Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Anna, star of screen, now star of stage

By K.J. Cardinal

Anna has long been a star on computer screens across the country, but today she made her debut on stage and it's official... she's a star there as well.

Ms. Katie's preschool class performed The Gingerbread Man at the Intel Mini Theatre at Hudson High today and Anna had the dubious honor of playing the Fox that (spoiler alert) gets to eat the Gingerbread man.

The Gingerbread man was played by none other than Anna's buddy Brynn. I'm obviously biased to my little girl, but I'd be a fool if I didn't recognize Brynn for her performance... she clearly stole the show.

Anyway, enjoy the play...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Anna plays soccer

By K.J. Cardinal

Angie signed Anna up for this kids' sports class at Teamworks in Northboro and this week was the first class. First sport on the docket: soccer.

Anna really let the Portuguese in her come out as she seriously showed some skills.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween 2011

By K.J. Cardinal

Happy Halloween from the Cardinals.


No dragons were hurt in the filming of this video.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Anna's 4th birthday party

By K.J. Cardinal

Yesterday, we celebrated Anna's 4th birthday with a family party at our house. Picture perfect weather actually allowed the kids to play outside in their bathing suits and we all had such a blast.

All the kids get along remarkably well and Anna was in her glory to be surrounded by all her cousins that she loves so much. Thanks to everyone that came and helped make Anna's birthday so special.


Friday, October 7, 2011

The greatest team ever

By K.J. Cardinal

As if I really need to explain this to anyone, but the 1986 Celtics are clearly the greatest team ever. Don't believe me, then you'll have to take Brian Wilson's word for it...


The only way this 2Ksports video could get any better was if Wilson was wearing my dad's old school Celts jacket... talk about greatest ever.

PS: I think I'm one of a handful of people in the world that are really upset that the NBA may not play this season. I may have to invite Mike & Tommy over for dinner because I don't think I will make it over a year without them... actually, Anna and Tommy and boys, so maybe I'll just have her reach out to him.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Daddy's angel turns four

By K.J. Cardinal

Four years ago at 5:47 p.m., we welcomed into this world an eight pound, 2 ounce baby girl named Anna Maria.

I remember those first hours as a father as perhaps the happiest of my life up to that point. Here I had a healthy, cute baby girl, a healthy wife that was a champion through the labor process and Manny Ramirez blasting a rocket over the Green Monster to give the Sox a walk-off win in game two of the ALDS verse the Angels.

I thought to myself: life couldn't get any better. Luckily for me, I was dead wrong (well, not about the Red Sox, but that's a story for a different blog post).

Ever since then, Anna has helped make each day better than the last and makes me feel like the luckiest father in the world because she is, without a doubt, Daddy's little girl.

Living the Anna Experience (and trust me, she's an experience) for four years has been so amazing.

I challenge you to find a more fun kid to be around. Perhaps I'm biased, but I honestly can't recall ever meeting a child that's more fun than Anna.

Anna is a relentless, adventurous ball of energy that is always looking to go new places and do new things, while making people feel good and having fun along the way.

Because of this, it is difficult for me to get wrapped up in the fact that the first four years of Anna's life have already passed us by. While part of me is sad to see her childhood vanish in front of my eyes, her attitude on life makes me even more excited for today and tomorrow.

So, happy birthday Anna! You're getting older, but you'll always be my little angel. Love ya (cluck)!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The loss of Lena

By K.J. Cardinal

I was deeply saddened this morning when I learned of the passing of Lena George and would remiss if I didn't take a moment to recognize such a wonderful lady.

One of the most selfless and caring people I've ever met, Lena was the matriarch of the George family. The mother of some of my favorite people in the world, Lena was a do-it-all type of person that was there at every turn for her family, her friends and her community.

The Cardinals and Georges have a long history together in Farmington, which was taken to the next level when Tiffany and Pete got married back in June of 2003. The marriage of our families has always been such a treat for us Cardinals and I was psyched to be officially tied to the Georges. There is not a family on this planet that I respect more than the Georges and this all stems from Lena.

Her amazing traits and characteristics can be seen in all her children and it is why I admire her so much. While she is no longer with us, her legacy is for sure to live on through her kids, grandkids and great-grandkids that she leaves behind.

If I close my eyes, I can hear Lena's distinctive "down home" voice tell me about her latest escapade at Foxwoods or how good Sam did at his baseball game. Just the thought of her brings a smile to my face.

My deepest condolences to Pam, Karon, Billy, Pete, Paul and their families. Lena will be missed, but I know you all will continue to make her very proud.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Anna mastering scissors, hair fearing life

By K.J. Cardinal

Well, Anna's preschool introduced our little girl to scissors and it's all downhill from here. She's doing a solid job of mastering how to cut things out, but I know it's only a matter of time until she lops off a big clump of hair.

I'd like to think that she's above that, but it's inevitable, right? That's a rhetorical question.

I have already convinced myself that it's going to happen, so I won't be shocked when it does. Call it reverse psychology if you want, but I call it being a realist.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Missy gets married

By K.J. Cardinal

One of Angie's best friends, Missy, got married on the Cape this weekend and we such had blast.

The ceremony was on Friday in Orleans, followed by a cookout at this amazing house they rented in Truro. With Angie being a bridesmaid, I knew Anna would get a kick out of Mommy and Aunt Missy dressed up as "princesses", so I made the up and back trip on Friday so the kids could enjoy day one of the wedding festivities.

Leo dominated the dance floor, per usual, and Anna had the time of her life playing with her new best friends Ayla and Aiden.

On Saturday morning, Vo Nezzie came to pick up the kids for the night and I was able to bum a ride back out to the Cape with Juan and Trish for the official reception to cap off the weekend bash.

There seriously is no better group of people on the planet than Angie's college friends and all the relationships that have spawned from them. With so many weddings and babies lately, we've been able to get together more than usual and it never disappoints.

Congrats to Missy and Corey and thanks for a great weekend... and one of the most spectacular sunset views I've ever seen...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Keithaholic at it again...

By Katie Cardinal

I had the most amazing time in my entire life this weekend on my Canadian Keith Urban Road Tour with Sydney James. Check out MY blog at www.keithaholic.com to hear how awesome it was...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A tribute to Jack Grinold

By K.J. Cardinal

While The Cardinal Blog is all about the Cardinal family, I'd be remiss if I did not post this amazing tribute to a great man, Jack Grinold.

As a co-op student at Northeastern, I was fortunate enough to work for Jack for four years in the Sports Information office. Jack had a huge impact on my time at NU and the direction of my career path. I have never met someone more dedicated to his work and his work was truly his life.

Kudos to Northeastern's Joe Case for putting together this amazing video. It's a 10 minute video, but believe me, it's worth your time. Enjoy...


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Payback's a b*tch

By K.J. Cardinal

For months now I've been saying that I can't wait for the day when Leo is able to dish out a little punishment to his older sister because Anna is forever torturing the kid. Well, it looks like that day has arrived.

This evening, Anna and Leo were being so cute just sitting on the couch together watching a movie, which prompted me to pull out the video camera and capture the precious moment. Precious indeed. Finally some sweet revenge for the little man :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Anna goes to preschool

By K.J. Cardinal

Our little girl is off to school. If you would've asked me prior to this morning, I would've bet that I would be somewhat emotional and sad about Anna's first day of preschool. But shockingly, I'm not.

She was just so excited and so cute about wearing her backpack and going to school that I found myself being more proud of her than emotional about the whole ordeal.

It is still absolutely mind-blowing that she's going to be four-years-old and is in preschool, but I'm OK with it... she's still Daddy's little girl... for now.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Leo steals the show, yet again

By K.J. Cardinal

Ho hum. Another day, another show-stopping moment out of Leo.

I'm not sure if or when I'll ever be able to understand why or how Leo ends up stealing the show everywhere he goes. But, he just does. It's getting to be a little absurd.

We could be at the grocery store, waiting in traffic at a stop light or at a wedding. You name it, he ends up owning it and making everyone around him so happy.

Please witness Exhibit A...


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

5th Anniversary of the Best Party Ever

By K.J. Cardinal

Five years ago today, Angie and I threw the best party I've ever been to... also known as our wedding.

Nearly 300 guests. The best DJ around. Amazing food. A bouncy house. Eight kegs. I could go on and on and on.

But, there were really two things that made the day so special.

1) the people involved...

300 of our closest family and friends. My dad as Best Man. Sammy as the Maid of Honor. Vicky as Justice of the Peace. Heather on the flute. Readings by our sisters. Jimmy and Corey as DJs. Mandy's cake. Candy's flowers. Carl & Lynda's house. Muddah and Papa John. The food crew. The clean-up crew.

2) the little moments that I will never forget...

My dad's cherry toast. Wearing the cake, not eating it. The mother-son dance. JuJu eating corn. Carl on the golf cart with the kids. Grampa dancing. Uncles tending bar. The downpour. The sombreros. Shoeless Polgreen. Fusta the bride. Keg stands.

And, I'm sure I'm missing some key people and events.

Nonetheless, day one of our marriage set the bar extremely high, but the past five years have not disappointed for one second.

Our wedding day actually foreshadowed what the next five years would be all about: family, friends and fun. Those are the three things that we wanted to make our wedding all about and it's also what we've tried to make every day as husband and wife about.

The past five years have been hectic and full of significant life changes and milestones for us, both personally and professionally, but we couldn't be happier with where the journey has led us. And, I'm very proud of the family we have started, the relationship we've maintained and the direction that we're headed.

With three healthy and wonderful kids, families that we love dearly and friends that we couldn't live without, we feel like the luckiest people in the world.

I love you, Ang. Here's to not changing the locks on me for a few more years. Cheers!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Classic KIMism

By K.J. Cardinal

It's not every day that you are fortunate enough to experience a KIMism in person (unless you're my Mom), but boy oh boy was I treated to one while camping with my parents last week... and I have audio to prove it!

[If you're not a long-time follower of The Cardinal Blog, then you probably have no idea what a KIMism is... well, read the original post here.]

Anyway, this gem occurred while my Dad was playing his guitar as we sat around the campfire. For me, this was a real cool set of songs by my Dad because it was a lot of stuff I hadn't heard him play in years.

After listening to a cool version of "Don't let the sun catch you crying", made famous by Gerry & the Pacemakers in the mid-60s, he let out this priceless nugget (WARNING: a little 'choice' language).

I had to leave a little of our reaction in there because that part cracked me up too. There was about a one-second pause and then I start giggling like a school girl.

There are seriously no two people on this planet that Angie and I would rather hang out with than my parents. And that's a fact... especially if KIMisms are gonna be thrown around.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fantastic Fourth

By K.J. Cardinal
I don't think I could script a better Fourth of July weekend for us if I tried. We packed as much stuff as we could into the long weekend and ran the kids (and ourselves) ragged, but it was such a blast.

[WARNING: You are about to embark on an epically long blog post now.]

Friday night we kicked off the festivities by hitting up a Worcester Tornadoes game. Leo was actually into the game for a few innings, which was kind of surprising. His fascination for balls and people watching skills were on display and everyone in our section clearly loved the little guy.

Anna's infatuation with Twister, the Tornadoes mascot, continued. She brought her Twister doll that we got her last year and couldn't wait to see him in real life when we got there. Once again, she spent nearly the entire game worrying/wondering about Twister's whereabouts.

Unlike last year though, she wasn't afraid to go up to him and say hello. She actually wanted to give him some of her popcorn, then milk, then cotton candy... we eventually convinced Anna he wasn't hungry, so she settled for a high-five and a hug from the furry "dog".

I got it all on video and her (and Angie) are so cute after... as Anna says, Twister was so "comfully".

While Leo didn't go in for any action with Twister, he was perfectly content just hanging out in the stands and playing with Mommy...

On Saturday, we headed down to Jamie and Maura's house in Stoughton for a Fourth of July cookout, but first we decided to brave the Atlantic Ocean on the kayaks with the kids down at Plymouth Harbor. Don't worry, I had done a significant amount of research to find a good spot that would be safe for us and Plymouth Harbor was exactly that.

We headed down to Stephens Field, right on the water in Plymouth, to put the kayaks in there. Plymouth Harbor was absolutely mobbed with boats, but it was great to navigate through them all to get to the Mayflower (replica) that is docked in the harbor, along with the Plymouth Rock.

The Mayflower replica was pretty cool, but other than the historical significance of the Plymouth Rock, I could not have been less impressed. I mean, there are larger boulders in my parents front yard... seriously.

After kayaking, we had a picnic lunch back at Stephens Field, let Anna explore the playground for a little bit, and then we were off to Jamie's for the cookout.

It was an absolutely perfect day for some burgers and beers with good friends. We ended up pitching our tent outback of Jamie's house and stayed the night.

We headed home on Sunday morning to unpack and repack and then we were off to Boston. Scott and his roommate were out of town for the weekend, so they graciously offered up their apartment to us for the weekend so we could enjoy the Fourth in the city with the kids... and we did just that.

Sunday afternoon we got settled at Scott's and ventured into the city. The weather didn't cooperate that much, so we had dinner, checked out a few things and then headed back for a relatively quiet night at the apartment.

Monday, however, wasn't so quiet.

We started off the day just walking around the city and checking out all the huge boats in the Boston Harbor. It was hot early, so we let the kids cool off at the Rings Fountain that's part of the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Leo was slightly intimidated by the big jets of water at first, but a little help from Ang and he was in full attack mode.

Shockingly, we pretty much had the fountains to ourselves, which was great because Anna was a maniac in the thing. Running, jumping, sliding, sitting. You name it, she was doing it.

After the fountains, we headed over to the Old State House to watch the reading of the Declaration of Independence from the site where it was originally read in 1776...

This wasn't high on the priority list for Angie and the kids, but it's something I always wanted to do and it was cool... if you're somewhat of an American history fan, like myself. I know I'm biased, but Boston is the best city and the history around every corner is what helps make the place so special, without a doubt.

After the reading, we headed to meet up with Tiffany, Pete and the kids where we caught the parade rolling by in front of Faneuil Hall...

Next up, the New England Aquarium. Tiff and Pete recently purchased a big family pass and were happy to treat us to a day with the fish.

On our way over to the aquarium though, we got sidetracked again by the Rings Fountain as we let the kids cool off. Anna and Andrew have become rather inseparable lately, so to no one's surprise, they were even attached at the hip in the fountain. Leo didn't get to venture in this time as it was super crowded, but he was perfectly content hanging out with the adults... most notably Uncle Pete.

Finally on our way to the aquarium and the three big cousins couldn't be any happier as they walked hand-in-hand with Aunt Tiff...

The aquarium was a blast and probably my favorite part of the day. With Andrew as the tour guide, he basically took Anna through the aquarium, showing and telling her everything he had learned the day before when he was there too. Andrew is freakishly smart with an unreal memory... he's one apple that fell way off the tree.

Anyway, when we stopped in a little nook of the Giant Ocean Tank, the kids were priceless... screaming at the top of their lungs when they'd see sharks, Natalie joking with Pete to "throw her in", me getting Andrew to believe that a fish was whistling. I could go on and on. We were only at that spot for about 15 minutes, but it really summed up the day with Tiff and Pete and the kids... tons of fun!

After the Aquarium, we hit up Tia's on the Waterfront for lunch and then ice cream in Faneuil Hall before saying goodbye to the George's as they headed home.

We once again regrouped back at the apartment before making a late-night run out to catch the fireworks. Both kids were fast asleep, but we just had to get them out to see some of the fireworks.

Leo was an absolute trooper. He woke up the second we put him in the stroller at 9:15 p.m. and stayed awake until about 11:30 when we got back. And, we were so glad that we took them out for the fireworks because Leo was in sheer awe at the spectacle.

It was so dark on the Longfellow Bridge, that the videos I tried to take didn't come out, but he was oohing, ahhing and pointing the entire time.

Anna, however, was not interested in being woken up to catch the fireworks... at least we tried.

Well, I hope you're exhausted from reading this uber-long blog post... imagine how we feel after just living it. Excuse me while I try to sneak a nap in this afternoon.

PS: Special thanks again to Scott and "The Grizz" for letting us stay at their awesome Beacon Hill apartment. We had a blast!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Leo turns 1

By K.J. Cardinal

A year ago today, we were graced with the best-natured little boy that anyone could ever ask for when Leo Michael Cardinal was born.

It's insane to think that we've had the little guy for a full year now... as the last 365 days have been a complete whirlwind for us.

The leap parents must take going from having one young child to two young children is HUGE and Leo did his part to make this a stress-free transition for us. I mean, thrice he had double ear infections and never even cried about it. Talk about low maintenance, huh?

There are a lot of things that I could say about Leo. Like how I'm so proud to finally have a son. Like how psyched I am that he's a "big" kid. Or how much I love seeing him in Angie's arms. But, honestly the thing that I can't express enough about Leo is how happy he makes me each and every day.

I think most parents can say this about their kids. And, I know I said it about Anna, but Leo really takes this to a whole new level. The kid just makes me happy. In fact, he makes EVERYONE happy. There's really not much else to say. If you've met Leo, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you've been a shopper passing by him in the grocery store, you know exactly what I'm talking about. He's just this little infectious bundle of joy that makes people want to do two things:

1) Smile, and
2) Pinch his chubby cheeks.

That's it. Just thinking about him makes me smile ear-to-ear. We have been blessed with an amazingly good-natured kid that is always smiling and loves to make people laugh. He's such a treat and I am so excited to watch him grow up.

So, happy birthday Leo! Thanks for being you and for making me the happiest father in the world. I love you, big bud.

PS: My "happiness" may turn to fear the minute he starts walking... stay tuned.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Where's Waldo?

By K.J. Cardinal

And by Waldo, I mean, Where is K.J. at the US Open?...

[Click on the photos to enlarge]

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Leo goes camping and kayaking

By K.J. Cardinal

Summer officially began for us this past week as we took Leo on his first-ever camping and kayaking expedition.

We hit up Pawtuckaway State Park for four nights (well, three actually since one night was a "rainout" for us) and had a blast. The weather didn't cooperate the entire time we were there, but Friday was definitely one of the most enjoyable days with the wife and kids I've ever had.

The campground is right on Pawtuckaway Lake (we were at sites 75/76 on Horse Island), so we set out on the kayaks for a little exploring. The lake is great because there are tons of small islands with lots of spots to park your kayak for remote fun.

We ended up docking at the campground store, hit up the beach next to it and then got the kids' ice cream there. It was so great finally being able to take both kids out to do something cool like this. Anna was in her glory and Leo was a treat as always.

I snapped this video of Leo eating his apple in the kayak with me. It got wedged between his chest and his life vest, but that didn't stop him from eating it. I actually think he preferred eating it this way, as he is a pretty lazy eater...


Leo was also happy as a clam to just be in the tent. He got a pretty big kick out of it (as this video shows), so needless to say, we'll probably be camping and kayaking a whole lot more this summer...


On Sunday night, Meme and Papa brought their motorhome and camped with us... as if the kids weren't in their glory already.

Leo and Anna both got to jump on Meme's bed and asked after what her favorite part of camping was, Anna said, "having a pillow fight with Meme."

Anyway, it was a fantastic way to start the summer for us. Now excuse me while I take a nap.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tornado misses us in Hudson

By K.J. Cardinal

Thankfully the tornado missed us last night out in Hudson, but it was a surreal scene that I have never witnessed before as our entire house was surrounded by lightning. Check it out...


Monday, May 16, 2011

Leo putting his bucket on his head

By K.J. Cardinal

My little buddy is learning new tricks everyday...


As an aside, this HD movie and photos were all taken and edited directly on my iPhone. Took about 10 minutes from start to finish... technology is pretty slick, isn't it?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Leo's first haircut

By K.J. Cardinal

In an impromptu move, Angie decided that she wanted to give Leo his first haircut today. Being Mother's Day and all, how on earth could I say no, right?

Actually, I was all for it too. Sammy seemed a little incredulous. And Anna was a little disinterested, but we went ahead with it anyway. These photos really tell the story...

Three things I just need to say here:
1) I had to include that photo of Leo crying, but he actually loved getting his haircut 90% of the time.
2) Leo is no longer a baby or an infant, he's a little boy. And,
3) My wife is perdy.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Leo's first Easter

By K.J. Cardinal

Sunday marked Leo's first Easter and our annual trip to Ludlow was in order.

Anna was particularly psyched in the morning, not only because the Easter Bunny hid Squinkies throughout her room, but because she got to see her cousins and go on VĂ³ Nezzie's "jump-a-room" (AKA: trampoline).

Nezzy made a feast that got approval by all, especially Leo as he had ham for the first time and sweet potatoes.

By mid afternoon the house was an absolute zoo with kids galore running around all hopped up on sugar and we had a blast.

Here were a couple priceless pics I snapped, but you can check out more photos on facebook.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Anna learns to ride

By K.J. Cardinal

Spring has arrived and with it comes a slew of kids in our neighborhood that are forever riding bikes around the block... the biggest difference this year is that Anna is quickly becoming one of those kids.

Angie knocked the dust off Anna's hand-me-down bike (from a neighbor), slapped the Dora helmet on her and away she went. Anna showed no fear, which was awesome.

Anna still doesn't quite grasp the concept of stopping or turning (much like me when I first learned to ski), but that doesn't stop her from going like a bat out of hell down the sidewalk, giggling the whole way.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Leo turns nine months

By K.J. Cardinal

Nine months of this "little" buddy have been so much fun. I know a lot of parents have tough times when their kids are babies and infants, but Leo has been so awesome.

For example, about a month ago, we were commenting that Leo seemed a little "off" and then a few days later he opened his mouth and had six teeth. I know the teething process for some kids makes parents want to gouge their eyes out, but Leo took it in stride... which is what he really does with everything in our crazy lives... flashing his infectious smile the whole way.

Leo had his nine-month check-up today and continues to impress the doctor. The little guy tips the scales at a healthy 26 pounds, nine ounces (99th percentile... finally back ON the charts), is 29" tall (87th percentile) and has a head circumference that ranks in the 96th percentile.

I think people who say it isn't fair or right to compare children are either crazy or don't have a blog to use as their reference. I mean, when you look back at when Anna turned nine months, she had four teeth, weighed 20 pounds, 3 ounces, was 28.25" tall and had a head circumference in the 80th percentile. It's neat to compare Leo to Anna like that. Kind of puts everything in perspective for me.

While it may be easy to compare their stats, the difference in Anna and Leo's personalities is probably more of a reflection of how Angie and I have changed and how we (mostly me) had more of a clue what to expect the second time around as a parent to an infant.

Leo's just a feel-good kind of kid. Anna was, and obviously still is, our little performer, but it doesn't seem like Leo's personality traits are headed as much in that direction. Anna makes you die laughing by being goofy and putting on a show (see Exhibit A), while Leo makes you feel so warm and fuzzy just by smiling or tilting his head with that adorable look on his face (see Exhibit B at left).

Sure, comparing the children is fun to do and has some tangibles to it, but there's really no comparison with how lucky we feel to be blessed with another happy and healthy child. I'll let you debate who's cuter, I think it's a push...