3 Books We’re Reading: Parent Edition

Nick and I both enjoy a good book. Between Nick’s graduate courses (Ed. Note: 1.5 courses left!) and Violet’s decision to not nap for 2 hours every two hours (I miss those days), we’ve had to get creative with our literature. Welcome to the world of picture books.

We’re going to tell you about Violet’s 3 favorite books, but, in reality, they’re our favorite picture books. So let’s start at the beginning.

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1.Violet the Pilot (word to the wise: Violet and Pilot sound the same but aren’t spelled the same) by Steeve Breen.

This books is about a girl named Violet (great name) who happens to be into tinkering and building machines with her trusty dog, Orville (Ed. Note: Violet will not be getting her own dog. 1 cat down, 1 to go)*. In particular, she likes to build flying contraptions. Violet (the baby) likes the pictures. We like the rhymes. We all like the tale of girl power and the importance of Women in STEM.

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2. Mother Goose Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins.

This book is SO FUNNY. It’s about a bear who begrudgingly becomes the caregiver to a bunch of geese. Violet likes the pictures (predictable girl that she is). We like the story/picture combo. (Ed. Note: your editor loves the message regarding the importance of supporting local businesses and sustainable farming techniques) Seriously. Bruce wears a 4-geese baby carrier. I’m probably going to get it for my nieces and nephews, because it’s now a Scholastic book! Yaaay being a teacher and buying books through book orders! Really though. Worth it.

Whaaaaat??? When I went to amazon to link the book for you, I found that there is a SECOND BOOK about Bruce! It’s called Hotel Bruce. Nick, I’m pretty sure your daughter needs this ASAP.

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3. Albert’s Almost Amazing Adventure by Marty Kelley

This one is another hilarious book. It’s about a little boy’s return home from a Maine vacation. Every time he tries to tell his friends about something he did, they interrupt with something way cooler than his actual story. Even more amazing is the fact the author is from New Boston, New Hampshire! Super cool. He signed Violet’s book before she was even born. This book is a blast to read out loud. I might get another copy for my classroom.

Bonus Board Book (oh no we didn’t! Yes we did! Here is our favorite board book):

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Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard

This is a book I got from a book order while I was pregnant with Vi. It’s silly and it’s fun to do the voices for the animals. Violet loves the taste of it. Nick and I like the surprise ending.

Check these books out or come and borrow one (Ed. Note: for a hot minute, we’ll want it back ASAP)! Let us know how much you like them! SO MANY EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!! Do you have any good book recommendations?

*This sounds like he killed Victor. He loved Victor. Also, Victor is just missing.

What I did on my summer vacation

Well, goodbye summer vacation and maternity leave. You were wonderful and will be missed.

I guess I should start our update from the beginning. Remember April? (I know we’ve talked since then, but humor me). On the great day of Saturday, April 9th, my wonderful husband and father started us on a journey that would transform our lives forever. Yes, I’m talking about the fireplace. They took this:

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And turned it into this:

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Yes, I still have to paint all the shelves. Thank you for noticing.

And it all started on the best day of the whole year!! Do you remember what else happened on April 9th?

Correct, we went on a nice 2 day vacation to the Catholic Medical Center. There, we were introduced to the sweetest little Violet. And everyone came to see how wonderful she is. I left a good 20 or so pounds lighter- the only vacation that I’ve ever lost that much weight during. (Ed. Note: Your writer is the only person I know who can go on a cruise and lose weight. No need to worry, I typically eat for two.)

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Then, you know, life happened. We enjoyed all the terrifying death noises that Violet made at night. Enjoyed them so much we slept downstairs with her in the rock&play because that seemed like the best way to curb the death noises.

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Nick continued with his classes (way to power through the sleep deprivation!) (Ed. Note: 1.5 courses left to go!) and Vi continued to be adorable:

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Let’s see, what else did we do other than gaze at our precious girl?

I’ll just give you a picture list. Because now I have to actually upload pictures to my computer since my phone storage is always full now. I also can’t tell if I smell like baby poop right now or spit up. But I definitely smell like one of them. Maybe both. It may be time to shower.

Ok, here we go:

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Nick decided it was time to embrace his Italian roots and learn to make pasta (he’s not pure Italian by the way. No matter what he tells you).

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These are the seedlings I started and then forgot to water. They almost all died. RIP.

Oh that smell is killing me.

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Nick and Vi bonding on the couch. Both in their patriotic attire (Ed. Note: #America).

These are in no particular order. Just things we did this summer.

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That time Nick put the cream in the cupboard. This is one of my favorite pictures from his paternity leave (Ed. Note: you leave ONE pint of half and half in the cupboard and now it’s a thing. You know that Warren Buffett says: “It takes 15 years to build a reputation and 5 seconds to destroy it”).

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Someone took lots of naps. She used to sleep for 2 hours every two hours. What happened? Now she sleeps for 10 minutes every two hours.

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Back in the day, she hated tummy time…

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… now she’s a pro.

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Nick celebrated his first Father’s Day. I celebrated mother’s day but couldn’t find any pictures. I didn’t try too hard though.

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Violet was baptized and mom was cracking some jokes.

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I got bored and wished uncle Lucas a happy birthday. We also decided that this was too much work.

Vi and I got super classy #ferterslikejerd

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Katie came to visit and this happened…!

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I realized Violet’s real purpose- the odor detector!

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Nick and Vi are both easily amused by something on the ROKU. (Also, Jode, she looks like you here).

Yes! We got the 3 remaining windows in our house replaced (remember, we only have 7 windows total)!!! Here’s hoping they keep the cold out this winter.

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Just, you know, being adorable.

I looked at this picture and thought, “oh my nails look great here!” Then realized that work starts tomorrow and I don’t remember the last time I plucked the old brows.

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Nick officially became a dad in this picture.

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Violet started eating solids like a champ. This is her mowing down on a tasty short rib. She’s also been known to destroy a good chicken wing.

I’ve started typing one handed because someone is sleep-eating at the moment.

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She only sleeps at night for Nick. I don’t know how he does it. He’s a baby whisperer.

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We practiced napping in our crib for a whole week before we gave up because we needed to sleep for more than a hot second.

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And Lola.

Someone just spit up IN my hair. Oh well, it will dry, right? Ugh now I guess I really have to shower for tomorrow. These legs weren’t going to magically shave themselves I suppose.

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Someone enjoyed the pool during the heat wave! She has a diaper on, don’t worry. I would never risk swimming with her poop. Though, naked babies are pretty adorable.

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Grandpa Scott taught Violet how to be a card shark during her very first vacation! (and Auntie Celia taught her how to cheat at cards (Ed. Note: as if her mother wasn’t going to teach her that anyway.))

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First time at the beach!! Kennebunk, ME. Someone was not impressed by the surprisingly warm Maine water. Though, in her defense, it was her bedtime.

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And we found the Bush estate to be the perfect backdrop for our family picture. Though, not this one. Maybe one in the future.

Ok, the smell might be from my bra (possibly??). I think I’ve been wearing it for a few days, but who knows. It’s comfy and I don’t want to dirty any bras before I go back to work. Also, I wear breast pads anyway. Which, coincidentally, are pretty much EXACTLY like pads you would wear during your period, except their for your boob secretions. Pretty gross but I just put 2 and 2 together.

Now, it’s off to work and work and grandma’s house in the morning!

A trip down memory lane

Remember back when I was pregnant? No? I try not to either. But I’ve been making the Botto Family Yearbook for our second year of marriage and came across these babies. (Ed. Note: in this case, I guess they would technically be considered pre-babies)

We started documenting pretty regularly at the start. Then, it was too dark by the time Nick got home to take a pic or we just forgot (Ed. Note: based on the regularity of our updates, I assume, dear reader, you have figured out which option is more likely. For new readers, the answer is revealed in the next sentence). We forgot a lot. But we ended up getting a few from each trimester. Hooray!

Trimester 1: (Ed. Note: The Fellowship of the Ring, A New Hope, Hunger Games, Bring it On, Die Hard, The Mighty Ducks, Raiders of the Lost Ark)

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Trimester 2: (Ed. Note: The Two Towers, Empire Strikes Back, Catching Fire, Bring It On Again, Die Harder, D2, Temple of Doom)

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Trimester 3: (Ed. Note: Return of the King, Return of the Jedi, Mockingjay I & II, Bring It On: All or Nothing, Die Hard With a Vengeance, D3 (not that I agree with its existence), The Last Crusade)

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Violet was born at 37 weeks 5 days. Can you believe that huge bump ended up being only 5lbs 15oz? (Ed. Note: Pure awesomeness takes up surprisingly large amount of womb space)

Happy Independence Day!

Violet celebrated her very first 4th of July!

This is the first 4th of July in a LONG time that we haven’t celebrated with a whole host of my family. Usually we are on vacation or celebrating with a bunch of nieces and nephews, but this year was super low key.

We started the day off with a nice, brisk walk while Nick buckled down and finished his homework (Ed. Note: two more classes and you can official call me, Mr. Editor, MS). Vi had her awesome hat (Ed. Note: 20 years from now there may be a Zoolander-style fashion showdown between Violet Botto and North West. Stay tuned) but I wasn’t smart enough to bring mine on the walk.

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Nick insisted that we take a family outing to the mall–Violet’s first trip to the mall–to pick up some Old Navy t-shirts. This has been a (Ed. Note: Comeau) family tradition for years (Ed. Note: now a Botto/Comeau family tradition).

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Calling auntie Court to make sure she’s OK with a red tank. The only  ones left (Ed. Note: these things are apparently the Tickle-Me-Elmo of 4th of July attire. We will definitely plan ahead next year)!

Then we went to spend the day with Court (Ed. Note: and Tootsie, and Brad), lounging by the pool and cooking hot dogs!

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We hope that everyone else had a fabulous Independence Day!!

8 “Truths” About Breastfeeding

Violet is 6 weeks old today! Can you believe it?! I can’t; it’s crazy. She’s the most precious one in the whole land. She’s a super champ, too. She eats like WOAH.

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Before Violet entered the world, we did our baby research (remember all those books I read?). I read all about the wants and needs of an infant. After she was born, that all went out the window. We’re pretty sure that every moan and groan she makes (and she makes A LOT of them) means that she’s suffocating or choking or somehow in peril. We brought her to the doctor and one of our concerns was that she seems to stop breathing at times. The doctor told us, “Yeah, infants can stop breathing for 20 seconds at a time. That’s normal”. Well that tidbit wasn’t in any of the baby books!!

Other than spending all day terrified that something horrible is going to happen to our sweet girl, there was one big thing that surprised me about having a newborn: breastfeeding. I know, you probably don’t really care about this experience at all. That’s ok, because I’ll tell you about it anyway. Two of those books I obsessed over prior to V’s arrival were about breastfeeding. I even went to a horrible breastfeeding class. I was pretty prepared for, what I saw as, the Horrors of Breastfeeding.

In an effort to clear up some of the doom and gloom that seems to surround the act of breastfeeding, I’d like to clear up a few bits of misinformation I received about the process. Misinformation might be the wrong term to use as I’m sure there is truth to all the advice I received. Plus, I realize everyone’s experience is unique. Nevertheless, I feel like this is a topic that’s negatives have become glamorized.

So, here are some of my truths regarding breastfeeding:

  1. It doesn’t always hurt- I was told by everyone under the sun to be prepared for hell. They told me about cracked nipples, pain, etc. I was told that I would just have to power through the first 2-6 weeks (depending on who the warning was coming from). So I went into breastfeeding assuming it would hurt. I prepared myself by reading books and websites about the correct latch; I wasted $35 going to a breastfeeding class; when I was in the hospital, I asked the nurse if she would help me with breastfeeding because I was really nervous about it. With all that prep and advice, I went into breastfeeding ready for the worst and expecting a lot of pain. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t hurt at all to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is weird. The sensation is a pulling feeling–not a sucking one. It was very odd at first. It’s not the most pleasant feeling, but I can’t say it’s painful. Thank God.
  2. Everyone and everything tells you not to time how long  you feed the baby. You’re going to do it though. You’ll be worried that she isn’t getting enough milk in those first couple of weeks, so you’ll time each feeding to make sure she eats long enough that get enough milk. It’s ok. You’ll worry that you’re starving your child and failing as a parent and if she’s eating for any amount of time then she must not be starving, right??? (I actually don’t think that’s true- she could just be sucking, but it made me feel better to think this way).
  3. Feeding while covered up is a skill. I can’t figure out how people do it. I have to use both hands when getting this girl ready to eat: one on her head and one on my boob. I also have to be able to see what I’m doing (Ed. Note: It just occurred to me that breastfeeding is kind of like learning how to play guitar). I can’t figure out how to do this under a cover. I’m not there yet. I’ll have to keep practicing.
  4. Your boobs might leak ALL the time! I wasn’t expecting this. Maybe I should have expected it? It’s really strange. Even after taking a shower, I’ll look down at milk just dripping and, frustratingly, I’ll wonder if I have to shower it all off again (I don’t, by the way. I figure if I ignore it, it isn’t really happening, right?). In the meantime, I find myself smelling like spoiled milk for most of the day.
  5. When your milk “lets down” it feels like you have pins and needles in your boobs. Seriously. It’s not a comfortable feeling. They also get hard. Seriously, as I’m typing this Violet is sleeping in my arms and the boob that her face is next to just started tingling and is now rock hard and full of milk.
  6. Those in the midst of breastfeeding all of a sudden understand the inspiration behind super soakers. You can actually shoot milk–with velocity! This, of course depends on variables like pressure and the engorgement, but, sometimes I stand in the shower and see how far it can go (and I still leak even after shooting it all out). Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I shoot Nick when he’s not looking. But I don’t. Because I’m so nice…
  7. Ugh it’s so MESSY. Before I feed V, I roll down my bra and stuff a burp cloth halfway in. This not only keeps my bras relatively milk-free but it catches anything that would normally drip down my arm and onto the couch, chair, bed, etc. Now, I’ve watched plenty of women breastfeed their babies, and I have yet to see ANYONE do this. I can’t figure out what we (I’m including Violet in this) are doing wrong here. Why do we get milk everywhere but no one else does?? Why don’t we have a natural soft filter envelop us as we participate in this biologically beautiful bonding moment? I guess it’s just another thing we have to practice.
  8. Breast milk tastes like left over cereal milk. No additional commentary needed
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She plays with her hair when she eats…adorable!

So, fear not expectant mothers. There is a good chance that you’ll master breastfeeding with no pain. It doesn’t make breastfeeding any more glamorous though. You’ll still feel like a 24/7 cruise buffet. But at least it will be a sweet little angel eating your food and not big, fat, sunburned tourists.

 

2 years down

Two years ago, Nick and I tied the knot.

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Wow, two whole years! I can’t even believe it! This time two years ago we were in Jamaica. Eating delicious breakfasts. Drinking some Jamaican Kisses (strawberry daiquiri mixed with pina colada). Chilling by the pool.

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Flash forward to today and we are sitting on the couch. Feeding and ogling a newborn. Watching shows on Netflix. Trying to stay awake but probably napping.

Our second year of marriage was pretty eventful. We:

-Completed the Color Me Rad 5k (though, in fairness, this was to celebrate our 1 year anniversary).

Grew our own food!!! We just started our seeds for this summer’s garden!

Vacationed in California

-Nick tasted some beers

-We updated our small bathroom

-Visited with some friends!

-Misplaced Victor😦 but also got knocked up!

-Updated the kitchen!

Revealed the sex of baby Botto

-Totally purged our clothes!

-Learned how to thaw a pipe

-And became a family of three when we welcomed Violet into the world!!

Psh. And here I was thinking we hadn’t done much this year.

Being the practical people that we are, we decided to ditch the tradition gift of cotton (or the modern gift of china) and instead give each other something useful. Though, in hindsight, cotton underwear is always useful and practical. But no, we are gifting each other with the removal of some dead bushes at the front of our house. We’re both pretty excited about it, too.

Also, to keep up with our own little tradition, we’re (I’m) making a stupid photobook of our second year together. We did this with our first year, so, yeah, we’ve got to continue the tradition. I just HATE making photo books. I’m over it. This book will be interesting because Violet was born at the tail end of the year, so she’ll have a chunk of pics in the book. Aww I should go check out our other photo books: engagement, wedding, honeymoon, year 1… wow. I’m a glutton for punishment with these books.

Well Nick, I married you for your body and dashing good looks. You’ve proved useful these first 2 years, lets hope the rest of our 6 millennia as just as wonderful!

 

Happy Birthday Violet Marie!

On Saturday, April 9th, 2016, our lives changed forever.

Our little family of two pretty cool people became a family of 3 with the addition of the most beautiful baby in the world!

Introducing the newest (and cutest) member of the #becomingbottos clan, Violet Marie Botto!

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Born at 10:53pm

At birth, Violet weighed in at a whopping 5lbs 15oz and measured 19 inches long (Ed. Note: In the boxing world, I think that size would place her between flyweight and bantamweight). As an added bonus, she also had a full head (and back) of hair!

Coming into the world a couple weeks early, we figured she would be a little one. However, Nick, the nurse who helped deliver the baby, the midwife, and I were all betting she would be in the 7lb-7.5lb range. Clearly, we all would fail at The Price is Right! (Ed. Note: there are plenty of food allergies between the two of us, but thankfully, neither of us are allergic to little peanuts! :))

Nick and I are super in love with her. We keep telling each other how freaking adorable she is and marveling at all the little things she does. “Oh my gosh Nick, I can’t believe how beautiful she is!”, has been repeated incessantly since the moment she made her first appearance. (Ed. Note: Thankfully, we haven’t found any research claiming one can die from drowning in kisses.) With that said, we spent our first night home pretty sure she was going to either choke on her own spit, get smothered by her swaddle, or never ever ever actually sleep. Luckily, none of those things came to fruition.

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Now the real fun begins. BecomingBottos has not and will not become your run-of-the-mill baby blog. Our editor equates these to schticky single-use kitchen tools. More lifestyle insight, freeverse poetry, beer-related swooning, and everything else you’ve come to love from this blog will be sure to come your way. Just be prepared for the regular sprinkling in of adorable baby milestones and perhaps some less-than-stellar editing from two proud, and sure-to-be-sleep-deprived new parents!

Guest Post: Brad and Celia Make an Editor Cry

(Ed. Note: The first paragraph of this blog post has been redacted to maintain our PG/PG-13 rating. The remainder of this post has been left largely unedited to maintain the author’s voice (and to ensure the opportunity for grammar-related teasing in the near future)) 

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We are so thankful for you both and the close bond we have, but we soon know everything is going to change. Everything. Gone are the days of calling Nick to come over on a random Wednesday night to test out a new beer. So long to the late Friday nights with Billy Joel, bourbon, and board game benders. We’ll miss our adults only, Saturday morning breakfast meetings at the Purple Finch, where one out of the four is clearly suffering from a hangover. Now everyone is going to have to watch their language. With Violet’s impressionable ears in the room, this foursome may embark on a whole new level of refinement. She’s going to be treated like a princess and we’ll be speaking to her like royalty.

“Aunt and Uncle”-ing is going to be easy. We’re the Billy Gunn to Nick and Brige’s Jesse James. (Ed. Note: Is Jake X-Pac?) Everyone remembers the Road Dogg for taking care of all the hard work, but everyone LOVED Billy Gunn; he was the sex appeal. After teaching her all the important things in life, swooping in to save the day after a sleepless week, or stepping in during a hair-raising scheduling fiasco, we get to pass off the rock and watch you two raise a beautiful baby girl. So in advance – you’re welcome.

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As our first niece, however, Violet will get everything she ever asks for from us. She’ll get dessert before dinner. She’ll get to watch PG-13 movies when she’s 12. She’ll get to build blanket forts in our living room for weekend sleepovers. She’ll get to dance in the kitchen past the bedtime you have strictly set for her. She’ll get that puppy for Christmas that Santa keeps forgetting to put in his sleigh. She’ll get the biggest bouquet of flowers at her ballet recital, and special ice cream trips after t-ball games. She’ll be allowed (and encouraged) to wear her Cinderella costume when Auntie Celia takes her shopping. She’ll get yearly visits from the Easter Gator and the Great Pumpkin. She’ll get a framed picture in our home that will change as she grows. She’ll get that drum set from Uncle Brad because he so truly believes in her talent. She’ll get embarrassed in front of her friends because we are cheering the loudest at her junior high graduation. She’ll get the biggest space on our fridge for the artwork we are lucky enough to collect. Most importantly, she’ll get spoiled with immense love and support from an insanely proud uncle and aunt who adore her.

Everything is going to change, in the most beautiful and exciting way. We look forward to random Wednesday night phone calls from Violet when she needs help with math homework. Late Friday nights will include trips down memory lane and reminiscing with the familiar boardgames of our childhood. And Saturday morning breakfasts will feature an adorable, maple syrup-covered angel discovering the splendor of pancakes for the first time.

From the bottom of our hearts, we could not be happier for you both. We can’t wait to watch you take on the role you were both born to play: parents. We love you three. Here’s to your greatest adventure yet.

CHEERS!

The Final Countdown

Holy cow we only have a month to go! Less than a month, actually. Nick and I have been very, very lucky in our preparations for this little nugget. All of her necessities were gifted to us at our 4 beautiful showers (thanks to co-workers; Jode and Celia; and my lovely sisters, aunt, and mother for throwing showers for us!!!) (Ed. Note: I’m working on dad jokes, so right here I would definitely like to mention that, despite these showers, we stayed quite dry throughout.)

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We recently replaced the window in the baby’s room. It’s brand spanking new. The room was drafty and cold and the window was starting to rot on the outside…Yeah. So it was the FIRST out of 7 windows to be replaced. We have 8 windows in the entire house, FYI. That’s it. Eight windows and 2 skylights. Obviously the person who built our house was anti-window. The builder also installed all the windows quite poorly. We were told by the new window guy (Romeo, from Romeos Windows and Doors) that the windows we are replacing are all really nice, quality windows (Ed. Note: He was very transparent about it). If they had been installed properly they would have lasted much longer. We’ve learned our lesson.

We also updated the big window in the front of the house. It’s so beautiful it could make you cry. Yes, here is a before and after of it.

 

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the before and after of our new and improved living room window!!!

The nursery window was only primed, so I painted it and I patched/painted a gouge in the wall. So now the nursery looks fabulous! We were really lucky that the weather was so mild during my February vacation week. I left the windows open and painted away. Thank God that room was already painted. It’s gray by the way. A nice, light gray.

Then there was mopping and dusting and vacuuming (shoot! I just remembered I forgot to dust the fan. I’ll have to run up and do that now).

Brad, Celia, and Jake bought the baby a crib and it came in over vacation! YAY!!! Brad and Celia picked it up and very kindly put it together for us. Nick was at work late that night, so I was really glad they were able to get it up so I could see how pretty it is! It’s super perfect.

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Nick had already hung up some shelves and I had (cleverly) found a dresser for this room at a yard sale (not to brag or anything, but I got it for $100 and it’s made of real wood. Not that crap that I love to buy from IKEA and Target). I used some photo boxes as drawer dividers and I washed the ocean of new clothes we’ve acquired from showers and gifts, as well as hand-me-downs from nieces, handmade outfits from my very talented sister, and even some of my own personal baby clothes that were caringly saved by my mother! The many, many blankets have also been washed and relocated to different areas in the house. There’s a basket in the baby’s room as well as a basket downstairs full of blankets. I was told that you can never have too many blankets, so we’re grateful to have plenty to choose from.

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Look how adorable my little dresses and rompers are!

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Pictures are hung! Most of our pictures are from etsy or other real people. The narwal and TARDIS block are from etsy, the headless chicken circus was painted by my brother, the sloth and anteater are by my brother’s friend, and the flower plaques are from a local artist. It took us a while to find something to hang on the wall over the crib. We almost left it with just the (awesome) mobile. HomeGoods pulled through though, and had a big, colorful elephant print. Perfect! HG also happened to have a really cool NH/VT print that we loved. If you look at the bottom, it also has the corner of Massachusetts that Nick is from!! We’re thinking of starring it or putting some sort of sticker there. We’ll see.

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My sister made the crib sheets! And the mobile is laying in the crib…

The dresser is stocked and supplied. The glider should be in any day. And there’s a diapering basket in my room and downstairs. We have a bassinet (that converts to a travel crib) in our room for the baby to sleep in at night until she sleeps long enough to go into her crib.

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I can’t believe how much crap you need for one little person! And we tried to get as little as possible for her. Our house has been in a constant state of disarray from putting everything together (thanks to my lovely husband and his handiwork (Ed. Note: It’s the least I could do. You’re the one carrying around a human being.)) and taking everything out of boxes. I can only imagine what will happen to the house once toys are introduced into the mix.

Now, I guess we just wait. Nick has been nesting by installing a garbage disposal (with my dad’s direction), being extra attentive, installing the car seat base, and calming me down when I freak out and realize that HOLY COW WE’RE HAVING A BABY! WHAT WERE WE THINKING?!?!?! He’s the best.

Disclaimer: We do actually do things other than get ready for the baby. Like sit on the couch and nap, watch TV (we’ve been enjoying Archer, Broadchurch, and Daredevil), and play cards. Every once in a while we even socialize with the outside world (Nick does, I’m usually napping on the couch). We’re also in the beginning stages of our next home improvement project: my amazing father building us a new fireplace surround with built-ins. So, yeah, we do stuff.

Guest Post: Advice from a (soon-to-be) Grandmother

Given that Nick and Brigette seem a bit pre-occupied lately with the growing of Baby Violet and trying to figure out how to swaddle a disturbing-looking doll, I decided to guest write a blog post.  Nick, please be kind with your edits (Ed. Note: I can’t make any promises); I spent a lot of time reading book reports, research papers, lab reports and college essays ((Ed. Note: touche). Once, you thought I had literary skills. Then you turned 18.

I was going to write a sweet, type-through-the-blur-of-my-tears-post, but as I was gathering my words, Brigette sent the picture of Violet’s last ultrasound.  At that moment, I realized EVERY family waiting for a baby knows they are being blessed with the most perfect, gorgeous, and brilliant bundle of joy. My mom always said it was too bad people didn’t realize that although their grandchildren were quite lovely, hers were, in fact, perfect (Ed. Note: truth).

I plan on being blunt and honest about having a newborn so you won’t be surprised in the hours and days after Violet is born. It’s not all fat, bouncing babies that nurse effortlessly and gaze into your eyes lovingly. Readers, if you had a different experience, please keep in mind that I am a guest blogger and in no way represent the views of Becoming Bottos (Ed. Note: our legal team requires her to write this).  I also don’t represent the ideals of people who either don’t have children yet or think the fact they have a cat or two makes them qualified to offer child rearing advice. Last I checked, I wasn’t able to leave out enough water and food for three days and expect to find my children still legally in my care.

Lesson 1: If you have a birth plan that includes reading poetry and writing in your journal during the moments between contractions, realize the pen may become a weapon of pain used to stab the person who isn’t breathing in the rhythm of your cleansing breath (Ed. Note: *gulp*).  The sooner you come to terms with the idea that children have no schedule, no pattern, and don’t care that you picked essential oils that would open your chakras and allow you to calmly bring a new life into the world, the sooner you will realize that labor is not yours to control. YOU WILL DO WHAT YOUR BODY DECIDES (Ed. Note: I’ve read this post a couple times, and always read this segment in the voice of Gandalf at the end of The Fellowship) and you will do it with no resistance. See? Before you even meet your daughter she will be the eye of the storm.  Your body knows what needs to be done to get this baby out and keep her safe. You will have do whatever it will takes to comply.

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Jode holding newborn Nick and Brad. Check out that car seat!

Lesson 2: In the delivery room I remember thinking all I wanted was a heated blanket and to sleep, but I better ask how many fingers and toes my kids had. Isn’t that what they say on TV?   It’s not that I wasn’t in love with my babies. I was from the moment I knew they existed. But at the moment of their birth, I was emotionally and physically spent. I just needed a moment. That thought would occur many times over the next 18 years (Ed. Note: definitely Brad and Jake’s fault).

Lesson 3: Nurses bring you sweetly-swaddled, perfectly-wrapped burrito babies and you return a small unfolded pile of human laundry that’s flailing around and escaping from their blanket.  The mere fact you are the person that will be caring for them solo in less than 24 hours terrifies both of you. I rolled and tucked and tried to mimic that swaddle, but concluded that, until you’ve tried to wrap a chihuahua in a silk shirt, you have no idea how intimidating this process is. I know you’ve been practicing on a doll, but you may want to spray Lola with a hose and master cat wrapping.

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Nick practicing his swaddle.

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Nick and Brad not practicing the swaddle.

Lesson 4: Babies have a lot of “stuff” stored in them, and it comes out in shockingly large quantities. I rang for the nurses to let them know some of this material had escaped, and for some odd reason they assumed I was on the self-service plan and knew how to take care of this chemical spill. I clearly thought I signed up for the club level of this resort that included fresh apple juice hourly and only clean, fresh-smelling children. I made a note to call customer service to dispute this obvious accommodation error, but was expected to deal with this unpleasantness independently.

Lesson 5: You will cry, and cry, and cry, and cry. I had 24 hours of 100% non-stop tears. I cried because I was exhausted; I cried because I was so in love with my babies; I cried because of hormones; I cried because no one came to visit for 5 minutes; I cried because people came to visit every 5 minutes; I cried because I wasn’t pregnant anymore and would never feel you kick my ribs and my bladder at the same time ever again. Mostly I cried because God chose me to be your Mom and I had no idea how would I ever be able to be all He expected.

Lesson 6 and the most important. Get your Kleenex now: Brigette and Nick, you will always be enough, but you won’t often feel it.  The days will be long and endless sometimes: your body, your thoughts do not belong to you, you will wonder who you were and who you are. Brigette, you will be annoyed that Nick gets to go to work and doesn’t have to nurse…again. He gets to keep the body he had 9 months ago and his clothes still fit. He gets to drive to work to see adults. He gets to eat all of his lunch while it’s hot. From your perspective his life won’t change as much yours did. Nick, as a Dad (I am assuming all of this, but I need to balance this paragraph) you will resent leaving your new family sleeping together in bed. Suddenly, you are responsible for a tiny person who will need diapers and shoes and ballet lessons (yay Celia) and–in what seems like a moment–college. You’d trade every adult lunch meeting for sticky Kix eaten from a toddlers chubby fingers. Although the hours and the days may seem as if they dragged, the years will fly by.

God gave you Violet because He believes that you are the hearts that will allow her to become the person this word needs. She will make you see everything for the first time all over again. Snowflakes will be more beautiful and rainstorms will be magical. You will learn to ride a bike again, learn to sing songs you forgot you ever knew, and you will never again take for granted a full night of sleep.
Violet isn’t just your heart existing outside of your body. She is ours too (Ed. Note: *sniff* good one, mom)

 

Want to keep reading? Don’t forget to check out our pregnancy and gender reveal posts!