Meet the McNeil Family

Meet the McNeil Family

Friday, March 30, 2012

A Window to My Fears

Last night I checked in on the kids before heading to bed. Waverly was fast asleep on her back, hands crossed over her chest. Silent. Panic set in. I pulled down the sides of her bed and put my hand over her heart. It was beating - beautiful strong beats. I couldn't help but weep. Overcome by their eventual mortality. Every once in a while the fear creeps in and overwhelms me. It is all I can do to sit in the sadness for a short time, before forcing myself to bask in their life today.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


In lieu of my own photos, I will share these photos from Oliver's teacher. She sent them to me last week to brighten my spirits. 

Oliver celebrating Saint Patrick's Day 

Oliver loves the "Book Look" area and his Dora books

Posing on the playground 

Taking a break and flashing a smile

The Flu

My body was exhausted after the move and Matt's work trip. Unfortunately, that meant the flu hit me hard. I was sick for a full week. Matt had to work from home, my parents came down and I was quarantined to the bedroom (to try to protect the kids from my germs). Thankfully, I finally returned to the land of the living yesterday and thus far *knock on wood* the kids have been healthy. Sadly, this means I haven't gotten a lot of work done around the house. We did get our new outdoor furniture and Matt & my dad spent Saturday putting it all together. It looks great and we are most definitely going to be spending a lot of time outside. I hope to get the final boxes unpacked and things hung on the walls. Then it will really feel like home.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Message from AHFAH

41 months filled with countless prayers.
1100 friends, family members, colleagues and strangers.
43 states.
10 countries.


Because of your love,
two wonderful parents, an amazing girl, and a remarkable boy now have...


Thank you. Your generous contributions helped the McNeils move into a home that fits the needs of their family. We can't express our gratitude enough for the overwhleming support of so many people. If you'd like to stay updated on their family, please visit Shannon's blog at
God is Good!!!!
Michele and Kamarah

(You can see the official note at

Settling In

Last week was a long, but very busy week. Matt was out of town for work for 5 days, so my mom took the week off to stay with us. Not the best time for a business trip, but we made it work. The week is a bit of a blur for me. I have to drive the kids to/from school now. We wanted to keep them at their current school, but since we are out of the boundaries I have to transport them. So 3 times a day we commute round trip. Thus far it hasn't been too bad. However, I spent a lot more time in the car and a lot more money on gas now.

The weather has been beautiful here!! We spent many afternoons taking walks around the neighborhood and playing in the backyard. We put Waverly's old basketball hoop on the patio. Oliver loves it! We blew a lot of bubbles and did a lot of exploring. I am so excited to *finally* have an outdoor space for our family. It is the best part of the house.

My mom and I spent one day shopping for outdoor furniture. We got a beautiful dining set and some extra seating. It is going to be delivered tomorrow. Matt and I wanted to have plenty of space to entertain outside and we want to eat dinner out there when the weather cooperates. So get ready for some BBQ invites, local friends!!

On Friday my favorite aunt and Nanna came down for a visit. They have both been so supportive and helpful. We were thrilled to finally be able to host them in our home. We had a great weekend. My aunt and I went for pedicures, we got cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcakes, and my cousins and another aunt/uncle came over Saturday to see the house. It was so nice to have room to entertain so many people and we were excited to show people our house.

Everyone left on Sunday. Real life set it and this week we have been working on establishing routines. Matt has been figuring out his commute - it took him 2 hours on Monday to get to work. We hope to tweak that, so he isn't spending 20 hours each week commuting.

Oliver is definitely right at home here now. He has figured out where everything is and seems to love all of the extra space. Thankfully, he is sleeping well in his own room after so many years sharing a room with Waverly.

Waverly is still settling in. She has been *off* the past few weeks. I think a combination of things are working against her - her joints seem to be bothering her (we just started her on a new medication), new house, Daddy was gone for her first week here. She has been crying a lot and whiney - very unlike her.  Her walking has been getting worse and seems to be painful for her at times. In the midst of our joy being in this beautiful new home, we are so sad to see our little girl crying and in pain.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I took Oliver to the apartment after it had been emptied and cleaned. I wanted to check everything, before we handed over our keys to the management. Oliver was giddy with excitement as we pulled into the parking lot. He ran all the way through the courtyard, giggling as he went. Once I opened the door, he ran throughout the apartment, looking quite confused where everything had gone and thrilled to be able to finally enter the kitchen (we had kept a gate there to keep him out).

We spent about an hour there. Oliver - running around the apartment. Me - taking in the moment. I was actually overcome with emotion. That little apartment was our home for 3.5 years. Waverly & Oliver lived there longer than anywhere else in their lives.

Most parents are sad to see their children grow up...missing their younger days. Since Sanfilippo entered our world, time is much more precious. We try to make memories where ever we go, appreciating the little things. Closing the chapter on the apartment was much more difficult than I thought it would be. Those four walls hold some wonderful memories.

As we closed the door for the last time, Oliver started to cry. He cried all the way from the apartment door to the car. I joined him.

Here is to a new chapter at our new home. May it hold many precious memories for our family.

Waverly & Oliver - Adjusting

Waverly & Oliver are both adjusting well to their new home.

Waverly spent the two weekends of our move at Jill's House. They were so wonderful to make a special exception for her. She was able to have adventure weekends and we were able to concentrate on all that we needed to do. Her first few days in the house have been okay. She is fairly unsteady on her feet and given the new layout, we are hand holding her. The house is all hardwood flooring and ceramic tile (except for the bedrooms), so I want to be sure her knees are protected. She has been a bit whiney....I think it is frustration in not knowing exactly when is happening. She seems to love her new room and has been sleeping wonderfully.

Oliver has been able to spend a lot more time at the house. He loves it! We had a dutch door installed between the den and the kitchen. That way, I can keep my eye on the kids while they watch tv or play with their toys. There is so much more space for him to run around and he loves having a yard. His first night sleeping here was a bit rough. He was quite confused and cried a lot, so I laid with him until he fell asleep. Since then he has been sleeping beautifully. We have had such beautiful weather - perfect to enjoy our lovely backyard.

The Move

I am going to try to catch up on my blog posts for the past few weeks. So much has happened and time has flown by. Here is a photo of our first van load of boxes. In order to save money, we opted to pack and move all of our boxes ourselves. Each day for the week after we closed on the house, Matt and I made several trips to the house to move boxes. Inside of the house the painters were busy at work. They painted every inch of the interior, replaced doors and trim, and painted the kitchen cabinets (I detested the pickling finish on them). They did a beautiful job!! Here are a few photos.

After the painters finished, we had new carpet installed in the bedrooms. They did a wonderful job and the bedrooms look lovely and incredibly comfy.

Once the carpet was installed we had the new fridge delivered, cable/phone/internet installed and the HVAC ducts cleaned. All done in one incredibly busy day.

And then moving day arrived. Thankfully, Matt took off of work and my dear friend spent the day at the house with me unpacking boxes. It was important to me to get the den and the kids' rooms done as quickly as possible. I wanted to have safe places for Waverly & Oliver. I also wanted the transition to a new home to be as easy as possible for them. My parents came down that night for the weekend. We accomplished a lot on our "to do" list. The house definitely began to feel like a home.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

All Moved In

We are all moved into our house and life is good.

I will post photos and details soon. I am simply too tired to do so tonight.

Monday, March 5, 2012

We Have Color!!!

The house is looking beautiful!! The painters worked the entire weekend and made a lot of progress. Almost all of the rooms have been fully painted. All of the trim and doors are new. They even made a dutch door to separate the family room from the kitchen - it is adorable and perfect for the kids. They have also painted the kitchen cabinets and they are beautiful. They should be finished by tomorrow. New carpet will be installed on Wednesday and then the bedrooms are going to be perfect.

My parents came down this past weekend. They loved the house and we were so proud to show it to them. My mom - who has the complete opposite taste as I do - even loved the colors we chose. We spent a lot of time pricing and designing the kitchen. It is only currently halfway utilized and doesn't give me a lot of work space. We ended up adding another wall of cabinets and bought a larger fridge. I still have to select a new countertop, which is difficult for me. It is going to take us a few months, but the kitchen is going to be gorgeous when we are finished.

This is going to be a busy week as we finish packing the apartment and move on Friday, but it is exciting.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Making a House a Home

I still cannot believe the house is *ours*. I have been by the house a few times over the past few days and it has yet to feel real. The painters arrived early Thursday morning and have been busy since. Not only are they painting the entire interior. They are also replacing all of the trim and baseboards with a nicer, more modern wood. And the interior hallow doors with lovely 6 panel doors. It is already looking beautiful!! I cannot wait to see color begin to appear on the walls.

My parents are coming down this weekend. They have yet to see the house and I cannot wait to show it to them. We will also get a few repairs done and make a (long) list of what we hope to do over the next few weeks (months).