Thursday, January 31, 2008

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a...

By Tiffany George

Post from Tiffany! I know, I know, this has been a long time in coming and I apologize. I really appreciate KJ’s frequent posts and I wish I could be so diligent!

Andrew is now 20 months old and he enjoys being at the center of our lives. Since I haven’t posted in a while, I will try to post more frequently to catch up where I left off.

Andrew loves the snow! We took him outside back in November for our first major snowstorm and he enjoyed it. The trouble was the snowsuit. Last year Grammy had bought him a very cute LL Bean snowsuit and we had planned on it fitting him this year too. Well, my big boy was a bit cramped in the suit. When he took his first step out in the snow, he fell over and completely whitewashed himself in the fresh snow. His snowsuit was so tight that he couldn’t get his arms out in front of him to brace his fall. His cute little face was covered in snow, which was funny at first, but then sad, as he was upset.

No worries, Grammy came through with a new snowsuit to fit more comfortably. After the whitewashing was done we pulled him down the street in his sled. Every time we’d stop, he’d sign “more” and on we went. You may remember that last year he leaned way back in his sled when he was pulled, and as you can see, there has not been much of a change this year. He does sit upright much better when he isn’t being pulled through a foot of snow though.

Nowadays he loves to rake the snow. He has a little rake from the Fall (but no shovel) so raking has been fun. He is also overjoyed if he happens upon a little puddle of melted snow that he can stomp around in.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Chatty Anna

By K.J. Cardinal

Anna's discovered her voice and she's letting it be heard.

It's so funny how happy she is immediately after she eats. She is always very talkative and smiley. It doesn't matter if it's 11 a.m. or 3 a.m. She's always so happy with a full tummy.

She also love chewing on her burpie and talking at the same time when she's done eating. Check out the video to see for yourselves.

In unrelated news...
...I'm an idiot. I thought that I brought the VCR back from my parent's house, but apparently I left it there. So, the much-hyped videos for The Cardinal Vault will have to wait a little longer. Oops...sorry.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Anna sings out

By K.J. Cardinal

I know back in my "The Best of The Cardinal Blog: 2007" post I said the Sunshine video "could end up being my favorite video of all time of Anna." Well, I think that video may have some competition now.

Take a look at the "Anna sings out" montage below. Then decide for yourself which one you like better and vote in the poll on the right. Either way, they're both a lot of fun and really show Anna's developing personality.

My favorite part of this new video is how Anna almost seems to be flirting with the camera while she enjoys her "tummy time." She's going to be such a ham.

In case you were wondering, the song playing is "If you want to sing out" by Cat Stevens. This song was featured in the 1971 classic "Harold and Maude," one of the top-rated comedies of all time. I watched it as part of a course in college and I highly recommend it. Anyway, the song was just so fitting as Anna's new favorite thing to do is "sing out."

Other unrelated news...
While I was typing up this entry Anna was sitting on my lap and she contributed her first post to the blog as she "typed" this " bv". I know, quite a statement. And, I picked up my parent's VCR while I was up in Farmington yesterday, so look for the first video entry into The Cardinal Vault this week!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

This Old Guitar

By K.J. Cardinal

Even though I have a horrible singing voice and I am just a novice on the guitar, I feel like music is a big part of my life.

Growing up, my dad played in a 60s cover band, called The Footsteps (soon to be featured in The Cardinal Blog), and he always entertains us on his guitar. My love for music really came directly from him. For proof, just look at my iPod and you'll see artists such as Jim Croce, Barry McGuire, CSN&Y and John Denver...I could go on and on.

Anyway, with his birthday on Wednesday (January 30), I wanted to get him something to celebrate this love affair with music that he's passed down to me and really to the rest of our family. As I mentioned in a previous post, his most prized possession is his guitar "Candy." So, I took a photo of his guitar and used a photo that's been featured in The Cardinal Vault to make up this 20" x 30" poster that I framed.

No, I didn't write that "This Old Guitar" poem or anything, it's actually the opening verse of a John Denver song by the same title (Click here to listen). It's one of my Dad's all-time favorite songs and actually the first song he ever played for my Mom on his guitar...which just happened to be his guitar, Candy.

I couldn't be happier with how it came out and my Dad was pretty much speechless when he saw it. I was actually expecting him to get a little teary eyed, but he was just more amazed than anything.

Anyway, Happy (early) Birthday Dad and thanks for making so many great memories for us with your music.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Cardinal Vault X: Cheeeeese!

By K.J. Cardinal

The 10th entry into The Cardinal Vault bring us back to November of 1982. The only thing that I can possibly think of to explain this picture - other than the fact that I ate a lot of paint chips as a child - is that I was in the middle of saying "Cheeeeese!" when someone snapped this picture.

Never mind my unintentional destruction of what would have been a great photo of Mema and Papa's grandchildren. I am pictured here with my cousins (from left-to-right) Vicky, Billy and Missy and my sister Tiffany. I am not sure if this was a special occasion or anything, but we are at my Aunt Carol & Uncle Bill's house in Strafford, N.H.

Other news regarding The Cardinal Vault...
In the not-so-distant future, the first vintage video will be submitted to The Cardinal Vault. Last weekend when I was up in Farmington, I went through a few old VHS tapes (god, I hate VCRs) and found a few gems. I was planning on posting a video this week, but when I got our VCR out of the basement and hooked it up to convert the video, the VCR decided to eat a tape (again, I hate VCRs). So, once I can get my hands on a functioning VCR I will be sure to get a video or two up into the Vault.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Anna learns a trick

By K.J. Cardinal

I know, I know, Angie already told me, "Anna's not a puppy." But on Tuesday I had this brilliant idea that I would teach Anna a trick.

Whenever we feed Anna she's always really active with her hands. She's usually either squeezing or scratching our hands and fingers and I think she's pretty strong. So, I figured that I'd try to teach her how to hold her own bottle.

I guess I was a little off with my thinking that she would be strong enough to hold a full bottle, but it only took about five or six feedings before she actually reached out to grab her own bottle and put it to her mouth. I just have to hold the end of the bottle up because she can't quite do that on her own. I have also taught her how to do push-ups though so she can build up enough arm strength so she doesn't need my assistance.

I actually caught the moment on my video camera too, so check out the video below to see the first time she successfully performed this "trick."

In the coming weeks, I plan on teaching Anna other tricks such as changing her own diaper, washing her own bottles and getting me a beer.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cereal: Day 2

By K.J. Cardinal

Well, day two of the cereal experiment didn't go as well as day one.

I should've known I was in for a rough feeding when Anna took the first spoonful that I put in her mouth and spit it out as if she had a big dip of Copenhagen in. I actually laughed at first and thought it was rather funny...until she continued to do that for the next 10 minutes.

Each time I would delicately try to feed her some cereal, she'd put it all in her mouth and then not only spit it back out, but spit it out all over herself, her bib, her burpie and her high chair. All I could think of was one of the wonderful little quips that my Dad sometimes says..."It was like shoveling shit against the tide." That really sums it up

I can't lie, I was getting a little frustrated. But, at the same time impressed by her ability to launch the cereal a good 6-8 inches out of her mouth. I wish I could've taken a video of it to post, but I obviously had my hands full.

So, after about 10 minutes of "shoveling shit against the tide", I decided to concede. I poured the "cereal" into a bottle and just fed it to her that way. Call me a quitter, but near the end of those 10 minutes her frustration was even greater than mine as she was flailing her arms and starting to cry.

The beat goes on, but let's hope day three goes better than day two.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Anna experiences cereal

By K.J. Cardinal

Anna made one small step for man this morning as she had her first bowl of cereal. She did great and seemed to rather enjoy it as well.

I feel the need to explain this whole "cereal" phenomenon to you because I really had no clue what this meant. The "cereal" comes in a box and is a powder. You make formula, like we normally feed her, and then add that to the cereal. There's no exact recipe when mixing the formula and cereal, but at the beginning you make it watery and then the consistency should get thicker and thicker as she gets more used to eating "solid" foods.

At first, she's only supposed to eat a tablespoon of cereal once a day and it replaces one bottle. So, as you can see, this is a small step in the eating process, but a step nonetheless.

I know that if we were parenting by the book that she shouldn't be eating cereal until the fourth month, but we just felt like she was ready. Her bottles just don't seem to do the trick all of the time like they used to. Plus, parenting by the book just isn't something that we're in to.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Cardinal Vault IX: Brokeback K.J.

By K.J. Cardinal

With no posts in a full week, I know you all probably thought that The Cardinal Blog fell victim to the on-going Writers Guild of America strike, but this is not the case.

Actually, despite the recent writer's strike, I crossed the picket line for the ninth installment of The Cardinal Vault which features an adaptation of the screenplay Brokeback Mountain. I dub this photo "Brokeback K.J."

I don't feel like a lot of commentary is necessary for this post. But, I will say that if Tom Brady can go "Brokeback" (see the Stetson ad pictured to the right) that it must be OK for me to reveal this photo from my childhood. Maybe now I'll embark on an undefeated season of my own or something...who knows.

Also, earlier this winter I had a friendly wager with my friend Scott on our fantasy basketball match-up. The winner got to pose the loser in an embarrassing photo. For whatever reason, Scott never came to collect his reward, so here you go Scott...this one's for you.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Cardinal Vault VIII: Victory Lane

By K.J. Cardinal

The eighth installment of The Cardinal Vault takes us back to the summer of 1995. Pictured below is the Cardinal family with Rick Wolf in victory lane at Lee U.S.A. Speedway.

Rick, a lifelong family friend and one of the nicest and funniest guys you will ever meet, just piloted his #38 street stock to his second of two victories during his '95 campaign.

My parent's business, Cardinal Snax Sales, was a big sponsor for Wolf Motorsports through the early years of Rick's racing career. During the early to late 90s, you could find our entire family at the start-finish line at Lee on just about every Friday night.

Fora few seasons I was actually part of Rick's pit crew. I know nothing about cars, so I was pretty useless except for my wise cracks and record-keeping abilities.

It was such a blast going to the races and watching Rick develop into one of the top drivers in New England. The highlight of Rick's racing career (so far) came during the 2004 season as he won the 2004 NASCAR New England Region Championship.

Back during the 1999 campaign, I approached Rick about starting a website for him, We launched the site later that summer and it's been a great thing for Rick and I ever since. It was the first real website I did on my own and it has helped Rick generate some sponsorship dollars and publicity too. The site has actually won a few awards, which helped legitimize the site and my design skills along the way.

Anyway, there are three things that just crack me up that I have to point out in this photo:

1) My mom's hair. Wow. That was a tight perm. She could've teased that thing out into a fro if she wanted.

2) Rick's mustache. The only thing that could possibly explain that sexy 'stache was that Rick was attempting to become a porn star.

3) My dad's hip pack. I know they can seem like a convenient way to carry all of your race paraphernalia, but c'mon Dad, you're cooler than that :)

The hip pack also reminds me of one of the funniest stories from one of the best weekends of my life when my Dad, Rick and I went down to the Daytona 500 back in February of 1998. The story is too long to tell right now, but ask me about it the next time you see me and I'll be sure to fill you in.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Aunt Kate to the rescue

By K.J. Cardinal

With Angie down in Baltimore for her friend Julie's surprise birthday party this weekend and work commitments for me today and tomorrow, Aunt Kate has come to our rescue.

Last night Katie came down from New Hampshire to spend the weekend with Sammy and Anna and provide much-needed assistance for Angie and I, especially tomorrow when I go to Albany for the next PackCast.

It's so great to get to spend time with Katie, but more importantly for Anna to hang out with her Aunt Kate. Living about an hour and a half away from Farmington, sometimes it's tough for us to get to see the rest of the Cardinal family on a consistent basis, but they are great about coming to visit us as often as they can, which we super appreciate.

When I called Aunt Kate to see if she'd be able to give us the assist this weekend, she was more than happy to oblige. She's on winter break from college, so the timing couldn't have worked out better.

Angie flew down to Baltimore yesterday and when I spoke to her this morning, she's definitely missing her baby. As Angie put it "it's the first time in 12 months that we're apart"...obviously she's counting those nine months in the womb.

Anyway, tomorrow will be the first time that Anna's been away from Mom AND Dad at the same time for an extended period of time. I will leave for Albany at 6 a.m. and not get back home until around 7 p.m., while Angie's flight doesn't land in Hartford until 2:15 p.m.

I know Aunt Kate can handle Anna fine and Anna will be a good girl, but I know Angie will be sorely missing her baby come tomorrow afternoon.

Thanks for your help Aunt Kate!

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Cardinal Vault VII: Papa's Grandkids

By K.J. Cardinal

The seventh entry into The Cardinal Vaults comes courtesy of cousin Vicky. In this photo, Papa is pictured with all six of his grandchildren.

For those of you who don't know everyone in this photo, I'll start with myself in the bottom left and identify my cousins/siblings going clockwise: cousin Billy, cousin Vicky, my sister Tiffany, cousin Missy and my sister Katie. When I say "cousin Billy" or "cousin Vicky" I can't but help thing of Balki Bartokomous saying "Cousin Larry" back in the day on Perfect Strangers...but I digress.

Anyway, there are three particular things I love about this photo:

1) Vicky's "D.A.R.E. to keep kids off drugs" t-shirt. An instant classic. I can remember taking the D.A.R.E. classes in elementary school and that D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. Officer Roberge would be proud.

2) My Reggie Lewis t-shirt and Celtics shorts. You can tell that my love affair with the Celtics started at a young age and it's probably no coincidence that I ended up attending the college that Reggie put on the map, Northeastern. Man, I wish I kept that shirt.

3) Papa holding Katie. As you can tell from previous entries in The Cardinal Blog, my entire family adored Papa to no end. But I have to admit that no matter how much me, Tiffany, Billy, Missy and Vicky loved Papa, Katie was without a doubt his favorite grandchild. I, however, hold the unique distinction of being the only child or grandchild that Papa ever "spanked." I did deserve it though because I whipped a rock at Tiffany and hit her in the head after she was gloating about catching more fish than me. Give me a break though, I was probably only 6 years old...but you can see my competitive spirit started way back then...d*mn you Tiffany.

I have another good photo of Papa with his grandkids (before the "chosen one" Katie was born) that will appear in The Cardinal Vault at a later date. Check back soon for the latest entries and thanks again cousin Vicky for scanning in some classic pix.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Cardinal Vault VI: The photo booth

By K.J. Cardinal

There's nothing quite like a good ole photo booth picture. We've all had our picture taken in one and we've probably all thrown them away, ruined them in our pockets/wallets or forgot where we put them.

Fortunately for The Cardinal Vault, the sixth entry features a classic photo booth picture of me, Tiffany and Katie. My favorite part of this photo has to be the confused and bewildered looks on Katie's face. Tiffany and I just assumed that she was smiling and making silly faces like we were and then when we got the print, we realized that she really had no clue what this crazy box with a curtain for a door and flashing lights was doing. I don't know the exact date of this photo, but if I had to guess I would say it was taken during the summer of 1990. That would mean that Katie is almost three-years-old, Tiffany was 11 and I was 10.

I believe this is the only photo booth picture that we were able to salvage from our childhood, but the three of us will definitely be making plenty of appearances in The Cardinal Vault, so be sure to check back frequently for the latest additions.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

An office in the making

By K.J. Cardinal

While the arrival of Anna back in October was a glorious event in my life, it really threw a wrench in the works for my plans to work from home. It wasn't that watching her and working was something that I didn't want to do, but rather that my office had become Anna's nursery.

Our house is rather cozy, so we weren't left with too many options for where we should put Anna's room or my office. Anna obviously won out with the third bedroom upstairs, so for the past three months I've been working on the coffee table, the kitchen table and the bar. It's a miracle that Angie hasn't killed me as I constantly have electronic equipment strewn all over the house.

Just before Christmas we decided that we are going to turn our unfinished basement into my home office and a play room area for Anna. This way, I'll have a place to get my work done AND watch Anna. Maybe not what Adam and I originally envisioned for Pack Network's headquarters, but I think that it's actually going to work out really great.

Earlier this week, Phase I of our basement renovation project was completed. We hired a local contractor named Colin Gibson of Gibson Home Improvement to execute this phase of framing the walls. He worked quickly and was flexible during the holidays, so he was able to finish it rather quickly.

The coolest part of the plan that we came up with includes one wall that has a built-in desk with cabinets and shelving (pictured above). It's going to be pretty sweet and is actually a really great way to conserve space too. Otherwise, it's pretty simple. There will be two small utility closets that house the water heater and the furnace, two other closets for storage and a laundry room with bi-fold doors. The basement will naturally and conveniently be separated into two rooms. One will be Pack Network Headquarters and the other will be Anna Maria Headquarters.

Phase II is wiring the basement. It seems like a rather simple process to me, but the first quote of $4,700 was, as Gorilla Monsoon would say, quite a blow to the breadbasket. So, we are still in search of an electrician to do the work.

After that we will have to complete the insulation, hang sheet rock, put in a drop ceiling, put in flooring and then have finishing details done to the stairs, doorways, desk area, etc. Stay tuned as I'll add more posts and photos as we progress.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Cardinal Vault V: A little teapot

By K.J. Cardinal

Like mother, like daughter.

It's only fitting to follow up the The Cardinal Vault: Dancing Queens entry with this photo of Tiffany from her 1983 dance recital.

I can't be certain if this is the same year that Tiffany did her "I'm a little teapot" routine, but every time I see this photo that's what I think about. When I was really little, my parents would always refer to my "manhood" as a "teapot" to Tiffany. As you could imagine, Tiffany was completely shocked and embarrassed when she was at her dance lessons and the instructor told the class that they would be dancing to "I'm a little teapot" at their recital. Classic. It was just first of many times that Tiffany would be doing a dance for a "teapot" :)

Unfortunately, I think this is the end of the dance recital photos, but be sure to check back frequently for the latest additions.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Cardinal Vault IV: Dancing Queens

By K.J. Cardinal

OK, so this is why I really wanted to start The Cardinal embarrass family members :) The first three entries into The Cardinal Vault were meaningful, nice, cute photos but this one is a first ballot entry into the Hall of Shame.

Back in the 80s my mom went to Nancy Kelly Bretton dance school and this is a photo from their big recital. My mom is the third from the left in the back row...and, if you look carefully my Aunt Donna (Denton) O'Brien is all the way to right in the back row.

Unfortunately this is the only photo that I have of the dancing careers of my mom and Auntie Donna, but another Cardinal will soon be featured in a dancing outfit of her own. So, be sure to check back frequently for the latest additions.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Pack Network Premiere

By K.J. Cardinal

Yesterday was a very big day for me both personally and professionally. First off, Anna turned three months and is doing amazing. Not to downplay a milestone in the life of the cutest little girl ever (she's actually deadlocked for that title with Angie's niece JuJu), but yesterday was an even bigger day for Pack Network.

As most of you know, Pack Network is the new company that I started along with Adam Polgreen. Yesterday we had our first official PackCast production, which is an enhanced online video production, for America East.

What this really means is that we try to replicate a true television broadcast, but only distribute the production online. We have been providing online video streaming all year for most home events at UNH, Northeastern and UMBC, but not at this caliber. At those games we have trained staff and students run a scaled down version of our PackCast, which is still a notch above the current industry standard.

Yesterday's broadcast featured a five-camera shoot with dedicated announcers, a "Fox Box" scoreboard, on-screen graphics, tons of in-games notes, instant replays and commercials. We experienced a few technical difficulties along the way, but overall yesterday's production was a great success for it being our first real PackCast.

Things were so hectic before and during the game that Adam and I didn't really get a chance to enjoy what was going on, but now, a day later, I can say that yesterday's production was probably the proudest moment of my professional life.

It was so amazing to have our A Team of Pack Network staff members - Adam, me, Matt Fuller (the stats guru) and Norm Harnick (our ace cameraman) - on hand to pull off the broadcast. Matt & Norm have been the staple staffers that get what we're doing and are really irreplaceable for us.

What made yesterday even more special was the on-air talent that we had. Eric Frede, who most of you probably know from NESN or when he got his start back in the day at WMUR in N.H., was our play-by-play announcer. Just to hear Eric call one of our games and for him to say "Pack Network" during a "PackCast" was a real treat. He's a consummate professional, an amazing announcer and a generous friend. Pam Roecker was our color analyst.

Take a look at the clip below to get a feel for the type of broadcasts that we are doing. This clip is also going to be a commercial that we run in the PackCasts. I'm not going to spoil the finish, but we were fortunate enough to get one of the best women's basketball games that I've ever seen...and I've seen a lot of women's hoops.

Lastly, not to make this sound like my Emmy Award acceptance speech, but I definitely want to take a minute to publicly thank some folks for their help in getting Pack Network to where it is right now:
- Matt Bourque: thanks for your support in anything and everything I do professionally and personally
- Eric: I can't thank you enough for jumping on board to help us out and take our broadcasts to the next level
- Mom & Dad: your undying support for everything I do is something I can never thank you enough for
- Angie: your belief and support in Pack Network from the beginning still drives me every day and I couldn't ask for a better wife

America East PackCast Schedule
Sunday, January 13: WBB - Maine at Albany, 2 p.m.
Saturday, January 26: WBB - Boston U. at UNH, 12 p.m.
Saturday, February 2: MBB - UMBC at Vermont, 1 p.m.
Sunday, February 10: WBB - Stony Brook at Vermont, 1 p.m.
Wednesday, February 13: WBB - Hartford at Vermont, 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 16: WBB - UMBC at Binghamton, 2 p.m.
Log on to at game time to watch the PackCasts for free.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Cardinal Vault III: The Naked Cowboy

By K.J. Cardinal

Like father, like son.

The third installment of The Cardinal Vault takes us back to January of 1984 as I display my guitar playing abilities while wearing my underwear and a cowboy hat. Based on The Cardinal Vault III: Kim & Candy, you can see where I get it from.

This photo was taken in my parent's kitchen before they completely remodeled it in the mid 80s. In this photo I am almost four years old. I'm not sure what happened to that cowboy hat, but the guitar has been converted into a clock and is on the wall in my dad's new music room.

I will make a few more appearances playing the guitar in The Cardinal Vault, but this guitar will also be seen being played by my dad when he was a youngster as well. So, be sure to check back frequently for the latest additions.

Friday, January 4, 2008

K.J. wins inaugural NYE Decathlon

By K.J. Cardinal

I feel like I've accomplished a descent amount of things in my young life, but never in a million years did I ever think that I would win a decathlon. However, that's exactly how I rang in the New Year on Monday night.

No, I didn't throw a discus, javelin or shot put and I certainly didn't run the 1500 meters or clear any hurdles. Instead, Angie, Sammy and I competed against each other in the confines of our own home in a series of 10 different board games, card games and video games.

You may say that's not a true decathlon, but I say, you don't know how tough it is until you try it. Talk to me after you go head-to-head with your wife and step daughter for over eight straight's grueling.

Anyway, it was early in the afternoon on New Year's Eve when the idea of the decathlon came to me. Angie, Sammy and I then brainstormed as many games that we could think of and put them into a hat. We then pulled 10 events out to determine the 2007 NYE Decathlon. We decided we would award three points for first place, two points for second and one point for third. Sammy crafted a NYE bracelet (pictured above) to reward the winner.

We started things off with an intense game of Rummy 500. On the very first hand, I thought that the wheels were going to come off the decathlon though as there was an early controversy. I had two cards left in my hand (two Jacks) and I picked up a third Jack which made my set that I could lay down. Game over, right? Not so fast, said Angie.

Apparently she plays with the crazy Portuguese rules that say you have to discard in order for the hand to end. I am one of the most competitive people in the world, so I was rather peeved at her ruling. I let her get her way though and the game progressed. I ended up taking Event 1 and jumping out to an early lead in the decathlon.

SCOREBOARD: K.J. 3, Sammy 2, Angie 1

On to Event 2, Yahtzee. No controversy here just a severe beat down by Angie. She wrapped it up early as she got a Bonus Yahtzee on about her eighth turn. Sammy managed to put together one of the worst rounds of Yahtzee I've ever seen though, scoring a whopping 188 points. Yippee!

SCOREBOARD: K.J. 5, Angie 4, Sammy 3

Wheel of Fortune on PS2 was up next. I like to think of myself as a Wheel of Fortune savant, so needless to say, I dominated. I racked up $33,450, capping my run by getting the final puzzle correct, which was Nightfall for the record. Angie got skunked in the game as she put up the big ole goose egg.

SCOREBOARD: K.J. 8, Angie 5, Sammy 5

Event 4 was an America classic, BINGO. Despite my card-selection rationale, which I felt was flawless (#8 for Antoine Walker, #17 for the next Celtics championship banner and #33 for Larry Legend), I was outdistanced by Ang. Sammy and I actually tied for second and had to play again so we could determine who was second. Naturally, I won.

SCOREBOARD: K.J. 10, Angie 8, Sammy 6

Next up, Wii Bowling. I am usually pretty nasty at Wii Bowling, but it just wasn't my night. Sammy took us both to school, winning by a healthy 20-pin margin.

SCOREBOARD: K.J. 11, Angie 10, Sammy 9

The second half of the decathlon got underway with Event 6: Blokus. Again, this is usually a bread-and-butter event for me, but once again I took third. Usually Angie and Sammy tag-team me in this game and I pull out the win regardless, but my third-place finish can be credited to a sick BLOKUS by Angie late in the game. Sammy took it home though.

SCOREBOARD: K.J. 12, Angie 12, Sammy 12

Things were progressing nicely and then came Event 7: Monopoly. It seemed like a good idea in theory, but nearly three hours later we were all begging for mercy and decided to put a time limit on it to end the misery. Those three-plus hours of my life I will never get back and it pains me to think about it. Oh yeah, Angie won.

SCOREBOARD: Angie 15, K.J. 14, Sammy 13

With three events remaining I was trailing for the first time in the decathlon, but I wasn't nervous because Angie was getting sleepier and sleepier by the second. Next up Event 8: Wii Golf. What started off as a nine-hole game had to be reduced to a six-hole round as Angie was falling asleep on the couch in between turns. What was insanely annoying was that she was kicking our butts. She'd wake up, knock it within a few feet of the pin and fall back asleep. Meanwhile, I'm trying my hardest and hitting the ball all over the course...seemed like a real round of golf. Anyway, Ang won the sleep-shortened event.

SCOREBOARD: Angie 18, K.J. 16, Sammy 14

Event 9: Wii billiards. Boy oh boy did I need this event. Wii billiards is probably my favorite game on the Wii, so I was thrilled when we pulled it out of the hat some 74 hours earlier. Sammy actually put up a good fight here in the nine-ball competition though as she tied me for first, forcing a tie-breaker. I then made all nine balls on nine shots to secure the title. Angie wrapped up third and drooled all over herself.

SCOREBOARD: Angie 19, K.J. 19, Sammy 16

The 10th and final event of the decathlon was none other than Skip-bo. With Angie and I tied atop the standings and Sammy out of contention for the title, the tension was high. Angie then did her best impression of the Buffalo Bills of the early '90s as she went on a huge run and got rid of all but one card in her pile, only to fall short in the end. Sammy and I still had at least 12 cards left in our piles, when I did the unthinkable. I went on a huge run and got rid of every single card in my pile to win. I kept screaming "Wide Right" in Angie's face. Game. Set. Match.

FINAL SCORE: K.J. 22, Angie 21, Sammy 17

As far as sporting comebacks are concerned, my come-from-behind win in the inaugural NYE Decathlon ranks just behind the Red Sox comeback versus the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS and just ahead of the Miracle on Ice. In the back of my head I kept hearing "Do you believe in miracles?"

What a way to spend New Year's Eve. We hope to broaden the event next year to include more participants, so you may want to start training now because these decathlons take a lot out of you.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Cardinal Vault II: Kim & Candy

By K.J. Cardinal

We travel back to August of 1979 for the second edition of The Cardinal Vault, as my Dad, Kim, is featured playing his guitar. There is a ton of good stuff going on in this photo.

First, my father is 25-years-old at the time of this photo and is strumming away at the kitchen table in the house that he still lives in on South Main Street in Farmington, N.H. Plus, he is playing the same guitar that was featured earlier on The Cardinal Channel in the Lassie video. My dad has dubbed that guitar "Candy" and I swear that it is his most prized possession. Lastly, the kid sitting at the table is my cousin Billy Lord.

You can be sure that my dad playing a guitar will make several more appearances in The Cardinal Vault at some point, so be sure to check back frequently for the latest additions.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Training wheels come off

By K.J. Cardinal

After being fortunate enough to have Angie at home for the first three months of Anna's life, today the training wheels come off as I am now playing man-to-man defense on Anna.

Angie left for work around 7 a.m. this morning and I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't pretty sad about the whole ordeal. The past three months have been so great. Between welcoming Anna to the world and having Angie around every day, I think it's safe to say that I was pretty spoiled.

I'd like to thank Angie for continuing to work though. I'm sure it's not easy for her, but it makes the most sense for us on a lot of fronts, especially as Adam and I attempt to successfully get Pack Network off the ground. I wish that Angie didn't have to go back to work at all, but that's just not in the cards for us right now...hopefully someday that will come to fruition though.

Anyway, Anna is asleep in her swing as it approaches 8:30 a.m., so as of right now this work-at-home dad thing is a breeze. I think that year one will be the easiest for this, but once Anna starts walking, talking and terrorizing me, things will get a little tougher.

The good news is that reinforcements aren't too far away. Angie's office is only about seven minutes from home and she plans to come home for lunch everyday. Sammy gets home from school around 2:30 p.m. and then Ang will get home around 5 p.m. every night. So, the big stretch for me is from 7 a.m. to around noon when Ang comes home for lunch. That's a solid five hour block where I'll have the little one all to myself.

Anna will quickly learn all there is to know about Mike & Mike in the Morning, that watching SportsCenter a handful of times each day somehow never gets old and that Skip Bayless is a donkey.

All I have to do now is figure out when on earth I'll be able to shower?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Cardinal Vault debuts

By K.J. Cardinal

Today marks a day that will go down in Cardinal Blog history as The Cardinal Vault debuts. Every week or so, The Cardinal Vault will feature a vintage photo, document or (eventually) video of a Cardinal family member.

It's only fitting that the inaugural entry into The Cardinal Vault is of the Cardinal that started it all, Leo "Papa" Cardinal.

Papa is pictured below with the most impressive catch of his fishing career. Papa was awarded Sports Afield's Distinguished Angler Award in 1981 for this fish. Using a fly that Mema tied, Papa reeled in an 8 pound, 12.5 ounce brown trout on a fly rod out of a river up in Pittsburgh, N.H.

Sports Afield sent along a certificate recognizing Papa's achievement as well. That certificate read "Distinguished Angler is presented to Leo Cardinal for outstanding angling achievement by catching a trophy fish while conforming to the highest principles of sportsmanship."

Papa and this fish will make another appearance in The Cardinal Vault at some point, so be sure to check back frequently for the latest additions.