Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Benjamin during the annual Halloween parade at his day care. All classes marched out with their teachers and the parents were in the parking lot cheering and taking photos. I caught this close up of Benjamin as he was cruising along. Tonight he goes Trick or Treating for the first time.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Benjamin's Birthday Bash

Great afternoon for Benjamin's official birthday bash. We had around 40 family members and a ton of food in celebration. Prior to the birthday weekend bash, he had his two year check up. He's three feet tall, weighs 31.2 pounds and is in the 75-90 percentile on all categories. In other words, very active and very healthy. The following is a little progress report. I use this blog frequently to update family and friends about Benjamin's progress and I love the fact that friends and family all over the world can check in on Benjamin. This also serves as a nice archive for Benjamin to review when he gets older and he can see what was going on during his life.

Some advice for two year olds that was on Benjamin's report sheet.

Child should be handling a spoon and cup well.
Avoid high calorie snacks.
Change to low fat milk-2%, 1% or skim.
Encourage tooth brushing, use toothpaste with fluoride once child can spit.

Accident Prevention
Falls are a common cause of injury in curious two year olds.
Don't leave chairs placed where a child can use it to climb to a dangerously high place.
Apply sun screen when outdoors.
Never leave child unattended in home or in car.

Becoming more adept to using language. Asking questions like "What is this?" of "What is that?" and "Why?"
Walks up and down the stairs alone or holding rail.
Kicks ball.
Using 2-3 word phrases with pronouns such as I, you and me. Minimum of 20 word vocabulary.
Interest in toilet training may begin.

Limit TV viewing
Direct child in as positive a manner as possible.
Don't give child a choice when there is none. Safety rules are not open for discussion.
Bottles and pacifiers should be discouraged.
He should be playing with musical toys, reading picture books and playing with large balls.
Child will develop ability to interact with other children during play over the coming year. Provide opportunities for peer contacts and allow for imaginative play as well as structured. Encourage verbal and physical exploration.
Children often move to a bed at this age (use side rail).

He's been using spoons and forks when eating. We need to encourage using his sippy cup more as we still use bottles and the pacifier at night as a security tool for him. Sometimes Benjamin will wake up in the middle of the night and to get him back to sleep we use the pacifier. We are working on phasing both of these out. We have been brushing his teeth on a daily basis as he does know how to spit. His vocabulary is growing more and more each day. He was reciting the days of the week the other day. Very clear and understandable. We have started toilet training and haven't had any luck yet. We try to keep his TV viewing to a minimum but he enjoys watching Sesame Street, his Elmo DVD's and he's been watching sports. Tonight he said six of the greatest words ever..."I want to watch baseball Daddy". We like to take him to the park and watch him run. I bring a soccer ball along so he can kick it. He does well tossing a mini football and can throw a tennis ball straight, conking me on the head once. He's learning to share more as this was an issue earlier this Summer. Since he is with the Beginner class, he's learned by watching others share toys and when we have kids over to our house we try to encourage toy sharing. He interacts well with other kids. We also spend a lot of time reading to him and watching him identify pictures of animals, shapes and colors. He also has quite a collection of music on my iPod. We like to put music on during his play time and he relaxes to it while he plays.

It's been an amazing two years. Personally I have learned quite a lot so far and I have a lot more to learn as he gets older. Weena is an amazing Mother, she is very patient and loving and I try to follow her example. I am very proud of our family.

Red Sox Win World Series

The Boston Red Sox won their second World Series championship in three years by sweeping the Colorado Rockies in four games. So this is for you my Red Sox friends Tom K., Mike R., K, Ferd, Barry, Jeff, Joe, Ed and Bernie. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Clemson 30, Maryland 17

To quote George Costanza leaving a message on Jerry's answering machine in a Seinfeld episode, "Hey, it's George. I got nothing to say."

That pretty much sums up today's Maryland-Clemson game. Good night everyone, see you next week.

Wish it were that easy. The game was not as close as the score indicates.

On a beautiful Fall afternoon Maryland was on the wrong end of an old fashioned tail whippin'. The Terps took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter on a 35 yard Obi Egekeze field goal, then Clemson scored the next 30 points. Maryland got two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make the score a bit respectable. Clemson's running game (249 yards rushing) just proved to be too much for the Terps.

Injuries to the offensive line (three starters in three games now) have just hurt the Terps to the point where they are using Freshman offensive linemen just to fill the positions. QB Chris Turner was 19 of 31 for 217 yards but was sacked twice and was hurt by several dropped balls. Darrius Heyward-Bey, the Terps leading receiver the past two seasons, was shut out today.

The banged up and battered Terps (4-4, 1-3 in the ACC) travel to Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, NC to face the University of North Carolina.

Game recap

Washington Post recap

Post Game Quotes

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Birthday Celebration!

Taking a birthday wish phone call

I'm two!

This is good cake!

Happy 2nd Birthday Benjamin!

It was a rainy morning when we left the house at 6:00 AM. Weena went into surgery at 9:00 and I waited outside, listening to music on my iPod. They called me in and I sat near Weena praying everything would be ok. When I heard Benjamin's cries for the first time, I was in tears. I saw him for the first time and all I could say was "My son is here, my son is here!" Truly the greatest day ever. Happy Birthday Benjamin!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Maryland & Navy Agree to 2010 Football Game

Maryland and Navy will meet in Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium on September 4, 2010

Got this bit of news earlier today. Great atmosphere at the last game in Baltimore, September 2005. I know this is almost three years away but I had been hoping these two would meet again. College football schedules are set so far in advance and it was great these two had an open date then.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland and the U.S. Naval Academy have agreed to play a football game in the 2010 season, athletics department officials announced jointly with the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday.

"This game is special to many Marylanders and we are pleased it will be played in the 2010 season," said Maryland director of athletics Deborah A. Yow. "Our fans enjoy the game atmosphere in M&T Bank Stadium."

"The game in 2005 was a memorable event and terrific game," said Naval Academy director of athletics Chet Gladchuk. "Everyone enjoyed the atmosphere and a rematch certainly seems in order."

"I'm glad that we were able to work out another game with Navy," said Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen. "I have a lot of respect for Paul Johnson and the job he has done at Navy. The last time we played there was a lot of excitement surrounding the game. I think this is a game our fans and the Maryland community are looking forward to playing."

The Midshipmen and Terrapins last met in Baltimore on September 3, 2005, with Maryland edging Navy, 23-20 before 67,809 fans. Navy leads the all-time series, 14-6.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The World Series

Boston Red Sox vs Colorado Rockies

Follow the World Series here

The Schedule
Game 1: Colorado at Boston, Wednesday October 24 8:00 PM
Game 2: Colorado at Boston, Thursday October 25 8:00 PM
Game 3: Boston at Colorado, Saturday October 27 8:00 PM
Game 4: Boston at Colorado, Sunday October 28 8:00 PM
Game 5: Boston at Colorado, Monday October 29* 8:00 PM
Game 6: Colorado at Boston, Wednesday October 31* 8:00 PM
Game 7: Colorado at Boston, Thursday November 1* 8:00 PM
* - If necessary

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Virginia 18, Maryland 17

Very disappointing loss last night. Any chance of doing something really special this season is gone. No ACC Championship. No major bowl game. I know the chances weren't great before the game, but now the Terps are just trying to scratch and claw their way to a 7-5 season and a trip to the Charlotte Bowl. What a colossal disappointment this loss was. Ok, that's out of the way so here's the recap from Section 19.

The Terps had no answer for Virginia's seldom used sophomore RB Mikell Simpson, who rushed 16 times for 119 yards and 2 touchdowns and caught 13 passes for 152 yards. Total: 271 yards offense. Incredible. Simpson out gained the entire Terp offense with this explosion.

Virginia's Defensive End Chris Long, son of NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long, took advantage of a decimated Maryland offensive line and was in QB Chris Turner's face all game long. Long's sack of Turner in the end zone for a safety at the end of the third quarter was huge and it reduced the Terps lead to five, 17-12. For the game, Long had ten tackles, two sacks and batted down a couple of Turner's passes.

The two teams continued to pound one another in the fourth quarter and it came to this for Maryland. Fourth and one at the Virginia 41 with 7:40 left in the game. I don't know why they didn't go for it. You have two outstanding running backs in Keon Lattimore and Lance Ball. The whole offense wanted to go for it. The fans in the stands were hoping the Terps went for it. How about showing some confidence in your players?

If you do not make it, and Virginia scores using let's say four minutes to go in from their 41, you still have three and a half minutes left to score (plus a pair of time outs). Like last year, I am wondering if Maryland Head Coach Ralph Friedgen is taking on too much responsibility by being both the Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator.

So Maryland punts and pins Virginia at their own ten yard line. The Maryland Defense had 90 yards and 7:40 to come up with one stop. One stop thats all the Terps needed and they couldn't do it. The Terps had them third and 15 with 2:00 left but a pass interference by Maryland's Kevin Barnes gave the Cavaliers new life.

Later in the drive, Virginia had fourth and four from the 14. Virginia QB Jameel Sewell hit Simpson on a swing pass to the right. He caught the ball and ran for the first down marker, stretching the nose of the ball to the 10 as he was pushed out of bounds. A generous spot gave Virginia the first down and the ball game. Moments later Simpson (who else) scored on a one yard plunge with 16 seconds left. Game over. Gut wrenching defeat for us Terps fans.

On Virginia's game-winning drive Simpson gained 78 of those 90 yards. One of the best performances I've seen in the years I've been going to games at Byrd Stadium.

So Maryland falls to 4-3 (1-2 in the ACC) and they lose left guard Jaimie Thomas, who suffered a broken leg and will miss the rest of the season.

Next up for the Terps, Clemson on Saturday at 3:30 PM. I'm taking my eight year old nephew Matthew to his first Maryland game. He's very excited and these football Saturday's bring out the little kid in me.

Washinton Post recap

Post game quotes

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Ray Of Hope

Back in March while the NCAA Basketball tournament was going on, I remember reading about this tragedy. Jason Ray, age 21, was killed in a traffic accident in New Jersey while attending UNC's trip to the NCAA regional finals. He was the University of North Carolina's mascot, the ram you would see on the sidelines cheering and dancing as the game was going on. Like all mascots you see at games these days, he made people smile.

Jason had wanted to be an organ donor. The article below tells just what Jason Ray's death did for others since his organs were donated. There are three parts to the article, his life, death and rebirth. It's a long read, but well worth every word.

A Ray of Hope

He touched peoples lives in a positive way.

Another article

Friday, October 12, 2007

Benjamin's Fall Class Picture

Back when I was a kid, I looked forward to every Spring and Fall when the new baseball cards and football cards were released by Topps. I used to love seeing the new Senators and Redskins cards. Now as a parent, I look forward to Benjamin's class picture day and the neat pictures we get. Here are his Fall pictures.

To get him to smile, we always write a note to the photographer listing the words and expressions that make Benjamin smile and laugh. Right now he loves the word "cowabunga" and the expression "cool beans!" Also, any mention of Cookie Monster from Sesame Street gets a smile.

He turns two years old in a couple weeks.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Maryland 28, Georgia Tech 26

I was not able to attend this game as we had an ill family member who is in the hospital and we went to Virginia Beach to visit her. I heard bits and pieces of this game thanks to XM Radio. I anxiously await seeing the replay of this game and seeing how the Terps almost gave the game away to Georgia Tech, it's probably a good thing I wasn't there.

Chris Turner had his first start at Quarterback for Maryland and he responded well, throwing for 255 yards, including a 78 yard TD pass to Wide Receiver Jason Goode. Lance Ball scored three touchdowns. Maryland had leads of 21-3 and 28-17 but Georgia Tech would not go away. Tech cut the Maryland lead to two with a little over eight minutes left in the game. They failed the two point conversion as the Terps stopped them. Georgia Tech almost stole the game in the final minute but Travis Bell's 52 yard field goal attempt sailed wide right and the Terps held on for their 4th win in 6 games.

While this was a sweet, hard fought victory for the Terps, it was also a costly one as Senior Offensive Lineman Andrew Crummey broke his fibula and his college football career at Maryland is over as he will be lost for the rest of the season. It's too bad as Crummey was on the way to being named All ACC this season. Also Junior Linebacker Rick Costa suffered a neck injury making a tackle on a running play and had to be removed from the field by the Maryland training staff. He was released from the hospital late Saturday night.

Maryland has a bye week coming up. Their next game is Saturday October 20th at Byrd Stadium vs Virginia.

Postgame Quotes and Notes

And just in case my cousin Katie is checking in:

Stanford 24, #2 USC 23
Read all about it here

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Benjamin's Progress Report

Benjamin received his progress report today. He is in the Toddler group at his day care (18-24 months) and he is currently being integrated into the Two's group, where he will be full time when he turns two in late October. We are very pleased with his progress to date. This was written by his teacher and I thought about scanning it in but it would be much clearer if I just wrote it out.

Language and Literacy
Benjamin is a very smart child. He is able to use multiple word sentences as well as understand them. He is able to follow directions when asked with little to no problems.

I=Introduced B=Beginning D=Developing M=Mastery

Speaking Skills
Points to and names familiar objects-D
Uses two word sentences-D
Refers to self by name-D
Imitates new words/animal sounds-D
Builds a vocabulary of 100 words-D

Listening Skills
Listens to five minute story with pictures-D
Points to objects when named-D
Responds to simple one step directions-D
Responds to simple two step directions-D
Responds to simple questions with “yes/no”-B

Turns familiar pictures right side up-B
Enjoys being read to-D
Pretends to read book-D (though in the above picture he was actually reading this book)
Shows sustained interest in pictures-D

Benjamin is able to count from 1-10 and say his ABC’s with no problems. He can recognize shapes and sizes during circle time and quiet puzzle time.

Numbers and Number Sense
Tells which is one and which is many-B
Repeats numbers 1 to 10-D
Understands the number concept of 1-D
Understands the number concept of 2-B

Remembers where things are kept-D
Nests or stacks 3 rings-D
Points to and names simple shapes-M
Points to and names common colors-M
Begins to understand big/little-M
Begins to sort by color or size-D

Retrieves an object that has rolled out of sight-D
Attempts to place shape blocks in correct holes and changes holes if object does not fit-M

The World and Me
Benjamin is able to fully participate in all activities. He watches his surroundings and applies what he sees to his daily routine.

Shows preferences, likes and dislikes-D
Recognizes self in photograph-M
Tries to manage own behavior-D
Engages in parallel play-D
Participates in finger plays and songs-D
Pays attention to other children-D
Begins to show awareness of other children’s feelings-D
Plays purposefully with toys-D
Assists in picking up toys-M
Helps to dress and undress self-M
Attempts to put on shoes-M
Begins to indicate wet or soiled diaper-M
Washes and dries hands with help-M
Drinks from a cup without a lid-D
Begins to use utensils-M

Benjamin needs little to no help during art activities. His motor skills are very advanced.

Scribbles using whole arm movement-D
Imitates vertical crayon stroke-D
Scribbles to fill the paper-D
Puts items into a container-M
Manipulates play dough through squeezing or pounding-D
Places blocks in a row-B
Stacks a tower of two or three blocks-D
Imitates motions of finger play-D
Tries to throw a ball-M
Walks backward and sideways-D
Turns around-M
Tries to jump in place-M

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Baseball Playoff Predictions

It's back. My baseball playoff predictions. Last year I somehow managed to bungle every single playoff series. These predictions definitely should not be used for any sort of wagering. Here goes:

American League

Boston Red Sox vs California Angels
First of all, the Angels were the California Angels when I was growing up. I don’t like these cute marketing nicknames like Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and since it’s my blog I will refer to them as the California Angels. Both teams are solid. Both managers have won the World Series before. The Angels have a better defense but the Red Sox have the home run advantage, hitting 166 to California’s 123.The Red Sox have the better pitching in Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Red Sox in five games.

New York Yankees vs Cleveland Indians
Cleveland has a great pitching duo of C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona. New York has the hitting edge, out-homering the Tribe 201-168 and out-slugging them by .463-428. This is A-Rod’s time to silence his critics and I believe he will do so but the Yankees have pitching concerns. Are Roger Clemens and Mike Mussina ready? If the Yankees can handle Sabathia, they win this in four games. I have a feeling if Joe Torre wins the World Series for a fifth time, he will retire on top.

National League

Chicago Cubs vs Arizona Diamondbacks
This is a fairly even series, with the Cubs holding edges in average .271 to .250 and runs 752-712 but the Diamondbacks out-homered the Cubs 171-151. A pair of 18 game winners start against one another in game one as Carlos Zambrano (18-13 for the Cubs) vs Brandon Webb (18-10 for Arizona). How the Cubs do against Webb is key. They beat Webb earlier in the year but Webb holds a 4-1 career record against the Cubs. Manager Lou Piniella has managed a World Series winner in 1990 for Cincinnati. Big question mark for the Cubs is how Ryan Dempster handles the closing role. He was awful after the all star break. I can't root for a team with a snake on its hat. Cubs win in five.

Colorado Rockies vs Philadelphia Phillies
Phillies have the edge in offense, out-homering the Rockies 213-171, out scoring them 892-860 and out slugging them .458-.437. Experts are calling for a slugfest, since both ball parks are hitter friendly. I like the Phillies Pitcher Cole Hamels to excel in this series and I have a feeling Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard will have a field day against Rockies pitching. Sure, he hit just .241 with a pair of homers against the Rockies this year but now it’s the playoffs and he’s got a ton of talent. The Rockies need to figure out a way to stop Phillies Shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who hit .344 against the Rockies this season. Whichever team can neutralize the other's offense will prevail in this series. I like the Phillies in four games.