What a word. What a big word! A word loaded with meaning.

“removed or severed from association, service, etc., especially legally or formally”

“severed”, “removed”. Reminiscent of surgical amputation, or tooth extraction: it sounds painful!

And it is.

Not quite married, not quite single. Both, and neither.

“But I’m not really married!” isn’t the exactly the world’s best chat-up line is it? Damn, I even wrote a song about it!

But that’s not the worst part – not for me, anyway. I don’t think it would help anyone – me, my children or their mother – to drag any recriminations, whys and wherefores all over the internet, and I don’t intend to.

“Separated”. Not just from my wife, from what is now the ‘family home’, but also – and most importantly – from Jake and Ellie. That’s the worst part.

Jake and Ellie. Who I’ve described as “the best thing I’ve ever done with my life”.  In low moments “the only good thing I’ve ever done with my life”.

Jake.  The Jake who I held “skin on skin” when he was born and who promptly stopped crying, then relaxed enough to relieve himself all over my chest. “The happiest moment of my life” I called it at the time.    DSCF2769

Ellie, my “Tiny Dancer”. The countless hours I spent cuddling her and singing her to sleep night after night, not leaving until I was sure she was soundly asleep.

That first year I spent with them, along with their mother, as a full-time parent was at once the richest and one of most demanding of my life.

The (for the first year at least) twice-daily walks in the double buggy, in all weathers, to give them the naps they needed. The vomit, the nappies, the sleep deprivation, the tantrums. Their first steps! Their first words! I remember tweeting “Teaching my little boy to roll a ball. Happy.” And I meant it. All those precious moments I spent with them, helping them live, learn and grow: three years a stay-at-home Dad.


They’re now 8. At school, doing well, making friends, making music, playing rugby, and much more: so grown up! I see them so little by comparison. 1 day on a weekend and 1 evening during the week. I feel like they have been and are growing up largely without me.

It’s painful.

I’d defined myself and my life around them. And now we’re “Separated”. I left my heart with them and it’s still there: Separated.


The Gallery: Together

Jake & Ellie


Conceived Together


Born Together1-DSCF2720DSCF2772


Babies Together

Learning Together


Christmas Together

Um, I'm pretty sure it's cars you're meant to put in there, Ellie. But sure: we could try the big squeezy ball!

Crawling Together


Shopping Together

Holding up the wall TogetherDSCF5016 (2)Laughing Together

DSCF5333, Babies riding in laundry basket

Exploring Together


Being happy Together


Playing Together


Eating Together

IMG_0181 (2)

Plotting Together


Cooking Together


Not moving Together


Kissing Together


Perching Together


Holding hands Together1-At Peter's

Being serious Together


Being silly Together


Cwtching Together


Best Friends Forever Together!1-DSC00456


This post is part of  ‘The Gallery’ at the ‘Sticky Fingers’ blog. For more Togetherness click the pic:

The Gallery: My Awesome Photo

Yeah, it’s about time I took part again in Tara Cain’s wonderful Gallery.

And I knew I had to when I saw this week’s theme.

I know I’ve featured this photo, & others in the sequence, on this blog before  – but for “My Awesome Photo” there can be only one:

Jake & Ellie, 1 day old, born 3 weeks prematurely: Together then, now & forever.

The Gallery: Togetherness

This picture is a screen grab from a video I took of the best playing together I’d seen Jake & Ellie do to date.

‘Togetherness’: that’s the theme this week set for us by the terrific Tara ‘Sticky Fingers‘ Cain for her Gallery.

This picture is a screen grab from a video I took of the best playing together I’d seen Jake & Ellie do to date. For about 5 minutes Jake was putting his face up against the mesh, pulling faces at Ellie, & in response she was putting her face up against his, touching his face, pushing her face against the mesh, etc. They were both giggling hysterically. I just sat there with the camera hoping I wouldn’t distract them & that they’d carry on. It was wonderful.

Since then, as they grow & develop, they’ve played together more & more. Often it’s initiated by us (for instance the ‘blanket game’ that I included in my post for last week’s Gallery), but it’s becoming increasingly spontaneous. Recently they’ve really enjoyed what I can only presume is a baby form of Greco-Roman wrestling, taking it in turns to lie down while the other rolls on top of them. They seem to especially like this when we give them their ‘nudie time’ before their bedtime baths; they seem to like that ‘skin feeling’.

It’s fantastic to see them playing together so much & loving each others’ company like this, & I really hope that this relationship continues & grows.

Why not head over to the Gallery for more Togetherness (click the pic):

The Family That Bathes Together Stays Together

We all piled into the bath together this evening. It was fun. Although when I got Jake into splashing it wasn’t exactly part of what’s supposed to their relaxing bedtime routine…

We all piled into the bath together this evening. It was fun. Although when I got Jake into splashing it wasn’t exactly part of what’s supposed to their relaxing bedtime routine…

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Jake has been saying “Daa daa daaddy”, sounding oddly posh, for a while now.

This morning he looked straight at me & said “Daddy”. His first word!

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

UPDATED: And then, at Gym Babes this morning: he only went and took his first step!! He’s a little star today 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

UPDATED AGAIN: This afternoon (Thursday the 10th), not to be outdone, Ellie also took her first step! (She also said “purple” in the early hours, but I think that was probably a coincidence…) 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

UPDATED AGAIN AGAIN: Ellie walked: Saturday the 12th, their 11-month birthday, she stuck her hands in the air & walked from 1 side of the cot to the other 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 (Photo here)

UPDATED AGAIN AGAIN AGAIN: Today (Tuesday 15th) we’re pretty sure Jake said “baall” in response to our prompts while referring to the ball we were playing with: his first proper word! 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

UPDATED AGAIN AGAIN AGAIN AGAIN: Today (Saturday 19th) Ellie called me “Dadda” – her first word!! They seem to be competing with each other to be most grown-up now 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 :D…

UPDATED… Jake walked today (Wednesday 23rd): 3 steps. He also stood up from the floor without support 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 :D…

The Gallery: Children

This week’s subject for Tara Cain’s Gallery at Sticky Fingers is an even tougher one for me, maybe the toughest yet.


You’d think it would be easy, right? Not for me.

My children are the reason for this blog.

For the 10 months of their lives & for most of the time they were inside their Mummy they have been my life – & have lit up my life.

Not only that, they’re now pretty much the main reason for my existence.

Virtually any post I make here could be an entry.

So I’ve tried to select a photo that encapsulates this. I wanted it to be one I hadn’t used before, but I really can’t think of a better one than this.

Me, holding my newborn twins for the first time, when they’re literally minutes old.

Happiest day of my life.

Hello children!


This image was originally posted in “What a Day!“, still this blog’s most viewed post, the first of 2 about Jallie’s dramatic birth.

Why not have at look at all other entries on Children in this week’s Gallery: it never fails to disappoint.

My Bloggy Year

Totally ripping off Inspired by this post by MrsLJHall here is my year in blog posts & pages, with stats, starting with the most read.

I’ve included some posts written in 2009 or earlier from “Random Ramblings, Pretty Pictures” that have still had views in 2010.

I’m reasonably pleased with my blogs now, especially considering that this, my main one, had a 6-month gap with no major updates. I think they both look a lot better now that I’ve learnt a few tricks of the trade; & have been allowed some time inbetween the demands of demanding twin babies!

A small percentage of the worldwide web seem to have enjoyed reading them, & for that I thank you.

I hope to continue onwards & upwards for the coming year & beyond.

What a day! 88 views

20 Ways to Annoy People on Twitter 88

Knee-Deep in Nappies 81

The Gallery: Motherhood 78

You Had Me At “Agoo” 76

Silent Sunday: Learning & Loving 62

Silent Sunday: Ho Ho Ho! 59

Silent Sunday: Babies Should Be Washed Separately 58

TwinTrek: The Voyage Home 58

What a Day! continued 54

Silent Sunday: Ellie’s New Friend 52

I’m not fat, I’m sympathetically pregnant! 48

The Gallery: Emotions 43

This Blog Is Pointless 41

The Gallery: Love 39

– Huh? What are you, some kind of tramp? (a.k.a. “About”) 38

We Can See Your Halo 38

Through a Scanner, Darkly 35

Creatures (The Gallery) 35

The Gallery: Black & White 34

Alive and Kicking 34

T-7 And Counting: Gearing Up For TwinsLaunchDate 32

Gig Review: Faithless, N.I.A. Birmingham, Dec 10 2010 32

Their First Noël 28

The Gallery: A Photo I’m Proud Of 28

The Gallery: Show Me the Funny 28

Silent Sunday: A Very Jallie Christmas 27

My Favourite Music 26

Silent Sunday: It’s Cold Outside 23

Yesterday Once More? 23

The Gallery: Sparkle 22

About Me & This Stuff (Random Ramblings, Pretty Pictures) 21

The Gallery: Black & White, (The Sequel) 21

The Gallery: White 18

Drolgerg Does Istanbul #1: Why You Shouldn’t Always Listen To Your Mother 16

What’s in a Name? 12

10 More Ways to Annoy People on Twitter: A Celebrity Special! 11

The Gallery: Seasons 10

It’s been quite a year!  I’m hoping that 2011 will be even better. And maybe less dramatic 🙂

Thanks again for everyone who’s taken the time to read, & especially to those who have kindly left comments.

A Happy New Year to you all!

The Gallery: Love

I love the way they greet me every morning with the 2 most beautiful loving smiles I’ve ever seen

I love making them smile

I love Ellie’s “Eh!” verbal hug

I love hugging them

I love it when they reach up for a hug

I love Jake’s ecstatic, delirious, tonsil-exposing laugh

I love Ellie’s squeals of delight

I love making them laugh

I love carrying Ellie on my head, & so does she

I love bench-pressing Jake, & so does he

I love watching them play

I love watching them play together

I love playing with them

I love the games we invent together

I love it that when you play with one the other laughs too

I love singing to them

I love dancing with them

I love that they seem to have a new facial expression, noise or gesture every day

I love watching them grow & develop: gripping, clapping, waving, sitting, crawling, standing

I love the way they try to talk

I love the way they try to talk to me

I love their determination

I love that they were born only 2 minutes apart yet are so different

I love their apparent intelligence

I love it that they smile when I  make a joke even when if they don’t get it

I love sharing in their joy of discovery

I love seeing everything as fresh, new & exciting as if through their eyes

I love their love of company, of both children & adults

I love it that others love them

I love it when I can stop them from crying

I love that I can feed them when they’re hungry

I love that when they want to sleep but can’t that I can give them the sleep they want

I love that when they need to sleep but won’t that I can give them the sleep they need

I love how beautiful they are, inside & out

I love them, they love each other, & they love me

I love that

click to enlarge

For Tara Cain’s Gallery at Sticky Fingers