Friday, July 24, 2009

Intel Family Day 2009

By K.J. Cardinal

Anna's Wednesday was filled with many firsts as we took her to the annual Intel Family Day here in Hudson.

She was able to get her first taste of Italian ice and cotton candy, pet an alligator and play Rock Band.

We had fun walking around to all the different things to do. The coolest thing they had was this "airigamist" ( that takes balloons to make structures and whatnot. In the photo above, Anna is standing in front of a tropical picnic scene all made of balloons... palm trees, blanket, picnic basket, etc. Pretty neat.

Anna was a good girl and sat still while she had three stars painted on her leg. I didn't think she'd be able to pull this off, but she was as good as could be and was happy to ask for yellow and blue stars.

It was pretty funny watching Anna walk around after having the stars painted on her legs because she'd walk with her head down, staring at her new artwork. Reminds me of the video of me running down the court staring at my new basketball shoes when I was five-years-old... I should post that at some point.

Anyway, after the painting, we cruised through the little petting zoo they had set up. Anna really loves animals and never seems to be afraid of them. She wanted to go right over to this alligator and pet him.

We capped off the day with a stirring rendition of Eye of the Tiger by Angie, Sammy and Anna. They had Rock Band set up in a conference room and people could just go in and jam. As you will see, Anna was into it, but didn't want Mommy to use her symbol...


Pretty good times. Thanks Intel.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hampton Beach with Meme & Papa

By K.J. Cardinal

This past weekend we went camping at Hampton Beach State Park with Meme and Papa and we had a blast.

Anna got her first real experience of playing at the beach. She's been a handful of times before, but it was the first time this summer that she went to the ocean. As you can probably imagine... she LOVED the waves.

When we first got down to the water, Anna didn't know quite what to make of it all. She needed a minute or two to take it all in and then she wanted to venture into the water to figure it out.

After she got over the chilly, 63 degree water temp, she was ready to conquer the waves. I got some footage of her first trips into the water with Meme & Papa...


The weekend was a good precursor to our week-long vacation that awaits us next week. The entire Cardinal clan will be together up on the North Conway side of the Saco River. We can't wait!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

That's quacktastic

By K.J. Cardinal

This video is a few weeks old, but priceless nonetheless. As you will see, Anna LOVES it when I make duck noises. She's so much fun. Enjoy!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Natalie...15 months (and a day)

By Tiffany George

First of all, I need to thank KJ for putting up pictures of my cuties along with the photos of Anna, because I have been seriously delinquent in that department. We got a new computer and need to get a device to put our camera card into, so for now, this post will be photo-free. Sorry!

Oh, I just wish you all could see Natalie Jane in action. She is such a little blessing. She is the happiest, friendliest baby you could ever see. No matter where we go, she waves to everyone and won't stop until they wave back. She also says "hi" which is just priceless. We went away this past weekend to Lincoln, NH, and after breakfast one morning, she walked along the entire restaurant, waving good-bye to every person at every table. This is just typical Natalie in action. She also LOVES to run around in a mall, grocery store, or anywhere with open spaces and lots of people. Aside from babies, she also adores dogs. Go figure!

Her hair is really growing in now, and it is CURLY. It so so sweet! The curls are mainly in the back, but the hair growing in on top is curly as well. We have appropriately started calling her Curly Sue, and Andrew has picked right up on this. If he's not calling her Curly Sue, he calls her NaTaLEE (which he can now pronounce correctly in its entirety), baby, or beautiful.

Andrew and Natalie still absolutely adore each other. Andrew is so nice to her almost all of the time. He doesn't mind if she lays on him, pulls his hair, or steals his food. I can't imagine him being a nicer, more kind boy. Last night before bed, Natalie kept grabbing onto Andrew's jammie shirt while she dragged him all over the place. He just giggled and giggled, making her giggle all the more.

And while Natalie loves to blow kisses to anyone departing, she is quite stingy with giving out actual kisses, though Andrew gets them all the time. She has started this new thing, where very rarely, she'll just look up at me with her beautiful little face and put her lips out just a tiny bit...melts my heart every time.

Natalie also loves reading books now, or should I say flipping pages. Key ingredients to a good book in her perspective are: pages to flip, babies, doggies, or fuzzy things that she can touch. She insists that she be in your lap if you are going to read her a book. She comes right up and steps one foot inside of my crossed legs, then turns around and parks her cute little bum.

She is also really starting to understand what we are saying, and it is so cute. If I say "go get a snack cup out of the drawer" off she marches! She also thoroughly understands when it's time for bed. I will be holding her, and when I hollar to Pete to come get her for bed, she instantly starts to snuggle me. Lucky me! We do this a few times just so I can get additional love!

Her vocabulary is also expanding by the day. She can say many words, ranging from Momma and Dadda to cheese, please, and nose. Her new favorite word is duck, which she quickly picked up this past weekend when she admired the ducks in the pond at our hotel. She's got a few animal sounds down (sheep, doggie, horsey, and dinosaur, of course) and knows most of the parts of her body. She loves to go up to people and say "nose, nose" while she points a finger at their nose...most people are afraid she's going for the eyes, but it's honestly only their nose. While she does avoid other people's eyes, she has a penchant for touching her own eyes. She's given herself bloodshot eyes on 3 occasions already. What a crazy noodlehead!

She also just recently discovered her shadow. This morning as I was getting breakfast ready, she went over by the door to the deck and just sat down, then kept waving and saying hi. The little cutie was waving and saying hi to her own shadow. It doesn't get any cuter than this folks!

Natalie is also Miss Adventurous. She has absolutely no fear. I need to be right by her side every minute of hte day or she will end up with a battle wound. Her most recent injury came the other day when she was running around Andrew's room, tripped, and took a header directly into the edge of Andrew's open bifold closet door. It left a nice straight bruise and a little blood...but have no fear, Andrew instantly ran downstairs to get her a boo boo bunny.

Natalie has also learned to yell. As one person once told me, she does have a good set of lungs. We are in the process of teaching her to ask or sign rather than yell, and thankfully that appears to be working out! She's happy when she's getting what she wants, but when she doesn't, she's not too happy...but who is??? :o)

These two cuties certainly keep me with my hands full...but my heart is so full of joy and love too!


By K.J. Cardinal

Anna is such a ham. She loved showing off for Aunt Missy the other day when she came over.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Anna, singalong and sun brighten up the weekend

By K.J. Cardinal

The sun made a surprising appearance for the second-consecutive weekend to help brighten up our trip to New Hampshire along with Anna being Anna and a singalong.

On Saturday morning, Anna, Angie, Sammy and I headed north to the Granite State for a party at Mike & Norrene's. My parents brought their camper and we brought our tent, so with accommodations for the night we could all really let loose and have a great time.

Anna did her usual daily routine of entertaining everyone. The Anna highlight of the day had to have been when she was in the back of Frank Foster's truck.

With a crew of 10 or so surrounding the truck, Anna used the truck bed as her dance floor and put on a show. I was playing music off my iPhone for her to dance with, so unfortunately I couldn't get video of it too. Trust me though when I say it was priceless. She's developing quite the arsenal of dance moves too.

After being Little Miss Center-of-Attention, Anna turned into Little Miss Snugglebug. As you can see in the photo at right, Anna really took to Mike and really loved just snuggling up on him for about 10 minutes. Actually, I'm not sure who liked it more, Anna or Mike?

When the sun went down, the campfire went up and out came my dad's guitar. He led one of his signature singalongs and we just had a blast.

Of all the fun things that I do with my family, I really have to say that the singalongs are by far my favorite. I'm sure at this point just about all of you loyal blog followers have participated in a singalong at some point, so you know EXACTLY what I'm talking.

For those of you who haven't been fortunate enough to partake in a singalong, you'll enjoy these along with the rest of us:

Eve of Destruction
Runaround Sue
You Don't Mess Around with Jim
Bad, Bad Leroy Brown

These are just four of the 20+ songs that my dad played on Saturday night. His set was interrupted by rain, which just prompted us all to run under a big tent that was set up and keep on rolling.

I gotta say that my iPhone once again proved to be clutch as I was able to record this footage so easily. The only "downside" of the footage is that I now have audio evidence of a lot of debauchery as well... most notably Sammy laying the smack down on Norm and an X rated version of Lassie... Andrew wouldn't know what to do if he heard that :)

Not sure if/when I'll post that footage. I guess some things have to be sacred, so if you want the full singalong experience, you'll probably have to just make it out to one. Or maybe you can buy the uncut version on CD someday!

On Sunday, we packed up the tent and went to Big Daddy's for lunch. My parent's have been raving about the bar/restaurant in Acton, Maine and their reviews were spot on... awesome food, cool atmosphere and ridiculously affordable prices. For instance, I had the triple lobster for $19.99... Busch drafts were $1.50... $0.25 wings... etc.

Sammy got the full Big Daddy's experience by riding there on the back of my dad's motorcycle. She had been on a motorcycle once before, but just for a short ride. This time she was smiling ear-to-ear for the 40-minute ride.

All-in-all another great weekend with the family... just gets us even more fired up for our week vacation with my whole family at the end of this month... 12 days and counting!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I scream you scream

By K.J. Cardinal

Earlier this week we took Anna to get ice cream at a little place in town, Dairy Joy. Nothing earth-shattering, just a glimpse at the cuteness that is Anna.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Fantastic Fourth

By K.J. Cardinal

Despite a rain-filled month of June, the weather FINALLY cooperated over the weekend so we could get outside to celebrate the Fourth of July.

On Saturday we headed out to Ludlow for a party at Angie's Uncle John's house. I had never been to their house before, but it was great. The inside of the house is very nice, but the outside was even better.

The pool with a sandy beach area was great, but the kids' playhouse (pictured behind Anna & Julia in the photo above) really stole the show. When I say "playhouse" I don't mean your typical plastic structure... this was a wooden house with windows and doors, shingled roof, couch, mini fridge, etc. It was sick... I'd consider moving in there if/when Angie kicks me out.

Anyway, we had a great time at John & Theresa's. Pretty much the entire Dias crew (Angie's mom's side of the family) was there and it was great to hang out. Here's a family photo op that I snapped...

We were all pretty exhausted after a long day at the party, so we decided to head back to Hudson late that night.

Yesterday morning we woke up and decided to take advantage of the good weather once again. This time, we opted to head to Hopkinton State Park.

We had never been before, but had heard good things about the place, so we packed up and headed out around 9:30 a.m.

The "beach" wasn't too impressive, but it had clean water and sand, so Anna was in her glory.

She was having a grand ole time just splashing in the small puddles on the beach and building "castles".

While I was walking around taking pictures of Anna, I decided to step in a puddle and splash her. As you can see in the photo below, I got her pretty wet, but she was less-than-impressed. I kind of felt bad, but the look on her face was so cute and she wasn't really upset, so it was all good.

After playing on the beach for a while we went for a walk/hike around the pond. When we took off walking, Anna was pretty excited so she started to run. She tripped on the uneven walkway and took a digger.

She hit her forehead on the concrete and was pretty shaken up, but she was OK. It really wasn't that big of a deal, but probably the second biggest injury of her life. I don't want to jinx it, but we've been pretty lucky in that regard so far. However, I'm foreseeing more injuries in her future now that she's climbing on anything and everything, running like a mad woman and is fearless at times.

You can kind of see the bump on her head in this photo, above her left eye, but again it wasn't that bad... looked a lot worse when it happened. Anyway, I took this photo of my girls while we were on our walk.

We left the beach and stopped at this place in Ashland called TJ's for a little lunch. They had outdoor seating and good food, so it was right up our alley. Not sure if it was because the weather was so nice, but it almost seemed like a biker hangout, which was cool with us... especially Anna, who has come to love "modecycles"... we'd love to go back with Meme & Papa sometime.

After lunch we headed home for a little more time outside. We dragged Anna around the neighborhood in her new red wagon (pictured above). Thanks John & Theresa for another great hand-me-down. Equipped with cup holders and a built in cooler... it's needless to say that Daddy and Anna with both get plenty of joy out of their new toy.

We capped off the day by having Scott over for dinner and grilling outside. We let Anna have frozen blueberries for dessert and it was quite a mess. But, a cute mess and a great way to end a great weekend with my girls.