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!