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.