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.




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 1-9:

On May 29, 2012, Birthday year 27, I found I was pregnant.

It was a Tuesday and I hadtaken the day off of work to relax and enjoy the day of my birth.

(Daddy and I had spent the weeks prior to Memorial Day weekend, trying to conceive.  It was a lot of “work” and an emotional roller coaster.  We decided if nothing had happened during this month we would take a month break and relax and let nature run it’s course.  For Memorial Day weekend we went to Webber Cabin with our friends.  I spent all weekend somewhat crabby, not drinking and trying not to smoke.  I was miserable.  I was tired and moody and just wanted to be at home.  I knew something was up so I tried to enjoy myself because I had a feeling it might be an interesting summer for us.)

I woke up on that beautiful May morning, laying in bed a thought this could either be the best birthday or the worst birthday.  Take it how you want.  I knew that that first “pee” was an important one for taking a test and boy did I have to go.  I wanted to prepare myself for what I may see.  I decided that either way everything would be ok and hey if I was negative then I was going to have a birthday Bloody Mary.  I peed, it was positive.


I laughed and giggled and thought about how amazing our life will be.  All those exciting thoughts ran through my head.  Boy, girl, family vacations, their laugh, what they will look like, etc.  I made my birthday pot of coffee and sat down on the patio and lit my Camel No. 9 pinks.  Inhale, exhale, fuck.  I can’t smoke anymore, I won’t smoke anymore, what did I do?  That’s when all the scary thoughts flooded in and how much our lives would really change.  Up all nights, no drinking, no smoking, throw up, booger noses, paying for school, paying the hospital, the weight gain, etc.  I will admit I did finish it and the pot of coffee but I was pale white and knew I needed Daddy.  I stopped by Target on my way to his work to pick another box of tests.  I figured every time I peed that day I would take one, just to be safe.  I called him and told him we were going out for lunch.  When I arrived he was finishing up some things so I went to pee on a stick.  It was positive in a millisecond.  I decided I would give him the test to tell him the news.  There in Apple Valley Ford’s photographing bay, Steve Soderlund became a dad.  He cried and loved me and I instantly knew that life was greater than I thought.  I promised Daddy I would quit smoking.  He asked how he could help me.  I jokingly said “you can buy me a car that I can’t smoke in and you can also quit drinking with me”  I laughed it off.  He took it seriously.  On May 31, I said goodbye to my old friend Jeepy and hello to a Ford Escape.  Daddy did what I jokingly asked him to do, so I knew I had to quit.  I set a goal to quit cold turkey and for exactly 7 days weaned myself off the nicotine.  I had my last cigarette on June 5, 2012.


The weeks following would be some of the most frustrating, exhausting, scary and memorable weeks of my life.  “Hulking Out” is what I refereed to my nic-fits.  When I craved or stressed I felt like I wanted to dig my fingers into the sheet rock and rip the walls down.  I was so full of anger with no release for it.  I wasn’t angry that I had to quit, I was angry that it was so hard.  One night I woke up with the sweats and it scared me straight, it’s a drug and I need help getting it off my mind.  I called hot lines, talked to friends, ate candy and yelled but eventually it passed and I haven’t looked back.

June 27th, 2012:  Our first appt.  Routine prenatal, blood work, pee in a cup and pap.  I am starting to feel sick.  Nausea, queasy, bloated, headaches, tired, moody.  I felt like I was hungover for 4 days straight with a crazy tequila heachache, a vodka stomach and a beer belly bloat.  It was awesome.  I wanted to die.  That feeling when you drink too much and you get into bed and get those spins.  Imagine that but for 10 minutes straight every hour on the hour of the day.  I had that for 6 days straight.  I threw up once, on day one because I thought it would make me feel better.  It didn’t, my eyes filled with tears and I wanted my mom.  It was tough but like I said it only lasted 6 days.  Smells and tastes were weird too.  Smells that never bothered me before made me ill and tastes that I love tasted like vomit.  Bananas were gross, vegetables made me gag and anything microwaved was repulsive!    I ate a lot all the time and gained 12 pounds in my first 10 weeks, thank you nicotine fits for that!

Telling our family and friends was exciting.  It was hard for us to keep the secret, neither of us were drinking and I wasn’t smoking.  Our friends are smart, they would have caught on.  Louise had put together an event to go fill food bags for starving children.  The whole gang was together and it was so nice, it had been a while.  We rode with Derick and Louise so we told them on the way to the place.  After our good deed we all went back to Derick and Louise’s house for dinner.  Shelly is pregnant too.  The girls were in the kitchen, Shelly was talking about how she wanted pickles and how that’s all she has been craving.  Courtney turns to me (I was also having a pickle craving) and said “geez, I bet you can’t wait to get pregnant!”  I said “I don’t have to wait, I am.”  It took a minute to sink in and they both squealed and hugged. Daddy then dropped the bomb on the men and we continued the rest of our night eating great food and enjoying the company of our friends.  We had Brecken tell Brian and Lavonne, he hollered “YaYa and Poppa I’m going to be a cousin!”  Lavonne didn’t really hear him, I told him to yell it again.  She about peed her pants in the garage.  They gave is crap for being so spontaneous about telling people news.  I liked it, it was funny!  I spilled the beans to my mom on the phone and my dad was in Eagan working, I told him I would stop by to show him my new car.  I then told him why I needed a new car.  Both sets of our parents love being grandparents so it felt really nice to have that comfort and support of their love.

Not a whole lot of cravings yet, just want to eat everything I can!  Feeling: moody, achy, aching boobs, clothes fitting tighter, little nauseas, headaches, exhaustion and procrastination. Happy and joyful though.

Life Change.

January was my last post and looking back that feels like years ago!  A lot has changed in these three months.  My daughter was born, I quit my job and I became a full time Momma and Photographer!

So things to come for 2013:  new portraits of my amazing clients, Olive’s Page, business design update, new adventures, my pregnancy journal, some crafts and recipes and more!

This is my first of many posts with in the next 48 hours, so stay tuned and I will never leave you for that long again!

b&w camera

The most wonderful time of the year.

Happy December everyone!

I started this festive month off with a bang!  I hosted our annual Girl’s Christmas party last night.  Four years we have been getting together and laughing until our sides hurt!  It truly has become one of my favorite traditions during Christmas.

Every year we get better and better at shopping for each other too.  We play the dice game and it never fails that there is always one or two gifts that all of us want and fight over.

I got a $25 gift card to DSW, which came at a perfect time because I don’t have any shoes that fit!  So after Little Lady arrives her and I will be doing some shoe shopping for the spring.  I can’t wait!

I made a few recipes:

exps9576_TH10019C33D   polar express hot chocolate

I also made my Dad’s Chili and Pickle Dip.  Anne brought Jalapeno Jelly and Guacamole and Suzy made Santa Brownies.  We had a very nice spread of food for a very nice group of gals!

Years Past :

2009 – Our First

(no Photo)

We went to Suzy’s apartment, opened gifts, pre-drank and then went to dinner at Axel’s Bonfire in Woodbury.

2010 – Second

Suzy’s first year at her house.  A lot of wine was consumed and Anne and Bre were growing babies!  We all got socks!!

xmas 2010

2011 – Our Third

Year two at Suzy’s.  We had it a few weeks after Christmas because Kellen was born Christmas Day.  Zeik, Grayson, June, Lydia and Ethan’s First Christmas’ also.  No preggos.

xmas 2011

2012 – Our Fourth


We are at my house and we all got sleep masks in our GIANT stockings.  Kid free Christmas except for Olive and Bre’s (not present but still participated) baby in our bellies.

November is here!

I have never been this excited about November before!  Why you ask, well I am 7 months pregnant, Thanksgiving, my first shower and our friends are having a baby this month.  All get things!

Hitting the seventh month has been an up hill struggle.  It’s getting harder and harder to do specific things, bending, standing, sitting, sleeping, walking, shaving my legs, breathing.  Not awful though.  My baby Olive is a moving machine and growing like a weed!  12 more weeks until I can kiss her face.

Our first shower was on the 3rd.  It was a couple’s shower hosted by our amalzing friends D & L.  Get hosts, delicious food and friendly company.  Olive got some really nice things (all practical which I loved!) and it was great for Mr. and I to have our lovely friend all under one roof all to ourselves!

I just picked up the Thanksgiving issue of Racheal Ray Magazine and wow there is some pretty amazing recipes in there.  I might have to cook my own Thanksgiving dinner for me and Mr. just so I can make the Buttermilk Turkey.

Check it out:

10 days until our friend’s baby is here, I can’t wait to get my hands on little Brandon G.  I just want to hold someone’s baby!

Michaela Rae Photography has submitted the last Holiday Card order for the season.  It was a great October of mini sessions and I plan to do them again in the spring.  Gotta keep those kiddos photos up to date!  I can not express enough gratitude to my clients that took advantage of the mini session special, the holiday card special and my Facebook fans that commented and liked it all along the way.  I love you guys!