A blog for all that goes on in our family.

Archive for June, 2011

“Et tu, Brewte?”

My brother Mike and I received a very generous gift from our parents for our June birthdays: a homebrewing kit from Northern Brewer in St. Paul. Last week we picked up all our gear and chose what beer we would try our hand at first (nut brown ale), and Thursday was brew day at Mike and Hallie’s house. Although it took us several hours to get the job done, it was a lot of fun (lots of faux shouting, “You’re doing it wrong!”). But we did not ignore our responsibility to the brew. We steeped grains, added malt extract, boiled wort, added hops, did some “product research” (see below), achieved a cold break, filled the primary fermenter, aerated, added yeast, and corked it. All those terms are just a technical way of saying, “Had a blast. Thanks Mom and Dad!” Now we wait two weeks before moving to secondary fermentation, bottling, etc. And then…we’ll see if the beer is any good!

Steeping barley in hot water.

Mike snorting hops--Fuggle, to be exact.

While the wort boiled, we did some "product research".

  • More product research and wort stirring.

Five gallons of cooled wort in a glass carboy. Luckily, this brew slave avoided a hernia.

Mobile Pea

Well, cousin Sherri’s prediction was correct; Anna did start crawling on Wednesday night. She only covered about 12 inches on the living room floor, but she did it. As our friend Jess put it, the “Golden Age” of a baby who can sit but can’t crawl is over. Yesterday Anna was already improving, chasing after the laptop when Grandmas Kay and Sherry and Grandpa Jim were waving and cooing at her on Skype. Today she went after a few different toys she likes:

But that’s not the only surprise she had in store for us this week. This afternoon I went to get her up from her nap, and she was sitting in her crib like she was an inmate in Folsom Prison:

"I ain't seen the sunshine since I don't know when..."

The times are a changin’ at the Rogers household!

The Old Ball Game

My wonderful father had two tickets to a MN Twins’ game last Thursday and couldn’t go. Poor Dad… lucky us! He offered the tickets to me, and since I had the afternoon free and Anna had yet to be to Target Field, we jumped at the chance. John had to work, so I asked my friend Karen to go with us because she’s one of the biggest Twins’ fans I know.

After Karen found us a great parking spot, we walked to the stadium (signal chorus of angels to start singing) and got to our padded Legends’ Club seats just in time to see my favorite player, Michael Cuddyer, up at bat. Anna sure is a good luck charm for her parents’ favorite team, because the first pitch she saw just happened to be a home run!

Karen and Anna enjoying the game.

"I'm so happy to be at a game with Mommy and Miss Karen!"

The day was gorgeous, the seats were amazing, and the game was perfect (not literally, but it was an entertaining and short 2 hours and 8 minutes). Anna did really well and happily waved at anyone around us who would pay attention and cheered the team on to a 1-0 win against the White Sox. Apparently going to a Twins’ game suits her fancy, which is just fine with me. She even had her first taste of Cherry Coke, which was probably a bad idea on my part; she only wanted more!


The great afternoon was made complete by picking up a “first game” certificate for Anna’s baby book, taking a walk around the beautiful stadium, and of course enjoying some tasty stadium food.

Thank you, Dad/Grandpa Jim, for the tickets – we had a blast and I have no doubts Anna will grow up a Twins’ fan.

Karen: Thank you for going with us to the game and helping me with a 9 month old. We are SO glad you were able to join us!!!


A Fun and Busy Weekend

We’ve been very busy so far this June, and this weekend was busier than most. This past Friday Beth and Traci, Sara’s sisters, came up for a girls’ night. They watched movies, ate nachos, and hung out at the park with Anna. I spent the evening with my dad; we attended the American Beauty Project concert at Orchestra Hall. It was excellent, and as an added bonus, we were treated to some natural fireworks after the concert in the form of a lightning storm that rolled into downtown Minneapolis around 10 PM.

Methinks the swing is still a bit big...

On Saturday, I headed to the State Fair grounds in St. Paul with my father-in-law and one of his friends for the Minnesota Street Rod Association’s “Back to the 50s” car show. This is a yearly event where over 11,500 classic cars are shown, though not a single one built after 1964 is allowed. I’m not a big gearhead, but this is the third year in a row that I’ve gone to the show, which should tell you something about how spectacular it is!

A chopped-down street rod.

The interior of a Messerschmitt KR200, a very tiny car.

"Oh, they don't make 'em like they used to..."

You've got to love State Fair signs!

On Saturday afternoon, we packed up the car and headed to my parents’ condo. My cousin Sherri was visiting from Omaha, and we had a good time drinking beer, talking, and celebrating Father’s Day together. Sherri had not seen Anna since Thanksgiving and commenting that she is getting So! Big! Sherri also got to meet Genevieve, now jokingly called Dino Baby because she makes screeching noises like a tiny T-Rex. Father’s Day proper we had an especially fun time; the whole family headed to Canterbury Park for an afternoon of horse racing and people watching. Many of us had exceptionally good luck. My dad and I picked winners in three out of four races, and my winnings managed to cover Sara’s losses (sorry dear!). Looking back, it was a weekend packed with fun.

"All hail Her Royal Cuteness, Princes Anna Kateri Sweet Pea I, and her rockin' headdress!"

This week we have very few items on our schedule and are just enjoying being home together with Anna. Since it’s been raining on and off all day, she used part of her afternoon indoors to peruse the bookshelf.

"Oh, what learning is!" (Romeo and Juliet, III.iii.160)

"Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house." --Henry Ward Beecher

Happy Father’s Day!

Dear Grandpa Jim,

You are my favorite grandpa with a mustache. And with a puppy! You are so sweet to me because you come and visit a lot, and you know that I got my habit of rubbing my feet together from you. Thank you again for the tickets to the Twins’ game last week (Mommy will be posting about that soon), because I had a lot of fun and I can’t wait for you to take me to more as I get older! Thank you for being a funny, loving grandpa and I will hopefully see you via Skype very soon. I love you!

Your Anna Banana

Me and Grandpa Jim (That OJ looks yummy!)


Dear Grandpa Rob,

You are my favorite grandpa with an apple. An iPad, I mean. Or a Mac. I’m sure I’ll learn these things as I grow up, and you’ll be there to teach me. I love to come visit you and spend time playing on the floor with you; you are so good at keeping me happy! Thank you for taking me to watch the horses yesterday. I really liked them (Mommy will be posting about that too)! Thank you for being a wonderful, loving grandpa and I can’t wait to spend all night with you next weekend. I love you!

Your Anna Kateri

Me and Grandpa Rob


Dear Daddy,

You are the BEST daddy in the entire world! And I know, because I’ve seen a lot of daddies. You are the best at making me smile and giggle. You encourage me to be daring by flipping me upside down and throwing me in the air, and those are two of my very favorite things! You also help me see the world differently by putting me up on your shoulders, and I know that you’re very thoughtful because you’re always very careful that I don’t hit my head when I’m up there. You are so good at being a daddy and I am so blessed and lucky that I get to grow up with you around, teaching me how to love God and love everyone around me. Thank you for being there to play when I’m happy and snuggle when I’m sleepy. I love you very, very much!

Your Sweetest Pea

Me and my daddy

Early Summer

We’re only a few weeks into summer (between Memorial Day and Labor Day) and we’ve already been very busy. We spent some of the Memorial Day weekend camping with Sara’s family outside of Oronoco, MN. It involved the usual: hanging around on camp chairs, eating lots of good food, drinking beer, and playing games. Anna really enjoyed being outside, and played for hours on her blanket in the sunshine. On Memorial Day proper we did some early summer cleaning, installing new curtains in the nursery, planting out first vegetable garden, cleaning out gutters, etc.

This weekend Anna spent Friday with John’s parents, and then spent Saturday and Sunday up in Alexandria with Sara’s parents, who were visiting some of our mutual friends, the Kramers. By all accounts she had a great time, and she even showed Grandpa Rogers what she hasn’t shown anybody else so far–her ability to go from laying down on her stomach to sitting. Apparently even she was a little surprised she could do this! I’m thinking she’ll be crawling in no time.

Squinty country baby. Country because she has a pickup truck.

Relaxing in the backyard.

Chillin' on Grandma Nigon's lap on Memorial Day weekend.

Anna Helps

Anna has been very helpful by lifting her legs when I vacuum. This video doesn’t quite catch the fullness of her reaction (we had been doing this for a few minutes already and she was getting used to it), but it’s still entertaining!

She has a similar reaction to anything loud (blenders, lawnmowers, etc). You would think she’s scared of these things, but she’s not. In fact, she usually ends up giggling at them.