Meet the McNeil Family

Meet the McNeil Family

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Waverly is 9!!!

My sweet girl turned 9 years old last week. She had a day full of celebrations. She started her morning with a birthday party in her ID classroom. I outfitted her with a birthday crown, because it seemed appropriate. After lunch she had another birthday party with her 3rd grade class. I brought in cupcakes for all of the kids and they presented her with a lovely birthday card.

All of the kids signed the card and there were a few photos inside of Waverly with her classmates. It was one of the sweetest things she has ever received. A huge thank you to her 3rd grade teachers and her students for doing this for Wavey.

We ended the night at a favorite local diner, where Waverly had a birthday milkshake. We got her a little wind up toy that plays music and has some movement she loves it.

I anticipated an emotional day, but instead it was full of love and celebration. I am so thankful she has so many people who love her at school and wanted to celebrate her in such special ways.

Happy Birthday, Waverly!! I cannot believe you are 9 years old.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving Feast

Yesterday was a Thanksgiving Feast in Oliver's kindergarten classroom. All of the parents were invited to spend an hour in the classroom to celebrate. When I arrived, the kids were all finishing up their morning meeting in the front of the room. Once all of the parents were there, the kids each stood up to finish the sentence, "I am thankful for.....". The answers were adorable - friends, mommy & daddy, kittens, and math. As they neared the end the teacher asked who else needed to give their answer. It was so sweet to hear the kids say that Oliver still needed to take his turn. Oliver was busy paging through his Dora book, so his aide said he was thankful for Dora books. The students then all played a little game and then the feast began.

As the teacher was giving the feast instructions to the kids, I began talking with a mom. Her little girl always stops to say hello to Oliver each morning. She is so sweet and I wanted to let the mom know just how much it means to me to see Oliver befriended in that way. The mom was awesome and is (of course) a former special education teacher. She said she was so excited to learn about Oliver being a part of their classroom and believes fervently in inclusion. I was beyond excited to hear a fellow parent talk about the ways Oliver can have a positive impact on the classroom and how we need to see more of that.

I have felt very removed from the mainstream aspect of school. I don't think Waverly was ever included in a kindergarten activity, but slowly over the past few years the school has done a much better job of providing a more inclusive environment. Oliver's kindergarten teacher has done a great job of having Oliver be an active member of the class and her aide (who is a former preschool aide who worked with Oliver his last 2 years of preschool) is doing a great job with her knowledge of Oliver.

I was so encouraged by this mom. At times I sense distance from many of the other parents. I have to remind myself that it is most likely a lack of understanding rather than an intentional avoidance. I hope to become more engaged with the other parents to change that. I hope the other parents can see the valuable influence inclusion can have on their own child.

Watson the Graduate

This little guy has been keeping me very busy and is one of the reasons blogging has fallen off my radar the past few months. He has been with our family for about 2 months and last week he graduated from Puppy Kindergarten - a very basic obedience class. He was the youngest pup in the class and it showed, however he did great. We all have a lot to learn, but we feel like we have a much better idea on how to raise a puppy into a well behaved dog.

I have grown to love having him at home with me. He provides me with some company and I talk to him way too much throughout my day. We take walks together while the kids are at school, which has proved to be a wonderful way to meet our neighbors.

He is still learning how to behave with the kids. He is obsessed with their chewy tubes and tries to take them from the kids constantly. He is learning to stay down and not jump up. Waverly loves him and just wishes he would stop wiggling long enough for her to pet him. He has never snapped or growled at anyone and allows Wavey to poke, pull and grab him. He knows it is all done in love.

Oliver - Kindergarten

Oliver's kindergarten school picture

Waverly - 3rd Grade

Waverly's 3rd grade school picture

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Halloween 2012

Our first Halloween at our new house was so much fun. My cousin and her family were trapped in DC, thanks to Hurricane Sandy. They were with us all week and we had such a wonderful time with them. The kids got to trick-or-treat Virginia style (they are from Washington state). We carved pumpkins and hit Target for some last minute costumes. Rey picked a Thor costume. Alex went old school with the classic ghost costume. Oliver was a furry green monster again (warm and toasty on the chilly night) and Waverly was an adorable ice cream cone.

Wavey and I stayed back to pass out candy, while the other hit the neighborhood for some trick-or-treating. They came back an hour later with loads of candy. Unfortunately our street isn't the hand out candy kind of street, so we didn't get many kids at our house. Next year we will have to camp out in the drive way with some lighted decor to draw the kids to the house. It was a wonderful way to celebrate our first Halloween.

Thank You!!!

Thanks to all of you who sponsored Matt's 10k run for Jill's House last weekend. He was able to raise over $3866 for this wonderful organization!!! I am so proud of him.