Putting it all together

It’s the wee hours of the night. The glow of my office light hitting the dark silence on my house, sweet banjo riffs spewing out of my speakers and I’m laid out on the floor with portraits, magazines, pinterest quotes and scissors. I am directing. 
Late night thoughts // the wind down
I am directing a life that provides a path of creativity and exploration.  I will never have the same schedule everyday, I will embrace change, I will lead as a role model for a younger generation of women,  I will create.
“Motivation and coffee have something in common, they both want more than what’s expected of them.”
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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.



Date Night #1

Wednesday night was our “first” date night at home.  I mean first as, we are making the effort to have a date night at least once a week, we realized how fast life goes by as parents and we don’t want to lose touch with one another along the way.  So we will be cooking a meal together eating it together at the table and talking about how awesome we are.

I subscribe to Everyday with Rachael Ray.  (It was my birthday present last year from Steve.)   We pulled a recipe from the July issue, we made Grilled Bread Salad with Chicken.

Bread Salad

This meal was delicious.  Steve had doubts about the salad but he quickly changed his mind…

I chopped the cucumber, tomato, onion, basil and olives and put it all in a bowl.  Poured some olive oil over the mix, sprinkled salt and pepper and tossed.  The bread took 5 minutes on the grill. I cubed the grilled loaf, laid that cubes on a platter and then dumped the tomato mixture over then bread.  The mixture had enough time to break down to make a little juice, the hot grilled bread soaked up all those juices and presto you have a delicious Bread Salad.  Awwwesome!  Lay your chicken on the platter and juice one lemon over everything, then devour!  You want to keep eating it and you will but it does fill you up full.

So simple, so clean and super tasty!  I love cooking with Rachael Ray, her recipes are straight forward, everyday foods that that make your tummy happy after you create one of her dishes.

*I like to personalize mine, this called for Feta and I am not a fan, so I left it out.  When I make Bread Salad again I will be adding fresh Mozzarella.

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!

A Birthday Adventure.

I had the most amazing birthday.  My husband, my daughter and I toured our own backyard.  We left early in the morning and visited a donut shop not like any other donut shop.  Glam Doll Donuts is a retro inspired donut cafe with some out of this world flavors.  My husband order a dozen so we could try a little of everything.  All these beautiful donuts were packaged up in this very cool pink box.Glam DollGlam Doll had a VERY vintage photo booth that I could not reisits!  It was baby and I’s first photo booth visit.  I can’t wait until we can make funny faces together!  Thank you Glam Doll Donuts for the amazing sugar high and the kick off to my birthday adventure.Photo Booth

So my birthday was all about visiting places that I have never been in my own city.  Next up was the Stone Arch Bridge and Mill Ruins Park.

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It was also Baby’s 4 month birthday, so we did a little photo shoot in the Mill Ruins Park.

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The Guthrie Theater was a place I’d heard so much about and never been.  My friend has season tickets and her and her mother go almost every Thursday night.  I’ve had photographer friends shoot families and engagement photos there, so since I was so close I figured we needed to check it out!


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Lunch time was upon us and we set off for the Midtown Global Market.  I was thankful that it wasn’t very busy so we got to see every thing in there.                                                     We ate gyros at the Holy Land Deli.


What a day!!  After we napped for an hour, the baby had been on the go all day and did a great job.  She’s a trooper and loves to travel!

We meet my in-laws for dinner.  I have been to Mozza Mia before, right when they opened.  I wanted a caprese salad and their’s is the best!  They make their mozzarella            homemade everyday.

Mozza Miacaprese

What a fantastic day.  Year 28 started out with new beginnings and an adventure.  I sure hope that the rest of my year is as enjoyable.

-A huge thank you to my husband and my baby, without either you it wouldn’t have been as much fun ❤

Tips for your own stay-cation:

  • Research your city.  Visit your cities website to find attractions and events going on.  I searched “cheap things to do in the Twin Cities.”
  • Use urbanspoon or opentable to find restaurants that you’ve never been.  I watch all local channels on TV, I found Glam Doll Donuts on Twin Cities Live.
  • Map out your adventure.  We used the Maps app on my iphone, I put in all the addresses and once we left one spot it directed us to the next.  It was very nice!        –I thought of this once we were out but use public transportation instead of your car, it will really feel like your on vacation.
  • Have fun with it!!  Every time we saw something new or had a fun experience we would say, “I can’t believe I’ve never been here.”  It helped set the mood of a “vacation.”

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!

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