Tuesday 21 October 2014


Ugh. I can't stand terms like "Staycation" - but for some mad reason years ago when I still had some imagination left I thought it'd be "neat" to limit myself to single-word titles, and I also have an issue with a blog that feels the need to have several posts with the same title so "Holiday" was ruled out.

Anyway, before Baby III arrives, we all felt in need of a bit of rest, so I took a week off work and we hada holiday at home. Well, mostly at home: it started with a weekend where I took the girls to see my parents and Jay stayed behind to rest properly. This was a little tainted by a sickness bug, but I have a sneaking suspicion that my mum quite enjoyed looking after us :)

Doormat Speaks Truth.

We had a quick visit to see my brother Ian and his wife Christine, at Banff Links. They had made French Fancies. They were good.
By the way, this is what a North-East Scotland visit to the beach normally looks like. No sand, definitely no water (despite it being very close), winter jackets, and enough wind to blow a tin of cakes off the table.

Here is a get well soon card that Naomi made for me after she was feeling a bit better and I was feeling a bit worse.

Here's Miriam concerning everyone with what appeared to be illness. Turned out she was just tired and didn't get the bug at all. Hurray!

Two girls feeling much better...
They're both being "a different kind of star shape"

Well, it's not Grandma's house without ice cream!

Naomi made a cake with her Grandma to take back to Mummy. Here it is after the trip back to Stirling.

Worth mentioning is also a classic bit of child logic. On the trip back south, Naomi requested toileting facilities as we reached Dundee. I found a Tesco that looked like it would contain some, and we proceeded inside. (this was accompanied with some classic slapstick comedy as we walked across the car park: upon crossing a road, with a child in each hand, a wasp landed on my eye. Trapped on my glasses, no amount of upward blowing could make it shift. I performed a most interesting dance until we reach the far side and I could release a child to facilitate hand-based wasp removal). Anyway, back to the story.

After we'd made use of the facilities, we made it back to the car. I put Naomi into her seat, and she asked for her sunglasses. I found them and put them on her. She then burst in to tears: "I wanted to wear them to go into the shop". Well, I may be a Doc, but I don't think our car does 88mph and we are definitely out of plutonium, so I suggested that time travel may not be possible. Cue massive car-park based tantrum. Happy days.

On returning home we had a couple of nice quiet days, even with some good playing together:

On hearing that poor Grandma had caught the signess bug, the girls mad get well cards for her too:

We've already shared about our visit to the Science Centre, so now I'll close with a picture of the biggest onion bhaji I've ever seen. Excellent takeaway based joy.

Yes, that's an actual full-size tin of beans for scale.


A quick post of geeky mundanity. The university has had a new wifi network installed. In a seemingly awesome plan, new access points were installed throughout the building to best distribute the signal, but on top of that, all the access points from the old network were also replaced. This means that in many places, we have two access points within a metre or two of each other. I can look out may office doors and see about eight of the things. I can feel the room temperature rising with all those microwaves bouncing around! I shouldn't mock too much though, it does mean that emails appear on my phone super-quickly now.

The geeks among you will quite like this - it's all the wifi signals my phone picked up while I was in our common room making some tea. Awesome.

Note: the notifications in the top left don't mean I'm popular, just lazy when it comes to checking them.

Thursday 16 October 2014

Belly Baby

As my due date approaches (two weeks tomorrow) and I am feeling about as practically prepared as I can for our impending arrival, it comes time for my now traditional letter to my baby about everything I hope, pray and dream.  So, here goes.


I am sorry, you are a third baby, you have no nick name, you are lucky to have middle names after your Dad and I had kind of forgotten to get round to picking any for you.  You are going to be born into an environment that is already really rather busy and you'll just need to fit in.  You will be expected to do nursery pick ups from only a few days old and you'll spend much time sitting on the edges of dance classes and gymnastics classes. You'll be taken to toddler groups because they are where your sisters go.

Please do not mistake that for me not having any hopes or dreams for you, though.  Especially having two siblings already it has taught me how different all children are and I now realise more than I knew I would, that you will be your own person with your own aspirations and hobbies and loves and desires.

I am so excited to learn who you are.  As your arrival into the world draws nearer I am particularly keen to know if you are a boy or a girl, it feels odd not to know "who" you are! Who are you? Are you my son or my daughter? Will you be a brother or a sister?

I am so excited to see what kind of child you are, in my belly you don't move around to much, I suspect you are rather placid, when you do move though, you REALLY move.  You do big flips and kick hard! Are you just trying to make sure we don't forget you are there? Do you already have a sense that as a third child you will need to fight to make sure people don't forget you are here?  Don't worry sweetheart, we know!

I am excited to see if you like to read books, play music, play with trains, do dressing up, play sports, be outside or inside.  I am excited to know if you like science and engineering or arts and crafts or maybe both? I am excited to know if you will love school for the education or the people you meet, maybe you won't like it at all but I hope that isn't the case.

Will you love Naomi's rough and tumble or Miriam's reserved, quiet patience? At least we have both although whichever you prefer I am sorry you have to deal with the other too.

Baby, I hope you know you are precious, I will be praying you continue to know you are precious all your days.  I will be praying that as well as knowing you are my child and your Daddy's child that you personally know your so-much-better-than-us, perfect Daddy in Heaven.  He loves you so much more than I ever could because He IS love and because He is perfect.  I pray that you will know God even now, I am have taken great comfort during my pregnancy with you in knowing this (from Psalm 139)
For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you

    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body;

    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
My main prayer is that you will ALWAYS "know that full well".  Your Daddy and I are so pleased you are in our lives and while we don't promise to never get angry or frustrated with you we do know that the privilege is all ours.  God is giving you to us and we are grateful, so grateful.  But I pray you will always know that you are GOD's creation, GOD's child and the apple of GOD's eye.

Mummy is starting to feel rather uncomfortable and so I am becoming anxious that you make your appearance sooner rather than later but you come when you are ready and show us just how incredible you are.  I love you already, baby and looking forward to meeting you and seeing your face (in related news, can you have brown eyes? I have always wanted a child to have my eyes and your sisters haven't complied!).

Come on baby, it's fun out here, we have milk!

Saturday 11 October 2014

Science Centre

This week has seen Sandy being off work, in part because I am a gazillion weeks pregnant (not really but it feels like it) and could do with some help around the house, in part because he had some leave that needed used up and in part because it was nice to do a few family things before the baby arrives and makes everything a good deal more complicated and harder to plan around for at least a couple of months.

So yesterday we decided to go to Glasgow Science Centre. (For our Aberdeen friends think Satrosphere but bigger and for our Loughborough friends think the national space centre but not just about space and bigger and WAY better!).  Now anyone that knows us will know that this is the kind of environment that Sandy and I could happily visit all on our own but we did very much enjoy taking the girls and watching them explore all the different exhibits.  I was particularly impressed that Naomi was engaged in *something* all day.  She didn't even really ask for snacks.  I have never known Naomi to have her attention held for so long and my geeky side loved that it was science that was holding it!

Anyway, enough explanation, let's look at some pictures of the girls!

Miriam was definitely at the younger end of being able to enjoy the day but lots of things were still fun for her to do, here she just enjoyed lining up the dice!

There was lots of fun to be had with mirrors


Where are my legs?

Are they over here?

What about my legs?

Look, they are down here!

Mirrors make us funny shapes

This one made Mummy look pregnant!

She was supposed to be lifting a heavy load but Miriam was more interested in "driving"

Safety first

Fun days out are fuelled by cake!

Miriam spent ages looking at this, in fact both the girls did.  It was a big tunnel of air and the scarves went up.  You could fiddle a dial that made the scarves go faster or slower but our girls were happy to just play!

Sandy enjoyed that the science centre was located next to BBC Scotland

And looked like a giant slug

Mummy and Miriam in the background using some big dishes to focus our voices so they could be heard from far away!

Floating a ball using air!
The girls went to a little talk on camouflage, Naomi was particularly good at finding animals in pictures and was even fairly good at listening to the talk.  After the talk they got to make masks so they could camouflage themselves as animals! 

Making tracks to run balls down

A very fun day was had by all and the girls were even good (mainly) when we got stuck in the M8 traffic at 4.30 on a Friday!

My top tip for anyone who wants to go is that you can exchange £2.50 of Tesco Clubcard vouchers for a £10 voucher towards which would have been a considerable saving and dealt with my only complaint about the place which is that it costs a FORTUNE! Make sure you do it a little in advance though as you have to have the vouchers posted to you and not emailed to you as I was expecting (as I tried to make use of the deal the evening before our trip! You live and learn.)


Time for a little catch up again...

We open with a caption competition. What could possibly be up there?

I really like this picture, which you can probably guess immediately followed the one above. I was after a new background for my phone, and this made the cut.

Soon after, Naomi went on a picture taking exercise again...

"No pictures"

"Well, okay then"

"Look over there, a squirrel! Really!"

Some time after those pictures, we got a similar look of amazement from the girls during dinner. I turned around to see a hot air balloon - and quite an impressive one coming surprisingly close to the house.

It landed in a field a few minutes' walk away.

Breakfast. I like the improvised seats.

Every night now bedtime partly consists of the girls taking a few minutes to read themselves. We find this scene cute every time.

...and now some non-child randomness...
This plant live in our bathroom. I moved it there this time last year to get more sunlight than it was getting in our en-suite, because it looked like it was struggling. Soon after, it seemed to have died completely. I watered the bare earth in the pot for a while in case it came back, but probably stopped doing so around January. As a testament to our cleaning-motivation, the empty pot has sat there ever since, bone dry. Imagine our surprise then, when the plant sprung back to life in July, and has now grown to this! I've started watering it again, albeit very sparingly given that it seems to be happy without it. The lesson - don't tidy up dead plants!

To close - a nice Venn diagram that some may find amusing. If you can think of a good joke to fit in the middle I'd like to hear it!

Thursday 2 October 2014

Making Memories

Having chosen to be a stay at home Mum the reality is that in years to come the girls won't remember the amazing holiday to far flung places we went on or the stuff we bought them or even particularly the places I take them but it is my privilege to be able to make memories with them in the simple things each and every day.

This morning Miriam and I had a friend round to play but we had a wee while before they arrived so we baked some cakes.  This is exactly the kind of thing that we chose to put Naomi to morning nursery to achieve.  Simple moments spent together before the baby comes and spoils it all!!  Naomi and I used to do this kind of thing a lot (and still do while Miriam naps) so it was nice to do it with Miriam without her having to fight over a chance to stir or add an ingredient.

Putting the cases in the trays

Mixing the ingredients

Helping putting the mixture in the tray

The finished article (we ran out of icing!)

She's so proud of herself AND she got to eat a cake while our friends were round!