Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We spent last Saturday doing Christmas with Matt's family. Addison had a really good time, and got some great new toys.

Ryan was really good too, sleeping quite a bit and generally being cute. The weather was warm, and Addie got to ride on the Rhino with her cousin Hunter (3) and grandma.

Addie has been constantly holding her Dora doll that Aunt Heather got her, and proceeded to immediately drop Dora's shoes into the little hole on the leg of Matt's huge weightset when we got home, then screeching about wanting the shoes back. The whole weightset would have to be unbolted to retrieve them, so I'm not sure when we will be seeing Dora's shoes again. She also got an Aquadoodle mat and she really likes that as well.

Baby Ryan got a hat knitted by Aunt Heather, and Matt's parents got him an awesome Thomas the Train fold-out couch. It makes all sorts of train noises. Of course, he is too little to play with it now, but big sis Addison will make sure it gets plenty of use until then.

We got a new digital camera last night, and so far we love it. The video quality is really, really good, and the pictures are much more instantaneous than our old one - there is barely any delay at all. (Canon Powershot SD1100)

Addie had her first eggnog today and loved it. I have been having some all week and loving it. Most of my family and friends know the story about me drinking a huge glass of eggnog, and then my brother (I think) came in to get some. He opened the carton, smelled it, made a face, and looked at the date. He said " Gross, this eggnog expired two weeks ago." I said "It did not, I just drank a big glass and it tasted fine." He made an even worse face and then poured out the mildly chunky eggnog from the carton. Then I made a face, and wondered what was the matter with me. Needless to say, the next couple of days were not pleasant for my digestive system. So since I am taste-blind when it comes to rotted eggnog, I make sure to check the date carefully from now on.

Every single day, Addison progresses in her speech. She speaks in complete sentences almost all the time now, instead of just phrases. I am trying to remember funny things she said, but now I can't think of any. She has started drawing "things": She will scribble a line and said "Mama, I'm drawing an elephant, Santa, Baby Ryan, etc..." . I wonder what she sees when she sees the scribble....if it really looks like the object to her, or if she just imagines it does, or what. I would find it very frustrating to try to draw something and have it come out a scribbled mess, but it doesn't seem to bother her.

We're headed to Dallas tomorrow to do Christmas with my family. I'll post pictures sometime next week! Hope you all have a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

One week left!

Addison is finally over being sick, although Matt has a lingering hacking cough. It’s probably just viral, so there’s nothing he can do about it, but it sure is driving him nuts. Also, baby Ryan has had a stuffy nose for a couple of weeks now. He can barely breathe sometimes, which leads to excess fussiness. But he is still a pretty good baby. My dad came to visit for three days this week, and Ryan changed so much just in those few days - he is talking and cooing a lot more now, and tracking us across the room better too. He is only waking up once to eat in the night at about 5 a.m., and then he wakes up for good at 7. I think after Christmas, if he is still waking up, I’m going to start letting him put himself back to sleep for those last two hours instead of eating, so that we can finally get on a sleeping-all-night schedule. He’s getting so big and heavy!

I’ve been doing well. I am having to admit to myself that I just can’t do as much as I used to, in terms of planning shopping trips, activities, etc. I do pretty good most of the time, but then things start to pile up around the house, which drives Matt and I crazy. I never really understood it when people talked about all the laundry they have to do, because it didn’t seem like I had to do a whole lot more with Addie, but now it seems like there are two huge loads to do every day! And by the time I get them folded and put away (usually a couple of days later), I have mounds and mounds more to do. I don’t wear that many clothes, and neither do Matt and Addie (Ryan is a different story), so I need to see where all the clothes are coming from. Also, I want to make banana bread for our neighbors, candy for friends, cookies for moms’ groups, etc. And it is really hard to fit it all in, plus Christmas shopping for lots of people too. I know this is just a busy time of year, so I expect things to calm down some. I’m not really stressed out, but I do need to learn to have a little more patience and realize that I am going to have to NOT do some things this year. The kids are little and don’t know or expect anything, so I should cut myself a break while I still can!

We went up to the Woodlands Waterway this week with my dad to check out the lights and decorations. We were actually pretty disappointed with the display – there was just a small section that had the Christmas scenes all lit up. It was cold and blustery and we had Ryan all bundled up in a thick padded winter Winnie the Pooh snowsuit/footed sleeper that he got from his grandma. He was so cute! And warm!

My mom came down for one night last weekend and watched Addie while we went to an awesome Christmas party with our Sunday school class. The couple who hosted has a beautiful house and had tables set up with china and decorations everywhere. It was catered by Macaroni Grill, and the food was fantastic. I made a tiramisu that turned out pretty good - I left out the Kahlua and rum, but maybe next time…..

Tomorrow we go to Matt’s parent’s farm to do Christmas with his family. I’m going to a wrapping party tonight with my MOPS group to get all the presents ready to go. Then we’re driving to Dallas on Christmas day to spend time with my family. My grandpa turned 90 in October, and we’re having a big celebration with all the out-of-town people on the 27th. Also, my brother and his wife will fly in from New Mexico and I will get to meet my precious new niece for the first time!

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas – our digital camera stopped working two days ago, so maybe Santa will buy us an early Christmas present this year (Matt, are you reading this?).

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tis the Season...

Matt and Addison have both been sick since last Friday. Yucky runny noses, congestion, coughing, etc. I think Ryan is starting to come down with it too, but so far I feel ok. I’m sure I’ll get it after everyone else is better.

Last year at this time, Matt and I took a week-long visit to Rome. My mom stayed with Addie part of the time, and she took her to a little Christmas carnival thingy that our local shopping center did. They had train rides, face painting, a little petting zoo, and Santa. Here is a picture of her at the petting zoo last year.

Addison was not thrilled with Santa at the mall last year, although both my mother and I took her different times, trying to get pictures. Here is the result:

I had to sit with her

The blankie had to sit with her, and there are tiny tears.

Now, whenever I ask her about going to see Santa at the mall, she immediately gets very serious and says “No, no no. No ma’am, no ma’am. No no no.” She likes to look at Santa, and she points him out in books and in the neighbor’s yard, but she does NOT want to go see him at the mall.

This year, she wasn’t feeling too hot, so I thought the Christmas carnival might be a welcome distraction. All day I’d been telling her that we were going to see Santa and she could sit on his lap. She didn’t tell me no this time, so I made it sound very fun, and kept telling her over and over, so that when the time came, she would just go sit on his lap. We got to the shopping center, and got on the little train around the parking lot. We went to the petting zoo again, and got a snowman painted on her hand, and then we went to stand in line for Santa. I kept repeating “There’s Santa, we’re going to sit on his lap, up in the sleigh”. She didn’t seem too interested. We were next in line and she watched the kids in front of her talk to Santa for awhile.

As soon as they climbed down and I took one step forward, she threw a fit. She clung to me and cried and said “NO NO NO!” , and buried her head on my shoulder. Matt was laughing and went up to hold Santa’s hands, to show Addison that he wasn’t so scary. She was not fooled. Matt snapped one picture of me holding her behind Santa – we got one tiny glimpse of her face.

They also gave us a Polaroid of me standing in front of the sleigh with Santa in the background.

She was still very upset about it. Part of me felt like a mean mom who just wanted the photo to put in the scrapbook (what scrapbook?) but mostly I just thought it was hilarious. Poor Addison.

Oh, here are some of pictures of her and Ryan “helping” Matt put up our Christmas lights a couple of weeks ago:

It was cold out, but Ryan was snuggly and as happy as he could be.

She was a LOT of help, let me tell you.

This Sunday, our ABF class at church gave us a surprise baby shower! Matt and I joined the class at the end of August, so I was close to the end of my pregnancy. They usually do some sort of baby shower for their class members, but since we were brand new and didn’t know anyone and were still just checking things out, we certainly didn’t expect a shower or anything. Well, they took us into their fold right off the bat – we had meals brought to us every other day for at least a month after Ryan was born, plus several members brought us baby gifts, and usually a gift for Addison as well. But this Sunday, they decided to do the official baby shower – they had everyone bring a pack of diapers instead of clothes or toys, and there was a big cake too. Unfortunately, Matt was home sick with Addie, but I was very surprised and happy. I feel like they have welcomed us with open arms and we are SO thankful that we found this wonderful group of people within the wonderful church.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Making my list and checking it twice.

Just a quick note - I have not updated my Christmas card address list in a long time, so if you have moved in the last 12 months, please send me your address!

Picture Perfect?

When Addison was first born, Matt and I were living in a crummy little apartment in Huntsville, Alabama. We had just sold our beautiful house set out on a half acre of land, in preparation for our move back to Texas, which was still 4 months away. It was cold and yucky outside a lot of the time, and our two big dogs (and me) were feeling cooped up. I hadn’t been able to walk them much while pregnant, because our complex was by a pond with lots of ducks and geese, and having two 75 pound animals charging to the ends of their leashes chasing birds was not a safe activity for me at the time (or really, at any time!). And after Addie was born, I was recovering from a C-section, and had to take the baby with me everywhere anyways, so we just didn’t get out much at all. I was exhausted in general and a new mom, and I felt like I was living in a little dark cold cocoon, and it was all I could do to just take care of the baby and maybe manage to do laundry and cook. It was a real state of limbo in a lot of ways, waiting for the holidays, waiting to go house hunting, waiting to buy a house, waiting to pack, waiting to move, waiting for Addison to get older and more aware, waiting to heal from my C section, etc.

It just so happened that the family living next to us consisted of girl younger than me, her husband, and their three boys, ages 4, 2, and newborn, born right before Addison. They had moved to Huntsville from Virginia (I think) and were in the apartment temporarily while searching for a house to buy. I talked to her occasionally, and could sometimes hear her baby crying in the night through our paper-thin walls (I’m sure she heard Addie too). She always seemed calm and collected when I’d see her outside, and I was surprised at how well she managed her kids. Well, one afternoon, she called me on the phone and asked if I had a package of yeast she could borrow. It sounds odd, but what is odder is that I actually did have some. I was still in my pajamas (flannel pants and a sweatshirt and thick novelty socks), but I didn’t care. I shoved my feet into some old ratty houseshoes, put on a knit ski hat (it was COLD outside) and put Addie in the depths of her sling and shuffled next door. I don’t think I had even brushed my hair that day. My neighbor (I can’t remember her name for the life of me, so let’s call her June (as in Cleaver)), opened the door wearing a matching sweatsuit and a Christmas apron, with her hair neatly pulled back and piled on her head in a twisty bun. Her four year old was sitting quietly on the couch reading a book, her two year old was sitting quietly on the floor in a corner playing trains, and her 5 week old son was laying quietly on the floor under one of those floor-gym things, looking at his toys dangling. Did I mention that the living room was completely spotless? And fully decorated for Christmas? And she was making homemade bread - her hands were covered with flour. She was 24 years old.

I handed her the yeast and just stood there staring, then finally managed to say that I couldn’t believe she was brave enough to immerse her hands in bread dough, because I could barely open a box of cereal without some crisis occuring with Addison that required my literal hands-on help. I then commented on her well-behaved children and the fact that her house was clean and decorated and just how perfect the whole scene was. I was such a mess in every way, and I could never imagine that my life would be so calm and collected. It certainly never had been even before kids! She just laughed and said it wasn’t that big of a deal, and that I was a new mom who was still learning everything. She assured me that my life would eventually get some order to it, and said that things were usually not nearly so calm – I had just caught her at a good moment. I walked back home wondering if she was some magic lady from Good Housekeeping, or if I was just a really big slacker and needed to pull myself together.

I think it was a little bit of both, actually. My house has never resembled hers, and I have never made homemade bread. However, having a newborn this time around has been markedly less stressful, physically and emotionally. I don’t know if I am just more used to it, or Ryan is a better baby, or my mind and body knows that I have to deal with a 2 year old as well as a baby, so it just steps up and does it. But I do know that things have definitely been much easier than I anticipated, and this morning I had a (very) brief moment of calm that resembled what I have held in my mind as the epitome of stay-at-home momness:

Note the mess surrounding Addison, and no, I was not baking bread at the time. And I am still in my pajamas even as I write this (and my novelty socks don’t even match!)

But my two kids were quietly playing, and I was happy!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday weekend! We had a great time out at the farm. There was lots of food and lots of family, and luckily the rain held back so we could hang out outside the whole day. We took Casey with us so she could have a chance to run around. She is such a great dog – the kind that will stay with us and won’t run for the hills at her first taste of freedom. She was a big hit with some of the kids (and some adults too), and got quite a bit of ham and other tidbits from people who couldn’t resist her hound eyes. Someone else had a little bitty Chinese Crested dog with only 3 legs. I should’ve gotten a picture of it.

Matt and his dad and the other guys had a good time standing around the turkey fryer and having "guy talk". Later on, Matt set up his drumset in the big huge shed/barn/storage facility, and his cousin brought out the electric guitar, and they had a mini jam session, which gave the older folks something to grumble about (they play loud, heavy metal rock music). Addison had a fantastic time playing with Emma, a little girl who’s 2 and a half, and cousin Hunter, who is almost 3. They played on the swingset, dug in the rocks, played with cars, ran up and down the stairs, and got spoiled by all the relatives. They have a little toddler bed there at the farm, and Addison just loves it. She asked to take a nap, so we tucked her all in and piled animals around her. She didn’t actually sleep, but she had a great time playing in the bed for about 45 minutes. Then she was off for more fun. She was filthy by the time we got home (and exhausted) but very happy.

The backyard/deck area

The barn and part of the storage building

Addie and Emma in the rockers

Addison and 3rd or 4th cousin Rebekah (Matt's cousin's daughter)

Addie and Papoo (Matt's dad)

I had a pretty relaxing day. Ryan slept almost the whole time, and was passed around from aunt to grandma to great-grandma to great-aunt, and he even took a nap laying flat on top of his 2nd cousin Kelsey’s tummy. (she’s 14). I had time to eat, and play with Addie, and watch over the dog. The food was all great, and there were so many desserts that I didn’t get to try them all, which, if you know me, is very unusual. We brought home 4 to-go boxes of food, which we are still eating on. If you’ve never had fried turkey, I highly recommend it. It is not greasy at all – the frying seals in all the juice, so the meat is SO tender and juicy. Yum.

We got our Christmas tree yesterday and decorated it last night. Addison was mildly interested, but mostly wanted to play with the ornaments instead of hanging them. She would bring us handfuls of ornaments and say "DaDa put it on tree?" so Matt would hang them up. I bought a lot of stuff last year after Christmas, when it was all way on sale, and I’d forgotten that I had an Advent calendar, the wooden kind with all the little doors. I need some ideas of things to put in the cubbyholes, besides candy. Ryan was not really in the Christmas spirit and howled loudly during the festivities, so Matt and I had to take turns holding and bouncing him, which was only partially successful. We also got out the Little People Nativity Set that Addison got as a gift last year. We put it away with the Christmas decorations last year so that it will just be a special toy for this time of year. I told Addison who all the people in the set were, and she carried baby Jesus around and frequently called him Baby Ryan instead.

When we finally got Addie to bed, I went to bed too and Matt went out to Best Buy with Ryan to check out a digital camera we’ve been wanting to get. Our has that awful delay problem, where you snap the picture but it actually takes the picture about 2 seconds later, when the kid has turned away, or stuck out a tongue, or started to cry, or whatever. He played around with it at the store, but we can get it a lot cheaper online. We did venture out earlier in the day to check out deals on washers and dryers because ours are so old and simple, and our dryer is about to go out. Our washer has no load size settings, and with baby clothes and stains, I need to be able to do small loads from time to time without wasting so much water. We went to Lowe’s and Sears, but both places were packed and we couldn’t get any salespeople to help us, so we figure we might go later this week.

This is my token mention of the Aggie game on Thursday. That is all.

Ryan went from 9 p.m. last night till 6 a.m. this morning without eating. He didn’t sleep that long (from 11:30 to 6), but the long time between feedings is great! Addie started sleeping 8-10 hours consistently at 8 weeks old, and Ryan is a little over that, so he needs to start catching up to his big sister. I know that we are lucky for him to even be doing this well, so I’m certainly not complaining. I can’t believe that we’re already past the newborn waking and eating every 2 hours stage. And now he’s smiling so much, and trying to talk to us. It’s fun and cute.

We plan on just chilling out for the rest of the weekend, and then we have a busy month coming up. We’ll keep you posted!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

This is my first official post in the Nevill Family Blog. How exciting. It will probably consist of mostly pictures and stories about the kids, but I will try to keep you updated on Matt and I as well, which will mostly consist of pictures with and stories about the kids. We are full-swing into family mode at this point in our lives, and realize that our .....well, I was going to say we realize that our "college days" are forever behind us, but I think we said goodbye to those days long ago. Let's just say that we realize that our days as a young, carefree couple are gone forever. Addison was a welcome adventure to our lives, and we doted on her and spoiled her, and still managed to take several trips alone during the first two years of her life, including a trip to Rome last Christmas and a cruise this past spring. But now, with the birth of our son Ryan, we have completed our family and are going to concentrate on who we all are now as a family of four. Don't worry - Matt and I are still going to make sure we have time for ourselves, alone and together, but we are both excited about what lies ahead over the next 20 years, as we share our lives and hearts and home with our two beautiful children.

This Thanksgiving is going to be Ryan's first introduction to Matt's side of the family (most of them). His mother is the oldest of 8 children, all of whom have kids of the own, and some of whom have grandkids, so family gatherings on that side are always large and fun! Addison has three cousins (maybe 4) that are within a year of her age, and Ryan will have two (that I know of) that are about a year on either side of him. Matt's parents have a beautiful farm about an hour from here, complete with a pond, cows, a tractor, and lots of room to roam. They'll fry turkeys and we'll have a big potluck Thanksgiving. Last year was the "on" year for all the siblings, and we had about 80 people there. This year, most of the aunts and uncles are spending the holiday with their in-laws, but I think we're still expecting between 30 and 40 people. Should be fun!

Right now, Addison is becoming very verbal and learns new phrases every day. In the past hour, she said "Where's your shadow, Mama?" and "I turn off the light, and we're in the dark." I have never taught her about shadows or the dark before, so who knows where she picked that up. Probably just from overhearing me, or maybe from TV , or the YMCA, or wherever. Ryan has started smiling quite a bit over the last week, and we're getting some coos and gurgles too. I'm really excited about this Christmas, because I know that Addie will be able to start singing some Christmas songs, and can do a little bit of anticipation of presents, Santa, etc. I'll be sure to get some good pictures from Thanksgiving and post them soon! In the meantime, here are just a couple of recent ones of the kids.