or “can I drop Biting Billy over for a play date?” No, no and no! You don’t need to do it all – and you’ll be happier if you don’t. Please don’t misunderstand – feel free to host a holiday dinner or volunteer for the bake sale or have a nightmare kid at your house if it makes you feel good and won’t drive you crazy. But please, do not under any circumstances say yes when something deep down inside is urging you to take a pass. At these times, refer to # 6 – trust your gut AND just say no!

9. Create a routine. Say what you will but when it comes to your tiny tyke, routine is good. It’s good for both of you. You need your coffee. Your baby needs a bottle. You both get grumpy if you don’t get what you want when you want it. Fair enough, right? Babies – and kids of all ages– thrive on routine. They are simple sweet souls who will respond well to simply knowing when to expect a bottle, a bath, a meal, a walk, a snack or a story. Routine has been the key to survival for us, especially during those first few crazy months at home. Think about it – we had three babies who ate eight times a day… not to mention, two toddlers who required a fair amount of care and feeding, a dog who needed a walk, and a mountain of laundry always waiting to be done. The only way to tackle it all was with a routine. It worked for us and should work for you too!

10. Laugh. There is such tenderness and such humor in these first two years. Allow yourself the opportunity to pause and appreciate it as much as you possibly can. Laugh loud and laugh often and your baby will too. That belly laugh will be one of your fondest memories. If you could bottle it, you would. There is no better feeling. And God knows, after what you’ve endured to bring a baby into this world, you deserve a good laugh!

It’s hard to believe that our babies are babies no more. I know in my heart that these amazing little fellas will always be my babies but I see with my eyes that they are already little boys - and yearning to be big kids, just like their brother and sister. I am grateful for the love they give, the laughs they provide and the knowledge that if we’ve survived these first two years – and indeed, we have – we will survive whatever comes next. Bring it on!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Terrible Twos? I Think Not!

We’re coming up on a major milestone here in the Lyons Den. This weekend, on 10.10.10 (an especially appropriate date!) our identical triplets will turn two. This is a significant turning point for us and, while some folks may think of the “twos” as a “terrible” time full of tantrums and tirades, I’d prefer to offer up the possibility that what lies ahead may in fact be the “terrific twos.”
 In considering the past twenty four months, we’ve most certainly had our fair share of ups and downs and there are plenty of things that I’m happy to leave behind… nursing and pumping for three hefty fellas from my two tiny breasts, sleepless nights, ass-blaster diapers – you know the ones, the icky mustard colored poops that leak out the side, typically at 3AM? Formula, formula and more formula followed by gallon after gallon of whole milk. If only we had a yard large enough for a cow, I’m convinced we could put her to good use! Then there were the spit-ups, the throw-ups and the many times we were just plain fed up. There was the cacophony of three screaming newborns harmonized by two fighting toddlers. There were the Boppies, Exersaucers, Bumbos, and play mats that turned our humble home into a hardcore nursery. There were the panic attacks associated with three little people taking their first steps… and subsequently teetering on the top of our extremely steep steps. There was the never-ending mountain of laundry and nights that seemed to never end. But, when I look back, it’s all gone shockingly fast.

When I look back, I can chuckle at all of these “downs” because what I remember far more vividly are all of the “ups”… the toothless grins that were so rapidly replaced by first teeth, the sweetness of the “big” brother and sister helping us juggle three babies and three bottles, the kindness of family and friends who would arrive unasked and unannounced to simply hold a baby, the sense of accomplishment of getting them all loaded into the triple stroller… and the additional bonus of having the physical strength to push that stroller up our very steep Main Street. There were the days at the beach and playground where sand was the snack du jour and the nights when we snuggled in our bed like peas in a pod. There were first baths, first foods, first steps, the first time I could wear pants with a zipper again and all of the other wondrous firsts that accompany these first few years of life.

It is with this sense of wonder that I anticipate the “twos” – knowing, as I do, that there will indeed be some ugly moments – full blown, carpet-kicking tantrums and in all likelihood, more extreme, adamant and repeated use of every two year olds favorite two letter word: NO!  But, there will also be the fun and joy and humor that these little guys bring to our lives each and every day. The humming and singing and chattering and dancing and silliness that can make me instantly forget a bad day at work or yet another sleepless night. So, while some might dread the pending second birthday, I’m ready. And, I’m psyched. And, I’m grateful, overjoyed and yes, at times even a bit stunned to know that we’ve done it. We’ve survived the first two years with “five under five” and look forward to what the future holds.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Boys Will Be Boys

My poor daughter and I are surrounded by boys in every sense of the word. Even our dog is a boy. And even our dog seems to revel in the primal pleasure of burping and farting in a way that I’m certain I will never understand.

In our house, while I’d like to think that I rule the roost, I am woefully outnumbered and consistently amazed and slightly horrified by just how much boys will be boys and how young it all starts. I remember when our firstborn was about one and a half, he looked at me with outright glee and said ‘FART!”. I instantly shot my husband a stern look that clearly said “where the hell did he learn that and do you really think it’s appropriate for a kid under two to be joyfully exclaiming FART?!” and then I sweetly looked at my little lad and said “No, no. Not fart. Toot.” And then he and my husband roared with laughter as if to say “is she serious?! What a loser! Guys don’t TOOT, we FART!” And so it began.

Our triplets are just about the age our first guy was when he discovered the joy of flatulation. And they are equally exuberant. I sometimes feel like a poo-poo prisoner because though they are not yet two, they have figured out the one way to get Mom’s undivided attention is to shout with all their might “Poo Poo Potty!!! POO POO POTTY!!!!!” So, I take them, one by one to sit on the potty. They hold me hostage as I rub their back, sing them songs, tell stories and urge them to poop or pee or do something other than hold me against my will in our dirty bathroom. And you know what my reward is? The occasional fart! The stinky fart (most certainly NOT a tender toot!) has become the first inking of potential success with the poo-poo potty training. Ah, the irony of it all.

And then there are the sports. Our oldest is in first grade and just started soccer. In addition to the identity issues this creates for me (am I now a “soccer mom”? what does that even mean?!), it frankly destroys our weekends. Practice on Saturday, games on Sunday. My five year old races energetically down the field while my husband plays the role of assistant coach and I tear up the field in my own way while trying to corral our other four kids and keep them off the field/out of the goal/away from the ball. It’s the same kind of fun I had when T-ball started in the spring except that now my kids are bigger and faster and it’s harder to catch them!

The triplets love to get in the game – any game. They are obsessed with balls. … soccer balls, soft balls, baseballs, tennis balls, footballs, beach balls, golf balls, lacrosse balls, you name it, they love it. They’re even starting to enjoy their own personal sets, if you know what I mean. Their limited vocabulary is fairly fluent in the language of sport – “pass”, “catch”, “out”, “my turn” are a part of their daily vernacular. And regrettably “NO BALLS IN THE HOUSE” has become part of mine.

Of course, beyond playing sports, watching them has become a favorite pastime. While the triplets are already chanting “J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, JETS!,” our five year old cries when bedtime arrives before the Yankee game ends and then demands to watch Sports Center when he wakes up. Heaven help me and my little lady… especially since, much to my dismay, all my little fellas seem to enjoy watching any sort of ball game while clutching their own. My husband assures me this is all normal (as he asks me to move so he can see the score of the game) and utters with an admittance and acceptance that I’m starting to understand, “Boys will be boys.”

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Moms Rule

I recently attended my local Mothers of Multiples monthly meeting. Truth be told, I didn’t want to go. I never want to go; I think I’ve only made it to two meetings in two years – although, of course, the five kids under five could have something to do with my poor attendance record. In any case, I was worn out from a long day at work and the typical chaos of our dinner and bedtime routine. I was wearing old leggings and a crappy t-shirt and would have been more content settling in for the night than driving 20 minutes away to mingle with a group of women who I barely knew and wasn’t sure if I’d have much more in common with than the admittedly bizarre fact our uteruses (uteri?!) happened to host more than one baby at a time.

 But, I figured, as I often do, nothing ventured, nothing gained. So, I slapped on some lipstick, threw on a cute pair of flats (courtesy of my sister, as with most cute things I own!), tossed on a sweater and headed out the door. And boy, am I ever glad I did. After just a few short hours with a bunch of women I hardly knew, here’s what I’ve concluded: Moms Rule.

 Not just the “Moms of Multiples” who I had the pleasure of spending the evening with, but all Moms. I realized that we are united by far more than our expanding and contracting uteruses – or, for that matter, by our saggy boobs, baggy bellies and bags under our eyes. We are united in that we are warm, welcoming people – whether it’s a knowing smile to a nervous expectant Mom or one last hug before the bus comes, we are wired to make those around us feel better. To feel confident. To know they can tackle the task at hand – whether it’s surviving the first year with a newborn (or two, or three!) or surviving the first day of school, we support everyone around us. We tend to be funny and real and often, the combination of the two is when we’re at our best.

We are the consummate multi-taskers – we buy groceries, cook meals, clean houses, change diapers, plan parties, organize play dates, pay bills, upload photos, plan vacations, write thank you notes and remember the in-law’s birthdays. We help with homework, do the laundry, kiss the boo-boos, cheer at the soccer games, drive to ballet class and return the library books.

 We pride ourselves and artfully juggle our roles as mothers, daughters, friends, sisters, neighbors and colleagues. We support each other, laugh together, cry together, bitch together and intuitively pick each other up just when it’s needed most. We do all this for one – or two, or three or five or more – reasons. We love those little people that come out of our oversized uterus; we want to make them happy and we want the world they grow up in to be a better place. We want to inspire them to make it a greater place. And we’re wise enough to know that we can’t do it alone. We need the help and support of other Moms and thankfully, find that they are there just when we need them most. Much like our own Moms. So, if you haven’t done so recently, take a moment to pass this on to all the many Moms in your life and remind of this simple truth: Moms Rule.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Summer Vacation

We waited a long time for our summer vacation this year and boy, was it ever worth the wait.  The week before Labor Day was a sun and surf filled week away from work, home and our typical daily responsibilities.  As I look back on our blissful getaway, I'm reminded of a few more things that I love about summertime... and, about our "Cubs"...

Outdoor showers -- whether it's the sun or the stars shining down upon you, few things are more freeing than an outdoor shower.  Not to mention, with five sandy kids, it really simplifies the post-beach routine!

Sunsets.  Nothing beats sunset at the beach.  It's the perfect punctuation mark to a day filled with sun, fun and sandcastles.  And, it is quintessential summertime -- the kids are up past their bedtime, they may still have salty, tangled hair... they may eventually just go to bed that way... and, that's ok!

Relaxing.  And not necessarily in the literal sense of the word since there is little relaxing to be done when you hit the beach with five tots running in five different directions.  But, when we're on vacation, we tend to relax the rules a bit and, as it turns out, this is good for everyone.  It's ok if the kids watch some TV before breakfast.  It's ok if breakfast includes a typically-forbidden sugar cereal and/or donuts.  It's ok if naps get skipped in favor of lingering a bit longer on the beach.  It's ok if there's no veggie with dinner and it's ok to wait 'til tomorrow to fold the laundry or empty the dishwasher. This is what vacation is all about.

Exploring.  Whether it was searching for seashells or wowing at whales, each day contained some new adventure.  Des tried surfing (braving hurricane force waves in a noble attempt!), I tried paddle boarding and the kids made discoveries big and small... hermit crabs, the aforementioned outdoor shower and one of their Mom's perennial summer favorites: Sundae School (

Exhaling.  Literally just letting it all out. Taking deep breaths, inhaling the salt air and exhaling all the angst that builds up each day... each day until we are lucky enough each year to return to the Cape.  To the place we came individually as kids and now come together with a family of our own.  The place we got engaged. The place that we love. 

It's hard to believe that we've only been home for a week -- it's been a whopper of a week... back to work, back to school, and back to reality.  As anticipated, the memories will last a lifetime and the pictures will provide smiles for months -- and years -- to come.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

So long, Summer of Peril!

It’s hard to believe that the summer has gone so quickly. I remember thinking over Memorial Day Weekend that this summer would likely be recalled as the “Summer of Peril.”  What other way was there to consider the hazy, hot, humid days that streteched ahead through Labor Day... days that would be filled with poolside ventures , backyard barbecues and beachy weekends attended by my own personal set of Backyardigans – a full set of five that included only one swimmer (which is a flattering description of Liam ‘s ability though fortunately, he does keep himself afloat!), one pink-Croc wearing sprinter, and three toddlers, in the most literal sense of the word. As I look back on Summer 2010, I realize (once again) just how lucky we are.

To provide you with just a quick rundown… there were consistently little Lyons Cubs running into the street as we chased them shouting “No, no! No, no, no!” … which, of course, they interpreted as “GAME ON!” and ran all the faster. Then there were the backyard barbecues… “HOT!” we’d yell as they approached the fiery grill with outstretched hands. And we can’t overlook the stairs, inside and out, that were tumbled down repeatedly, resulting in lumps and bumps and frequent use of the “Boo Boo Bunny.” There were snack drawer invasions, toilet bowl fishing expeditions, crib climbing and table dancing. There were falls from bikes and trikes and trips from tree roots and uneven sidewalks. There was one impressive bee sting, millions of mosquito bites, a case of strep throat, a few ear infections and the realization that one of our car seats has a curse – whoever sits in it inevitably pukes. So, of course, to keep things fair, we rotate the kids in that seat so that everyone gets their fair share of puking. Thoughtful, right?

Then there’s the challenge that the pool and beach present. We made it to Labor Day with nary a scare despite the triplets tottering at the water’s edge for months. And then it happened. On the unoffical last day of summer, we let our guard down. In the blink of an eye, two of our tots ended up in the deep end of my parents’ pool, bringing all our fears of the Summer of Peril front and center. Thank God that in the next blink of an eye my Dad and brother-in-law fished them out. Thank God that they were only shaken up and not physically harmed. And, thank God that the Summer of Peril is finally behind us!

I am so ready to put away the Crocs and pull out the sneakers. Needless to say, I’ve already packed away the swimsuits and located the snowsuits. I’m really looking forward to Fall adventures that I hope will include apple picking and pumpkin carving and who knows, maybe even lighting a fire in the fireplace… although, maybe that should wait just a bit longer… I don’t think my nerves are ready for an Autumn of Peril; instead, I’m hoping for a Fall with few falls, frequent laughs and a continued sense of gratitude for our mischievous little Cubs.