Meet the McNeil Family

Meet the McNeil Family

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Oliver is 6 Months Old Today!!!

Happy 6 Month Birthday, Oliver!

We're Fine

We have heard from many of you wondering if we are safe. Thanks so much for your concern. The bomb scares in London were only a few miles from our flat. We have noticed an increased police presence and an incredible amount of sirens, but other than that no other changes.

We went to the London Zoo today and became members. It is a wonderful zoo and we had a ball in the rainy weather. Waverly rode a giraffe on the carousel - she loved it! We can walk there from our flat and I think that I will spend lots of time there with the kids.

Here is a photo of Wavey that Matt took this afternoon. I think she looks lovely.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Circus

Every time I take the 2 kids out I hear a song playing in the back of my head. You know it - it's that generic circus theme song. "Doot-doot-duhduhduhduh-doot-doot-doodoot, doot-doot - duhduhduhduh-doot-doot-doodoot."

Matt hears it, too.

Oliver's new Exersaucer is circus theme and it plays that song.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

We've Created A Monster!

And here he is!!! Oliver is not a very good sleeper, and I think we are just making it worse. He wakes up after a few hours and we end up bringing him into bed with us (since he is still in our room and his crying is REALLY loud) & we have started utilizing the pacifier. He may look sweet and cuddly in this photo, but at 3am he can really wail (although he does remain sweet & cuddly - he just can't help it!).

I also spent part of the day on the phone with the National Health Care Service. The nice thing about living in the UK is taking part in their national health care system. Unfortunately, in order for the kids to see an audiologist I need to: 1. Register in person with a GP (general practitioner)
2. Matt has to go in person to register
3. Make appointment for the kids to see the GP
4. Get referral from the GP to see a pediatrician (they are considered specialists here)
5. Get referral from the pediatrician to see the audiologist

So we will be spending July 4th at the GP's office in the morning getting #1 and #2 taken off the list. I am very interested to see how this all plays out and how long it takes.

We had Portuguese chicken tonight from Nandos. It was delicious!

Monday, June 25, 2007


I remember in "The Office" (the real BBC version), Dawn referenced the weather forecast in London was going to be "drizzly" and was she ever correct. It seems that every time we get the diaper (UK nappy) bag packed up, the stroller (UK pushchair or buggy) down the 3 flights of stairs to the lobby, and the kids clothed in multiple layers for the various weather conditions, it is pouring by the time we get outside. Yesterday the sky finally looked like it was clear and once we were outside to head to the park, the sky opened up again and it started to rain.

Back home rainy days are usually spent indoors, but here life goes on as before. This is something that I have to get used to. The rain cover for the stroller has been an absolute necessity - I am so glad I opted for that!

Waverly had a fun day at "school" today. Everyone says she is a delight, although she needs to work on sharing and taking turns. Surprise! She loves to go to the playground.

Oliver is teething and it must really hurt, because he has been very fussy the past few days. (I do not remember that with Wavey.) He is going to try some veggies tonight for supper - it is very difficult to find baby food here, but I just had some delivered this afternoon. Broccoli, pears and peas are on the menu.

Matt & I are both doing well. Matt is settling into his job and really enjoys the work. He has been able to use Telugu a few times, which makes those 9 months of studying all worth it. :)

We are thinking of a December trip to Germany & Austria. We have heard the Christmas markets are a must see and we have always wanted to visit that part of Europe. We must take advantage of our proximity and travel.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

At the Abbey

Here is a photo of Waverly & I taken this morning at Westminster Abbey. It was beautiful and I wish that I would have had more time....less screamy order to enjoy it more. Waverly loved the acoustics in the cloister.

We had a lovely lunch at Giraffe - one of our first meals out. $68 for 3 sandwiches & chips & drinks. WOW! It was delicious though and actually a good deal on London terms. It started to pour at the end of our meal. Did I mention that we were eating outside?

I think I finally need to invest in a rain jacket.

Friday, June 22, 2007

It was a good day.

London is feeling more and more like home. Today I was invited to meet up with some other moms & kids at a local play area and library. I hesitated going initially, but it ended up being such a great experience. The 4 moms were all wonderful - such a pleasure to meet. The kids were great and there are potential friends for both Waverly & Oliver. I am so thankful that there are other families around. I was given great local tips and they answered so many of my questions.

Waverly had so much fun being out with other kids and playing. She is so interesting to watch - she absolutely loves being with kids her age, she just isn't sure what to do with them. My goal is to get her comfortable socially this year and I think this group of moms is going to be a great help.

I am missing home tonight though. I miss you Grace Central folks!!! You know who you are. I am listening to some praise music and if I close my eyes, I think I am with you all again.

My cousin is getting married Sunday - congrats Kristy!! Most of my family are in town for the wedding and I am sad to be missing it. Take lots of photos fam!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Nana's Coming!!!

This is my Nana with Oliver, taken last month. I just found out that my Mom & Nana are going to come visit us in November. Look out London!!

We are so excited to have them come for a visit. We will be celebrating Thanksgiving with them. I hope we can get the ingredients for pierogies, Nana, because I want to learn how to make them while you are here. A taste of home.

Can you bring Salvatore's across the pond?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

For your enjoyment...

too late to blog, so here is a photo of Oliver taken this evening. He is adorable!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The honeymoon is over....

I have discovered that London is not all bedknobs & broomsticks. Yesterday I had a very rude mom push Waverly away when Wavey went to say hello to her in the waiting area of our therapist. (A mom whose son also has special needs and one would think would be especially sweet to other kids.) Then today Waverly was pushed while trying to get off of the bus, causing her to fall off the bus steps onto the sidewalk. I knew coming into London that they are not all of that fond of children, but I did not expect them to be taking my kids out left & right. Waverly is so kind (and oblivious) that she just looks a bit stunned and then moves on.

On a lighter note, I saw Fred Thompson at the Embassy while I was waiting for Matt. For the record he looks thinner in person, but I didn't get the smile I was hoping for. I think Obama would have smiled...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!!!

Happy Father's Day!! Here are Matt, Waverly & Oliver this morning taken in a garden near our flat. We went out for pasteries before we went to church.
It is a lovely day and we hope to go to a local street fair in our neighborhood this afternoon.
We hope all of the dads out there have a wonderful day!!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Long Live the Queen!

Today we went down to Buckingham Palace and accidentally came upon a huge celebration in honor of the Queen's birthday. We were able to see "Trooping the Colour" - the annual parade. In addition to over a 1000 of her royal highness' bear-fur hat red coat wearing troopy guys, we saw Prince Phillip, Prince William, Camilla and THE QUEEN!!! (She looked lovely in a bright green number, with matching hat of course.)
Waverly was given this lovely flag to wave and she did, until she jabbed too many people with it and we had to take it away from her.
Check out this link for much better photos than I was able to take over the crowds:

Friday, June 15, 2007

Wavey Loves Her Daddy

Everyday around 5:15 Waverly starts to get very excited because her inner clock tells her that her Daddy is about to come home. Here she is at our door waiting for his return home after a day of work. Note: that is not Oliver on the floor, but rather her baby doll.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Oliver had his first attempt at eating rice cereal yesterday. He was very excited about the whole process, but he couldn't quite figure it out. He just kept pushing the food back out. Hopefully he will have a better go this afternoon. Once he masters rice cereal we will move on to veggies - although here the veggie selection is different. Parsnips & cabbage are popular among the new eaters crowd. Waverly thought it was very cool that Oliver was eating with a spoon. I think she will be thrilled to help feed him.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Horses

Here is a photo I took of the horses that march
by our window every few days. I am not sure who they are or what they are doing, but they stop traffic as they come & go from Regents Park. The riders are in their formal riding clothes and they are pulling some kind of artillary mounts on wagons. The horses' shoes spark when the hit the pavement, which can be quite haunting when they come by at night. We love to run to the window when we hear the clip-clop. Waverly is amazed by them.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

First Day of School

Here is a photo of Waverly taken this morning on her first day of nursery school. She was accepted into a group therapy class at her speech therapist's practice. She was very excited and did a wonderful job. Her speech therapist said that she was a super sweetheart and really enjoyed being around the other children. We are so proud of her! She learned all about her eyes and made a mask. (Maybe in her next photo she will remember to keep her eyes open.)

Oliver and I spent the morning walking around Marylebone and checking out the local boutiques. It was very relaxing. He was happy as long as we kept walking - he did not like stopping to shop. Male.

Our neices & nephews have asked for some funny things they do/say in the UK. Here are a few:

-You say "brilliant" instead of wonderful
-You say "well done" instead of good job
-You "queue up" instead of stand in line
-You look right then left when crossing the street since they drive on the left (don't say wrong) side of the street
-Fries are chips & chips are crisps - go figure!
-Rhubarb is a very popular fruit (Wavey loves rhubarb yogurt)
-Cookies are called biscuts (I am not sure what biscuts are called)
-There is no Mexican food here!

Well, that is all for now. I posted a photo of our living room/dining room for those who wanted to see our flat. Cheers!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Calling London Home

Hello. Matt & I decided to put together a pseudo-blog in order to keep family and friends updated and to stop inundating your e-mail boxes with new details and photos. This way you can check us out when you are thinking of us. Hopefully this will prove to be an easy way to keep you up to date.

We arrived in London about a week ago. The kids both did beautifully on the plane. Jet lag was a bigger deal than we anticipated, but we seem to have settled into a routine. Our flat is lovely - in a great area of London, within walking distance of most things we need. I am enjoying the daily run to the "fruit & veg" and brasserie. Matt is really enjoying his work. The kids seem fairly unfazed that we are in a new place. Within a few days Waverly was calling it "home", especially when her toys & books arrived.

We are hoping to enroll Wavey in a special nursery school for kids with hearing & speech issues. This will be a great social learning setting for her and a wonderful break for me. We should find out this week whether they will accept her into the program or not.

I am hoping to join a playgroup with other parents from the Embassy. We are also in the process of finding a church that will hopefully provide a source of friendships for the family. Not being lonely on the road is the key to making this a success.

We miss our family & friends very much. You must come for a visit. London is a lovely city, albeit incredibly expensive. We will be expert tourguides soon.