It’s hard to believe it’s already October.  Summer is over, school is in full swing and the busiest month of the year is upon us.  Why is October the busiest month of the year? Well, four of our five children were born in October.  And it’s our anniversary.  And then, just when you think it’s over, there’s Halloween!  All of these things require thoughtfulness and planning above and beyond the already challenging task of juggling an active family of seven and a full-time job.

Oh, and just to spice things up a bit, this October, we’re MOVING… which means that in addition to everything else, there is packing and cleaning and phone calls and planning to add to my daily routine.  Lest I should forget, there is also a 3-day conference in Chicago that will take me away from that routine just two days before our move.  Are you stressed out yet?  I sure am!

As I look at the calendar, I am reminded that our triplets turn four on Wednesday (tomorrow!) and our 10th Anniversary is on Friday.  The triplets are in pretty good shape; there is no party planned (yet!) but there are gifts to be wrapped and a cake to be baked.  My husband, on the other hand, is not so lucky; there is a card to be written but thus far, no gifts to be had.  Which leads me to the point.

As I look at the calendar, I am completely overwhelmed.  Completely and utterly overwhelmed.  How will I get it all done?!  There aren’t enough hours in the day!  So, to avoid a total mental meltdown (my family and friends might say that a partial meltdown is already progress), I have decided to take it just one day at a time and so far, it’s working pretty well.   Take a look at last weekend as an example…

Our daughter turned six on Saturday so, we made cupcakes Friday night and Saturday truly was “all about her” – she had her first big party, complete with dancing and goodie bags.  She had her first sleepover, complete with popcorn and a movie.  And we went to bed that night delighted that our only little lady had “the best birthday ever.”

On Sunday, we were up at the crack of dawn, lugging out our wares for our neighborhood’s multi-family tag sale.  We set up toys, books, housewares and the relics of our baby days on the curb, displaying it just so to maximize the appeal for would-be buyers.  Then the rain started.  So we lugged it all on the porch.  Then the hours passed.  And no one came.  So finally, we loaded our gently used items and memorabilia into the minivan… and had a big glass of wine.

The moral of the story?  Take it one day at a time.  If you’d asked me last Friday how I was going to bake cupcakes, wrap gifts, throw a birthday party, have a slumber party and organize a yard sale over the weekend, I would have told you that I had no clue, that it was too overwhelming to even consider! But now it’s Tuesday and despite the rain, our missions were accomplished and we somehow pulled it all off.  One day at a time.  That’s really the only way.

So, when I look at the month of October on the calendar, there is no denying that it is daunting.  But, we made it through the first nine days and will surely survive the next 22 – birthdays, anniversary, work, move and all!   Before I know it, it will be November.  Before I know it, my three year olds will be four, my husband and I will have celebrated a decade together and our family will be in a new house.  And then I’ll be wondering how to juggle unpacking and settling us in, planning our oldest son’s 8th birthday and preparing for the holidays.  When I start to feel overwhelmed (that’s assuming I ever stop!), I think I’ll reread this and remind myself: one day at a time. Everything is possible if you take it just one day at a time.  And have that occasional glass of wine!

It’s only Tuesday and already it’s been a long week.  The kids are still struggling to get in the back to school routine and, well, I am too. It’s exhausting!  Each day starts with dragging them out of bed, forcing them to make those beds and then rather unceremoniously shoving them out the door to the bus.  Each day ends in a frenzy of “Did you do your homework? No, you can’t play the Wii. Why didn’t you eat your lunch? Where is your library book?!” And so on until we shove them back into those nicely made beds.

I decided tonight would be different.  My husband had to stay in the city for a work-related event and I decided to make a concerted effort to be the kind, patient, supportive Mom I want to be rather then the tired, cranky, nagging Mom I often am.  I have to say, it kind of worked.  Not in a gold star kind of a way but in a “greatly improved” kind of a way.

After a quick dinner of “dinner eggs” (see, I told you there would be no gold star!), I ushered my four youngest kids out to the yard so I could have some quality time with my third-grader — the one who is most often on the receiving end of my bedtime barrage of questions.  Instead my typical yelling and accusing as I dash to and fro with pajamas and toothbrushes in hand, I sat down and I listened.  And he talked.  And he told me why sometimes it’s hard to finish all his homework.  And he told me what he would like to eat for lunch.  And it was all very reasonable. And we both felt good.

I then called in the little ones and asked my big guy to curl up with a book while I got them ready for bed.  We actually had fun as we put on PJs, brushed teeth and picked out a story. Separating “big” from “little” worked like a charm. Everyone felt like they got a piece of this tired, stressed-out Mama – and apparently, they like that!

Then I looked at the book they chose.  Want to know what it was?  It was called “Dad is Great.”  I kid you not.  I don’t how or when that propaganda landed on the bookshelf but boy, did it ever burst my bubble!  I mean, of course, their Dad is great but really, do we need to dwell on it tonight of all nights?  Tonight would have been a good night to read “MOM is Great,” is such a book exists.  If not, I’ve changed my mind.  I want that gold star!

Filling out school forms: painful!

As you know if you are a regular reader, I typically write a “Tuesday Tip.”  People tend to marvel at the way we seemingly breeze through life with our brood of five children and have asked that I share the things that work for us – snack ideas, vacation spots, general discipline tips, etc. – and so I do.  Here’s the thing though – it’s not always a breeze.  In fact, it rarely is.

When the clock struck midnight last night, I was still filling out school forms and realized that I’d literally timed myself out of my typical Tuesday tip.  I thought perhaps I’d share a nugget of “Wednesday wisdom”  but, I fear what you’re going to get here instead is a massive dose of “Wednesday whining.”

At the moment, I’m tapped out of tips. I’m tired. Exhausted, in fact. Ever since summer came to an abrupt close and the school year started, I’ve felt like a rat on a wheel.  Everything in our life seems to be stuck in high gear, in the fast lane.  My job, always fast-paced and challenging, has picked up in intensity.  Our two older kids, now officially first and third graders, are adjusting to a busy school year as we all struggle to get in the groove of wake up/school bus/ homework/ CCD/soccer /wash/rinse/repeat. It’s a never-ending circuit with backpacks, folders and soccer cleats constantly caught in the spin cycle.

Then there are the triplets. Almost four (how did that ever happen so fast?!), they are gearing up for preschool.  Hence the forms I was filling out late last night.  When did they first walk/talk/sit/stand/crawl?  I honestly don’t have a clue.  I was going to make it up but didn’t have the energy.  So, I simply entered “at the normal age of development” on all three forms.  Then I had to explain how our trio of tots differ – after all, they are identical and the school needs a few hints for telling them apart.  Think about that for a minute – I have to create copious notes for anyone who interacts with our three little fellas… teachers, babysitters, heck, even my own parents can’t tell them apart.  It’s not a breeze.

Perhaps most challenging for me the past few weeks has been writing our address on each of the zillion forms that have crossed the threshold – forms for Girl Scouts and soccer, for emergency contacts and basic medical information.  Each and every form requires our address. And each and every time I write it down I want to cry.  Why?  Because we are moving.  In just about six weeks.  Where? Once again, I honestly haven’t a clue.

We sold our house, which was the right thing to do.  We’ve outgrown it.  It has been the perfect “my first house” and now it’s time for the next one.  But where is it? I don’t know. And I’m worried. And scared. And totally freaked out.  I’ve tried to pack but I just can’t do it.  How can I pack if I don’t know where we are going? Will we find a house to rent and need to stick some stuff in storage? Will we find a house to buy and only live in limbo for a few weeks between close dates? Will we be flopping on the floors of friends and therefore only need our clothes? I don’t know. I just don’t know.  And that is why if I need to fill out one more freakin’ form with our current address – our home sweet home — I will, well, I suppose I will keep on keepin’ on. What other choice is there?  I will grin and bear it.  I will hope for the best.  I will try to have faith that it will all work out in the end.  And when it does, I just might share how it did in Tuesday Tip of the future.  Until then, stick with me and forgive me for the Wednesday Whine!

You may have noticed that this post has a new look to it.  That’s because I recently bid Blogger a fond farewell and officially made the move to WordPress.  I hope you’ll bear with me as I learn how to navigate this new platform, continue to pull my old content over here and ideally, get back into a groove of more routinely sharing my musings on motherhood — along with some weekly tips and quips that I hope you find helpful and at the very least, hope give you a chuckle!

I am often asked why I write this blog and, for that matter, why I write at all.  The short answer is I love to write.  That’s why I’m thrilled you can now find me on The Huffington Post, Moonfrye and Irish Central in addition to some occasional stints on Parents.com.  The long answer is that for me, writing is a great way to capture the memories as the days drag on but the years fly by.  It is my way of preserving the minor moments, major triumphs and everything in between.  With that in mind, my “tip” for this Tuesday, is to keep a journal and jot down the funny, crazy, endearing things your kids say.  It need not be fancy (a simple notebook will do) but it should always be handy (in your purse, on the counter, etc.).  And if it is, you too will soon have a collection of gems just like these — all of which our clan has proclaimed in the past few weeks…

  • Overheard from the back seat — and delivered with compelling confidence: “Don’t you know that reindeer don’t live in the rain?!  They live in the forest dummy!”
  • An exasperated cry emitted far too often from our only little lady: “Ma, ____ peed on me!  AGAIN!!!!!”  (Such is the hazard of one little girl sharing a bathroom with three three-year olds with bad aim!)
  • From an uninvited three-year observer as I got out of the shower: “Hey Ma, your boobs got bigger!”  “Really?!” I responded rather gaily. “Nope, they just got longer.”  And then my heart sank. Apparently just like my boobs.
  • At the vet as one inquisitive fella interrogated the owner of a guinea pig:  “What is that? Why is it in a towel? What does it eat? Hay? Hay isn’t food! Is he sick? What is his name? Where does he live? Why is it in a towel?”  This is just a small glimpse into a long and priceless interrogation that only ended when the vet mercifully appeared to care for this shell-shocked animal… and equally shell shocked owner!
  • An unfortunate observation from our 7 year old “Ma, are you having another baby? Your belly looks big!”  Short answer: no. Long answer: your belly would look big too if had held five children, the last three at once and with a birth weight of over 17 pounds! So there!
  • A poignant observation from that same 7 year old: “Why is that man asking for money? We should help him.”
  • And, perhaps my all time favorite thus far: “Wow Mom, I love that skirt! You look like a princess!”  So what if he’s only three?  I now wear that skirt every other day.  Well, almost…

Let me know if you have some personal faves — my understanding is that commenting should be a lot easier here than it was before.  With that in mind, I’d love to hear from you and hope that in addition to sharing the funny things your kids say, you’ll give me inspiration for other “Tuesday Tips!”

People have a lot to say about motherhood, especially when you’re the Mom of five kids six and under, including identical triplets.   The commentary I receive runs the gamut from the obvious (“Are they triplets?!”) to the intrusive (“Was it IVF?”) to the complimentary (“You deserve a LOT of credit!”).  My responses tend to be “Yes” (even though I’d sometimes prefer to say “No, they’re cute clones I got on sale at Target!”), “No” (although really it’s none of your business!), and “Why?”  Why do I deserve any more credit than any other Mom?  Did I miss the memo where I had a choice to opt out of fulfilling the basic needs of our children?  I don’t think so. Actually, I think I’m just like most Moms in that I try my best every day and will candidly admit that some days are better than others!
Since I am often asked, I always tell people that the trials we face as parents are universal, as are the triumphs.  Whether you have one kid or five of them, you will inevitably be faced with the challenges of sleep deprivation, potty training and discipline and the rewards of those first steps, wet kisses and joyful leaps off the school bus at the end of the day.  There are general life experiences that unite us as parents yet as the years pass with our identical little boys, (who are now 2 ½), I can’t help but notice that there are a few things that actually do set us here at the Lyons Den apart from the rest of the herd.
For starters, there’s the undeniable fact that wherever we go, we always seem to draw a crowd; people are fascinated by our identical little fellas and delighted to ooh and aah over them as they pass by.  For a while, this was a neat little ego-boost; I couldn’t help but get slightly caught up in the wonder and remarkable cuteness of these little people we created and thus far, seem to be successfully nurturing.  Yay us!  More recently however, the thrill has started to fade. Since it’s rare that I’m out with only the triplets, I am increasingly sensitive to the impact the triplet adoration has on Liam and Ciara. They are often overlooked; at only six and four years old, the big brother and sister get very little of the glory although, they deserve a lot.

Liam and Ciara inherited a lot of responsibility and high expectations when Kevin, Declan and Cormac were born.  Ciara turned two just a few days before they arrived and Liam was not yet four; both were charged with holding bottles, fetching diapers and setting a good example from that day forward.  Though they are truly remarkable kids in their own right, they often go unnoticed while the adoring public fawns over their little brothers.  Truthfully, Liam and Ciara deserve medals for essentially serving as baby nurses for the past two years and I need to try harder to remember that it’s not easy to have inherited a trio of identical tots to follow in your footsteps; this is one of my unique challenges as a parent.

Another unique challenge is specific to Kevin, Declan and Cormac.  Though they look exactly alike, I have to constantly remind myself (and others!) that they are not actually three of a kind but three individuals with their own personalities, preferences and, for better or worse, their own primary colors so everyone knows who’s who.  Kevin is “red”, Declan is “blue” and Cormac is “green”.  This color-coding system seemed like a really good way for family, friends and neighbors (and yes, even us in the beginning!) to tell them apart… unfortunately, since Declan has begun to introduce himself to folks as “Blue”, I think this clever tool has backfired but, once again, I was just trying my best.

I suppose that’s the universal theme here.  As a new day and new week begins, I know will once again try my best.  I also know that there will be good days and bad days and highs and lows. I know I’ll regret the mistakes I’ll inevitably make (like last night, when I lost it after Declan peed in Liam’s Croc!) and I’ll relish the little moments that later turn into major memories (like yesterday morning, when we had them ALL in the tub, basking in bubbles and brimming with grins.)  While there are undoubtedly unique circumstances in raising all of our little “Cubs”, we’re really just like everyone else in that more often than not, we’re just trying to make it through the day and make the most of it! 

Motherhood is full of surprises. From those first flutters of pregnancy to the wonder of falling in love with a bald-headed baby, the only thing you can really expect is the unexpected.  I’ve grown immune to some of the unanticipated side effects of parenting… sleep deprivation, driving a minivan and the ongoing battle against kid-clutter have all become part of my new norm. Something that continues to surprise me however, is all that’s underfoot, in the most literal sense.  Here’s my Top 10 list of barefoot surprises… along with a renewed commitment to treading lightly and wearing my shoes!

  1. Legos. Ever step barefoot on a Lego? If so, you can probably relate to the expletives that explode from my mouth each time it happens. I do occasionally apply a child-friendly filter, which now has our 2 1/2 year old triplets using the word “freakin’!” in a most charming way. My barefoot encounters with wayward Legos are so frequent that if I ever get around to writing my memoir, I think I will call it “My Life in (Freakin’!) LegoLand.”
  2. WaWas. You may call it a lovey or woobie or blankie but those beloved soft comfort items are known in our house as “WaWas”. Actually, for Liam it was a “WeeWee” but then Ciara came along and we didn’t want her to be the only little girl on the block with a “WeeWee” so, she mercifully called hers a “WaWa” and this term of endearment is here to stay. As are the Wawas… all five kids have them but the triplets in particular get great joy from sucking on them. When they are in their cribs making those sweet sucking sounds, it is absolutely endearing; when one falls out of the crib and you step on it barefoot in the middle of the night, it is absolutely gross. Soggy, wet, nasty and gross. Enough said!
  3. Soggy Cheerios. I admit it. We rely on our dog Finnegan to do a lot of the post-meal clean up. So much so, in fact, that he’s gained well over ten pounds since the triplets were born. He is so efficient in his efforts that he sometimes even starts the clean up while the little guys are still in their high chairs; the sight of the chairs being nudged around the kitchen by a ninety pound dog is an especially good one if you ever get a chance to see it. In any case, I suppose we’ve become overly reliant on Finnegan and under-reliant on the broom because I now find myself muttering each morning as I dislodge yet another Cheerio from between my toes.
  4. Our dog, Finnegan. He does pretty well for himself at mealtime but any other time of day he’s prone to be tripped over, stepped on or plowed over. This never used to happen but now, it’s fairly routine. He might get knocked out of the way as I chase down a kid or worse yet, stepped on overnight as I go to find one of those darn misplaced Wawas. Either way, that poor dog really takes his blows. 
  5. A bike helmet. Ever wake up in the morning and trip over a kid’ bike helmet next to your bed? Me too! I thought this was a rather unusual occurrence but have since heard from other Moms that it’s happened to them too. Not sure why the bike helmets end up in the bedroom instead of on the porch in the neat little basket I’ve put there for the very purpose of bike helmet storage. I guess it’s probably the same reason why my neatly labeled baskets for “Cars”, “Trains”, and “Dolls” now flow over with books, random puzzle pieces and yes, even an occasional Lego.
  6. Big Wheels… and little ones too. Matchbox cars, firetrucks, dump trucks and the like never seem to find their way into those neatly labeled baskets and bins. And, they just may be the death of me one day. I’ve been known to sail half way across the house on a moderately sized “shake and go” car and trust me, the sight of me shaking and going in this way is not one you want to see. Especially since it may also include another inappropriate freakin’ expletive!
  7. Play Dough. Fresh out of the jar, this stuff is squishy and soft. Not something I enjoy between the toes but, it’s preferable to those gummy, soggy Cheerios. Leave it out for a while though and suddenly that Play Dough isn’t so playful. It hardens to teeny, rainbow colored pebbles that I find scattered throughout the house and between my toes. Let me go on record and make it official: I hate Play Dough!
  8. Crayons/Markers: While you may not naturally equate these childhood tools of the trade to the aforementioned big wheels and matchbox cars, they can just as easily propel you across a room if you step on them just so. These are yet another shining example of defiant toys that refuse to reside in their neatly labeled bins. Why, oh why, do I even bother?
  9. The laundry basket. There are two places in my house that I would expect to find the laundry basket – in the basement by the washer/dryer or in my closet brimming over with the days soiled wears. Unfortunately, there are probably 22 places that I might stumble across, over or into that basket. Ok, maybe not quite 22 since our house isn’t that big but, suffice it to say, ever since the triplets decided the laundry basket is their “boat”, I’ve found it docked in the kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms and everywhere in-between.
  10. Sticks and stones. They say that sticks and stone may break your bones and I am here to tell you this is true! While I haven’t actually broken a bone (yet!), I have stepped on and tripped over many of these “collections” courtesy of any of our five kids. What’s surprising about this isn’t the notion of kids collecting them but rather, using the dining/living/bedroom/kitchen floors as display cases. If only they’d leave their wares outside, I’d be more alert, more apt to watch underfoot for sharp rocks and jagged sticks; I just don’t have that kind of radar up when I’m blindly fumbling for my morning coffee!

So, there you have it. Ten items large and small that I’m still surprised to find underfoot. I suppose the only other thing I should mention is, well, my kids. With so many of them in such a relatively small space, I have been known to literally trip over my own children. Especially when the triplets were in that cute crawling/pull up on your legs phase. I’ve apologized countless times for stepping on tiny fingers and toes; just imagine their shock and surprise when they are repeatedly stepped on by their own Mom! Now that I think about it, maybe all those Legos, Cheerios, Play Dough, sticks and stones I find myself stepping on and tripping over aren’t accidentally left behind. Maybe it’s just my kids trying to tell me in a not-so-subtle way, “Hey Mom, watch where you’re freakin’ going.  And while you’re at it, put on a pair of freakin’ shoes!!!”

Happy little “princess” after some quality time with Dad

If more than one munchkin is calling you Mom, you know how hard it can be to fit in quality one to one time. This is true as it relates to your husband, your sister, your Mom or your best friend. It is especially true when it comes to your kids and naturally, this is the area that tends to give us all the most guilt and anxiety. As a working mom of five kids six and under (including identical two-year old triplets), I really feel the squeeze but over time, have found that little things really do mean a lot. Thankfully, finding a few moments to share with each of my children individually is easier than I thought.

Quality time with your tots need not involve elaborate planning, great expense or even a huge time commitment. I’ve seen the faces of my own little tykes light up like a Christmas tree by suggestions as simple as “who wants to come walk the dog?” or “I’m going out to get milk, anyone want to join me?” or even “I need to move the car – want to go for a ride?” These minor moments offer the opportunity to share some quality time and the kids always appreciate it, even if it’s as simple as a walk to the corner — which, sadly, on some days, is all our poor dog gets (his one to one time is pretty much gone!).

One day last summer, I took one of the triplets (who was 18 months at the time) with me to get a present for an upcoming birthday party. Truth be told, it was (and still is!) rare that I get one of the triplets out on his own but, it is so gratifying whenever I do that I am committed to doing so more often. On this particular day, as I walked up Main Street with Declan, I couldn’t help but marvel at what a funny little guy he is; I found that there are few things more endearing than the stream of consciousness observations that only a one and a half year old can provide: “Flower. Plane. Bye Bye! Hello! Bug. Bee. BUS! Big bus! Hello! Sky? Moon? HELLO!” And then, when we entered the toy store and he set his eyes upon a stuffed bear the size of his Dad, “Wow! WOW, WOW, WOW!”

The reality is that I enjoy our “alone time” as much as the kids do. My husband Des and I do our best to create quality time out of routine tasks… picking up Friday night take-out has become my daughter’s date night with Dad; all it takes is fifteen minutes and a Shirley temple and my feisty four year old returns a new little lady. We also try to plan a special day out for each our kids – it might be an annual trip to Yankee Stadium for my six year old, a trip to the zoo with my daughter and time will tell what we come up with for the triplets. For now, they are content when their one to one time is a trip to the pediatrician for an ear infection; given how low their standards are, we have nowhere to go but up! Or, perhaps, we have nowhere to go at all… a recent Sunday afternoon with just one little fella in a bubble bath proved to be, well, in his mind, a real splash!

So, if you struggle like I do with finding time to squeeze it all in, just remember that the little things matter most. Your kids will be grateful for any window of time you give them… and, hopefully, your husband, sister, Mom and best friend will realize that for now, they just may have to wait!

Me and my awesome mom, who proved that she rules once again this week. Thanks Mom.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think “Wow, Moms rule.”  It first struck me about a year ago when I attended a local Mothers of Multiples meeting. I really didn’t want to go.  In fact, I’ve only made it to a handful of meetings in the past two years; my own hesitance aside, I’m sure that having five kids six and under probably has 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 twenty 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 that 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, my faith was affirmed once again: Moms Rule. 

Not just those “Moms of Multiples” who I had the pleasure of spending that evening with, but all Moms. 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 truly tend to be warm, welcoming people – whether it’s a knowing smile to a nervous expectant Mom or a reassuring hug before the school 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 soccer games, drive to ballet class and return library books. We wrap Christmas presents, make lunches, pack snacks, hand over hand-me-downs, organize closets, make doctor’s appointments, walk the dog, feed the cat, replace the goldfish,  water the plants and have been known to sport spit-up, snot or both as an accessory.

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 we need it most. We do all this for one – or two, or three or four, or in my case, five reasons. We do all this because we love the little people that our oversized uterus delivered into this world; we do all this because we want them to have a happy childhood and we want the world they grow up in to be a better place. We want to inspire our children 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, we find that they are there for us just when we need them most. Just like our own Moms always were.  And thankfully, mine still is.  So, if you haven’t done so recently, take a moment to pass this on to the many Moms in your life and remind them of this simple truth: Moms Rule.  Happy Mother’s Day.

Every once in a while I decide to entertain myself — and hopefully you — by writing to the tune of a well-known little ditty.  In that spirit, I share with you the following and encourage you to read with the tune of “Oh where, oh where has my little dog gone?” running through your head.

Oh where, oh where has this busy Mom gone?
Oh where, oh where can she be?
A week has past since she posted last,
Oh where oh where can she be?!

To Chicago and back,
New York City as well,
She’s oh so tired, looks and feels like hell,
Kids wonder, where can Mom be?!

To amuse you all when my writing does cease
There’s new video here for you,
See the nav bar above and widget to right
Great HerChannel videos here morning and night!

Now I can’t help but wonder where do the years go?
Oh where, oh where can they be?  
Here’s a clip from back then and one from last week,
Hope they amuse you as much as they did me!

“How was your weekend?”  It’s a perfectly normal question for folks to ask on a Monday morning.  The thing is, I’m pretty sure they don’t want to hear how my weekend really was.  And that’s ok.  Because the reality is, my weekend – our weekends – are often so exhausting that my husband and I are happy to see Monday morning arrive.  Monday morning means back to work.  A place that while challenging and stressful at times, also affords the opportunity to pee without anyone sitting on your lap and to eat sitting down… both minor indulgences  after 48 hours at home with our five little Lyons Cubs!
As I’ve mentioned in the past, people say a LOT of crazy things to me.  One comment I hear frequently goes something like this… “You have ALL those kids and you WORK too?!   Wow….”  Then they walk away, leaving me to wonder if I’m a terrible person because I have “ALL” these kids and leave them behind for roughly 40 hours a week or if there’s something in my appearance that suggests we are independently wealthy and therefore I don’t need to work.  Given that I’m cruising around in a minivan too beat up to even be called a “swagger wagon” and most of my clothes date from the 90s (at best!), I’m pretty sure it’s not the latter.  And, I know in my heart – and my checkbook! – that it’s not the former either.  Five kids (and one 99 pound dog!) are expensive.  And this past weekend was a real doozie in terms of dollars and sense.  Here’s a rough breakdown…
  • Trader Joe’s for groceries                               $170
  • Dog to Vet for annual checkup & shots              $175
  • Return trip to vet for antibiotics upon discovering dear dog has lyme disease   $275
  • Birthday gifts for upcoming parties                   $60
  • Oil change and inspection for minivan               $75
  • Car #2 to mechanic to repair failing brakes       $175
  • 2 cases of diapers                                           $70
  • Trip to Urgent Care for 6 year old with presumed pink eye      $50
  • Antibiotic upon confirmation of pink eye                                $80
  • Spring plants/soil/essentials for backyard clean up                   $100
  • Stop & Shop grocery delivery                                                $150
It’s a lot, right?  I don’t have the heart to add it all up but at a glance, a weekend full of essential expenditures (not even including Friday night pizza or a date night!) looks like it’s close to $1000.  Granted, this time around our lovable lab accounts for more than his fair share but, we’re not about to give him up – the entertainment he provides our kids is priceless.  And I don’t think we can give up the diapers yet either although trust me, we’re trying! 
As I assess this list, I’m reminded that my paycheck is pretty important to our bottom line.  And as I assess my aching limbs after a weekend of chasing, lifting, wrestling, battling, tickling, and twirling our kids well, I’m grateful for the time we’ve had together and, I’m glad that tomorrow is Monday!