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Saturday, February 27, 2010

JennaBeth is ONE!!!

If Simon Cowell were to "judge" this post, he might say, in his strongest British accent, "That was a bit indulgent don't you think!"  Well, I'm not competing in American Idol and thank goodness Simon is not my judge!

Our baby girl turned one year old on Tuesday.  I still can't believe this past year has passed by so very fast.  She is growing up and while I praise the Lord for her health and development, it is still a little sad to see it all happen so fast!

She had her one year old check up with the pediatrician on Thursday.  JennaBeth weighs 21 lbs. and 11 ounces.  That puts her in the 53rd percentile for her weight.  She is 31 inches long putting her in the 95th percentile for her height.  We will be weening her off formula and onto whole milk over the next couple of weeks as well as getting rid of the bottle and paci.  Oh, Lord help us!!  She loves her paci and has to have it for naps and bedtime so we will see how all that goes.

Now for some "indulgence".  We took a bazillion pictures and videos on Tuesday as we celebrated.  My dad asked me on the phone last night how much was a "bazillion" and I just told him it was "a lot"!

JennaBeth woke up on Tuesday morning pointing and clapping, her two most favorite things to do!

Bentley was so sweet with her.  He wanted to be the first person to tell her "happy birthday" and even sung to her:

JennaBeth then had her breakfast.
She is the only one of my three babies who holds her bottle.  Cecily and Bentley never would hold theirs.  She certainly is "Ms Independent".
I had to get a picture of these sweet feet!  She sits with them crossed like this while she eats.

After breakfast was over, I started on her birthday cake.
Her cake was strawberry with cream cheese icing.  I baked the cake and then Cecily came in after school and decorated her number "1" cake and the little mini bunt cakes.  Someone thought she was going to help me bake her cakes:

Here's big "tister" doing her thing with the cakes:

Cecily decorated several of these mini bunt cakes for us to share with our neighbors in honor of JennaBeth's birthday.  And of course Bentley wanted to help:
Once the decorating was done, we delivered the mini bunt cakes a.k.a. flowers, to our neighbors:
This lady lives next door to us with her son, who is a Fort Myers police officer.  Cecily, Bentley and JennaBeth affectionately call her "Granny Greevy", Ms McGreevey.  She is so sweet to come over and visit and check on the kids and us.  Ms McGreevey has adopted them as her own so they have adopted her as a stand in granny, since both mine and Mike's parents live so far away.
Our next delivery was to the Chase home next door to Granny Greevey.  Cecily  and Macy have been friends since we moved to Florida about three years ago.  Standing in the back are Macy's parents, Patrick and Michelle Chase.  They were celebrating themselves on Tuesday.  Patrick has brain cancer with one major tumor in the frontal lobe and a second tumor that appeared some months ago.  They had just gotten back from having a brain scan to monitor the second tumor and determine whether the chemo was affecting it at all and it could barely be seen on this scan!  We are praising the Lord with them at this great news.

After all the deliveries were made, we headed to McDonalds to have supper and get JennaBeth her first Happy Meal.
This girl knew exactly what to do with that cheeseburger!
We took a video while we were there, but I could not get it to upload to YouTube.  She was so cute eating her burger and fries.  She would growl between bites like it was the best thing she had ever put into her mouth.  She also enjoyed her Happy Meal toys.

After McDonald's, we went home and had birthday cake!
No Ace of Cakes creations, but special because they were made by the Ace of Sisters!
Singing Happy Birthday:
And here JennaBeth is tearing into her little cake:

 JennaBeth had a surprise visit from the Ralph family and Lena (the lady we rent from) that night as well.  Lena brought her some cute dresses for church and the Ralph's gave her a little snail with a ladybug on its back that rolls and plays music.
JennaBeth is quite taken with Birchel.  I think it is because he lets her hold his cell phone!
After everyone left, we gave JennaBeth her birthday present from us.  She got Fisher Price's Shop and Learn Walker:
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Baby girl passed out after all the festivities of the day!  I just sat and held her for a while!
Dear JennaBeth,
Time has flown by sweet girl.  It seems like it was just yesterday big sister was a Ms Jill's and brother was at Ms Lena's and your daddy and I were at HealthPark Hospital having you!
We have watched you grow so big over the past year.
You are learning things everyday.  Just earlier this week, you were trying to put your shoes on your feet.  When I say, "Where is your foot?", you look down at your feet.  You love to play "Where's JennaBeth?" and you love to blow kisses at people and wave.  Your biggest word is STILL "dada", but you have said "mama" a few times.
You have NO idea how much you are loved.  If you don't turn out absolutely rotten, it will be a miracle of God!
Although you may have been a surprise, I couldn't imagine our family without you.
(Thank you Aunt Julie for the "j" shirt I got to wear on my birthday!)
God's got big plans for you JennaBeth and it's my honor to partner with Him in guiding you and watching you fulfill those plans in amazing ways!
I love you,

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rearended with Blessings

While on my way to pick Cecily up from school this afternoon, I was hit from behind by another car.  Real hard I might add.  The vehicle in front of me slammed on brakes and to avoid hitting them, I slammed on brakes.  Everything happened so fast.  I slammed on brakes and felt a very strong hit from behind that threw me into oncoming traffic in the other lane.  

What you need to understand is that I wasn't very far from my turn.  This was pick up time at the school and this particular road is very, very busy at this time of day because of that.  So when I say I was thrown into oncoming traffic, I'm not talking about one car coming.  I'm talking about many cars coming.  I simply closed my eyes and hung on thinking I would open them in the presence of Jesus.  I thought, "I won't get to celebrate JennaBeth turning a year old tomorrow."  

The next thing I knew I was sitting in my car, which was now still and in the right lane facing the right direction as if I had simply stopped in the middle of the road.  I pulled to the side of the road and turned the car off and immediately got out to check on the people in the car that had hit me.  Two teenage boys got out of the car and immediately began asking me, "Mam, are you okay?  We were very worried about you."  I assured them I was okay and we called law enforcement to come do an accident report.

This young man who had been driving was so very nice.  While we were waiting on the officer to arrive he asked me multiple times if I was sure I was okay.  I wondered why he kept asking me that.  He went on to tell me that he saw the car in front of me slam on brakes and the next thing he knew "your car left the ground.  I was very worried about you."

I am okay and the bumper of my car only has a few scratches and a little paint missing; not one single dent to be found!  More importantly, my little guys were not in the back seat.  I also did not hit any other cars including the one in front of me.  To say that I am a little stunned by God's protection is an understatement.  We absolutely would not have been able to afford any major car repairs or the replacement of a car right now.

But more importantly even than all of that is the fact that I got to speak to two young teenage boys about the amazing love of God and His protection.  God just simply amazes me sometimes with His mercy and His love.  I'm reminded by this accident how important it is to always be ready to give a reason for the hope I have in Jesus!

How has He been good to you lately?

"But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.  I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me."  Psalm 13:5-6

Blessings on you,

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Who Parked Their Car on the Train Tracks?

We had a really busy and fun day today!  We started out about 10:30 a.m. and headed to Futral's Feed Store in Fort Myers.  They were celebrating their 65th year of being in business.  One of the elders in our church is part owner in the store and we were happy to celebrate with them today.

Mike and our Senior Pastor "Super Hal" (I'll explain the "super" part in a minute) played their guitars along with a couple of other men for entertainment.
Any singing Mike did was for sure in the bass range, because he is still fighting this "funky gunk" we still have!

As part of the celebration, Futral's provided free pony rides and bounce houses to the kids.  Bentley must have gone down the slide a zillion times.
He also enjoyed his pony ride.
After much "encouragement" from a friend, Cecily decided she wasn't going to let her little brother out do her...
JennaBeth even got to ride!  She wasn't sure what to think at first, but decided she like the pony.
Now for the "Super Hal" story!  After the kids were through bouncing and riding, we went back to the front of the store to get hotdogs for lunch.  In between the feed store and the area where the bounce houses and pony rides were, there was a set of train tracks.  For whatever reason I think we are all still trying to figure out, someone had parked their SUV ON THE TRAIN TRACKS!!!  And there was a train you could hear in the distance!  

One of the store owners began announcing over the sound system for the owner of the SUV to please come move their vehicle explaining that the train was coming.  No one ever claimed that vehicle, so Pastor Hal stood in the middle of the tracks and began waving his arms and kinda holding them out in front of himself like Super Man always did to try and stop the train!  Mind you, he had a long sleeved royal blue shirt on!  He really did stop that train!  And he looked just like Super Man doing it.

About 10 to 15 young boys and men ended up having to lift and slide the SUV off the train tracks so the train could continue on its way.  I don't know which Bentley thought was cooler, the train up close and personal or the teenage boys helping lift the vehicle off the tracks!

After all the excitement, we headed straight from there to a birthday party.  JennaBeth got an invitation to her first birthday partyand it was for her little "boyfriend", Immanuel, who was turning one!  His mom, Jill, is a sweet friend of mine from the Thursday morning Bible study I attend in Fort Myers.  We were pregnant with Immanuel and JennaBeth at the same time and had them both at the same hospital about 21 hours apart.

Here we are with them about a year ago...
And here they are a year later, today...
(JennaBeth not happy that the balloons would not be still for her!)

(Immanuel with his dad opening up the gift we gave him.)

Bentley enjoyed being reunited with his little "girlfriend", Macy, Immanuel's little sister.  She used to come on Thursday mornings with her mom, but she now attends a pre-school and Bentley doesn't get to see her on Thursdays.  I guess it's been about a year since he has seen her.  It was a sweet reunion!
It was so much fun watching Immanuel tear into his smash cake...
Even though today was full of activity and we are all very tired at the end of it, I am thankful today for life and being able to live it with my four favorite people on the planet.

Many blessings,

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times: The Long Awaited Part Three

The sick bug has taken up permanent residence in the McIlwain Home, or so it seems to be that way!  I feel behind in every way possible.  My house is upside down, the laundry is out of control, and three of the five of us is sick, still.

At the end of January we spent a week visiting family in MS and AL.  I never got around to sharing about the end of our week and spending time with Mike's parents.  We were at their house from Tuesday night until we left to come back home on Friday.  Wednesday night JennaBeth got sick.  She had been congested, but on Wednesday night she started running a fever and was vomiting.  She didn't rest well all night, which meant Mommy and Daddy didn't rest either!

Mike made a run to a local pharmacy the next morning after a call into her pediatrician to get some things to give her some relief.  This was the beginning of the worst part of our trip as indicated by the post title.  We had a hard time keeping anything down her on Thursday and she was so pitiful.  Then on Thursday evening, I got sick.  I think we may have had a stomach flu thing.  I was up all night on Thursday sick.  Mind you, we were to drive a 14 hour drive back home on Friday!

After taking it slow on Friday morning and getting everything packed (JennaBeth was better by then) we started the trek home.  We got home about 3:30 am Saturday morning.  Cecily began throwing up and running fever Saturday and by Saturday evening, Bentley was doing the same!

We all seemed to eventually recuperate from that round and get our energy back.  About a week ago now, Cecily was diagnosed with pneumonia and is this week on her second round of antibiotics.  Mike and I both have some kind of cold/allergy thing going on and feel horrible as well.  All the while, a very active 4 year old and 11 month old is ruling the house!

We really did have an awesome time with our families during our visit.  I just feel so bad that the majority of our time with Mike's parents was taken up with sickness.  And oh, I forgot the worst part.  When we called to let his parent's know we had made it home, we found out they were both sick with whatever JennaBeth and I had as well as Mike's brother, who had driven from Birmingham just to spend the day with us on Thursday!

Anyway, here are some pictures we managed to get before the sick bug reared his ugly head:
Always a highlight of the stay with Papaw Sonny (Mike's dad) for Bentley is the tractor ride that awaits.  
 And don't think for one second Miss Priss was going to miss her turn...
This same Miss Priss didn't mind one bit crawling all over that AL sod...
Although Cecily thought she was too big to take a tractor ride, she did manage to cooperate with a picture with Papaw and the infamous tractor...
JennaBeth really enjoyed being outside.  Here she is with Mamaw Judy (Mike's mom)...

We had originally planned to leave their house late in the evening and drive through the night, but with JennaBeth still not well and myself sick, we left earlier to give ourselves extra time.

We took these last few pictures right before we left...

Hopefully our next trip back home will just be the best with no "worst" in sight!