Dear Olive

So during my pregnancy I journaled my whole experience.  I told my pregnancy story to Olive, I am hoping that someday when she’s old enough to understand and read that she’ll appreciate this piece of history and the story of the beginning of her life.

I also hope that by sharing this on my blog that you might take something away from my pregnancy weather a laugh or a piece of advise, it’s here to be read.  Please remember I am not a professional writer, I write how I speak or how I would tell the story so please save the punctuation comments, LOL!  Also, there is some swearing and graphic language so reader be ware. 

I will be adding a few paragraphs at a time through out the next few weeks. Enjoy My 40 Weeks!

Week 10-20:

July 18, 2012 is our second appt.  This time we got to hear your heartbeat.  Most beautiful noise I have ever heard.  It’s up there in comparison to how I felt when Coldplay came out with album their X&Y.

I am struggling with clothes now.  I feel like people are looking at me and thinking, “Oh Hunny, that shirt is too tight for that belly.”  I have never been worried about weight or clothes fighting me correctly.  I have been the same size since my sophomore year in high school.  Now to see the scale climbing is a new experience.  I don’t feel down about it because I know, as soon as you are out it will go away.  But it makes me wonder about America and the obesity problem, McDonald’s makes “life to convenient?”

Buying maternity clothes is a joke!  Who can afford to be pregnant let alone dress yourself for success.  I thankfully do not have to dress up for work but I still like to look nice and make an effort.  $14-$25 just for a shirt that I will wear for 6 months is a joke!  They need a maternity clothes rental store or a consignment store but with stylish, updated clothing.  Hmmm… maybe a future business for me.  Along with having all gender neutral clothing.  Topic two: gender neutral anything.  I started my pregnancy not wanting to know what we were having.  I wanted to be surprised and I didn’t want to break the bank on items we didn’t need before the baby was here.  But after some time of “trying” to buy items I gave up.  There isn’t a store out there that gives a variety to gender neutral clothing or items to make you feel prepared for baby.  At about week 15 I knew I needed to know, boy or girl?


My dreams have been very strange.  We have had to decide which head to give you, if we wanted you to be shaved or stay looking like a little bear and how to dress a baby no bigger than a plum.  In my dreams you have come early and I had to take you to work with me and hide you in my desk or you came late and you talked and told us about your time in the womb.  I wake myself up from them, scared or laughing but then I have to pee and have a hard time falling back to sleep.  But in all my dreams you are a girl named Olive with an olive shaped head.

Daddy and I had had our highs and lows the past few weeks.  Our intentions are always good but with my wacky hormones I can’t imagine it’s easy to live with me.  I can tell that Daddy is missing his “social time” with his friends.  The whole not drinking thing is taking an affect on his emotions, he too has no outlet for his anger at work or moodiness with me.  We are both struggling with letting go of our independence and controlling life the way we see fit and adjust to the anticipation of a baby.

Dear Baby,

I hope in the end you won’t hate us for not giving you a sibling.  It truly is for selfish reason on our part but we feel that it is for the best for all of us.  We want you to be able to get and experience everything that you deserve.  Your aunts and uncles are the reason for this decision too.  We have our good times and bad with them now and in the past.  The world around us just isn’t what it used to be 20 years ago, it’s expensive and people are nuts.  The government is unsteady, the education is scary and the families are poor.  Siblings are hard to deal with, we thought there is enough bad in the world that we can’t control, this was one thing we could.  We will explain it when you are older.  You may just be so awesome that you never question it and for that I thank you.  We just want you to be happy and healthy with a good head on your shoulders.  If there is anything that I did do right in my life it was picking a great husband for myself and father for you.  Be lucky to have a great one and be humble to never take that for advantage.

Love, Mom

Kelly has been a huge help to me during my pregnancy.  At 20 weeks Kelly found out she was having twins!  The whole thing changed from there.  It took Daddy and I a few weeks to get over the shock ourselves, Kelly and Brandon are still in shock.  What a marvelous surprise though, scary but a miracle that’s for sure.  Brecken broke the news to us by saying “My mommy has two babies in her belly”  they gave us cupcakes to find out the sex, boy and girl!  I was happy to know that regardless of what we had you would always have a cousin that was the same sex and the same age.

August 15, 2012:  At our appointment, we got to hear you move when we were listening to the heart beat.  It made me really excited to feel you move!

My dad broke the news to me that my Grandpa Harold had bone cancer.  He had been in and out of the doctor for weeks trying to figure out why his hemoglobin was so low.  That was why.  He started chemo and seems to be doing ok.  Grandma Jan does the same thing that my mom does and tells that everything is ok.  I know them too well though, I can hear that it is not in their voices.  I pray for him and I call them once a week.  He is one of the greatest men I have ever meet, my dad looks just like him.  If you are a boy your name will be Oscar (after Brian’s father) Harold (after my dad’s father)  Bolton Soderlund.  I love that name!

Day off from work due to Labor Day but Daddy labored and painted your room.  The paint color is named Intelligent.

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Cravings:  Salt water taffy, apple juice, Dr. Pepper, Mac & Cheese, fruit and Peanut Butter.

Week 18: I felt you move for the first time.  Goldfish in a plastic bag wanting to get out is how Kelly explained it and she was right.  It was amazing, if I was a crier though any of this pregnancy I would have been bawling but instead I got excited told Daddy and enjoyed Jason’s Deli for dinner.

I attended Bre’s bachelorette party at 19 weeks.  It was fun to see her have a good time but it was not fun to be out late and to be preggers at a bar.  I knew that in a few more weeks I would have to do it again for Tabitha’s bachelorette party and it made me sad that I will never get to experience that night with her.  I swear you are well worth this downer time but it was the actual first time I missed having drunk fun.

The day we will never forget, September 11, 2012.  For two reason now.  It was our gender ultrasound at 19 weeks.  Our appointment was at the St. Paul Health Partners at 9:00 a.m.  I was really nervous and had the fullest bladder.  (I had to drink 20 ounces before the appointment and not pee)  When we finally got checked in, called back, situated and screen on, I was in total amazement.  There you were, I could see your nose, your heart beating, you spine, your feet, legs and arms.  You were the most beautiful thing (on a TV) I had ever seen.  I could see you move and feel you move.  You were being a little stubborn for the Tech so we got extra time to look at you.  She gave us 3 photos, 2 of your face profile and one of your foot that looks just like mine, big and flat!  She turned off the screens to do the gender and gave Daddy that envelope.  I could have stayed in that room all day and watched you, but I had to go to work.  It was a hard day at work not knowing, I was so nervous.  I wanted you to be a girl so bad that I psyched myself out by believing that you were a boy.  It was fun sharing your photo with my work friends and I sent a photo of it to our families.  It looks like you have Daddy’s nose.  When I pulled in the driveway, Daddy was doing the dishes in the window, he looked disappointed.  I got really nervous again.  He wanted a girl too,  I think more than I did.  When I got in I saw the big box I had brought home for the balloons of the gender.  The nervous flying butterflies sunk in and began to sweat!  Daddy didn’t say much, just pointed me to the box and got the camera ready to record my reaction.  I opened the box and 6 pink balloons floated out.  I squealed with happiness and if I was a pregnant crier I again would be bawling.  I yelled, it’s a girl!  Looked at Daddy and said, you made me a girl!  I was over the moon pleased!  I felt bad that I never got to see Daddy’s first reaction but he said that he opened the envelope as soon as I got out of the car, he cried.  His disappointment was because he was doing the dishes but now when I think back it almost looks like he was covering up a smile.  We were so happy and loved your baby girl so much.  I sent a photo to my side of the family since they all live far away.  Daddy’s side were coming on Saturday so we could have them open the box.  Side note:  the box I brought home was huge.  I wanted that thing FULL of balloons but when Daddy went to purchase them he was told he could only buy 6.  There is a helium shortage going on the US and you are limited to how many balloons you can buy.  So that’s why the box was also filled with streamers, signs and flowers.  It was super sweet and something I will always remember!


We had a gender photo shoot, your first of many, with Anne.  It was a lot of fun and I finally was starting to look like I had a bump.  After the photo shoot the family came and opened up the balloon box, everyone is excited for us and I am happy that twin girl will have a play date buddy.


We went to a JBF consignment sale.  We filled your closet for your first 3 months of life for $140.  Daddy was happy we got a lot for little money I was happy that I got to pick out girl clothes!

I have had the name Olive picked out for years.  During those years I was not going to have kids but no one in my circle of friends and family thought they would name their baby Olive so I was ok.  When I found out you were a girl, I was so excited to give you that name.  It’s strong and simple, it’s peaceful. The Olive Branch is a symbol of peace.  Those are the things that I hope for you.  That you will be strong, independent, set goals, follow rules and live a great life.  That you will be simple, that you won’t need a lot to be happy, that you’re humble and you don’t ask for much, don’t expect a lot and appreciate what you have.  And peaceful, pretty straight forward.  Know who you are, don’t be drama filled and have peace within yourself and your life.  Rae is my middle name, my mom’s middle name and Daddy’s mom’s middle name.  So it seemed fitting.  Welcome Olive Rae, we anticipate your arrival.

Cravings: any and all candy, comfort food, apples, peaches, cucumbers, peanut butter, Cheerios and Jimmy Johns.  Feeling: moody, anticipation, procrastination, swollen (huge) boobs, exhaustion and lack of sleep.




Olive | 7 months

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Seven months already!  I can’t believe it!  I think this is one of my favorite chalkboard months yet.  It took me two days to come up with it, I personally like #3.  I took this photo by myself too.  In the past I would have my husband stand guard so she wouldn’t roll off but this time I felt confident that we could do it with out him and we succeeded!  I had just finished the blanket shown in this picture too.  I have been taking a sewing class and this was my first project.  It’s made from scraps of our clothes, a pair of pajama pants from high school, a pair of plaid, wool pants from Abercrombie & Fitch I bought when I was a junior in high school, my fat pants (the first pair of jeans I bought after having Olive) and my husband’s dress shirt.  On the back I did a buttery yellow, super soft fabric.  I love it and so does she. You can also notice that Olive is wearing her pajamas, we have pajama Monday and these are just plain cute jammies!  I loved that she turned around in the chair to show me her kitty butt!!  So big and so funny and so smart!

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I had her 7 month photos taken my my dear friend Anne at ALM Photography.  I wanted to do something different, I have been trying to take her photos for weeks now.  I’d get her into position but the second I’d put my camera up in front of my face she’d get distracted.  So it was nice to have someone else pushing the button.  Plus I love Anne’s studio!  The photo of Olive standing was a re-creation of a photo of me, we are wearing the same shoes in the photos.  My mom just told me though that I was 10 months in my photo not 6-8 months like I thought.

We are into month eight now and wowza, what a difference!  Teething is a nightmare!

Minnesota Livin’

In the past two weeks Olive has experience a lot of our great state.  These are a few places she has been…

We vacationed to Brainard, MN in August.  We went with my husband’s parents and his 5 year old nephew.  I had never been to Brainard before, it was really nice to get in the car and watch the city disappear behind us.  We stayed in a hotel with a water park and spent one day in Nisswa, MN.  I also drove my first go kart!

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The following weekend was Labor Day.  We went for a day visit to our friend’s cabin.  The last time we were at the cabin I was 18 weeks pregnant so needless to say this Labor Day weekend was a lot more fun!  The weather wasn’t that great but we managed to bundle up and go out on the pontoon.  Olive loved the boat ride and didn’t mind her life jacket.  We played a hilarious new game and drove home in the dark with aching bellies from laughing so hard.

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Lastly we went to the Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.  My friend Alyssa had never been and I was meaning to take Olive all summer.  It was a beautiful day to spend walking around.  It was Olive’s first time really in the grass, hence the confused face in front of the Spoon & Cherry.

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Suzie Homemaker | stay at home mama excitement

So I was expressing my excitement to a friend about finishing three books in eight days.  I am not a reader mind you.  The last book I read cover to cover was Charlotte’s Web in the 3rd grade.  I got on this kick and I couldn’t stop!  My friend reminded me of all the “mom” things I am doing in my life.  I am reading, Olive and I go to yoga together, story hour on Mondays, I take a sewing class, I make my own baby food and I have become the avid bargain shopper all will holding two part time jobs and running my photography business that has just reached 211 likes on Facebook! Blog High Five!

Look out world, I feel as if I am on top of you!  It was a really great feeling to have her point them out.  I have been finding ways to fill my time all the while filling hobbies I have always wanted to explore.  Years ago, my husband would give me shit about not having a hobby.  I would tell him that I didn’t have the time or there wasn’t anything that interested me enough to make the time.  Sometimes we would even argue over it, he wanted to do one of his four hobbies on his time off and I couldn’t understand why he thought it was so fun.  I resented him for having so many hobbies but now I understand, it’s nice to see him happy for me and it’s nice to share my triumphs and new beginnings with him.  It’s also nice that we make time for our hobbies and we make time for each other.  Marriage should be named Compromise instead.


Page from Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres : Pulled my heart strings a bit.

Sewing class is instructed by my dearest friend’s mother.  Miss Pat teaches me the basics and while I quilt a blanket of my old clothes for my daughter, she plays with Olive.  It truly is the greatest!  Also she makes a delicious breakfast and has great coffee!  Sewing machines are like riding a bike, once you get going it all comes back to you.  The threading of the machine and doing the bobbin will take some practice but hey I am 40% done with it and I pat myself on the back for jumping to with little question.


The plaid fabric is from wool pants I got in high school, I spent to much money on them from Abercrombie & Fitch and the blue floral pattern is from a pair of Old Navy pajama bottoms.  There is also a pair of my maternity jeans and a dress shirt of Steve’s.  All blues and perfect size for a floor blanket or to fit Olive’s toddler bed.

Next up, baby food.  For my first Mother’s Day my dearest friend gave me a recipe and educator book about making your own baby food.  I skimmed through it read what pertained to my age baby and pureed some peas.  At 6 months she was eating two times a day.  I gave her fruit and rice cereal in the morning and then vegetables with oatmeal cereal in the evening.  Now she is 7 months, still on a similar schedule but with oatmeal cereal in the am and multi grain cereal in the pm.  I will also be working in a third meal at some point depending on her schedule.  Olive loves to eat food.  She loves sitting in her high chair and putting on her bib.  She eats her whole meal no matter the contents or the size with no complaints.  A few breaks but no complaints.  She hasn’t dissed a food yet either, she’s a good eater like her parents! Bottles on the other hand are a whole new topic of frustrating discussion!


Olive here at 7 months eating Spinach & Apples.  Notice the mess of happiness on her face and in her hair!

I spend one day for 2 hours every two weeks in the kitchen making her food.  Labor day I made: (by ice cube tray) squash, carrots, peaches, apple & spinach and blueberry & banana.  I also froze applesauce into ice cube trays for convenience and mixing with other fruits and veggies.  I also had peas and mangos left over from the last batch a few weeks ago.  I buy frozen, steam or defrost the veggies and fruit and put it in a Magic Bullet to puree.  I use breast milk to thin out if needed.  I date the batches, label what it is and if I used BM (breast milk) or F (formula).  After they are frozen in the trays I transfer the cubes to plastic bags with the same labels.  Every night before bed I take out her meals for the next day, put them in little tupperware containers with lids and stick them in the fridge, no microwaving to defrost.  Mix up her cereal, combine and serve.  Easy Peasy!


She likes mixtures.  I bought some of those packets of baby food to try other flavors.  Test the water before I spent the time.  She likes those packs but prefers the home made stuff more!  She loves her mama’s cookin’!  I do think that is a great way to see if your baby likes certain foods though, I bought the Target brand ones at 89 cents a piece and she gobbled them up.  I keep them on hand for on the go, which they are AWESOME on the go.  Squirt some on a spoon and into the mouth, so easy!

Some would say that opening a jar or a pouch is much easier and comparable in price which that’s their option.  I like knowing what is going into her body and knowing that I made the effort to provide her that yumminess.  I don’t believe the cost is comparable at all since one bag of steam ready squash is $1.24 and it makes 4 serving which one pouch is 89 cents at one serving.  Yes you factor in time but it’s one – two hours every two weeks, it’s very doable if you’re not lazy! 🙂

Being a stay at home mama has brought me more joy than anything in my life.  I like being able to provide her with love and attention, giving her what she needs and playing games, singing songs and teaching her life lessons with out missing any milestones or smiles.  Not only has staying home with her benefited her well being but it has also benefited mine.  I have really taken this opportunity to find my own aspirations and seek out hobbies that I thought I didn’t have time for.  I feel more focused, more centered, more alert and more myself than I ever have.



Olive | 6 months

My little Olive is turning into a big Olive.  She was 6 months on the 29th of July and I am shocked at how fast this 6 months has gone.  Everyone told us “it goes so fast” and I believed them but I really can’t believe how fast it does go.  She has this personality that makes me laugh and tear up everyday.  I see so much of both of us in her that I imagine what kind of child she will be.  I forget about lists I have, responsibilities I have when I look at her, nothing else matters.  I know that she is the greatest thing Steve and I have done, if we never go on to do anything “great” in our own lives I know that we created a pretty special human.  I have been struggling with the dynamic of family recently.  I have been handed a very difficult task of forgive and forget and I am finding it very hard to do either let alone both.  But with that I know that I want Olive to forgive and forget so I am trying to set good examples and find some peace with in the hell.  I want her family to be everything I always wanted and it’s my job to make sure she gets that.  I wonder what the next 6 months will bring?  Besides walking, some words and snow! yuck!  Looking forward is all I can do right now and right now we are planning for the big year one!_MG_0147web



I have been a terrible blogger this month.  I haven’t posted anything fun or new.  Huge slacker in that department.  I haven’t felt inspired about anything to write about… sad.  We are having a busy summer and I have been pretty busy with Photography.  On that note, I’ve been BUSY with Photography!  Yeah!  I really can’t frown at that.  I have shot three new clients that found me through Craigslist or Facebook.  It’s really exciting to have new faces to shoot and edit.  Every year I feel that I gain more and more and this year has truly proven that.  Not only more cliental but ideas and creativity.  Some days I am busting at the seems with it, I can’t wait to get a face in front of my lens.

With that follows the lack of energy with my home life.  I didn’t take Olive’s 5 month photos when I usually do, well past the milestone!  But hey I got them done, oh and did I mention I took it with my iphone instead.  Fail.  But she still looks so cute and she had fun so that’s all that matters.


I posted a few weeks ago that the Husband and I were starting an at home date night.  I was all excited because we were going to cook a meal together and eat a meal at the table, together!  Well that lasted all of one night.  We got busy with the construction of our backyard and I guess we forgot.  We did, however, so out on a date this past weekend.  It was our first date out since March.  We went to our first Podcast taping at the Varsity Theater.


It was nice to be together, doing something new and laughing our asses off!

This has by far been the most memorable summer.  Photography has been great, my marriage has had some get highs and my daughter amazes me everyday.  I am so thankful that I get to be home enjoying this precious time with her.  Taking her swimming for the first time, enjoying our walks, seeing her excitement at Story Hour, watching her do yoga moves and dressing her up in pretty summer clothes!  We share stories and cook together, I show her how to put on make up and how to fold laundry.  She teaches me to not be so serious and share our happiness with ones that deserve it. Also how to do a perfect Child’s pose in yoga.

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I may be slipping in some parts of my life but all in all I am on the right track of positivity, health and happiness.  I will be better, I promise.


Found this on Pinterest.  Had to have it!

Sweet O is 5 Months

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My sweet girl is five months!  I can not believe how fast the time really does fly when you have a wee one.

I took these on our new patio.  We poured a 13’x20′ cement slab in our back yard.  It’s wonderful!  I haven’t taken any naked photos of Olive yet so I figured this was the perfect reason!  She loved being naked outside, I’m pretty sure this won’t be the last time this summer she does this!

Father of the year.

It was Steve’s first Father’s Day this past weekend.  He didn’t want any gifts, he just wanted to see the new Superman movie.  So while O and I were at his sister’s on Friday he took a half day and went, Happy Father’s Day Dear.


On Sunday, we went to his sister’s house for lunch and to hang out.  It was a beautiful day.  O woke up in a great mood and Daddy dressed her.  I wanted to make some Olive art.  So for the dads we painted the kids feet and pressed them on canvas.  Brandon got his three kids, Grandpa got all four kids and Steve got Olive’s masterpiece.  I love it!  It’s now framed in our stairway.


Olive seriously has the best daddy!  He is very hands on and very attentive to her.  When I first started dating Steve I questioned his paternal instinct.  But back then we weren’t having kids we decided so I moved on.  I could have never expected or asked for a better man to raise a baby with.  I know I am a better person because of him but it makes my life complete knowing that Olive will be a great human because of him.


Happy Father’s Day, Babe!  We love you!

midwest beauty

Over the weekend I visited my parents in my homeland, Iowa.  It was Miss O’s first visit to Iowa and her first long road trip.  We were only there for 48 hours but in that time we accomplished a lot, as always!  My ma and I found this deal of a chair for my prop collection.  It’s a very strange chair, it’s shorter than your average chair and the seat of it is very large.  You can tell it’s been loved and painted a couple different times, I love the story that old treasures have.  What you call trash, junk or old I call loved, treasures and memories.


I also scored a new quilt or I should say Miss O scored a sweet quilt for her future big girl bed.  I love the neutral colors with the POP of blue and purple.  Plus the pattern is very pleasing!

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My midwest beauty is growing like a weed.  Today she is modeling her first 6 month outfit.  It stats that she loves Daddy of the shirt, which is very true ❤  The pants are adorbs too, grey strips with a pink heart on her booty!  Little girl clothes are so fun!

She’s more alert now at 4 months old, holding her head up, talking back and belly laughing.  She has her daddy’s amazing sense of humor already and I can tell she’ll have an old soul.  Not a lot gets to her, she very lax with a warm heart.  It’s amazing when you can start to see the personality coming out of this tiny little human body.


My sweet little O has changed my life and I love that I can capture her milestones along the way.  Along with my own milestones: one year tobacco free today!