Thursday, February 28, 2008

Anna eats fruit, Dad's an idiot and more...

By K.J. Cardinal

Another milestone in the trials and tribulations of Anna's eating habits...this week she had fruit.

She's a huge fan of peaches, but we've also fed her pears and apples. I know this may be obvious for some of you, but let me explain what exactly this means for those of you who may be clueless on this topic (like I was a few months ago).

So eating fruit isn't quite what you would expect...we're not handing Anna an apple and she's diving in. Instead, Angie has pureed pears, peaches and apples and put them into ice cube trays to freeze. This way they are in small easy-to-use servings that last a long time. Angie got the idea from my sister, Tiffany, who did this for Andrew, and it works thanks Tiff!

We usually mix a few different cubes of fruit up in a bowl, defrost them and then add a little cereal to thicken it up. She gobbles it right up. When she eats peaches, you really can't shovel it in fast enough. The minute she's swallowed the bite you just fed her, she starts to grunt, looking for more.

One thing that Angie pointed out the other day that is absolutely true is that I look like an idiot while feeding her. I didn't realize I was doing it until Angie mentioned it, but I make weird faces when I'm feeding Anna. It's like I'm trying to mimic with my mouth the motions that she should be making with hers.

I have never seen myself do this, but right when Angie called me out on it, I knew what she meant. The only thing that I think I can equate it to is the look on a drummer's face. Have you ever noticed that drummer's nearly always have a stupid look on their face and make weird expressions with their mouths? It's hard to explain unless you've seen it, but watch Conan O'Brien sometime and watch Max Weinberg on the drums and you'll see what I mean.

A few other things to mention since I haven't posted all week...
- Anna's learning how to "cluck." She just started doing it on her own and hasn't mastered it yet, but she will soon enough.
- Sammy's recovering nicely. She's sick of not being able to eat her normal foods, but other than that all's well.
- Saturday's my 28th birthday and I'll get to spend it with the my family up in Farmington, so it should be a I'll be able to see Andrew!

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Cardinal Vault XIII: The K is for Knievel

By K.J. Cardinal

Not many people know this, but the K in K.J. actually stands for Knievel. As in Evil Knievel. Don't believe me? Well this entry into The Cardinal Vault should help explain.

You see, from a young age, I had this love affair with any sort of all-terrain vehicle (ATV). And, apparently I also had a thing for open-faced helmets (see right) and posing for the camera after I crashed (see below).

So, it should be obvious to all that the K in K.J. clearly stands for Knievel.

OK, well that's not entirely true...the K really stands for Kim, which I'm very proud of despite having a girls name, and my love affair for ATVs came from me wanting to be just like my big cousin Billy who had his own ATV.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Anna finds her feet

By K.J. Cardinal

I'm not sure the significance of the latest development in the World of Anna, other than it makes for cute photos, but Anna has officially found her feet.

A few times over the last week or so she has managed to get her paw on one of her hoofs, but it almost seemed to be by mistake. Between yesterday and today though, she has proven that she has fully mastered the art of grabbing her own feet.

Not only can she grab one foot with two hands (see above), but she can also grab each foot with each hand...two at a time, if you will (see below).

With the natural instinct that Anna has to put anything she gets her hands on into her mouth, I'm sure it's only a matter of days before she starts sucking on her toes. That might not make for the greatest photos, but if/when she starts doing that I'll be sure to post them because at the very least it will freak out Uncle Pete.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Anna gets gas, turns grumpy

By K.J. Cardinal

On several occasions I have described Anna as being easy going unless she's hungry or has gas. Well, yesterday I was able to capture Anna's grumpiness when gassy.

It's not funny when it happens because there's really nothing I can do to help her get through it, but I can't help but laugh after catching her grumpiness in action with the photos below. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Vacation blues: Sammy gets tonsils removed

By K.J. Cardinal

Is there a worse way to spend your eighth-grade February vacation than having a tonsillectomy? I doubt it.

Eighth grade is usually the last time you can truly act like a kid without having people judge you for your childish ways...and now Sammy's last February vacation in her age of innocence will be spent recovering from a tonsillectomy. This isn't the way it's supposed to go down.

Sammy's supposed to spend her last REAL February vacation sleeping in, watching cartoons all day, enjoying her little sister, playing with those toys in the basement that she has forgotten about and doing fun things indoor mini golf. She's not supposed to be laid up in bed, feeling like someone just jammed an auger down her throat. It's really unfair.

This morning Sammy and Angie went to Surgical Care Center in Worcester where Dr. Ralph Iannuzzi performed a tonsillectomy on Sammy. Her appointment was for 9:15 a.m and the actual surgery only lasted 20 minutes, but she didn't leave the hospital until around 2:15 p.m.

So as you can see, not an ideal way to spend your eighth-grade February vacation. At least Sammy gets to eat jello, popsicles and sherbert all day long. Probably seems like a treat at first, but after a day or two, I'm sure she'll be craving some real food. This actually reminds me of the Carnival Cruise that Angie, Sammy and I took back during Sammy's April vacation in 2005.

While aboard the Elation, I bet Sammy that she couldn't go all day eating just soft serve ice cream from the cafeteria. Naturally, Sammy loved the notion of eating ice cream all day long (and Angie being OK with it), so she jumped at the challenge. About six hours and 10 or 12 ice cream cones later, Sammy wasn't feeling so hot and was begging me to let her have some "real" food. I'm sure this is how she will be feeling come tomorrow afternoon.

Anyway, last night Angie told Sammy that for her "last supper" before surgery, she could have whatever she wanted for dinner. I was very flattered when Sammy chose the chicken fingers that I have perfected over the last few months as her dinner of choice...and this is something that I will obviously never let Angie live down.

Between indoor mini golf and chicken tenders, it was a good day for Sammy, but definitely not good enough to make up for the week that lies ahead for her.

So, Sammy's eighth-grade February vacation will be one to remember, but not for those memorable reasons like most kids. At least we have a week trip to our timeshare in New Hampshire, Steele Hill Resort, planned for Sammy's April vacation. We'll be sure that she really goes out with a bang on her final eighth-grade vacation to make up for this week.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Anna & Dad dominate mini golf, Baby Bjorn

By K.J. Cardinal

Adam and I made it back safe and sound from our disastrous trip to Binghamton, getting home around 8 p.m. last night. It was great to be home to see my girls and to hear that Angie and Sammy had conjured up a great President's Day activity for us all to participate in...indoor mini golf.

There's this place in Marlboro called Trombetta's Farm that has a small 18-hole indoor mini golf course. Definitely not award winning by any means, but just the idea of playing mini golf in February is pretty cool, so we figured it would be a good way to spend the late morning.

What was particularly fun was that Anna and I teamed up to play the entire round with her strapped to me in the Baby Bjorn. It was her first time in the Baby Bjorn facing out, so it was only fitting to have her in the Mini-Me set up for a round of mini golf.

When we first got the Baby Bjorn, I swore that I'd never wear it. This was my second time with Anna in the contraption and I must admit that it's pretty cool...because she loves it so much.

We played the first 12 holes with her facing out and she was loving it. So alert, checking everything out, and talking up a storm. Then we could tell that she was getting tired, so we re-adjusted her to face in on the bjorn and she fell fast asleep.

Despite having Anna strapped to my chest and only being able to putt one-handed for the most part, I was still able to squeak out a one-stroke victory over Sammy. Angie was only a few strokes behind in third.

It was definitely a lot of fun and I think that I might start doing more activities with Anna in the Baby Bjorn. Not only because she likes it so much, but also because it's just funny. Doing anything with Anna in the bjorn would be hilarious. Imagine seeing me shovel the driveway or mow the lawn with her in the bjorn. Classic.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A bad brake in Bingo

By K.J. Cardinal

It's 9:46 a.m. and I am coming to you live from the Sears Auto Center in the Oakdale Mall in Johnson City, N.Y. Pack Network was in town for yesterday's America East PackCast at Binghamton University's Events Center.

When we left my house on Friday night I noticed that my brakes appeared to be sticking a little and giving off a slight grinding noise. With a five hour drive in front of us and a later-than-anticipated departure time, Pack Network had to forge ahead with the trip.

We arrived safely at the Howard Johnsons on the Vestal Parkway (one of the worst hotels in America, by the way) around 12:30 a.m., slept for about six hours and then headed right to the Events Center. When we left the hotel for the arena, my brakes had noticeably gotten worse. They were grinding harder and louder and sticking more frequently.

What I should have done was taken the Xterra right to a mechanic to get it checked out, but with a PackCast on the horizon we stayed on course. After the PackCast, we packed up the Xterra and planned to grab a bite to eat before heading home.

As I put the Xterra in drive and started to head out of the Events Center parking lot...things had gotten horribly worse. The grinding was so significant that it took quite a bit of acceleration to even get going and then stopping was loud, choppy and inconsistent.

We still proceeded to head to get some dinner. As we pulled off Vestal Parkway, my brakes were coming and going. Thankfully I was driving slow, but on several occasions my brakes completely cut out...definitely a scary feeling

So, we were forced to get things fixed before the ride home. Being in Binghamton, N.Y. at 5:45 p.m. on a Saturday night, of course nothing was open. We had to get a tow to the Sears and wait for them to 0pen at 9 a.m. this morning to see if they can fix the Xterra.

Norm and Matt got a rental car and headed back to Boston last night as Norm had to work. Adam and I stayed in Bingo for the night. Adam's actually a Binghamton native, so we hung out with some of his old high school buddies last night, crashed at one guys house and now we're both on our dueling laptop and Sprint wireless cards from the waiting room of the Sears at the Oakdale Mall. We're total tools.

Anyway, as I was typing the above, things got progressively worse. The technician, Dwayne, came in to give me an estimate on the work and it's nearly $1K. Sweet! No other place is open today that can fix it, so our options are obviously limited if we want to get home today...which we do.

So, PackCast #8 of 9 was a disaster. Prior to the trip we talked about making the trip into a "Packumentary"...a documentary of the Pack Network trip. Regrettably we did not do so because it would have at least made this unfortunate trip somewhat worth it to have video evidence of this debacle.

Let's hope my next post is from Hudson...I can't take much more of the Southern Tier.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Hooray sleep!

By K.J. Cardinal

Last night marked a significant milestone more so for Angie and I then it was for Anna, but a milestone in Anna's life nonetheless. She slept through the entire her own crib!

Anna has been sleeping in our bed pretty much every night since she was born and sleeping well at that. But, last night Angie decided it would be a good idea to see how Anna would fair in her own bed for a change.

So, we gave her a tubby (pictured above), relaxed on the couch with her for a while and then put her to bed. She slept for about seven hours in her crib. She woke up a time or two, but put herself back to sleep and never once cried.

Initially I didn't want to put her to sleep in her own crib (just yet), but a night of peaceful sleep was great...and once again Mom proved to know best :)

Anna has been sleeping regularly through the night (with an occasional feeding around 3 a.m.), but she kicks, flails and squirms all over the bed, which is enough to wake me up every hour. So, while I like having Anna in bed with us, getting a good night's sleep was much appreciated.

My apologies for a lack of postings the last week or so. Tomorrow marks the fourth PackCast in eight days, so Pack Network has been hectic. On Saturday we were at Hartford, then we were at Vermont on Sunday and Wednesday and we leave for Binghamton tonight. Hopefully next week I will be able to get back into a good bloggin' rhythm.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


By K.J. Cardinal

In a post I did a while back entitled "Cereal: Day 2", I referenced a "wonderful little quip" that my Dad sometimes says, "it was like shoveling shit against the tide." Very fitting for the occasion.

Anyway, from that day on, I began compiling a list of all the wonderful little quips that my Dad has said throughout my life and figured that I really needed to dedicate a post to these sayings, which from here on out I will refer to as "KIMisms". I know that you may have heard some of these KIMisms before, so I'm not saying my Dad made all of these up himself, but rather that he has perfected the use of them and seems to have a bottomless vault of these in his arsenal that he can pull out at anytime.

So without further ado, here are a list of KIMisms - beware they are unedited in my attempt to "keep it real":
- It's like shoveling shit against the tide.
- The only good cat is a dead cat.
- Wound up tighter than an eight-day clock.
- Busier than a one-armed paper hanger.
- It's like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.
- You'll shit too if you eat regular.
- I made out like a bandit.
- Just like a limp dick, can't beat it.
- I'm double-oh H (out of here).
- Dropped your watch (he says this when you're hands are full carrying a bunch of things)
- Neater than a beater.
- Shit-can it.
- Wound for sound.
- That's slick as shit.

I'm sure there are plenty that I'm forgetting, so if you know of a KIMism that I'm missing, please post it in a comment. Also, I have to thank Tiffany and Katie for their help in coming up with this list...they had some doozies I was forgetting.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Cardinal Vault XII: K.J. breaks finger

By K.J. Cardinal

For the 12th installment of The Cardinal Vault, and the second video entry, we travel back to 1987 for these two gems.

Both clips are from my Pee Wee night game when I was seven years old in a classic match-up of Red vs. Yellow. It's great to not only unleash my stellar basketball skills for the world to see on the internet, but also to see my dad and some of his friends as they were involved in the 500 Boys Club in Farmington back in the day.

The first clip is the highlights from the big game. In starts with me winning the prize for selling the most tickets to the game, followed by the Red team starting lineups and ends with me breaking my pinky finger as I sky for a rebound :)

For those of you familiar with the Farm-town crew, take note that Paul Moulton is the emcee of the event, while my Dad (gray sweatshirt with blue sleeves) and Dave Sargent (blue T-shirt) are the refs for the game. Clearly a conflict of interest with my old man as the ref, which is probably why we won by 14 points. For you America East folks out there...yes, Charlie Diehl was assigning officials for the 500 Boys Club in the mid-80s.

The second clip is from the opening tip until when I check out halfway through the first quarter. It's just an unedited snippet to show you the fast-paced action that epitomized 500 Boys Club basketball back in the mid-80s. It's reminiscent of the Lakers' Show Time. Please take note that it takes me approximately seven seconds before I fire up my first shot...I was a gunner.

Also, just because I'm a stat geek, I couldn't help but keep stats in my head as I watched the game in entirety. I'll be honest, for the game I was 0-for-5 from the field with four assists, five rebounds, three steals and three turnovers. My team was up 12-0 with 5:23 to go in the fourth quarter when I break my finger and then the defense fell apart and gives up a basket. Don't worry though, the Red team was able to hang on for the 16-2 victory in my absence.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Anna's sweet dream

By K.J. Cardinal

Just a quick video of Anna having a sweet dream. I love how she smiles, waves her arm and then falls right back asleep. Enjoy!

This Old Guitar, revisited

By K.J. Cardinal

Not to harp on the "This Old Guitar" poster that I made for my dad, but I'm so proud of that thing. That image is my desktop image on my computer, so I see it everyday and it always makes me smile. I have designed a lot of things in my life that I would personally deem "cool", like countless websites, media guide covers, game program covers, logos, a billboard on the Mass Pike, banners that appeared on ESPN & ESPN2, etc. But, this had to be my favorite thing that I've ever designed.

The meaning behind it was really something special that I knew my dad would LOVE. I was also psyched how good the photo of the guitar came out and how the old photo looked in the background. But, I was giddy as a school girl when the FedEx truck pulled up and the driver handed me the tube with the print in it. When I opened up the tube I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. It was awesome.

I know that email, websites and technology in general have taken over the world, but there's nothing quite like holding a printed piece of material in your hand...especially if you've designed it. I love doing this blog because I get to pour tons of my creative energy into it, but seeing designs on screen doesn't hold a candle compared to designing something and then getting to hold the printed piece.

Again, I know I'm a dork, but this is the type of stuff that turns me on...well this and my wife :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Cardinal Vault XI: Chubby Wubby

By K.J. Cardinal

Your wait is finally over and after seeing this post I'm sure you'll agree that adding videos to The Cardinal Vault is arguably the best idea I've ever had.

After milling through VHS tape after VHS tape, I was able to round up tons of great footage that is going to help take The Cardinal Vault to the next level. With so much footage you may think that I had a hard time choosing which video was going to be the first entry into the Vault. But, that was not the case at all.

No matter how many good clips I came across or sequences that I spliced together, nothing seemed to hold a candle to this 25 second clip that features Katie. Every time I see it I can't help but crack up, so I just had to share this joy with you all.

If you know Katie now, then I'm sure you can imagine that she was a cute kid since she's so beautiful. But, I really think she was the cutest kid ever. As if her big brown eyes, chubby cheeks and freckles (AKA "fly poops") weren't enough, Katie had (and still does have) the best personality of all time.

If you don't believe me, take a look at this and you'll be saying the same thing. An instant classic and a no-brainer for the first video entry into The Cardinal Vault.

I really hope you all enjoy this video because there is plenty more of Katie where that came from. She seems to be the central figure in a lot of these videos, so she'll be back frequently for more video vault entries.

In related news...
I'd like to thank my buddy Steve Lemon of the world renown Come to the Pooks blog for coming to the rescue for a fellow blogger. Steve read that I forgot the VCR up in New Hampshire and he saved the day by letting me use his. So, if it wasn't for Steve, the video debut in The Cardinal Vault would have undoubtedly been delayed a few more weeks. Thanks Steve!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Easy-going Anna turns four months

By K.J. Cardinal

Today marks Anna's four-month birthday and she's really developing into quite a wonderful little girl. Just four months into her life, it's obvious that we have really been blessed with such an amazing baby.

I don't want to jinx it (like how my Brokeback K.J. post prompted Heath Ledger to kick the bucket and Tom Brady to lose in the Super Bowl - talk about awful luck on my part), but I would say that we couldn't ask for a better baby than how Anna has been.

Those of you who have met her and spent some time with her know exactly what I'm talking about. Anna is always in a good mood, doesn't mind being held by anyone, wakes up with a smile on her face and only fusses if she's really hungry or has bad gas.

All of the baby-step transitions that she has gone through to date have gone flawlessly. Sure she struggled with her cereal on the second attempt, but she is a pro now. She opens up big and wide and is eating more than expected.

She is easy to feed, easy to put to sleep, easy to give a bath, easy to take to new places and easy to have fun with. If I had to describe her in a phrase it would definitely be "easy going."

Take yesterday for instance. Anna was in a great mood until noon and was then a little cranky after lunch (probably because she had gas). Angie came home from work to take Anna to her four month check-up. Anna got four shots (two in each leg) and came home in one of the best moods she's ever been in. She's just so easy going.

Anyway, her check-up went great. She weighs 15 pounds, 1.5 ounces and is turning into a big girl. She is in the top 80% in weight, top 90% in length and 75% in head circumference (insert dirty joke here). Other than her chubby cheeks, she's really not a chubby baby, so I think that she's going to be a big girl...I better start teaching her a jump-hook as soon as she can walk.

Again, I hope this post doesn't jinx it, but Anna's easy-going ways have made the first four months a real treat.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Urban is legend

By Katie Cardinal

G'day fellow bloggers! It's Katie, and yes this is my first actual post here on TheCardinalBlog. I'm a rookie, so give me a break this time, ok?

So today I'm here not to brag about my cuter than cute nephew or my precious niece, but to tell you about an extraordinary concert my BILS (aka Indianapolis...aka Valerie) and I went to on Friday night. That's right ladies and gents, it was the moment I had been waiting for - KEITH URBAN!!!

As many of you may know, I am ABSOLUTELY infatuated with Keith Urban (judging by the size of the shrine I have in my room for him). Ever since I first heard him on the radio a few years ago and looked him up online to see how absolutely goregous he is, I've been hooked. Fortunately, I was able to get concert tickets in August at the DCU Center in Worcester to go with my best friend Bre, and THIS time I got to go with Val and see him AND Carrie Underwood at Mohegan Sun!!!

After leaving the house at about 2 p.m. on Friday, stopping at Dunkin Donuts for a nice hot coffee, and driving extra careful on the ice-covered roads, I arrived at Val and Brian's ADORABLE apartment at approximately 4:30. After getting the grand tour and packing some snacks, Val and I embarked on our "Once in a Lifetime" journey..haha..yes, I know I'm queer.

Leaving Val's around 5 p.m., we got to Mohegan Sun around 6:45 to wait for the 7:30 concert. After buying a spankin' new Keith Urban shirt and matching earrings, we went down to our FLOOR tickets that were closer than either of us had imagined. Having gone to a concert at the DCU Center before, I knew the layout of the stage (having the stage at the end with a "runway," if you will, and a big circle at the end to perform on) but I certainly did not count on how small the Mohegan Sun Arena was! We were the first section of our row to the left of the runway, and we were ready to dance!

The first act of the night was our very own American Idol, Carrie Underwood. WOW IS SHE BEAUTIFUL! She has such a great voice, changed her wardrobe a total of FIVE times, and was just amazing. The only disappointing part was that the people in the audience wanted to show more respect for Keith than Carrie, so kind of refused to stand up and dance when she was performing. Fortunately, I'm a goofball anyways and just got up and acted like an idiot - dancing and having fun.

So Carrie played for like an hour, and during her last song Val and I noticed that the last row of seats RIGHT on the "catwalk" were empty. So, being the sneaky little characters we are, we went over there to "take pictures" of Carrie Underwood and try to keep the seats when Keith came out. Needless to say, two other girls beat us to the first two seats, but we were next in line. Once Carrie was done performing, I (naturally) had to go to the bathroom, so Valerie stayed at the seats. When I returned, I thought I was going to kiss Val - the two girls closest to the stage had left, and Val swooped in for the attack. THAT'S RIGHT, WE HAD SEATS RIGHT AT THE CATWALK FOR THE ENTIRE KEITH URBAN CONCERT!!!

Seriously, it was one of the best nights in my entire life (only second to the FIRST Keith concert I went to). Not only did I get to see and hear the man of my dreams for over two hours, but also got to hold his hands a few times, got his playlist at the end of the concert (to make KJ proud, of course), AND CAUGHT KEITH'S PICK. Yes, yes, yes...the very pick he played his bass guitar with and put it in his mouth so he could finger pick. It was AWESOME!!! So now I have even MORE stuff to add to my shrine, along with some heart-shaped confetti that fell from the ceiling at the close of the concert.

With the help of the best brother in the world, I've put the youtube clip that I shot of Keith Urban playing my future wedding song (keep our fingers crossed) "Memories of Us." This song was acoustic and Keith performed it at the end of the catwalk, so you get a nice view of his butt the entire time :) I hope you all like it, and I strongly suggest you hit up a Keith Urban concert ASAP. Oh, and if you know of one around here...let me know! I'd pretty much be willing to go broke to see him that close yet again :)

** Unfortunately youtube made me remove this video...sorry **

Mom attacks Anna

By K.J. Cardinal

Not too much needs to be said about yet another adorable video of Anna. She's so much fun. Enjoy!