Friday 20 December 2013


I have a couple of videos I thought you might like to see.  One is of Naomi, she had been telling me all about stars and planets but fairly soon after I started filming it became about Christmas (and before you hear the end, she does normally answer Jesus to that question, I'm sure she just answered this way because it was going to be on record!).  The other video just shows various things Miriam is up to, in typical baby fashion it was much cooler before I turned the camera on!

Thursday 19 December 2013


Last Friday I was in Zurich - one of our partner airports is Flughafen Z├╝rich, and a visit was arranged so we (there were three on the trip) could see first hand how the airport actually works. It was a very useful trip from a work point of view - I have a much better understanding of the problems that we're working on, we have a couple of new problems that might be interesting to solve, and we have seen the people there in person so it'll be much easier to share data and ask questions remotely from now on.

The trip there was quite "interesting". In short, all these things happened:
  • flight out was overbooked and we got bumped on to a later flight, so several hours to kill at Edinburgh airport
  • just missed bus to hotel so needed to get taxi there
  • one of our group was almost unable to check in at hotel as they wanted our booking reference number, they didn't have a printed copy, and that's the one day when the university email system wasn't working well enough to retrieve it
  • taxi didn't appear when ordered at airport - cue most animated conversation in German I've ever seen between hotel manager and taxi company, followed by scariest taxi ride ever (and I've been in an Italian taxi)
  • lengthy question session by UK Border people for one of our group
  • burst tyre five minutes from my house in Stirling

Still, we got there and back in one piece, and I did very briefly manage a quick trek into the centre of Zurich while waiting for the return flight. Here is some Swiss scenery:

Lake Zurich

PS: I'm told that Naomi answered "Zurich" to the question "where's your daddy today?" :-)

PPS: I'm quite entertained that this can be classed as a "day trip"!

Sunday 8 December 2013

Christmas excitement

Here are a few of our preparations for Christmas, it's proving lots of fun this year as Naomi is understanding better what is going on.  She is very excited and can engage with some of our traditions and fun.

One thing she was very excited about was getting a Christmas tree.

Here we are having chosen the tree (as a side note, Sandy had the day off work and it turns out that Monday morning is an incredible time to buy a Christmas tree, the queue was non-existent!)

Here is Naomi making some decorations for the tree.  She wanted to make it sparkly but the decorations were in the attic and I wasn't in a position to get it down on my own so I said she could make some things for it

Here is the tree with the decorations Naomi made

Here is the tree with a few more decorations including a star that Naomi made with Daddy yesterday.

We will be up in the North East for a fair wee while over Christmas and New Year so looking forward to catching up with you soon...

She's a walker!

Miriam has had the longest nearly walking phase I've ever known, she looked pretty close about 6 weeks ago but she has now mastered the basics and is now trying to perfect the art.

So here goes, enjoy!

Wednesday 4 December 2013


In the bath last night Naomi was having a lot of fun with her hippos. They were having a lot of adventures but at one point the pink one wasn't feeling well.

So, here we have the blue one being a doctor,  the link one in the doctors bed,  and the whale being, well,  a whale.  What else?

I like this stage of development :-)

Sunday 24 November 2013


... is what you need (apparently).

The day after Miriam's first birthday was her dedication at our church. This is a bit like a baptism but without the water: we give thanks for her, ask God to look after her as she grows up, and we (as parents) and the wider church promise to bring her up right.

If you'd like to see it, the church were able to take a video and we've put it on our youtube channel, below.

Tuesday 19 November 2013


This past weekend we made a short trip to stay with my parents. Needless to say, a visit to grandma and granddad's house went down well with the girls and they had a great time. The main motivation for the visit, though, was that on Saturday there was a celebration for 25 years of 1st New Deer Boys' Brigade.

I was a member almost from the time that the BBs started in New Deer, and ended up an officer, leading the company section (that's the older ones) for a couple of years before I finished so I could concentrate on my PhD. I can't speak highly enough of the good experiences and many happy memories that it gave me. Particularly in later years the expedition work, but also the chances to give leadership a go, and making some good friends. The BBs is at its core a Christian organisation and also played its part in seeding my faith.

It was a bit odd to catch up with guys I've not seen for years - particularly the boys I'd led who are now men themselves - but a great night. I took a few pictures before people started arriving; I didn't think to take any later on as I was busy catching up with people, but there was a good crowd: all those chairs were full!

There were lots of "memory" pictures of us in much more youthful times, including one of my favourite local press pictures of all time - not so much for me, but for Needsy (his surname is actually "Needs" not Neeps!)

Monday 18 November 2013


Naomi has just got the hang of pedalling a trike, you might like to see...

Thursday 14 November 2013

Miriam had a birthday

and here are some of the pictures from our day...

The first is actually from the day before Miriam's birthday.  Children under one only cost £1  at soft play but they cost £3.95 afterwards so I thought we should have a last play while she's still cheap! Here she is asleep in "Auntie" Liz's arms.  Liz came from Loughborough to join us for all our festivities.

Right, birthdays need cakes. I decided to try and make one that looked like Miriam's favourite toy pictured for reference)

Here are some bits of cake in an approximate doggy shape

I was over the moon, though, at how well it turned out!

On the morning of Miriam's birthday Naomi, literally, lined up all the presents for opening

Miriam was very pleased with her lot

Then was time for cake

Having Happy Birthday sung to her

Eating cake

Family photo

Birthdays are, of course, hard work, so at 5pm this happened...

The next morning also featured Naomi saying (in a robot voice) "I am a robot" and walking around like this

It was a beautiful day, we had lots of fun and Miriam received lots of lovely gifts.


Naomi's dancing was most cute this morning...

Saturday 9 November 2013

My dearest Miriam.

Oh Miriam, here we are on your first birthday.

It is becoming a tradition to write to my children on their birthdays and I am very excited to write you the first of your birthday letters.

What can I say to you, I have been trying to decide for so long.

Firstly, I love you.  I love you so much.  I would love you whatever you were like but you are such an easy baby to love.  You always have a smile and a giggle or a kiss and a cuddle for me.  You are the happiest baby I have ever known, everyone comments on how amazingly happy you are.  The only times we really hear you cry are when you are being attacked by your big sister and when you don't want to go to sleep.

Music makes you particularly happy.  Your favourite song continues to be twinkle, twinkle.  You can do all the actions (but choose not to if you are being filmed).  I love to watch you dance along to music, you have this happy little bounce which melts my heart.  You particularly love to dance to worship music, I am sure your Daddy in Heaven is so incredibly proud of your gift of worship, you dance, you clap and you reach out to Him, so relaxed and happy in His presence. I hope and pray you never lose your ability to worship, it is a joy to watch.

You are a total poser, as soon as you see the flash on a camera you stop what you are doing, look right at the camera and smile.  Such a beautiful smile that you will no doubt try to use to your advantage in your toddler years to get away with all sorts of mischief.  I suspect you may find it works too, your smile is hard to resist!

I love to watch you learn, you watch your big sister mainly and then give it a go.  Currently you are learning to walk, I suspect you won't take very much longer at all.  You have a patience and a persistence that I admire greatly.  I suspect it will take you far in life.

You love bananas, there isn't much to say about that but you love them so much that it felt like I couldn't write a letter about what you are like without mentioning it.  I think you would eat bananas constantly if I let you but you'll settle for most other foods if that is all that is going.

You love your toy doggy.  You stop most things to give him a quick cuddle, he helps you feel happier on the rare occasions you feel sad.  You are very good at going to places like creche but if you are feeling a little less secure you take doggy with you.

You love your Daddy.  You play with me so nicely all day but as soon as Daddy comes home from work and I can see the love in your eyes as you crawl/cruise over to him for a special Daddy cuddle.  I love watching you love him, I am so pleased you have a Daddy who cares for you and whom you care for.

Miriam I love you, I love having you in my life and I love that I get to be your Mummy, it is a joy and a delight.  When God made you, He gave you to me and the honour and privilege is all mine.  Soon your sister will be going to nursery and one the reasons that makes me excited is that I will get to spend some proper time with you.  You are so tolerant of being abandoned when your sister needs the toilet or bashes you on the head but I am looking forward to spending some one on one time with you and seeing you grow and develop even more.  I am excited for the person you can and will become.

Keep being special

Love always,


Monday 4 November 2013

having fun in the cold!

This weekend I looked out all the gloves, scarves and hats.  Apparently my timing was perfect as this morning we really needed them for our walk to toddler group!

Here we are all snug and ready to go...

A small point to note about Miriam's temperament being different to Naomi's is that I can report, with some astonishment, that Miriam was still wearing gloves when we arrived at toddler group and when we put them back on to come home she was still wearing them when we got home! Naomi has never kept a pair of gloves on for more than about 15 minutes, ever!

And finally, just because I love the picture.  This was Naomi having a play before Church yesterday...

Don't let the blue sky fool you. It was freezing!

Friday 25 October 2013


On Monday and Tuesday this week I was on yet another trip, this time to Nottingham to visit the researchers there who are in to airport operations stuff. Not a huge amount to report, except that it was a little odd to be so close to Loughborough without going there (I flew in to East Midlands Airport), and that otherwise it was quite a productive meeting. I now have lots of work to do!

Each visit that I do I get a picture of the room - though as you might expect they all look surprisingly familiar!

I've not been to the  University of Nottingham before. The CS department is huge - they have a building to themselves. The Jubliee Campus, where CS is based, is relatively new. They've gone for an upside-down library just like Loughborough's (although less concrete and more wood)...
Otherwise, the campus is fairly nice for a city-based one. In the background you can see part of the cigarette factory that it apparently replaced.

Of course, one of the nice things about being away is getting sent pictures like these:
Naomi has started getting dressed by herself a lot of the time - here she is being quite proud of her achievement

You know you are a parent when...

just for a bit of fun

You know you are a parent when...

1. You are drowning in clean laundry...

2.  Your draining rack features as many craft items as it does eating utensils...

3.  For everything you own that is dangerous (and therefore interesting) you have a fake/toy version...

4.  You consider yourself lucky to have gone to the toilet and only returned to this little mess...

5.  Every cupboard that has something breakable in it features a plastic equivalent...

6.  Running out of bananas meant you had to use all your best peace keeping skills (and make an emergency trip to the supermarket)...

7.  Finding cream cheese on your hair brush isn't odd...

8.  If you fancy a bath you must first wade through this lot...

9.  Getting to put your feet up for a few minutes is a note worthy event...

10.  You have no idea how you would function without these...

11.  You love your small people more than words could ever express...

Thursday 17 October 2013


I've been in London the past few days for a work meeting. All in all a productive few days but very tiring! Jay took the girls up to see all the grandparents - I gather this was much enjoyed by all - more to come on that.

Anyway, this morning I decided to walk to work to get some nice clean Scottish air into me. The clouds were looking really good this morning so I thought I'd share:

I also spotted this picture of Miriam on my phone, from a couple of weeks ago. She's getting the hang of this eating business - just need to get a little more of the food in the mouth...

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Afternoon Fun

This afternoon Naomi asked me to "play the computer on the telly".  This means she wants to play some of the games on my Wii Fit.  Because they rely on balancing on a board and not on pushing many buttons she gets on quite well with some of them, in fact she can play the skateboarding game substantially better than I can!

That said, I am not sure Nintendo had this in mind for the penguin balance game. I hope the change of camera angles aren't too bad, it only changes twice, although it occurs to me that for part of it at least you might need to turn your head to the side!

Sunday 6 October 2013

Miriam loves her doggy

Just a quick video to show you how much Miriam loves her doggy, almost anything will be stopped to give him a quick cuddle.

We wanted to put on a video of Miriam doing the actions for twinkle twinkle but she has recently become a little camera shy and stops doing them as soon as we start filming.  Hopefully that one will be online soon, mainly because it is very, VERY cute!

Thursday 3 October 2013


For those who don't know,  I have taken up running as a means of keeping fit.  I now run about 5k (just over 3 miles for those who prefer it in old money) in about 30-35 minutes so try and do that two evenings a week and once at the weekend.

Having not been out for a fair few days I decided to go out despite the rain,  in fact light rain is about the best weather for running as it is refreshing but not too cold. That said,  about half way into my run the rain came on hard and although I still enjoyed the run I was pleased to get home and have a bath!

Saturday 28 September 2013


The place we live is *beautiful*.  I walked with a friend up to Stirling Castle today and I thought you might also appreciate the view.

Isn't it just stunning?!

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Miriam is on the move

As we told you about here Miriam has worked out how to crawl.  Only that was, apparently, not good enough and now she has mastered walking along as long as she has something to hold onto.  I think she was jealous of Granddad McIntyre's zimmer frame and wanted to get in on the action!

Things are now getting a little bit interesting around here as Naomi learns to deal with a sister who can steal "her" stuff! (Today I bought a second dolls pram as that particular issue was getting out of hand and was well worth the £4 it took to buy a second one and make things easier!)

In case you are wondering, that is a cook book in the pram.  It is only there to weigh the pram down so Miriam doesn't fall over.

Tuesday 17 September 2013


 Today Naomi went climbing! She loves climbing on my sofa, on tables, on the climbing frame, on the stairs, anywhere I don't want her to be.  So, when a new friend here in Stirling, Sunniva Anne, said she could take Naomi climbing on a proper climbing wall I thought we should give it a whirl!

Here is how it worked out...

Here us Sunniva showing Naomi the ropes (literally).  To add a bit of fun Naomi had to "rescue" Peppa Pig (she loved this element of the game).

Working out where to put her feet

But with her eyes on the prize

She made it!

How high!?!??

After climbing one needs to eat a snack/lunch and share it with the newly rescued Peppa

Apparently, though, Peppa needed to be in the picture properly

She had an absolute blast and is looking forward to doing it again :-)