We made it. We have arrived in Ireland with all five kids, our luggage and our sense of humor still in tact.  We have heard repeatedly, “Wow, you sure have your hands full now, don’t ye?” from numerous well-meaning onlookers, who can’t help but be surprised and mildly alarmed as we take up the sidewalks with our strollers and strolling tykes.  

It’s been a bit of a blur so far given that the jet lag has yet to lift and the whole experience seems a bit surreal.  Did we really just take an overnight flight to Ireland with five kids six and under?  Have we really arrived in Dublin?  Are all these smiling, friendly faces and offers to help really directed toward us?  How could we possibly be so lucky?

I have to say, it’s true what they say about the Irish… we have been greeted with “Cead Mile Fialte”, a million welcomes. It started on the AerLingus flight, where instead of gasping with horror at the notion of tending to five tots on the overnight journey, they embraced our family with a warm welcome before we even left JFK.

“What’s your name love?  Can I get you another pillow my dear?  Ah, and look at the eyelashes on this one!  Would you like another juice love?  How about you Mum?  Surely you can use a glass of wine… you’ve earned it!”  And so on and so forth.  They oohed and aahed and fussed over the lot of us the whole way over, making that overnight flight a true delight… or, as delightful as possible given the sheer exhaustion of it all!

The warm welcomes continued as we connected with both family and friends.  We are truly grateful to be here, touched by our million welcomes and owe special thanks to the total stranger who offered to give us his umbrella yesterday as the rain poured down.  Thank you Ireland for the warm welcome and adventures that await!

The “little beach” we left behind before Irene hit

It’s hard to believe that just yesterday, Hurricane Irene was bearing down upon us with driving wind and torrential rain.  It’s also hard to believe that although there is devastation all around us, we have been spared.  The trees didn’t fall, our basement didn’t flood and we didn’t lose power.  While my husband and I breathed a huge sigh of relief as Irene blew out to take her fury further north, our little ones were a bit disappointed.

For starters, they couldn’t understand why we had to bail out on our last summer weekend on the Cape.  I was a bit reluctant to head home myself.  Saturday was hazy, hot and humid and we spent the morning on the beach, soaking up the last of summer’s rays before heading home ahead of the storm.  Explaining the perils of a pending hurricane is a fool’s errand when you have a minivan full of tired tots who’d rather be building sand castles.  

As the sky darkened and the guy on the radio spoke of the storm’s impact further south, our kids seemed to get the gist of it.  While our minivan barreled south on 95 toward New York, they seemed to slowly start to understand what was coming.  We spoke of the subway shutting down, of windows boarded up and of the potential loss of power.  It was the loss of power that really caught their interest.  They were intrigued by the notion of living by candlelight and we had a lively conversation about what we might eat if we had no power for a few days… peanut butter and jelly, cereal with milk (as long as the milk lasted), and raisins topped their list.

We also had a neat little chat about what it meant to “hunker down”. According to dictionary.com, to “hunker down” is to squat on one’s heels; to hide, hide out or take shelter.  This notion was especially intriguing to them as we discussed the possibility of all hunkering down and sleeping together in our living room… Mom and Dad would get the pull out couch, Liam and Ciara would snuggle in their sleeping bags and Kevin, Declan and Cormac could camp out in their pack & plays.  We would eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by candlelight, perhaps while singing songs and telling stories.

Now, if that’s not an idealized view of hurricane preparation, I don’t know what is.  It’s really a blessing to see the world (including natural disasters!) through the eyes of a child… or, in my case, five of them.  It’s also a blessing that Hurricane Irene was kind to us.  And, for all those who are suffering the after-effects, I wish them the best and hope they might find some sort of a silver lining… something our kids are always prone to see.

I’m not sure how or why this happened but when I got home from work last night, I ended up grocery shopping with four of our five kids.  Somehow my husband got to stay home and man the grill with Liam, our six year old while I descended upon the local Stop & Shop with a four year old and three overtired, very hungry two year olds. 

My anxiety level was rising as I pulled into the lot.  How would I wrangle them?  What if I lost one?  Why oh why did they end up in the minivan instead of the backyard?!  Then Ciara sighted one of those nifty carts with a “car” upfront and suddenly I knew it would all be ok.  Who needs DisneyLand when you have these kinds of carts at the supermarket?!  You should have heard the squeals of joy.  It was awesome.  Yep, I said it.  Grocery shopping with four kids four and under on a Tuesday evening after a long day at work was awesome.

The only issue was the list.  I am a big believer in lists, grocery and otherwise.  Here’s what was on my list last night: 

  • Milk (4 gallons/2%, 2 gallons/skim)
  • Eggs (2 dozen)
  • Bread (2 loaves)
  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Fruit

That’s it.  Here’s what else ended up in my cart, after only the subtlest of urging from my surprisingly pleasant pit crew:

  • Fruit snacks (Cars/Toy Story.  Rationale:  on sale 2 for $4)
  • Dole Fruit Cups (2 of them.  Rationale: new ‘all natural’ variety and on sale)
  • Applesauce (2 of them.  Again, on sale 2 for $4)
  • CheezIts (3 boxes!  THREE boxes!  Rationale:  on sale 3 for $6)
  • English muffins (Buy one, get one free!)
  • Chobani yogurt (nutritious, delicious, on sale for 10 for $10!)
  • M&Ms (admittedly not on sale but, great motivation for the potty trainers in the cart!)

I have to say, I got a lot more than I bargained for on this trip to the supermarket.  In addition to the snacks that I’d usually pass by, I realized that I can tackle pretty much anything with lots of tots in tow.  And, it was a good reminder that taking a few kids along for the ride can make the most mundane of tasks a whole lot more fun.

This entry is the perfect follow up to my earlier post “What I learned on my summer vacation.”  I learned a lot and, all things considered, we did a lot.  I mentioned that we hit the beach and then hit our beds and while that’s true, there were quite a few activities packed in to our amazing, sun-filled, work-free week on the Cape… and many of them were all time “firsts” for Kevin, Declan and Cormac, our 2 1/2 year old triplets.

One first: taking in the view after 1st “big boy pee on the beach”

There was their first boat ride, a seal-watching expedition that departed from Chatham and returned less than two hours later with our little crew wind-blown, awestruck and eager to go back for more.  If you’re ever in the area and game for adventure, I’d recommend you take your crew to the sea with the amiable Captain at Beachcomber Seal Watching.  Bonus:  you take a trolley ride to the dock, which for our clan was almost as exciting as the boat ride itself!

There was also the first game of miniature golf for all five kids.  Believe me when I tell you that trekking 18 holes (mini or not!) with five “Cubs with Clubs” is not for the faint of heart!  Our little guys and gal were swinging with all their might, as if they had hockey sticks instead of golf clubs.  There was absolutely no regard for the basic rules of golf — of which I know very little but, picking up the ball and dropping it in the hole just doesn’t seem right.  In any case, fun was had by all, we escaped with minimal damage (to ourselves, others and the course itself) and I’d highly recommend Arnold’s mini golf in Eastham – which, as an added perk, also includes Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar and apparently “world famous hot fudge” which we didn’t have the chance to try given that it was 10AM but it sure did look good!

Five Cubs with Clubs practicing their swing

We also made our annual trek to the Beachcomber, a bit of a dive overlooking Cahoon Hollow Beach in Wellfleet, which is exceptional for several reasons — the cliffs, the dunes, the waves and the rather notable fact that this is where Des and I got engaged — exactly ten years ago in August of 2001.  It was after a few drinks at the Beachcomber that we went for a walk on the beach, Des popped the big question and we daydreamed about one day returning with our kids… though we certainly never imagined there would be five of them!

Our five tots at the spot we got engaged… and apparently not all that thrlled about it!

Given that we have some avid baseball fans in our family, we also took in a Cape Cod Summer League game where we rooted for the Orleans Firebirds or, according to the triplets, the “Yankees.”  They think all baseball players are Yankees and sometimes refer to them as simply “Super Guys”.  It is very very good to be a baseball player (of any stripe!) in the eyes of our 2 1/2 year olds.  They were enraptured by the players handing out raffle tickets but petrified of the team mascot — a gravelly voiced “Firebird” that even I have to admit was a tad rough around the feathers!

Last but not least, we had our annual visit to Sundae School which, if you ask me, is where they have the best hot fudge, on the Cape or anywhere else… they also top their sundaes with real, homemade whipped cream and a real black cherry.   Yum.  I started going to Sundae School with my grandfather, Pop-Pop, when I was right around Liam and Ciara’s age… and I would cry like bloody hell that I didn’t want to go to Sunday school!  Until, of course, we arrived and I was treated to a treat so good that I still crave it and indulge in it annually.  YUM!

A sweet little lady who seems to enjoy ice cream as much as her Mom!

There were other spots we visited along the way that I’d recommend for any family that is Cape-bound toward East Orleans.  For a quick bite (though a long wait!), there’s the always reliable, fun and very local Land Ho that has a great bowl of clam chowder; we had dinner here before watching the “Super Guys” play ball.  For pizza, eat-in or take-out, there’s Zia Pizza, which is right on the way to or from Nauset Beach, our favorite spot… although, if you asked our little Kevin, he would likely tell you, as he told me that the bayside Skaket Beach “is a better beach for me.”  As two year olds often are, he was right!

A happy boy who finally found the beach that’s just right

While I returned from vacation as rested and relaxed as one could be from fitting all this in with five kids under six, I do have to admit that it was a bit of a relief to return to work on Monday, sit in a chair for a few hours and daydream about our next trip to the Cape, which can’t come soon enough!

My happy place

Maybe it’s because I’m turning forty this year. Or perhaps I just need a change of scene after spending far too much time potty training triplets and entertaining the never-ending requests of their big brother and sister.  Whatever the reason, I’ve got girls weekends on my mind and every intention of getting away with the gals for more than the 36 hours in Newport I so thoroughly enjoyed this spring.

When I mention my getaway goals, people look at me like I’m crazy.  “Really?” they say with a look of utter disbelief.  “With ALL of those kids you’re REALLY going to go away with the girls.”  My answer?  Yes. Absolutely. Definitively. No doubt in my mind.  Where to?  I’m not sure yet… there’s been talk of Paris with my sister and the Bahamas with some of my best friends from high school.  If all else fails, there’s always the promise of a weekend in the city… beggars can’t be choosers! How will I do it?  Well, simply put, I will pack my bag and go.  But, since nothing is ever simple when you’re the Mom (it doesn’t matter if you have one kid or five, it’s not simple!), here are a few guidelines.

1.  Give yourself permission to go.  Think about it.  Who contained a human (or two or three) in their belly for nine months?  Who fed that tiny human from her breast?  Who typically bears the brunt of the care, feeding, shopping and laundry for these little beings?  You do.  And who do you to turn to to bitch, moan, laugh, commiserate, empathize and ask for help?  Your girlfriends.  They have always been there for you and you deserve to go have some fun.  Giving yourself the permission to do so is the first step.
2.  Accept that while your way may be the “right” way, it is not the only way.  Put another way, trust that your husband will care for your offspring and have faith that you will return from your brief sojourn to find them all alive.  They may be wearing dirty clothes or backward onesies (the children, hopefully not your husband!).  They may be overtired or underfed or overwhelmed or watching Underdog. But they will be fine. Letting go of your worries is the next step toward your well-deserved girl time.
3.  Know that you will be be a better Mom and wife when you return. It’s trite but true, absence really does make the heart grow fonder.  While I enjoyed every moment of my brief Girls Weekend in Newport, I was SO happy to get home.  I cherished my girl time — the freedom to get a pedicure, do a bit of shopping, linger over dinner, have that one last drink and gossip for hours over coffee.  It was a true gift to reconnect with my girlfriends but it left me with gifts of another sort… a newfound appreciation for my husband (even if the laundry had piled up!), a renewed adoration for my children (boogie kisses and all!) and the comfort in knowing that the challenges we face are universal (money, sex, work-life balance, aging parents and so on!) 

Once you’ve made up your mind to go, you may want to create a mealplan, call in the grandparents and arrange a few playdates.  After that, it’s officially time to pack your bag and go.  Trust me, if I can do it you can too and, I can assure you you’ll be glad that you did!

How many times have you said “if only there were more hours in the day?”  And how many times have you vividly imagined all you might accomplish with those precious few extra hours?  It recently dawned on me that the summer season gives us this gift of time.  By its very virtue, summer provides extra hours of daylight – a few hours in the morning to get a jumpstart on the day and a few more in the evening to relax and unwind.
As one who is constantly juggling work, kids, fitness, writing, an outrageous to-do list and a strong desire to connect with my husband on matters more substantive than potty training and dog walking, these extra hours which summer so effortlessly bestows are a true gift and one that I’m utilizing to its fullest extent. 
With sunrise at 5:30 and birds chirping long before, I’m all too happy to routinely get out of bed at 5:45.  Mind you, this is the same time I set the alarm the rest of the year but, during the summer, I’m far less likely to hit snooze; I’m eager to get up and get the day started.  The early light allows me to squeeze a lot in before the tots get up at 7:30ish.  Of course, there are all the daily requirements – the dishwasher, the dog, making lunches and getting in my morning run a few days a week.  But these things are part of the LyonsDen routine in any season.  The additional benefits I reap from the early sunrise include reading the paper on the front porch or, in the case of an early riser, reading Dr. Suess on the porch while the dew is fresh and the air is clean and clear.  Should I choose to leave the comfort of the porch, I might run for a few more miles, water the plants, clip a few flowers to brighten the kitchen or possibly settle in the yard with my laptop and work on my writing… it’s so easy to be inspired with a large cup of coffee and the soft sunlight glistening through the trees.  I am so grateful for these moments and will miss them when the days grow shorter.
As the sun shifts from East to West, it has a soothing effect on our typical end of day chaos.  The fact that school is out also lessens the pressure; we’re not hustling to get homework done and the clan in bed by 8:00.  Even so, dinner still needs to be served and the bedtime routine still reigns supreme.  What’s different then?  It’s the attitude, I think.  It’s more laid back.  We’re not literally racing against darkness when we use the grill.  We make plans to make the most the evening time we have together. We squeeze in a post-work trip to the pool, possibly with friends.  We relax our standards a bit.  Dinner just might be grilled chicken with peaches and watermelon served on a beach towel.  Popsicles might melt on the same porch where we started our day as fireflies float by… actually, I think they now bolt by for fear of being caught by one of our little Lyons Cubs; gentle though they try to be, they’ve squeezed the lights out of more of our flying friends than I care to admit.  But I digress. 
Perhaps best of all, summer’s extra daylight hours give my husband and I something we truly cherish – more time with our kids and each other.  Des and I rarely have a quiet moment but find that summertime affords ample opportunities for a shared cup of coffee or glass of wine on the porch (Again! That porch! How we love that porch!) We actually get the chance to talk about more than the kids and to-do lists.   We also relish the morning Suess time and evening swims with the kids.  The “family fun time” in the midst of our manic weeks is a rare pleasure.  We know this time is precious.  And, like summer itself, is fleeting.  Which is exactly why we’re committed to making the most of it.  Thank you summer, for answering my wish for more hours in the day.  Now Old Man Winter, if you’re listening, could you please lighten up a bit?  And yes, I do mean that literally!

I couldn’t be more excited about the upcoming 4th of July festivities… the parade, the fireworks, the hamburgers and hotdogs, the swimming, the day off from work and, of course, the deeper underlying symbolism of the day — freedom and independence. 

For me, July 4th typically represents freedom and independence from the daily grind.  It’s a journey back in time to my childhood and a day to create memories for my own children.  Based on a quick glance at last year’s pictures, they’re not yet as enamored with it all as I am:

Lyons Cubs: 7.4.10: NOT enthralled by parade

Littlest Lyons Cubs: 7.4.10: wanting a nap more than another firetruck viewing!

To provide you with a bit more context for my 4th of July nostalgia, I grew up in a town that has a stellar parade.  The type of parade that draws a crowd from all over the great Garden State but features floats from each of our small-town elementary schools.  The type of parade that is SO good that the locals line the streets with their chairs the night (even two nights) before to secure a good viewing.  It’s a parade filled with marching bands, floats and firetrucks.  It’s a parade that I marched in as a kid and insist on dragging my kids to even as they whine that it’s too hot, too loud or even too boring — am I the only one with a 6 year old who is constantly bored?!

In any case, my Dad loves the day as much as i do.  I kind of the think of it as his day.  For he too grew up in the charming village of Ridgewood, NJ where I was raised and he shares many of the same memories I now have.  When I was a kid, I remember my uncles coming over with donuts for the kids and big coolers of beer for the post-parade party.  They would come at around 8AM for a party that started early and ended late.  My Dad would man the grill for hours and in fact, he still does.  After the parade, there is swimming and lunch and watermelon…

“Thank God that loud scary parade is over!  Finally, something to eat!”

After lunch, there’s a lull in the action that might be filled with another swim, a nap by the pool or preparing for the evening’s grand event — the fireworks.  My parents have the perfect location for the day — and the night.  Their house sits at the end of the parade route and caddy-corner to the field where the fireworks display takes place.  It is the Shangri-La of the 4th of July.  Family, friends and neighbors fill the front lawn and backyard to take it all in. My Dad dons an apron with stars and stripes while flipping burgers and dogs ’til the sun sets.  The 4th of July for me is like Christmas, but better because there’s no pressure to buy gifts, bake cookies or dress up.  It is low-key, laid back and a day that I eagerly look forward to.

As I write this, I’ve asked my husband what he thinks of it all.  His response? “Wow, your perspective is really inflated and delusional.”  Fair enough! I admit to living in a “happy bubble” but it typically serves me well.   This is how I remember July 4th, how I experience it today, and how I hope my kids will one day recall it themselves.  I hope they will look back and think “Wow.  What fun we had. How awesome it was to be there with Mom and Dad and Mima and Pop-Pop and aunts and uncles and cousins with the flags and fireworks and fun.”  I hope they come to appreciate freedom and independence in all of its forms.  Perhaps most of all, I hope they will put a chair out for me so I will always have a good spot to watch the parade! 

Whenever I’m out and about with our brood, people can’t help but ask “how do you do it?!” While I often interpret the question as one that relates to our daily struggles and working mom juggles, I realized once again this weekend that sometimes what people really mean is “how do you ever even get out of your house with all those kids?!” The answer, of course, is that it’s not easy but since I’m not a sit at home type of a gal, I’ve developed a routine that more often than not gets us out of the house in 30 minutes or less. Here’s my little cheat sheet…

  1. Keep the diaper bag stocked.  As my kids have gotten older, the stock has changed.  Baby formula and extra bottles have been replaced by crayons and coloring books. Diaperes and wipes remain a constant, as do sippy cups, water bottles, a ziploc bag of snacks and depending on the season, sunblock and/or hats. I do my best to restock the bag when we return home and I keep it by the front door so we’re always ready to roll.
  2. Keep extra essentials in the car — this way if your diaper bag gets depleted, you won’t be caught empty-handed.  A few supplies always on-hand in our “Swagger Wagon” include wipes, Purell, sunblock, paper towels, tissues and snacks that stand the test of time and extreme temperatures… not that I’ve sampled them myself but the kids never seem to complain when I uncover a hidden bag of Goldfish or a surprise cereal bar.  Plastic baggies are also good to have handy… as a recent weekend roadtrip reminded me, they are perfect for containing the after effects of any accidents that may occur en route!
  3.  Go to the bathroom before you leave the house! The natural extension of this time-proven rule of the road is to change your little one’s diaper (or in my case, diapers!) just before departure.  As you likely know, as soon as you do, they will fill it up with the nastiest of poops, causing you to rinse and repeat but still, better to get it out of the way before you’re underway! This is one that your mother always told you and once again, she was right!
  4. Have a plan.  My husband thinks I’m crazy but while we’re having breakfast on Sunday morning, I’m already thinking of where we’re going after church and what we need to bring.  If we’re headed to the pool, I’m creating a mental checklist that includes towels, swimmies and juice boxes.  If it’s out to lunch, I’m checking that bag by the door for extra crayons and tossing in a few Legos to keep the little ones occupied.  The point is, if you start to think about where you’re headed with plenty of time to spare, once it’s time to actually get going, you’ll be halfway out the door while your husband is asking if he needs to bring his swimsuit.   To which you can happily reply, “Got it, hon!  Get in the car, we’re ready to roll!” 
  5. Avoid laces at all costs.  With five kids to hustle out of the house, I’ve learned the hard way that shoelaces are not my friend.  In the summer months, Crocs and flip flops reign supreme while in the winter months it’ all about velcro on the sneakers and slip-ons in the way of cozy boots and Merrells.  Am I bummed out that my first grader still can’t tie his shoes?  Sure I am.  But, can I swiftly and adeptly get my clan in the car in thirty minutes or less?  You betcha!

Have some tips of your own?  Let me know!  In the meantime, hope these hints help you get your tykes out the door and on your way, with plenty of time to enjoy the day!

Memorial Day weekend typically marks the unofficial start to summer. The pool opens, the lemonade flows and the sunscreen is plentifully applied. The beach towels are brought out from winter hibernation, as are the buckets and shovels, swimsuits and sandals. Although there are still a few weeks left of school, summer is in the air – especially this week as the heat and humidity provided temperatures well into the nineties. With Memorial Day now a memory, the spirit of summer is here to stay and and I for one couldn’t be happier about it.

For starters, the sun is up long before I am. This is such a welcome change from the dark days of winter when my morning runs occurred in darkness and the kids had to be dragged out of bed.

Bedtime slides by a few minutes or a few hours, depending on the day. We might read a book on the front porch as the sun sets or hang out in the backyard as the moon rises. Either way, we’re more lax about the bedtime routine and grateful for those extra moments with our little ones.

Dinner is simpler. In fact, breakfast and lunch are too. I probably shouldn’t admit this but some days, we even skip lunch, instead snacking on hearty helpings of watermelon, blueberries and granola bars in between meals. Dinner itself is quickly prepared on the grill or on some evenings, a simple grilled cheese might suffice. And my, isn’t that nice!

Morning prep time is dramatically reduced. It’s amazing how easy it is get out of the house when you don’t need to wrestle and cajole five kids into gloves, hats, coats and boots! It’s just shorts, shirts and crocs and away we go… with time to spare!

Of course, as great as summertime is, it’s not without it’s own unique challenges… like for instance slathering sunblock on five slippery kids or publicy bearing my bod in broad daylight; the stark whiteness of my legs has been known to blind even the mightiest of souls but even so, I’ll take summertime and it’s carefree attitude and relaxed routines for just as long as it lasts… which, based on the current outlook, will be a long time indeed.

Last weekend I had the good fortune to get away with four great girlfriends.  While I was only away from home for 36 hours (and I spent six of them in the car!), I returned feeling refreshed, recharged and reminded of just how lucky I am to call these amazing women friends. The last time we all went away, two of us were pregnant for the very first time.  While the rest of the gang partied it up, we went home early and whispered in the dark about belly butters and the awe (and horror!) of pregnancy.  Now, with our babies born and our lives forever changed, it was a true treat to reconnect, decompress and yes, even relax for a short while as we left our husbands, children, jobs and obligations behind for a brief time… time that was so well spent, we’re convinced it should be an annual event.  Here’s why:
  1. Only your girlfriends will tell you that you need to lose the Mom jeans.  Or khaki pants.  Or sensible shoes.  Maybe not all the time, but certainly some of the time.  Your girlfriends will remind you of your life pre-kids and reassure you that you are just as cute/smart/great now as you were back then — and, that you should at least occasionally dress that way!  They will also help you find the right jeans and, having suffered through the hunt, will wisely tell you that when you find the magic pair, you should buy two of them.  Listen to this advice.  It is good advice!
  2. Your girlfriends will make you realize how much you’ve changed.  For the better.  Sure you may now have saggy boobs, a few gray hairs and a mid-section best not exposed but, you also have the wisdom of years and a new-found confidence that you may have lacked in your 20s.  You’ve advanced your career or perhaps left it behind for the full time job called motherhood.  Either way, you believe the decisions you’ve made are the right ones.  And that deserves a pat on the back — a pat that your girlfriends are all too willing to give.
  3. Your girlfriends make you realize that your problems are, for the most part, universal.  Everyone occasionally struggles with their kids, their husband, their finances, even their sex life. Who wouldn’t as the years pass by, the babies arrive, the sleep disappears and the the daily responsibilities grow.  The days may be long but the years go by quickly; enduring friendships are a great way to commiserate about the the challenges you face now — and the ones you faced before and now can laugh about… which leads me to…
  4. Girlfriends are great to laugh with.  And be silly with.  And be yourself with.  They accept you for who you really are and love you for the person you are today — even as they laugh out loud at the person you were back in the day.  The one in the daisy dress, drunk as a loon, dancing like a rockstar.  Or, perhaps more like Elaine on Seinfeld.  They don’t care.  They love you for you and you love them back.  Even when they are laughing at you.  Or with you.  It really doesn’t matter; either way, they are there for you now, were there for you then and will be there for you tomorrow.
  5. A getaway with girlfriends is like a “get out of jail free card.”  I don’t mean to imply that the Lyons Den is a jail but rather that a brief getaway is a joy-filled freedom to have a break from it all — no laundry, no dirty diapers, no cooking and no cleaning up.  To the contrary, a short escape with the girls provides he opportunity to do a bit of shopping (see #1!), maybe get a manicure, linger over coffee in your pjs and have that one last drink because you know the little people who typically wake you up at night are safely tucked in a few hours away. 
Girlfriends, and girls weekends, are good for the soul.  They are vital reminders that we are so much more than moms, wives and workers.  We are funny, we are fun and we deserve to have a good time every now and again.  Believe me, I have fun with my family.  In fact, we have a LOT of fun but, a weekend with the gals is good for everyone.  In addition to painted toes and some new clothes, I came home with renewed appreciation for my great husband and incredible kids.  I have my girlfriends to thank for that, and for so much more.  Including next year’s getaway, which is already in the works!