Thursday 30 June 2011

A watery week

So much has been going on this past week or so that I am not really sure where to begin!

My best friend, Cat, has been down staying with us.  It has been lovely for me to have an extra pair of hands around the place, to help with Naomi, housework and, most importantly, making cups of tea! It was lovely for Naomi too, to have "Auntie" Cat to play with every day and not just Mummy, who is good but gets boring after a while!

While Cat was here we went swimming, it was good for me to have an extra pair of hands while I get more confident about taking Naomi in and out of the pool, though this pool has steps (rather than a ladder) which made it much easier.  Cat was able to get some photos of us in the pool as she got out a little before me and has a very nice waterproof camera, so here is Naomi enjoying the water.

We also happened to be able to go to a ceilidh while Cat was here (odd given our Englandshire location, it is apparently an annual event for Open Heaven!) which also gave us the opportunity to leave Naomi with a "proper" babysitter for the first time (I am defining proper baby sitter as someone who isn't family or such a close friend that they are practically family).  Thanks so much to Lotty and Jim who did a brilliant job of watching TV while Naomi slept (with only a brief waking, dealt with by re-inserting the dummy) while Cat, Sandy and I danced the night away.

Well done to everyone from Open Heaven for their amazing ceilidhing skills, we had an awesome evening despite having been really quite ill (we are now on the mend, thank goodness) and having thought about cancelling.  Sandy and I even won the prize (a full bottle of Laphroaig Whisky none-the-less) for the best dancers.  We had thought we would be automatically disqualified from winning for being Scottish, but we walked away with the very lavish prize.  We will need to make sure we invite lots of people round to share the whisky as I am not sure we will be able to drink much of it ourselves.

On Monday, Sandy took the day off work and we drove down to London to see his Mum and Dad who were staying with his sister and her family.  We had a lovely day with Naomi enjoying playing with her cousins and getting spoiled with cuddles from Grandma and Grandad.  It was absolutely blisteringly hot (over 30C) and so we cracked out the paddling pool, Naomi was a little uncertain at first but he was in her element by the end.  We also went along to Chingford Cherubs with Holly who was excited to take her cousin along to the mothers and toddlers group at the local church.

So that is the end if a watery week!

Wednesday 29 June 2011


In addition to figuring out spoons, Naomi has now managed to work out the subtle are of cup holding. This is useful as some of her solid foods are a bit on the solid side and she'd developed quite a taste for a bit of water (usually getting quite upset when it's taken away). This can only increase as according to the EAT study from today she has wheat in her diet too, at the moment in the form of weetabix which is well-known for its alternative use as sandbagging in the flood prevention industry, such is its absorbing capability. Typically at the moment it's a bit of a messy affair - she ends up very wet - but nonetheless she's getting pretty skilled at the old motor control. Last night she also found her feet for the first time, and had a good grab of her toes prior to bath time!

We're also quite pleased that the past couple of nights have been much better sleep-wise - last night she woke up once and was asleep again after 15 minutes, with no feeding :) Long may this continue.

She continues to get more engaged in toys and playing with stuff. I think I may have posted a shot of her enjoying this toy before but this video is rather neat; she's playing with a watery pillow which her Grandma got her, it has some floating shapes in it for her to bat around and she's rather pleased with it. Also look out for her spotting that I'm filming her activities...

Thursday 23 June 2011


So I have a nasty little bug (or possibly hayfever, but probably not) and haven't slept much the last couple of nights, even when the little one has been managing to sleep just fine. Pleasingly, especially as she's in our room while our friend Cat visits, she's only woken up once each night this week - although last night was an exception. Cat looked after Naomi while Jay and I went out for an hour or so of "couple time" - unfortunately Naomi woke up while we were out and was NOT impressed that we weren't in. This may be the reason she was up more than hourly last night (though she also has a bad cough just now which won't have helped) - with the result that I and very much mummy are both very sleepy. On a happier note at one point in the night she really got the hang of the "b" sound, saying "bubububub"* a lot. She's getting pretty close to "m" now :) *(I think this translates from baby into English as something to do with Markov chains, but why she'd be talking about stochastic processes is beyond me... Equally I could have misheard and it's actually something more like "give me food". I guess we'll never know.)

On a still cheerier note, more on how nice the campus is where I work (and more so as we move into summer). This week I've had two occasions to walk down to Holywell Park - which is a chunk of the campus the university acquired from British Gas a few years ago when the latter stopped using it as a research base. The first visit was to the research staff conference, something Loughborough Uni do once a year to encourage researchers from different departments to work together - all very encourgaing and it got me all first up for more research to come! Here's a couple of pictures I took as I left the conference - plush or what? :)

This morning I was back down there, having finally managed to link up with someone at the computer science department. It looks like I'll be giving a seminar down there on my work some time, which I'm quite excited about. Just have to come up with something to say now - but all good academics have a lengthy talk up their sleeves so that should be alright.

Finally, I note that RGU's new campus is now under construction. Quite pleasing to see it all take shape, in part as I was still one of the student governors when the plans were all approved. Maybe at some distant point in the future I'll be working there... In the mean time there's a nice fly through video on you tube to have a look at:

Saturday 18 June 2011


Naomi and I go to lots of groups through the week, we thought you might like to learn about what we do in a week.  In fact, we (could) go to something every day, so here are the things we go to.

Monday: Little people.  This is a group run by Emmanuel Church (a local CofE church) there is space for the babies but also with lots of toddlers too.  There is a Christian story and some songs at the end, but largely it is just a space to play and for Mums (or Dads) to talk.  It reminds me lots of Kids & Co (for my friends from Oldmachar).

Tuesday: Bumps and Babies - this a group for Mums with small babies to come and chat about the joys (and challenges) of being a Mum.  Soon though I think we might swap this group for another called Chatterbabies, which is designed to help babies develop their communication skills, through songs and stories.

Wednesday: Under 1s.  This is my favourite group of the week, as the name suggests, it is for babies under 1.  There are lots of age appropriate toys and activities to do, this is the group in which Naomi did her first ever picture.

Thursday: this is often a quieter day for us, as Naomi is often napping during "Wriggly Readers" but if she is awake we go down to the library for story time and songs, if she is not we go to the library at a different time and take out some books for she and I to read over the coming week (at the moment we are reading "Fantastic Mr Fox")

Friday:  Open Heaven has a cell group for Mums and we go to this every second Friday morning, on the weeks it is not on (and sometimes even on the weeks it is) we go to a group called Little Stars which is for babies and toddlers up to 18 months, it is a fun group with lots of toys to play with and some messy play things (though we haven't really got into those yet, we probably will once Naomi can sit up) - it is a nice group, though I sometimes get a little stressed out trying to stop the toddlers accidentally standing on Naomi.

Saturday: we don't have any groups on a Saturday but we do have Daddy at home so that makes it all okay!!

Sunday: no groups as such but we do have church which can be classed as an activity for our wee girl, she loves the songs and getting to see all her friends at church

And, on that subject here is a picture of Naomi holding hands with her friend Bethan (who is only 3 weeks younger that Naomi) though sorry their faces are so obscured!

Naomi is the one that is "upside down" - in case you aren't sure!

Thursday 16 June 2011

Sunday 12 June 2011

Baptisms at OH2

We thought you might like to hear a little more about the church that we attend down here, it is a while since we have said much about it.  Today seemed like a great opportunity as OH2 had their first ever baptisms!

Meeting in a school, as OH2 do, there is no baptismal pool to do such things in, so we got round this problem by having our service and praying for Connor and Joe and then all driving down to the swimming pool which we hired for the occasion.  Many churches see that baptism is something the congregation should all take part in, however, it was done in a way that neither Sandy nor I have come across before.  Connor and Joe (who are brothers) said they knew and trusted Jesus and promised to follow Him for the rest of their lives.  Then everybody said together "We baptise you in the name of the Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit" before they were dunked by their Mum and Dad - there was no doubt that everyone there was supporting them in what they were doing!

After the baptisms had taken place it was felt there was only one thing to do, after all, we had hired the pool for the minimum of one hour!

Sandy and I thought that we should let Naomi have a play too, she has never been in a swimming pool before today.  We couldn't get a photo as Sandy and I were both i the pool with her, however, here she is just after she came out before Mummy got her dressed again!  (Thanks to our friends the Lyons for the long term loan of a swimming costume!)

Naomi experienced other liquids for the first time this weekend, while her Dad and I sheltered from the rain on a walk that got wetter than we would have liked.

Naomi in a pub for the first time!

Friday 10 June 2011


Thanks to our good friends McGarry back in Aberdeen Naomi is the owner of a great door bouncer and now that her head control is a bit better she can go in it, though we haven't done it too often yet as I am a little wary of putting her in and taking her out on my own, though I am sure with a few more practices I will be just fine (I used to be nervous of putting her in the sling, and that definitely isn't true any more!)

Here is a video of her bouncing away the first time that we gave it a go

As an update to the weaning, it is all going well, Naomi is still loving food!  She has now had her first food that she has to eat for the EAT study and has been eating yoghurt this week, slightly unfortunately, as this is a food she "has" to eat, it probably would be her least favourite so far, though we found that by putting some banana in it (as opposed to apple or pear) she liked it a little better.

Her favourite by far, though, continues to be broccoli.  I found myself telling her that if she ate her youghurt like a good girl she could have some broccoli as a treat, Sandy pointed out that there is probably only a short window in her life that this will be true!  The photo below is after tonight's dinner of broccoli and butternut squash, in contrast to our usual photos of mess, you will notice that barely a drop has been allowed to escape her mouth, broccoli is just too precious to let it sit on a bib you see!

Wednesday 8 June 2011


So, work's being pretty hectic this week. We have a workshop next week where we spend some time with our industrial partners talking about how the research is going - there's usually a lot of back-and-forth where we talk about example building design problems and what kind of information our software will be able to provide about them. I'll maybe post a couple of example buildings that we've generated some time - they don't mean much to those who aren't building designers or computer scientists of course but they look nice. I'll be giving a presentation on all the different ways we can show the tradeoff between a building's energy, cost, comfort and other things, which should hopefully kick off a good discussion. So I've been doing a fair bit of preparation - and unfortunately plan "sleep" didn't work so well last night and I'm pretty tired :( Hence my afternoon break and retreat into the blog. Hopefully tonight things will be better!

To cheer the soul, here's something I've been meaning to post for ages. I accept that computer scientist humour is pretty bad (one of my first days as a researcher at RGU we all had a good laugh about using a random search algorithm to find somewhere to go for lunch. Hmm.) However, here's a piece of building designer humour, on the wall of the kitchen in the office I work in...

Tuesday 7 June 2011


Many of you will know that Naomi hasn't been sleeping as well of late, proving a little harder to settle at night then waking up every couple of hours or so. This is in sharp contrast to the sleeping-right-through we had a few weeks ago. Consequently, both parents have been somewhat tired. We've been working through a number of things which might be causing this:

  • Keeping the window closed to avoid noise coming in from outside (now aborted as her room gets much too warm)
  • Reducing clothing to get temperature right
  • Application of teething gel just in case (this is now happening anyway as there's an obvious tooth coming)
  • Early daylighting - her room now has a Shore Porter's box attached (skilfully by Jay) with gaffa tape to the window; this may have improved the going to sleep part of things
  • Cancelling the dream-feed
  • The most recent plan was to take the dangerous step of changing her during the night, and using a disposable nappy as they're a bit less fuss and better at doing the absorbing. So, increased comfort, but given how much she loves changing (not much) it leads to a very awake child.

    Anyway, last night sleep was achieved within minutes (good for Jay as I had to be out), and then only one awakening (albeit a lengthy one) prior to about 7am! Both parents were suitably pleased with this outcome as the tiredness is causing some odd things to happen. Of course this may have been a one-off - but we hope it'll continue. So no changes to the winning formula for tonight. The sleep issue has of course made napping happen a bit better as she gets tired through the day...

    Feeding is coming on well - here's one of her first taste of non-milk water....

    We've yet to find a food she really doesn't like. Normally the first try of a new food is met with some hesitation (and mess) but the second try usually goes down a treat. Here's the first experience of butternut squash - as Eddie Izzard would say - COVERED IN FOOD!

    Update - presumably this food business is helping her to grow - today she was weighed in at 13lb 2 oz! This is fast approaching double her birth weight. (I wonder what age it becomes inappropriate to post her weight on the Internet?)

    Thursday 2 June 2011


    Here's Naomi enjoying the much-loved sling in a new orientation. She was having a good chuckle about this but every time I get the camera out she becomes intensely interested in it and the grin disappears!

    Now on to some more food - it seems she's enjoying this a bit more now. Still not quite got the hang of swallowing but she clearly knows what's coming what the bib goes on and she leans forward looking for more each time the spoon come out. Even broccoli went down a treat! Here she is having dinner a couple of nights ago...

    She seems to be sleeping a little better again (up once last night) - hopefully this is down to the food and will keep up :)

    Wednesday 1 June 2011

    Wordless Wednesday

    As mentioned before, some people I know opt for the "Wordless Wednesday" on their blogs, so here I share a picture of Naomi as she has her first ever go on a swing