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!

Returning to work

I left Microsoft back in April to stay at home with Jill and the twins. As Hunter and Gracie's six month birthday approached, Jill and I agreed - it was time for me to go back to work! So, I have spent the last three weeks talking to recruiters and interviewing all over the Seattle area. I talked to companies small, medium and large; start-ups and well established firms. After approximately ten interviews, I have received five offers - all of them quite generous. (Not a bad ratio of interviews to offers, if I do say so myself!) Jill and I are now weighing the options. We will make a decision this week, possibly as early as tomorrow. Stay tuned to hear how it turns out...

Pronunciation is key

In 40+ years on this planet, I can probably count on one hand the number of cashiers, telemarketers, and sales associates who pronounced my name correctly without hearing it first.  Quite a few still miss pronounce it even after hearing me say it.  So, once and for all, the correct pronunciation is: [al-uhn] And, for those who must know, it is Celtic for "harmony." Oh, you thought I was going to talk about my last name?  Well, yeah.  How come "title" is never pronounced "tittle," but "ridle" is so often incorrectly pronounced "riddle?"  Seriously. [rahyd-l-hoo-ver] Not sure what it means, or even what the origin of the name is.  We think it is either Dutch or northern German.  But, we're certain it has been mangled along the way.