Sunday, May 31, 2009

Andrew turns three

By K.J. Cardinal

Most people associate Memorial Day or the end of the school year with the start of summer, but not me. I know that the summer is upon us once we have celebrated Andrew's birthday... which we did on Saturday.

Perfect weather and party planning of the century by Tiffany yielded an amazing party for the most amazing little boy in the world.

Andrew was the luckiest kid on the planet as the bus-themed party was top notch all around.

I had such a hard time choosing a few photos of the kiddos at the party, that I had to put together a little movie. Enjoy... and Happy Birthday Andrew!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Anna's first Portuguese wedding

By K.J. Cardinal

Yesterday marked Anna's first Portuguese wedding and she really lived it up.

For those of you who have never been to a Portuguese wedding, it's definitely not your typical wedding. It's longer than any wedding you could ever imagine with more people and more food than you've ever seen.

Out in Ludlow, everyone gets married at the Portuguese club in town. The reception hall is huge... holding well over 300 people and is always jam-packed for weddings.

The ceremony was at noon with the reception immediately following... which goes ALL NIGHT. The reception is so long that they serve lunch AND dinner and the entire time it is OPEN BAR.

It's insane.

Anyway, Anna endured her first such event yesterday with flying colors. She loved the best man's toast because I hooked her up with some milk in a plastic champagne cup and she couldn't get enough of it (pictured above).

With all the people and excitement everywhere around her, Anna obviously had a hard time taking her nap at her usual 1 p.m. time. So, we just rolled with the punches.

Around 6 p.m., Anna was clearly tired, but was having a hard time falling asleep. I went and took her for a ride to get her to fall asleep. We were not more than two-tenths of a mile down the road when she was lights out.

I turned the car around and came back to the reception hall to put Anna in her stroller to sleep. I was a little worried that she would wake up when we walked back into the reception hall with the music blaring, but she was pretty much dead to the world.

She slept for about an hour and when she woke up it was time to get her dance on.

As I've mentioned countless times, Anna loves music and also somehow has a natural rhythm. When she hears a song she seems to know how to bob her head or shake her shoulders... it's priceless.

When Anna first got out on the dance floor she just kind of stood there looking at all these people, probably thinking "What on earth are these idiots doing?"

Once she got over the sight of a bunch of suburbanites trying to dance, she was up for some dancing of her own. She even dared to be in the center of this circle...

Throughout the course of the day, including on the dance floor, Anna took a serious liking to her Titi (Aunt) Lisette. The two were in separable for a while, which was so cute.

Overall it was a great day for Anna. We are so lucky that she is always so well-behaved (as long as she's not overtired) and just goes with the flow. It's such a relief to just know that she can adapt to pretty much any situation and continue to be the cutest girl on the planet.

We have a few more weddings coming up this summer and fall, so she'll be a seasoned veteran on the wedding scene by the time her second birthday rolls around in October.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Another baby, another blog

By K.J. Cardinal

As if welcoming a beautiful baby boy, Owen Daniel, into the world two weeks ago wasn't enough for Jenny & Rob, now they have welcomed a beautiful new blog into the world wide web,

I'm so happy for Jenny & Rob. For those of you who don't know them, they have to be two of the most genuine people I've ever met in my entire life. Despite being a Delaware Blue Hen, Rob's actually a great guy and as Tiff's best friend, Jenny is like family. I actually lived with the two back in 2003 out near Coolidge Corner.

For the record, this is the sixth blog that I've set up now... I'm single-handedly keeping this Internet thing afloat.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

By K.J. Cardinal

Yesterday was so jam-packed with pampering and traveling that I didn't have an opportunity to publicly wish all of The Cardinal Blog mom's out there a much-deserved Happy Mother's Day. So, Happy Mother's Day!

I was originally scheduled to work a crew race yesterday (voluntarily), but I opted against it in favor of taking care of the women that always take care of me, my Mom and Angie.

First up was Angie. She woke up and was graced with two wonderful gifts... no not Anna and Sammy, but the two photos of them in this post instead. I have to admit that my photography skills are coming along for an idiot.

Next, Ang wanted to go out to breakfast, so we gorged ourselves at this place called Steven Anthony's down on Route 20 (this is the place where we took Anna to feed the ducks the other day). Pancakes, french toast, sausage, hash browns and biscuits and gravy were flying around, so it was no surprise that when lunch time came, I just skipped the meal entirely. Anna was also spotted taking shots of milk out of little creamer cups... a great photo op.

After breakfast we made a quick trip to Home Depot where we picked up some fresh sand for Anna's new sand boxes/Daddy's old horseshoe pits and some hoses and sprinklers so I could officially get a poor man's irrigation system set up to water the lawn.

Back at home, I was working outside, while Angie went to get her hair done. Nothing like a fresh cut and dye job to make a woman happy, I guess.

When Ang returned home we were off to NH. We had a surprise visit in store for my mom and a planned trip to the greatest ice cream place on earth, Lone Oak.

Other than gusty winds that made the 60 degree day feel like 45, it was a great time. Anna thoroughly enjoyed herself by having an ice cream sampler (taking bites off everyone's cone). I think that we ate our ice cream faster because it was so cold and we wanted to get back in the car, then when it's hot out and you down your ice cream to avoid a sticky, melted mess.

Anyway, we then spent the rest of the day doing what we love to do more than anything in the world... hang out as a family with my parents. Nothing special on tap, really, just a few beers/champagne and good conversation... pretty much par for the course.

One big score for the day for Anna though, as she was happily graced with Marissa/Emma hand-me-downs from Auntie Carol, Uncle Bill and Vicky, which included a Little Tikes slide and playhouse. I could only fit the slide in the Xterra, but we'll get the playhouse soon enough. As you can see with the photo at right, Anna has already taken quite a liking to the used gem... thanks Marissa & Emma!

All-in-all a great Mother's Day. I don't think I have to go into too much detail on how much my wife and my mom mean to me, I think this blog is partial evidence enough. But thank you both for being the two greatest women that I could ever ask for. I am very lucky to have you both in my life... now go back to taking care of me like you do the other 364 days of the year :P

Saturday, May 9, 2009

What a day

By K.J. Cardinal

Anna had quite a day today to say the least.

She woke up and I took her outside on the hammock to listen and see all the birds. It was a beautiful morning, but she was being a little snuggle bug in her blanket and loving life so much.

After breakfast, we decided that we wanted to take a family picnic, so we headed to the Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary in Princeton. It's part of the Mass Audubon Society, so admission was included with our yearly membership.

Anyway, the sanctuary was pretty cool. We hiked up to this otter pond and had a nice picnic there. We had the entire place to ourselves. We literally didn't see another soul on the trails all day, which was so great.

The highlight of the day for me came when we were hiking back after lunch. Anna was on my back in her MacPac and a red-tailed hawk flew about five feet from us through the woods. I saw him coming through the trees, so I wasn't startled, otherwise it might not have been as enjoyable.

We packed up at the sanctuary around 1 p.m. and headed home. After spending a little time at home, we decided to venture back out to run a few errands and to get ice cream.

Last year Angie and I were out and about and stumbled across this ice cream place that was awesome, but we didn't remember where it was or the name of it. So, it took some trial and error of us driving around aimlessly, but we eventually found it and it was worth the work of finding it.

The ice cream was great and the whole scene there is pretty neat. There is this house next to the ice cream place that has three big cow statues in its yard and a putting green. Anna and I were over there enjoying the scene and Angie snapped this photo.
I honestly had no idea that the sign was there. I'm sure this will knock me down a peg or two on the ideal parent scale, but oh well... it was an honest mistake... and made for a great photo.

We spent the rest of the afternoon back at home doing yard work and whatnot. For some reason, Anna was in the garage with Sammy and wanted to put her helment on, so Sammy obliged. It was funny at first, but it turned hilarious when Anna wanted to leave it on for the rest of the day.

Sammy snapped this pic of Anna playing in her sandbox with her helmet on... she was doing everything with it. Anna actually went kicking and screaming when Angie took Anna's helmet off to bring her in the house for a bath. It was classic.

Anyway, as you can see it was a great day for Anna all around... and for the rest of us too.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Anna, NU and Cy

By K.J. Cardinal

I had to run into the city today to pick up some work equipment and since it's Monday that meant that Anna made the adventure with me.

We cruised into Boston, parked over on Columbus Ave. and then walked over to Cabot Gym on the Northeastern campus.

Anna didn't really know quite what to make of it all. She was Little Miss Friendly, saying "Hi" to everyone that we passed, which was pretty funny to watch people's reactions.

After I snagged the equipment, Anna enjoyed a snack on a bench and then had another run in with a Boston sports legend... Cy Young.

The Cy Young statue sits on home plate of the old Huntington Grounds. Anna didn't seem to like Cy as much as she liked Red, but she did think he had an interesting nose.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

One of the girls

By K.J. Cardinal

When I arrived at Jamie and Mike's house on Saturday night, it was obvious that Anna was fitting in as just one of the girls.

Jamie (pictured right) had a two-day baby shower extravaganza at her house in Oakham, which reunited Ang with all of her bestest friends, and Anna was living the life as the only kid in attendance.

Whether getting books read to her by Jamie and Courtney or devouring a cupcake with Jen, Anna was clearly getting spoiled. Throw in an exercise bike that she could "ride" and a cat named Porter and it was like heaven on earth for her.

Anna is such an animal lover and she would follow Porter around, practically stalking him. Her love affair with animals went to a new level this morning, however, when she was seen munching on some cat food.

I know it's not the most sanitary thing for her to do, but I just thought it was hilarious. She actually got upset when we told her she couldn't eat it... classic.

Last night after Anna went to bed, the big kids went to town on Rock Band. I clearly had some rock aggression to let out after a very busy week of work as I did everything from sing to play guitar and drums. We were all living the rock star life too as we all had WAAAAYYY too much to drink... well, all of us except the prego.

Good times all around and the only "baby shower" related event that I've ever been to when I can truly say I had a great time. Now, pop that kid out already Jamie so we can set him up with Anna.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Keepin' the dream alive

By K.J. Cardinal

It's been nearly four months since I returned from Oahu and my amazing Surf with Murph trip, so I felt it was about time to put together the mother of all recap videos to remember the occasion.

Thanks again Murph for such an unforgettable experience.