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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Daughters for life even after

This time last year I was a simple man with simple dreams and desires. I was confronted with my biggest fear that became my greatest joy then my worst nightmare. I found out that I was going to be a father. My first response was that I was not prepared for this, I didn't want children. But then I found out that not only was I going to be a Dad, there were twins on the way. Wow! Not just a dad, a father and sole provider for two precious lives. I went from overwhelmed to overjoyed in only a few heart beats. When I found out that it was twins, I somehow knew that I was prepared to be a father and that I would provide them with the best home and life. I began seeing life in a new way and looking forward to sharing lives events no matter how small or large with my little cuties.

I wanted to share what I enjoyed with them hoping that they would appreciate the splendor of the outdoors and nature and life from birth. I was planning on hiking with them in tiny little back and front packs or twin strollers with big wheels. I was looking forward to taking them biking in a trailer behind me so they could see the world from another viewpoint other then a car seat or the TV. I wanted so much for my children to see the world as I see it and as I was shown as a child and encourage them to make the world what they want it to be.

I was also looking forward to sharing my little ones with the world because of course my children would be the cutest ever born. I know, every father thinks that, but mine would be so cute I would have to protect them from people that just wanted to hold them as much as I did. I wanted to be their guide, their light, and I wanted so much to learn from them. As parents we may tell them right from wrong but they tell us fun from fud. I could see myself singing along to my arch enemy Barney if that is what made the kids happy. I would eat sand with them if that brought a smile to their face. They were my world and their love and joy and happiness was all that mattered.

I didn't care what it would take, I wanted the best for my children. I found out that the mother was not as interested in raising the children as she was in her personal interests that were clearly not conducive to a safe upbringing for my twins. I found myself in a battle trying to prove who was more suited to raise my little ones rather then enjoying their upcoming arrival. I did my best preparing their home and my life for their joyous entry into my arms and into my family. Meanwhile the mother found every opportunity to exploit them by bilking the state for every cent, every perk she could benefit from, while continuing her selfish behavior regardless of how it hindered the growth and safety and well being of my growing children.

It soon became clear that most of the agencies I dealt with were willing but unable to help me thanks to new laws. Many were familiar with the mother and her history, which I was not aware of until too late. Several agencies were even willing to ensure that they would support my claim for full support upon the birth of the twins. I contacted a huge number of hospitals between Pennsylvania and Arkansas to apprise them of the possibility that the mother may flee the state and use an alias to deliver my little ones in order to evade the CYS system or Children And Youth Services and other authorities. I was amazed by the caring and understanding of complete strangers, and I could feel the pain in their voices, some times over tears, when they said that they couldn't help me due to privacy laws.

I had fought my hardest, tried to support the mother and prepare for their arrival into my life when I received a call that I had not anticipated. I had never prepared for this call from the mothers mother on January 19th telling me that the twins were delivered still born two days prior. They were over five months premature and severely under-developed. The cold-hearted nature of this call left me in disbelief and I had to find out the truth for myself from the delivering hospital. I will always be grateful to them for the information that they provided me with. I could not be more heart broken to find out that my only children had not survived the mothers poor care even long enough to see the light of day at the miracle of birth. The heartache was beyond anything I had ever felt even beyond the loss of my own brother. I found out that I was the father of two beautiful daughters at the same moment that I was told that they had not survived to come home with me and I was not even informed that they were to be delivered so I could be there for them. As helpless as I felt, I can't imaging how they would have felt given the chance.

If not for Dee, an angel brought to me from above, I might have gone insane with this news that my precious little babies would never be coming home with me. Instead, she brought clarity to the situation and showed me that it wasn't about the loss of my children, but of the joy they had already brought me before they were even born and to celebrate their lives even before they had a chance to live. We gathered our composure, our thoughts and a few butterfly balloons and proceeded to honor my children by ceremoniously releasing them from this world to Gods hands. It was so touching and I am so grateful that I shared that moment with a woman of such purity of spirit and understanding.

Within a few months my life had gone from casual boredom to immense joy to overwhelming sadness. Without the love and support of friends and family I might have given up on life and love and caring, but I know that I have found the greatest joy through this madness. I found out who I am and who I can be and who I want to be, and I know that I can be better then I am and that's ok as long as I never stop trying.

I may never have my own children, and I can't promise that I will ever be the best father or step father to Dee's children, but I can promise that I will always strive to be the best person that I can be for them, and try to guide them through life as though they are my own children. I am willing to keep trying if they are willing to let me fail now and then and I will let them be who they want to be and I will always be thankful that they are in my life.

Cheyanne and Aspen, you are and always will be my beautiful daughters and I wish I had met you. I can't thank you enough for enriching my life. You will continue to guide me for the rest of my life.

I miss you and I will always love you.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Blue Marsh Exposed

Recently there was a large release of water from the dam at Blue Marsh Lake in Berks County PA to help diminish the effects of drought in Delaware. This dam release lowered the levels by roughly 6 to 8 feet and exposed shoreline that has not been seen in many years. As I rode my mountain bike on the newly risen beach like shores surrounding the lake, I was taken aback by the realization that where I was riding would normally have me well under water. It was so interesting to see the rough shale like surface with mingled broken rocks and formerly submerged tree trunks. With the water level this low a few of the foundations from former homes re-emerged to once again feel the footsteps of people upon there floors. It was almost surreal to see the outlines of homes with side walks leading to roads which used to pass through here before they dammed off this area for a reservoir. The asphalt of the sunken roads was in surprisingly good shape and it felt odd to ride along a road that had been under water for so long but is now here to remind us of the past.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Web oopsdates I mean updates

Just like the seasons there are changes in the air and on my websites. Some for the better, and some didn't go so well, but all are meant to make your visit to my sites more enjoyable and easier to use. To ease your experience here I am trying to migrate my forum to its own domain but I don't want to hinder your access to any of the prior articles so this may take some more work and time. Who would have guessed that I wrote so many articles within the few years since I started this blog. I am honored and never would have guessed that so many people would be linking to many of the posts.

I'm working on the efficiency and load time for the pages since I know that you have better things to do. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read my stories so I will make your stay a bit more enjoyable by not having to wait so long for my pages to load.

I am also doing something that I never thought that I would do, display advertising! Wait, it's not so bad, don't go clicking away yet. The advertising will be minimal and with your help it will be tailored to what you are interested in. Why add advertising to my site? I want to keep this site up and running number one. Since I will be getting married next year I need to justify every expense and I'm hoping that this site will pay for itself, and yea, a couple of extra bucks might be nice too.

Since this little blog of mine only exists because of my faithful readers like you, I want your input. If you don't like something, tell me. If you think I should do something differently let me know. I want to make this site worthy of your time.

Thank you for your patience while I make these changes and I apologize for any inconvenience.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Union Canal Trail, Angelica Creek Trail and the SRT

I'm finding that there are quite a few good trails in Berks County PA. My most recent cycling trip was on the Union Canal Trail to the SRT and a bypass on the Wyomissing Creek Trail and the Angelica Creek Trail. I love meandering my way through the mix of urban and wooded trails on paths of dirt, crushed stone and sometimes asphalt. I feel so lucky to have a chance to see the sites and take in nature as you only can on foot or by bike (bicycle). To step through history while on the Union Canal or to cruise along on the old rail bed of the SRT is so invigorating. The only thing wrong with these trails is that it's hard to say when to stop. A casual ride led to another long cruise to Birsdboro PA.

On my journey I was lucky enough to stop and explore an 18th century cemetery slimmed down between the highways Route 422 and Route 10. This poor cemetery has been robbed over and over again, but not by grave robbers, but first by the Union Canal taking land back in the 1800's, then the railroad taking more later that century into the 1900's, but then twice by PENDOT in the mid and late 1900's to build the current highways that crunch this poor cemetery into such a slim little parcel about a third of its original size. Once with room for 200 plots, now a mere 27 graves remain. Moving the remains of 2 children seamed a bit morbid even for PENDOT, but at least they came to final rest nearby.

The angelica Creek nature trail was born from the damage caused by the earthen damn breech on route 10 which emptied the Angelica Lake in 2001 and returned it to its prior state as a stream weaving its way to the Schuylkill River. The Berks County Parks Dept has done a wonderful job of preserving this quiet little sanctuary and improving it since 2001. Birds and other wildlife are calling this little patch of heaven home now.

A trip off of the beaten path up stream from the SRT led me back a long access road that is not suitable for riding unless you like riding on the baseball size stones similar to those you would normally find along a rail bed. This would even be a difficult walk, but it was still a nice diversion. If you have ever driven on RT 422 near Reading and noticed a huge painted rock in the middle of the Schuylkill River, I can now say, been there, done that, and I don't need to do that part of the ride again. But after that bone jarring ride I still felt up to continuing South on the SRT all the way to Birdsboro.

My next trip on the SRT will start where I left off with the hope of winding up in Pheonixville PA, Oaks PA or maybe even go as far as Manyunk. We'll see how adventurous I feel and how well the trails are marked and whether I can pry myself away from Dee for the day. Without her love and support I would not enjoy the outdoors as much as I do.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cape May and Atlantic City camping trip

Our camping trip to the New Jersey coast.

We camped in Birch Grove Campground in Northfield NJ and traveled first to Atlantic City to have some fun at the casinos with the loose change we had saved up over the year. Neither of us are much for gambling but the free drinks and entertainment made it alot of fun. We actualy walked away with $3.15 in winnings more then we walked in with.

After we recovered the next day we drove south to Cape May NJ and reveled in the massiveness of the Cape May Lighthouse. It is 157 feet tall and we are both afraid of heights but we had to climb it all the way to the top. We even walked the entire way around the observation platform surrounding the light. I was so proud of Dee and so happy that we had overcome our fear to see such a wonderful structure from bottom to top.
We then spent a glorious evening watching the sunset on Sunset Beach in Cape May.

We ended our 3 day trip in Margate at Lucy the Elephant which is a must see marvel for kids and adults.