Friday 21 September 2012


So, this week has mostly been spent moving into our new house.

The place on King Street (the white one here if you're interested) was chosen by us mainly for being available at a reasonable price when we appealed to churches in Loughborough to help us find somewhere to live. Our landlords, Rich and Caroline, are also part of Open Heaven (Rich is now in my cell group), are very nice people and very good as landlords. (so if you want a house, then ask them for it!) It had been a bit of a shot in the dark - we signed the lease without having seen it as I wanted to minimise the number of thousand-mile round trips necessary before the move south. The house was a little smaller than our Aberdeen one, but quite suited to our needs. Unfortunately, with another child coming, and the expected deluge of visitors, it's just a bit too small for us, so we've got a larger place.

Here's Naomi's room prior to the move. I took a picture so she could see what her first room looked like...

Naomi was very good at helping pack. I gave her a big pile of plastic coathangers and she went back and forth, one at a time, putting them into a Shore Porters box (yes, we kept them from last time). Once that was done, the empty wardrobe seemed a most appealing place to be. Can you spot the child?

Oh, there she is!

On moving day, Naomi had a good run about in the new house. Lots of space and new things to explore!

Now the house is full of boxes and furniture. Thanks to Jim for borrowing a work van to do the move, numerous other helpers for carrying stuff, and the people at Beacon Road for temporarily storing our extra cupboards and shelves.

Our dinner table awaits clearing, so mealtimes are currently a bit informal...

However, there are plenty of places to sit, stand and climb...

The new house is near to a new park, with TWO slides. This is much appreciated.

 Last night, I went to the old house to finish cleaning and tidying up prior to handing back the keys. Here's Naomi's room in cleared form:

...and the rest of the house:

So, farewell house, we were very appreciative to have you as our first family home. I close with Naomi helping to set up the stair gate in the new house.

Not related to moving at all - our date night last week was accompanied by U-Build-It Monopoly. This is a little different to the normal game: you assemble the board so you can make the game shorter or longer depending on all the streets you include, and instead of houses and hotels, the buildings are a bit fancier. very fun :)

By the way, this week the students are back in Loughborough, and they are EVERYWHERE! Campus is a tad busy again today.

Saturday 15 September 2012

Birthday Party

Naomi's friends are starting to turn two! Today we went to a birthday party, this was probably the first proper party she has been to since she was old enough to know what was going on.  Today her friend Grace was celebrating.  I didn't take many photos but I took these, I couldn't get over how beautiful she was today and thought you might like to share.

Mid spin during some dancing

A brief moment of sitting down during musical bumps

I hope you agree she is about the most beautiful child that there ever was!

Thursday 13 September 2012


I've been quite busy this past week or so; our research group has been hosting a conference and I've ended up helping quite extensively with the process of compiling the papers into a book of proceedings, generating and index for the programme and making sure all the presentations were in the right places for the different sessions (all jobs that a seasoned programmer is useful for!). This was alongside preparing a presentation of my own work for the conference. The whole thing was quite successful, there were nearly 60 papers presented and over 100 people attended. So, good fun, but quite tiring. Next week will be busy too - we've got a house move to make happen. Anyway, in the mean time, here's a round up of the past week and a bit.

At the end of last month, my cousin Elaine got married (congratulations!). This was a pretty relaxed affair, a couple of days around a marquee and cottages near York, and a bit of a family holiday for us with my parents, brothers and sisters. Good fun for everyone!

Naomi having a dance with her cousins, she really enjoyed this

Day out in York, having a bit of fun at York Minster

Naomi helped her Uncle Ian with the giant jenga by removing a fairly key piece halfway up. Unbelievably the tower stayed up like this for several more turns!

Naomi helping us to move house. "D'oh, I got stuck in a box!" She actually cried when we took her back out - I'm not sure whether this is a good thing...

I also had a trip to London last week for a work meeting - this was the culmination of the project I'm at Loughborough for, the launch of the software product which includes my work. Quite satisfying! Not much more to add on this, except that on leaving St Pancras station I saw this street, which looks like a nice, possibly brilliant place to live.

On the wedding trip, Naomi learned about throwing and catching with Uncle Ian. She's actually pretty good at it!

Naomi has recently taken up spinning. She was doing it a lot before this video, but as always, I got the camera out and she instantly stopped! She does do it again briefly though.

Tuesday 4 September 2012


Every week Sandy and I have date night, having a small child (soon to be two) means that most of these happen in the house, although occasionally we try to get out to a pub or even for a meal!  Date night often consists of a film on DVD (we used to go to the cinema quite a lot but traded that for a lovefilm subscription when Naomi was born) but in order to ring the changes we try and do something a bit different ever so often.  We also find the closer to the birth we get the more likely I am to fall asleep during the film!

One of our favourite alternative activities is to do some baking or cooking together.  Something fattening we wouldn't normally have, then we have the joy of making it together followed by the joy of eating it!

A week or so ago we made some tablet, that brilliant Scottish sweet that is even sweeter that sugar itself!

We started with a kilo of sugar, Sandy felt a photo was required as he wasn't sure he'd ever seen this much sugar used in one recipe!

To this we added a very small amount of milk and a whole can of condensed milk and some vanilla extract.  Yes it was really just sugar with a bit more sugar all boiled up and cooked before being allowed to set.

Here it is the next morning, my grin is slightly moronic because it is first thing in the morning and I haven't made it to the end of my first cup of tea yet! Also, I am very excited as the tablet has worked out really well!

Naomi doesn't get to eat many sweeties, at one I find that raisins are healthier and just as well received but we thought we should let her have a taste of Scotland and on this particular day she had been especially well behaved.  Her face says it all, I think she likes it ;-)

Not long after this she started pulling the strangest face, it took us ages to get a picture of it because it was hard to time pressing the camera button and she kept pointing at the camera, so we have lots of photos that look just like this

Eventually though, our (Sandy's) perseverance paid off and we got this shot...

We'll definitely make the tablet again, although slightly time consuming it was very easy and very tasty!

Sunday 2 September 2012

From my heart to yours, again

It is now less than three months till Baby Brownlee II is supposed to arrive (I am still really hoping for a day early so we can achieve the birthdate 10/11/12) as we get nearer the date I am starting to reflect on what the baby will be like.  Will it be clever like Mummy or ridiculously clever like Daddy? Creative like Mummy? Scientific like both of us?

Around the time Naomi was due, I wrote her this letter.  I guess I have been thinking a bit about the things that I would write to this bump, but slightly unexpectedly it has been making me very sentimental for Naomi, again, so here is another letter for her.


You have been with us in the big bad world for over 19 months now and every day you blow me away with just how remarkable you are.  You can do so many things, you can run (and do, all day, every day, never stopping!!), you can dance, you sing gently in a way that soothes my soul.  You spend hours looking at books, mainly looking for pictures of ducks and babies but just content.  You love to play with your dolly and with bags of "shopping" and of course you love going shopping in real life because there are people there and it's hard to describe how much you love people.

Of course, it isn't just what you do that makes you truly remarkable but also who you are.

You are the most caring, gentle (in character, not always in practice!!) child I have ever known.  I love spending time watching you play with your dolly and your teddies, watching you feed them, change their nappies and make sure they are entertained by "reading" to them or providing them with toys to play with.  Of course when you run over and give me or Daddy a hug, that's when we see you at your most caring.  A couple of weeks ago you saw me crying, having a bad day, my heart melted when you came over and wiped away my tears.

I am so excited to see you learn to be a sister, I think you'll be incredible and it will be my honour and privilege to help you when it comes to the finer points of sharing and learning to be affectionate in a way that doesn't cause bruising.

Your inquisitive nature also make me proud.  I might get annoyed when you squish your dinner through your hands but I love watching you work out the world around you.  The way you go about thinking how things work or why they work or how they feel or how they are managing to get away from you help me have a sense of awe of my own surroundings.  I can see it in your eyes, you need to know why things are the way they are, your going to end up being very book smart just like your Daddy, hopefully you'll let me teach you some common sense too.  The two go well together!

If I had to tell someone my greatest achievement it would be that you are so confident.  I have not come across a situation that you couldn't and didn't just throw yourself into.  You love meeting new people or going somewhere new and it makes me proud to be your Mummy.  I love watching you at toddler groups, you give me the odd glance to make sure I'm still there but mainly you go and make friends, muscle in on a story being read or play with the toy kitchen.  Not all toddlers can do that you know? It makes you very special.

There is so much more I could say here but I will stop for now.  You are incredible and I love you.  I still can't believe that when God saw how special you are that He saw fit to gift you to me and your Daddy.  The privilege is all ours.

So glad to know you, Baby Girl!

Love Mummy

Please excuse my hair, Naomi looks too happy not to share!