Sunday, December 28, 2008


By K.J. Cardinal

At 8:04 p.m. local time (1:04 a.m. EST), I touched down in Honolu...I'm finally here!

Not too much to report just yet as I am currently in a cab on my way to the house. But, in a welcomed twist of fate, my suitcase was the first bag to come out on the carousel, which was awesome. I've done my fair share of traveling, but never once has this happened to me.

Anyway, this post is really just to let people (READ: my mom) know that I am alive and well. So far I've been able to live up to the theme of this Surf with Murph trip, which Adam came up with, and that's "Stay Alive!"

I'll post more when I can. Aloha!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


By K.J. Cardinal

I am on a two-hour layover in the San Francisco Airport, on my way to Hawaii, and I decided to take the Christmas photos off my camera. I found this one and just couldn't wait to post it as it is just so great.

Even though Tiffany's my sister and all, I have no problems saying that both of these girls are absolutely gorgeous. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

One for me, one for you

By K.J. Cardinal

While we were out and about yesterday doing some Christmas shopping, we had lunch at Uno's at the Blackstone Valley Shops in Millbury. Anna was quite the sharer.

After eating, we ordered an apple dessert with Anna in mind, since she usually loves apple pie, apple crisp, etc. Well, she wasn't really enamored with the dessert itself, but she was really into sharing.

So I tried to go "one for me" and "one for you" with Anna. She didn't really want to eat any of it, but she was all about jamming her spoon into it and shoving it into my mouth...see below.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snow angel

By K.J. Cardinal

Well today was the first real day that Anna went out in the snow. Of course she's been outside while it's snowing, but it was the first time that she got to walk around with snow on the ground.

As you can see below, she hated it. Just kidding, obviously, she loved it. In fact, she loved it so much that she started to cry when we put her in the car because she didn't want to stop playing in the snow.

Anna's recovering from some sort of fever that she's had on and off over the past four days, so we didn't want to have her spend too much time outside. But, we're hopeful that she remains healthy for the rest of the day today and then we'll probably get her in her snowsuit and get right into the white and fluffy stuff tomorrow.

Anna eats grapes, talks

By K.J. Cardinal

Earlier this week I wrote about how Anna has turned into a Little Miss Chatterbox, well if you were skeptical of the vocabulary of the 14-month-old Anna, then just take a look at the video below as your visual evidence.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Holidays!

By K.J. Cardinal

We decided to email out our holiday card this year. So, pretty much every single person in my address book will receive the card below later today. Happy Holidays!

The Best of The Cardinal Blog: 2008

By K.J. Cardinal

It's once again that time of year to look back on the year that was on The Cardinal Blog. I know we still have over a week until 2009, but with my trip to Hawaii on the horizon, I want to be sure to get this out there before the New Year is upon us.

Year two of The Cardinal Blog really saw things hit a new high on many levels:
• For starters there were over 160 posts in 2008, compared to just 39 in 2007.
• Videos became the rave for 2008 as 46 were posted, compared to just 11 in 2007.
• The Cardinal Vault feature debuted on January 1, 2008 and has been a runaway success.
• Tiffany got the "blog bug" as she has turned into a regular contributor...and a good one at that.
• TCB Followers were introduced and currently number five.

So, as you can see it was a busy year right here and people took notice. While 2007 brought about 2,000 hits to the blog, 2008 had more than an impressive 15,000 hits. I know that probably 11,000 of these are from Meme and Gail refreshing frantically to get the latest updates on their grandkids, but it's still 15,000 hits nonetheless.

Here are some more numbers to show the Best of the Cardinal Blog: 2008.

The Top-5 Most Viewed Videos 0f 2008
1. 2008 NBA Finals Game 1 (6,776 views)
2. Chubby Wubby (1,427)
3. Mom Attacks Anna (287)
4. Anna Sings Out (215)
5. Motorboard (167)

The NBA Finals Game 1 video was obviously a big hit for youtube viewers and was also the second-best sporting highlight of my life...only being trumped by the title-clinching game 6 that I also went to in 2008. The Chubby Wubby had a ton of hits and that has a lot to do with the power of Katie's facebook page. She posted the link there and tons of Katie's friends watched the video.

The Cardinal Blog's Most Commented Posts of 2008
1. Two years and she has yet to change the locks (5 comments)
2. KJ wins inaugural NYE decathlon (5)
3. Many more tied with 4 comments

Even though "Two years and she has yet to change the locks" had the same number of comments as "KJ wins inaugural NYE decathlon", I had to give the top spot to "Two years..." because most of the "NYE Decathlon" comments were in regards to the rummy ruling that took place that day. Which reminds me, Gail, Jenny, Jamie and're all still wrong.

Looking back on 2008
The year in itself had many "bloggable" moments for the Cardinal family, most naturally-occurring, but a few were "man made". Whether relating to kids, sports, travel or business, 2008 was action packed. Pack Network took off in 2008, leaving the blog in shambles at times, but I recovered nicely after each lull as the low-water mark for number of posts in a month was eight (July).

The summer is my slow time for work, so it goes to show you that I apparently have so much fun in the "off-season" that I often neglect the blog. We also see my family more in the summer, so I don't feel the need to blog as much to keep Meme in the loop with what's going on because we are seeing her so much.

My personal blog favorites of 2008
Favorite Post: Happy half-birthday Anna
Favorite Video: Chubby Wubby
Favorite Photo: Anna (9/11/08)
Favorite Comment: Katie's comment on "The birds"

I think "Happy half-birthday Anna" is my favorite post of the year because it's just very heartfelt and truthful. I still have the same exact feelings today that I had the day that I wrote it...Anna, you're the best thing ever. There were tons of cute videos of Anna in 2008, but the Chubby Wubby video of Katie is hysterical. I challenge you all to try to watch it right now and not laugh out can't be done. My favorite photo never actually appeared in a post, but rather was a "Photo of the Week" entry. Katie's comment on "The birds" post about my dad and his love for music is so true and couldn't be put any better. Thanks for writing that Kater, but more importantly, thanks Dad for making us all feel that way.

Looking ahead at 2009
The Cardinal Blog obviously made many leaps and bounds in 2008 and it will be hard to trump in 2009, but I'll do my best. When I go to Hawaii on Dec. 27, I will be attempting to debut live video streaming through the blog I have set up for the trip ( If all goes well there, then I could easily see some live video streaming come to The Cardinal Blog in 2009. I also posted one voicemail message in 2008 and hopefully I can do more of those in 2009.

Let me know if you have any ideas of how I can make the blog better. I know "content is king", so posting more frequently would obviously be the best thing, but new cool features are always fun too.

Lastly, I have to give a special thanks to my family for being the inspiration of this blog. I know this blog can often seem like a big love affair between all of us, but that's because our real lives are that way. My family is the greatest in the world and the best part of that is that we all know it and all appreciate it. Being a father for over a year now has made family become even more important to me and I'm so proud to be able to share my entire family with everyone through this blog.

Best wishes to a happy and healthy 2009. Blog on!

Please feel free to comment on your favorite Cardinal Blog moments from 2008 by clicking on the comments link below.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Cardinal Vault XIX: Smile Santa, please!?

By K.J. Cardinal

The 19th installment into The Cardinal Vault takes us back to December of 1982 (I think) and fittingly it somewhat celebrates the holiday season that is upon us.

I believe (and maybe my mother can confirm) that this was taken a few weeks prior to Tiffany's fourth birthday and a few months before my third. Regardless, Tiffany and I seem rather content to be sitting on the lap of this angry Santa.
Seriously sir, can't you muster a smile?!?! I mean, you should have known that someday the little boy on your right knee would post this on his blog and rip you to shreds for looking pretty creepy. I give you props for the quality effort put into your hair and beard, but if you don't smile like Saint Nick, then you can't sell it.

If you were the real Santa, then you'd be celebrating the joyous occasion of having such a cute girl sitting on your lap with a vintage Strawberry Shortcake shirt on...not to mention the preppy little fella on your other leg, rocking a collared shirt under a V-neck sweater. If those two don't put a smile on your face, then I don't know what could.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Anna's first battle scar

By K.J. Cardinal

On Sunday, Angie, Anna and I went to a holiday party at our friends John & Julie's house and Anna came away with her first real battle scar.

Sure she's bumped her head here or there and got an occasional bruise on her shin or something, but this was her first bonafied "a little bit harder and I would've needed stiches" type of injury. Anna was running around the house pretty much all afternoon and having a great time with all the kids that were there.

In the midst of the chaos, Anna didn't realize that this drop-down leaf of this desk had been pulled out and she ran right into the corner of it. As you can see, it's an L-shaped mark that slightly broke the skin.

She took it like a champ though. She cried for a minute or so, but then was right back down on the floor running around with all the kids. We tried to ice it a little bit, but she wasn't really having it. She just wanted to get back out there and have fun.

Like I always say, it's not a party unless someone gets hurt. OK, so maybe I don't always say that, but maybe I should start. It seems like at every good party an injury of sorts (mostly self-inflicted) occurs...and the Ruppert's holiday gathering was no exception.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Little Miss Chatterbox

By K.J. Cardinal

Not even 15-months-old yet and Anna has already turned into Little Miss Chatterbox.

Anna has been vocal for months and months now, but over the last month-plus she has actually developed her little own vocabulary. There are probably only a handful of words that a stranger could decipher, but if you spend enough time with Anna, you'll quickly be able to speak her language.

I'm not really sure what her first word was, but the first word that she consistently says and knows exactly what it means has to be "ice". As depicted in the "Mmmm Ice" video, Anna clearly loves ice, so whenever she sees me taking a sip of a drink in a glass, whether there's ice in it or not, she'll say "I...I...I...I...I". Again, not the full word, but it's Anna's own language.

Below is a list of the rest of the words in the Unabridged Anna Dictionary. The word/sound in parenthesis is how she actually says it.

Dad (Da)
Mom (Mom, Ma)
Sammy (Sa)
Papa (Pah Pah)
Meme (Me)
Ice (I)
Please (Plea)
More (Mo)
Up (Uh)
Down (Dow)
Out (Ow)
Light (Yight)
Milk (Mil...easily confused with Mom or More)
Water (Wah wah)
Cheese (Cheeeeee)
Grape (Gape)
Gone (Go)
Pretzel (Pret)
Splash (Spash)
No (usually said repeatedly...No no no no)
Rock Rock (Gawk gawk)
JuJu (Angie's niece Julia...AKA JuJu)
Ryan (Rya...Angie's nephew)
Doo (short for Andrew)
Scott (Cot)

That's a pretty extensive vocabulary (I think) for such a young kid. All day she's constantly talking to herself and she can often be seen picking up a book, magazine or piece of paper and "reading" it aloud.

On a side note, I had to include that "Little Miss Chatterbox" graphic at the top just for Tiffany. I remember when we were growing up that she had that book.

Monday, December 15, 2008


By Tiffany George
Andrew (2 1/2 years) and Natalie (8 months). Notice Andrew's hand around his sister. Too cute!

Moving in December?!? Yes, that's right, Pete and I made the plunge to move to Northwood just over a week ago. We did a lot of research into school systems, and a lot of soul searching to decide what we felt was best for our family, and Northwood came out on top. We decided that we only wanted to move once, and we like the school system the best here, so here we are in Northwood, NH. We were not intending to move at this time of year, but this house just came along and took us by storm! Our house is just what we were looking for and the kiddos seem to be adjusting just fine too. We are probably most excited about things like a big silverware drawer, a dishwasher that works well, having a basement, a garage...and did I mention a basement and garage?! Not having to scrape ice off from the van in the freezing cold the other made me incredibly grateful already!

One very cool thing about our house is that through our backwoods there is a farm with horses. Andrew thinks this is unbelievable, and riding his horse Butterscotch has really taken on a new meaning!

Andrew was fine with leaving Dodge Street. I spent a lot of time prepping him for the move and it seemed to go as well as we could have hoped. That first day he kept saying "no go home, no go home" as nightfall approached, and he was saying it in a hopeful way, like please let us stay here. It was priceless. Since then he has asked to go back to Dodge several times, mainly if we are in the car and we are headed home, but he seems to be okay with living at the new house now.

Here he is carrying our flag as we left Dodge Street. You can see him waving good bye with his cute little hand.

Not surprisingly, Natalie was her little cute happy self about the move, as usual.

He seemed a bit perplexed by the new house at first, but both he and Natalie certainly like their new playroom. Katie and I worked very hard to get the playroom together on Thursday before the kids got to see it on Friday, so I'm glad that they love it so much.

This pretty much sums up the kids' reaction to new playroom that first day:

I don't have a picture of it yet, but you can see these little square mirrors on the wall behind Natalie. She loves to smile and giggle at the cute baby in the mirror. Sometimes she seems to be looking behind the wall to see where that baby is. She is so adorable.

Aside from 2 1/2 days of having no power, life is pretty much carrying on as usual here in Northwood. Thanks to Mom, Dad, Pete, Gail, and Katie, we were able to get most of our stuff unpacked over the first few days. Most everything is put away where it belongs aside from the office, craft room, and a few boxes in our bedroom. We have realized that hiring a moving company was probably some of the best money we could have ever spent! I'm sure our relatives agree :o)

Though we didn't need help in moving all of our boxes and furniture, it still took A LOT of help to get our house to its current state! From babysitting and box moving to our own meals on wheels, our families really came through in the clutch! Also, thanks to our good friend Todd who helped Pete haul a ton of boxes the day before the moving company came!

To keep some normalcy to our lives, we of course had to get our Christmas tree. Despite the rain, Andrew picked out a perfect tree, and he had an absolute blast decorating it, as the photos show. Natalie wants to attack the tree, but she is learning.Do you like this ornament Mommy? How about I put it right here? (D here, as he likes to say for some weird reason)

Wow! I did it!In our attempts to keep Natalie away from the Christmas tree, she loves to play with the play table. Since crawling is now old-hat for her, she is now mastering pulling up to standing!Here are a few other Christmas shots that I took in an attempt to get the perfect shot. I feel that they are all just perfect, so I am sharing lots. Enjoy!Gotta run! Please let us know if you want to come check out our new pad. Andrew loves to show it off!

Happy birthday Mom!

By KJ Cardinal

I know this post is coming a week late, but I'd be remiss if I didn't publicly acknowledge that last Monday was my mom's birthday.

Anna, Sammy and I ventured up to New Hampshire to surprise "Meme" by going out to dinner w/ the rest of the Cardinal/George clan. Angie had to work late, so unfortunately she couldn't make it.

We had an awesome dinner at Johnson's on Route 4 (thanks Dad!) and it was so great to spend the evening with my mom on her birthday. With my busy winter work schedule I don't always get to see her on her special day, but I love it when I can.

It was a great day because not only did we get to celebrate Meme's birthday, but we also got to see Tiffany and Pete's new house in Northwood. It's so nice! I'd like to go into detail about the house, but I'm hoping that Tiff will submit a post on her new crib sometime soon, so I won't spoil it.

Anyway, Happy Birthday Mom. I was going through photos that I took that day and somehow there were none of you?! What the heck was I thinking?!?! So, you'll all have to settle with the photo of me and "Nat Nat" below. Isn't she the cutest?

Friday, December 5, 2008

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas...

By Katie Cardinal

Hello all! Sorry I haven’t been on here for a while. I’ve been so busy with schoolwork and working at the Roadhouse that I haven’t really gotten a chance to read, let alone post on the Cardinal Blog for a while. So here, I will make up for lost time!

As you all know, I FINALLY turned the big 2-1 last Thursday!!! I’m pretty sure my brother has been waiting for that day since I was about 10 years old, bringing him and his friends up beers from downstairs and playing “The Cardinal Puff” with my nice tall glass of Diet Coke.

Anywho, on my actual birthday I went to work at Coe Brown in the morning just to see Mom, Dad and the girls. Then I went to my one class for the day and got out early to go to a concert with one of my best friends, Sydney. She works at the Roadhouse with me and is an absolute riot – you’d all love her!

So I got out of class like a half hour early in order to make it to Lowell for the Lady Antebellum / Jason Aldean concert. For those of you who know my taste in music, you know that I absolutely LOVE country music, and that Lady Antebellum is my favorite group in the whole wide world (EXCEPT KEITH URBAN OF COURSE). The wicked sweet thing about the concert is that I’m a nerd, so I’m a member of the Lady Antebellum Fan Club, meaning I got a chance to apply for a Meet & Greet before the show... and guess what – I GOT IT! So Sydney and I got there super early and got to go into a neat little private room to meet Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley.

Let me tell you…these boys are FIIIIINE in person. So as you can imagine, Sydney and I were on cloud nine before the concert even started. After the Meet & Greet I went out to the FULL BAR and ordered my first ever (legal) alcoholic beverage in the U.S. I wasn’t really sure what to order, so I told the nice lady to make me whatever she thought would taste good. She fixed me up a Sex on the Beach, and when she found out it was my 21st birthday, she gave it to me for FREE!!! Awesome way to start off the night!

So the concert started around 7:30, and the sneaky little devils that Sydney and I are... we naturally ended up FRONT ROW for Lady Antebellum. At this point the guys in the band know what losers we are and how much fun we have at their concerts, so they were TOTALLY making us go crazy. Right at the beginning of the show Charles (lead singer) came over to me and sang RIGHT at me with a little wink at the end. Yes, I almost died.

So once Lady Antebellum finished their set (they played about ten songs... I know because I got a set list) we went out to the bathroom before Jason Aldean came on. Unfortunately, in leaving the front stage position for a bit, we lost our terrific placement, but were able to weasel our way back to the second row by the time Jason finally hit the stage. To be completely honest, Lady Antebellum blew Jason Aldean out of the water as far as the concert was concerned, but Jason was still really great. He had a little trouble with his volume stuff at the beginning of the night, but by the end of the concert he was spot on. Fortunately, I had done all of my Jason Aldean homework... to the tune of ONLY letting myself listen to his CDs in my car for three weeks... and actually knew all the words to every song he sang – now THAT’S dedication. The awesome thing is at the end of the concert he was going and shaking people’s hands and stuff and there were a ton of girls all in front of me putting their hands up and I was like, what the heck... I will too. So he came over, and rather than like giving everyone a hi-five, he came over, grabbed my hand for a good ten seconds, looked straight into my eyes, and did this cute little look. So yes, I know I’m really gay, but Jason Aldean and I had a “Moment!”

Wow, that was long, sorry...

So on Friday night my friends and I went out to Portsmouth to REALLY celebrate my birthday. The Crew consisted of: Me, Mom, Dad, KJ, Angie, Sammy, Anna, Mike Gilmore, Caitlin, Jason, Evan, CJ, Brent, Lorraine, Rich, Norrene, Dustin, Mike, Doc and Josh. The awesome thing is that we stopped at Margaritas first to get a drink and to say hi to Caitlin, and Tiffany surprised me to buy me my first shot! So the first actual shot I had was called “Rough Sex.” I’m not exactly sure what was in it, but Mike Gilmore and I shared it, linking arms of course, and it was my first real shot as a 21 year old. Since the bartender gave me that one for free, Tiffany wanted to think of a really awful one for me to have to try to knock me out before my night had even started. Brent’s genius idea was this really bad named shot that consisted of Johnny Walker, Jim Beam, Jose Cuervo and Jack Daniels. OH MY GOODNESS WAS IT AWFUL!!! I took it like a champ though, and it didn’t even knock me out!

After Margaritas we went to the Roadhouse for me to have a few more drinks and get on the saddle. I thought it was SO nice that all the waitresses came out for me to get on the saddle. Working there, I know it’s like pulling teeth to get people to follow you to go do a birthday, so thanks all of my Roadies for coming out. So at the Roadhouse I had a frozen 1800 Jamaican Cowboy Margarita (I highly recommend it), a GIGANTIC Kamikaze shot with Dustin, a Strawberry Daiquiri, a Butterball shot, and I want to say one or two others. Keep in mind, I had been eating drunk gummy bears all night... so I was feeling pretty fine by the time we left the Roadhouse.

From the Roadhouse we stopped at our Hotel (thanks Evan) for a bit, then went out to the Gas Light. I know it wasn’t really my Dad’s thing, so thanks so much for sticking around and checking your coat in, but it was pretty fun. I only danced a little bit, but it was fun just to kind of hang out with everyone and get drinks all night. Best part of the Gas Light: Lorraine Bell. Haha... she was a little bit schnuckered by the end of the night and was absolutely HILARIOUS. From the Gas Light we just hung out at the Hotel Room and had a gay old time.

As a little tidbit to add in, on Saturday my friends also threw me a little bash at Evan’s house. Caitlin got me this AWESOME Keith Urban picture for my birthday that I’ve been wanting for months now. CJ made me a pretty sweet penis cake... yes, you heard that right, and got me a gift card to go get some bras at Victoria Secret, since I normally don’t spend more than $6 on them.

Ok, so the week after my birthday, Mom, Angie, Ashley Park, and I went to VEGAS BABY!!! We decided to make it just a girls trip this time and boy was it FUN!

We left at the crack of dawn on Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) morning. We were flying on Jet Blue out of Boston at 6:05 and arrived in Las Vegas around 10:30. After getting our bags, checking in at Paris and taking a few showers, we were ready to hit the strip. Due to the time difference we were all absolutely starving so we decided to hit up Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. I love that place! It’s so neat inside with all the planes and cool music and the food wasn’t too shabby either. After eating we decided to hit the RIGHT side of the strip from our hotel, so we went to the Flamingo, the Venetian, the Wynn and all of those fun places. Unfortunately it was raining that day, so it was a little chilly around the edges to be outside. We were all super tired from the flight and everything so we decided to turn in early on Thursday night so we could party hard on Friday.

Friday morning I got up at like 6:30 and went downstairs to find Mom. When I found her she had already been gambling for a little bit and her breakfast consisted of two alcoholic beverages – I knew we were in for a great day!!! On Friday we decided to hit the LEFT side of the strip. We went to M&M World (where we have a pretty awesome picture of us all in a photo booth), the Coca-Cola store (where we tried al the floats from around the U.S), MGM Grand, the Luxor, Excalibur and New York New York. Probably the best part about the day besides the fact that we drank from seven in the morning until three the next morning, was when we went into the Excalibur and looked for a snack. Mom, for some reason, had a craving for McDonalds and I went with Angie over to the Krispy Kreme shop. When we got the doughnuts I asked the lady for one of the wicked sweet hats they have. She gave me one, and I naturally put it on Mom’s head. Little did I know that she would keep it on for the next SEVERAL hours walking around Las Vegas. It was absolutely HILARIOUS watching people look at her like she was regarded. I’ll have to find a picture of it somewhere because it is absolutely priceless.

On Friday night Angie had planned a special trip for me off of the strip to this place called Stoney’s. It’s a really cool country western bar that has line dancing and yes, a mechanical bull! So after learning several new line dances (including one to one of my favorite Lady Antebellum songs) and drinking many, many drinks... the mechanical bull was ready for service! Knowing that I wanted to make it back to the strip before 11, I decided to be the very FIRST rider of the bull. I had to sign a consent form and all of that fun stuff, and climbed on the bull for a ride of a lifetime! First the guy started me off with a stupid vibrating bull just to make my boobs go everywhere, then he put it on at like medium speed. I was doing well until the controller got my attention and waved “bye-bye” to me. I looked at him and said, “Just don’t knock my teeth out please.” With a smile and another wave he kicked the bull in full gear. I made it almost two times around when I went flying off the bull onto the padded flooring. It was SO MUCH FUN I couldn’t even believe it. Unfortunately, after seeing me get thrown, Ashley chickened out, so we got our things and headed back to the strip.

One of Ashley’s long lost dreams was to one-day dance on the bar at Coyote Ugly. Fortunately, they had a Coyote Ugly at New York New York, so Ashley’s dream was about to come true. Upon entering the bar, Mom and I were a little terrified. It was all about just watching the scantily clad girls dancing on the bar to awful music, and Mom and I didn’t really want much to do with it. After a half hour or so Mom left to go do some more gambling and Ashley finally got on the bar. I believe she danced to a Journey song (Matt would be so proud) and it was so hilarious. After she danced on the bar we had a few jell-o shots and SOMEBODY let the cat out of the bag that it was my 21st birthday (cough-Angie-cough). Once the girls on stage found that out, there was NO WAY I was leaving that place without getting on the bar. The great thing about dancing on the bar is that our Coyote Ugly girl LOVED us and just fed us free shots all night – YIPPEE!!!

After almost falling off the bar due to my intoxication, we decided to walk back to the hotel. On the way back we stopped at this really cool danced club called Diablo. It was so much fun in there, but my feet were absolutely killing me. As gross as this sounds, once we let Diablo I decided to walk with just my socks on to Paris – boy that was a long walk!!!

Saturday was pretty low-key for us all. We were all pretty tired from the night before and were just kind of waiting for our red-eye flight that would depart at 11:10. We did a little shopping on Saturday, watched the Bellagio water show, and did a little gambling. Angie seemed to be the lucky winner of the trip when it came to gambling – CONGRATS ANG!!!

Needless to say, we arrived home on Sunday morning absolutely pooped. I don’t think my legs have hurt that badly since volleyball tryouts freshman year. It was a FANTASTIC trip and I can’t thank Mom, Angie and Ashley enough for coming with me to make my birthday trip to Vegas absolutely perfect. Next time, Tiffany is coming!!!!

Oh, and as one last note….KEITH URBAN IS GOING BACK ON TOUR IN MAY!!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

The birds

By K.J. Cardinal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kater turns 21

By K.J. Cardinal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The BIG 21

By Tiffany George

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

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

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

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

I love you Sister.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Anna Potato Head

By K.J. Cardinal

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

Friday, November 14, 2008

PackCasts in NJ

By K.J. Cardinal

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Cardinal Vault XVIII: Vintage Vegas

By K.J. Cardinal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Daycare update

By K.J. Cardinal

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Anna goes to daycare

By K.J. Cardinal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 3, 2008

Anna and Rocky

By K.J. Cardinal

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trick or treat for 2

By Tiffany George

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

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

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

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

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