While they were sleeping…

January 31st, 2010 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Much to my own disbelief, as I type this, there are five kids, one husband and one large dog peacefully snoozing — and snoring — away.  Truth be told, there’s a part of me that’s just a bit bitter that all around me are the sounds of peaceful slumber since I too would welcome a well-deserved nap.  That said, there’s another part of me that’s overjoyed to have a rare quiet moment and the opportunity to get things done without tripping over babies or promising for the hundredth time, “just a minute Liam and Ciara!!!”

As silence envelops the Lyons Den, I’ve crossed a fair amount off our (ok, really it’s MY) ambitious weekend to-do list.  Balance checkbook and pay bills.  Check!  Update calendar for February.  Check!  File bills and organize 2009 tax folder.  Check!  Buy gifts for next weekend’s birthday parties and baby shower.  Check!  Start laundry.  Check! Locate Netflix movies for return mail tomorrow.  Check!  This one, by the way, gives me great pleasure in checking off the list because, as my Netflix queue just confirmed, we’ve had The Incredibles since July 17th!  And, the worst part, of course, is that we didn’t even watch it since Liam deemed it too scary after the first five minutes.  Incredible, indeed!

I suppose what I should do next is start dinner… although, I’m quite tempted to just settle in and settle down for a few moments myself.  As always, it was a whirlwind weekend, kicked off by the “Cubs” 15-month visit to the pediatrician on Friday.  The doctor’s visit reminded me once again of how quickly the time flies by.  It reminded me of how much I will miss about these baby years… and, how much I won’t!  In a nutshell, I will NOT miss cutting grapes into six pieces and blueberries into fours.  I will NOT miss spit up, baby cereal or my constant state of snot-covered shoulders. I will NOT miss the sobs of teething or the “age of peril” as the babies attempt to swim in toilet boils, ignite themselves on the stove and swing from the bookshelves.  But, I will miss the irresistable appeal of a little tot saying “Uppie”.  I will miss those awkward open-mouthed wet kisses.  And I will definitely miss the thump-thumps of speed-crawlers and the pitter-patters of little feet.  And, although I have missed a lot of sleep, well, I know it’s all just part of this fleeting phase and I wonder if next Sunday, I just might join in as my pretty ones sleep. 

Amazing Things

January 27th, 2010 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

In the past week, I’ve twice encountered the notion of “amazing things can happen” and it’s really resonated with me.  First, it was Conan’s last show — which, for the record, I didn’t watch live despite my best efforts to stay awake, but did TIVO and boy, am I ever glad I did.  Rather than dazzle us with his comedic talent and ascerbic wit, Conan decided to deliver an inspirational and seeminlgy genuine message. It was time he could have used at NBC’s expense, delivering one last shot before he rode off into the Hollywood sunset.  But instead, Conan used his moment to inspire today’s youth by imploring them (dare I say us?) that if you are “kind and work hard, amazing things will happen.”  I was impressed that he took the high road and thought to myself that these are truly good words to live by.

My second encounter with a phrase involving “amazing things” occurred today as I went to NY Presbyterian for my annual exam.  There was a big banner above the door with the hospital’s logo “Amazing things are happening here.”  I remembered when the triplets were born and they had just unveiled this new corporate slogan. I thought to myself “Wow, three amazing things really did just happen here!”  Walking in the door today was a very different sensation though… without a big belly in front of me or a bunch of kids and babies next to me, well, I was just like everyone else.  Gone was the sense that I was a part of the amazing things happening there.  It was replaced with a sad feeling that my amazing thing had already happened — against all odds, and with many thanks to the great doctors at NY Pres, I gave birth to three healthy babies.  So, now what? 

I don’t know if it’s age or hormones or what but I find myself really contemplating if my amazing thing has already happened or, if I’m kind and work hard, are there yet more amazing things ahead of me?  Ever the optimist, I suppose I’m in the camp of the latter.  Most certainly, amazing things have happened in my life — and the babies are really just one example.  When I think about it, my life in general is fairly amazing — I’ve got healthy kids, a great husband, a job I like, incredible friends, a supportive family and hobbies that I’m passionate about.  With this in mind, I’m now convinced that amazing things in my life aren’t simply in the past tense — there surely must be more to come… especially when I remember that amazing things need not be life-changing events but can be even the smallest of accomplishments in any given day… a baby taking his first steps, a 3 year old taking her first gymnastics class, a 5 year old learning to read — these are the amazing things in my life and I’m now confident that if I’m kind and work hard, there will be many more. 

Game Day

January 24th, 2010 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Somewhat against my will, we (ALL) headed to the Fordham basketball game this afternoon.  I had a bunch of reasons I believed to be good ones NOT to go — it was nap time for the babies, there was laundry to be done, sheets to be changed and a handful of other household chores that I might have accomplished on this chilly Saturday afternoon.  But, Des was keen to go… “It’s Collegiate Day!” he proclaiemed as he extolled the virtues of seeing Division I basketball up close and personal and just a half hour away from home.

So, my sense of adventure overruled my sense of responsibility and we hit the road.  We arrived just after half-time to a cheering crowd and blasting band that confirmed it would be a nap-free afternoon.  While I grumbled about over-tired tots who were overheating in their coats, something rather remarkable happened… Liam was transfixed by the players, Ciara was awed by the cheerleaders, Declan started waving his fist in time with the music, Kevin seemed to be humming and Cormac was just as jolly as can be.  And Des, well, he was charming a security guard and before I knew it, we had front row seats!

Just as I was thinking things couldn’t be better (unless, of course, Fordham won the game — which sadly, they didn’t), one of the security guards informed us that the Yankee’s World Series trophy was in the building. You must understand, ours is a family that takes great pride in “pinstripes.”  As Des put when Liam was born, “there are two things that are non-negotiable — he will be Catholic and he will be a Yankee fan.”  So, when the game ended, we had the good fortune to have a photo-op with the very trophy that Jeter and the rest of the Bronx Bombers had worked so hard for.  And, it was a good reminder to pause in the pleasure of “Game Day.” The naps, as it turned out, weren’t needed and the laundry and sheets can wait until tomorrow.  And, I’ve learned once again, that there is most certainly no harm — and most likely a lot of fun to be had — in indulging your sense of adventure!

Perfectionist no more?

January 17th, 2010 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

Those who know me would probably agree that I’ve got a perfectionist streak. In fact, they’d likely say that it’s much more than a streak! It’s exemplified in a variety of ways, big and small — from making sure the bed is made before I’m barely out of it to dressing in a way that’s admittedly a bit too matchy-matchy. These perfectionist tendencies started when I was just a kid — I took great pride in the 5th grade when my socks matched my undies matched my sweater matched my bermuda bag matched my watch band matched my headband. Very cute indeed.

Since having kids, I’ve tried hard to be true to my perfectionist self. Although now, with five under six, I’ve come to realize that sometimes I just have to let go. Like last Thanksgiving… the triplets were 6 weeks old, Ciara just turned 2, Liam was not yet 4, I had bronchitis and we were hosting the family dinner. As it turned out, Whole Foods actually made a tasty turkey for us and everything tasted great without our fancy china or a tablecloth on the table. Stunning, I know! Turns out, you don’t actually need fancy china, an ironed tablecloth and a homecooked meal to celebrate Thanksgiving… all you really need is to be surrounded by family and friends in good health and you realize there’s a LOT to be thankful for! What a revelation!

More recently, my slipping perfectionism has revealed itself more often than I’d like… just this week, I was pulled over. Twice. Once on the way to the pediatrician with two tots in tow and once en route to visit my grandparents with the whole circus along for the ride. Was I speeding? No. Talking or texting? No. Turns out my inspection expired. In December. Who knew?! The pre-kid me definitely would have known but now, well, clearly not! And, even after the first eagle-eyed cop noticed my inspection sticker and pulled me over, I still couldn’t find time to remedy the situation before being pulled over again! Now, whenever the kids see flashing lights, they ask, “are they coming for you, Mom?” Gotta love it.

Another shining example of perfectionism passed is when I called to cancel my haircut (again!) yesterday and said “Oh sorry, could you repeat that? I just stepped on a baby and totally missed what you said.” I just stepped on baby! Can you imagine?! Not only doing it but saying it?! Oops! Truth be told, I do step on a baby at least once a day… if they’re lucky, I don’t have shoes on and, lest you’re wondering, it’s not deliberate — there are just literally babies underfoot here!

The things that fly out of my mouth these days are really just astounding… I can’t imagine my former Polly Perfectionist self saying things like: “Delcan, please don’t bite your brother’s head.” “Kev, was it really a good idea to eat that dirt covered grape off the floor?” “Cormac, that was NOT an uh-oh!” “Ciara, stop smothering your brothers!” “Liam, if you do that again, I’m going to… oh geez, I don’t know what I’m going to do! Just STOP IT!!!!”

Where oh where did Polly Perfectionsit go?! Some days she makes an appearance but I see less and less of her as the days go by. Sometimes I miss her. I’d be lying if I pretended not to be upset when I can’t find my red scarf to go with my red bag! But, most days, I’m glad she’s moved on. Letting Polly Perfectionist go has been good for me — and better for my family, I’m sure! That said, if anyone finds her out there, could you just send her back with my matching red gloves?!


January 8th, 2010 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Like many of us, I start each new year with new resolutions. Many of my past resolutions have been vague and rather common: exercise more, eat breakfast, save more, spend less.

Not surprisingly, these resolutions have rarely been achieved. And this year, I think I finally figured out why. They have indeed been far too vague! It’s difficult to measure success against a goal like “exercise more”. What does this mean exactly? If, say, in 2008 I went to the gym twice and in 2009 I went three times, well, is that success? It is indeed more but really, it doesn’t seem to legitimately accomplish the goal I set out.

So, this year I decided to set more concrete goals. This way, I figure, I can accurately assess my achievement — or lack thereof! Even as I type this, i wonder, why oh why have I done this to myself? Like I really need to place more demands on my already demanding life?! But, having had a good first week of keeping true to my resolutions, I thought I’d share the method of my madness with you.

My goals for 2010 are good goals. They are focused on things I enjoy, things that make me feel good, things that will better my life and my family. A few examples:

  • Exercise twice a week. So far, so good… thanks to a hardcore gal pal who met me two mornings this week at 6AM, even in slick, snowy darkness! The exercise thing is really a bit selfish because truth be told, I love it. I love the feeling it gives me. The endorphin rush and the sense that I’ve accomplished something just for me before the tots even awake… which, is the only opportunity I have in any given day to do something just for me!
  • Save a set amount monthly. Well, it’s too early in the month to see how I’ll fare on this one but I think the intention is good — it ought to be much easier to save a set amount that we’ve agreed to rather than hold ourselves to some loosey-goosey goal of “save more.” I’ll let you know how I’m measuring up on this one as time goes by…
  • Do yoga twice a month. Ok, again, too early to tell. However, I did take my first yoga class of the year today. It’s the first time I’ve done yoga since I wrote about the great experience I had this past summer. Once again, the class didn’t disappoint. You should know that I am NOT good at yoga and I struggle to see the benefits of lying on the floor tuning in to my own breath. Especially since I’m typically congested and end up snorting but, I suppose that’s a personal problem! In any case, yoga is something that I see the value of and strive to appreciate more. It’s also something that I always approach with trepidation but always appreciate afterwards. Today, I enjoyed a great class with a stunning view of the ice flows bobbing down the Hudson. I did my best and didn’t beat myself up for not necessarily posing with perfection. I took away a key message: Challenge yourself to be still.

Challenge yourself to be still. This makes sense to me. And, it is a HUGE challenge for me. “Still” is not part of my vernacular. It doesn’t come naturally to me. But, as with the practice of yoga itself, the ability to just be still makes good sense. So, after achieving most of my resolutions here in this first full week of 2010, I now have one more to add to the list.

Be still. I’m going to try. And, I wish that my five tots five and under would try too… that would make it a whole heck of a lot easier!

Silent Night

January 4th, 2010 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

“Silence is golden.” It’s a phrase I’ve heard time and again but never really internalized or appreciated until this past Christmas. As you might imagine, silence in our home is a rarity. At any given moment there might be a dog barking, babies babbling, kids brawling, friends bantering or all of the above. The noise is so constant that it has become the backdrop of our lives.

I liken it to when I lived in a second floor apartment on Lexington Avenue — it was above a busy intersection where trucks bounced over potholes, taxis screeched by, firetrucks and amubulances provided a symphony of sirens, garbage trucks clanked in the wee hours of the morning and buses exhaled loudly as they dropped off their passengers. For the first few weeks, it was almost impossible to sleep through the noise but then, all of a sudden, I stopped noticing it. I no longer heard the sirens that alarmed my friends as we talked on the phone or the garbage trucks that woke out of town visitors.

It’s now much the same in my house. During the day, anyway. I don’t hear the persistent noise or the constant din. And for the most part, it’s a happy noise — during the day, anyway. At night, it’s a completely different story. Unlike the apartment at 71st and Lex, I can no longer sleep through the din… and, as we took the Lyons Family Circus on the road this Christmas and New Year’s, I fear that my family and friends couldn’t either!

On Christmas night, I slept in the bed I grew up in with three tots in pack & plays as my roommates. If you’ve ever shared a room with three stuffed-up, teething one year olds who howl when they lose their blankies, you too would have a keen new appreication for silence.

On New Year’s Eve, I was fortunate to be at a good friend’s house with the whole crew in tow… including Finnegan, the family dog… who was restless in his new surroundings and kept running in and out of our room, hopping on and off of our bed and, as if I needed it, alerting me to the fact that there were three screaming babies in the room next door. It started just after midnight and I admit, had me rather bitterly lamenting that there must be a better way to usher in a new year! In any case, the only thing worse than three screaming babies at midnight is, well, three screaming babies at midnight in someone else’s house! In our house, it’s fine — I might even try to let them cry it out. But, at someone else’s house, that would be just plain rude. So, Des and I did our best to quiet our distraught babes without disturbing the entire house. And, somewhere just before 2AM, we all settled in for what would then be a silent night.

Thanks to our holiday adventures (trust me, it is indeed an adventure to mobilize the Lyons Den for an overnight visit!), I have a newfound appreciation for that old adage “Silence is golden.” While my first reaction to silence is to panic — are the babies breathing? why are the kids sleeping so late? did we leave the dog outside?! — I am now keenly aware of the beauty of the sound of silence. As this new year unfolds, I hope that your days are filled with many of the same happy noises that fill our home and I hope that your nights are filled with the sounds of silence.

Moms Get Kids

December 21st, 2009 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

A few weeks ago, I took Liam for his 5 year old physical, which was notable for a number of reasons — not the least of which is that I can no longer claim to have “five under five”! Having my first-born turn five is a major rite of passage. He is now, more than ever, officially a kid… which reminds me, it’s about time I updated the name of this blog! My little man is most certainly a toddler no more! He is a real little guy. He goes to school. On a bus! He gets homework, he gets himself dressed and he has strong opinions — about pretty much everything. Including, understandably, a trip to the doctor that involves getting several shots.

Shots are something that Liam, like most kids, not only dislikes, but morbidly fears. When he sees that needle coming, he turns into a possessed creature I hardly recognize. He screams, wiggles, cries, squirms, thrashes and makes an already unpleasant experience almost intolerable. When it’s all over, it’s as if a violent storm has passed. The calm is instantly restored by the doctor’s promise that he can visit the “treasure chest”… which led me to wonder aloud, “Wow! You lucky guy! You get a trip to the treasure chest. But what about me?! What does the Mom get?!” To which Liam replied with a wisdom well beyond his five years, “Moms get kids!” As in, Duh Mom. Moms get kids!

The words really struck me — perhaps even more so now that we’re in the heart of the season to give and to get. Like many folks, our family is cutting back this year. We won’t be giving — and don’t expect to be getting – as much as we have in the past. And this makes Liam’s simple and astute observation a timely reminder to be grateful for all that we do have. Kids! We’ve got kids aplenty! And, at the the end of the day, there is nothing in any treasure chest that can beat that. Well, on most days anyway! ;)

Baby Steps

November 13th, 2009 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

I still can’t believe that we’ve survived our first year with triplets… and two other needy little tykes as well! People constantly ask me “how do you do it?” and the answer, quite frankly, is that I really don’t know! The time has passed so quickly that it’s all a bit of a blur. Ok, a major blur. But if I try to recall how it is that a year (at this point, thirteen months, to be exact!) has suddenly passed us by, I suppose there have been two keys to survival:

  1. A sense of humor. While there were (and still are!) days when it all just falls apart, we’ve found that the best antidote is to just laugh. Frequently. We find that we’re (all SEVEN of us!) often at our wits end at dinnertime. Des and I are tired and cranky (well, I am, anyway!); Liam is absolutely shot; Ciara is demanding attention — most often by crying/howling/screeching over some minor offense like “my toe hurts!”. The babies are crawling and tottering and rolling on the floor simply looking for a little love which, while the dinner is burning and the other two are fighting, is hard to come by. Then, inevitably, the crying starts. All three babies, perhaps with Ciara chiming in as well and then Liam whining to be heard above the din. It is at this point, on a good day, that Des and I just look at each other and laugh. Really really laugh. Because truly, the scene in our kitchen is absurd! And if we don’t laugh, we might cry or scream or whine or yell — which, we’ve learned the hard way, is stooping to the level of our five under five — and believe me, this is best NOT to do! So, when all else fails, just laugh. Out loud. Like you mean it. And, if your house is like our house, soon you will all feel better.
  2. Take it one day at a time. As an admitted super-planner, this doesn’t come naturally to me but, I’ve gotten better over the course of the past year. While I’m still no pro at being “in the moment”, I’ve gotten better at accepting each day as it comes. And also, accepting that my plan for the day is quite often bamboozled by circumstances completely beyond my control. Like when we missed the football game for my 20th high school reunion last week because one of the tots came down with a fever. Or like realizing that a day at the beach is, no longer “a day at the beach”! If think too far ahead, I start to freak out. For example, we now go through about five gallons of milk a week. At least. So, I wonder, how much milk will be consumed when they get bigger? What will happen when they’re teenagers? They are going to eat us out of house and home! This leads to the remarkable revelation that one day, they will indeed be teenagers! And then they will drive. And then I’ll be up at night worrying about them all making it home safely — instead of being up at night checking temperatures and administering doses of Motrin and Tylenol.

Which brings me back to the present and reminds me to just take it one day at a time. To approach this amazing road that lies before us with baby steps — a good lesson to remember as each of our babies is starting to take his very first steps.

Where does the time go?!

November 2nd, 2009 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)
It is well past the time I promised myself I’d be in bed as I once again wonder… where, oh where did the day go? How have three weeks flown by since I last updated this blog? Well, let’s see. Here’s a brief snapshot of the past few weeks.

One little lady proudly turned “free” and was pleased as a princess to celebrate at Cupcake Kitchen and Build-A-Bear with two equally adorable little pals. One of the more amusing moments for me was when a lady saw us leaving the mall and asked “Wow! Are they triplets?” When I chuckled and responded “No, just friends.” She said “Phew! I was going to say, you must really have your hands full!” Ah, if she only knew…

Three little “Cubs” officially turned one and were the jolliest of party guests as family, friends and neighbors joined us at the park for birthday cake, some festive live Irish music and cool, blustery weather that was more than a bit reminiscent of Ireland itself

Our anniversary coincided with Columbus Day and although we did manage to make it out for lunch, we had to chuckle when Liam asked during the typical dinner mayhem that night “hey, when are you guys going OUT for your anniversary?” Well Liam, when you’re old enough to babysit the other four kids, I suppose! ;)

Speaking of dinner, we now officially set the table for seven. Yep, seven. Four chairs and three high chairs crammed in with five tots whining, wiggling and weasling out of eating their vegetables. The joy of abandoning the formula when the babies turned one (which was supposed to translate into dollars aplenty!) has been replaced by the cold hard realization that these kids are going to eat us out of house and home! With five under five, dinner tonight consisted of a large roast chicken, a big pot of mashed potatoes, about a pound of string beans and almost a gallon of milk. To our dismay, there are not enough leftovers to satisfy any of these voracious Cubs! (For the record, there’s a good chance that a few glasses of wine were consumed as well… ;)

Then there’s bedtime – just try brushing the teeth of FIVE overtired tots recovering from a prolonged and ugly Halloween buzz. It’s not surprising that Liam and Ciara think they can do it themselves but really, I wasn’t expecting any sort of attitude from a trio of one year olds who just yesterday sported costumes as both precious pumpkins and cuddly cubs (pictures to follow!). The point is, it takes a LOT of time to brush five sets of teeth!

Amid all this commotion, my life outside our little Lyons Den has gone bonkers. Work is crazy busy and I’m once again traveling – in the past two weeks, I’ve been to Chicago twice and Pittsburgh once. I’ve stood up my running partner twice because I literally don’t know what day it is. I’ve been the lucky recipient of 10 stitches in my back as yet more skin cancer was removed – which reminds me to remind you, WEAR YOUR SUNSREEN. My optimism has not paid off in this regard – I have learned the hard way that I will not get tan. As Ciara likes to dramatically put things, “never ever in my whole life!” Although, she’s typically responding to a declined request for Noggin…

So, with days filled from the top to the bottom, it’s no wonder that several weeks have just flown by in the blink of an eye. Or, for that matter, that 20 years have suddenly flown by and my high school reunion is next week! I’m pretty sure that I can’t be that old and that there must be a typo somewhere on the eVite I received. But, if I’m to believe what my friends and high school diploma tell me, It really has been two decades. I’m sure I won’t be the only one who is shocked at how quickly the time has flown by…

With our little “Cubs” about to turn one this weekend, I find myself continually marveling at what a difference a year makes. Flashback to early October 2008…

I was, for the most part, marooned in my bedroom, constantly in pain from the sheer weight of three babies in my belly and lamenting the fact that the world seemed to be passing by just outside my window. As I shifted and shuffled and tossed and turned and tried anything and everything to ease my discomfort, I was frustrated that I couldn’t partake in the annual pumpkin painting fun but determined that I would bake cupcakes for Ciara’s second birthday… which, somehow, I did.
In October 2008, I had to sit down to brush my teeth but couldn’t reach the table when I sat down to eat dinner. I couldn’t wait to meet these babies but I was petrified that all the horror stories I heard might prove true… perhaps their lungs would be undeveloped or they would have vision problems or heart issues or worse. Perhaps they would spend months in the NICU – and I wondered how we would ever manage that nightmare with a just two-year old and not yet four old waiting for us at home.
And then, October 10th arrived and, miracle of all miracles, none of those horror stories proved true. With all three of our “cubs” weighing well over five pounds, my physical discomfort was instantly eased and my worries evaporated the moment I heard their first healthy, hearty cries. Oh, the cries. The delivery room sounded like a nursery… and, with three newborns heralding their arrival, indeed it was.
Against all odds, we were discharged from the hospital in just four days with all three of our new charges. We were welcomed home with fanfare, family and friends. And then, with the pregnancy, delivery and helping hands at the hospital behind us, our true journey began.
We were lucky to have a baby nurse assist with the night feedings for the first three weeks. And boy, did we relish the sleep we got then. What happened next is a bit of a blur. I know that we somehow managed to feed three babies eight times a day and two toddlers three times a day. On a good day, I think the dog got fed too. I know the bottles got washed, the laundry got done, the visits were made to the pediatrician. I know I managed to shower daily (well, almost!) and at some point, I even started to exercise in earnest. I know there were days, many of them, when I detested the sound of my own shrill voice by 9AM. And days when I had to swallow my pride and ask for help. And was stunned by the many ways that help came…
Dinners were delivered. The “big kids” were whisked away on playdates. Diapers were delivered. Encouragement was endless. Baby whisperers seemed to appear out of thin air on our doorstep. I’ll never forget a particular Sunday afternoon when I had truly just had it. It was hot and humid and after a full weekend of sleep deprivation, cranky toddlers and crying babies, I was wiped out. That’s when the “boys chorus”, as we affectionately call the deafening cacophony of three crying cubs ,launched into high gear. And, that’s when my neighbors and friends just marched right in the door, up the stairs and said “we’re here to help.” And help they did.
And so it is that we have survived the first year with identical triplets and a grand total of five under five. We’re keenly aware that our journey has only just begun and we’re truly looking forward to seeing where the road takes us. Happy First Birthday, little Cubs.