Archive for the ‘Announcement’ Category

December 3, 2014 0

Recent Firsts

By in Announcement, Family, Genevieve

In the past couple of weeks, Mike and I have been witness to a few “firsts” that have felt significant enough to us to be, well, significant. In no particular order:

  1. I just realized we have not posted anything on our blog yet about the fact that we are expecting our third child. Oopsie-daisy. Sorry about that. Yes! We are having another sweet little one, due in early April (April 8th is the official due date, for those of you who like to know). And here is the “first” in this…IT’S A BOY! We had our 20-week sonogram the week before Thanksgiving and saw definitive evidence of the male sex. I mean definitive.  …We are very excited to meet this little guy when he decides to debut, and can’t wait to see how our family dimension changes and expands as this fifth person grows into it. Welcome, little boy! We already love you so much!
  2. Genevieve and Mari had their first “sleepover” experience, as in, they got to party hardy with little people their own age and didn’t see mom and dad again until late the next morning. This adventure was provided by our generous (and somewhat bafflingly courageous) brother and sister-in-law, and the kids in the scene were our sweet nieces and nephews. It’s no small feat to warmly suggest/offer/invite a two year old and a three year old to spend the night at your house when you already have four little ones of your own under age 4.5. I know. Crazy and awesome at the same time, eh? They got to have pizza for dinner, munchy snacks and hot cocoa during their “movie” (Pooh bear–about 30 minutes long, maybe?), a fancy breakfast, and of course plenty of play time that night and the next morning.

    First cousin sleepover: watching Pooh's adventures

    First cousin sleepover: watching Pooh’s adventures

  3. This also brought a new awareness to Mike and I of the love/hate relationship all parents surely must have with sleepovers. We experienced the joy and freedom of having no (outside the womb) children for a good 19 hours or so, but for the first time in what will likely be many times, we also experienced the crash and burn of the rest of the weekend that results after such frivolity and excitement for our kids. Don’t get me wrong; we did not regret it. Our girls had a great time and so did we. We will be hosting our own sleepover for the cousins soon, too. But it was a glimpse into what it will be like for years to come, and I suddenly had a new appreciation (and apologetic understanding?) for my parents’ times in dealing with me in middle school and high school when I was out too late with friends. Uff da.
  4. Genevieve received her first-ever school pictures. And they are SO CUTE. Obviously, I’m biased when it comes to things like this, but man. That little girl is adorable and I’m not afraid to admit it, people. I definitely teared up a bit when I first saw the photos. I had to resist ordering magnets, mugs, calendars, and t-shirts made with them. Just kidding. Kind of.
  5. Genevieve also made her first “I want ___” statements. As in, “I want you to buy ____ for me!” This was an unfortunate byproduct of mistakenly strolling through the toy area of Target with the girls a couple of weekends ago. We were looking for gifts for other people, and whoops. There was the Frozen aisle. “I want a Princess Elsa dress! And a Princess Elsa wand!” ensued multiple times daily for the next few days. Finally, mom had to bust out another first with which to fire back: “Ok, honey. I heard you. We’ll make sure Santa knows that and maybe you’ll get that for Christmas.”
  6. Yup. Santa has also entered our world now, for real, for the first time. We try to not make a big deal out of it, but I’m not going to lie about the fact that sometimes I have to use that good old “Santa’s watching” leverage when the girls are being particularly assertive in their independence. (Read: “not listening to their parents.”) Two and three year olds disregarding parents’ wishes? Astonishing.
  7. Next week, Genevieve will have her very first school Christmas concert. Preschoolers in their finest holiday garb, singing Christmas songs in front of an audience, and our little girl among them. I don’t know if I will be able to handle it.
December 10, 2012 0

Welcome to the World, Mari!

By in Announcement, Mari

Apologies for not getting this up sooner. Life is just a bit more busy now! ;)

Mari’s birth story is quite a bit different than Genevieve’s.

First of all, I had symptoms of pre-term labor much earlier this time, starting in week 29. As a matter of fact, I felt my first contractions and felt baby girl drop a ways when we were near Hayward in early July for our vacation with my parents and Tom and Megan. (My actual due date was 9/22/12.) From that point on, I had to be very cautious and limit my activity for the rest of the summer, until I reached 36 weeks. Since the contractions continued sporadically and were actually changing my body (rather than just Braxton-Hicks), I was on orders to “take it easy” for the rest of July, all of August, and early September. Imagine my impatience, then, when our little Miss Mari decided to wait until 38 weeks and 6 days to finally be born after all that!

Rather than the dramatic water-breaking I had to mark the beginning of labor with Genna, I had a high leak that started the week before Mari was born. I’m not exactly sure when it really began, but basically it took a few days for things to get going. At 2:00 AM the morning of Friday, September 14, I was certain things were different and that labor had started. Soon after that, the contractions became strong enough to need attention, and regular enough to be the real thing. Mike and I got busy getting the last few things in order around the house and finished packing the hospital bag. Mike even ran to Cub Foods to get a few food items we needed for Genna for while we were away! Mike’s parents graciously came over around 5:00 AM to be there with Genna while we went to the hospital. My parents were coming to the Twin Cities that day, but weren’t able to arrive until a bit later. Our awesome doula, Sarah, came over to our house about 7:00 AM, because I was starting to really have to work through the contractions. Genna woke up shortly after that and was delighted to see so many people so early in the morning. I, however, felt greatly distracted by her, which was good, in a way (since she distracted me from the discomfort of labor) but was also bad, because I didn’t feel able to focus on my body and what was happening. We decided to go to the hospital around 9:00 AM because I thought I would be able to concentrate and get in “the zone” better there. It was a crisp, cool, sunny morning when we got in the car and waved goodbye to our first sweet daughter. Mike and I looked at each other as he started the car. Our lives were about to drastically change–again. We both had tears in our eyes. I can’t speak for Mike, but I know for me they were definitely tears of mixed emotions: excitement, fear, sentimentality.

Upon arriving at the hospital this time, I walked the entire way up to the maternity center. (With Genna I was in a wheelchair.) That probably should have told me to go home and come back later, but I was convinced this would be a shorter labor over all and I wanted to get things moving. I was so bummed when I was told I was only dilated at about 3.5 after checking in. I apparently had not progressed at all since my OB appointment the day before! However, since there was a small leak as I mentioned before, the nurses wouldn’t let me leave the hospital, as the dangers of infection were higher. So, I had to begin the real work then. I drank a LOT of water and apple juice and later, Gatorade, to keep my fluid levels good, and I walked, stretched, squatted, and lunged my way through active labor. My hospital experience was much less relaxing and smooth this time around. The room was not able to be as dark or quiet as I wanted it, and the nurses kept coming in and out. Also, our room was one of the closest to the main desk where everyone checked in, so it was quite a busy part of the hallway. Mike was once again a fantastic labor companion, encouraging and comforting me, but I was much more frustrated and tense than I expected or remembered. This didn’t help me progress much all day. Around 4 PM, the nurse told me that my doctor, Dr. Mary, would not be able to come to the hospital until after midnight unless I gave birth before 6 PM. I had a choice: I could either have the nurses break “the rest of” my water in hopes it would speed things up, or I could just continue the way things are, and have Dr. Spencer deliver our baby. Dr. Spencer is another OB from the same clinic, and he actually delivered Genna because Dr. Mary couldn’t make it to her birth either. I asked the nurse to check my progress, and I remember telling Mike and Sarah that if I was still at a 4, I would have my water broken, but if I was an 8, I would not. Of course, I was a 6. After much deliberation, I chose to continue without the intervention. I was afraid it would make things more painful and since it seemd the baby was not in an ideal position, it would hinder her ability to rotate into a better place.

Around that time, I was so exhausted and frustrated with the lack of progress that I was finally convinced by everyone to lie down on the bed and try to rest between contractions. It was the first time I had laid down since coming to the hospital. I did get some much-needed rest, and I also experienced a sort of emotional meltdown. I cried and cried, missing Genna terribly and feeling like I was never going to be done with this birth. Mike got Genna on FaceTime with his phone, and seeing her smile and blow me kisses made me so happy. That made me feel so much better and re-energized. The tears were definitely a breakthrough, because after that, labor progressed quickly and I was soon ready to push. I learned from my experience with Genna that being on my back to push was not effective. So, this time, I knelt on the bed and rested my arms on the raised upper part of the mattress. (The bed looked like one of those beach or poolside chairs that people use to lay out in the sun.) This was a much more helpful position to be in, as I was working with gravity rather than against it. During this stage, i was able to feel her sweet little head–with lots of wet hair–and used a mirror to see her before she came fully out. that was amazing, and really helped me be strong for the finish. Despite the much longer labor, the pushing stage actually took about half the time (30-40 minutes) it did with Genna, and I was less injured, too. Yay for doctors and nurses who respect your wishes and let you birth how you want to birth! At 8:17 PM on Friday, September 14th, Mari slipped out and immediately had a giant poop. It was hilarious. She was a bit dark at first, so we all helped get her started with breathing, and then she wailed and was beautiful and perfect and so, so hungry. She nursed very well right away, with a great latch and a fierce suck. I knew right away that breastfeeding would be easier this time around.

Mari Beatrice Rogers, your dad and I are so very thankful you are here with us. We love you so much, and we can’t wait to watch you grow up alongside your big sister. Welcome to the world, sweet one! What a blessed day September 14th, 2012 was for us!

September 15, 2012 1

Mari Beatrice

By in Announcement, Baby Life, Family, Mari

20120915-190931.jpg

We are overjoyed to announce the arrival of Mari Beatrice, born on September 14, 2012 at 8:17 pm after 18 hours of labor. She weighs 7 lbs, 10 oz and is 20 inches long. Mom and Dad think she already looks like her big sister, except chubbier! Mari is a Norwegian name and a version of Mary. Beatrice was my paternal grandmother.

August 9, 2012 0

Minor Updates

By in Announcement

Just an FYI… I recently updated the About Us page and the Links page to reflect our growing family and growing list of websites run by our family and friends.  Check them out!

August 2, 2012 0

We Moved!

By in Announcement, Home

Time to talk a bit about our new home!  We still live in St. Paul, not that far from the duplex we were renting, but we now own our very own house and little plot of land in the heart of St. Paul.  The house is a fantastic bungalow built in 1923 with lots of recent updates including kitchen, finished basement, roof, siding, etc.

We actually found the house back in April and completed the purchase agreement then but I was a bit hesitant to write about it for fear of jinxing the whole thing.  Plus, the previous owners of the home had to live in it through June 26th in order to get the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit (which we, unfortunately, could not get since it’s no longer available).  That’s why there was a bit of a delay between the purchase agreement and the closing.

We moved in at the end of June and we are absolutely loving this house.  It has a few quirks (it is 89 years old, after all) but we feel lucky that it needed nothing more than a few repainted rooms before we moved in.  Despite not having much knowledge when it comes to do-it-yourself projects around the house, I do have a few projects in mind and I am excited to someday get to them.  In the meantime I just read blogs like Young House Love and imagine what we might do with our house… eventually.  I’m just happy that nothing needs to be done right away.  Apart from the painting (which I can handle), all we’ve done is purchased some furniture for the living room, porch and deck.

Our old place was located on an intersection but this house is not, and it’s astonishing how different it feels.  No more loud stereos, exhaust or sirens.  Despite the new home being just a few blocks away from the old one, the neighborhood has an entirely different feel.  It’s nice and quiet but we are still right in the city.  Though only time will tell for sure, I think we’ve made a good choice moving here.

March 24, 2012 1

Arriving in September…

By in Announcement, Family

Ultrasound

We’d like to share some exciting news with those of you who haven’t yet heard: Baby #2 is on the way! We are expecting our second child in September and can’t wait to meet Genna’s little brother or sister.  We do plan to find out the gender this time and we’ll let everyone know when we find out.

March 4, 2012 4

Hacked!

By in Announcement, Web

Genna's reaction to the hack.

Sometime in the past couple of days – I’m not sure exactly when – our humble little blog was hacked.  If you tried to visit during that time, you may have been redirected to some inappropriate websites (with a .rr.nu suffix) or prompted to download some software because you were led to believe that your computer was infected with viruses.  My apologies to those who visited the site during that time.  Thanks, Mom, for sending me an email to let me know what was going on!

These types of things are relatively common, especially when using Open Source  software like WordPress (the content management system that we use).  Thankfully, after lots of searching and some great tips and tools from a number of websites, I was able to restore everything back to normal during the wee hours of this morning without too much trouble.  If you don’t care about this sort of thing, you may stop reading now.  If you have found this website because your site has been hacked and you have been searching for solution, read on…

One other clue that the site had been hacked (besides the redirects), was that a folder named .logs was showing up in my WordPress directory on the site.  I would delete but it would regenerate again a few minutes later.  This told me that the security hole still existed (even after I had followed several of the steps outlined below) and the original exploit or script was still somewhere on the site.  It was only after deleting unused plugins and themes that this behavior stopped, which (I think!) meant that the script was residing somewhere in those files and that the site is now clean and patched.

Most of this information came from posts on this thread at the Dreamhost Discussion Forum (our hosting company).  I have cobbled various pieces of advice together into the following procedure.  Your mileage may vary.  Here’s what I did:

  1. Backed up all infected files to my computer (this probably isn’t the smartest thing to do, but it’s what I did because I was afraid of losing everything).
  2. Download the “cleaner script” from this page and the “malware scanner” from this page.
  3. Uploaded both to the infected directory.
  4. Checked .htaccess files for malicious code but there was none (thankfully).
  5. Changed Dreamhost passwords here and here.
  6. Ran the “cleaner script” by entering the address into a browser and pressing enter/return.  It took quite a while to complete but it caused the site to start displaying correctly without redirecting to .rr.nu sites.
  7. Logged into the WordPress dashboard (which was not displaying correctly) and clicked the “Reinstall Now” button on the updates page.  This did not delete the content of the site but reinstalled the WordPress installation.  This caused the Dashboard to display correctly.
  8. Changed WordPress password.
  9. Changed MySQL database password from the Dreamhost panel.
  10. Downloaded the wp-config.php file to my computer for editing.
  11. Edited the wp-config.php file on the server to use the new MySQL password.
  12. Deleted the eight keys found at the bottom of the wp-config.php file which look something like this.
  13. Went to the WordPress key page and copied the eight new keys (all text on the page).
  14. Added the eight new keys in place of the old ones which were deleted in step 11.
  15. Uploaded the new and improved wp-config.php file to the server.
  16. Updated all themes and plugins from the WordPress dashboard.
  17. Deleted all unused plugins.  At this point everything was still displaying correctly on the site but that pesky .log folder kept regenerating.
  18. Deleted all of the unused themes.  This final step was what finally stopped the regeneration of the .log folder.
I also used Sucuri SiteCheck and Unmask Parasites during this whole process to see if the site was still infected.  The Sucuri site can only provide new results every 24 hours so I will need to run it again tomorrow to see if the site is truly clean.  My fingers are crossed!
December 25, 2011 1

Merry Christmas!

By in Announcement

Hallie, Genna and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

October 18, 2011 2

In Memoriam

By in Announcement, Family, Friends

Today I received word that John, an old neighbor, passed away. John and his wife Lois lived next to our family (up on the north shore) from when I was about the age of four until almost three years ago. Our driveways were parallel and our backyards bordered each other, but John and Lois were so much more than neighbors. For example, the morning I turned five, I woke to a surprise: John had hung a gigantic sign on the side of their garage wishing me a happy birthday. It was not uncommon for my family to invite John and Lois over for dinner or dessert, and we were frequently the beneficiaries of Lois’ “extra” apple pies. They were the cheerful lenders of eggs and sugar when we ran out in the middle of making Christmas cookies, and once in a while, my mother was given bouquets of selections from Lois’ amazing flower garden. One time us kids were locked out of the house during a school snow day, and so they had us over until my parents could get home. Their house always smelled fragrant, like cooking spices, and every time I was over there I would hear one of two things: silence (except for their gently-ticking clock), or classical music on their radio in their kitchen. (This was notable in its contrast to the constant noise in our house with four children.) John would often leave issues of “Sports Illustrated” or “Tennis” magazines in his mudroom for us to read when he was done with them, and they didn’t mind when we cut through their yard on the way to a friend’s house. John created a free tennis program in our small town and taught me and all my brothers how to play tennis, a game we all played throughout high school and still enjoy to this day. He was endlessly patient with youngsters. I wouldn’t doubt if it was partly because of his influence that I came to the teaching profession and, later, to coaching tennis myself. Under John’s efforts and leadership, our town built up a community center and instituted other wonderful programs, such as a summer recreation day program for kids, sports nights for the whole community (including some of the most fun softball games ever), 4th of July celebrations and bike parades, Halloween “Haunted Hayrides” and in the winter time, the production and maintenance of a much-used ice-skating rink. I can still see John gracefully skating around that rink wearing his Carhartt-colored coat and tall hockey hat over his ruddy face and cheery eyes. John was a man unlike any other I have ever met. He was gentle, concerned, patient (as I mentioned earlier), energetic, and strong. He had a good sense of humor, and was not too shy to slap his knee in appreciation of an enjoyable story. He loved the outdoors, he loved his community, and he loved his family. I cannot imagine him ever saying anything negative about anyone or anything. His kindness and eternal cheer were admirable. John was like another grandfather to me and to my brothers, and he will be missed.

Rest in peace, John. We are praying for you.

September 4, 2011 2

Welcome!

By in Announcement

August 14, 2010

Welcome to yet another version of manyhighways!  Thank you for visiting.  This site will be a smorgasbord of writing and photography from Mike and Hallie.  We are excited to get started and will be posting several items over the coming weeks.  At first, we will be posting material originally written back in May when our daughter Genevieve was born.  Once we’ve caught up to the present, we’ll do our best to keep the site updated with current material.  In the meantime, take a moment to read about us but be sure to check back tomorrow to read the story of Genevieve’s birth, as told by her wonderful mom, my wife, Hallie.