What we did this summer…

We had quite a busy summer, though you wouldn't know it from our picture gallery. That is, you wouldn't know it until now. I just posted four new albums to the gallery. And, there's much more to come - as soon as I get the time. (I stayed up past 2:00 AM to get these images uploaded.)

In case you don't have time to view all of the images now, here are a few samples:

We learned how to peel oranges…

Peeling oranges Yummy oranges Silly oranges

We threw rocks at Alki Beach…

Puget Sound & Olympic Mountains Removing rocks

Family on the beach Throwing rocks

We checked out the tide pools at Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach…

Haystack Rock Bunny!

Tide pools   Feeling the flowers   Getting to the beach

And, we spent the day with Thomas the Tank Engine…

Thomas the Tank Engine Excited to ride on Thomas

Happy to ride on Thomas Family in front of Emily

And, there’s lots more to come!

When You Find a Manatee in Your Bathtub…

Dad & Lynn gave the kids a fantastic DVD for their birthday. It’s video of marine life doing what marine life does to the music of Brent Holmes. The music is so catchy that it’s got Jill and I singing right along. And, now, I can’t get one of the songs out of my head. But, I only know some of the lyrics, so it’s rather annoying. In an attempt to get the lyrics out of my head, or to at least teach me the rest of the song, here are the lyrics:

When You Find a Manatee in Your Bathtub by Brent Holmes

  • When you find a manatee in your bathtub, playing with your toys,
  • making lots of noise and causing trouble;
  • And, he’s washing his big flippers; and using all your soap;
  • and filling up your tub with giant bubbles; Say...
  • Please, Mr. Manatee, don’t tickle me,
  • ‘cause I’m as ticklish as a kid can be.
  • I won’t tickle you, if you don’t tickle.
  • And, we can play together.
  • Please, Mr. Manatee, while you're in my tub,
  • we should sing a song that goes rub-a-dub-dub.
  • Rub-a-dub-dub, a manatee is in my tub.
  • And, life couldn’t be much better.
  • Repeat with sea lion instead of manatee
  • Reapeat with walrus instead of manatee

There, now.  I feel so much better. If you’re interested, the album is called “Sea Tunes for Kids.” You can find both the DVD and the CD at Amazon.com.  I’ve also seen the CD at iTunes.

The songs I sing to Hunter and Grace

It's my job to put the kids down at night. Generally, I sit in the big, cozy rocking chair with Grace on my left leg and Hunter on my right. I read a few books, then I turn out the light and sing songs. Unfortunately, my repertoire is rather thin:

  • Twinkle, Twinkle
  • A, B, C (same tune as Twinkle, Twinkle)
  • Bah, Bah, Black Sheep (same tune as Twinkle, Twinkle)
  • Rock-a-bye, Baby
  • Hush, Little Baby
  • Hey, Diddle Diddle
  • Are You Sleeping (modified for night time)

And, sometimes I'll sing these songs:

  • The Itsy Bitsy Spider
  • There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly
  • Row, Row, Row Your Boat (including alligators!)

Rather than learning new tunes, Jill and I have both made up some new songs based on tunes we already know, especially the eternally flexible Twinkle, Twinkle. Here's one Jill wrote:

Little Babies, Go To Sleep Sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle

  • Little babies, go to sleep. Close your eyes and slumber deep.
  • In the morning, you will wake; Then fond memories we will make.
  • Little babies, go to sleep. Close your eyes and slumber deep.

And, here's one I made up: I Love You Sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle

  • Hunter O'Neil, I love you. Sarah Grace, I love you, too.
  • Mommy loves you, yes she does. Daddy loves you, just as much.
  • Hunter O'Neil, I love you. Sarah Grace, I love you, too.

That one is probably my favorite song to sing the kids. I usually sing it last, really softly, just before putting the kids in their cribs. The kids seem to like it, too. They both know the song, and often sing it with me. Grace even made up her own version, it goes like this:

I Love You Sung to the beat of Gracie's own drum

  • Haha, I laa loo. Mama, I laa loo. Dada, I laa loo.
  • Mama, Dada, Haha, Gigi, I laa loo.

But, that's apparently not the only thing the song has taught the kids. Tonight, when I asked each of them to tell me their name, they both gave me versions of their full names: Hunter said, "Haha O'Neil;" and Gracie said, "Sarah Gracie." I'm so proud!

Gaygee and Haha

It's been a while since I posted an update on the kids. Here's something fun that's been going on lately:

Hunter began referring to Gracie as "Gay-gee" months ago. It's still cute, today, especially when he is looking out for her interests. Tonight for example, when I gave him a cup of milk, he wouldn't take a sip until "Gay-gee" got her cup, too. Once she had her cup, all was well. But, up until Mom handed it to her, Hunter pointed at it with a look of concern and repeated "Gaygee! Gaygee!"

It's taken Grace a long time to come up with a name for Hunter. I guess the H sound is more difficult that the G sound. But, the other day, while Hunter was finishing a nap, Grace blurted out, "Mama, Dada, Gaygee, Haha," then beamed as if she'd just won the Nobel Prize for "Best Spoken Toddler." It was hilariously cute! So, Gracie is officially Gaygee. Both she and Hunter are referring to her that way. And, Grace is now calling Hunter, "Haha." (Though, Hunter has yet to refer to himself that way.)

In the days since Grace's revelation, she's repeated the quartet of names several times. One of these days, I'll have a video or audio recorder handy and capture it. It's absolutely priceless.

Should have more pictures up soon. Been organizing our collection lately. Lots of stuff that hasn't been posted!

Hunter's Helmet & Gracie's Revenge

Hunter and Grace did a little on camera work a couple of days ago.  It was almost bed time.  So, they're pretty tired looking.  But, this is a pretty good example of their personalities:  (As always, better quality video can be found on our MobileMe gallery.) Hunter's Helmet [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y84IXh8maP4&feature=player_profilepage] For those of you wondering why Hunter is still wearing his football player Halloween costume, he's actually wearing the helmet to correct a flat spot on his skull. It's a condition known as plagiocephaly. He has a mild case.  His hair would likely cover it up eventually. But, we figured we'd give the helmet a try and see what happens. No sense putting up with all those flat head jokes later in life, if you don't have to. :) Gracie's Revenge [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64ZkGU3_thA&feature=player_profilepage] Both Hunter and Grace are definitely being themselves in these videos. Hunter is generally content to sit and play with a toy. Gracie is into everything. I wonder which is closer to me and which is closer to Jill?

Three wee teeth

Now that I'm back at work, there's not nearly as much time to take pictures, shoot video, or blog about daily changes.  So, I have no new pictures or video, but I do have a milestone that needs to be reported: Hunter has a tooth! We first noticed Hunter's tooth - a lower incisor - late last week.  Not to be outdone... Gracie has two teeth! Grace's teeth - also lower incisors - first showed up on Monday.  No more putting our fingers in their mouths as a temporary binky!  (Ouch!)


Have you ever tried baby food?  I swear, if I could get my cooked carrots to taste this good, I'd eat them every day! Gracie and Hunter have been experimenting with rice cereal for a while now.  But, this week, we introduced them to carrots.  Hunter had his doubts at first.  But, he seems to have adjusted.  Gracie, on the other hand, likes the carrots so much, we have to feed her all her formula before bringing out the oozy, orange goodness!  The minute she starts on the carrots, she doesn't want anything more to do with the bottle...

Six whole months! (Corrections)

My bad!  When writing the post below, I hadn't reviewed the nurse's notes from Hunter and Grace's six month checkup.  I have now and I must issue a retraction:  Gracie is not in the 50th percentile.  She is actually in the 50-75th percentile range - the same range as Hunter.  As most people who meet them note - these kids aren't skipping any meals! Also, I mentioned that we will be taking Hunter to see the head doctor, which I referred to as the "cranial/facial" doctor.  Turns out, they're actually called "craniofacial" doctors.  A thousand pardons...