Thursday, July 22, 2010


By K.J. Cardinal

Well, the blog was on fire for a while there and then reality had to rear its ugly head as I've had work to do lately. Anyway, I just had to post this photo of these little buddies.

Anna isn't infatuated with Leo 100% of the time, but when she is it's so ridiculous.

Leo is still eating like a champ and sleeping a lot... unfortunately, he seems to sleep best during the day, but it's not like he's terrible at night or anything... just a notch below perfect :)

Again, I know it's jinxing it, but he doesn't seem to fuss like normal babies. Anna was a good baby, but she'd have her moments when she'd fuss for what seemed like no apparent reason. But not Leo.

If he fusses, then you have this brief checklist to go down to solve the problem...

• Milk
• Diaper
• Burp

One of those three things always seems to satisfy him.

Well, Saturday we head off for the annual Cardinal family vacation, so be prepared for some ridiculous posts with all the kiddos together.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Life Lessons: Recycle & Save

By K.J. Cardinal

Here at the Cardinal Blog we are about more than just cute kids and a dorky Dad. We are here to instill in everyone some of life's most important lessons, just as my parents instilled in me.

I feel Angie and I have a rather unique parenting style though, which has yielded a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter that is well behaved 91% of the time and a raging lunatic 9% of the time. So, while our "teaching methods" may not fit your parenting style, the important thing to take away from this running series of "Life Lessons" is really the message moreso than the actions.

With that, let's jump right into Life Lesson #1: Recycle.

From a young age, I can remember my grandfather taking recycling to the Nth degree. Not only would he make a small fortune off recycling his empty Milwaukee's Best cans, but he'd rummage through public trash cans in search of these precious aluminum treasures.

Some people may think, "Gross" or "what was your grandfather, a bum?". While the former may be the true, the latter definitely is not. Papa would take the money from his recycling and set it aside earmarked as lobster money.

That's right, Papa would root through public trash cans to get a taste of that sweet tomalley. He'd save the money so whenever we'd want lobster growing up, that he'd go into the small fortune accumulated through recycling to get us a batch of those beautiful 10-legged creatures. Talk about recycling for all the right reasons.

I mean, sure it's great to save the planet and all that tree-hugging mumbo-jumbo, but the ends have never more justified the means when it comes to recycling. So, I've decided that I'm going to carry the life lesson of recycling on to my children, but put my own spin on it.

Basically, I thought Anna would get a kick out of the recycling machines in the redemption center at the local package store I single-handedly keep afloat. So, we loaded two empty cases of Corona into the Xterra and off we headed to "beer store", as she calls it.


Just as I expected, she loved sliding the bottles into the redemption machine. Sure she felt it was "really loud", but once she learned that the machine would give her a ticket and that the man at the counter would give her money for said ticket, then she was hooked.

Life Lesson #1 also leads us to Life Lesson #2: Save. Anna isn't old enough to determine what she wants to save her recycling money for, but we have a secret hidden stash at home where she's going to keep this savings. I could only be so lucky for her to opt for lobsters someday, but regardless, it's all about learning life's lessons. And, in order to continue recycling and saving, I guess that means that Daddy has to continue drinking. What a shame ; )

Leo: Anna's newest toy

By K.J. Cardinal

Leo continues to be a remarkable baby in all facets, but he's probably an even better toy for Anna.

She seems to be fascinated with him and everything he does. Her biggest fascination has to be his poop. Everytime we change his diaper, she wants to see. She inspects his bum and has to know what color his poop is. It's pretty comical.

I've debated whether or not to get footage of this and post it on the blog and I think I'm going to spare the guy a little dignity and not let the world in on him in such a compromising position. If you really want to witness this, then come on over and change a sh*tty diaper... you're more than welcome :)

Anna has also got some solid seat time feeding Leo. Today she was all fired up to give Leo his bottle, so I set her up with the "boppy" and let her have at it. She's so gentle with him, that I really don't have any concerns. Of course I sit there ready to pounce if she does something she shouldn't, but she is so gentle that I'm not nervous at all.

At that feeding, Leo was polishing off a half-full bottle to start with. So mid-feeding, Anna handed me the empty bottle so I could switch it out for the new one.

Leo was pretty hungry, so he wasn't too happy about the delay and started to do his little whimper. He only did this for a second and then was silent. When I turned back around to hand Anna the new bottle, this is what I saw...

Anna had sacrificed up her own thumb to use as Leo's pacifier. It was so cute. She was so proud of herself and said, "Daddy, he's sucking my thumb!" Such a great moment.

Leo, buddy, you don't know how good you have it. From day one you've had Sammy, one of the best big sisters of all-time, eating out of your hand and now it looks like Anna is headed that direction too. You're a lucky guy.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Water bug

By K.J. Cardinal

Following in the footsteps of her big sister, Anna has turned into quite the water bug.

Today we visited Hopkinton State Park (you may recall we went there last year for a day as well) and we had all we could do to get Anna out of the water.

The "beach" there is rather small, but the water temp was perfect and the slow grade going into the water makes it ideal for little kids.

Immediately Anna showed no fear as once we let her at it, she just walked straight out. If Sammy wasn't there to teach Anna about how the water gets deeper, Anna would've just kept right on walking until she was in serious trouble.

Anna let me throw her up in the air and splash down in the water and thought she was pretty cool. She's still not psyched about submerging her whole head under water, but she did it a few times on her own... twice on purpose and a handful of times on accident.

I felt bad for Angie though because while Anna, Sammy and I were off in the water having fun, Angie and Leo were hanging out in the air conditioned car. We started off with Leo under this SPF 50 beach tent that we bought, but Angie thought it was just too hot for a two-week-old baby, so they hung out in the car.

She's the best mommy though, not only for taking care of Leo, but for hanging out in the car for a few hours with him so Anna could enjoy the beach. Thanks hon!

In case you were wondering, the only way we were able to get Anna out of the truck was to bribe her when the ice cream truck came rolling by. Probably the only time in the history of humanity that a parent was relieved to see an ice cream truck.

The Cardinals

By K.J. Cardinal

I'm so lucky to have this family.

Uh oh...

By K.J. Cardinal

I'm going to be in serious trouble when this gorgeous little thing gets older.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Crazy Eyes Cardinal

By K.J. Cardinal

Leo's got some crazy eyes.


Family visitors

By K.J. Cardinal

This week we were fortunate to get a handful of family visitors that were eager to get their hands on Leo.

On Monday, Angie's sister-in-law, Lisette, paid us a visit along with Jaden and Kassie. It was special for us to have Leo meet Lisette because Leo's middle name (Michael) is after Angie's late brother Mikey.

Needless to say, Lisette loved the little guy, as did Kassie and Jaden. I'm pretty sure Kassie would've taken him home with her if we would have let her.

Then on Wednesday, my Aunt Carol and Uncle Bill made the trek South to see the little guy. Several people told me how anxious Auntie Carol was to meet Leo, so we were psyched for them, as well as Leo, that they could meet.

In typical fashion, they spoiled the kids with gifts while they were here too. Leo got a slew of much-appreciated Red Sox gear, while Anna got a cool remote control car... Daddy, of course, approved of everything.

Also in typical fashion, Anna ended up stealing the show. She took to Uncle Bill in a hurry and before you knew it the two were out on the back deck just chatting it up.

It was so great to get some quality time with Auntie Carol and Uncle Bill and for them to get some QT with the kids too. I know that Auntie Carol was not only glad to meet Leo, but also that we renewed the name Leo Cardinal for another generation.

Thanks so much to everyone for coming down to visit!

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Cardinal Fourth

By K.J. Cardinal

The Fourth of July turned into a nice little Cardinal shindig at our house down in Hudson.

The day started off with us thinking that Aunt Kate and Uncle Matt were going to come down for a quiet afternoon to hang out and see little Leo, but a quick phone call to Meme and Aunt Tiff had the entire family down.

Aunt Kate was probably the MVP of the day if you asked Anna and Leo.

After having Anna help her with her make-up the other day, Aunt Kate brought Anna down a present that consisted of different nail polishes and types of make-up. Anna was in her glory.

She immediately had to have her finger nails and toe nails painted and then proceeded to give everyone in the house a little eye shadow and blush. When I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE. Anna is such a girly girl at times.

As for Leo, he continued his string of unbelievably perfect behavior by just hanging out all day, sleeping and eating. He got to take a real solid nap on Aunt Kate and I think she fell even more in love with the little guy... if that's humanly possible.

Uncle Matt came down to finally take a gander at Leo and was kind enough to bring Bauer too... which was another big hit for Anna.

Anna was spoiled by cool Mater gifts from Uncle Matt too, but Leo was the one that really lucked out. Uncle Matt pulled out his bag of tricks and gave Leo a four-DVD set of the complete He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series. Such an awesome gift, given the fact that I was obsessed with He-Man while growing up. I can't wait to knock the dust off all the He-Men that are still up in my parents attic when Leo's old enough and watch the entire series with him. Such a great gift, Matt. Thanks!

After present time from Matt, we had lunch with leftovers from a catering gig that my parents brought down... shrimp, steak and tons of salads. What a great score for all of us!

While we all ate, Anna did a disappearing act under the dining room table with her new best friend, Bauer. She just wanted to lay next to him, patting him and rubbing his feet and tail. It was priceless.

We hung out for a few more hours with Meme and Papa and then the real party started once Andrew and Natalie showed up around 4 o'clock.

The kids are all at such a great age and get along so well. They went on the swing set, played in the kiddie pool and the sand box, but the most fun came when I broke out the hose.

Andrew proceeded to be a "fireman"... basically just spraying everything in site... most notably Natalie and Anna. It was hilarious, as the girls were loving it, almost as much as Andrew.

As if we weren't all already psyched up for the Cardinal vacation at the end of the month, the Fourth was just a nice little preview of the fun to come and we can't wait!

Leo's first tubby (at home)

By K.J. Cardinal

While Leo perfected the art of bathing at the hospital, yesterday marked his first tubby at home.

Just like with Anna, it was all hands on deck... this time the bathroom seemed a little more crowded because Anna was there to lend a helping hand too.

Angie did the bulk of the work, but Anna got to wash Leo's feet and I got to wash his hair... which was really the best part of the job because he loves to have water poured over his hair.

No nursing students or other parents on-hand to watch Leo get bathed this time, but having him in our house and Anna as an assistant made it a first tubby to remember.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fountain fun

By K.J. Cardinal

I'm sure this comes as no surprise to anyone, but even though Leo's been here for five days, my world still revolves around Anna.

Yesterday Anna and I had a great afternoon at the public water fountain in town. It took Anna a little coaxing to run directly through the water, but I grabbed her hand and ran through once with her and then it was game on. I swear that she ran through that thing for an hour straight without stopping.

What was particularly hilarious was when she used one of the fountains spraying straight up as her own personal bidet of sorts (pictured at right). She saw one of the other kids do it and apparently just had to give it a spin herself. It was priceless.

It's so cool to see what a difference a year makes for Anna. Last year, we hit up this fountain park a few times and she wasn't as brave as she was yesterday.

I'm already looking forward to the day when Leo can run around with her. I don't want him to grow up too fast, but being able to play with the both of them is going to be a blast.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Adjusting nicely

By K.J. Cardinal

Well, we finally brought Leo home today and the little guy is doing just great. Angie and I were both able to take naps with him on the couch and for some reason, that action is what makes it seem real to me. When you can adjust your normal life with a newborn, that's when it all clicks and reality sets in.

Speaking of adjusting nicely, Anna seems poised to be a great big sister. She had moments where all she wanted to do was to be with Leo and times when she acted like he didn't exist, but for the most part, she was somewhere in the middle of those two all day.

My favorite moment of the day with Anna and Leo came when I asked Anna if she wanted to read him a book. She said her patented Anna line, "Um... Sure" and then spent the next five minutes deciding which book she should read.

She brought over this "Goodnight" book she has and proceeded to read it to him. Of course, she can't really read, but she just made up the words corresponding with the pictures and even let Leo touch the soft fur on one of the pages. It was adorable.

I was a little nervous how Anna would adjust to having a newborn in the house and someone that was sure to garner a lot of our attention, but now that I think about it, I was probably more nervous with how I'd adjust. I mean, Anna is a kid and most kid's adjust to most scenarios rather easily, so I think part of my nervousness for her was a reflection of my own feelings.

I didn't quite know how I'd handle having a new baby with Anna. Let's face it, Anna has been and always will be Daddy's girl, and I NEVER want that to change, so I was probably just a tad concerned that Leo may impact that relationship.

Only one day with Leo at home is in the books, but if today was any indication of what's to come, then Anna will handle the transition to a big sister like a champion and she'll continue to be Daddy's little girl... which is nice, because she doesn't really have a choice in the matter if you ask me.

On a completely unrelated note, I purchased this new app for my iPhone, called IncrediBooth, and it created the old school photo booth sequence of me and Anna that you see on the right (Jenny and Rob, you guys would love it!). It works particularly well with the new iPhone 4, which has the little built-in iSight type of camera to make lining up the shots a heck of a lot easier because you can see the screen while doing so.

Anyway, you can be sure to expect a slew of photo booth pictures from here on out on The Cardinal Blog.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hey ladies, call me

By K.J. Cardinal

As a social experiment, I'm considering putting this picture of Leo up on to see how many ladies nibble at the bait. I mean, is there a woman in the world that wouldn't snatch this little guy up given the opportunity? I doubt it.