Picture Perfect

September 30th, 2009 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

So, here it is the end of September and I find that despite my best intentions, I’ve been remiss about updating this blog as frequently as I’d like. Trust me, it’s not for a lack of things to say but rather, as you might imagine, the lack of time to articulate my thoughts! With October just around the corner, I find myself thinking of many things – many things that manifest themselves in my ever-growing “to do” list. A random sampling includes: drop off snacks for back to school night (I had to bail on the brownie baking – that was too ambitious even for me!), plan Ciara’s third birthday, buy birthday presents. Buy shoes for Liam and Ciara. This one’s a priority – with this morning’s temperature hovering in the 50s, it seemed downright irresponsible to send Liam to school in “water shoes” and Ciara out in Crocs. Too small Crocs that give her blisters. But, on the upside, there was rain in the forecast today so I justified it by thinking of the fun they might have splashing in puddles. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway.

With the first of October just a day away, the biggest thing on my mind is the fact that these amazing babies of ours – the “Cubs”, the “trips”, the “puppies” – well, they are about to turn one. And really, how does one go about celebrating the first birthday of three little guys who completely defied the odds, who were each born weighing as much as a “singleton” and, with their first birthday less than two weeks away, are babbling, crawling, eating us out of house and home and doing all the things one-year olds do… including incessantly playing in the dog’s water bowl and flat out refusing anything that even closely resembles jarred baby food… because, of course, as they seem to know all too well, their true baby days are almost behind them. Those mewing newborn cries, the forced tummy time, “back to sleep”, nighttime feedings, and all those first milestones – rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing, these are all behind us now. And, as conventional wisdom suggests and each day affirms, the time has flown by far too fast.
Fortunately, I’ve documented it ALL in pictures. Yep. Everything. Three babies in one crib, three babies in three cribs, babies in bouncy seats, bumbos and Baby Bjorns. Babies on the front porch, babies in the back yard. Babies in car seats, swings and strollers. Babies at the beach, at the park, at the pool. Babies with siblings, babies with parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. Heck, I even have a ton of picture of babies with the DOG! Which brings me to a troubling item on that aforementioned “to do” list. What, pray tell, am I supposed to do with all of these pictures?!
An album commemorating this remarkable first year – and that fact that it looks like we’re all going to survive it with our humor in tact – would seem a reasonable thing to do. So, with that goal in mind, I logged on to KodakGallery.com to create the perfect photo montage of our Cubs first year. On the first go-round, I uploaded 972 photos. Shockingly, this included only pictures from October – February. For real. 972 of them! I decided I better get started so I selected an album, devoted an hour and a half that I should have used to get some much-needed sleep, and then, CRASH! My internet connection was lost and, since I hadn’t saved my “project”, all my work was lost. Stupid, right?
Well, it gets worse. Because I won’t be deterred! I log back on, recreate the first 18 pages of the album, make some additional progress and then, bleary-eyed, decide to upload a photographic sample of the next few months. This time around, my “sample size” exceeded 1200 pictures. And that only got me to July. No joke. Since I could no longer see straight and was facing about 4 ½ hours of sleep at best, I decided to call it a night. And, I haven’t gone back. Although, in the spirit of full disclosure, that was only last night. I still have plenty of time to finish my project before the Cubs turn one on October 10th. But really, I feel like there is a lesson to be learned and shared here. My attempt to memorialize the past 365 days with a photographic journey has reminded me that I often get so caught up in capturing the “right” moment that I often fail to just “be” in the moment and appreciate the many amazing moments that have filled the past year. While I continually try to capture the perfect picture, I too often lose sight of the fact that life isn’t picture perfect. So, that album might get done… and, it might not. Either way, I’ll relish the few short hours of sleep I get before a new day (and new photo ops!) dawn…

What I did on my summer vacation

September 10th, 2009 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Is it possible that summer is really over? All the signs are here – shorter days, school buses and a chill in the evening air. Even so, it seems remarkable that summer has – once again – slipped away so quickly. It seems that the passing of time is picking up speed with each successive season… and if I reflect on all that occurred during our summer of 2009, it’s really no wonder…

Liam went from a kid who clung to the steps of the pool with fear in his eyes to a confident and proud little fella who passed his deep water test. The highlight of his summer was repeatedly hopping off the diving board and swishing down the water slide to the enthusiastic applause of three generations of family supporters – me and Des, my Mom and Dad, my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. He was so excited by his accomplishments that he requested a “celebration” complete with a “cake and band on the front porch” – gotta love the way this kid thinks!

Ciara went from a “baby” in diapers to a “big girl” who boastfully starts most mornings by proclaiming that she is “totally dry Mama! Totally dry.” This new “big girl” is our very own fun and fearless female. She’s the life of any party, often still singing in her bed as we’re tucking in for the night. She approaches pools, beaches, parks and virtually any social setting with fearless abandon and, despite four brothers and a block full of boys, she’s girly to the core and happily flaunted her first ever manicure courtesy of Aunt Pat.

As for the triplets, well, what can I say? The quiet, still, bottle loving babes that were the Kevin, Declan and Cormac I knew back in May have been replaced by a trio of babbling, crawling, finger food loving little guys. They are, in the best possible way, like a little pack of puppies – gleefully rolling over each other, taking each other’s toys, eating each other’s food (and, if they get their way, mine too!), following me around, trying to climb up stairs, pressing their little noses against the doors and screens, and eventually, just crashing into a deep sleep from the never-ending activity. And, much like puppies, they are, frankly, just adorable. They are big, happy, roly poly boys who turn each and every day into our own private Romper Room.

As for me, well, as I reflect on the summer, there are first the startling statistics regarding the amount of formula and Cheerios consumed, diapers changed, barf cleaned up, laundry done, bags packed and unpacked, lists made and tasks completed. This is often my default – the quantifiable list of to-do’s that are now done. But, far more importantly, when I think of Summer 2009, I’ve actually had a LOT of fun. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and secretly marveled that we pulled off an impressive number of fun family adventures in the short time that spans from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

We went to Cape Cod, the place that rejuvenates our senses and refreshes our souls. Twice! We visited friends at a lake in Connecticut, spent weekends with family at the Jersey Shore and East Hampton, stayed with pals in Fairfield and Boston, and spent quality time with my parents and grandparents. And, we did all of this on our own, with five kids under five dragged along for the ride. We did it as people repeatedly remarked “Wow! Don’t you have your hands full!” and “Oh dear, I hope you have some help.”

With the summer behind us and a new school year ahead, I am happy to say that yes, we do have our hands full and, thanks to our amazing friends and family, yes, we do have help! I am also happy when I think back to a conversation Des and I had last year – when we drove to Cape Cod in June 2008. I was about five months pregnant with the triplets and our future was uncertain at best. I optimistically noted that, while it might be years before we returned to the Cape for a summer vacation, I could see a light at the end of the tunnel – I could see a day, perhaps five years in the future, that we were driving a mini-van full of cute kids north on 95 for our annual summer getaway.

Well, it didn’t take five years, it only took one. Once again, proving the power of positive thinking and, of course, the fact that time really does fly by!

I think these pictures say it all… the babies are offically on the move! And so a whole new era begins… stay tuned for updates from the Lyons Den as we deal with babies on the go. Naturally, one of their favorite places to go is into Liam and Ciara’s room… which, as you might imagine, isn’t actually going over that well at all. To be continued…

Be Good to Yourself

August 12th, 2009 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Like many busy moms, I struggle to find the time to exercise, eat properly, get enough sleep and catch up with my friends. I can somewhat routinely care for five kids, a large dog and, on a good day, even my husband but, it seems almost impossible to find the time to take care of myself.

I think of myself as relatively low-maintenance. I don’t wear a lot of makeup. I don’t blow dry my hair. If it takes me a long time to get dressed in the morning, it’s only because I’m still trying to locate items in my wardrobe that disguise “Big Bertha” – the deflated party tent that replaced my belly when Kevin, Declan and Cormac moved out.

In any case, all things considered, I really am fresh off of an extended year where I was truly committed to taking great care of myself. I had to, I told myself. I’m doing for the babies. In fact, I believe we all go to great lengths to ensure our physical and emotional well-being while we are pregnant and/or breastfeeding – ultimately, we justify our semi-self-indulgent actions because we are doing them for someone else.

We tuck ourselves in to bed early. We make sure we take our vitamins. We eat breakfast. We stash healthy snacks in our glove compartments and desk drawers. We eat balanced meals. We stay connected to our friends, relying on them for wisdom and support. We permit ourselves little treats. Or, does a pint of ice cream count as a big treat? Either way, we exercise. Perhaps not hard-core body-battering exercise but rather, well-intentioned toning, stretching and perhaps even a bit of yoga. Which is how I got to thinking about all of this in the first place.

Last Monday night, I had the unique pleasure of taking a Sunset Yoga class. As the sky turned from blue to pink to lavender to grey and the stars rose up above us, I tried to turn my focus inward. I tried to ignore the nagging to-do list that was racing through my mind and the pesky mosquitoes that were feasting on my ankles. Needless to say, I don’t have much of a yoga “practice”. While the triplets have perfected their downward dogs as part of their crawling routine, the closest I’ve gotten to a downward dog is when I yell at Finn (our spunky lab) after he raids the garbage can. So, as you might expect, I found this yoga class extremely challenging.

I tried desperately to wrestle my poor bod through a Vinyassa that the other ladies seemed to execute effortlessly. I had to repress the urge to cry “Timber!” as I toppled over from an attempted tree pose. I really only found solace in the child’s pose – perhaps because with so many kids at home, this one was a natural for me. As I mentally beat myself up for my lack of coordination and inability to focus, I heard a voice say “be good to yourself.” It was the yoga instructor. And, while I’m not sure her whispered words of wisdom and encouragement were necessarily directed to me, I took them to heart.

There I was on a stunning summer evening with the opportunity to zone out, lighten up and savor a few “all about me” moments. And how was I spending them? Lamenting my lack of skills and processing a to-do list that there will never be enough hours in the day to complete! Enough, I decided. That’s enough. I had stumbled upon something that I’ve now moved to the top of the daily to-do lists.

Thanks to Sunset Yoga, I have a renewed commitment to simply be good to myself. Perhaps it’s not a revelation to you, but I’ve just realized that it is OK (more than OK!) to take care of yourself even when you’re NOT preggers or nursing – what a remarkable idea! I suggest that you try it too.

Count Your Blessings

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

This past week we had several vivid reminders to count our blessings. Frankly, we had a really tough week with a lot of sick kids. Declan was still cranky and recovering from an ear infection while Kevin and Cormac both have clogged tear ducts and look like they’ve been slimed – think of that green goo that they dump on whoever the “it” celeb is at the annual Nick Kids Awards. Not cute. Additionally, all three babies are teething which, not surprisingly, has them up at various points during the night. And at 3AM, well, I’m sorry to say, they are not too cute!

Despite sick, teething babies, things were going pretty well until I got home from work last Tuesday night to find Liam writhing on the floor, clearly in terrible pain, claiming that his head hurt. I took his temperature and it was 103. And I panicked. My formerly cool, calm and collected self instantly googled “toddler/fever/headache” and diagnosed Liam with meningitis. I would have had him in the car and on the way to the emergency room had he not chose that moment to toss up the remains of his lunch. On the living room rug. Since there was a lot of clean up to do and vomiting doesn’t seem to be a top symptom of meningitis, I headed for the washing machine instead of the ER.
Fast forward to Wednesday after work. It was like Groundhog Day except that while Liam reclined on the couch happy to watch Noggin and clearly on the road to recovery, Ciara christened me with the remains of her lunch and so, back to the washing machine I went. While three babies screamed for their bottles, Des tried to clean up dinner and I bathed a feverish, distraught little lady, I seriously wondered how we were going to make it through the night.
That’s when there was a knock on the door and three neighbors marched in, demanded babies, grabbed bottles and marched back out – promising to return the little guys after they were fed and quiet. And so they did. And so I had a chance to settle Ciara down, tuck Liam in and change out of my barf soaked clothes. I even got to have a brief chat with Des without the din and demands of our five under five. We are lucky, we thought – so very lucky to have saviors for neighbors! (As seen in photo above!)
Over the weekend, we were reminded again of just how lucky we are… we met a family at the pool who has 3 ½ year old triplets — all born far more prematurely than our little guys and all suffering the consequences in one way or another. The parents were friendly, outgoing and appeared to be handling the challenges of their children in a truly admirable way. Seeing this family in action reminded us of the true miracle of our babies’ birth.
Last but not least, we heard yesterday that one of Liam’s best friends fell off a swing and fractured his skull. Fractured his skull. Can you imagine? The very words send a chill down my spine. Thank God, he will be ok. Although, if you’re reading this, please keep him in your prayers. And just imagine what his poor family is going through – one minute a vivacious 4 ½ year old kid with long lashes and a shy smile is happily swinging away and the next minute he’s in an ambulance with a fractured skull.
These are all good reminders that when the days are long, the nights are longer and tempers grow shorter, it’s worth taking a moment to count your blessings. We are blessed to have incredible neighbors. We are blessed that our triplets were born at 36 weeks and have no developmental delays. We are blessed that Liam and Ciara haven’t thrown up in a few days. And, while we’re at it, we are blessed that we haven’t bought a new rug for

the living room yet – our old one hides all those barf stains just fine, thank you very much.

Kodak moments: July 2009

July 9th, 2009 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Thought I’d share a few sweet snapshots from the past few days. In this case, the pictures really are worth a thousand words so, I’ll do my best to make this post short and sweet!
What amazes me most when I look at these pictures is that it appears that we’re leading a very normal life — and indeed we are, despite the rather unique circumstance of having five kids under five! It is so validating that we are able to be out and about, to socialize with friends and, well, to just be — at home or away.

Like many other families, we had an action-packed 4th of July weekend… we spent the 3rd at the beach, the 4th included a parade, a pool and fireworks and on the 5th, friends had us over for a barbeque… needless to say, these are very good (and very brave!) friends!
We look forward to many more summer adventures although, we admittedly crammed a bit too much into the July 4th weekend extravaganza and we are now paying the price… Ciara spent Sunday night throwing up in her “big girl bed”, Kevin has a nasty cold, Declan has an ear infection that has kept us all up for nights, Des’ back is still aching from lugging so many kids to so many places and as for me, well, never one to learn my lesson the easy way, I’m still intent on planning the next adventure. Stay tuned to see where the Lyons Family Circus lands next… and trust me, if it’s a place near you, you’ll hear us coming! :)

Away we go!

July 2nd, 2009 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

The Lyons Family Circus recently returned from a soggy week up on the Cape. It was our first real getaway with the triplets , toddlers and family dog in tow and the goal was as much about some much needed R&R as it was about simply proving to ourselves that we’re a mobile family unit!

With a fair bit of pride and big sense of accomplishment, I’m pleased to report that we are indeed a mobile family unit. After successfully packing everyone (and what seemed like everything) into our getaway car, we hit the road with visions of sand castles and sunsets dancing through our heads. The ride itself was uneventful. In stark contrast to previous years, no one threw up on 95 North, traffic was minimal and everyone napped. We even stopped for a lobster roll lunch and were smug with our success once we arrived at our friend’s house in Hyannis.

We unpacked and settled in anticipating a week filled with days on the beach and evenings on the porch – sipping wine while our little “cubs” peacefully snoozed in their pack & plays and bunk beds. At about 3 AM that night, our sweet dreams were interrupted by a distinct panic call from Liam on the top bunk. “I can’t see!” he screamed. “Mom, help me down, I can’t see!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” he sobbed. And so it began…

Liam got pink eye. In both eyes. Accompanied by a cough so violent that not once, but twice, it caused him to throw up. In the top bunk. Then Ciara got pink eye. In both eyes. If you’ve ever had t o administer eye drops to a feisty four year old and drama queen two year old, you clearly understand that at this point, the R&R we were seeking on the Cape became the elusive brass ring that would never be reached.

Declan was the next to go down with pink eye, followed by Cormac, whose fever hovered near 103 for several days. It seemed that a big black cloud had descended upon us – in more ways than one! While the sun was vibrantly shining the day we arrived, it was quickly replaced by storm clouds, rainfall, thick fog and chilly temperatures as the days passed. As we watched the rain fall and listened to our coughing kids, we pondered just packing it all in and heading for home.

But, we had to remind ourselves that we are not quitters! We were not going to give up on our vacation, our respite from work and household projects just because of some sick kids and soggy weather! With new resolve, we decided to reconsider what our vacation would entail. Sandcastles and sunsets were replaced by lazy mornings lounging in pajamas and leisurely lunches at local watering holes — and, for those of you who might be wondering – yes, you can have a leisurely lunch and enjoy some chowdah and a beer with five kids along for the ride!

So, while our week away wasn’t what we envisioned, planned for or hoped for – and while it most certainly wasn’t brimming with R&R – it was a good break from our daily routine. It was an affirmation that we can get out, dine out and hang out with our five tots. And, perhaps most importantly of all, a reminder that sometimes the best things in life don’t happen according to plan… simply having Kevin, Declan and Cormac in our lives should serve as a daily reminder of that simple fact!
Wish us luck and warmer weather as consider a return trip to the Cape later this summer…

Amid stunned stares, gaping jaws and colorful comments, the Lyons Family Circus arrived at the new Yankee Stadium for Sunday’s game vs. Tampa Bay.

Granted, most people wouldn’t drag five kids under five to a baseball game. And, most people wouldn’t take those five kids on public transportation, naively trusting in its reliability… especially when taking those five kids to the game requires also bringing along 6 bottles, 4 jars of baby food, 6 spoons, 3 burp cloths, 3 bibs, 8 diapers, 7 sunhats/Yankee caps, sunblock, a box of 50 wipes, “Baby Sharon”, 3 lovey blankets called WeeWees (long story…), tissues, Purell, water bottles for the “big kids”, 2 double strollers, and, thankfully, 2 grandparents and an aunt and uncle!

But, for better or for worse, we’re not like most people and so, to the new Stadium we went! We arrived easily enough and attempted to “blend in” by opting for the two double strollers instead of the traffic-stopping combo of the triplet “limo” and double jogger… not that I’ve jogged anywhere lately but, that stroller really turns on a dime!

In any case, it seems that “blending in” is not currently an option for us and try as we might not to draw attention to ourselves, there’s just something about three babies and two toddlers in pinstripes that are prone to draw a comment or two. Some of my favorites (which we’ve heard many times before) include…

“Better you than me” — um, yes, I would say so!
“Are they all yours?” — um, no, we grabbed a few while were on the train.

After settling Liam and Ciara in their seats with Mima, Pop-Pop, Aunt Kristin and Uncle Al, Des and I made several laps around the Stadium in an effort to explore all the new dining options, bars, beers of the world and, of course, to attempt to lull the babies to sleep. No luck though. While we could get two out of three sleeping, one of them was always committed to seeing the next at-bat… it seems that the triplets made a pact to make sure someone was always awake to take in the action.

Much to our surprise, all five kids, two parents, two grandparents and an aunt and uncle lasted the full nine innings. And, even better, the Yankees had a come from behind win. Feeling fairly accomplished, satisfied and even smug about making it through the entire game with nary an incident to report, we headed back to the train. And watched it leave the station. So we waited for the next train. Which didn’t stop in our town. Still smiling smugly, we decided to feed the babies (again) while Liam and Ciara chilled in the stroller and we waited for the 5:33 train home. Which we discovered at 5:31 would be arriving on the opposite track. So, to end our day, we raced to the elevator with diapers, bottles, kids and Yankee paraphernalia flying. Down we went, over we went, up to other side and then onto our train just before the doors closed. As we once again became the focus of stunned stares, gaping jaws, and colorful comments, we couldn’t help humming “Take me out to the ballgame”, knowing that we’d do it all again.

1, 2, 3 Little Cubs

June 9th, 2009 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Ah hah! At last! It’s taken a bit of time but I’ve finally figured out how to make technology work for me! Here are Kevin, Declan and Cormac about a month ago… stay tuned for some more recent pics and a recap of our trip to Yankee Stadium on Sunday.. :)

Life in the Lyons Den: June 3, 2009

Well, it’s an old cliché but it truly is amazing how quickly the time flies by! Our little “cubs” will be 8 months old next week, Liam’s last day of pre-school is just around the corner and two-year old Ciara has just discovered ponytails and princesses…. suddenly relishing her unique position among her four brothers!

I returned to work in March and while the daily departure and reentry to the “Lyons Den” is a trick indeed, I’m enjoying the adult conversation, intellectual stimulation, break from bottles and diapers and, perhaps most significantly, a paycheck!

Des continues to function as the ideal candidate for the Dad of the Year award – artfully juggling his law practice, three babies, two toddlers and me – and somehow, doing it all with a smile of his face.

Don’t misunderstand though – it isn’t all roses! I feel like our life is like that old nursery rhyme… when it’s good, it’s very very good and when it’s bad, it’s horrid! The good news is that the horrid days are few. I’ll share a few highlights (and lowlights!) with you here and have promised myself that I will share updates, observations and random thoughts (and yes, even pictures!) on a more routine basis – which is setting the bar fairly low given that I’ve, um, never contributed to my own blog! In any case, here goes…

When it’s good, it’s very very good…
Each morning when I walk into the babies’ room, I take a peek inside a crib and see one precious bundle sweetly snoozing with his bottom up in the air. As I marvel at the cuteness of it all, I have to wonder, is there anything cuter than a baby sleeping with his butt up? And then I realize that the only thing cuter than ONE baby asleep bottom-up is THREE babies asleep bottom-up! TOO CUTE!

Then I typically open the shades and am consistently in awe as I am greeted by one, two, three little heads that pop up like little groundhogs to greet the day with great big goofy, toothless grins – and these wondrous grins, I might add, are all directed at me. This is very very good.

… but when it’s bad, it’s horrid.
It might be just moments after this sun-filled reverie that, well, all hell breaks loose. Though the following event is the exception, not the norm, it is nonetheless an event we have faced in the past and will likely face again…
As I pick Kevin up to kiss his sweet smiling face and change his diaper, I notice that the aforementioned face is covered with snot. As is his entire mostly bald head. Additionally, to my dismay, there is dog hair stuck in the snot, which comes as a bit of a surprise given that our 80 pound canine pal Finnegan was most certainly not sleeping in the crib! In any case, with Kevin cleaned up, I turn my attention to Declan – and notice the nasty stench emanating from his crib. Oh no, I think with dread as I hoist him out. But, oh yes, I am facing a dramatic case of back-poo. Gross. Up to the neck, stinky gross back poo.

I decide I will need a cup of coffee before I take on this challenge and head downstairs to discover Des cursing at the coffeemaker because something is clogged and his super-strong brew, typically as black as night, is the color of, well, back poo. Not good.

I head back upstairs to find Liam (always an eager reporter), who excitedly informs me that Ciara has woken up with something “wet, smelly and gross” in her bed. I take a peek in and find my poor little lady covered in vomit. After cleaning her up, I return to the babies, where I decide to take the path of least resistance and change Cormac. He is not snotty, he is not stinky, he is sweet and he is happy to see me. As I bask in the joy of only having to change a wet diaper, I let my guard down and am christened, once again, by Cormac the Freestyle Whizzer.

As I go to shower and get ready for work, I have to wonder if anyone else I know has been elbow-deep in boogers, back-poo and barf all before 8AM. I also wonder how I forgot to pick up my pants at the cleaners and how I will squeeze my post-baby body into anything in my closet but, that is clearly a story for another day.

Like I said, most days are very good days. And some days are very bad days. I usually know which kind of a day it will be well before 9AM. And, good or bad, they all fly by far too fast… leaving very little time to update this blog. Which, as you see, I have found a way to do tonight — as yet another good day comes to a close.