Monday, December 31, 2007

The Year in Photos: 2007

Angie's Blog Favorites of 2007

By Angela Rose Cardinal

I have to thank my awesome husband for creating and maintaining this blog. I know Andrew and Anna will appreciate how cool it is to have their early years chronicled for them like this. I know my family used to get so excited to set up the old 8mm reels and projector and watch my brother ride the spring horse until its tail bumped the floor. That gear was so difficult to set up that we only did it once in a blue moon. Now, these two peanuts will be able to pull up these memories easier than we adults can pay a bill online.

Also, our families really appreciate being able to see Anna grow like a weed these first few months. Whether it's reducing the shock value to my sister and parents of how fast she grows in 2 weeks or keeping my Uncle Ze and his family in N.C. close or sending my best friend,"Auntie" Missy, off to Australia & New Zealand for 3 months knowing she won't miss a milestone of Anna's while she's gone...this blog is the saving grace for all of us.

Without futher delay, here are my Blog Favorites of 2007:
Favorite Post: Forgettable Friday
Favorite Video: Sunshine
Favorite Photo: A sleeping beauty
Favorite Comment: Darlene's comment on "Faces of Anna"

"Forgettable Friday" is easily the funniest post on the blog this year. This one especially impresses me with K.J.'s writing skills. I'm jealous of that. Not to copy K.J. but "Sunshine" is a fantastic piece of work. I must have watched it 50 times and still get a dorky, giddy smile on my face the whole time. An honorable mention goes to "Lassie" for the obvious reason that Andrew is super cute in it, but I enjoy the fanstic video editing by K.J. and it really captures how much Kim, Darlene, Katie and Sammy soak up Andrew's joy.

"A sleeping beauty" is such a peaceful photo of Anna. I'm partial to pictures of babies sleeping, too. When she's dreaming I can't help but wonder what in the world she could be dreaming about. Finally, Darlene's comment to "Faces of Anna" is my favorite because it taught me how to spell the word patootie. You never know when you're going to need to put that word in text in a crunch :)

As you may have guessed, I think I have the best husband in the world and I love him very much.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Best of The Cardinal Blog: 2007

By K.J. Cardinal

With the New Year on the horizon I figured it would be a good time to recap the good and the bad of The Cardinal Blog for the 2007 year. Based on the response that I have received and the amount of fun that I had, the 2007 blog year was a great success all around.

Here are some numbers I put together to show the "Best of the Cardinal Blog: 2007".

The Top-5 Most Viewed Videos of 2007
1. Counting Crows - Insignificant (9,506 views)
2. Counting Crows - Washington Square (5,628)
3. Sounds of Anna (197)
4. Anna Begins (186)
5. Lassie (179)

The Counting Crows videos that I took at the concert were a HUGE hit on, as combined they've been viewed over 15,000 times. While "Sounds of Anna" and "Anna Begins" are the top two videos featuring a Cardinal, I wouldn't be surprised if "Lassie" soon surpasses those two as Andrew can't get enough of the video of Papa playing his favorite song.

The Cardinal Blog's Most Commented Posts of 2007
1. Forgettable Friday (4 comments)
2. Anna goes to New Hampshire (4)
3. Welcome home Anna (4)
4. Our neighbors, the Griswolds (3)
5. Andrews reaction to Anna (3)

It's good to know that Forgettable Friday was the most commented post of 2007...people obviously get a kick out of my misfortunes as a father. Thanks a lot :) If there has to be a "bad" in this "Best of" post, I would think it has to be the number of comments. If it wasn't for my mom and Gail George, then most of these posts wouldn't have any comments. Come on comments! That's the best part about a blog. It's an easy way for you to read what I have to say, view photos and videos and give me some feedback and get some talk going with me and others.

The Cardinal Blog's Most Frequently Used Labels
1. K.J. (33)
2. Anna (27)
3. Angie (16)
4. Hudson (9)
5. Sammy (7)

Since I put my name, "K.J.", as a label on all of the blog posts I write, it's obviously the most frequent label. Anna's the source of most of my material, so she's naturally #2. I'm hoping that for 2008 Tiffany, Angie and Katie will do more posting (please).

Looking back on 2007
I never really thought that I'd enjoy blogging as much as I do. It's a great way for me to keep everyone more-than-informed on what's going on in my life or, more importantly, Anna's life. And, it's a great way to chronicle Anna's childhood. It's going to be so cool to look back at this blog in a few years not only to see old photos and videos, but also to see exactly how I was feeling and what we were doing at different points along the way.

My personal blog favorites of 2007
Favorite Post: Anna Begins
Favorite Video: Sunshine
Favorite Photo: Faces of Anna
Favorite Comment: Mom's comment on "Anna turns two months, lives the life"

"Anna Begins" isn't the best piece of writing on the blog, but it's my favorite for 2007 because of what it represents. I know it's too early to tell, but "Sunshine" could be end up being my favorite video of all time of Anna...she's just so cute. The "Faces of Anna" graphic isn't one photo, but I just love all of her different faces in that, so I had to put that as my favorite photo. My mom's comment is just evidence again why I am doing this blog in the first family is THE BEST!

Looking ahead at 2008
In 2007, I like to think that I inspired Angie's friend Aunt Missy to start a blog of her own. For 2008, my goal is to spread the blogging bug to more and more people. So, if anyone's interested in getting their own blog up and running, let me know. I'd be more than happy to help you get your feet wet.

Also, I'm really psyched about the upcoming feature, "The Cardinal Vault," that will debut on January 1, 2008. The Cardinal Vault will feature a vintage photo, document or (eventually) video of a Cardinal family member. I have a few in the queue, so stay tuned for those once the new year rolls around.

Lastly, I'd like to thank my family for everything. Not only do they inspire me to do this blog, but they really inspire me to do everything that I do. You guys are all so amazing and I don't know what I'd do without each and everyone of you. Happy New Year!

Please feel free to comment on your favorite Cardinal Blog moments from 2007 by clicking on the comments link below.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Meme's new best friend

By K.J. Cardinal

The last night of our Christmas visit to Farmington yielded one of the best Anna moments to date. Angie, Sammy, Anna, Meme, Papa, Aunt Kate and I were all hanging out in the living room, getting ready for bed. I just blew up the air mattress for us to sleep on and put Anna on it.

Right away I could tell that Anna was in a really good mood and that she liked lying on the air mattress, but she was even more talkative and laughable with Meme than we've ever seen her before, which made all of our days.

It may be too early to tell, but Anna could quickly become Meme's new best friend, just like how Andrew and Papa are best buds. Regardless of how that turns out, one thing's for sure...Andrew and Anna have the best grandparents around.

For a larger look at the video, check out the video on The Cardinal Channel.

Christmas 2007

By K.J. Cardinal

Anna's first Christmas didn't disappoint, that's for sure. Her "holiday" really spanned from the 22nd to the 27th and she got to enjoy several parties, lots of family and tons of cool presents along the way.

On Saturday, we had the Cardinal side of my family down to our house in Hudson for a holiday get together. It was the first time nearly all of them had made their way down to visit us at our "new" house and the first time some of them met Anna so it was a momentous occasion on several fronts. Anyway, the party was a blast. We had TONS of food, lots of kids and countless laughs.

Getting together with the Cardinal side of my family is definitely one of my favorite things to do each and every year and I was glad that Anna got to experience her first one in the comfort of her own home. I'd really like to thank Ethan (and Billy & Kathy) for missing his hockey game on Saturday night so they could come down for the party. I was so psyched they came and got to stay late because it's not that often that we get together and it's always great when we do.

For that shindig, Meme, Papa, Auntie Tiff, Uncle Pete, Andrew, Aunt Kate, Auntie Sheila, Auntie Carol, Uncle Bill, Billy, Kathy, Samantha, Ethan, Kaeleigh (pictured w/ Anna above), Missy, Pat, Marissa, Jackson, Vicky and Emma were all here. When you throw in Angie, Anna and I, that made for 23 people...what a party!

On Sunday, Angie, Anna and I headed out to Ludlow to spend a few days with the Malaquias clan. We stayed at Angie's sister's house that night and it was great to hang out with Lisa, Ray, Ryan and JuJu. For those of you who haven't met JuJu, she has to be the cutest little girl I've ever seen. And, I'm so lucky that she likes me. After sleeping over on Sunday night, she woke up on Monday morning and the first thing she said was "Where's K.J.?" She's the best.

Anyway, on Monday (Christmas Eve) I went and took Angie's nephew Jaden sledding. We attempted to go to one hill, which was all ice, so we eventually ended up at the Ludlow Country Club. It was a lot of fun. Jaden's really turning into a great kid. He's super polite, funny and fearless on a sled. We had a blast.

Angie's family celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve, so their big gathering was on Monday night. We usually wait until midnight to open presents, but her family was kind enough to agree to break from tradition slightly so Angie, Anna and I could get back home to Hudson at a reasonable hour.

Like usual, Vo Nezzie made tons of food for everyone to eat and we had lots of fun. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention one unfortunate event of the evening. Everyone was getting ready to open presents and all the kids were sitting in the living room when all of the sudden, Jaden proceeds to projectile vomit all over the living room. He cleaned out the couch and the area rug. It wasn't necessarily funny, but once he was OK we all shared a good laugh.

We headed back to our house around midnight and got to take our time waking up on Christmas morning. Anna had a good night's sleep and we got up in the morning when Sammy's Dad dropped her off at our house. We all opened our gifts and then we got the best Christmas gift of all.

I was upstairs changing Anna when she proceeded to go into a giggling fit. It was so hilarious. I was able to call for Angie and Sammy and they came in to witness it too. Definitely the highlight of the day for us.

Once Anna stopped laughing, we headed up to Farmington to visit my family. It was great to have Sammy along for the trip up to N.H. She only comes up to Farmington every other year for the holiday, so it's always great when it's "our turn" to have her for Christmas.

I was really excited to give my parents their gifts. Pack Network got my parents a video iPod for all their help, Angie and I got them a sweet remote controlled dock for it and I also got my dad a membership at Farmington Country Club. Needless to say they loved everything.

As we've come to expect, Andrew was ridiculously cute when he showed up with Tiffany and Pete. He loved the Red Sox Mr. Potato head and the toy tractor (just like Papa's) that we got him, but his favorite toy was definitely the tent that my parents got him and the toy guitar that my dad got him. We had so much fun.

I got a bunch of great gifts too, but I really want to thank Katie for her gifts, they were definitely my favorite. Both gifts really came from a Counting Crows and Live concert we went to over the summer. The first was a guitar pick from David Immergluck (the Counting Crows lead guitarist) that Katie caught at the concert. She put it in a cool shadow box and fixed up an apparatus so it looks like it's floating in there. Her other gift was this picture frame that has pictures of me and Anna and it says "I don't need no one to tell me about heaven, I look at my daughter and I believe." It's the lyrics from Live's song Heaven. Both gifts Kater made and she definitely put a lot of time and thought into both. Thanks so much!

We stayed over three nights and last night Anna had another one of her giggle fits...this time for Meme. It was so cute. I have some great footage of it that I'll post soon, but this is by far the longest post that I've made, so I'll check out for now.

Be sure to check back soon for that video along with a new feature that I'll be launching on the blog soon called "The Cardinal Vault."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Tooth brushing" highlights nightly routine

By K.J. Cardinal

Like clockwork, every night around 9 p.m. Angie and I have a personal hygiene routine that we put Anna through.

It begins by Dad changing Anna's diaper and getting her undressed for her "tubby", while Mom draws the water for the bath and lays out all the necessary equipment (wash cloths, towel, pajamas, etc.).

We then give Anna a bath, which she definitely enjoys as long as she doesn't kick and splash around so much that she gets water in her eyes or up her nose. Water up the nose is we experienced last night.

After the bathing ritual, we then dry her off, get her changed into her PJ's and brush her hair...which seems rather meaningless since it just stands straight up on her head no matter what we do. But, her absolute favorite part of the whole routine has to be when we "brush" her teeth.

I know what you're thinking and no, Anna doesn't have any teeth yet [insert toothless Farmington joke here], but there is this so-called tooth brush (see below) that I guess you're supposed to use on babies to get them accustomed to the odd feeling that a tooth brush introduces.

Anyway, Anna absolutely loves this thing. She chews and sucks on the blue end of the toothbrush while I slowly twist it in her mouth. During this whole process she's smiling from ear to ear and making some rather interesting noises. It's apparent that it's her favorite part of her nightly ritual and ours too.

Note: I'll try to get some video footage of this in the near future so you can see for yourselves. Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Suds, Snow, and the Soiree

By K.J. Cardinal

Despite the second snow storm of the week, the 2nd Annual Hudson Holiday Soiree was still held on Saturday and boy was it a joyous event. The number of guests in attendance was reduced greatly by the storm, but that meant more food and booze for the rest of us, which was great.

I won't give you all a complete recap of the whole evening because as the night progressed I progressively made more and more of an ass out of myself (see photos below). Seriously. I'm not sure if it was bad in a good way or good in a bad way. Either way though it was a memorable night by all and we were psyched that a good number of our closest friends still bared the elements for us.

It was Anna's first real party at home and obviously her first Soiree too and she appeared to love it, which is great because Ang and I love to entertain. Angie does the cooking and I do the drinking...really a great situation for all.

Thanks so much for all of you that made it out, you made the Soiree a huge success again.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Anna's first Christmas tree

By K.J. Cardinal

Keeping with the Cardinal family tradition that my parents started, Angie, Sammy, Anna and I went and got our Christmas tree on Papa's birthday.

We purchased our tree at a place in town that has them pre-cut, so it's not quite the same as cutting down a tree in the backyard that Papa had actually planted himself, but regardless it's a family tradition that I will continue for the rest of my life.

The tree we got is pretty good-sized (as you can see in the photo behind the girls). If you've been to our house, then you're probably wondering "where on earth are you going to put that in your house?" Well, we're not actually putting it in our house. We've put it on our back deck, right outside the sliding-glass doors.

I know this isn't the traditional thing to do with a Christmas tree, but with all the new baby-gear downstairs and two upcoming holiday gatherings at our house, it was really the only thing we could do. And, now having seen the tree on the back deck, I think that we could be doing this for many years to come.

You get the effect of the lights and the Christmas spirit without having to:
- pick needles out of your socks for two weeks
- find tinsel all over the house
- worry about watering the tree every day
- reconfigure the layout of a room in your house to accommodate the tree

Really, it's quite brilliant. Hopefully someday we'll have a house big enough to put a big tree in the livingroom to put all the presents under, but for now we'll stick with what's important and that's remembering Papa on this day and officially beginning the Christmas season. Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Anna learns to laugh, avoids camera

By K.J. Cardinal

Well, I wanted to have a video of Anna's little laugh to post along with this entry, but she's been avoiding the camera lately. She will be super cute, talkative and smiley...and then I put the camera in front of her and she puts her best poker face on. What's wrong with that kid...doesn't she know she has a cyber life to lead. Geez.

Anyway, I guess I spoiled the surprise, but Anna is beginning to learn how to laugh. She only does it a handful of times a day, usually when Dad's acting like a jackass to get a rise out of her, but nonetheless she has started to laugh. And, as you would expect, it's adorable.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Angie's friends Aunt Missy and Jamie should be credited for Anna's first laugh. They were over that day and they were tag-team tickling Anna while she sat in her high chair. Anna was all smiles and then let out a little giggle that stopped everyone in their tracks and prompted all of us to laugh hysterically. Anna then frowned a little by sticking out her bottom lip as I think our uproariousness (is that even a word) startled her, which made us laugh even harder. Anyway, it was a great moment.

Anna is also further discovering her voice, which is usually the loudest while she's eating her hands. In the last week or so I really feel like she's developed more than any other seven-day stretch. She is getting a lot stronger all around, sucking down her bottles like they're filled with Bud Light, sleeping nearly seven hours a night and is very responsive...especially to me, which I love.

With the holiday season right around the corner we're all really excited for Anna to meet the few members of our families that she has yet to meet. Hopefully she'll laugh for you, just don't show her your camera.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Anna turns two months, lives the life

By K.J. Cardinal

I'm sure that for every month for the rest of Anna's life I could start off these "birthday" posts with "wow, I can't believe Anna turned [fill in the blank]" and that would always describe how I'm feeling at the time. The time really flies when you're watching a child grow up in front of your very eyes.

Through the first 62 days of her life, Anna has changed a lot in many ways and has stayed the same in many ways. She is getting bigger, eating more, sleeping more and getting more active. But, she still loves her "tubby time", doesn't like wearing hats and gets mesmerized by the television. She's predictable at times and unpredictable at times...which is probably expected since she's a Portuguese woman in the making :)

Anna's really living it up though lately as she's been quite a "world" traveler. In the past month she's seen her first snow, been to her first sporting event, experienced her first Thanksgiving and been out to lunch/dinner at Legal Seafood, Ruby Tuesdays, Fugakyu, Texas Roadhouse, California Pizza Kitchen, the mall food court and Conrad's...regardless of where we eat, her Enfamil always tastes the same though?!

So as you can see, we've done our best to work ourselves into Anna's life and her into our lives...and we don't want it any other way. In the next month she'll experience her first Christmas and all the craziness that accompanies it...stay tuned, it should be great.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Husky is born

By K.J. Cardinal

She doesn't know it yet, but today was a big day for Anna.
She attended her first of MANY Northeastern sporting events, a men's basketball game versus James Madison at Matthews Arena.

The Huskies came up just short, losing 68-65, but I still began planting the seed of (hopefully) raising a future Husky. I know the thought of sending my eight-week old daughter off to college is a little premature, but I just really hope she ends up being a fan of Northeastern athletics.

For those of you who don't know, Northeastern athletics is an underfunded, underdog program that always has to over achieve greatly in order to be successful. I think those traits are really part of the reason why I love NU athletics so much...and part of the reason why I hope Anna does as well. I also think that the "tale" of Husky athletics can help teach a kid great lessons...hard work and perseverance can pay off.

Since I was accepted into Northeastern's journalism program nearly 10 years ago (god, I'm getting old), the academics at NU have kicked it up a notch. If I was a senior in high school right now, I'd have a hard time getting into Northeastern...seriously, it's that much tougher. I'm not saying it's Ivy-League caliber, but NU's now in the top 100 academically and getting better every year.

So, if Anna happened to want to go to NU and was fortunate enough to get accepted in 17 years then she would be a second generation Husky, which would be awesome. Either way, hopefully today a future Husky (fan or alum) was born. Now I just have to figure out how on earth I'm going to let my baby live in Boston...YIKES!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Our neighbors, the Griswolds

By K.J. Cardinal

That's it, I'm convinced. I'm convinced that our neighbors on the corner of Gerry Drive & Laurel Drive are The Griswolds. I can't wait for Cousin Eddie to roll into town with his trashy motor home to visit our neighbor, Clark W. Griswold.

OK, that probably only makes sense to you if you've seen the movie National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, which I'll assume you have. (If not, it's a must for the holiday season). Anyway, take a look at the photo of their house I took. They have more Christmas lights on their house than I've ever seen. Seriously, it's insane. Believe it or not, the picture actually doesn't do it justice at all.

As if the lights ON the house weren't enough, they have lights on trees in their yard, a detached shed in their back yard and all four sides of the house. Plus, they have all of those "extra" lights like a Noel sign, reindeer, Santa Claus, Polar Bears...I could go on and on and on.

Don't get me wrong, I think Christmas lights are a cool a point. But, there's absolutely no need at all for a spectacle like this. They don't annoy me because it's a waste of electricity or because I'm a bah humbug about the holiday spirit, but they definitely annoy me. Well, I'll get off my holiday lights soap box for now...hopefully you can come by in the next month or so to witness this spectacle though. It's really unbelievable.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A sleeping beauty

By K.J. Cardinal

Let me start this post off by knocking on wood. I know that this could be like breaking up a no-hitter, but I just had to post this bit of good news...last night Anna slept for six hours straight. We fed her at 10 p.m. and she didn't wake up until 4 a.m...what a glorious, glorious night.

Anna, Angie and I all slept in our bed together. I was woken up by Anna fussing, like she was getting hungry. I rolled over, looked at the alarm clock and seriously did a double take when I saw that it was 4 a.m. I was expecting it to be 1 a.m. or maybe even 2 a.m. I immediately felt horrible because I felt like I completely slept through her entire 1 a.m. feeding. It's not that Angie couldn't handle feeding her at 1 a.m. all alone, but I was just surprised that I didn't wake up at all during the whole process. Then, Ang told me that Anna slept six hours straight and boy was I psyched.

Again, I'm sure that she'll keep us up all night tonight for this post, but I just had to post the good news.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Faces of Anna

By K.J. Cardinal

If the old cliche "a picture's worth a thousand words" holds at all true then this "Faces of Anna" graphic should definitely be good for a few million.

As you can see, Anna has developed quite a little personality and she is so expressive with her many faces. A picture or two of her wouldn't really do this justice, so I had to take a bunch of mugshots of her so you could all see for yourself.

Please take note of the gratuitous self-promotion going on with her bib too. Definitely not the prestige of being the Gerber baby, but it's a start.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

By K.J. Cardinal

Anna spent her first Thanksgiving out in Ludlow at Angie's parents house. It was her first big holiday and also her first big party.

The turkey that Nezzy (Angie's mom, pictured right) cooked was amazing and looked so good that we had to get a picture of it...of course, with Anna. The bird weighed 22 pounds, almost twice as much as Anna, so as you can see it was quite a feast.

After dinner we spent the next six hours playing a new trivia game that Angie bought, Smart Ass. I highly recommend it to anyone that's in the market for an affordable Christmas gift. Everyone from Sammy to Angie's parents were really into it and the fact that we literally played it for six hours should show how much we all like it.

Anyway, Anna reminded me a lot of her Aunt Kate when she was little as Anna was able to pretty much sleep all day in the loud and rowdy kitchen as we all sat around the table and played games the whole day. She didn't even flinch, fuss or cry at all when everyone was shouting out answers.

It was a great day all around and Anna continues to impress us with her ability to sleep through practically anything.

Happy Thanksgiving to all...especially Aunt Kate in Ireland...we miss you!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Anna: Six weeks and counting...

By K.J. Cardinal

Anna turned six-weeks old on Friday and she keeps getting cuter and cuter and bigger and bigger by the day.

I can't believe that she's already six weeks old. It seems like six weeks has flown by, but it also seems like she's been in my life forever. I said to Angie the other day "I can't remember what it was like before having her." And, I really can't. It's hard to explain, but maybe this is how all parents feel.

At her doctor's appointment on Friday she had another weigh-in and she's up to 10 pounds 13.5 ounces. She's on the verge of drinking more than four ounces at a time, which should only help her sleep through the nights. She's currently sleeping at about three to four hour clips at a time, which is awesome

Anna also got three shots at her doctor's appointment. Daddy couldn't stomach the idea of seeing her hysterically crying, so I had to stay home. She didn't like the shots much, but according to Angie it wasn't as bad as we expected...but the aftermath was much worse.

Her legs were very sore and you couldn't easily hold her without putting pressure on her thighs...which was so painful for her...and even more painful for me to see her that way. Anna was completely miserable on Friday afternoon before we got her some infant Tylenol...and that seemed to do the trick. By last night she was back to her cute, lovable self and not fussing at all.

The highlight of Anna's doctor appointment though was that the doctor told Angie "You could have an athlete on your hands." The doctor put Anna on her tummy and Anna proceeded to lift her head up completely (almost propping herself up on her elbows) and then kicked with her legs to slide forward. This is very advanced, according to the doctor...and very cool, according to Dad.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Have you ever seen a lassie?

By K.J. Cardinal

The next time you're at my parent's house, ask Andrew "Have you ever seen a Lassie?" I guarantee you'll love the answer.

The cutest little boy in the world has become addicted to Papa's rendition of Have You Ever Seen a Lassie. If you mention the song around him, he walks into Papa's room and points to his guitar on the wall. Obviously, Papa can't resist giving Andrew his "fix", so Papa proceeds to take down his guitar and play the ditty for Andrew.

With Papa finger-pickin' away, Andrew goes to his spot at the foot of Papa's bed, holds on to the bed frame and sways back and forth just like Papa does. All of that is cute enough, but I have two other parts that are my favorite about the whole spectacle...

1) When the song is over, Andrew immediately signs "more" with his hands and Papa plays it again...and when the song is over he signs "more" with his hands and Papa plays it again...and when the song is over he signs "more" with his hands and Papa plays it again...and when the...I think you get the picture. He's addicted.

2) If you're in Papa's room while all this is going on, you better be swaying back and forth or the "Lassie Police" will bust you. While Papa's singing away, Andrew proceeds to scan the room with his big, brown eyes to make sure everyone's swaying away with him and Papa. If you're not, then Andrew just stares at you with a look that makes you give in to his peer pressure and join him and his swaying addiction.

Again, the next time you're at my parent's house, ask Andrew "Have you ever seen a Lassie?" I guarantee you'll love the answer.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Anna turns one month, discovers hands and voice

By K.J. Cardinal

On her one-month birthday, Anna Maria is more alive than ever.

When not eating or sleeping, Anna can be found practicing for her future job as an air-traffic controller and blabbering uncontrollably like an old woman as she has officially discovered her hands and her voice. It's really quite entertaining, as you can see from the video.

After getting off to a slow start on the weight gain, I think she's rounding the bend and closing in on a come-from-behind victory. All she does is eat. And, her intake appears to grow daily too. In the past few days alone she's gone from eating 3 ounces per feeding to 3.5 and now she's over 4 ounces.

Thankfully with the increased eating has also come increased sleeping. The past two nights she's slept for at least four-consecutive hours and I'm starting to feel like Rip Van Winkle. I know that this won't last forever, but Ang and I are loving it while it's lasting. Only feeding her once throughout the night seems like a Christmas miracle compared to the three or four feedings a night that we had to endure just a few weeks ago.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Andrew's Halloween Fun

By Tiffany George

Andrew's 2nd Halloween was spent dressed up as an adorable giraffe. Surprisingly, he didn't mind putting the costume on at all, and even managed to keep the hood on while we were outside. We only intended to visit a few houses to trick-or-treat, but our little man enjoyed the festivities so much that we proceeded much of the way down Dodge Street. Of course Daddy was eager to continue along, knowing that he would benefit from the candy that Andrew scored for him.

As usual, Kim, Darlene, and Gail came over to our house for trick-or-treating since they don't get many visitors at their homes. With our annual dinner, KFC, in hand, trick-or-treating began. Andrew sat in his high chair and peered out the window, hoping to get a glimpse of each costumed kid who ventured onto our front porch. Visibility was low, so we came up with a plan. Each time a child came to our door, Pete would offer them one piece of candy, but told them that he would sweeten the deal if they would wave to the baby in the window. Most kids willingly obliged, giving Andrew the chance to get to see everyone in costume.

After dinner Pete and I took Andrew out while the grandparents manned the fort. Andrew gladly rang each door bell by himself and reached into the candy bowl to grab one treat. At one house they said "do you want another?" and Andrew did the "please" sign indicating he liked their idea...Daddy did too. Andrew carried his Easter basket/Halloween bag around to every house by himself this year, and could even bear the weight of each piece of candy that he got. Last year he could hold his bucket, but dropped it the instant one piece of candy made contact with the plastic. With the candy safely deposited into his bag, he would give a thank you wave to each of our neighbors and we were off to the next house.

I'm not sure if it was the trick-or-treating that rocked his world or just the fact that he got to be outside at night, but either way this kid once again proved to be a little angel.

Once back at home he enjoyed going through his candy. He would take out all of the pieces and then put them back in. It's funny that this year he has no idea what candy is, or that he can open these packages to eat a yummy treat inside, and we're in no rush to teach him. His favorite candy to play with is the mini Crunch bars, and I'm not sure what we'll do if someone accidentally eats them!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

By K.J. Cardinal

The people have spoken and their voices have been heard. With a slim one-vote margin of victory (5-4), Anna Maria's first Halloween is being spent in a chili pepper costume. As you can see, it was a great call.

I don't envision raising Anna in a "reality world" where her blog visitors vote to determine her fate, but based on the results of this, Ang and I are strongly considering it. Could you imagine that? We let the people decide on what she'll wear on her first day of school, on how long she should be grounded when she gets in trouble and who she can date. Definitely has some potential.

Anyway, Anna isn't old enough to enjoy a night of trick or treating or the endless candy that comes along with it, but this will undoubtedly be the most memorable Halloween for Mom & Dad. Instant classic.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A wonderful world

By K.J. Cardinal

Anna's just over three weeks old and she's already experienced a Red Sox World Series. Lifelong Red Sox fans that came before her lived a full life and went to their graves having never witnessed the Sox take home the took Anna a mere 23 days.

Spoiled? Some would say that Boston sports fans these days are spoiled. After all, the Sox have won the World Series twice in the last four years, the Pats are on the verge of becoming the NFL's greatest dynasty of all-time and the Celtics are FINALLY relevant again. While Anna may be spoiled in this regard, I'd like to think that she actually had a little something to do with the Sox luck in the postseason this year.

Born at 5:47 p.m. on October 5, Anna had to wait less than seven hours to experience an unbelievable playoff moment. Angie and I were in our hospital room enjoying the new bundle of joy that we just welcomed to the world as game two of the ALDS was playing in the background between the Sox and the Angels. As the game continued to play out, it started to get more and more attention from Angie and I. A nurse came into our room to check on Angie at the exact time that the Sox were putting together a scoring rally in the bottom of the 9th.

So, here I am holding my newborn daughter, standing directly in front of the television when Anna got her first dose of "Manny being Manny." With two on and two outs, Ramirez sent a rocket over Fenway Park's Green Monster as the Sox "walked off" with the victory. I was probably the happiest person on the planet at that moment.

That's not the end of the story though. On Saturday, Angie dressed Anna up in her pink Daisuke Matsuzaka shirt that Vicky bought her. Dice K responded to Anna's fashion statement by not only throwing 5 1/3 innings of three-hit, two earned run ball, but also knocking in a pair of runs with a single that gave the Sox a 5-0 lead in game three of the World Series.

Anna's definitely spoiled when it comes to the sports bliss that has engulfed Boston these days, but at least she's doing her part and is a total team player. What a wonderful world she lives in.

On a related note, I don't want to give Anna sole credit for the Sox World Series victory, Papa and Andrew can be seen wearing matching Red Sox caps practically every day, so I'd like to think that they had a hand in this thing too.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Forgettable Friday

By K.J. Cardinal

Friday was a day in fatherhood that I'll never forget. Angie and Sammy went to run some errands, so it left "dad" home alone with Anna. It was first.

It was feeding time for Anna, so I warmed up a bottle for her so I could feed her hunger. Things were going smoothly...she was eating quickly and burping frequently. "This is easy," I thought. Anna finished her bottle and was in a full-belly bliss when all hell broke loose.

She coughed once or twice and then the flood gates opened. Anna proceeded to projectile-vomit all over me...and there was a lot of it. I basically aimed her spewing head toward my chest and tightened every muscle in my body. When she was done I just sat there for a second, not quite sure what to do. Her vomit was all over me.

I was careful as I stood up, but luckily (I guess) nothing was on the couch or on the was all caught by my chest and lap. I went up stairs with Anna to give her a bath and change her...but first I had to change myself. Just to give you a good visual, there was so much vomit on me that I had to change my underwear because they were soaked.

I proceeded to give Anna a bath, which she loved, and then went to get her re-diapered and dressed. I set her on the changing table and reached for a diaper. Apparently that diaper was connected directly to the release-valve for her bladder as she then started peeing all over the changing table. Awesome.

I eventually get her diapered up and in clean clothes and we head back downstairs. She now starts fussing because she's hungry again...I thought about ringing my underwear out into a bottle, but decided to just make her a fresh bottle. I fed her again and she actually kept it down this time.

The formula went right through her though as I could easily tell that she was leaving me another surprise in her diaper. I went back upstairs shortly thereafter to change her. I took her diaper off, wiped her bottom and went to reach for another diaper. Apparently this time, the diaper was connected directly to her bowel button as she then began pooping all over the freshly cleaned changing table.

Man, I couldn't win. Maybe she was punishing me for working so much this week or maybe her mother told her to be a handful for daddy. Regardless of what was in her system, it all came out on daddy on a day that will live in fatherhood infamy.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Back to reality

By K.J. Cardinal

Well, the honeymoon's over, so to speak. Anna will be two weeks old tomorrow and it's back to reality for me right now. In order to ensure that I wasn't on the road when Anna was born, I postponed many trips that I knew I would have to make this fall until this week and I'm kind of bumming about it because I don't get to spend as much time with Anna as I'd like.

At 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday I left for Baltimore and didn't get back until last night. Today, I was at Boston University all day and tomorrow I'll be up at UNH all day. Then, on Saturday night I'm at Northeastern, Sunday I'm at UNH again and then Wednesday it's Albany, N.Y. all day. So, unfortunately there's not a lot of time for cute videos or photos of Anna right now.

The good news is that once November rolls around, I think that things will slow down somewhat for me as most of my travel will subside and many of the big graphic design jobs I have will be completed. So, I'll just roll with the punches, but it definitely stinks when I have to go from hanging out with Angie and Anna every day to traveling around the east coast by myself.

This blog has proven to be a savior for me though because I now have a ton of photos and videos of Anna that I've loaded onto my iPod, so anytime I want to see her face or show her off to others, I can just pull my iPod out of my pocket and voila. So, while it's back to reality at least in reality I'm a dork so I can have such cool technology to help me out when I'm missing my girls.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Anna goes to New Hampshire

By K.J. Cardinal

One-week old Anna made her first trip to the Granite State with "Mom & Dad" on Friday. Unfortunately I had to work Friday afternoon/night and all day Saturday at UNH, but Anna and Angie were still able to see some of our favorite people while we were in New Hampshire for just over 24 hours.

Our first stop in N.H. was at the Rochester Manor so Anna could visit her Great Grampa and Great Grammy Arlene. Despite having a broken hip, Grampa was doing extremely well and was so happy that we decided to surprise them with a visit. Unfortunately we couldn't stay and visit too long since I had to work, but nonetheless it was great to see Grampa and for him and Arlene to see their newest great grandchild...Anna's lucky number 13 for them in that regard.

Anna's next and final stop was my parents' house in Farmington. When we arrived, my parents ("Meme" and "Papa") were there along with Aunt Kate, Aunt Tiffany, Uncle Pete and Andrew. As expected, Andrew was such a sweetheart with Anna and the only thing he loved more than giving "baby Anna" a kiss was seeing everyone's reaction to how adorable he is. I posted a small clip of Andrew kissing Anna that's definitely worth taking a few looks at.

Ever since Angie was pregnant, Tiffany had a great idea of getting Andrew a small baby doll (AKA "baby Anna"). She would have Andrew be gentle with "baby Anna" and give her kisses and whatnot. Her "training" worked to perfection as Andrew is so sweet, gentle and cute with her. It's really so cool...that video can't really do it justice.

Anyway, on Saturday, I had to go to work at UNH again, but Anna was lucky enough to have all kinds of visitors. Vicky, Auntie Carol, Auntie Sheila, Auntie Donna and Sophie, Gail (The Cardinal Blogs most active visitor) and Uncle Matt all stopped by on Saturday to meet the latest addition to the Cardinal family.

Angie and I were very happy that Anna traveled well as we always seem to be the family that is on the's what you have to do when both of your families live over an hour away. Anyway, for those of you who missed Anna, I'm sure we'll be back up to N.H. soon and Angie is hoping to take Anna out to Ludlow on Sunday.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Work-at-home Dad

By K.J. Cardinal

Anna is only six days old and I've already been dabbling in my new role as "work-at-home Dad." Angie doesn't have to go back to work until January 2, so the next three months are really my test run, to see if/how I'll be able to handle watching Anna during the day and also getting work done.

I'm not naive enough to think that it's always going to be as easy as sitting indian style on the couch with her in my lap as I design the America East media guide, but for now that seems to be very manageable. Once Angie goes back to work in January, she'll leave the house around 7 a.m. and then reinforcements, in the form of Sammy, will show up around 2:30 p.m. when Sam gets home from school. So, the theory is that I shouldn't have any problems playing man-to-man on Anna for seven and a half hours a day and also getting work done.

The notion of having Angie or I act as a stay-at-home parent has always seemed idyllic to us. It was a no-brainer that I should be the one to give this a shot since I had been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to start my own graphic/web design business and that it wouldn't take much effort for me to successfully launch my own company. So, that's exactly what we are in the process of doing.

Being a stay-at-home dad, or as I'm dubbing myself a "work-at-home dad", has always appealed to me because my mom was a stay-at-home mom and she did an amazing job with us kids :) Her commitment to us and her selflessness to put us before EVERYTHING else is something that I'm not sure is replicable, but I will give it my best shot.

I remember my mother often telling me, "you won't understand until you have kids of your own" and it's becoming increasingly clear that she was always spot on when she would say this. I frequently find myself telling Sammy things that my mom once told me in the exact fashion too and now with Anna, I am also beginning to "understand" because I do have a child of my own. It's a great cycle.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Andrew's Reaction to Anna

By Tiffany George

Andrew wasn't able to meet Anna in person because children were not allowed at the hospital, so his first encounter with his new cousin was via the Internet. Andrew sat on my lap at the computer as I hit play on that very first video of Anna, and his initial reaction was priceless. He instantly moved his face toward the screen to give baby Anna a kiss, and then another and another. What a little sweetie! Hopefully this demonstrates the kind of big cousin (and big brother) that he will be.

Andrew is doing great lately, walking all over the place and truly experimenting with new words like star ("dar"), color, and right there, just to name a few. His favorite things to do nowadays are pointing out stars, playing with the roll of toilet paper, smelling flowers, screaming and waving at airplanes, watching cars go by (particularly big trucks or buses), and listening to the answering machine. He has quite a knack for deleting all of our messages! He also moves his hands in the cutest way to say "where?" if he is looking for something. He also makes this sound where he raises his voice as if to ask the question. When the phone rings he puts his where hand up to his ear to ask who is calling.

He would spend all day outside if Mommy would let him. When he wants to go outside he'll bring me his shoes. If I didn't get the hint, he'll bring me my shoes! He likes to go for walks, sometimes in the stroller, sometimes pushing it from behind with us. We have developed quite the eye for spotting squirrellys, kitty cats, and dogs on our walks. Andrew honestly prefers animals to people, as evidenced by his elation at the petting zoo at the Rochester Fair (we went 4 times).

He is quite the expert at pointing out body parts including eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, ears, head, hair, arms, legs, fingers, tummy, and toes. Once he shows you where one hand is, if you ask "where is the other one?" he's happy to show you that he knows that too. He makes some animals sounds too, like chicken, cow, dinosaur, and owl, but the cutest by far is the little abrupt "baa" that he says for sheep :o)

Gone are the days of gurgling baby sounds and sleeping like a blob in Mommy's arms, but we're happy to say that each moment is still as precious as the last. Enjoy baby Anna, KJ & Angie, because they truly do grow up so fast.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Alas, a beer and a bath

By K.J. Cardinal

Day four of Anna's life was highlighted by two momentus occasions
1) Angie's first beer in nine months
2) Anna's first bath

While Anna's bath was fun (I'll get to that in a second), I loved to see the joy that Angie got out of sucking down a nice cool one...once again reaffirming why I married that girl. Her first beer was a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. For those of you health nuts out there, don't worry, the beer was made with the "purest ingredients" (at least that's what the label said) and, of course, Ang waited over three hours before breastfeeding Anna again.

Earlier in the day, it was all hands on deck for Anna's bath. Ang started with the sponge bath of her body and then Sammy and I came in to close it out by washing her hair together. Anna seemed to dislike the sponge bath because it made her cold, but loved having her hair washed.

Anna met some more of her family today for the first time as her Tio (Uncle) Corey, Tia (Aunt) Lisette and cousins Jaden and Kassie came by along with Lil' Lisa (Corey's girlfriend) and Vo (Grammy) Nezzie. She also met my friend Scott and once again saw Angie's MVF (most valuable friend) Missy, who once again came to the rescue...this time by going to the grocery store for us. Thanks for everything Miss!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Welcome home Anna

By K.J. Cardinal

After spending 54 straight hours at the hospital, it was a real treat for Angie, Sammy and I to finally bring Anna home. The experience at Framingham Union Hospital was great for all of us, and I have a new found respect for nurses, but there's really nothing like being able to enjoy the company of the people you love the most within the confines of your own home.

When we got home, the four of us spent some quality time up in Anna's room...and after about 30 seconds it was apparent that Anna is going to be the luckiest little sister in the world. Sammy was "Johnny on the spot" as she helped us get things squared away in Anna's room. Sammy then helped with the feeding process and then put her to sleep. Anna took to her like she was her own mother, which makes sense because I think Sammy will quickly turn into a mother-like figure for Anna too.

After we were all settled in, Ang finally had an opportunity to take a long-deserved nap with her new little girl. The picture above is worth a thousand words to me, but "lucky" probably best describes how I'm feeling these days. I know I've only been a dad for 48 hours, but I already feel like it's given me a new perspective on things. For instance, I didn't mind at all that I missed nearly all the Patriots game and over half of a Red Sox playoff game or that Anna's length at birth (20.5) may eclipse the number of points my fantasy football team scores this week. Those things just don't seem to matter that much right now.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Anna meets the family

By K.J. Cardinal

While Anna's birthday was so amazing for Angie and I to get to finally meet the newest addition to our family, day two was equally as rewarding to share Anna with our families. As evidenced by this blog (disregard my nerdiness), my parents have really instilled unbelievably high family values into me and my sisters, so nothing meant more to me than being able to introduce them to Anna. She's like the gift that keeps on giving.

Other than having our immediate families visit, day two was rather uneventful and extremely enjoyable. Anna has been making progress on the breastfeeding front and hopefully soon she'll have it down pat. Her weight has dropped to 7 pounds 14 ounces, which is normal, and all other "vitals" are great. Angie is a little sore, but overall doing great too. We will be able to bring Anna home tomorrow.

On a side note, tonight Angie got to enjoy something that she's been longing for ever since she got pregnant...sushi.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Anna begins

By K.J. Cardinal

She's finally here...and boy was the nine-month wait definitely worth it. I'm running on fumes right now after two eventful days that featured a false alarm yesterday and nearly an 11-hour labor session at the hospital today...I can't imagine how exhausted Angie is. So, I will be keeping this post brief. But here's what you need to know...

Anna Maria Cardinal
Born: October 5, 2007
Time: 5:47 p.m.
Weight: 8 lbs 2 ounces
Length: 20.5 inches

Angie is doing great. She was attempting to deliver Anna natural, like Sammy, but after dilating six centimeters, she decided to have the epidural...and what a great decision it was. Angie was actually smiling and laughing between her pushes. I think it probably only took 10 pushes to get Anna out too...that part only took about 10-15 minutes. Anna appears to be very healthy and happy. She has a small little purple raised mark on her nose...which is most likely a popped blood vessel or a blood blister that will clear up.

Here are some pictures. I'm punchin' out.