Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Anna readies for crucial Game 5

By K.J. Cardinal

Despite being only six and a half months old, Anna obviously senses the importance of tonight's Game 5 of the First Round of the 2008 NBA Playoffs between the Celtics and Hawks. Just one look at the photo on the right and you can see that she already has her game face on.

For the most crucial C's playoff game of her life, Anna opted to go old school with the Bill Walton-esque hairdo with headband. Papa is not a fan of Walton's, but for some reason Anna wanted to honor the Hall of Famer that was a key role player in the Celtics 1986 title run. Glad to see she has a sense of her sports history.

Anyway, the best part of Anna's gameday ensemble, however, is obviously her new pink Celtics warm-up.

When Angie, Sammy, Anna and I returned from our vacation on Saturday, we were welcomed home by a package for Anna. Once I saw the return address was, I immediately knew who it was really from, but not what it would be.

I was psyched when I opened it up to see a sweet Adidas warm-up for Anna...and as I figured it was from Ben & Lynsey.

My buddy Ben is the only person that I can honestly say is as crazy about the Celtics as I am (and probably Moody too). We aren't fans...we are fanatics. We were raised adoring Bird, McHale and Parrish. We loyally stuck by the C's through the M.L. Carr and Rick Pitino eras. We had some memorable moments in section 316. And, most importantly, we both questioned our sexuality during Antoine Walker's days in Green.

So, it was really only fitting that Benny was the first person to come through with some crucial C's gear for Anna. The timing was perfect too...right in time for the playoffs. I have been waiting for the right moment to bust it out and tonight's the night. This is a MUST WIN game for the C's, so hopefully Anna's new warm-up will bring a little luck to the boys in pink...I mean green.

Thanks Ben & Lynsey...GO C's!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pub Crawl set for June 7

By K.J. Cardinal

The 1st Annual TBG Pub Crawl, a one-day benefit for the Ted Everidge Memorial Fund, will take place in Boston on Saturday, June 7, 2008.

The eight-bar event will get underway at noon at The Squealing Pig in Roxbury Crossing, located behind Back Bay Manor, where Ted lived for two years in college. The crawl then proceeds to three Northeastern-area bars - Punter's Pub, Conor Larkin's and Our House East - before heading to Boylston Street to hit Cactus Club and Whiskey's.

A stop at Beantown Pub then breaks up the walk to the final destination of the crawl, Purple Shamrock. The 1st Annual TBG Pub Crawl will officially end at 7:15 p.m. on Union Street, but it's likely the festivities will continue throughout the night.

Tickets are $30/each and can be purchased by sending a check payable to "K.J. Cardinal" to:

K.J. Cardinal
27 Gerry Drive
Hudson, MA 01749

All checks must be received by Thursday, May 29 to guarantee an event T-shirt.

Attendees will receive the official "1st Annual TBG Pub Crawl" T-shirt (pictured right), so be sure to include your shirt size(s) with your ticket money. Appetizers will be provided at various locations on the crawl, but drinks are not included in the ticket price. All proceeds will benefit the Ted Everidge Memorial Fund.

If you cannot attend but would still like to purchase a ticket to support the cause, then please include a note with your check and shirt size(s) and an event T-shirt will be mailed to you following the pub crawl.

Please feel free to email with any questions.

12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Squealing Pig
1:15 - 1:45 p.m. Punter's Pub
2:00 - 2:30 p.m. Conor Larkin's
2:45 - 3:45 p.m. Our House East
4:00 - 4:30 p.m. Cactus Club
4:45 - 5:15 p.m. Whiskey's
5:30 - 6:00 p.m. Beantown Pub
6:15 - 7:15 p.m. Purple Shamrock

*schedule subject to change

Friday, April 25, 2008

Last full day at Steele Hill

By K.J. Cardinal

Today marks the last full day of our vacation at Steele Hill and we've had a blast.

The weather has been amazing all week and has really added to the fun that we were able to have. On Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday I was able to make it down to Farmington to golf with my Dad, Matt and Jeremy at Farmington Country Club.

My Christmas gift for my dad this year was a membership at the FCC and he appears to be REALLY loving it...even more than I originally expected. From Sunday to Thursday he improved by 12 strokes and we were able to spend a lot of time together, which is even better.

Likewise, my Mom and Katie were able to make it up to Steele Hill a few times and got to hang out with the girls quite a bit. This week has really been a teaser for June 21-28 when we all have a rental house together on Perkins Pond. We can't wait!

We've spent a lot of time by the pool. Anna really loves the water and seems to be on her way to a water bug, much like Sammy. Angie and Sammy bought Anna this little yellow duck that she can sit in while in the pool and she's so adorable in it. She kicks her feet underneath and splashes the water all around. She's the best.

On Wednesday night we had a really good dinner at Patrick's Pub. That place is awesome. They had a guy on an acoustic guitar singing and the food was awesome, as usual.

Last night, my Mom brought dinner up and cooked us some awesome seafood canollis. Aunt Kate was able to make it up after her class too, so it was a great night.

It's back to reality for me on Sunday as we have a PackCast of the America East Women's Lacrosse Championship at BU. Adam really hooked me up this week by taking care of the semifinals, which are being played right now, so thanks a lot buddy.

Well, the next post will probably be from back in Hudson, but April Vacation 2008 has been a lot of fun. Thanks so much Mom and Dad for letting us take over your timeshare and we're glad you were able to spend so much time with us.

I'll post some photos to accompany this post when I have more time...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Golf, Racing and Basketball

By K.J. Cardinal

Wow, I'm still tired. Day three of April Vacation 2008 really wore me out, but it was a ton of fun.

I started things off by getting up early in the morning and heading to Farmington to meet my Dad and Matt for a nine holes at Farmington Country Club. The temperature at Steele Hill was in the 40s when I got up and my dad said it was 37 when he woke up in Farmington, but I still braved the elements in shorts.

That turned out to get a great decision because it turned into an awesome day. I was rather happy with my first round of golf of the season.

I actually parred the first hole and was six over after seven holes...bogey golf is good for me. I then proceeded to self destruct on the 8th and 9th as I tripled and doubled to finish with 47....11 over par.

I had to snap that photo above because there was actually one spot on the course (back of the 4th green) that had snow still on it. I have to admit, it's my first time ever playing snow golf.

After golf, Dad and I headed to Lee for Rick's race. Again, it was a beautiful day, so we were able to enjoy a little tailgating before and between races and Rick did awesome.

In his first-ever ACT race, Rick dominated his heat...winning by at least 8-10 car lengths. He started ninth in the 100-lap feature and came home with an impressive sixth-place finish.

Dad and I were absolutely impressed with the new deal Rick has going. He arrives to the track with a two-car hauler, which holds his car and his teammate Bobby Dragon's car. It's really a first class operation all around and we're all so happy for Rick. He's worked his butt off over the past 20 years to get to this point, so he deserves it.

After the races we headed back to Steele Hill to hang out with the family. Katie and her friends (Jason, Corinna & Caitlyn) had come up for the day and Meme was up for the night too.

Katie's crew left just before dinner and then we enjoyed some steaks on the grill and settled in to watch the Celtics game. The C's are unbelievable and I'll be VERY bummed if they don't make it to the NBA Finals.

I'm definitely worried that Doc Rivers will screw it all up, but hopefully the players are good enough to overcome his shortcomings.

Anyway, Anna was so cute as Papa put her to bed. She was singing herself to sleep and all snuggly after taking a bath.

Speaking of sleep, I could use a nap.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A visit with the George's; Steele Hill at last

By K.J. Cardinal

Day two of April Vacation 2008 was light years ahead of day one.

Anna got to spend the morning with Meme, Papa and Aunt Kate before heading off to visit the George clan. When we arrived at Tiff & Pete's, Andrew greeted us at the door and I know I'm biased, but there really isn't a cuter kid in the world. I could describe how adorable he is, but instead I will interrupt this post to show you these pictures, they speak for themselves...

...and now back to your previously scheduled blog...

The newest member of the family, Natalie, was doing great. She slept nearly the entire time we were there, but it didn't matter because I got to hold her for a good chunk of time and I was able to get my fix.

Her coloring is great. Tiff and Pete are as lily white as I am, but Natalie definitely looks like she's got a little tan going on. I know babies eyes are usually blue, but Natalie's looked super blue today...sorry, I didn't get a photo of 'em.

After Tiff and Pete's, we snagged some lunch, bought a bunch of groceries and then headed to Steele Hill. We checked in and went right to our room.

It's always a crap-shoot with the rooms here. They are all pretty nice, but sometimes you get a newly renovated room or a great location.

So if the room assignments are a crap shoot, we rolled a 7. We have the closest room to the indoor pool, which makes Sammy's day (and mine too because I can just quickly run back to the room to grab a beer instead of having to buy one at the pool bar), and the room we got is awesome.

After we checked into our home-away-from-home for the next seven days, we had to immediately go and hit up the pool. Since the first time Angie and I talked about taking Anna swimming, I said that we had to get her an "itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini" (you can thank me later for getting that song stuck in your head). So, with a little help from Kris, Angie's co-worker, Angie found the prized bikini a few weeks ago and we've been anxiously awaiting getting her in the pool.

Needless to say, Anna seemed to like the pool. When Angie carried her in the water, she was unphased. When Anna was held upright, she would kick her feet as if she was trying to tread water. It was you can see.

Tomorrow I'm hitting the links with my dad and hopefully Matt and Jeremy and then my dad and I are heading to Rick's first-ever ACT race at Lee. Should be another great day.

Sammy makes the grade; we head to NH

By K.J. Cardinal

While the driving range and car wash marked a great start to my April Vacation, Sammy definitely topped me on Friday afternoon when she got home from school.

When Sammy comes home from school she always brings in the mail from the mailbox out front. She came in and dropped it all on the table and then saw that her report card came in.

As you can see with the photo above, Sammy got an A, three A- and a B+....nearly straight As. You can clearly tell that living with me has rubbed off on Sammy academically :)

We were so fired up about the report card and Angie getting out of work a little early that we decided to head up to Farmington last night. We headed out around 5:30 and of course ran into a bunch of traffic.

We decided to make the most of the delay and stopped to have some dinner. Is there a better way to celebrate the start of vacation than the Tewksbury Applebee's? I doubt it.

Dinner was the typical Applebee's fare, but it was a first for Anna as she opted for the boneless buffalo wings and a Miller Lite (see left). Changing her next diaper wasn't too pleasant to say the least.

After dinner, the traffic had cleared out and we motored right up to Farmington. Meme and Papa were psyched to see Anna, even though she was a tired girl. With so much going on and so much attention, Anna was able to stay up until 10:30ish. I'm assuming she knew she was on vacation and could sleep in today if she wanted.

Last night, Aunt Kate even canceled her plans to go to the movies so she could hang out with us. Thanks Kater! As you can see, Anna definitely loves her Aunt Kate.

Today we're heading to Tiff & Pete's to see Natalie (and Andrew, of course) and then we're off to Steele Hill. Tomorrow I am going to go golfing in the morning and then to Rick Wolf's first-ever ACT race at Lee Speedway. What a vacation.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Vacation begins with driving range and car wash

By K.J. Cardinal

Anna and I got a jump start on April Vacation 2008 this afternoon as we hit up the driving range at Stow Acres with Scott.

It was in the mid-70s and sunny without a cloud in the sky, so I had to do my first-ever sunscreen application to Anna. As Angie can attest to, I detest sunscreen.

I hate the smell of it, the feel of it and most of all putting it on someone else. I still couldn't stand the smell and feel of it, but I didn't mind putting it on Anna so much. It was actually kind of fun. (I can't believe I said that).

Anyway, Anna was great nearly the entire time Scott and I were hitting balls all over the range...and I mean ALL OVER. Anna was sitting behind me in her stroller in a well-shaded spot, so she was loving life. With about 10 balls left in my basket, Anna started to get hungry. So, I took a break, made her a bottle and got back to hitting balls. She's gotten pretty good at feeding herself, so it was a walk in the park.

After the range, we had to give the new Xterra a bath, so I took Anna through her first car wash. She's usually unphased by nearly everything, but she did not like the car wash at first.

She started to cry and, being the jerk that I am, I immediately scrambled to take advantage of a gratuitous photo-op. By the time I got the camera out, she had already stopped crying, but I still took advantage of the cool camera shot.

So, this picture above is taken from the front seat of the Xterra looking back at Anna in the mirror that we have set up so we can keep an eye on her as she sits in her rear-facing child seat. My favorite part of the photo is that you can see the water streaming down the rear window of the Xterra...I love my new camera.

Well, it was a great way to start April Vacation 2008...and stay tuned to the blog all week for lots of posts.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hammock a hit with Anna

By K.J. Cardinal

Fatherhood has been drastically improved with the nice weather of late. Don't get me wrong, it was great to spend every waking second this winter with Anna by my side, but being cooped up in the house every day wasn't so great.

A 70-degree day today meant Anna and I could enjoy the outdoors. We tried to go for a walk around the neighborhood, but front-end loaders and dump trucks were everywhere installing a sidewalk in our development. So, instead we opted to hang out in the backyard.

Amidst the construction ruckus, Anna was enjoying herself on a blanket with a few toys. She seemed to be unphased by all the commotion. We did that for a while and then I got the idea of letting her experience the hammock. Boy, was that a good call.

She looked so small when I placed her in the center of the hammock. At first she just wanted to try to eat the rope, but then I started to swing the hammock and she loved it.

It's so great to not only be able to bring her outdoors, but not to have to bundle her up with hats, boots, etc. She looks cute in all her winter wear, but it's definitely a pain to put on and take off all the time. Anyway, the nice weather is appreciated...let's just hope Anna likes the driving range as much as Daddy does.

In somewhat related news...
Angie and I just got a new Nikon digital SLR camera. You may be able to tell the improved quality in the photos above. It's safe to say that I will be posting more photos and better photos from now on. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Earrings, Red Sox, Pockets and more...

By K.J. Cardinal

My apologies for the lack of posts lately. I have been somewhat unmotivated, somewhat incapacitated and somewhat inebriated. A friend of mine, Amy, just started her own blog, and her enthusiasm has lit a fire under my keister to get back on the bloggin' trail.

Anyway, here's a recap to what's been going on.

- Anna got her ears pierced. Being just like my father, I was definitely against the notion of poking a hole in my daughter's ears for cosmetic purposes at such a young age. The way I figure it is if she wants earrings, then when she's old enough to express that, we'd get her earrings. The thought of making a life-altering decision for your child wasn't necessarily something that I wanted to do, but Angie really wanted to pierce her ears, so as you can see with the adorable picture on the right, Angie won out.

Now that her ears are pierced though, I must admit that it's pretty cute. And, I'm surprised that she doesn't pick at them or anything. She's so curious these days that I thought I'd have to worry about her constantly trying to rip them out and then pulling a Houdini act and making them disappear in her mouth, like she does with anything else she can get her hands on.

- What a weekend we had. Saturday started off with the final BU women's lacrosse PackCast of the season (exciting, I know), but the day was highlighted by Angie and I taking Sammy and Matt to the Red Sox-Yankees game, which was their Christmas present. Despite the rain, we had a blast at the game. We hung around for the first hour or so of the rain delay, but when they pulled the tarp off the field and then put it back on, we decided we'd had enough. Plus, it was the eighth inning and all the beer stands were closed, so that also played a role.

After the game, Matt and I went over to the Cask to meet up with Glenn, Cassani, Jamie and the man of the night, Pockets. My buddy Dan (AKA Pockets) was up from New York for the weekend, so we tore it up in the city after the Sox game and then crashed at Jamie's in Medford. It was a blast to say the least. On Sunday morning Pockets came back to my house to hang out with Anna for a little while before going back to NYC. As you can see in the picture at the right, Pockets was a fan of Anna's and she took a liking to him as well. My favorite part of that photo is that Dan is still wearing the wristbands from the night before.

- Sunday started off by picking up the pieces from Saturday night and heading back to Hudson. I was definitely feeling kind of blah and hungover. I planned on planting myself on the couch for the day and watching The Masters. But then around 11 a.m. I got a phone call from Tiff saying that I had a new niece...and this definitely put a lot of pep in my step! Talk about the ultimate cure for a hangover. Anyway, as you read in the post below, Natalie Jane was born on Sunday morning and she's so precious. I can't wait to see her again.

- Monday and Tuesday were supposed to be rather uneventful days, but of course some came up. Last week I took the Mazda to get inspected. The inspection sticker actually expired in November, but since we rarely drive the car we let it go until April before getting an inspection. As expected, the Mazda failed emissions. We were concerned it may cost a lot to get fixed, but were pleasantly surprised that the work only ran us about $400. We got the car back last Friday and drove it throughout the weekend like the mechanic told us to.

On Monday afternoon, Angie was coming home for lunch when she calls to tell me, "the car broke." Well, not exactly, but something definitely went wrong. So, we brought it back to the mechanic for $200 more worth of work and picked the car up yesterday after lunch. Angie then calls me later in the afternoon to tell me that "the car's rattling." So, the car is currently back up at the shop getting fixed. I'm pretty confident that they just have to tighten up some bolts or something on the exhaust and that it won't cost us any more money, but that car has been the bane of my existence lately.

Well, those are the main happenings of the last week or so. I also wrapped up all the graphic design jobs for Vermont, produced two PackCasts and went to a PawSox game with my buddy Mike. So, thanks Amy for getting me back on the blog-wagon. I'll be sure to do a better job over the next couple of weeks...especially next week when we're on vacation at Steele Hill.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

It's a girl!

By K.J. Cardinal

Natalie Jane George was welcomed into the world this morning (April 13) at 6:10 a.m.

The little bundle of joy weighed in at a whopping nine pounds even and measured 22 inches long!

Tiff, Pete and Andrew are all doing well and enjoying their little girl.

Angie, Sammy, Anna and I went to visit my NIECE tonight at Frisbee Memorial Hospital and Natalie was so great. As you can see in the picture that accompanies this post, her eyes were wide open and she was very alert.

Below are a few more pics. Congratulations Tiff & Pete...Natalie, you're a very lucky girl to have two such awesome parents.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Happy half-birthday Anna

By K.J. Cardinal

It really is so unbelievable that today marks Anna's half-birthday as she turns six months old. It seems just like yesterday we were bringing her home from the hospital.

I know people always say that their kids grow up fast, but I never really had a good understanding of that until having one of my own. Before Anna was born, I would tell Angie that I already couldn't wait until Anna was up and running around so I could play with her and whatnot.

I had this preconceived notion in my head that before babies could walk they were somewhat useless. Don't get me wrong, I've always loved kids, but I somehow thought that I really enjoyed them more once they could walk around and do stuff. I can't believe how wrong I was.

On a daily basis, I tell Angie, "I don't want Anna to grow up." And I don't. She has been the perfect baby. She brings so much joy to our lives and has been such a treat to take care of on a daily basis. As my mom would say, we really are "truly blessed."

I think I have changed my perspective so much that I think that babies are now my favorite age of children. Prior to Anna I never could've imagined saying that...and maybe whatever age Anna is will always be my favorite age of children. But either way, Anna has changed my life in so many amazing ways in just six months.

So, happy half-birthday Anna. We love you more than you could ever imagine.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Boom Boom Boom, Bang Bang Bang

By K.J. Cardinal

This is so awesome. I finally got a great chance to capture how much fun Anna and Sammy have together.

So many times, Anna and Sammy are having a blast and by the time I bust the camera out, Anna's either moved on to something else or becomes camera shy. I know it probably seems hard to believe since I am constantly taking photos and videos of Anna, but for some reason when Sammy's involved Anna usually tightens up around the camera.

Anyway, my two favorite things about this video are:
1) Anna is sooo much fun, and
2) Sammy is the best big sister ever

Andrew likes time outs???

By Tiffany George

Andrew is so freakin' adorable. We have a canvas beach chair in his playroom that we have deemed his "time out chair". He honestly rarely misbehaves (thank God) but when he does we have tried to teach him to sit in his chair to calm down for a few minutes. I want him to see the time out chair as a strategy to calm down, not a punishment, and it appears to be working.

He has done the sort of thing that I am about to describe before, but today it just melted my heart so I wanted to share. We finished lunch and I was trying to put the dishes in the dishwasher, but my little "helper" would not stop removing dirty dishes from the lower rack. I was getting a little frustrated, saying "Andrew, please stop touching those dirty dishes, they could make you sick...Do you want to get in trouble?"

At this prompt, he suddenly took off into his playroom, in search of something that clearly started with the letter T. I can't quite figure out all of his one-syllable words yet. Anyway, I finished up with the dishes and went to the backroom to find my little precious sitting in his time out chair, reading a book, with the biggest aren't-you-proud-of-me-Momma smile on his face. He sat there for a good five minutes, happy as a clam, and basking in his glory as I called Pete and Mom to relay his cuteness.

Mom is continually reminding me that many things that Andrew does are not typical kid behaviors, with no exception here. The other major thing that Andrew does that is apparently atypical is his desire to play in his crib when he awakens. Pete and Gail got us a video monitor for Christmas, and our new favorite channel is ATV (Andrew TV). We just plug the monitor into the TV and watch him on our TV during his nap. It is awesome.

This kid loves to be in his crib. We'll put him down at night and he'll play for a good 20 minutes, happy as can be, before he finally settles into dreamland with his head properly positioned atop the John Deere pillow that I made him for Valentine's Day. When he awakens in the morning, he will play for at least an hour, often an hour and a half or more, before we go to get him. Keeping him in his crib for so long makes me feel guilty sometimes, but anyone who has seen his joy while playing up there reminds me that I should feel guilty for taking him out before he is ready.

What does he do for an hour being confined to a tiny crib, you ask? Well, first of all, it is clearly great fun to put his legs in and out of the crib rails. And rolling around in the crib, what a treat! He loves to hold his teddy by both arms and kiss him, hug him, pat his back, read him books, you name it. He also has a wonderful audience (approximately 12 stuffed animals that he sleeps with) to test out his budding voice. He talks and babbles and laughs and screams, just to see how loud he can be. He recently has begun playing with his blankets too. He'll unfold and "fold" them back up, or put them over his head. He cracks himself up when he covers his head with his Wiggles blankie and walks around his crib like he's a ghost. He cracks us up too!

We hope that some day when you are in Rochester you get the chance to witness this kid is priceless!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Cardinal Vault XIV: What's A Prom Mascot?

By K.J. Cardinal

It's been a while since I've made an entry into The Cardinal Vault, so I figured I need to go all out with this post. This gem takes us back to 1992 when Katie was the mascot of the Farmington High School Junior Prom.

I'm not exactly sure why they call this role a "mascot" since she's not dressed like a Tiger or anything, but nonetheless she's super cute. In this video, Katie is escorted by Seth Chagnon. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Banana loves biscuits

By K.J. Cardinal

Somehow I have come to call Anna, Banana. Not, Anna Banana, but just Banana. I was never really into the whole "Anna Banana" thing, which is why she was a chili pepper for Halloween as opposed to a banana, but now I just call her Banana. I digress.

Anyway, Banana has started eating "Biter Biscuits" and as you can see below, she loves them. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Anna swings into Spring

By K.J. Cardinal

Since today was the first 60 degree day of Anna's life, I knew that I had to get her out of the house for a nice long walk. The temperature was warm all day, but the overcast clouds and slight sprinkle here or there had me a little concerned.

As the day wore on, the weather stayed the same. So, once Sammy got home from school, Anna, Sammy and I decided to risk it and go on a walk.

When we left the house I thought we'd just go for a nice walk, little did I know that we'd end up knocking a significant "to do" off Anna's list of firsts. As we walked by the Farley Elementary School, we decided it would be fun to give Anna her first experience on a swing...a true staple moment in every kids childhood.

The playground at the relatively new Farley School is really nice. The swing set had a swing that was probably more equipped for a toddler than an infant, but that didn't stop us from giving it a whirl.

We put Anna in the swing and she immediately grabbed onto one of the side chains, as if she was an old pro. We started to swing her very lightly at first, just to gauge her reaction. She didn't really think much of it, instead looking around at the other kids in the playground.

So, we decided to push her a little higher...and she loved it. She would smile and almost laugh every time the swing would descend from its peak. It was really quite the sight...check it out in the video below.

Unfortunately the school bell rang to let the youngsters out for the day, so we high-tailed it out of the playground before we all got trampled. The good news is that the playground is only about a 10 minute walk away, so we'll be back, that's for sure.