Glorious Spring has Sprung!

The birds are making nests in every nook and cranny in our house;the chimney with it’s lousy bird cage (that they can still squeeze into…), the beams under the porch, the gutter elbows of the down spouts. Get lost birdies!

My peonies and daisies have peaked their heads through the thick clay of my yard (miracle!), my hostas have shoved past the rocks in the front flower bed and sprouted, my hydrangea, azalea and roses are all showing signs of life. New this year are some giant allium in purple and white and about 150/200 yellow and red fluffy petal tulips! It’s a reminder to myself that I should really invest in fall bulbs, even though at the time it’s so blah to think of planting them. The spring payoff is totally worth it. Now if only my back flower bed would show some signs of life…I’m a little worried about it.

The Nevil Crew is in serious work mode around here lately. We have a few big projects underway right now in the yard. Specifically speaking, we had a giant truck load of top soil brought in a few weeks ago. We are filling in and grading the back yard where there was once an above-ground pool. It’s grueling work loading the dirt one wheel-barrow at a time and dumping it in the back, then repeating. Our kind new neighbors lent us their wheelbarrow so that I could at least get a faster assembly line going. I filled them full of dirt and Jeremy rolled them and dumped them in the back while I filled the next load. SHEW! All this rain we’ve had in St. Louis has put a big damper on our work. We are hoping for a few dry weekends so we can get it all down and off the driveway! Then it can rain and feed the grass seed we’ll have down.

Additionally, we are taking bids for finally painting the house. That’s even more exciting (for me) than the yard renovation! We are pouring some serious blood, sweat, tears and cash into this house. If it wasn’t so much fun I’d just buy a perfect house. But it’s seriously fun. Our goal is to be “done” with the major projects within the next year or two so that we can just enjoy it for a while. Who knows after that!

I’ve been very busy lately with my little munchkins and managing things at home. I’m grateful everyday for the opportunity to be here and challenged by how much it takes to not just be physically present with your family but mentally and emotionally present as well. Too many times I’m looking down at my phone, answering text messages and emails when my family is right there needing me.

Jeremy and I have declared 2014 as the year of the Active Nevil Family. (Not that we weren’t active before.) We’ve decided to be highly intentional about going out into nature and enjoying it as a family. This weekend Jeremy is scouting out a big sale at the Alpine Shop to see if he can snag a good deal on bikes for us. We are so close to the Katy Trail that it seems like such a shame not to take advantage of it. (click that link to learn more about the Katy Trail in MO!) With the addition of our crazy dog we’ve also felt the need to be more active so that he gets the exercise that he needs too.

This fall, Jeremy will be running a marathon! He signed up for the Rock n Roll marathon going on in October. I’m so proud of him for signing up for this big commitment and I tell him all the time that I would have nightmares about a task so daunting. He is either really great about hiding it or really confidant! (We’ll go with confidant) In June, Jeremy will finally have his long-worked for BS in Business! It has been a long journey getting to this point. He is very happy at his new job and we are all very happy with how close he is to home. I’ve said many times that it has revolutionized our family life and already brought us a lot of joy. There’s not much better than seeing your husband happy at his job and good at it!

There are only about 6 weeks of the school year left and both the kids and me are really happy about this mile marker. For one, Chase is finally old enough to go to VBS with Cooper. The promise of him going to Kindergarten in the fall is really exciting too. The staff at the school have been so excited for 2 whole years as they’ve waited for Chase to join the ranks of Sammy the Sting Ray proud kiddos. He is totally pumped about going to school with his big brother. Cecelia and I are excited for whatever that means for us too, though we don’t even know what we’ll do with each other all day long. (I mean, other than have lots of fun!)

2014 is such a big year. We are excited for all that is ahead and we are putting ourselves in some new positions that are stretching us physically, emotionally and spiritually. I’m so grateful for all that has happened in just the 4 short months we’ve had so far. The last few years have been hard work. The peace that we feel is gratefully received.


Piggy time

Tiff gardening

dump truck 2

dump truck

floating shelves

quiet boy time

pooped pooch


Cooper stick carving

faithful dog


Feeling Snarky about Arnie

It’s been over a month since my last post! Clearly getting a dog has radically changed our life or at least made me too tired to talk about it.  The dog has been quite an interesting addition. In fact, just for fun, here are the things the dog has made me think in the last month + we’ve owned him:

1. Why do humans have carpets in their homes? Or white couches?

2. How about if we just rip up all the carpet and walk around on concrete floors? I’m sure Pinterest has some great staining treatments we can do to make it look really great…

3. Mud. Everywhere.

4. I clearly have cleanliness issues.

5. Walking the dog plus pushing a stroller plus dealing with two little boys when I am the only adult present and we are out of doors…not a good plan.

That should give you an idea of our learning curve. Right now the area of carpet in the den near the back door is completely covered with beach towels. Not because of potty in the house though, it’s mostly because of the mud on his giant paws.  YAY spring!

  • We are down one door in the basement (he tore the back off the door-yes really).
  • We’ve had to secure Arnie’s crate to the stud’s in the wall because he moves the entire thing all around the room by freaking out. We have his metal crate secured and reinforced with tarp/boat tie downs (the rubber ones with metal hooks), 550 cord (military grade rope) and metal brackets/screws. This dog is Harry Houdini and freakishly strong. He has decimated 2 crates.
  • He tips his food bowl over when he eats. We have no idea why. He broke 3 bowls before we bought him an unbreakable variety.
  • He is a submissive pee-er. If you imply unhappiness with him, he will pee. And not just a little.
  • People are deathly afraid of his bark. Understandable too because it is loud!

Those are the downsides to having a dog so far. But here are the upsides to having a dog!

1. The kids are so happy to see him and vice versa every single day. If it is moderately nice out (as spring in St. Louis goes at least) the kids all go out side to play with him while I make dinner. WINNING!

2. I am seriously completely unafraid of anyone snatching one of my kids from my back yard while he is back there. He would end anyone who tried anything. He always lets me know if someone is out in the front of the house too.

3. When my husband is gone I feel total safety in my home.

4. He is so great with the kids. We’ve had 2 incidents we do not love with the kids but right now we are chalking them up to kids being kids and dogs being dogs. We are still cautious nonetheless.

5. It’s fun to think about going places and bringing him with us. We have a great time walking him and having him share in our little family excursions. Plus, he is such an athletic dog that we don’t worry about taxing him.

Arnie still needs some obedience training and we are pretty confident that the things that annoy us most can be taken care of with some hard work and consistency. All in all I am happy to have a dog. He is still very cute and a great companion!