Friday, November 28, 2008

The birds

By K.J. Cardinal

Thanksgiving for me this year was all about birds. No, not the obvious turkey or even the Cardinal, but rather the Eagles.

On Thanksgiving eve, my dad took me to the Eagles concert at the DCU Center in Worcester. Prior to going to the show, I was excited to see such a legendary band, but after experiencing that concert I have so much respect for those guys.

They rocked it...big time. All of the band members are 60+ years old and they tore it up like they were in their 20s. It was really impressive and tons of fun.

They played a handful of tracks off their new album, but I was thankful that they played virtually every other Eagles song that I had ever heard (except Already Gone) and some that I had actually forgotten were Eagles/Joe Walsh songs.

Those of you who know me well, know I have a love affair with music. So, it was only fitting for me to see such an unforgettable concert with my dad, since he is the one who passed along this passion I have for music.

He was in his glory and it was really a perfect night on all accounts.

Thanks so much for taking me to the show dad. Definitely a memorable way to celebrate Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kater turns 21

By K.J. Cardinal

Happy Birthday Kater! The best thing to ever happen to the Cardinal family turns 21 today.

Some may think this is a dramatic statement, but it is 100% true.

While Tiffany remembers the day when Mom and Dad told us that they were pregnant as being "so excited to get to have a little baby to help take care of", I was pissed. I didn't want a little sister or brother. I was the baby of the family and that's how I wanted to keep it. I was only six years old at the time, so that should help paint the picture of my frame of mind.

It took some coaxing from Mom and Dad to convince me that having a little sister or brother would be great. I finally agreed, but naturally, I was pulling for a boy. Mom and Dad even agreed to let us pick the name of our new sibling. Tiffany picked "Katie" if it was a girl and I picked "Kevin" if it was a boy...again, I was only six, so cut me some slack on my name choice.

Being able to choose the name, definitely got me on the bandwagon that having a little "Kevin" running around would be cool. But, when I went to the hospital and saw the "It's a girl" sign, I was bummed again...that is until I saw Katie.

She was so little, so cute, so awesome. All I wanted to do was hold her...I was truly in heaven (see video below).

Katie's birth was a joyous occasion and she would soon turn into the savior of the Cardinal family in a lot of ways. Little did we know that within the year or so surrounding Katie's birth, we would lose my infant cousin Matthew and both of my grandmothers.

Going through a stretch like that is torturous on a family, especially a family as close as ours, but we always had Katie to cheer us up. I single-handedly give Katie 100% of the credit for keeping my Papa alive for the years following Mema's death. Katie gave Papa a reason to live. He may have lost the woman of his life, but he found a new love of his life in that he could share JuJu (Gingerale) and Fudgies (fudgeicles) with, so that kept him going.

As you can see, Katie really is the best thing to ever happen to our family. She helped us grieve during the worst stretch that our family has ever endured and she helped keep Papa's spirits high. We can never thank you enough for this Kater.

But, even though those feats are truly remarkable, that doesn't really tell the whole story on the person that Katie is today. I have yet to meet a more amazing woman than Katie. And, if you know the women that I surround myself with, then you know this is quite a statement.

I don't know of anyone that is more thoughtful and compassionate than Katie. Whether it's a friend being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, a sister with a back troubles or parents that need a hand at work, Katie is there for EVERYONE.

She has an infectious and contagious personality. When you're around her, you are completely wrapped up in her presence and she always leaves you wanting more time to hang out with Kater.

She is also very beautiful, hilarious and insanely smart. Katie's the total package and now that she can legally drink, the world better look out :)

I occasionally long for the days when I would climb into her playpen to play with her or when I would time her as she would run out to the warehouse to get me a soda, but now more often, I long for the times when I get to hang out with her.

Happy Birthday Kater! I'm so lucky to have you as a little sis and I can't wait to hit the bars with you's been a long time coming.

Finally, a video montage dedicated to the birthday girl. Enjoy!

The BIG 21

By Tiffany George

Today my sister turns 21 years old. It’s hard to believe that at 3:34am some 21 years ago she entered my life. I can remember being downstairs at Mema and Papa’s when Mom and Dad told us the news of Mom’s pregnancy. I was so excited to get to have a little baby to help take care of, but I never would have expected this “baby” to become my best friend.

I can remember so many days since Katie was born when I felt more like her mom than her sister. The pride that I felt when she received MVP in volleyball and basketball in her 8th grade year, when she marched down the aisle as Valedictorian, when she made the choice to go to the Tech since she could do it for free, the countless times that she gets flowers for friends and family for no occasion, just because she loves them. Likewise, I have been there for her heartache and stresses, when I wished so much that I could take the pain away for her. Her happiness is my happiness; her pain is my pain.

Though Katie and I are eight years apart, it rarely feels like more than 21 days. We have had so much fun over the years, from Halloween parties and Christmas Eves to belly cast making and cookie recipe jar packing. Sure, I am older, so I get to go through triumph, heartbreak, college, marriage, and baby making before her, but hopefully she is able to learn from my joys and sorrows along the way. And while she is younger, I have learned so much from her about perseverance, family, Keith Urban, strength, and the unending bond that unites us as sisters.

Thinking of a gift for Katie’s birthday has become increasingly more difficult over the years. It’s not so much that she has everything (though she probably does) it’s that I just want to get her the perfect gift to sum up everything that she is to me. Now that she’s an adult, she probably won’t be wowed by me taking the bus home from college and hiding in the back of the chip truck to surprise her on her birthday, nor will a dwarf rabbit (RIP) do the trick. And while I will give her a gift for her birthday this year, I feel the best gift that we will always give each other is our friendship.

I love you Sister.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Anna Potato Head

By K.J. Cardinal

Anna has found a new favorite food: mashed potatoes. Enjoy!

Friday, November 14, 2008

PackCasts in NJ

By K.J. Cardinal

I know you're all dying to watch a live PackCast, so today's your chance.

Norm and I are down in West Long Branch, N.J. for the 2008 Northeast Conference Men's Soccer Championship. We are broadcasting the two semifinals today, starting at 11 a.m., and you can watch them for free on, if you're so inclined.

Given the fact that it's currently raining and Adam is back in Boston for the America East men's soccer title game tomorrow at BU, today's games might not have as many of the bells and whistles that we usually tack onto these games, but it will still be great.

So, tune in anytime between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. if you're looking to kill a little time while at work. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Cardinal Vault XVIII: Vintage Vegas

By K.J. Cardinal

The Cardinal Vault makes it valiant return with this trip out West back in the summer of 2005.

The Cardinal and George families took Las Vegas by storm over the Fourth of July weekend and for some reason Tiffany, Pete, Matt, Angie, Katie and Donnie felt that it was necessary to bring some vintage clothes along to create quite the scene down in Old Vegas.

They all got dolled up and actually rented a limo to help take the spectacle to the next level.

You may be wondering where I am. Well, I was taking the photo for one. And two, I wasn't about to put on a three-piece suit in 100-degree Las Vegas weather.

My favorite part of this photo has to be Matt's eye patch. Not sure how that is "vintage", BUT it was freakin' hilarious. Also, this photo doesn't do justice to the shade of pink that Donnie's pants were...those who were there know what I'm talking about.

Also interesting to note that this was just a few hours before I drank this huge football mug full of SoCo and Coke and lost about $300 at the craps table in 5 minutes.

July 3, 2005 was memorable for many reasons...thank god "Vintage Vegas" is the event that we have visual evidence of and not my hammered miscue on the felt. However, I was rather embarrassed by both.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Daycare update

By K.J. Cardinal

Just to follow up on Anna's first experience at day care, when I picked her up yesterday she was very happy to see me, but also seemed like she had a good time.

According to Miss Megan and Miss Lindsay, Anna was a good girl and the only thing that seemed to bother her all day long was the sand box.

Apparently when the kids went outside to play, Anna wanted nothing to do with the sand. I was a little surprised because it just seemed like something she'd like. But then again, she's never been exposed to a sand box, so it's understandable. The closests she's ever come to a sand box is trying to eat the sand in the horseshoe pits outside.

What was funny about the whole day though, was when I brought Anna home she was completely wiped out. She had a cup of milk and took a TWO HOUR NAP! For Anna, this is unheardof.

Plus, when she woke up she was still tired. And then she went to bed early. Unbelievable.

Anyway, I'm glad that things went well and that Anna was rather unfazed by it all, but I am definitely glad to have Anna home with me today too!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Anna goes to daycare

By K.J. Cardinal

Sure today is a big day for McCain and Obama, but I think it's a much bigger day for Anna, Daddy and Pack Network. Today is Anna's first day at daycare.

With a busy upcoming few weeks for me with traveling to conference championships all over New England, Angie and I felt no time was better than now to give daycare a shot for Anna.

This week Anna is only going half days to get into the swing of things, but our thought is that every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, Anna will be going to daycare. We are taking her to a place that is literally less than a mile down the street called Curious Kids and they give Intel employees a 10% discount, so it's very convenient and somewhat affordable...I know, you've never heard daycare and affordable in the same sentence before.

Anyway, Anna was a sleepy head this morning, so I had to wake her up at 8:15 to get her to the daycare for 8:30. Giving myself only a 15-minute window goes to show you how close the place is.

I got her changed and out the door we went. Anna was her usual easy-going self. I dropped her off and tried not to make a big deal about it so she wouldn't fuss or cry once I left.

She definitely didn't fuss and cry, as the second I set her down she went motoring over to a little girl and started playing with her blocks. In a matter of seconds, I was out of her life :(

It didn't seem like a big deal for Anna, but it is a big deal for me. I definitely want to stay home with her everyday, but work calls and it's really what we need to do so I can devote more time toward Pack Network, which will only benefit our family and Anna more in the long run.

We feel very fortunate as a family that Anna was able to spend her first 395 days on this planet being looked after by a parent, so I guess we can't complain. But I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me sad to know that my little girl is at daycare and growing up soooo much faster than I want.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Anna and Rocky

By K.J. Cardinal

Yesterday we ventured down the Pike to Ludlow for lunch with the Malaquias clan and Anna made a new friend.

Rocky, Tia (Aunt) Lisa's dog, and Anna quickly became best buds. I'm kind of surprised that at some point Rocky didn't nip at Anna or just flat out bite her because Anna was all over Rocky.

She would chase him around the house only to pull his ears or hair when she would catch him. He was super nice though and didn't mind Anna's antics at all.

At one point, Anna was actually crawling around on the kitchen floor and Rocky was chasing HER. It was too cute.

Also today marks Jimmy & Nezzie's (Angie's parents) 35th wedding anniversary and yesterday was Lisa & Ray's sixth anniversary. Happy Anniversary!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trick or treat for 2

By Tiffany George

Halloween was a lot of fun for the George kids this year. We started to get in the Halloween spirit on Wednesday night as Andrew and I used this kit to decorate a Halloween haunted house. He covered this thing with orange and black frosting and then placed all of the little pieces of candy into the frosting. It was so cute. While he did end up ingesting a good amount of the frosting, I'm happy to say that he does not yet recognize candy corn or little sugary skulls as something edible, so I was able to limit the sugar intake somewhat :o) As the haunted house was nearing completion, Andrew handed over the frosting bag to me to finish. I thought he was getting tired, but then I realized that he just wanted me to put the frosting on the house so that he could run his precious little fingers through it to lick it off. Daddy was proud.

Looks like Andrew making his "huh" face!
Thursday was trick or treat night in Rochester, and we started that day off with a bang as well. Katie helped me throw a Halloween party for Andrew and his friends. We had a blast and the kids were wonderful. I wasn't sure how responsive a group of two year olds would be to our planned activities, but they were happy to cooperate. We did everything from painting pumpkins to decorating trick or treat buckets. We tried to play a nice game of "eat a donut off a string" but they had absolutely no idea why we would choose to hang their food from strings attached to our broom stick! They enjoyed the other food that we made, some of which included fingers (string cheese with a pepper fingernail), witches brooms (pretzel stick with fringed fruit by the foot), and witches blood (green peppermint milk). Thanks for all of your help Aunt Kate!

After the party ended and naps were taken, we got ready to go trick or treating. Andrew was much more into the candy aspect of the event this year. And though it was probably about 30 degrees out, we trick or treated ourselves all the way down to the end of Dodge Street and back. At each house Andrew said "tick teat", then "thank you", and also "happy hallween". I think he would have honestly gone to every neighborhood in Rochester had we let him!

Natalie was happy just to be outside, even if it was a bit chilly. She was the cutest lady bug we've ever seen!

We had a nice full house as usual for trick or treating this year. Meme, Papa, Grammy, Aunt Kate, and Aunt Suzanne all turned out for some good old fashioned KFC and Halloween cheer! Thanks for coming guys!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A yabba dabba doo time

By K.J. Cardinal

Readers of The Cardinal Blog had their voices heard and Anna was Pebbles Flintstone for Halloween 2008. What a great choice by the masses as we had a yabba dabba doo time going on Anna's first trick-or-treat escapade.

We only hit up a handful of the houses in our neighborhood, but Anna seemed to enjoy seeing other kids and new faces. Scott actually came over to partake in the shenanigans too...he couldn't resist seeing Anna in action.

The highlight of the night for me actually came after we went trick-or-treating when we were back at our house. When trick-or-treaters would come to the door, no matter where Anna was in the house, she'd come running to see the kids. We'd hand out the candy and then have to pry Anna away from the door as the kids would walk away.

Anna would then say "Bye, Bye" (her newest trick, which is just too cute) and look out the small windows next to our front door. It was rather priceless.

Also, just for record sake, the final tally of the votes for Anna's Halloween costume were 22 for Pebbles Flintstone, 4 for a piece of candy corn and 2 for a Super Why character. I don't want to claim that I'm a genius or anything, but last year I wanted Anna to be a chili pepper and the people voted her a chili pepper (5-4)...this year I wanted her to be Pebbles and she was Pebbles (22-4-2)...if only you knew who was getting my vote in the upcoming election.