Sunday, January 25, 2009

Celtics, Man-hugs and a Tommy Point

By K.J. Cardinal

Boston 124, Dallas 100. That's what the scoreboard read at the end of the game, which might indicate a boring NBA blowout, but for us it was much, much more.

I have experienced many memorable moments in the FleetCenter/TD BankNorth Garden, but only one (watching the Celts win the title) ranks higher than today. Keep in mind that up until last season I had never missed a playoff game in the building and that I was at such games as The Comeback, Pierce vs. Lebron, Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals, many buzzer-beating game-winners and countless Walker Wiggles.

Anyway, this afternoon's game was expected to be a big occasion for us because it was Anna's first C's game and it also marked the return of Jose Juan Barea to Boston.

For those of you who don't know, JJB was the star point guard for Northeastern from 2002-06. I watched every game of his for the first two years of his college career, which included a trip to his home country of Puerto Rico for the San Juan Shootout...I actually had team dinner at his parents' house. So needless to say, I was psyched to get a chance to see him live, in-person and in an NBA uniform.

We got into the Garden a little later than we planned, so we were unable to see Jose during the early shoot around. But, when the team came out for their warm-ups right before the start of the game, I couldn't resist going down to see if I could get JJB's attention.

So, I sweet-talked my way past an usher and was standing right behind the courtside seats opposite of the Dallas bench. Jose was in the lay-up line and I called out his name in hopes of getting his attention.

One quick "Jose!" and he looked right over...did a double take and then came over. We embraced with a man-hug and chatted for a few seconds before he resumed his pregame ritual of stretching and whatnot.

I must confess that at that moment, I was giddy as a school girl. It was so thrilling to see someone that I know (and more importantly, that KNOWS ME) in an NBA uniform and to get a man-hug was the icing on the cake. I really felt like it was some sort of amazing culmination of all the blood, sweat and tears that I put into the NU men's basketball team during my three years of working and traveling with that team...a very rewarding and exciting moment...something I will NEVER forget.

I was on absolute cloud nine.

So, I returned to my seat right before the start of the game. I really wanted to see Anna's reaction to the C's starting line-up since they turn down the lights and have loud music with pyrotechnics. She was really into you can see...and so was Ang :)

Our seats, which were great (thanks Moody!), were in the second row on the corner behind the Celtics bench...right by the tunnel where the C's walks out. They now have press row seating in that area.

I was sitting on the aisle and one row behind me, sitting in the two end seats in the section next to us, was none other than Tommy Heinsohn and Mike Gorman...the game was on ABC, so they weren't calling it for CSN.

I didn't make a big deal and didn't want to bother them or anything, so we all just played it cool. A few minutes into the game, I could sense that Tommy was paying attention to Anna, who was sitting on my lap. I actually heard him say to Gorman, "Look at this little girl in the green headband."

I thought this was hilarious, but again played it cool. At some point late in the first quarter, my buddy Jamie (who was sitting directly behind me) said, "Heinsohn is smiling and waving at Anna."

Again, this was cool, but we didn't make a big deal. Then, about halfway through the second quarter, Moody called me. Moody was sitting about six seats down from me in the same row. He said, "Tommy's all over Anna. You've gotta get a photo of her with him."

I agreed.

At the half, I went over to him with Anna and asked him, "Tommy, any chance I could get a photo of you with my daughter?"

Tommy replied, "Of course. I never turn down a photo with a pretty lady."

I was holding Anna, Angie had the camera and I didn't know exactly how the photo-op would unfold. But, I didn't have to figure it out because Tommy just snatched Anna from me and held her right up against him.

Anna was looking to the side at me. I was pointing at the camera and then Tommy pointed at the camera too. As you can see, Ang got an award-winning shot and Anna LITERALLY got a Tommy Point. Heinsohn was so you can see.

I feel like I've had my fair-share of brushes with sports-related celebrities, but no one has ever seemed more genuine than Tommy Heinsohn. He wasn't trying to act big time or annoyed by another fan coming up to him. Instead, he was so into Anna and just very sincere. If you had no clue who Tommy was and just saw this photo, you'd think that it's a grandfather with his granddaughter at a Celtics game. Just a very REAL moment.

It was so refreshing to see someone of Heinsohn's stature - an eight-time NBA champ, a six-time NBA All-Star, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year and Hall of Famer - act like a normal person. I thanked him for his time and for being so cool and got a hand-shake. It was great.

At the end of the game, we waited for some of the traffic to clear out. Being a stat-geek, I was leaning over on the press row table across the aisle from my seat to check out Jose's numbers for the game (15 minutes, 8 points, 3 assists).

While I was doing this, a stat-runner came over to me and gave me an official boxscore. I didn't even ask for it, he just handed it to me. I've been a stat-runner on many occasions for many different sports at the college and pro levels and NEVER have I given a random fan a boxscore. It's almost a no-no.

Anyway, I'm sure that this boxscore means more to me than it ever will to Anna, given my history of stat-keeping and overall dorkiness. But, we have an official boxscore from Anna's first Celtics game. How sweet is that?!

When you couple the boxscore with my man-hug from JJB and Anna's photo with Tommy, it was such an amazing day.

My dad got me into so many amazing scenarios at Celtics games as a kid (holding me up to get Red's autograph, taking me down to the floor before games to get autographs, acting silly to get on the jumbotron, etc.) and today it just seemed like I had come full circle as I was the one that was giving my child the experience of a lifetime.

I know Anna's too young to grasp what sports means, but if she doesn't end up bleeding green like me and my dad, then I'd be shocked.

A sick week

By K.J. Cardinal

Well, it's been a sick week in the Cardinal house, thus the lack of posts to the blog (sorry Meme).

Last Sunday, Anna came down with the flu of sorts, I had flu symptoms for a few days and now a very sore throat. And, the kicker of it all came on Thursday when we brought Anna to the doctors to learn that she also had double ear infections.

So, Anna's on the first prescription drug of her life (amoxicillin), which is actually pretty impressive, according to the doctor, since Anna's almost 16 months old.

I'd be lying if I didn't say it was the most difficult week thus far for taking care of Anna. With her sick, she obviously couldn't go to daycare and where I was sick with several work deadlines looming, it made for a rough week all around.

One good thing that happened on the week was that Anna became much more comfortable with her couch that we bought her first Christmas (above). As you can see, she actually fell asleep on it one day.

Anyway, Anna's meds are working rather nicely...her nose is still running uncontrollably and she coughs a lot. And, I am starting to feel better too (my throat is still bugging me).

The timing of us feeling better is impeccable as today we take Anna to her first Celtics game! It's a BIG, BIG day because not only are we going to the Celts, but because the Celtics are playing the Dallas Mavericks and Jose Juan Barea.

JJB was the stud on Northeastern while I was men's basketball SID back in college. I'm hoping to get in the Garden early enough before the game that we can go down to say hi and possibly get a photo op.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Natalie, 9 months and a day!

By Tiffany George

Andrew has always been a cautious little boy, walking only when he was sure that he could do it, avoiding grass, being terrified of slipping in the tubby. This is what we have been used to for the past two years. Now insert Commando Natalie. Our little cupcake is as fearless as they come. She’ll grab a toy and pull it off the shelf with conviction, climb up onto the bean bag mountain with no worries about what may greet her on the other side, and let go while standing, no matter what she may tumble upon when she hits the ground. Natalie had two major injuries this week, but seems unfazed by them both. The first incident drew blood from her mouth when she saddled up to Andrew’s train table, then let go and took a header into the open drawer…OUCH. A few kisses and some chomping on a frozen yogurt in its wrapper did the trick. Two days later, she crawled over to Andrew’s dump truck, tried to stand by putting her weight on the dumper, and BAM…got clocked with the dumper right below her right eye. She has a mini black eye beneath that eye, but is still just as beautiful.

Aside from terrifying her mother with her free-spiritedness, Natalie has also accomplished many other milestones. She bangs on command, be it her tray or the toy box, and she can bang two toys together too. She has perfected the kung-foo swipe of the spoon when we try to feed her, always resulting in a heaping helping of baby food blown across her high chair. Now that she is learning to feed herself (puffs, banana, pear, watermelon, peas, carrots) she has a one-track mind. She knows that she can do it herself and that’s the way she wants it! I am so proud of these new tricks that she can do, but it is still sad to see the baby days passing by so quickly.

My favorite thing that she does is “reach, reach, reach”. She holds onto the finger of one hand with her other hand and puts her hands way up high above her head, on command. It is so cute. She loves it when we do it with her, and if everyone else at the table is doing it, she’ll look at you to say “come on, what’s your problem, hands up!” I guess we haven't caught the full reach on camera, but here is a shot of her getting into the reaching position...and get a load of those nice big new chompers on top!

She also loves it when Daddy does this little game with her, whereby he says “1,2,3” and then tosses her wet cloth on top of her head after she has been cleaned up in her high chair. She’ll just sit there, giggling away while the cloth remains on the top of her head. She leaves it there for a while before removing it, sometimes even when she can’t see! We can tell she is smiling by her cute little cheeks popping out of the sides!

She can easily pull herself up to standing, and is cruising along objects that she can find. Since we don’t have couches yet and I keep forgetting to get the walker from Meme & Papa’s house, she has gotten creative on her own. The other day she walked Andrew’s step stool from the bathroom, all the way across the kitchen and over to the peninsula, which served as her road block. She also loves to crawl over to the kitchen table and stand up underneath it. She is so darn cute when she does it, but she’ll learn that standing up under tables is not the best idea!

She also babbles a lot and has been making some mamamamama sounds of late. She makes ba sounds (which we tell Andrew is her trying to say brother) and ga sounds, and other nondescript cooing as well.

Natalie also loves gentle rubies on her cheekies. As you may recall, Andrew loves “tick ticks” from Meme and Papa on his arms and Natalie’s version of this is gentle strokes of her face. She nearly goes into a trance when we do it. I managed to snap this shot with one hand while stroking her cheek with the other.

The apple of her eye is still her brother, as he could probably attack her with a hot pot and she’d still smile at him. She constantly wants to get his attention, and is so happy just to have him look at her. He is very gentle with her 99% of the time, and for that other 1%, let’s just say I’m happy she’s learning to be able to defend herself :o)

Her favorite game is to play “gimme that”, whereby she holds onto an object such as a cloth, and we tug it away, saying “gimme that, gimme that”. She also loves to sip her drink and shoot it out of her mouth across her high chair tray, earning her the title of “watering can” or “sprinker” of our house. She also loves to nail her cup to send it off her tray so that Mommy has to quickly snag it, yelling “defense”.

Natalie had her first taste of the winter’s cold on Sunday when we went outside in the snow. I sat her down along a pathway that Pete had snow blown and she just sat there like the stay puffed marshmallow man! Her expression changed very little when she went for a cruise in the sled. I don’t think she really knew what to make of it, but she was content.

She has learned to dance as well, the head-bobbing, rocking back and forth kind of dance. She loves to dance whenever she hears music, or when Mommy sings. Andrew is constantly asking me to sing, so she gets a chance to dance a lot. Her favorite song is probably If You’re Happy and You Know It and she can clap her hands along with the songs now too! God knows I’m clapping too, because I’m the happiest Momma on Earth!

And here are a few Christmas photos that I just had to share. I know the season is a bit past, but they are just too sweet!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

More Christmas videos

By K.J. Cardinal

Neither of these two Christmas videos are too earth-shattering, but they'll give you a feel for how great our holiday was because it's filled with so many kids having so much fun. Enjoy!

Monday, January 12, 2009

"Cop cop" with Aunt Kate

By K.J. Cardinal

I figured there isn't a better way to get the week underway, then with this clip of Anna and Aunt Kate sharing a cup of "cop cop" (AKA popcorn). Enjoy!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I survived Oahu, barely

By K.J. Cardinal

I obviously made it back safely from my recent trip to Oahu, but it's taken me about four days to recover...and I'm not sure I'm 100% yet.

This post has been a daunting task for me since I got back on Monday night because I'm not sure where to begin and I'm confident that I could easily write 10,000 words on my trip. It was amazing. So, bear with me on this long post.

Anyway, my flight left Logan Airport for Honolulu on Saturday, December 27 at 11:20 a.m. (EST). After stopping in San Fran, I arrived in Hawaii at 8:04 p.m. (HST).

I originally planned on hanging out at the airport for an hour until my friends Mike & Jamie arrived so we could split a cab ride to Turtle Bay. But, Mike & Jamie's connecting flight out of Atlanta got delayed over two hours, so I didn't want to sit in the airport for three hours, while paradise awaited me.

So, I headed out the cab stand and asked the dispatch how much for a cab ride to Turtle Bay. The dispatcher told me it would be about $85-90. This was obviously pretty steep and come to find out WAAAAYYY off.

The hour-long cab ride was definitely an eventful one. First off, I updated both blogs. Then, I pulled up a Google map to make sure that this cabbie wasn't stiffing me. Come to find out, there are only a handful of roads that go to the North Shore, so the cabbie didn't really have many options anyway.

About 40 minutes into the cab ride, with the meter already at $80, the cabbie and I had the following exchange:
CABBIE: "Excuse me sir. Can I ask you a question?"
ME: "Of course."
CABBIE: "Would it be OK if I stop to get gas?"
ME: "What if I say 'No'?"
CABBIE: "Well, I have no bars left?"
ME: "Do what you have to do, but stop the meter so I don't have to pay for that too."
CABBIE: "OK. I can't stop the meter, but I will give you a discount."
ME: "Fair enough."

After that fun exchange, we proceeded to stop for gas and then continue on our way.

When the cab finally came to a stop, the meter had topped off at $131.10. The cabbie gave me a $5 discount, so I gave him $130 for his troubles.

Having spent the past 10 years living in and around Boston and traveling all over the country for work with Northeastern and America East, I have taken my fair share of cab rides, but never once has the meter hit $80... nevermind $130. I was so astounded that I had to take a photo, which completely, and understandably, puzzled the cabbie.

I quickly forgot about the monstrous cab fare when I saw Murph and he showed me the place that we'd be staying at. The photo at left is of the bunk beds that I shared with Tyler (I got dibs on BOTTOM!).

These bunks don't look too appealing, but the whole place was awesome. It had three bedrooms, two and half bathrooms, a full kitchen with bar set-up, a flat-screen TV, lots of island feel to it and most importantly, wireless internet.

Ty and I came to call our bedroom the "batcave" because there weren't any windows and it had an in-the-wall AC unit that we cranked all week. It was such an ideal sleeping spot, which is good because we'd only get a handful of hours each day, so we needed those hours to pristine sleeping.

Instead of taking you on a day-by-day recap of the trip (if you want to read that, it's on, I'll just give you the highlights.

My favorite thing that we did while there, other than just hanging out and our general debauchery, was go to Hanauma Bay. This place is truly amazing and even though it was packed with tourists like us, it was still one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

It was a great day and we took advantage of the weather by snorkeling all afternoon. I was psyched because I got to use the new underwater housing for my HD camcorder. I haven't had the time to take the footage off the camcorder yet, but when I do I'll post some here because it was pretty cool.

The first time that I ever snorkeled was a few years ago when Angie, Sammy and I went on a cruise and it is something that I could definitely get addicted to. It's so relaxing and great to feel like you're one with nature, but it's also an adrenaline rush because it frightens you a little when a fish comes out of no where and swims right by you.

Another cool place that we went to was Sunset Beach. The skies never completely cleared up when we went there, but the photo at left is still amazing. Sunset Beach was only about a 10-minute drive from where we were staying, so we ended up stopping there probably four or five times.

On New Year's Eve day, we decided to take the boogie boards out for a spin that were in the rental house. What a TERRIBLE idea this was.

It was an angry, angry sea and it was a very dangerous scene. There were waves that were over 20 feet. We only got out about a hundred feet or so from the shore and we all struggled to get back in.

At one point, Mike collided with Mellen, then I collided with Mellen and then Mellen collided with a rock. Mellen tore up his right thigh pretty badly... two cuts and a deep bruise. We were all lucky to get out alive...seriously.

After I collided with Mellen, it took me a wave or two to put myself back together. When I finally did, I looked to the shore to see a man frantically pointing with both hands for me to get right... he looked like an airtraffic controller on speed.

Based on his urgent reaction, I knew that I was pretty much right on top of the big lava rock thing that Murph and I got our honeymoon photo taken on earlier in the week. I looked down and I could literally touch that rock with my right hand.

I was rather freaked out and thankfully there was a small window without any waves that allowed me time to paddle like a mad man to get off of that rock.

The rest of the crew had exited the water from our entry point and they were a little freaked when they gathered themselves and did a headcount to find that they were a man down. Then, a few seconds later they saw me come strolling down the beach WAAAAYYY down with my boogie board under my arm.

Once we were able to get our heads back on straight, we all confessed how scared we were. Moral of the story: Definitely don't attempt anything like that if you ever visit the North Shore of Oahu in December during high tide.

New Year's Eve itself was an unforgettable occasion. Scott rented an 18-passenger stretch Escalade for the 11 of us to take down to Waikiki. We booked reservations at Duke's, right on Waikiki Beach.

The dinner itself was awesome. A four-course meal with PLENTY of drinks. At 11:45, we ordered one last drink in "to-go" cups and paid our bill so we could walk outside to get a better spot to view the fireworks.

The fireworks were great and the whole event was pretty much surreal for me. I was standing there in Hawaii, about 70 degrees out, wearing sandals and drinking a SoCo and Coke... on New Year's Eve?!?! It was really amazing and something that I'll never forget.

After the fireworks, it was game on!

We headed over to a local watering hole, called Lava Rock Lounge, and we kicked off the new year in classic fashion. The people watching at this place was like no other and we had a blast.

On our last full day on the North Shore, we decided to take a nice walk/hike out on Ka'ena Point. We went about halfway out on the 3 mile hike and scenery was amazing.

At this point there were only six of us remaining (see left) as the trip was winding down. I wish we would've kept going the entire three miles because the beach from the plane crash scene in Lost was out there, but not everyone was so eager to walk three miles out, only to walk three miles back, so we opted to head back.

While we were visiting a beach right near Rabbit Island, there was a wedding taking place. It was such a picturesque moment and even though some people think it's cliche to get married in Hawaii, after seeing it in person I couldn't disagree more.

Anyway, immediately after the ceremony, while the bridal party was exiting, I snapped the below photo.

These kids and their dad were part of the wedding, but apparently the kids "had to go." Insert pedophile jokes about me here, but I don't care it was so hilarious I had to get a pic.

So, that's basically my trip in a nutshell. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't missing Angie and Anna terribly while I was there though. Don't get me wrong, I had a blast, but I was definitely ready to get home to see the girls.

Angie and Anna came to pick me up at the airport and boy were they a sight for soar eyes. I had literally been traveling for 19 hours and to see the two of them was the best way to cap off a great trip.

Thanks so much for letting me take the trip, Ang. I'm not sure if I'd go away that long again without you and Anna, but it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and trip, so I'm glad I did it. Mahalo!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A quiet weekend

By K.J. Cardinal

After the chaos of the holiday season followed by a trip to Hawaii, I am glad to have a "quiet" weekend at home with just Anna and Angie.

This morning we went to the mall just so Anna could go on the carousel. I can honestly say that I never thought that I'd go to the mall JUST so my child could go on a ride in the food court. Weird, huh?

In our defense though, the mall is only about 10 minutes from our house and the carousel is a legit carousel. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, Anna loves it, so it's all worth it. The photo below is great of Anna and rather comical of Angie. The carousel would go round and round and Anna would point to me. The best photo of Anna just happened to have a pole right in the middle of Angie's face. Oops :)

Not too much else planned this weekend. Just hanging out with my girls, watching NFL playoffs and making games live for Pack Network. A quiet weekend is just what the doctor ordered for me... I'm still tired from my bender, I mean vacation, in Hawaii.

Friday, January 9, 2009

15 months and going strong

By K.J. Cardinal

Anna had her 15-month check-up at the doctor's today and our little girl is doing just great.

Tipping the scales at 23 pounds and 3 ounces, Anna is in the 50th percentile for weight, but she is in the 90th percentile for height (I can't remember her exact length). With Angie and I as her parents, I guess it's not too shocking that it appears as if Anna's going to be a tall kid.

The doctor was impressed with Anna's vocabulary and said that overall she looks "great."

Our only real concern with Anna so far is probably that she's a little spoiled. With three of us (Angie, Sammy and I) giving Anna so much attention each day, it's hard not to spoil her, especially since she's such a good girl.

We have seen her Portuguese :) temper come out of late too as she has little fits if she doesn't get her way. We are making a concerted effort of breaking her of this habit, but it's even harder than not spoiling her in the first place.

I know this is typical for a kid her age, so it's nothing abnormal or something we should be worried about, but it's just reality.

For those of you who haven't seen Anna in a few months, you really won't believe the growth, physically, mentally and socially, that has taken place over the past four months or so. Anna is like a sponge right now picking up on new things everyday. Plus, she's quite the ham, so she's constantly cracking us up.

I just can't believe she's already 15-months-old. Yikes!

12 Days of Christmas

By K.J. Cardinal

Those of you that have been around my family over the holidays have probably witnessed and maybe even partaken in the Cardinal version of "The 12 Days of Christmas."

Sometimes my dad is playing it on his guitar, while others sing and dance along. Often times, people pick a partner and draw a specific number out of a hat.

For instance, one year my dad and his buddy Freeman were "Two Turtle Doves". Every time that portion of the song comes up, they'd step into the circle and sing their part with alternate lyrics, while acting it out. I don't remember all of them, but I know they did "Two Neckers Necking". Just imagine two 50+ men with large beards necking...very sexy, especially when one of them is your father.

Anyway, in the video below, the Cardinal women put on quite the show with their traditional song and dance rendition. Keep in mind that this is the final verse... they did this for the first 11 verses as well. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Cardinal Christmas

By K.J. Cardinal

Christmas for this Cardinal family was once again filled with lots of travel and lots of fun.

We continued the annual tradition of celebrating the holiday on Christmas Eve in Ludlow and Christmas day in New Hampshire. We again mixed in a stop at our house in Hudson to sleep here on Christmas Eve so Anna could wake up in her own house on Christmas morning to open presents here.

In Ludlow we planned to open gifts at 9 p.m., but things got pushed back a ways and by the time we got around to opening presents Anna was already sleeping on my lap on the couch. So, we woke her up to open up her presents, but unfortunately she was so groggy that she wasn't really into it.

The first (and only) gift that she opened in Ludlow was a baby Cabbage Patch Doll. As you can see above, she thoroughly enjoyed it, but she was gassed after just one gift and proceeded to sleep on my lap the rest of the night.

On Christmas morning, Sammy woke Anna up and carried her down stairs where Angie and I were waiting. Anna saw her rocking horse (AKA "rock, rock") and was psyched. We had a hard time holding off in buying Anna her "rock rock" for Christmas because every time we'd see one in the store she'd go nuts for it.

Anna also opened the remaining gifts from Ludlow on Christmas morning as she was now much more alert. Angie's Aunt Fatima got Anna this hilarious little outfit. We all liked it so much, that we decided to bring her up to NH in her new get up. Mink coat on Christmas? 'Nuff said.

The ride to NH was pretty uneventful and it actually saved us a few minutes since we were going to Tiff & Pete's new house in Northwood as opposed to Mom & Dad's up in Farmington. Tiff & Pete's new house is so great and VERY spacious, so we had lots of room to spread out and watch the kiddies open their gifts and whatnot.

Anna was more interested in playing with Andrew's everyday toys that were in the playroom and livingroom than opening presents. No one really seemed to notice or care that Anna wasn't opening gifts because we were all too busy watching Andrew be hilarious and Nat Nat have at the wrapping paper, bows and boxes.

Eventually Anna got around to opening her gifts and she got some really great stuff. My favorite photo of Anna from the day is the one at right. Anna opened up this cute hat from Gail (I'm assuming handmade?) then I put it on her and she felt the need to lay down on the tissue paper with it. I'm not sure if she liked the way it felt on her head or what, but it was pretty funny. Thanks Gail!

After eating the annual Christmas Day feast of Beef Whellington, we headed to Farmington for the night and to get ready for the Cardinal-Denton brunch the next day.

We usually have separate parties for my mom's side of the family and my dad's side of the family, but nothing really got planned by either side, so my mom stepped up and invited the entire crew over for one big brunch on Dec. 26.

At first I thought it was going to be pretty hectic with that many people, but quite a few folks couldn't make it because they had to work, so it wasn't too bad.

Unfortunately my cousin Billy and his family (Kathy, Samantha, Ethan and Kaeleigh) couldn't make it because Sam is in the hospital fighting off this nasty infection in her leg. This was a MAJOR bummer for me. Not only because Sam has been having quite the battle with this infection, but also because my cousin Billy is one of my favorite people in the world. Plus, I missed my annual photo with Ethan, which has turned into a pretty cool ritual... he's such a good kid.

Despite missing Billy's family, we still had a great time... as Katie mentioned in her previous post. It was great to see both sides of the family together and it was awesome to see that my grandfather was doing well. His body may be failing on him with Parkinsons, but his mind and sense of humor are still right on point. He always amazes me by remembering stories I've told him about Pack Network and whatnot and we got a chance to chat about that stuff for a while... I think my inner dork comes from him :)

So as you can see, Christmas was action packed over the span of just three days. We really had to squeeze everything in this year because I left for Hawaii on the 27th. I had a blast in Hawaii, but Christmas is my favorite time of the year because I get to hang out with family. Thanks Mom for setting it up so I could get to see everyone AND go to Hawaii. What a treat!

The year in photos: 2008

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

He's baaaaaaaaaaack

By Katie Cardinal

Howdy Ya'll. Long time no talk...

I figured I'd write a quick post to update ya'll on the Cardinal Family ongoings...

As you know we were all on our Holiday Break for the past few weeks, and boy wasn't it great!!! We got to spend some time with the people we love the most and actually got to RELAX for once in our lives. We had a FANTASTIC Christmas at Tiffany and Pete's this year. Andrew was absolutely adorable opening presents, as he knew all the yellow ones were his and consistently said, "Santa got this" after EVERY present he got from the big 'ol jolly guy. By late morning of Christmas day we had the ENTIRE Cardinal Clan together - Mom, Dad, Tiffany, Pete, Andrew, Natalie, KJ, Angie, Anna, and myself. Unfortunately Sammy wasn't able to make it this year...but hopefully next year!

I'm not sure how many of you know, but I got a Wii this year for Christmas!!! Though I can't seem to beat Mom at Bowling, or Mike Gilmore at boxing, it is so much fun to play. KJ and Angie got me the Guitar Hero game to go with it so I can rock out :) ... I only wish they had a country version so I'd know all the songs!

Anywho...we had our Family Christmas party last Friday at our house. We ended up having BOTH families together for the party, which made it really fun. We did the usual Yankee Swap and Vicky and I had a FANTASTIC spitting marshmallow fight!

On Sunday we had a surprise 30th birthday party for Tiffany!!! With how smart she is I cannot believe we actually pulled a SURPRISE party off for her. Fortunately she is quite the shopper when it comes to the 90% off Christmas stuff at Target, so it was no pressure setting up the house while she was out shopping 'til she dropped. It was so cute seeing her face come in the door like "OH MY LORD HOW'D YOU PULL THIS OFF?" It was fun just to have our close family and her very close friends together to celebrate the one person who, lets be honest, keeps us all together. There's no doubt that Tiffany is the best sister anyone could EVER have, and it was great just to see her so happy on her birthday. She's been my inspiration, my joy, and my heart since I was born..and I just love her with all of my heart!

Last night we had dinner with all of the help from Coe Brown. We ate at the Granite Steak and Grill and boy was it DELICIOUS!!!! It was great to spend a little time with all the help before we had to get back into the swing of things, but none the less, school has started back up. UNH doesn't start back up until the 20th, so at least I still have 2 weeks to enjoy myself!

And finally, probably the most exciting news in my life right now... HEEEEE'SSS BAAAAACCCKKKKK. That's right, last night after arriving home from the movies (I saw Benjamin Buttons and it was AMAZING!) I went onto to find that they posted the cities he will be playing when he goes back on tour in May. Needless to say there are LOTS that I'm interested in going to...including BOSTON, Uncasville, CT, NYC, Albany, Rochester, NY, Hershey, PA, and many many more. If ANYONE is interested in going to the best concert they'll ever see in their entire life, please let me know. I'm not going to lie...I'm not going to go to a concert unless I have floor they're a little pricey, but it'll be the best money ever spent!!!

I love you all...I can't wait to hear about KJ's trip from Hawaii when he gets back :)