The ZOO!!!















On May 27th, Marky's first birthday, my sister Sara and I took the two kiddos to the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange. I thought it would be a fun way to celebrate Mark's birthday, and having Aunt Sara with us is always a real treat!

I dressed up the two cutie patooties, packed the car full of snacks and drinks, and Aunt Sara came over and dropped off her car so she could drive with us. It was about a 40 minute drive, but that was good, because Mark got to have his morning nap, and Julia got to sing and talk to us. She pretty much had us laughing the whole time. She says things like, "Oh my gosh!" "Oh my word!" "Oh my goodness!" "Oh my dear!" and it is really funny. You just don't expect a 2 year old to say those phrases :)

At the zoo, I decided ahead of time for us to each have a stroller instead of using the double stroller. The zoo is very hilly and I couldn't imagine having to push the heavy double stroller up hill by myself. I had the birthday boy, and Aunt Sara and Julia were buddies. Honestly, I got the easy job, but Sara is such a trooper.

We first saw the penguins, then the prairie dogs, then the bald eagle, horses, llamas, ostrich, peacock, then all the farm animals which we got a chance to feed. (Julia's ultimate favorite part.) I was afraid she wouldn't want to leave that section, so I decided beforehand that after all our pellets were gone, I'd have Sara wash her hands and then offer her, her very own apple. Julia loves being a "big girl" and so if I say, "Julia do you want to hold your own apple and eat it?" as opposed to cutting all the skin off and cutting it up like I do for Marky, she just thinks it is the bees knees...so that little trick worked and there were no problems leaving the farm area.

Then we saw a leopard, monkeys, more birds, more peacocks...we got to have our lunch, played on some toys and took photos...had a potty break...Julia loves using the potty when we are out, it's like a novelty for her! And we ended the day with...Cotton Candy!!! I know, I must be crazy, but we were having a little melt down because some little cutie pie wanted to go IN a fountain, and I needed a distraction, and what a great day to splurge, right? Well, Julia loved the cotton candy, and Mark thought it was some kind of joke. Every time I offered him a taste he cracked up laughing as if to say, "MOM you don't EAT cotton!" It was cute.

Then we headed to the parking lot to leave where Julia promptly told me, "I don't want the car, I want to see ANIMALS!" But once she got in the car and settled down, she was out like a light! :) Going to the zoo with both kids was very hard, and I could NOT have done it alone, so, thank you Aunt Sara. We loooooveeeeeeeeeeeee you!

All in all Marky had a wonderful birthday...and we had another great learning day to add to our book of memories! One of my favorite memories of Mark at the zoo was how he pointed to EVERYTHING, he just thought all the sights and animals were TOO COOL. I can't wait to take them again, and next time, I'm asking more adults to come! The more hands to help, the better :) Any takers???

The Big Party: Red, White, and Blue!!!


















All my planning came to an end on Saturday, May 29th. We had the big party for Marky at our church from 2-5 p.m. It was very tiring, but wonderful to see all of our family and friends celebrate Marky's first birthday. I think for us having a huge party for a one year old is now a McInerney tradition because for us it is a huge accomplishment to have a baby and survive that first year! Seriously, being a parent is a lot of work, and what a great way to celebrate life with all your loved ones than to have a great big party filled with games, food, and lots of fun.

Did it all go as I had planned, of course not. I never got to thank all the women who helped me get through my motherhood journey this year. Honestly having Mark was really hard the first few months, especially with a 17 month old running around and needing me just as much. So many of our friends and family helped me, supported me, prayed for me, watched the kids for me, and just got me through some difficult times. I wanted to so bad to get on the microphone and tell them Thank You and I love you, but Mark was so clingy, and he was in pain from teething, and there was so much to do as a hostess, it just didn't happen.

Today (Sunday) actually I had a bit of a meltdown about it (poor John and to see my hysterically cry about it, but hey that's what good hubby's are for). I've been planning this party since the fall, and I've been thinking about what I wanted to say to certain people, publicly, and I just was so disappointed that I didn't do it. John said it just wasn't in God's timing, then, which was good to hear but hard to take and believe. I did the best I could, but you know what, I just need to accept that not everything is going to go as I plan...and for the control freak that I am, that is VERY hard.

Anyway, everyone who said they were coming came, and I loved that! We invited about 120 people, and 95 came...Yay! The hardest part for me was the table seating...trying to fit everyone's family at a table with people they know and like, etc when only 8 people fit at a table, is super hard work. But all in all it worked out, I guess.

I hope you enjoy some of the pics. I love you my Mark man. Mommy wanted this day to be special for you!

Birthday Fun :)













We were so happy to have Daddy with us for dinner and cake last night. He's been away on business all week and we've barely seen much of him. It's been rather lonely, especially at nighttime.

Julia raced to the door to say, "Daddy I MISSED you!" This has been her new phrase since last Friday when I went to the church business meeting and put her in the nursery. She did not appreciate being in there past her bedtime. She is just like her mommy. When I went to pick her up they said she just sat in a chair off to the side and was rather sad. As I put her in the car and asked her what was wrong, she said, "Mom, I had to talk to you...I MISSED you mommy." Oh, my, did I feel bad. This was the first time she was ever able to explain her feelings to me. Now she says it a lot and knows just when to melt our hearts, especially Daddy's.

Mark didn't care too much for his cake. At the zoo today I bought Julia cotton candy, and she loved it, but when I offered Mark a piece he started to laugh hysterically, as if to say, "MOM, you don't eat COTTON!" He wouldn't eat it! I was amazed. I think he's gonna be super healthy like Daddy is. Anyway, he had a few tastes of cake, but promptly signed all done, and I wasn't about to be late with cleaning him up, because if he signs all done and you are too slow he rubs food in his hair as if to say, "I TOLD you I was all done!"

After cake, I cleaned up the kitchen and dining room (again :)) and John took the kids in the Reading room and they played with toys. John taught Julia how to bunt a volleyball and she became obsessed, he is just sure she is going to be a pro volleyball player now, we shall see. LOL

Mark just cruised around enjoying every minute of his daddy time. Then it was off for PJS upstairs and books/puzzle time in Julia's room. I wanted to take pictures but we were having too much fun.

Then it was Bible time, prayer time and tucking everyone in and goodnight kisses. We brought Mark downstairs to take a few more birthday photos and then he got so sleepy so I put him to bed.

It was a great birthday night. Filled with my three favorite people.

Birthday Boy Turns One! Mark's Birth Story
















My son turns one years old today! I am so proud! I could just post some pics and tell you what Mark is able to do now, but I decided to share my labor experience and Mark's birth story today.

Just a few years ago you could hear me say, "I'll never have kids!" (But deep down I always wanted to be a mom and always wanted to have a house full of children, I was just afraid of the whole labor/birth experience.) My words were said in fear. I was afraid of pain and afraid that I would never be able to handle delivering a baby.

But God put just the right people in my life, my husband, my doula, and just the right Obgyn. I've known Rosemarie for about 7 years now. John and I had just gotten back from our honeymoon and we did a skit in church and the Dimares sat behind us. They were new believers and quite wonderful people. The following year I had their youngest son Nicholas in my third grade class, and then again the next year when I switched to fourth grade. (He was definitely one of those favorite students you aren't supposed to have, such a little sweetheart.)

When I got pregnant with Julia, Roe approached me about her doula services and childbirth classes, of course we said yes, we wanted all the information and support possible. Roe knew the kind of birth I dreamed of, an all natural, unmedicated, waterbirth. I can't tell you why exactly, but I just never wanted an epidural. When I was pregnant with Julia and John and I traveled to England to take classes at Oxford, I met a woman who shared with me her labor experiences with her 3 children, 1 of which was in the hospital and she hated and the other 2 were at home, all natural with a midwife. The way she described how beautiful the experience was I knew that was what I wanted. And for some reason, I really don't remember when, I always wanted to have a water birth. I just thought that would be the best way for a baby of mine to enter the world.

On May 27th, at around 9 am (it was a Wednesday), I was getting ready for Bible study with my Debi...I was so excited because it was my grown up time and Bible time and we were doing a Beth Moore study on Esther. As I was getting myself ready and Julia ready I noticed every few minutes a little discomfort, nothing bad, just different. I don't know how I knew, but I knew they were contractions, and I knew Mark would be coming this day...how I knew, I guess a mother just knows...I had been nesting for weeks, the house was spotless, my belly was huge, it was time.

I tripped down the steps, not good, and her my foot that morning. Of course John rushed to my aid (this was before MSSB, his NY job) and recommended I stay home and asked, why doesn't Debi come here? But nothing was stopping my plan...I'm stubborn when it comes to the way I envision a day. And that day was no different. Contractions or not I was going to my Bible study, and I was going to drop Julia off at my MIL and I was going to have grown up time!

Well, as I dropped JuJu off and headed to Debi's I began to cry. Why? Hormones probably, but I can remember thinking, "It's not fair. Julia won't get all the attention anymore, and she's still a baby, she's my baby. I'll never be able to love this new baby like I do my Julia Star!"

During our Bible study the contractions got closer together and more regular, but still were not a bit painful, hence why we finished our lesson and I just jotted down the time every time I felt one. I would text John every 15 minutes or so and he called Roe, Roe called me, and we all decided I should go get checked at the doctors.

So, I left Debi's, picked up Julia, called my mom out of work to watch Julia, and John, Roe and I went to Dr. Giovine, while Julia had both Grandmothers over spoiling her to pieces :)

Dr. Giovine said I was only about 2 cm dilated, and he felt I should go home and labor more there. Apparently you can be 2 cm dilated for days without the baby coming, but I still knew today was our day. Roe and I labored at home, we ate lunch, we walked around the block...Julia was napping...and right around 3:30 my contractions got a bit stronger and a little painful, so I made the decision to head to the hospital because I didn't want my Julia waking up from her nap to see me laboring around the house. Not that anything would be wrong with that, but I knew I'd have my "game face" on and I needed to concentrate and bring this baby out!

At the hospital I was admitted and was now 3-4 cm dilated. Roe and I did lots more walking around the halls, and I came back to the room to labor with John, use the yoga ball, and get ready for the tub.

The tub John and Roe set up this time was so much faster and easier to do, which meant I had a lot more help from John. He was a gem and my hero. He just let me do what felt right, and during this labor I felt much more in control than with Julia and much better able to deal with my pain. I knew just what I needed and I drank lots of fluids and kept moving around. When the tub was ready I was in it. It was hot in there, but with lots of ice I was able to cool off and get more comfortable. Laboring in a tub is truly awesome. Water does miracles for that back pain you feel in labor.

At 9:30 p.m. my water still had not broke, but I was 9cm dilated...Dr.Giovine suggested that I have that done so that it would speed things up...by this point I was exhausted...labor is a lot of work, people! LOL I felt like I ran a 6 hour marathon! I looked at Roe and she said, "Go for it!" I was afraid to have my water broken because I knew the contractions would get a lot more painful and they did, but thank goodness at 10:03, after 2 pushes in the water, Mark entered the world!!! And it was so cool, to bring him up out of the water and announce to everyone, it's a boy, I have a boy! I was in baby heaven....and just for those of you wondering how you can ever love that second baby as much as your first, take it from me, God just opens up your little heart wide open and you fall in LOVE all over again!

I'm so thankful for my birth experience, but I'm really just thankful that Mark was healthy, at 8.1 lbs and 19 inches long, and a head full of reddish hair, he was a sight to behold and we were the proud parents of a 17 month old daughter and a brand new baby boy...Mark Ciro McInerney we love you!!! Happy Birthday baby, you are such a big boy now...but still my baby.

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