February 5, 2012

Win a Susan Tuttle Workshop Give Away!


Susan Tuttle is giving away a digital workshop. My fingers are crossed!!

July 7, 2011


Here we have Ezra singing his follow up song to "Green Eggs and Sam." With distinct heavy metal and emo undertones, "Go Dog GO!" tells a complex and riveting tale of colorful dogs working, playing, and partying in a tree. This strong sophomore effort is sure to please Ezra's fans:)

July 5, 2011

Ezra sings Green Eggs and Ham

Rarely these days, does Ezra proceed with ANYTHING once we get the camera out. He wants to take pictures of us, not the other way around. And so, it was a rare treat to be allowed to film his acoustic version of "Green Eggs and Ham." I believe it is a true work of art. I think you'll agree:) Set to summertime-backyard goodness. (Click on the title above to watch directly from Vimeo for a better quality film:)

June 23, 2011

Iris is 8 Months!

Iris is 8 Month!

Here she is at 8 months!

We asked Ezra to help us take her picture. They love each other and for now are happy to be in each others company.

Iris is not for sitting still (or plain sitting for that matter).

This is a happy baby. Not much gets her down and she tries her best to get peoples' attention and then throws them a giant smile, sometimes adding a little "ahhhh" in there for extra fun.

And the best news of Iris' 8 month life....Grandma and Grandpa came from Minnesota for a wonderful visit. Ohhhh, please come back soon! We loved/love having them here with us!!

This photo was taken at Sarnia's ArtWalk. Ezra made it to the front page of an online newspaper!

My kiddos! Pure love.

We have been heading into the wooded park more often and we found a tee-pee last week. So fun!

Iris now stands on her own. She is like her brother in the athletics department...we think she'll be walking soon! She goes up and down stairs on her own already and is extremely curious. Her favorite thing to investigate? Ezra's potty chair. Which makes life fun for Mommy.

May 16, 2011

5 + 6 + 7

Month 5!

Month 6!

Month 7!

More sweet (and spicy!) details to follow soon...

February 18, 2011

Iris at 3 and 4 Months

Our little girl grows! Here she is in Crookston at 3 months old.

And 4 months. Already!

When she's happy, she's happy. And when she's not? Well, let's just say she'll let you know.

Her two bottom teeth are coming in and she is a drooling machine!

Christmas Celebrated: Sarnia

My parents and brothers Ben and Spencer came all the way to Sarnia to spend Christmas with us. It was wonderful being together in our cozy little home. We were so grateful to have them with us!

First Canadian Christmas:)

Grandpa and Iris

Oooo, my kiddos! xoxoxoxxosss

Uncle Ben and his little sweet pea

Uncle Spencer and Ezra unwrapping gifts. I think Ezra "helped" with everyone's:)

So many books, just not enough time...

Imma and Grandpa are so fun to have around! Here Ezra is with a Christmas present from them: Wet Dog. Soon after reading it he said "Shoo, go on now!" to a waitress. Not good. But very funny to those of us that recognized that line from the book!

February 17, 2011

Christmas Celebrated: Crookston

Well, my dear friends...thank you for your continued patience. I ask myself, "why not just do a few quick posts here and there instead of every once in a blue moon?" Hmmmm, could it be that annoying perfectionist thing that follows me around and says "you can only post once you finish editing that movie, or once you have time to really sit down and do some serious writing or once you can change the blog around or once..." It never ends people. So here I am. Trying to just throw up a few photos and prove to myself that this can just take 10 minutes or so to do.
Unfortunately, I have been here 30 minutes and now Iris awakes. How could I just put up a few photos when I've mentioned nothing about Christmas? Haa haa. I have to just laugh at myself, right? All this to say- here are some new photos. Enjoy:)

We were fortunate enough to be able to celebrate Christmas twice this year! Once here in Sarnia with the Salminen crew and then in January in balmy Crookston with the Rudes. We are so grateful for our families...Wow.

Ahhh, the snow fort. Third Annual. It just keeps getting better!!

Aunt Kristen made all the kids (and their babies) bath robes. So cute! This year everyone did a great job of giving hand made gifts. Thank you also to Ali and Cassie for the beauty-gifts!

Reading with Aunt Cassie

Grandma and Grandpa Rude with their grand kids!

A rare smile from Iris outdoors. Do not get this girl cold!

Upright and scooting around with help.

This was back in November- big cousin Josie holding Iris:)

Good times with Grandpa!

Josh's sister Ali and her husband Noah took amazing photos of all the kids. This is one of my favorites. Ezra is our music man (wearing handmade goodies from Cassie)!

When Iris is with Daddy (and warm), she is a happy girl!

Love this one:)

this one too!

December 13, 2010

The Birth of Iris Rebecca

     I have been looking forward to the evening when I could sit down and write Iris' birth story. Tonight is the night! She arrived in such a wonderful way. It was another amazing labor and delivery. Thankfully, this time we were able to stay home afterward and enjoy the newness and wonder of our sweet baby girl. Here we are just a few moments after her birth.
     I woke up the morning of the 8th, 5 days overdue, and headed to see my craniosacral therapist, Karen, for what I hoped to be my final session for my back. I had been having some back/hip issues once again, but that morning I had more of a massage than body work. I was really looking for something relaxing. Karen also used some acupressure for beginning labor. Perfect! My parents were here in Sarnia with us and with just three days left until they had to return to Minnesota, we were all praying I would go into labor soon! My mom is a birth doula and I desperately wanted her presence, not just for her wealth of natural birthing knowledge, but because she is my mom and she knows just what I need! After my appointment, I headed back home around 9:00 am. Ezra was at a friend's house for a play date, so I answered a few emails and then took a nap around 10:00 am.  Another relaxing addition to the morning ( relaxation is the secret to a great labor :).  I woke up from my nap at 12:15 pm to the sound of Ezra returning home.  By 12:30 my first contractions had begun. For the next hour they came every 10-15 minutes. At that point I decided to give Josh a call and let him know that he didn't need to hurry home, but I was fairly certain "it was on." He came home one hour later and it was then that my water broke. It was 2:30 pm.
     I called my midwife, Cynthia, and she asked that I lay on my side until she arrived. At an earlier check-up, it seems the baby's head was maybe not as engaged in my pelvis as the midwife would have liked to see and she wanted to make sure to take every precaution against having a prolapsed cord, now that my water had broke. I wasn't thrilled about this request, knowing that laying down generally slows down a woman's labor. But I conceded and labored with light contractions around 7-8 minutes apart for the next 45 minutes until my other midwife, Jenna, arrived at 3:15 pm. She checked baby's position and it was head down, so I asked if I could get up and get things moving! She said okay, but wondered if I wanted an exam. I didn't really. I didn't want to know I could possibly be at 1 cm, for example, and I also didn't want the clock to start on my home birth, since my water had broke I would have 24 hours to have the baby at home before we would have to transport to the hospital. At 3:30 pm Cynthia arrived and we all talked about what to do. Turns out that the midwives would not have usually arrived so soon, but because baby's position was in question they came early. Once they determined she was fine, they could have left us at the house to labor on our own, but not without me having an exam. And so we discussed a few options and then decided I would go for a walk with Josh and see where we were at after that. While we talked, my contractions intensified slightly, and we decided that we would head to the back yard instead. Good idea! My dad and Ezra decided it might be a good idea to go to the park at that point (and bring their over-night bags along with them, just in case. Friends of our had offered their spare bedroom in case we needed somewhere for Ezra to go overnight.) They left at 3:40pm.
     So off we headed to the back yard. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and the back yard was exactly where I wanted to be. As my contractions progressed, Josh provided me with amazing support. I put my arms around his neck and we swayed back and forth during a few contractions. It wasn't too long until I had a contraction that reminded me of my labor with Ezra. Then it hit me. "Oh yeah, labor." I have to do this again! I remember saying to Josh, "I don't think I want to do this again." A classic sign of transition! And then I threw up. Another tell-all sign! But in my head I was comparing everything to my labor with Ezra and I thought I couldn't possibly be in transition because my contractions were not intense enough yet, nor had they lasted very long at that point. Anyway, Josh began to time them and the first one he timed was just two minutes from the previous contraction. He said, "We need to go inside. They are two minutes apart!" To which I responded, "There is no 'they'- let's get a pattern going and then we'll see." Sure enough, the next contraction was there just two minutes later. Now we had only been outside for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, my mom and Jenna had come out to check on us and when Jenna saw me on my hands and knees, she went back inside and told Cynthia, "she's on her hands and knees and she's just thrown up," to which Cynthia replied, "We are staying! Let's get ready."
     Josh and I came inside at 4:15 and I said to the midwives, "I'm not sure what is happening. They are 2 minutes apart, but they just don't feel that intense yet." I spoke too soon. My next few contractions were timed at lasting for 3 minutes! Turns out that is impossible, but my 90 second contractions were back to back, not giving me a break. I felt I needed to go the bathroom after that. My mom and Josh supported me (literally) in a way that I could bear down and it was then that I felt I had to push! Already? I headed into our bedroom and Jenna told me she needed to check me. I was fully dilated! I began pushing around 4:45 and 10 minutes later, Iris was born. She came into the world perfect, healthy, strong, robust and hungry. She weighed in at 8 pounds, 5 ounces, just one ounce more than her brother. But she matched him in length at 19 3/4” long. She nursed almost immediately. 
     What a wonderful birth! Throughout my labor with Iris, I was thinking about my labor with Ezra. I think because the intensity was never the same, I just couldn't believe that I was already at the pushing stage when I was. And here I was also nervous about having a home birth with a two year old and wondering how that would work out, when all Ezra had to do was go to the park for an hour. My dad said that they had just gotten there when we called to say that Iris was born. Ezra didn't want to leave. My dad eventually coerced him to meet his baby sister back at home:) When he came into our room he said, "She came out! Baby Iris came out!" So cute.    
     And so we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening cooing over this new little girl. It was wonderful to be in the comfort of our own home with my family. I was very much taken care of. My mom and Josh were amazing support throughout my labor and I am so thankful to have had that kind of loving, present support. I really do believe it makes all the difference in a home birth to have the people you love and trust there beside you, encouraging and praising your every effort. Another blessing of this home birth was that my midwife came to the house every other day for the first week to check on both myself and Iris which was amazing as well. I am so grateful for this birth experience and most importantly, our little Miss Iris.

Best birthing partner ever!!

Grandpa Salminen holds Iris shortly after her birth.

Imma and her grand babies:) My mom is a doula, as well. I couldn't have asked for a better team!

Sweet little thing!

Iris Rebecca arrives...checking in at 2 months.

We are pleased to announce the birth of our daughter...

Iris Rebecca Rude
October 8th, 2010
4:55 pm
8 lb. 5 oz
19 3/4"

She is our perfect delight. A lovely little one, happy and strong. It's been 2 months of being the 4 of us, two months of Ezra being a big brother. Two months of challenges and two months of blessings that always seem to rise beyond those said challenges. God has been faithful to me as a mother of now two children. When I have felt weak, there He is strong. I could write and write about the adjustments we are making, but I think I'll just keep it simple and share a few photos. And here I am finally finding the time (making the time) to record just a sliver of these last weeks. I have wrestled with the guilt of not getting to this sooner, but tonight I throw that off and share what I can, in this time I have. Enjoy!

Ezra really is a wonderful big brother. He smothers her with love, literally, and that is our only complaint. Iris is pretty perceptive at this point and when brother comes around she usually displays a nice furrow in her brow...she's nervous to say the least. All those kisses and rubs! Josh and I do our best to balance praising Ezra for being so loving while sternly reminding him not to touch her eyes, squeeze her too hard, lay on her, etc. It's a full time job.

Note the slight dimple on her right cheek. It is a deep beauty of a dimple when she smiles. SO darling.

Our dear, talented friend Jocelyn took these photos of Iris when she was just 8 days old. Thank you so much, Jocelyn!

Here she is at just one month old! November 8th, 2010.

Oh, the love.

And here the happy girl is at two months old! December 8th, 2010.
11 lbs. 10 oz. 23 3/4" long.

She loves to smile and coo. She sleeps well and eats even better.

Notice the look on her face, standard for when Ezra is near. This isn't to say that she doesn't light up when she sees him coming as well, but when contact is made, her expression usually changes! I guess Ezra is looking a little mischievous here, as well.

And this is fairly standard as well. She is so strong! Here we were hoping to take a nice and easy little photo of our two month old, but instead of sitting sweetly, she is happily arching her back and throwing her weight around. Wiggly little thing!

And just like Ezra, she always looks so tiny when Dad is near:)