Sunday 23 December 2018

October holidays

I just realised that we haven't caught up on our brief holidays up North during October. A few days with Granny, Grandad and Grandma as well as catching up with friends were most welcome! This included some friends from Loughborough, who now live near Peterborough, and happened to be visiting Fraserburgh on holiday. We also achieve a record in outdoor recreational variety - 6 different parks in 6 days! Lots of wholesome outdoor time and a good trip all round.

A visit to Uncle Ian and family at a soft play in the middle of the lovely North East countryside

The soft play, of course, also has a cafe

This is the park in Turriff

At this point Esther has discovered shoes, though is still working on the concepts of "size" and "fit"

We are doing a lot of tidying at Mum's house just now and one of the sad parts has been disassembling the model railway. I was always very pleased with this bridge that I made.

Around 20 years ago a high-speed incident in the school playground gave my brother several nasty grazes, and rendered our cartie (made by my Grandad) out of action. It has taken me this long to rebuild the broken wheel - here it is.

And the finished article. Brilliant.

More park fun... this is Haddo 

Naomi is at one with nature. She's in those bushed somewhere.

The view from the skylight outside my old bedroom at Mum's.

Mum has an apple tree and a pear tree, both of which produced their best-ever crops this year. We took load home - and even with our consumption rate they lasted us about 5 weeks.

The park in Keig

School time!

Lots of tree climbing on this trip. Very satisfying.

Haughton country park in Alford

...and a quick wander into the countryside to make a den...

and see some highland cows.

Saturday 22 December 2018

Just the four of us

I mentioned last month that Jay and Esther were away for a weekend - aside from a bit of decorating we got up to a few other things too. We had a great time but it was a very happy time when Mummy and little sister came back.

Saturday morning lie in!


A very dark ride around the school playground - after the room painting was done

I was very happy with this homemade bread

The final COW-down

I had another trip to London - the big project that originally funded my move to Stirling (DAASE) is coming to an end - so we had a meeting and workshop to talk about all the things that had been achieved. Probably the most impressive (not a part that I was involved with though!) is that Facebook bought up several of the team, and are now using project research (to do with automatic bug fixing) in their mobile app, which apparently has 2 billion users. My rather more modest contributions did get a mention though, there is some nice stuff to do with speeding up software and increasing its energy efficiency. Happy  somewhat related news is that I just got my own grant (about £10k) to do some more work on this topic.

Anyway, a wee trip to London in early December...

I've had much worse views from my hotel window. I was staying at The President Hotel, not far from Euston station.

The girls always ask me what I'm eating when I'm away so I have various food pictures. I particularly liked the tower of toast though.

The famous Crest Open Workshop COW.


More talking: Lydia has more or less grown up enough that she has a vocabulary full of real words now, so I thought it'd be good to remember her various nearly-words that she used quite successfully...

Podgidge - porridge
Jodge - George (Peppa Pig's brother)
Jedroom - bedroom
Mim mim - Miriam
Blanas - bananas
Plablet - tablet
Lick stick - lipstick
Ear gloves - earmuffs
Mieeeelk - milk
applejack - flapjack
cinnamon - Simeon (her cousin)
Pressy thing / smoowf - her Smurf toy
popcorn - acorn

still in use:
activity - Nativity
Old McDonald's - her name for a popular fast food chain.

Not really a word, but she also liked to insert a Shatner-style pause into sentences. Particularly "Hello.... personname"

Growing up

Esther has very much been growing the past few months. Aside from now very much having her own personality (and being very clear about her opinion on nearly everything) she's also feeling her way around talking and is developing recognisable sounds for most things she's likely to want. She loves to play with her big sisters and is all too willing to copy what they are up to!

We are currently trying to convince her that sleeping through the night without any milky snack is a positive life-choice. It's working to an extent but is proving to be rather energy-sapping.

During her first year we had these cards to mark milestones. Here are a couple a haven't shared yet.

She has found a ripe source of snacks under her high chair.


One morning Esther was having a bit of a play to herself upstairs as everyone was trying to wake up enough to go downstairs. For some reason she hid the toothbrushes here - it took us until the following day to find them!