Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

By K.J. Cardinal

The people have spoken and their voices have been heard. With a slim one-vote margin of victory (5-4), Anna Maria's first Halloween is being spent in a chili pepper costume. As you can see, it was a great call.

I don't envision raising Anna in a "reality world" where her blog visitors vote to determine her fate, but based on the results of this, Ang and I are strongly considering it. Could you imagine that? We let the people decide on what she'll wear on her first day of school, on how long she should be grounded when she gets in trouble and who she can date. Definitely has some potential.

Anyway, Anna isn't old enough to enjoy a night of trick or treating or the endless candy that comes along with it, but this will undoubtedly be the most memorable Halloween for Mom & Dad. Instant classic.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A wonderful world

By K.J. Cardinal

Anna's just over three weeks old and she's already experienced a Red Sox World Series. Lifelong Red Sox fans that came before her lived a full life and went to their graves having never witnessed the Sox take home the took Anna a mere 23 days.

Spoiled? Some would say that Boston sports fans these days are spoiled. After all, the Sox have won the World Series twice in the last four years, the Pats are on the verge of becoming the NFL's greatest dynasty of all-time and the Celtics are FINALLY relevant again. While Anna may be spoiled in this regard, I'd like to think that she actually had a little something to do with the Sox luck in the postseason this year.

Born at 5:47 p.m. on October 5, Anna had to wait less than seven hours to experience an unbelievable playoff moment. Angie and I were in our hospital room enjoying the new bundle of joy that we just welcomed to the world as game two of the ALDS was playing in the background between the Sox and the Angels. As the game continued to play out, it started to get more and more attention from Angie and I. A nurse came into our room to check on Angie at the exact time that the Sox were putting together a scoring rally in the bottom of the 9th.

So, here I am holding my newborn daughter, standing directly in front of the television when Anna got her first dose of "Manny being Manny." With two on and two outs, Ramirez sent a rocket over Fenway Park's Green Monster as the Sox "walked off" with the victory. I was probably the happiest person on the planet at that moment.

That's not the end of the story though. On Saturday, Angie dressed Anna up in her pink Daisuke Matsuzaka shirt that Vicky bought her. Dice K responded to Anna's fashion statement by not only throwing 5 1/3 innings of three-hit, two earned run ball, but also knocking in a pair of runs with a single that gave the Sox a 5-0 lead in game three of the World Series.

Anna's definitely spoiled when it comes to the sports bliss that has engulfed Boston these days, but at least she's doing her part and is a total team player. What a wonderful world she lives in.

On a related note, I don't want to give Anna sole credit for the Sox World Series victory, Papa and Andrew can be seen wearing matching Red Sox caps practically every day, so I'd like to think that they had a hand in this thing too.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Forgettable Friday

By K.J. Cardinal

Friday was a day in fatherhood that I'll never forget. Angie and Sammy went to run some errands, so it left "dad" home alone with Anna. It was first.

It was feeding time for Anna, so I warmed up a bottle for her so I could feed her hunger. Things were going smoothly...she was eating quickly and burping frequently. "This is easy," I thought. Anna finished her bottle and was in a full-belly bliss when all hell broke loose.

She coughed once or twice and then the flood gates opened. Anna proceeded to projectile-vomit all over me...and there was a lot of it. I basically aimed her spewing head toward my chest and tightened every muscle in my body. When she was done I just sat there for a second, not quite sure what to do. Her vomit was all over me.

I was careful as I stood up, but luckily (I guess) nothing was on the couch or on the was all caught by my chest and lap. I went up stairs with Anna to give her a bath and change her...but first I had to change myself. Just to give you a good visual, there was so much vomit on me that I had to change my underwear because they were soaked.

I proceeded to give Anna a bath, which she loved, and then went to get her re-diapered and dressed. I set her on the changing table and reached for a diaper. Apparently that diaper was connected directly to the release-valve for her bladder as she then started peeing all over the changing table. Awesome.

I eventually get her diapered up and in clean clothes and we head back downstairs. She now starts fussing because she's hungry again...I thought about ringing my underwear out into a bottle, but decided to just make her a fresh bottle. I fed her again and she actually kept it down this time.

The formula went right through her though as I could easily tell that she was leaving me another surprise in her diaper. I went back upstairs shortly thereafter to change her. I took her diaper off, wiped her bottom and went to reach for another diaper. Apparently this time, the diaper was connected directly to her bowel button as she then began pooping all over the freshly cleaned changing table.

Man, I couldn't win. Maybe she was punishing me for working so much this week or maybe her mother told her to be a handful for daddy. Regardless of what was in her system, it all came out on daddy on a day that will live in fatherhood infamy.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Back to reality

By K.J. Cardinal

Well, the honeymoon's over, so to speak. Anna will be two weeks old tomorrow and it's back to reality for me right now. In order to ensure that I wasn't on the road when Anna was born, I postponed many trips that I knew I would have to make this fall until this week and I'm kind of bumming about it because I don't get to spend as much time with Anna as I'd like.

At 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday I left for Baltimore and didn't get back until last night. Today, I was at Boston University all day and tomorrow I'll be up at UNH all day. Then, on Saturday night I'm at Northeastern, Sunday I'm at UNH again and then Wednesday it's Albany, N.Y. all day. So, unfortunately there's not a lot of time for cute videos or photos of Anna right now.

The good news is that once November rolls around, I think that things will slow down somewhat for me as most of my travel will subside and many of the big graphic design jobs I have will be completed. So, I'll just roll with the punches, but it definitely stinks when I have to go from hanging out with Angie and Anna every day to traveling around the east coast by myself.

This blog has proven to be a savior for me though because I now have a ton of photos and videos of Anna that I've loaded onto my iPod, so anytime I want to see her face or show her off to others, I can just pull my iPod out of my pocket and voila. So, while it's back to reality at least in reality I'm a dork so I can have such cool technology to help me out when I'm missing my girls.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Anna goes to New Hampshire

By K.J. Cardinal

One-week old Anna made her first trip to the Granite State with "Mom & Dad" on Friday. Unfortunately I had to work Friday afternoon/night and all day Saturday at UNH, but Anna and Angie were still able to see some of our favorite people while we were in New Hampshire for just over 24 hours.

Our first stop in N.H. was at the Rochester Manor so Anna could visit her Great Grampa and Great Grammy Arlene. Despite having a broken hip, Grampa was doing extremely well and was so happy that we decided to surprise them with a visit. Unfortunately we couldn't stay and visit too long since I had to work, but nonetheless it was great to see Grampa and for him and Arlene to see their newest great grandchild...Anna's lucky number 13 for them in that regard.

Anna's next and final stop was my parents' house in Farmington. When we arrived, my parents ("Meme" and "Papa") were there along with Aunt Kate, Aunt Tiffany, Uncle Pete and Andrew. As expected, Andrew was such a sweetheart with Anna and the only thing he loved more than giving "baby Anna" a kiss was seeing everyone's reaction to how adorable he is. I posted a small clip of Andrew kissing Anna that's definitely worth taking a few looks at.

Ever since Angie was pregnant, Tiffany had a great idea of getting Andrew a small baby doll (AKA "baby Anna"). She would have Andrew be gentle with "baby Anna" and give her kisses and whatnot. Her "training" worked to perfection as Andrew is so sweet, gentle and cute with her. It's really so cool...that video can't really do it justice.

Anyway, on Saturday, I had to go to work at UNH again, but Anna was lucky enough to have all kinds of visitors. Vicky, Auntie Carol, Auntie Sheila, Auntie Donna and Sophie, Gail (The Cardinal Blogs most active visitor) and Uncle Matt all stopped by on Saturday to meet the latest addition to the Cardinal family.

Angie and I were very happy that Anna traveled well as we always seem to be the family that is on the's what you have to do when both of your families live over an hour away. Anyway, for those of you who missed Anna, I'm sure we'll be back up to N.H. soon and Angie is hoping to take Anna out to Ludlow on Sunday.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Work-at-home Dad

By K.J. Cardinal

Anna is only six days old and I've already been dabbling in my new role as "work-at-home Dad." Angie doesn't have to go back to work until January 2, so the next three months are really my test run, to see if/how I'll be able to handle watching Anna during the day and also getting work done.

I'm not naive enough to think that it's always going to be as easy as sitting indian style on the couch with her in my lap as I design the America East media guide, but for now that seems to be very manageable. Once Angie goes back to work in January, she'll leave the house around 7 a.m. and then reinforcements, in the form of Sammy, will show up around 2:30 p.m. when Sam gets home from school. So, the theory is that I shouldn't have any problems playing man-to-man on Anna for seven and a half hours a day and also getting work done.

The notion of having Angie or I act as a stay-at-home parent has always seemed idyllic to us. It was a no-brainer that I should be the one to give this a shot since I had been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to start my own graphic/web design business and that it wouldn't take much effort for me to successfully launch my own company. So, that's exactly what we are in the process of doing.

Being a stay-at-home dad, or as I'm dubbing myself a "work-at-home dad", has always appealed to me because my mom was a stay-at-home mom and she did an amazing job with us kids :) Her commitment to us and her selflessness to put us before EVERYTHING else is something that I'm not sure is replicable, but I will give it my best shot.

I remember my mother often telling me, "you won't understand until you have kids of your own" and it's becoming increasingly clear that she was always spot on when she would say this. I frequently find myself telling Sammy things that my mom once told me in the exact fashion too and now with Anna, I am also beginning to "understand" because I do have a child of my own. It's a great cycle.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Andrew's Reaction to Anna

By Tiffany George

Andrew wasn't able to meet Anna in person because children were not allowed at the hospital, so his first encounter with his new cousin was via the Internet. Andrew sat on my lap at the computer as I hit play on that very first video of Anna, and his initial reaction was priceless. He instantly moved his face toward the screen to give baby Anna a kiss, and then another and another. What a little sweetie! Hopefully this demonstrates the kind of big cousin (and big brother) that he will be.

Andrew is doing great lately, walking all over the place and truly experimenting with new words like star ("dar"), color, and right there, just to name a few. His favorite things to do nowadays are pointing out stars, playing with the roll of toilet paper, smelling flowers, screaming and waving at airplanes, watching cars go by (particularly big trucks or buses), and listening to the answering machine. He has quite a knack for deleting all of our messages! He also moves his hands in the cutest way to say "where?" if he is looking for something. He also makes this sound where he raises his voice as if to ask the question. When the phone rings he puts his where hand up to his ear to ask who is calling.

He would spend all day outside if Mommy would let him. When he wants to go outside he'll bring me his shoes. If I didn't get the hint, he'll bring me my shoes! He likes to go for walks, sometimes in the stroller, sometimes pushing it from behind with us. We have developed quite the eye for spotting squirrellys, kitty cats, and dogs on our walks. Andrew honestly prefers animals to people, as evidenced by his elation at the petting zoo at the Rochester Fair (we went 4 times).

He is quite the expert at pointing out body parts including eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, ears, head, hair, arms, legs, fingers, tummy, and toes. Once he shows you where one hand is, if you ask "where is the other one?" he's happy to show you that he knows that too. He makes some animals sounds too, like chicken, cow, dinosaur, and owl, but the cutest by far is the little abrupt "baa" that he says for sheep :o)

Gone are the days of gurgling baby sounds and sleeping like a blob in Mommy's arms, but we're happy to say that each moment is still as precious as the last. Enjoy baby Anna, KJ & Angie, because they truly do grow up so fast.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Alas, a beer and a bath

By K.J. Cardinal

Day four of Anna's life was highlighted by two momentus occasions
1) Angie's first beer in nine months
2) Anna's first bath

While Anna's bath was fun (I'll get to that in a second), I loved to see the joy that Angie got out of sucking down a nice cool one...once again reaffirming why I married that girl. Her first beer was a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. For those of you health nuts out there, don't worry, the beer was made with the "purest ingredients" (at least that's what the label said) and, of course, Ang waited over three hours before breastfeeding Anna again.

Earlier in the day, it was all hands on deck for Anna's bath. Ang started with the sponge bath of her body and then Sammy and I came in to close it out by washing her hair together. Anna seemed to dislike the sponge bath because it made her cold, but loved having her hair washed.

Anna met some more of her family today for the first time as her Tio (Uncle) Corey, Tia (Aunt) Lisette and cousins Jaden and Kassie came by along with Lil' Lisa (Corey's girlfriend) and Vo (Grammy) Nezzie. She also met my friend Scott and once again saw Angie's MVF (most valuable friend) Missy, who once again came to the rescue...this time by going to the grocery store for us. Thanks for everything Miss!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Welcome home Anna

By K.J. Cardinal

After spending 54 straight hours at the hospital, it was a real treat for Angie, Sammy and I to finally bring Anna home. The experience at Framingham Union Hospital was great for all of us, and I have a new found respect for nurses, but there's really nothing like being able to enjoy the company of the people you love the most within the confines of your own home.

When we got home, the four of us spent some quality time up in Anna's room...and after about 30 seconds it was apparent that Anna is going to be the luckiest little sister in the world. Sammy was "Johnny on the spot" as she helped us get things squared away in Anna's room. Sammy then helped with the feeding process and then put her to sleep. Anna took to her like she was her own mother, which makes sense because I think Sammy will quickly turn into a mother-like figure for Anna too.

After we were all settled in, Ang finally had an opportunity to take a long-deserved nap with her new little girl. The picture above is worth a thousand words to me, but "lucky" probably best describes how I'm feeling these days. I know I've only been a dad for 48 hours, but I already feel like it's given me a new perspective on things. For instance, I didn't mind at all that I missed nearly all the Patriots game and over half of a Red Sox playoff game or that Anna's length at birth (20.5) may eclipse the number of points my fantasy football team scores this week. Those things just don't seem to matter that much right now.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Anna meets the family

By K.J. Cardinal

While Anna's birthday was so amazing for Angie and I to get to finally meet the newest addition to our family, day two was equally as rewarding to share Anna with our families. As evidenced by this blog (disregard my nerdiness), my parents have really instilled unbelievably high family values into me and my sisters, so nothing meant more to me than being able to introduce them to Anna. She's like the gift that keeps on giving.

Other than having our immediate families visit, day two was rather uneventful and extremely enjoyable. Anna has been making progress on the breastfeeding front and hopefully soon she'll have it down pat. Her weight has dropped to 7 pounds 14 ounces, which is normal, and all other "vitals" are great. Angie is a little sore, but overall doing great too. We will be able to bring Anna home tomorrow.

On a side note, tonight Angie got to enjoy something that she's been longing for ever since she got pregnant...sushi.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Anna begins

By K.J. Cardinal

She's finally here...and boy was the nine-month wait definitely worth it. I'm running on fumes right now after two eventful days that featured a false alarm yesterday and nearly an 11-hour labor session at the hospital today...I can't imagine how exhausted Angie is. So, I will be keeping this post brief. But here's what you need to know...

Anna Maria Cardinal
Born: October 5, 2007
Time: 5:47 p.m.
Weight: 8 lbs 2 ounces
Length: 20.5 inches

Angie is doing great. She was attempting to deliver Anna natural, like Sammy, but after dilating six centimeters, she decided to have the epidural...and what a great decision it was. Angie was actually smiling and laughing between her pushes. I think it probably only took 10 pushes to get Anna out too...that part only took about 10-15 minutes. Anna appears to be very healthy and happy. She has a small little purple raised mark on her nose...which is most likely a popped blood vessel or a blood blister that will clear up.

Here are some pictures. I'm punchin' out.

Guess What?!?!?!

By Katie Lou


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Hospital Visitors

By K.J. Cardinal


Since a few people have asked us for the name and address of the hospital that Anna will be born at, I have posted it below along with a direct link to door-to-door directions through mapquest. The hospital visiting hours are 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

We are encouraging only family members to visit us at the hospital and children 13 and under are not permitted in the labor & delivery wing. If you bring children, they will have to wait with someone in the waiting room. We're hoping to have more visitors back at our home in Hudson for those of you who wish to see Anna more or for the first time.

Framingham Union Hospital
115 Lincoln Center
Framingham, MA 01701


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A genious in the making

By K.J. Cardinal

We just had another doctor's appointment this morning and we're still waiting for Anna's arrival. I'm officially predicting that she's going to be born AFTER her due date. Maybe this is me trying to use a little reverse psychology, but I just don't envision her being born in the next two days.

Ang is 70 percent effaced, but the doctor said that the baby hasn't "dropped" much yet. This doesn't necessarily mean that she couldn't be born soon, but again, I'm just not feeling it. I'm hoping that my baby hunches are as good as my fantasy football hunches this year...which have been horrible. If this the case, then I'm sure Ang will go into labor in the next hour or so.

Being an optimist here, maybe it's a good thing if Anna is born after her due date. Apparently Albert Einstein was born a few weeks after his due date, so maybe Anna will be a genius like Al. If this proves to be true, I'll obviously claim it's because she takes after her father, and delete this blog posting to erase my acknowledgement of the "Baby Einstein" effect.