Tuesday 15 December 2020

Esther's art

 Esther has suddenly become very good at pictures! Here are a few of her creations.

Monday 14 December 2020

Brownie Camp

 Naomi and Miriam were meant to be on Brownie camp this year, but of course, that hasn't happened. Instead we had a weekend of Zoom meetings and activities, with a "camp" setup in their bedrooms. I think it still worked pretty well. They had fun, anyway...

The little two were very keen to not be left out, so they got a camp too.

Sunday 13 December 2020

Christmas Prep

 It'll be an "at home" Christmas this year, for the first time ever without grandparents or cousins or anything like that. We have, at least, got the first part ready: our very unique tree decorations.

Naomi has made a santa's grotto as part of the tree decorations. That gold tinsel surrounds it.

Miriam's 8th Birthday

 Similarly, Miriam's birthday also needed some outdoor fun, but in her case she just wanted to play Minecraft on the tablet with her friend. So, a little bit easier. Spot the theme with the case too!

Pre-school presents. Miriam is really there somewhere!

Her camera was a popular present

Lydia's 6th Birthday

 ...was a bit different this year! Not being able to do an inside party, we were able to do an outside one. Lots of blankets and a gazebo, and we have an outdoor home cinema where our best friends could come too! A lot of fun indeed.

Presents before school

Naomi's cards are getting ever more impressive.

Saturday 14 November 2020

Precious Lydia

First an apology, many years ago I started this tradition of writing a letter on your birthday and I have to confess the last few years I haven't quite managed. I should have and I am really sorry. Life got a bit overwhelming and it never quite made it to "paper". This is nothing to with you, mummy should have planned a bit better.

But here you are, having just turned 6! And I want to re-instigate the letter writing tradition.

Lydia, you are a beautiful girl and you know what you love.

  • You love purple (I think I have conditioned you given your namesake sold purple cloth).
  • You love your sisters.
  • You love Elise and Erin.
  • You love making mischief.
  • You love an adventure.
  • You love a bit of dressing up (come as you please day at school and you were adament you would be a unicorn!) 

You love a good role play game, like Mummies and babies, or cats and dogs, or pincesses and unicorns. You and Esther can while away many an hour lost in a wee imaginary world.

Last year you started school and after lockdown meant that you had an unconventional first year, you are loving school again this year. You love learning, mainly just now you are learning about words and how to read them and write them. You are getting so good. You have an awesome smile when you get something write. Your happiness is infectious. You make other people happy too.

You are kind (when you want to be) would always make sure that everything is fair. You look after people. I am proud of you for this.

You are desperate to be seen as a big girl. I have to remind myself that just because you are one of the "little two" doesn't mean you're little (I am sorry for when I get that wrong). You are turning into a beautiful big girl. Full of adventure and a desire to push yourself. You are currently working incredibly hard to learn to do a hand stand. I know you will manage.

You love to throw yourself wholeheartedly into something, as this muddy trip to the park can attest. Yours are the middle legs and you were absolutely the first to go in...

You find joy in the smallest things, I pray this will never leave you

You also find joy in the biggest things

Mummy loves you. I love you so much.

My prayer for this year in many ways is a prayer for me. I pray we can help you come to know God more, Jesus better and the Holy Spirit as a real friend.

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

Saturday 17 October 2020

Tech stuff

 A couple of slightly techie things to catch up on too...

First, several years ago I was given a rack mount cabinet for some of my technology things. It's been a long time coming but finally it's up and running (okay, a very select group of people will appreciate this!)

I've also been on campus for the first time in months. I'm involved in teaching a course that has always been planned for "online" (rather than the webcam lectures I've been doing the past few weeks). My bit goes live in January, so I was in the film studio last week. Here was my view for that time - very professional stuff indeed.

More experiments

 Another science experiment to keep things interesting! This time we made some indicator using red cabbage. We really didn't expect much from this, but the range of colours with different alkalies and acids was really quite impressive!

The foul-smelling indicator itself...

And how it looked after mixing with soaps, vinegars, fruit juice, bleach and several other things...

Messy church at home

Among the many things folk have adapted to the present situation, both our church and North Parish (the one we go to messy church at) have been very good at providing home versions of their usual children's activities. Our Sunday school now usually has a Veggietales video and an appropriate craft; we usually have a kids song to dance to as well.

Messy Church revolves around parents and their children doing the activities together  - and it's been really helpful to get a bag of materials and instructions for activities each month. Here's the girls enjoying some activities (this is from back in full lockdown - Lydia is wearing her school uniform to feel a bit more like it's a regular day)

Sunday 13 September 2020

Lydia can ride her bike!

Stabilisters came off a couple of weeks ago but suddenly the confidence has arrived and she no longer needs Daddy to keep a hold of her. Hurray!

Monday 17 August 2020

Esther starts nursery

Today, a bit later than planned, Esther is off to nursery for the first time. She's excited!

This morning it's going to be a VERY quiet house.

Saturday 11 July 2020

Not travelling...

So this is conference season and this week I should be a GECCO, which was to be in Cancun, Mexico. I have a couple of things to help run at the conference, as well as all the usual networking and catching up with people who do similar research to me. Alas, it's all virtual, but still on Mexican time. So instead of this...

My conference looks like this...

The biggest thing is just the lack of people - often we don't see who else is in the same "session" - and you can't easily lean to the person next to you to ask if they understood what was just said... On top of that it's all on Mexican time, so the days run from about 3pm to 1:30am. My other conference in a couple of weeks (WCCI) is at least in Glasgow, but for some reason it's not quite on local time and runs from 11am to 10pm each day. I do have a paper to present at that one but I expect I'll not be the most coherent by then!

Of course, on the plus side, I've not lost two days to travel time, nor am I away from home, so the girls can put notes like this under my door:


The food is definitely better than conference provisions, I can get a decent sleep in a non-hotel-bed, and I can see all the family in my breaks.

In short - virtual conferences aren't as good from the work perspective - but personally they are pretty good.

Saturday 27 June 2020


One of our learning activities was to get some caterpillars and watch them grow. Overall a pretty successful exercise, though I think parents got more out of it than children! Having now released them, the girls see a butterfly on many of our walks that must be one of ours...

Summer holidays, and sports day

Well, I was thinking it's be hard to tell when the summer holidays started, but right on cue, day 1 of "no school" had some serious rain!

Nevertheless, this was most welcome for those of us still working at home as my office is on the southern side of the house and gets very warm in the sunshine. (I'm averaging about 6 meetings a day on Microsoft Teams - and a bit of fresh air really helps with the concentration too)

So, home schooling is more or less over, unless we do this all again in August! It's looking promising that won't happen though. We'll catch up on some more home school activities in a while, but on of the last things in the year was sports day. The school did a really good job of providing some potted sports for the children to do at home, and we submitted their scores so winning classes could be determined (Lydia's P1 class were the winners in P1-3)

Normally I'd take the morning off work to see the girls doing their sports, so I did the same thing this time...

Saturday 23 May 2020

Lockdown Fun

Time for a catch up on all things lockdown for us...

Lydia is missing her P1 class and teacher. We've run in to her teacher a couple of times when we've been out walking, but as she's a probationer she won't be in the school when school resumes after the summer. Meanwhile, she is reading a story for the class each week - here is Lydia enjoying that.

We have been enormously thankful for the garden and the good weather the past few weeks!

We still get to jump in muddy puddles sometimes though. (Esther LOVES her dinosaur coat!)

As well as exciting indoor challenges like making the tallest Lego tower.

This is what church look like just now

And this was Easter Sunday's egg rolling. The slide was most helpful.

I couldn't find Lydia one morning. It turns out she was looking for clothes!

The girls get sent Sunday School activities each week. Here they are learning about Goliath. 

Of course, without a physical school to go to the girls often play schools. (yes, we do schoolwork with them in the mornings too - but they are much less willing to do that!)

...and why not just go the full distance and wear our school uniforms too? (this was genuinely one of the days that Lydia say her teacher out on the walk)

More wholesome games include hospitals - this is the sheet written up for one of the patients.

Our house has rainbows in every window of course, but also this to welcome the postman every day.

Work, of course, involves a lot of video calls for me. Sadly one of the meetings usually has bacon sandwiches provided, so I had to bring my own this time. Still good!

The lack of groups and activities means we can do a lot more with our weekends, including clearing some odd jobs. Lydia and Esther needed some new under-bed storage, so I got a chance to make some decent boxes. Great!

The older two have been promised more colours in their bedroom for months. So, here we go!

Sleepovers are limited to just staying in your sisters' bedroom. Still fun though.

Wednesday evening Kids Club is still on, but the crafts and dances are all a bit in-house.

The girls have enjoyed a couple of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals on YouTube. Joseph was the best! This is them enjoying Cats.

Naomi took it upon herself to make dinner last weekend. Jay provided instructions, then she took care of it all herself. Great job!

Last week we saw ducks in the school playground when we were out for our walk.