Last week I had a chance to spend a whole day with Ben.  Unfortunately, my wife’s grandfather passed away (more on that in a future post).  The funeral was in Arizona and since several of the family members out there had some kind of virus, we were advised not to bring Ben.  So the only option was for Rebecca to fly out and back without us.  Rebecca left at around 5 am on Tuesday and took the red-eye back that night, getting home at 9 am Wednesday morning!  I had never spent that much time alone with Ben.  As a matter of fact, neither had Rebecca.  She’s alone with him a lot while I am at work but I’m there at night to help out.  Well Ben and I made it through the day but we were sure glad to see mom when she got back!


I spent the entire day in the 3 hour feeding cycle.  This kid eats all the time!  But we had an eventful day as I was determined to not be stuck at the house all day.  We ran a few errands, went for a long walk and generally had fun.  Ben’s really cool these days because he loves to smile and “play around”.  Now if I stick my tongue out at him, he’ll stick his back at me.  That has got to be the greatest thing I have ever seen.  Of course, he does have his moments when he is irritable.  Usually a burp or a diaper change does the trick.  But sometimes he is just cranky which, I admit, can make me cranky too.  Sometimes he’ll just cry or grunt or kick his legs around and slam them down onto the bed, crib, floor, or whatever he is lying on.  That got me thinking about what goes through his head.  I was wondering, what happens when a baby has an itch?  You know how it is when you have an itch, you just have to scratch it.  But he’s only 10 weeks old, he can’t scratch an itch (or do anything else for that matter).  So maybe that is why he is crying? Maybe that is why he kicks his legs around?  I mean, at his age, an itch might feel like something on his leg and he’s trying to shake it off. Anyway, that is just one example of the kind of stuff I think about. 


I have a heightened respect for my wife who stays home with Ben.  I say “heightened” as opposed to “new” because I always knew it was a tough, sometimes stressful or irritating job to be with a baby all day long.  Of course it is fun too.  But she seems to get a lot of stuff done in addition to taking great care of little Benny.  I had a hard time getting out the door and back in time to feed him.  I guess you get better at it when you do it all the time.  I was pretty tired that night, but I still had a few feedings to go and I had never done the 3 am feeding at all.  Plus, I don’t have breasts ready to go when Ben is hungry.  I’ve got to have bottles ready just when he wants them. 


In the end it was a tiring but fun day and I was glad that I got to have the experience of taking care of my boy for that long a period.  I think a lot of dads don’t get that experience because breast feeding mom can’t usually be away that long.  By the way, we were lucky we followed the advice of experts and kept a supply of milk around for emergencies!


OK, here are some recent pics of Benny…


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Philly.Net is hosting yet another Code Camp in May.  Thanks to DeVry University in Fort Washington, we’ll be back at their excellent facility.  People really enjoyed the last one we had there in January.

So what’s going on for Code Camp now?

Steve is organizing the speaker/session list.  Bill sent out the “call for speakers” a while ago and the track leads are working with Steve to line it all up.  We’ll have 40 sessions this time.  We could easily do 50 again, but we all felt the day was a little long in January so we dropped a session.  But we’ll still have the variety of tracks including asp.net, SQL Server, Alt.Net, and more.

As usual, I’m working with the Partners.  We are very fortunate again that a great group of companies have stepped up to help.

Our Platinum Partners:

DeVry University Microsoft
DeVry Microsoft

Our Gold Partners:

HostMySite Micro Endeavors
Basic RGB mei_2001_web_150h
Perficient RDA
perficient_logo rda 

 

Our Silver Partners:

Neudesic Ted Pattison Group
neudesic TPG_logo3
Telerik  
Telerik  

 

Want to know about what prizes we’ll be giving out at the end of the day?  I’ll post that soon!

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OK life has officially changed.  Today Rebecca and I went shopping at BJ’s, a “Big Box” store near us.  Ben was great through the whole thing.  Maybe that wasn’t such a good thing.  Had he cried, we might have left in a hurry and I’d have been able to keep my shirt.  Instead, we took our time and I spent $350!  Ouch.  I have a feeling we saved a lot of money though, some of the deals seemed pretty good.  What’s next, a mini-van?

For the first few weeks of Ben’s life, we swaddled him at bed time.  He seemed to enjoy it (most of the time).  If you aren’t familiar with the term, swaddling is pretty much wrapping the baby in a special blanket so they feel safe and secure.  Anyway when Ben was younger (now he is old, 7 weeks!) he started fussing and usually found a way to wiggle his arms out of the swaddle.  Then we swaddled him with his arms out.  But eventually we gave up because the whole thing seemed to stress him out.

The other day a friend suggested we try it again since her baby seemed to love it.  My sister is a big fan of it too.  So we gave it a try.  At bed time we bundled the little guy up and put him into his basinet.  Well much to our surprise, this kid slept for 5 hours! For the past few weeks the best we got was 3 – 3.5 hours at a time.  That is a pretty big difference!  At one point, when Ben had been asleep for about 4 hours Rebecca woke me up.  “Do you think Ben is OK?  He hasn’t woken up yet.”  Keep in mind, Ben sleeps 2 feet from Rebecca’s side of the bed, so it was clear that he was OK.  So she basically woke me up to tell me that Ben was still asleep.  In the morning, my wife was still worried that he didn’t like it, she felt bad wrapping him up.  I said, “he slept for 5 hours and didn’t make a peep – no crying or anything!”  I’m no baby expert, but to me it sounds like he enjoyed being swaddled.  Plus, Ben is not the shy and silent type.  If he were unhappy, he would have let us know.  Last night was the second night in a row that we tried it.  He actually sleep for almost 6 hours!  Do you think we’ll try it again tonight?

While I am here, I might was well include a few recent pictures…

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Call me vain.  Seriously, go ahead.  Like most people, I look in a mirror when I walk past it.  I guess I am vain when it comes to blogging too.  I really enjoy blogging – writing whatever comes to mind for “people” to read.  But I like to know that there actually are people reading it.  If not, what’s the point?  My blog runs on DasBlog, a pretty cool, free blogging engine.  It provides me some cool analytics, out of that box, that tell me how many hits my blog gets and more information.  And yes, I check it often.  I love to know how many hits I get. 


imageOne of my favorite things to do is see the information that I get from search engines.  If someone came to my blog via Google or Live Search, I can see what search criteria they used.  So in the image on the left, I can see that people found my blog for a variety of reasons.  Among other things I can see that some people were searching for me or my blog, someone was looking for information about some National Parks I visited (Bryce and Zion), someone was looking for information about LINQ, and someone was looking for information on my friend Travis.  Also I see that my blog post I Hate Trusted Installer is still popular! 


Well I thought that was cool until I discovered Google Analytics!  Google Analytics is also free and is completely insane.  It gives me tons of information about who reads my blog and now I am addicted to it.  The only problem I have with Google Analytics is that it only gets updated once a day!  With my DasBlog activity information it is updated continually.  Oh well.


 


So here is what I see with Google Analytics…


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This map view is awesome.  It may be tough to tell in this screen shot but it shows a map of the world.  If I get a hit from someone in any country, it turns green.  The darker colors of green have the most hits.  So obviously I get hits from the US, but I also get traffic from India, the UK, Canada, not to mention Romania, Thailand, Spain, Argentina, Lithuania, Belgium, Taiwan and many more!  How cool is that?


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I can even “drill down” and see where my traffic is coming from in a specific area, like this map of Pennsylvania.  These maps are really cool but there is much more.  I can see how long people stay on my blog, what posts are popular, what browsers they use and a whole bunch of other information including the same kind of search engine “key word” information described above.  But so far, you identity is safe.  I can’t seem to figure out exactly who is reading my blog.  I can’t even seem to correlate data between reports, but I there must be a way to do so.  So as for now, I may be able to see what town one of my readers came from, but I can’t figure out which pages the reader read.


By the way, Google Analytics is totally easy to include on your pages.  In my case, I just added the script that Google gave me into my dasBlog template: homeTemplate.blogtemplate.  That’s all.