Meet the McNeil Family

Meet the McNeil Family

Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Laid Back Weekend

We decided to stay in this weekend. Oliver is sick with a cold and the weather has been drippy. I cooked 2 big meals and we just enjoyed good food with family. We did venture to the park. Here is a photo Matt snapped of Waverly - I love her expression. We also had a birthday party tonight (Happy Birthday, Rasa!) There were a ton of people there and Wavey was so excited to sing "happy birthday" and have a cupcake. Our household items are due to arrive sometime this week (I hope!). We will most likely spend this next weekend unpacking and decorating. I can't wait to put some things on the walls and fill our barren shelves. I will post some photos of our flat once it looks a little more presentable.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Shannon & Oliver

Here is the rare photo of me...holding my little Oli-bear.

Sticks & Stones

I hate the saying "sticks & stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me". I took the kids to one of our favorite parks this morning to meet up with some friends. While we were there a group of school girls started making fun of Waverly and made her cry. It was heartbreaking. I kindly (restraining my desire to break their bones) told them that Wavey couldn't hear. They didn't seem to care and went on playing. Girls are mean. It was the first time that I saw Waverly really get that they were not being nice to her. It made me incredibly sad and my desire to create a safe & loving environment for her was increased immensely.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Day Without Daddy

Matt had to attend a function tonight at the Embassy, so it was just me and the kids today. Waverly had a wonderful morning at therapy. There were a 2 new kids in her group and she had lots of fun interacting with some new faces. Her therapists are reporting better focus now that she has her glasses - YEAH!! Oliver is doing great. He is starting to get quite vocal when Waverly takes a toy from him. So much for a passive personality - he is going to be assertive...and loud! We are still waiting for our furniture and belongings to arrive from the States. These are things we haven't seen in over a year & a half - since we packed out of our home in Ohio. We are ready to make this flat feel more homey and I can't wait to have all of my kitchen stuff. We are hoping to take a road trip this weekend up to the base to do some shopping at the commissary. We also have another birthday party - Wavey is already excited about it. We are settled in.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Waverly's Duck

I haven't taken any photos of the kids for the past few days. They are asleep. So, instead of taking a creepy sleeping photo, I snapped this shot of Waverly's latest art project. She made this duck today at group therapy. She is very excited because Matt is going to hang it up in his cubicle. We hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Both kids and Matt are napping - quiet. It is so nice. We spent the morning at the zoo. It is another picture perfect autumn day. Waverly was most excited to ride the giraffe on the carousel and Oliver was thrilled to ride on Daddy's shoulders for the first time.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Our 1st London Birthday Party

Waverly & Oliver were invited to a birthday party today for one of their little friends. (Happy 2nd birthday, Lexi!) They had a craft hour at an International Children's Art Gallery and then a pizza lunch. It was lots of fun - the Dads were finally able to meet one another. Here are a few photos from their time. (I don't want to post pictures of the other kids, since I didn't ask.)
It was a beautiful day. We are off to enjoy an evening walk. We aren't sure how many more 70 degree days there will be for us this year. Matt is on duty this weekend, so we are laying low and staying around the house. Enjoy your weekend!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I fixed the camera! For some reason it has a setting for blurry photos. I am not sure why someone would want to take one, but now I know that I can. I took this of the kids this morning.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Bad Week For Electronics

On Sunday night, Waverly dropped our ipod & speakers on Matt's foot. His big toe was not cushion enough and our ipod is kaput. Today, I tried to take a few photos of the kids to post, but our camera only takes blurry photos. Ugh.

On a brighter note, Waverly loves wearing her glasses and her therapists (& parents) report better behavior and focus now that she has them. She has been such a good girl this week and I am so thankful. Oliver continues to be tons of fun. He really wants to crawl and I think that he is going to start within the next few weeks.

We miss you all.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Cheeky Monkey

We had some wonderful autumn weather this weekend, so we spent Saturday & Sunday at our local parks. (Londoners really know how to enjoy the nice weather and have established such beautiful parks & gardens.) Here is Oliver in the swing yesterday. He loves it and spent a good deal of time on it again today. We also found a HUGE grocery store just a short bus ride away and it had some Mexican food items. Both nights we feasted on pseudo-Mexican food and it was good.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Waverly's New Look

Waverly got glasses this morning!! She was hesitant to try any on, but once we bribed her (thank you fruit snacks!) she was excited to wear some specs. We think that she looks beautiful in them and she is very proud to be a big girl in glasses. She likes being like her mommy & daddy, too.
She got this flower while she & Matt walked down to the market. She loves it!

Friday, September 14, 2007

The end of a long week....

Here is a photo of our sweet little girl next to a bear dressed up as a beefeater at the Tower of London. Right before I got this shot she was hugging and kissing the bear, and wondering why he wasn't holding her hand back.
This week was rough. I have been struggling with feelings of hopelessness for my little girl. We are still working with a team of doctors to figure out what we are dealing with in terms of Waverly's development. I just want her to be able to share all of her thoughts & dreams...I want everyone else to see her as the beautiful, sweet, incredible little girl that I know her to be. She is almost 4, she looks like she is 6 and she is developmentally at 2. It is stressful and exhausting....especially being away from the support network of home.
After dinner tonight, she was a bundle of happiness. She laughed and played and snuggled - it was exactly what I needed to be reminded just how blessed I am to have her as my daughter.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I have some time while Waverly is watching a show and Oliver is sleeping to post. The past 6 weeks have been incredibly tough without internet access. It has become my main way of keeping in touch with so many of you, that I have felt a bit isolated without it. I am glad to be back!

We really like our new flat. It is much larger than our temporary housing - Oliver is in his own room now. And we have full size appliances (oven, washer, dryer, etc) which is great for a family of 4. We are about a mile away from our old place in a lovely neighborhood called St. John's Wood, aka the "American ghetto" (because so many Americans have settled in this area). There are 2 wonderful parks just blocks away and I am able to see Madonna every Friday morning. (She works out across the street from our favorite park.) We have settled into our new place and all of our items that have been in storage for well over a year should arrive in about a month. I can't wait to have my kitchen items, furniture, and stuff. That will make it feel like home.

Waverly is still attending her group therapy sessions 3 days a week and individuals 1 day a week. She really likes it! She is beginning to say loads more words. We are still working with a team of specialists to figure out what is going on in her little head. I can't wait to have some answers. We are thinking about putting her into a full time nursery school in January - it is a special school recommended by her therapists. We think she would really benefit from it.

Oliver is growing up so quickly. He is babbling, sitting up, eating crackers and other finger foods. He is a total charmer, with a super pleasant personality. He is a trooper too, being rolled all over this city.

We spent a few of our weekends venturing out of London to enjoy some other UK sites. We really enjoyed our day in Brighton - a great beach town on the channel. We want to go back next summer for an entire weekend.

London finally feels like home. We are excited to put our knowledge to the test when we have visitors. Please come visit!! While still not the most kid friendly place, I am becoming much more confident and bolder taking the kids all around the city.

Our entire family misses Chipotle. Waverly asks for beans and a quesadilla daily - she called Chipotle "chicago" and always wants to go there. You can't get good Mexican food here - go figure! I would give anything for a Northstar veggie burger and a slice from Sal's. And of course we really miss our family and friends.

Well, Wavey's show is over and I promised her that we would make some art. Until next time...


Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Shannon, Waverly & Oliver at Hampton Court

Matt & Waverly at the beach in Brighton

Waverly at the Tower of London

Oliver at 8 Months Old

And we're back...

I never thought that it would take 6 weeks to get internet in London, but this city surprised me once again. I feel like I have so much to tell everyone, but it will have to come in stages. Waverly isn't napping anymore, so free time is at a premium. Here is a recent photo of the kids. I will post more photos and a more detailed update tonight. Cheers!