Monday, August 19, 2013

The End

I think it's time to end this blog.

Many years a ago I started this blog to keep people in California up to date on our lives in Texas. Blogging was new, it seemed like a fun thing to dive into.  It felt silly, because as you can tell by the address, I really didn't feel like I had much to talk about. I went through phases of keeping things up to date, and lots of periods of no info for months.  After a few years of this, a few job changes, new homes and kids I am clearly not the blogger that I dreamed I would be. 

I do pretty well with my adoption blogs, so Max's will remain.  Please check in frequently to see where we are in that process.  With Facebook and Instagram I feel like I can give people a good picture of our lives. I would love to blog about our adventures in homeschooling and let you hear my thoughts, concerns and joys of adoption, but quite frankly, I'm too busy struggling with homeschool and working through adoption to form a complete thought and type it in a blog. So many people can do this, but I am not one of them.

So, this is a big farewell to all my faithful followers (Mom!). 
You can find me on Facebook (Allison Steinert McNeely) and on Instagram (AllisonMcTx).

Thanks for reading!!

Friday, January 04, 2013

Programs, crafts and more Christmas...oh my!

I was doing pretty good getting everything caught up, and well, then I got behind.  So please forgive me as I try to close up 2012 over the next few posts!

As soon as we got back from California we hit the ground running, no time to recover from vacation!  Lyla's school Christmas party was Monday, and that night was her Christmas program, a first for our whole family!  All the girls in Kindergarten were angels, and thanks to some friends, her costume was borrowed and looked awesome!

Our little angel

Here she is during the program, we were in the back and it was hard to see, but she did great!

The next day Xander had a small Christmas party in his speech class.  The kids were so cute, they sang a few songs and then we ate some yummy treats!

I managed to throw in a few Christmas crafts this week as well, shew!  We were busy.

Ice cream cone Christmas trees!

We opted for foam sticker gingerbread houses this year. Best. Decision. Ever.

By the time we got to the weekend we were barely unpacked, but managed to host our annual Christmas with the Swanson family!  Years ago, I think 7 to be exact, we decided to start a tradition with the Swansons that we would get together each year. This started because Kevin grew up doing the same thing with close family friends, a tradition that continued through his life, and I think still continues today.

We cherish this night, we don't get to spend as much time with the Swansons as we would like, but we know that each year we will have this!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

McNeely Christmas

We headed to Fresno, after a few days in Bakersfield, to celebrate with the rest of the McNeelys!  My little ones LOVE, LOVE, LOVE their big cousins Alyssa and Lindsey, and could hardly wait to get playing!

Unfortunately, the big girls were still in school and so playing was left for the afternoons, but it was still a fun time for all!  Here are a few pics of our Christmas and opening gifts!

Waiting so patiently!

Lyla's Bible from Grandma Connie

Books from the big cousins

Christmas everywhere!

Grandma Connie took us to her work, Fresno Pacific University, to meet some of her friends!  They see all these kiddos in pictures, and so she wanted to show them in real life.  Um, they are much more peaceful in pictures! Ha!  We then headed to Charlotte's Coffee Corner!  FPU is where my two worlds collide.  Grandma Connie works there now and it is where I attended college (and my dad, and my mom and my three sisters, and one cousin...well, you get the idea!)  And Charlotte's just might be named after another special Grandma that we know! ;)

As an added bonus we had professional pictures taken of our whole family, what a treat!  We got all coordinated and headed to Woodward park.  I was very pleased with how things turned out and these are just 3 of my favs!

McNeely 5

The whole clan
I couldn't resist this picture!  I hope that someday I am lucky enough to have 2 sons, one for each cheek!

I can't finish this post without remembering our 2011 McNeely Christmas.  We were fresh off the heels of a not so hopeful cancer diagnosis, and a few weeks shy of hearing good news about bringing Lyla home.  It was a sad, desperate time.  But during our visit last year we all knew we had been given a gift.  Ross, who had been in bed unable to get up much the few weeks prior, was up climbing, fixing and tinkering around like he loved to do.  Joy, God gave us all moments of pure joy during that week.  None of us wanted to be believe that it would be the last Christmas with Ross, but somewhere, deep inside, we couldn't bury that thought, so we savored every moment.

Ross was certainly missed this Christmas, and is missed every day.  There were a few times, as I headed into his garage, I had to hold back tears.  I knew, that as much as I wanted to see Ross as I entered that garage, he wouldn't be there.  Maybe because we just aren't in that house very often, or maybe because I am slow when it comes to dealing with loss, but it felt like he would walk in any minute.

Then there is Lyla, Christmas time was SO exciting for her.  Everything was new, and so many times she would remind us that she had never had a Christmas before and this was her first one.  That alone brought so much joy to me!!!  See, God provided again, some joy, this time through the eyes of a child's first Christmas!  

As we took our new family pictures, with Lyla, but without Papa, it was hard not to remember that we are not promised one single day.  We are in this life for such a brief moment, and no one has any idea when their "moment" will be over.  So I found joy in the day, in the bright sun, in the giggles between cousins and siblings.  Much like last year when we found joy in sharing one more Christmas with an incredible man!

Merry Christmas from the McNeelys!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Steinert Christmas

Ok, back to our trip to California!  After Disneyland we headed to Bakersfield!!

See that sweet face in the background...on the left?  My nephew Mark flew in from Tampa for the weekend!!!  

Lyla and some of her loot!!!

Not only was this our Christmas trip, but Aunt Stephanie's birthday is December 10th, so she hosted a pink party!  She had pink EVERYTHING!  There was a parade, some games and lots of fun pink things!  Aunt Stephanie loves pink, and since "the babies" (what she affectionately calls my kids!) were in town she thought it was a great opportunity to celebrate with them.  They loved it, and I think she did too!

Pin the tiara on Aunt Stephanie

A pink parade

As soon as Macey heard that Aunt Stephanie was having a pink party she immediately thought that she should give her something pink.  Macey thought of her own stuffed pig, lovingly named Oink, and decided that is what she wanted to give Aunt Stephanie.  Aunt Stephanie was touched, and since this day we receive updates about what Oink is doing now!  Currently, Oink is in HAWAII!  Lucky pig! (No, really, she took Oink with them on their family trip.  So she's really in Hawaii)

With a family as big as ours, coming from all different places it was impossible to get us all in the same place at the same time for a Disneyland castle picture.  So with ears and hats on our heads we took our family picture at my parents' house!

Merry Christmas from the Steinert clan (well, most of us)!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

This time last year

Last year, on Christmas Day, our family was missing something, Lyla.  We still hadn't received our letter of approval, and even at that time we had waited longer than expected.  We didn't know that just a week after Christmas we would receive that approval, and in 10 fast and furious weeks we would finally meet her.  All we knew was that she wasn't there.

On Lyla's blog last year I posted THIS song.

Last year I knew that the child in this song represented Lyla, she was missing, and all we wanted was to wish her a Merry Christmas.  This year we get to do that, PRAISE GOD, we get to spend Christmas with our big girl!!!

As fulfilled and blessed as I am, I can't help but feel empty and burdened for the remaining orphans, the ones who do not get to be loved on by a family this Christmas, or maybe ever.  So, please do something for me, ask yourself if you have a child, in another country, or maybe just across town, that is spending this Christmas away from his or her family...YOUR family.  Before you answer too quickly, stop, ask and listen.

Instead of a New Year's resolution, for the month of January, I am committing to pray daily for God's plan for our family, in terms of adoption. Will you join me and pray for God's plan for your family?

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

A Very Disneyland Christmas!

It took me about 4 days to unpack our suitcases, but now it's finally time to tell you about our AMAZING trip to California which included 2 days at Disneyland!!!

Off we go!!!

Until I started choosing pictures I didn't realize how many characters we got to meet!  It wasn't our #1 goal (as you will see, Xander isn't a big fan of characters), but somehow in the middle of all the riding we saw a whole bunch of folks.

Snow White

Sleeping Beauty (Aurora)

Jasmine and Cinderella


Minnie Mouse

Tea Cups

Tractor in Carsland

Lyla and Gpa Max on the Mickey Ferris Wheel


It was a wonderfully, exhausting way to start our Christmas trip to California.  We learned that Lyla is fearless!  Her first ride was Tower of Terror in California Adventure!  Even though she was scared during the ride, and held onto Kevin's arm for dear life, she LOVED.  She would try anything we put her in line for, the faster the better, for her.  But at the end of it all she said her favorite ride was It's a Small World, which speaks very loudy that her girlie side is dominant! :)

Macey was very brave this time around, according to Disneyland she is 40" exactly, which allowed her to get on some of the bigger rides.  She loved Radiator Springs Racers, but about halfway through Thunder Mountain Railroad she decided she'd had enough.  I was greeted by a bawling little girl who clung to me for a bit while she recovered.  I was so proud of her for trying.

Xander, well, he was a bit scared.  We forced him (yes, I'm that Mom) on some of the rides he had been on last time (when he was 2), only because we knew he could.  He isn't quite 40", which was fine because he had no interest on going on anything too fast.  Characters aren't his thing, rides aren't his thing, but because it's Disneyland, he had a great time anyway!

We landed in LAX, stayed two nights there, used all of our energy on 2 days at Disneyland, and then headed to Bakersfield for Steinert Christmas...

Sunday, December 02, 2012

3 years ago

3 years ago today, an email with this face changed the course of our lives.

Although he may not always be this smiley, he is always mine to love!!!!