Meet the McNeil Family

Meet the McNeil Family

Monday, December 30, 2013

New Traditions

Christmas has always been a difficult time for me. I tend to be overly emotional about it and focus on the *what ifs*. The past few years we have made a point to go on vacation over the holidays. It's a chance to escape and make memories. We weren't able to do that this year. So instead of trying to force traditional Christmas on the kids, we opted to do our own thing.

Matt had to work Christmas Eve day, so the kids met him downtown after work. We walked over to the White House to see the National Christmas Tree. It was freezing cold and so windy, so it was a quick walk. Then we went to Founding Farmers - one of our favorite restaurants - for dinner. We had a great table by the window in the corner. Perfect spot for Waverly and Oliver loved all of the food.

Christmas morning was casual. I made breakfast and had a few up wrapped toys and books in a basket for the kids to discover. No wrapping paper or bows, no Santa or stockings. I used to get so depressed that Waverly & Oliver didn't show excitement for those things. This year I adapted to them. And it was so much easier. Lesson learned.

Father & Son

I adore this picture of Oliver & Matt. My two favorite guys. Ollie was so excited for a Sweet Frog treat and Matt was more than happy to provide.

Our New Ride

We decided it was time and bought a wheelchair accessible van last month. It has finished being converted and now we are just waiting on delivery. Hopefully it will be here within the next 2 weeks. My back is achy from lifting Waverly in and out of our van. And especially lifting her wheelchair in and out of the back of the van. We just ordered her a new wheelchair which is much bulkier and weighs almost 100 lbs. It will be a wonderfully comfortable fit for Wavey, but I knew I could no longer lift it. 

It is a huge expense, but it was time. We needed a second car anyway. Our new van will accommodate 2 wheelchairs. For now, Oliver can sit in a seat with Waverly in her wheelchair beside him.

I am strangely excited for the new van's arrival. My back is already looking forward to limited lifting. I will take pictures of the kids inside once it *finally* arrives.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Favorite Football

My sweet little boy is turning 7 years old tomorrow. I cannot believe how quickly time is flying by. My sister gave Oliver the football you see above. He got the same exact one in 2008, when we visited Disney World after the kids were diagnosed. He sleeps with it every night. A dear friend got us a spare a few years ago, but we lost it a few months ago. Thanks to eBay and a savvy sister, he now has  a back up once again. He was thrilled to see a favorite familiar toy under the wrapping paper. Most kids would be devastated to see a toy they already own, but my precious boy was all smiles. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


It is that time of year. Time to clean out the kids' rooms and donate toys. We don't buy many toys any more, so this is simply an act of going through old ones and deciding if we are able to part with them. Like most parents, letting go of the memories associated with specific items is the difficult part. For our family, there is an additional layer. Most of the toys were Oliver's - cars, fire trucks and race tracks. I am sure some little boys and girls will be very excited to receive these toys. Still it is another loss. Another phase of his childhood that has passed. Feeling very sentimental. And holding on to his Handy Manny tool set and Thomas the Tank Engines for a little while longer.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Doll in a Wheelchair

I went to the American Girl store with a friend last week. In the past, this store has filled me with anxiety and sorrow. I know that it sounds insane to equate Waverly's childhood with a doll, but the store represents a missed phase. It was a place I thought we would go together and let her pick out a doll. Last December I wandered in and decided to buy her a doll. I know she won't play with it, but I wanted to her to have one. I think it looks just like her. On my most recent trip, I spotted the wheelchair. I knew she had to have it. Just another addition to allow her doll to resemble Wavey even more. I have it displayed in Wavey's room and I think it looks fantastic.

Zoo Lights

We took the kids to the National Zoo for Zoo Lights last week. It is one of our favorite events during the holiday season in DC. I took this quick picture of Waverly before the sun went down and the lights came on. I think she looks adorable and definitely 10 years old. I think both kids enjoyed seeing the twinkly lights and riding the carousel. Making memories one moment at a time.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Inclusion Week

The kids' school celebrated Inclusion Week a few weeks ago. As the Special Ed PTA rep, I thought this would be a really fun way to celebrate our students with disabilities. Well the teachers, staff and students took my idea and boy did they run with it. The 4th graders ferociously made loom bands in colors representing certain syndromes and conditions. Every student in the school was given a wrist band. In addition we asked them to wear a certain color each day. The kids made videos and signs explaining each condition. They were able to get a little science learning in when it came to genetics.

It was a fabulous week. The kids collected coins as "United For Change" to donate to Jill's House, since a few of the students from the school attend JH. It was amazing to see the kids and their parents be so supportive for this often overlooked group of kids. Instead they realized the importance of inclusion and how they can play a part every day.

Waverly & Winnie

I have been so busy the past few weeks I haven't had time to update the blog. Here is a quick picture of Waverly taken at my mom's house over Thanksgiving. I think she looks so beautiful holding onto her Winnie the Pooh stuffy.