Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Best of The Cardinal Blog: 2009

By K.J. Cardinal

I know you've all been anxiously awaiting the year-end review of The Cardinal Blog, so without further ado... here it is.

The final year of the decade was certainly a memorable one for The Cardinal Blog and arguably the best year since the blog's inception back in the Summer of 2007. Sure, a busier year for me professionally yielded fewer blog posts and videos than a year ago, but we're here for quality, not quantity.

Perhaps the biggest innovation/addition to The Cardinal Blog in 2009 was the cross-marketing done through facebook. I caved to the masses and finally joined the facebook world and I have since set it up to automatically share all blog posts as a facebook note. This opened up the blog to a whole new audience. While I cannot quantify the numbers of hits on my facebook notes, based on the number of comments, there are clearly more people following the chronicles of the Cardinal family via facebook than on TheCardinalBlog.com.

2009 Inside the Numbers
• 119 blog posts (compared to 160 in 2008)
• 41 videos (compared to 46 in 2008)
• 15,000 hits (compared to 15,000 in 2008)
• Busiest month: April (17 posts)
• Slowest month: November (4 posts)

The Top-5 Most Viewed Videos of 2009
1. Stuck in the Mud (694 views)
2. Pool with Mommy (232 views)
3. I scream you scream (153 views)
4. Suzanne & Chris: The Wedding Song (138 views)
5. Chit chat (114 views)

The Cardinal Blog's Most Commented Posts of 2009
1. Keithaholic (6 comments)
1. Natalie, 9 months and a day! (6 comments)
3. Many others with 5 comments

My personal blog favorites of 2009

Favorite Post: Celtics, Man-hugs and a Tommy Point
Favorite Video: Wiiked cute
Favorite Photo: Be mine? (2/14/09)
Favorite Comment: Heather's comment on "I scream you scream"

While there were tons of posts, videos, photos and comments from 2009, my favorites were actually no-brainers for me. The Celtics, Man-hugs and a Tommy Point was just such an amazing day... like if you told me I could do whatever I wanted for one day, I couldn't have scripted it better. Wiiked cute is just Anna in a nutshell... so much personality, so expressive, so cute. The Be mine? photo isn't technically a photo since I photoshopped it, but it was just too adorable to not take the cake. And while Steve Lemon had plenty of witty comments that could've taken home 2009 Favorite Comment honors, I had to go with Heather's because it featured a hilarious reference from elementary school and was completely out of left field... or in her case, the left coast.

Angie's blog favorites of 2009
Favorite Post: Fantastic Fourth
Favorite Video: Cookie
Favorite Photo: Priceless (6/3/09)
Favorite Comment: Steve's comment on "Monkey highlights Hudson Halloween"

Looking ahead at 2010
I know that I mentioned it a few weeks ago, but live video streaming from my iPhone is going to be put into play in 2010. I still have a few kinks I want to work out and I believe that planned events will be much more successful than spontaneous live events, but we will see both occur in 2010. So, to ensure you don't miss out, follow me on twitter, as a tweet is automatically sent out when I start broadcasting.

Like always, 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 two years 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 2010. Blog on!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas marred by collision

By K.J. Cardinal

Well, we had a weekend full of Christmas cheer planned, but this collision on Christmas morning really put a damper on things. Don't be alarmed though, both Maters are recovering nicely.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas extravaganza

By K.J. Cardinal

On Saturday, Tiffany and Pete graciously opened up their awesome home to both the Cardinal and Denton sides of our family in one Christmas extravaganza in Northwood. As you can imagine, we had a blast.

First off, I just want to thank Tiff and Pete for doing this. Having one day where both families got together definitely helped us out the most as we didn't have to make two trips to two different destinations on two separate days like we've done in the past. I know it's a lot of work to host a party like that, but we definitely appreciate it. Thanks a ton.

Anyway, once again it was confirmed that Christmas time is my favorite time of year. Sure, I love the summers and being able to have work slow down and enjoy myself a little more, but there's nothing like spending time with our entire family during the holidays... especially now that there are so many little ones running around.

There were many highlights to the day... watching the kids open their presents, Yankee Swaps, FOOD, a big family photo with the Cardinal side of the family (see below) and many more. Throughout the day I was continually snapping photos and ended up with about 150 from the course of the days events. I am not exaggerating at all when I say that about half of them were of Natalie.

For those of you who have not met Natalie, you're really missing out. She's obviously as cute as a button, but there's this sweet innocence with Natalie that lights up a room and makes everyone around her happy. She just has a carefree attitude that is so infectious. I'm looking forward to Christmas day at Tiff and Pete's house again so I can see her in action.

While the little kids really stole the show at the party, I was also happy to not only see my grandfather, but to also see that he was doing so well. His Parkinsons has really taken its toll on his body, but his mind is still as sharp as a tack and he still laughs at my jokes, so he's clearly got his wits about him.

He's the only living grandparent that I have, but thanks to my Aunt Carol, I was also able to take some time to look back at my Mema and Papa. Aunt Carol very thoughtfully put together a scrap book of sorts for me, which features photos of my great grandparents and their lineage on my dad's side. I know I've stated it here many times, but my Aunt Carol values family and family history more than anyone I've ever met and her gift means so much to me. Definitely the biggest highlight of the day for me personally... thanks Auntie.

Christmas isn't here yet, but it's already been one of the best holiday seasons ever.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Anna's first haircut

By K.J. Cardinal

Yesterday Angie and I finally brokedown and took Anna to get her first haircut at the Hair Cuttery in Hudson.

We were a little nervous to see Anna's reaction to sitting in the chair and getting a quick trim, but she handled it like a seasoned veteran. She sat perfectly still and took commands from the hair dresser like "Look at your toes" or "Look in the mirror".

The haircut itself lasted less than five minutes as Anna just got a simple trim and personally I can't tell the difference. Nonetheless, her first haircut is in the books and as always she looked adorable in the process of crossing another "first" off the list.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Coming soon: LIVE and mobile video streaming

By K.J. Cardinal

Wow. This is going to be revolutionizing.

I just downloaded ustream's latest free app that allows you to video stream LIVE right from your iPhone. I am testing it out as I type this and once I have it all figured out, you can bet that I will be taking advantage of this ridiculous service.

Use of this will most likely be completely random. I am setting it up so a tweet goes out through my twitter account (#kjcardinal), which automatically posts in the side bar on the right of this blog. So, when you log on to TheCardinalBlog, be sure to check out my tweets, because who knows, I might be video streaming LIVE right then.

I know that Anna will get her fair share of face time on this live video, but I would also surmise that I will be using this app to stream some shenanigans, concerts, sporting events, etc... so it will really have something for everyone :)

Every tweet will feature a link to the live feed, but just in the event you want to bookmark it or make it your home page, here's the ustream page for TheCardinalBlog.

Enjoy! I'm sure you will.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Tree 2009

By K.J. Cardinal

Once again we kept the Cardinal family tradition alive that my parents began many years ago as Anna, Sammy, Angie and I went and got our Christmas tree on Papa's birthday.

This was the first year that we've cut down our own tree as a family and I'm hopeful that we'll be able to cut one down each year. Definitely felt like more of a tribute to Papa in that regard because he would cut one down each year for us.

Anna wasn't into the cutting down process too much and when we brought the tree in she was rather unresponsive as well. But, once I plugged the lights in she opened her eyes real wide and shouted "Christmas!"

I couldn't have said it better myself.

After decorating the tree, all Anna wanted to do was sit in the empty box that we took the decorations and lights out of and cover-up like it was her little bed or something. Priceless as always.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Happy Holidays!

By K.J. Cardinal

Happy Holidays from our family to yours! Enjoy the holiday season.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom

By K.J. Cardinal

The backbone of the Cardinal family turns 53 today. Happy Birthday Mom!

I know most women would cringe at the idea of having their age posted on a public blog, but I think we all know, my mom's not "most women". She's Superwoman. Always has been and always will be.

Mom, your 53rd birthday wraps up a year that tested you and our family, both physically, mentally and emotionally. I am so grateful of everything that you've taught me and you mean more to me than anyone could ever imagine.

Like Zach Gill says, "I love you now, like I loved you then... back in the day."

Happy Birthday.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Turkey Day

By K.J. Cardinal

We spent Thanksgiving day out in Ludlow with Angie's family and we had such a great day.

Anna got to see her cousins, play with two dogs and eat cake. What more could a girl want? The fact that one of the dogs was a Boston Terrier (the same kind my Papa used to have), made the day even more special.

I have tons to be thankful for this year... perhaps more than I've ever had to be thankful for... the most amazing wife, kids, family and friends that a guy could ever ask for. This year has been the most hectic of my life, but also the most rewarding. I'm so appreciative of everyone's support and help along the way.

Here are a few pics from yesterday in Ludlow. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Birthday Surprise!

By Katie Cardinal

Living in Newburyport, I don't really get to spend as much time with family and friends as I used to and would like to. For this reason, I try to either go home or have family visit once a week to be sure I'm not "home sick." This weekend I had made plans with Mom to have her come down on Sunday just to hang out for a while, grab something to eat, and just to spend some quality time together.

When she got to Newburyport this morning, she came bearing gifts! She had a whole bag of adorably wrapped presents for me to open, and boy was I excited! After the first few gifts, I got the theme: Cake Decorating Materials! She got me everything from fondant and gum paste to cookie cutters and shaping tools. It was SO cool to finally have all the materials to try everything out. Obviously, I jumped right into the flower making! Not far into my project I heard another knock at the door....VERY weird considering we NEVER have guests. When I went to the door it was yet ANOTHER surprise: Tiffany, Pete, Andrew, and Natalie! The whole George family had made the treck all the way from Northwood to Newburyport to celebrate my birthday :) And guess what...they came bearing gifts too!!! Tiffany got me these AWESOME flip flops that are just WAY too cool to describe, some really cool bracelets, and a pretty green sweater that I can't wait to wear.

With almost the whole family here, we went to check out Newburyport. We walked along the strip with all of the shops, and eventually ate a TERRIFIC meal at my favorite place, Not Your Average Joes! After doing some more shopping we got some gelado and headed back so the cutiest would have some time to play in the apartment before they had to nap.

Needless to say, I had a FANTASTIC day! Thanks so much everyone for putting in the effort to surprise me and also for all of the gifts! You guys are the best family anyone could ever ask for. I am one lucky little girl :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Her future's so bright...

By K.J. Cardinal

She gotta wear shades (or 3D glasses she got from the Toy Story double feature).

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Monkey on the loose

By K.J. Cardinal

We let our Monkey loose in our development last night and boy oh boy did Anna have a blast.

She gathered the concept rather quickly this year that if she went up to a house and said "trick or treat" that they'd give her candy. As we were walking around the block, she even tried to go to the houses without any lights on to get candy... she was rather eager.

Anyway, the weather was ridiculous for October 31. Probably in the mid 60s with a stiff breeze. We originally thought Anna's costume would be great since it would keep her nice and warm, but by the time we got back home the little cutie was sweating head-to-toe.

After trick-or-treating, we hung out at home and handed out candy. I really think that Anna had more fun handing out candy than actually trick or treating.

Every time the doorbell would ring, she'd say "Kids! Kids!" and run to the door. Sammy would be the one that would give the candy to the kids, but Anna would just stand at the door (wearing only a t-shirt and diaper) and admire the costumes. It was so hysterical.

Once the trick-or-treaters stopped coming, then we had our handfuls trying to keep the candy away from Anna. She was rather resourceful climbing up to the high places we'd "hide" it, but all-in-all she was a good girl.

Kudos to the Cardinal Blog followers for picking another adorable costume.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Michael Jackson lives

By K.J. Cardinal

This is rather freaky, but it looks as if Michael Jackson lives.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Monster Mash: Cardinal Edition

By Katie Cardinal

I thought this would get us into the Halloween Spirit!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Monkey highlights Hudson Halloween

By K.J. Cardinal

After cruising to a 23-10 victory over Candy Corn in the annual Cardinal Blog Halloween Poll, Anna "Monkey" Cardinal stole the show for Hudson Halloween.

Every Halloween, Hudson closes Main Street downtown and local businesses open their doors to trick or treaters for two hours. It's the first time I've partaken in the festivities and it was quite a scene.

Sure there were hundreds and hundreds of other kids and even dozens and dozens of other monkeys, but I think my monkey took the cake.

Angie, Sammy and I decided to walk downtown since parking is a disaster and it's just over a mile to downtown. It was a nice night, so we popped Anna into the MacPac, which she loves, and off we went.

Anna was really more interested in people watching and just walking in the middle of the closed street than scoring candy, but we still had a blast.

Hudson Halloween marked the second trick-or-treating session for Anna as she went to Intel Halloween on Tuesday night at Angie's work. The "real" trick-or-treating is Saturday night, so she'll have plenty of candy.

While we were downtown, we decided to go to the Horseshoe Pub for dinner. Anna was a good eater, so we decided to let her experience her first-ever Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Her reaction was simply priceless... I am so bummed I didn't get video footage of her because she was so giddy.

NOTE: The active followers of The Cardinal Blog proved that they are rather soft and/or care about Anna a lot as only two people voted for the Poodle (which Anna didn't want to wear) in the Halloween Poll.

Monday, October 26, 2009

VOTE NOW: Halloween poll closes today

By K.J. Cardinal

For the third-straight year, the faithful followers of The Cardinal Blog will be able to determine which adorable Halloween costume Anna dons for a night of trick-or-treating.

Last year your voices were heard as Anna had a yabba dabba doo time as Pebbles Flintstone. While in 2007, a three-week-old Anna rocked a chili pepper costume at the request of the masses.

So, we are keeping the tradition alive in 2009. Your choices this year are Candy Corn, a Poodle or a Monkey.

For some reason, Anna refuses to try the Poodle costume on. So, if that's the people's choice, then hopefully she'll come to her senses. The polls will close at the end of the day TODAY so be sure to vote now!

Note: You facebookers out there, log on to TheCardinalBlog.com to cast your vote today!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fireworks never sounded so good

By K.J. Cardinal

I know this is probably the first blog post ever regarding fireworks in the month of October, but I had to share this.

On Saturday night, there were fireworks in Hudson as part of the Pumpkin Festival. We had no idea that fireworks were going to be that night, but it was definitely a welcomed surprise.

I started to hear the pops of the fireworks and I bundled Anna up and we went outside to take a look. It was obviously pitch black out, so I couldn't get any video of her reaction, but this audio is priceless.

Take a listen and I think you'll agree that fireworks have never sounded so good.

Friday, October 16, 2009

2009 Halloween polls are open!

By K.J. Cardinal

For the third-straight year, the faithful followers of The Cardinal Blog will be able to determine which adorable Halloween costume Anna dons for a night of trick-or-treating.

Last year your voices were heard as Anna had a yabba dabba doo time as Pebbles Flintstone. While in 2007, a three-week-old Anna rocked a chili pepper costume at the request of the masses.

So, we are keeping the tradition alive in 2009. Your choices this year are Candy Corn, a Poodle or a Monkey.

For some reason, Anna refuses to try the Poodle costume on. So, if that's the people's choice, then hopefully she'll come to her senses. The polls will close at the end of the day on Monday, October 26, so be sure to get your votes in soon!

Note: You facebookers out there, log on to TheCardinalBlog.com to cast your vote today!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pack Network dominates two-year-old girl demographic

By K.J. Cardinal

Not sure this is something to boast about or not, but the latest Pack Network-produced video spot has proven to be a HUGE hit with the two-year-old girl demographic.

I completed this video for America East earlier tonight and when Anna got home I just happened to play it at the kitchen table while she was eating dinner... and, she LOVED it.

She would freak out and dance while it was on and then ask "Again? Again? Again?" when it would stop. So, I did what any normal person would do and I captured her reaction through the iSight camera on my MacBook while she watched.

To get the full feel for what I'm talking about, watch the America East commercial first...


... and, then watch Anna's reaction. It's priceless.


As an aside, after emailing the commercial to my friend at America East for approval, I also sent him the video of Anna. He loved it... but proceeded to accidentally send the video along to some colleagues instead of the real video. Ooops, but he said that Anna now has a few more fans :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wellllll... well, it's the Big Show

By K.J. Cardinal

Following in the footsteps of Maria Menounos, I think that Anna is about ready to take the plunge into the world of professional wrestling.

For some strange reason, Anna has developed this habit over the last couple days of slipping her right arm out of her shirt, through the neck hole, in an attempt to mimic former WWF wrestler, The Big Show.

When I was in college, a few of my friends and I would sing the opening line to The Big Show's entrance music "Wellllll... well, it's the Big Show" (click here to listen), every time that we'd see a girl wearing one of those stupid shirts that had just one strap going over one shoulder. So, I am compelled to bust out that tune every time Anna does the same.

Anyway, someday we will all look back and laugh at the day when Anna was dressing like a professional wrestler... I have no idea where she gets this stuff...

Monday, October 12, 2009

A princess is married

By K.J. Cardinal

There have been certain moments in Anna's life that have been cute and we all laugh and embrace the joy that is Anna, but then there are moments like Saturday that are just so adorable that it makes you love kids so much and feel so lucky to have them in your life.

In the third and final installment of "A George wedding: A Pete and Gail production", Suzanne and Chris got married on Saturday in a thoughtful day of festivities. The day had many highlights, which I'll get to in a minute, but I can't bury the lead here.

As some of you may know, Anna has this love affair with princesses. Whether it's Snow White, Tinkerbell, Ariel from Under the Sea or any other beautiful woman in a pretty dress, Anna loves them.

Well, Suzanne, adorned in a beautiful dress of her own, became Anna's favorite princess. While on the dance floor during the reception, Anna was pointing to Suzanne and saying "Dance with princess, dance with princess". It was so precious.

The absolute best part of this came late in the night when Anna was exhausted and wanted to dance with the princess. Suzanne was gracious enough to dance with Anna... and nearly put her to sleep. Anna was in her glory.

Thanks so much Suzanne for taking time out of your special day to turn the day into a special day for Anna too. It was definitely one of those moments in Anna's life that I will personally never forget and I'm glad you were a part of it too.

The day had many other amazing moments as well, and for me, none was more moving than the stirring rendition of "The Wedding Song" that my Dad played during the ceremony. He can play that song a million times and every time I'll get all choked up. He has played it at dozens of weddings, but when he plays it now, I am brought back to that day in June of 2003 when he played it at Tiffany and Pete's wedding. One of the best moments in Cardinal history.

The seasoned veteran Andrew was ring bearer yet again and did another spectacular job. As you can see in the photo at right, Andrew is all business with his important wedding duties. Seeing him a little suit and tie just cracks me up.

Andrew, Natalie and Anna tore it up on the dance floor, creating quite a spectacle at times for everyone to see as well.

I have tons of video footage from the night, which I will post at some point. Until then, enjoy this video I put together. If you can watch this clip without getting teary-eyed, you're a bigger man than I. Congrats Suzanne and Chris!


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Where is thumbkin?

By K.J. Cardinal

Earlier this week, Angie, Sammy and I were watching TV in the livingroom and Anna was in the kitchen playing with her toy kitchen.

She was being good as gold and then all of a sudden breaks out into the cutest version of "Where is thumbkin?" that anyone has ever heard. It was so priceless because we had never sang that song to her before, so she clearly learned it at daycare.

I missed the beginning of the song because I couldn't get my phone out fast enough. Anyway, here's what I got... I think you'll agree it's adorable.


Dinner with Anna

By K.J. Cardinal

Grab a plate and take seat. Just a typical night of dinner with Anna.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A stroll with Anna

By K.J. Cardinal

I have been trying to make it a ritual of going for a walk with Anna every day. There are obviously some days when it just can't be done, but we try our best.

She absolutely loves getting outside and walking around the loop. Her favorite parts are seeing this dog down the street that's almost always outside and stopping to pick up as many acorns as her little hands can hold.

In this little clip though, the doggy's not outside and Anna concludes he must be taking a nap... then she stops to get her fair share of acorns. Enjoy!


Monday, October 5, 2009

Anna turns two

By K.J. Cardinal

My baby... well, she's not a baby anymore.

The age of two is really the point in my mind when I feel that kids become kids and they are no longer babies or infants. She's a kid.

This realization saddens me quite a bit and, for some reason, every one of Anna's age-related milestones seem to turn more and more introspective for me. I mean this day is definitely all about her, but I can't help but think of how much she means to me, how much she has changed me and how much she motivates me.

The impact that Anna has had on my life is unfathomable... I couldn't imagine how I'd feel if I actually gave birth to her.

Anyway, Anna dove head first into her third year of life, literally. This morning, Anna went "ass over tea-kettle" (definitely a Kimism) as she fell down three stairs before Angie caught her.

Despite landing on her face (don't worry, Meme, she's OK), Anna got up and asked Ang to kiss her finger... so we knew she wasn't hurt that badly.

I guess the "terrible twos" have officially arrived. Excuse me while I batten down the hatches.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Something fishy

By K.J. Cardinal

There was definitely something fishy about Anna's second birthday party today. I'm not referring to the Finding Nemo theme, highlighted by the AMAZING Nemo cake made by Aunt Kate, but rather Anna's behavior.

On the eve of her second birthday, Anna was an absolute angel all day long. This absolutely seems fishy to me.

Should we call it the calm before the storm? Her "terrible twos" officially begin tomorrow at 5:47 p.m., so is this just one last day to be blessed by such a well-behaved little girl? I'm not trying to jinx her good behavior, but I'm just being realistic.

Anyway, as you can see, we celebrated Anna's second birthday today.

Sammy gave the house an underwater theme with balloon bubbles, streamer jelly fish and real beta fish for each kid to take home. Then, Aunt Kate arrived to put the finishing touch on the theme... an unbelievably real-looking Nemo cake.

I don't know how the heck she does it, but Aunt Kate definitely has a ridiculous talent with these cakes. What made Nemo look so true to his character were his eyes... definitely a spitting image from the movie. Thanks so much Aunt Kate, I know it was tons of work.

After cake, Anna opened up her presents and boy oh boy was she spoiled. Every gift she received was very thoughtful and in the five hours since opening all gifts, Anna has spent some solid time playing with each and every thing. Thank you all for the wonderful gifts... I particularly loved the crayons sent by Aunt Carol and Uncle Bill... such a perfect blog-themed gift!

The best part of the day for me was just being able to hang out with our families. It was so great to see everyone and being able to have Anna, Andrew, Natalie, Ryan and Julia interact was pretty cool. They were all so well-behaved all day... not just Anna.

I'm pretty sure that everyone in attendance was in their glory watching the kiddos play. This picture can serve as Exhibit A... everyone's watching the kids go after the pinata candy. Good times.

Thanks again and I'll have more tomorrow on my little girl that's (gulp) turning two.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Anna goes to Berlin Orchards

By K.J. Cardinal

This morning Anna and I took advantage of the nice weather and headed to Berlin Orchards for pumpkin and apple picking.

If you remember, we went there last year and Anna liked it, but she was so much more into it this year. Her favorite part of the day was absolutely the hay ride... or as she calls it "ride the tractor".


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Surprise party again

By K.J. Cardinal

Friday marked Angie's birthday and for the second-straight year I was able to pull off a surprise party in her honor. I don't intend to do this every year, but I figured that she definitely wouldn't expect it this year since I had her surprise 30th last year.

Instead of a party at the homestead, I opted for a group dinner out at Lotus Blossom in Sudbury. A grand total of 17 of us were in attendance, so it was quite the gathering.

Angie had no idea, which was even better. Horrible traffic all over Massachusetts had most people showing up after we arrived, but I actually think that worked out better because Angie had no idea who was showing up. So, every five or 10 minutes another surprise guest would show up. It was fun.

Anna was so well-behaved it was somewhat shocking. Not that she's a bad girl that often, but a 2+ hour dinner usually comes with some issue. Her good behavior can be credited to Scott, Aunt Kate and Norm.

Those three were all over Anna and she was all over them. All-in-all a great night. A handful of people came back to the house for a little after party, which escalated quickly and before I knew it, it was 4 a.m. Yikes.

Happy birthday Ang! You're the best wife/friend and mother to my baby that I could ever ask for... but goodness you're old :P

Pack Network responsible for blog post shortage

By K.J. Cardinal

Work has been very busy and I think it's fair to say that Pack Network is solely responsible for the lack of blog postings over the past two months.

Anyway, I at least wanted to share a video sample of what I've been doing so you don't think I'm completely slacking. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Finding Nemo and Anna

By K.J. Cardinal

Anna's second birthday is coming up in a few weeks (October 5 to be exact) and we decided to have a Finding Nemo theme to the party.

Aunt Kate (or as Anna says "Aunt Cake") is fittingly enough going to be making Anna a cake to follow the theme, so I thought it was equally appropriate to have the invitations follow suit.

So here's what I concocted...

I think it's rather hilarious, but Anna doesn't quite know what to make of it. If you point to Nemo and ask her "Who's that?" She says "Nemo". If you point to Dori and ask her "Who's that?" She says "Dori". But when you point to the fish with Anna's face and ask her "Who's that?" She's unresponsive.

I have definitely stumped her with that. I'm trying to teach her that it's "Anna", but she's not having it quite yet.

NOTE: I'd like to apologize to our extended family (especially the Lord clan) and friends that we were unable to invite to the party. Our house isn't that big and by just inviting immediate family we are probably violating major fire codes... d*mn Portuguese :) Anyway, I hope you all understand. For really big occasions, we'll be sure to throw monumental rippers for Anna and you can all celebrate with us then.

Pete wins club championship

By K.J. Cardinal

As some of you may have heard (or followed my updates on Twitter), Pete George won the Farmington Country Club Championship back on September 7.

It was my first time ever going to the club championship and it was a lot of fun to follow the final pairing around the course. The 36-hole, one-day match actually had to go to a playoff, where Pete took home the title on the second playoff hole.

Pete was playing in his ninth club championship, so it was so great to see him take home his first title. I would just like say that I did not attend his first eight championship matches, so naturally, I feel as if I'm Pete's good luck charm.

Anyway, the only thing on the day that I found more impressive than Pete's play was the support of the George family. Pete's mom, wife, kids, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, friends, etc. were all on hand to root Pete on and to witness the joyous occasion. Probably a gallery of around 50 people.

It was really something to see and just goes to show you how much that entire family cares for one another. Top to bottom, the George family is absolutely amazing and some of my favorite people in the entire world bear the last name George.

Congrats Pete on the title and for having a championship-caliber family as well.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cool dude

I just took the below photo of Anna and when I showed it to her, she said "Cool dude!"

'Nuff said.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Anna shuns broken crayons

By K.J. Cardinal

While coloring at the kitchen table tonight, Anna displayed her disdain for broken crayons by segregating the busted, dyed wax.

I tried to integrate the shunned crayons back into the mix, but Anna wasn't having it as she said, "Stop Daddy."

Broken crayons need not apply.

Andrew unplugged

By K.J. Cardinal

During our 2009 Cardinal family vacation back in July, Andrew tore the roof off the place with this unplugged set. I love how he takes requests...


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Twinkle, twinkle

By K.J. Cardinal

Yesterday morning Anna woke up early, so I put her into bed with me and she decided to sing me a lullabye...

Click here to listen to her adorable rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


By K.J. Cardinal

This clip is a few months old, but timeless nonetheless...


Friday, September 4, 2009

Pick Here

By Aunt Cake and Norm

On Friday, Anna took a road trip with Aunt Cake and Norm to see Meme and Papa. We had a surprise visit from Aunt Tiff, Andrew and Nat Nat at Butternut Farm for a killer fruit picking session. Instead of blogging it, we put together a video of Anna's big day that includes her rockin' out on the ride up, telling everyone she is going to "Papa and Meme's house", going 1-on-1 with a stubborn apple and singing 'Twinkle Little Star.'

Monday, August 31, 2009


By K.J. Cardinal

I can't wait for a 50-year old Ryan Seacrest to roll this video on American Idol in 17 years when Anna's a finalist. It really shows her creativity as an artist too, as she "made it her own" by repeating B-I-N-G-O way too many times.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back to School...

By Katie Cardinal

Hello everyone! Sorry I haven't posted in a while, I've been super busy with work, family, friends, and this new awesome thing I like to call my BOYFRIEND!!! I thought it'd be a good idea just to catch everyone up on my life and to tell you all that I miss you like crazy!

So, I have a new boyfriend (for those of you who don't know). His name is Norm and he's the sweetest, most adorable guy I've ever seen in my life. He actually works for KJ (yes, he passed the KJ test) and also works at Whole Foods in Boston(he's a health food nut - perfect!). Norm and I just got a cute little apartment in Newburyport while I'm still going to school at UNH. This was a BIG MOVE for Norm, considering he's about 55 minutes from work now, when he was only 10 minutes away living in Somerville. As you can tell, he's quite a charmer :) We've been really busy lately setting everything up and making some delicious dinners for each other (last night we had roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and stuffing). We're hoping that as we get settled maybe you guys can come up to visit. Newburyport is an adorable little town with lots of cool shops, bars, and tons of BOATS! We're one street away from where the Newburyport "strip" begins...so no driving is needed just to hang out and have fun. Obviously the summer time is the best time here because of all the boats, but we're pretty excited to see what it's like in the Fall/Winter. Oh, and did I mention I feel like I need to walk around with a sweater tied around my shoulders (Carlton style) because everyone's so wealthy here - EEK it's so fun!

Other than that I'm just getting ready for school, which starts on Monday. I'm taking a lot of cool classes this semester where I'll get to work out and cook lots of food, so I'm kind of looking foward to that.

I've been going to quite a few other concerts lately. I've been to two Keith Urban concerts since I've posted last, both of which I got to touch Keith AGAIN, and one of which I was FRONT ROW on the catwalk! I took Mom, Dad, and Norm to a Darius Rucker concert last Friday night at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom and boy did he knock our socks off. The concert was Dad's Father's Dad Present and I think I may have secured the top two daughter of the year position for my family. Tonight my friend, Sydney, and I are headed to Connecticut to see Luke Bryan and on Saturday we're off to New York to see Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley. Lastly, on Sunday Vicky and I are off to Meadowbrook to see Luke Bryan and Big & Rich (Vicky has a meet & greet). I'm really excited for all these concerts, but definitely going to miss all the commotion when school starts back up on Monday. At least I have next summer to look foward to.

Sorry for the kind of lame post, just wanted to keep you all informed :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

A weekend in the Hill

By K.J. Cardinal

This weekend we made a solid road trip up to Blue Hill, Maine, the hometown of Scott.

He threw a "ripper" at his parents' house that lasted three days and we had such a blast.

On Friday, we picked up Sammy from work at the Natick YMCA at 1:30 and headed right up to Maine from there. We knew the ride was going to be 4+ hours, but what we didn't know was that we'd hit traffic, accidents and construction along the way to REALLY slow us down.

We didn't end up getting to Blue Hill until 7:30, but we were so happy and surprised how well Anna did in the car. We actually got in the car to run errands and what not at about 12:30 and only made one stop on the way up (at LL Bean in Freeport to get a new tent).

So, Anna was in the car for pretty much seven straight hours and was as good as gold. We certainly are lucky with her in that regard. Not much is worse than a screaming kid in a car.

Anyway, Friday night we set up camp in the Murphy's backyard, grilled out and just hung out all night. It was a great mix of people... about half of the Surf with Murph crew and then a handful of other peeps that couldn't make that trip to Hawaii.

Scott's parents are so great... not surprising, I guess. But, Angie and I were glad to finally get to spend some time with the creators of the one-of-a-kind, Scott Murphy. Jim and Linda definitely reminded me of my parents in quite a few ways, but none more evident then their hospitality. Definitely made us feel like we were at home all weekend long and were never shy to try to push all kinds of food and drink on us. Thanks!

On Saturday, we really wanted to have Scott show us what the area was all about. This, naturally, meant a trip to Acadia National Park.

I had never been to Acadia before, but I'm really glad that we went. You could easily spend a few weeks up there hiking, camping and seeing every nook and cranny of the park, but Murph just took us to the highlights.

The biggest highlight of all was Cadillac Mountain. The drive up to the top was impressive enough, but the view at the top was nothing short of spectacular... as you can see in the family photo above.

After spending the day in Acadia, we ventured back to Blue Hill for a straight-up lobster feast. Scott's best friend from home, Adam (pictured left), is a lobster fisherman, so he got us a smoking deal on the 30 lobsters.

Adam gave Anna and her new "friend" Collin, an up close and personal look at the lobsters. He did the classic "put the lobster to sleep" trick and was explaining to all of us different parts of the lobster.

I have seriously eaten lobster my whole life and I learned some stuff from him that I never knew before... it was pretty cool.

Anna and Collin had sparked their friendship earlier in the afternoon, but by dinner time the two were getting pretty close. Collin, Scott's three-year-old God son, came up to me before dinner and said "May Anna have dinner with me?"

It was so hilarious and so cute. They then sat down and enjoyed dinner for three... Collin's one-year-old sister Mave joined them as well.

After dinner Anna chased Collin around the hot tub for about 30 minutes. It was a win-win for both us and Willie and Gina, Collin's parents, as it tuckered the little ones out.

On Sunday morning, Collin had to leave early and Anna was pretty upset. She was crying and staring out the window as they walked down the driveway. I think Collin might be Anna's first crush.

We hit up Marlintini's for a little local flavor for lunch and then came the Blue Hill tour. The downtown area is small, but definitely what comes to mind when you think of a small seaside Maine town.

The highlight of the day came when we stopped at the Blue Hill Park. It was low tide, so the water was very low, causing lots of mud on the beach area.

Anna wanted to go in the water, so we just let her have at it... fully clothed and all. It was so funny because she got her feet stuck in the mud and couldn't move. She starts yelling "stuck" and then "help me"! Take a look at the video below.

Also in the video, you'll see Scott and some others standing on top of a rock. During high tide, the water comes about halfway up the rock and people jump off of it. I wish we could've done that, but didn't hit it up at the right time.

All-in-all a fantastic weekend. Thanks so much to Scott and the Murphy's for having us over. We had an absolute blast.