Wednesday, June 30, 2010

White knuckles

By K.J. Cardinal

As was the case with Anna, Angie is breastfeeding Leo... which is actually great news for me. Not just because I don't have to say a word to get my wife to take her top off, but because I get to be involved in the process too.

I get to feed Leo some colostrum through a syringe. In order to do this, he sucks on my pinkie finger and then I sneak the syringe into the corner of his mouth and deposit some liquid gold.

Anyway, I thought it was about the coolest thing to do with Anna and it's equally as amazing with Leo.

This pic is just so great. Leo is obviously adorable, but I particularly love how he's white-knuckling on my finger. He's got the death grip on me... and I love it.

Bath pro

By K.J. Cardinal

Leo was such a pro on Monday night when they gave him a bath that a nurse asked Leo to be the star of the baby bathing demonstration that they did in the nursery this morning.

Six sets of parents and seven nursing students were on hand to witness Leo, as Anna would say, "take a tubby." He did great.

All the nurses were smitten with the little dude and like I mentioned before, he's already a chick magnet. Once he's able to travel, I might have to start a rental service for all my single guy friends because if Leo doesn't attract the ladies for you, then you truly have no hope.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I think we'll keep him

By K.J. Cardinal

After just over 24 hours of Leo, we've decided that we'll keep the little guy. I mean, he's just too damn cute and I have too much footage of him at this point to just give him up. See Exhibit A...

Anyway, day two of Leo's life was filled with lots of introductions to new family members, which was fabulous, but the highlight of the day for me was being able to see Andrew and Natalie meet their new cousin Leo.

I just can't begin to express the overwhelming joy that Andrew and Natalie were filled with when they met Leo. It was impossible not to get wrapped up in the moment.

Here's a video that has a few clips from the exchange, but I was really just living in the moment and not capturing it all because it was just too meaningful to miss behind the lens of a camera for me. So, while this clip is absolutely beautiful, trust me when I say that it doesn't even begin to do the whole scenario justice.


I think Angie put the whole scene into perspective best at the end of it all when she said, "my cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing so much." It was so great... I wish Meme and Papa were still here to witness their grandkids in action, but I know that they'll get a full week of the Leo Lovefest when we go on our family vacation at the end of July.

A few house-cleaning things to note. We will be in the hospital until Thursday. We originally thought we'd be leaving on Wednesday, but where Leo was born after 8 p.m. on Monday night, they'll keep us that extra night.

We plan to be around all weekend in Hudson just enjoying our new bundle of joy. So, if you're dying to see the little guy and aren't able to make it to the hospital this week, then shoot me an email and let me know when you plan on coming by. If you want to come by the hospital tomorrow, visiting hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Lastly, they just took Leo to get circumcised and I have this knot in my stomach. I know it's a rite of passage of sorts, but it's gotta make every man cringe just a little.


By K.J. Cardinal

Leo is just over 12 hours old and he's just chillin'.


Leo Michael Cardinal

By K.J. Cardinal

Wow. Now that was awesome. After a day of playing the waiting game, Angie got the pitocin, broke her water, got the epidural and out came Leo. It all happened so fast. It was amazing. I even cut the cord this time!

Anyway, I'm wiped out right now, so I'll keep this post short and to the point...
Leo Michael Cardinal
Born: 9:13 p.m.
Weight: 8 pounds, 10 ounces (originally got recorded as 9 ounces, but was officially 10)
Length: 21 inches

Such a little dude. The kid's a chick magnet already. I mean, seriously. I had to beat the nurses off him with a stick... it was borderline ridiculous.

He hasn't cried much yet (I know this is jinxing it, right?) and just hangs out. Barely flinched when he got shots. Liked the bath and was a champion. I love him.

Anyway, I can't wait for my sisters and company to meet Leo tomorrow. I am particularly psyched to see Andrew and Natalie hold the little guy. I'm sure it'll be such a precious moment.

Angie is getting some much deserved sleep and is doing great. I can't even begin to express how much of an amazing woman my wife is. I'm so proud of her in so many ways. Even after having two amazing kids with her, she's still the best thing that's ever happened to me.

Here's a gratuitous shot of his feet... since I love baby feet... and a video of Anna holding and kissing Leo... talk about a tear-jerker for this guy.

Good night all and thanks to everyone for the well wishes.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Induction day running diary

By K.J. Cardinal

Well, I know I've promised a million people that I would call/email/text them with updates today, but I figure it will be easiest on everyone (mostly Angie and I) if I just keep a running diary. So here goes...

6:35 a.m. Angie just called the hospital to inquire about today's induction and they want us to call back at 10 a.m. The wait continues.

9:02 a.m. The hospital just called and we are on our way.

9:48 a.m. Just arrived at the hospital and got checked into our room.

11:03 a.m. Well, they've given Ang some medicine to try to move this thing along. Sounds like we are going to be here for a while.

1:41 p.m. Just a quick update to say there really isn't any update. Angie has had a few rather strong contractions, but we are just playing the waiting game.

3:55 p.m. Well, Leo didn't have much reaction to the first drug, so they're going to give Ang some pitocin soon. This is the drug that kick-started both labors for Sammy and Anna.

5:25 p.m. Still waiting for the pitocin. At this point, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Leo wasn't born today or late, late tonight at the earliest.

6:06 p.m. Let the pitocin begin!

6:35 p.m. Broken water!

7:21 p.m. Epidurol.

8:15 p.m. Fully dialated. I feel bad for anyone in Northwood trying to use the Internet because I'm sure Aunt Tiff is frantically refreshing :)

9:13 p.m. Leo Michael Cardinal.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Leo Eve

By K.J. Cardinal

The wait has been somewhat unbearable, but Leo Eve has finally arrived. Angie is scheduled to get induced tomorrow!

I can't entirely explain all the thoughts and emotions that have come over me in the last few hours, but I may always refer to June 27 as Leo Eve because it's the night before the most highly anticipated moment of my life. My son will be born tomorrow.

Just typing that brings tears to my eyes. And, while I try to keep things light on this blog, I can't help myself tonight. Let me say that again, my son will be born tomorrow.

Leo. Michael. Cardinal. Three of the most important words that Angie and I have ever uttered. [Pass the Kleenex, please, this is gonna get messy]

Some people have dreamed their entire lives of being rich or traveling the world or winning the lottery. Not me. I have always wanted to have a son. I have always felt this unspoken pressure that I've put upon myself to have a boy. To carry on the Cardinal name. More importantly, to carry on the Leo Cardinal name.

A father-son bond is something that I cherish and take more serious than anyone I know. And now having the chance to have a son, carry on the family name and honor my grandfather in the process is simply amazing.

In the midst of this blog post, I had to call my dad. I was a blubbering mess, but I just had to call him. I can't even get into it now because I'll flood our newly finished basement with my tears, but I just love and respect that guy more than I ever thought was humanly possible.

Anyway, the fact that we KNOW Angie is getting induced tomorrow ratchets up the anticipation about 200 notches too.

The birth of Anna was something I'll never forget. An absolutely beautiful (and shocking) "first" in my life. But, prior to her birth, we had no idea when she was coming. It was a surprise. I never had to try to go to sleep at night knowing the next day that I'd be a Dad.

What a difference in emotions, experiences and feelings. I'm like a kid on Christmas Eve, or in this case, Leo Eve, with the world's greatest present awaiting.

My son will be born tomorrow.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Anna's mash-up

By K.J. Cardinal

While Anna and I were out running errands yesterday, she started singing two different "monkey" songs. All was going swimmingly until she got a little confused, thus creating a little mash-up. Sweet. 


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Introducing our newest addition...

By K.J. Cardinal

Well, after months of waiting, the newest addition to the Cardinal family is finally here... my newly finished basement.

OK. OK. I know the world is anxiously awaiting the arrival of baby Leo, but the little sucker is enjoying his time in Hotel Angela a little too much and is currently six days past his due date.

I think Leo was just looking out for his dad though. I mean, months ago I told Angie that I would do my best to have the basement done in time for Leo's arrival. So, he is just over-staying his welcome in the womb to help me avoid the doghouse if I missed my "deadline".

OK Leo, now the basement's done, get the hell out here so we can play with you!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The end of a generation

By K.J. Cardinal

Memorial Day will forever be immortalized in the Cardinal family by the loss of my Grampa, Don Denton.

Our family was saddened on Monday morning with the news that my mother's father lost his life. I have never really been a fan of the cliche "he's in a better place now", but following bout after bout with disease after disease, that saw his physical mobility escape him, perhaps my grandfather really is in a better place now... well, at least that's what I'm telling myself.

My family has dealt with death ever since I was very young. Everything from grandparents to babies, uncles to brothers. You name it, we've seen it. But, it NEVER gets any easier. The biggest lessons I've learned from these losses are to remember the good and keep the memories alive forever.

Needless to say, I have countless great memories of my Grampa that I will cherish forever. When I sit back and think about Gramp, what comes to mind is...

• Bass fishing on Back Lake
• Trick or treating on Country Lane
• Golfing at Steele Hill
• Accidentally closing his fingers in the sliding door of my parent's van (he didn't even flinch)
• Watching him do his wood-working magic
• Seeing him at every important event throughout my life
• Learning how to operate a flatbed scanner from him

I could go on and on. Probably my favorite memory of Grampa came back in the Summer of 2003. While sitting poolside in his wheelchair at Lance and Gail's, I cannonballed into the pool and soaked him head-to-toe.

You may think I'm cruel for doing this, but not Grampa. I will never forget the look on his face when I surfaced from underwater. He had water dripping off his fisherman's hat and was laughing so hard that tears eventually rolled down his cheeks. We were both in our glory.

This story is so telling of Grampa and his great sense of humor. He was always able to laugh at himself like no other and he had one of the most contagious laughs ever heard.

The loss of Grampa has a little extra sting to it because it also marks the end of a generation for my family. Grampa was my sole-surviving grandparent, so it's hard not to reflect on the loss of my Meme and Mema and Papa at this time as well.

I have been blessed like no other with the most amazing family in the world and it all starts with Meme and Grampa and Mema and Papa. They were the Founding Fathers (and Mothers) of my family and I owe them all the gratitude in the world for making my parents into who they are.

So while our family carries heavy hearts with the loss of Grampa and the end of a generation, I vow to keep their memories alive forever and make sure that my children know what special grandparents I was fortunate enough to have.

We'll miss you Gramp.