Turning 30: A Letter From Your Mother

My life was perfectly planned: I was doing what I loved, we had just bought the cutest house and we were going to start our family. We would have a baby, born in the spring so I could take off the summer. She would be a beautiful little girl who loved dance and dreamed of being a cheerleader (Children having children).

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Even the most ridiculous laid plans go awry.

“You are measuring large for your due date,” were the words that changed our world.

Two babies? Double our family and overcrowd our incredibly tiny house? Two daughters? Two prom dresses? Two college educations. (Still planning my life according to my terms).

God had other plans. On February 24, 1987 the two daughters I dreamed of and had named were born. In one second I knew that God had allowed me to plan my silly life because His plan for me was exactly why I was placed on this earth. I was blessed with 2 perfectly tiny, premature baby boys and the whirlwind of life truly began.

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You nursed every 45 minutes. You never slept at the same time. You went through more diapers than we could afford. And I realized adult humans can go for days with 2 hours of sleep and they will fold dirty laundry out of delirium. You brought magic to our lives and gave grandpa an excuse to buy a billion dollar video camera the size of the space shuttle to record every. second. of. your. existence.

I hated to dress you the same and I wanted people to see you as unique snowflakes. “Brad has a beauty mark, Nick has none” was how your pre-school teacher taught your class. Brad wore Blue, Nick wore red. Any visual cues that would help people not call you “the Botto twins” was my lofty goal. Alas, your own grandparents and, let’s be honest, your Dad mixed you up even years later when you didn’t even live in the same state.

How have 30 years gone by? How have my sweet, curly haired, hazel eyed toddlers become
grown ups that astound me with their kindness, their humor, their brilliance? How was I so blessed to be given the responsibility to care for you while you grew into exactly what our world needs?

I was overcome with pride at each of your accomplishments and at each milestone you
achieved. I was in awe as you attacked the next challenge.

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Watching you both, overcome with emotion, as the women you chose for your wives walked toward you on your wedding day. I knew God had helped you find the person who would be strong enough to be your equal. The day Violet entered the world I watched a father be born and an uncle created.

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Being the Botto twins was a challenge. I set the bar high because I knew you would rise to the occasion. It wasn’t always easy, and I know I was relentless, but I also knew your potential long before you knew your strength.

Thank you for all you bring to us everyday and the happiest of birthday as you start a new
decade.

Don’t tell your brother but I love you best. (Wink)

We did so much in December, it took until mid-January to type it up.

Oh hey December! (Ed. Note: Hi December!) Where did you go? I swear, December must be the fastest month in the entire year. (Ed. Note: Don’t tell Brige, but a calendar would probably be able to determine this assumption with some confidence) It’s all go-go-go-go-birthdays-Christmas-NewYears-stop! Phew! Since every weekend in December was packed full of activities, it’s nice to finally have some weekends where we can just wing it (and by “wing it” I mean come up with a list of different house projects (Ed. Note: a blog posts) to do…)!

We started December off the right way- cutting down (Ed. Note: murdering) our Christmas Tree! If you remember and/or follow us on Instagram, we tagged this sucker in November. I grew up cutting down a tree and decorating it on Christmas Eve. Now that I’m older and in charge, I have decided put ours up at the beginning of the month. It makes us look forward to Christmas so much more!

Luckily, my wonderful sister, Courtney, came with her truck and helped carry and transport our tree! Thanks muffin! (Ed. Note: this chronically injured editor is eternally grateful.)

We spent one weekend in Portland, Maine. It was our first time to Portland, which we loved! We went with Portland pros, Chris and Lydia, and spent our time brewery-hopping, eating, and shopping! Duckfat was delicious. We made sure to get fries and milkshakes (along with soup and sandwiches, because we eat food). Ugh now I want a milkshake.We checked out Allagash and a few other breweries in the areas. I have no idea what their names were. Nick would know (Ed. Note: Foundation Brewery and Sebago tasting room). There were SO MANY PLACES TO SHOP. I picked up tons of Christmas presents for Nick. I would have loved to pick up some Christmas presents for me, too, but I figured it was not the time. Lucky for Jodie, I didn’t get her any of the awesome rooster pitchers that I found. I wanted to, but I held back. We DID find Violet’s Christmas ornament, though! It’s a little baby polar bear wearing a santa hat. It’s as adorable as she is. Violet loved the trip. Nick and I loved it. We’re pretty sure Chris and Lydia loved it, too! It was also Violet’s first hotel stay! She did a great job!

Violet went sledding around the yard!!!(Ed. Note: it was more, pulling, than sledding) She definitely enjoyed herself. As you can see from these pictures, she just laid back in the sled and smiled. Sweet girl.

December also calls for house decorating, tree decorating, and winter sheets! Someone (not naming names, but I’m talking about my husband (Ed. Note: ugh. Nick is the worst!)) never put up the adorable Christmas lights on our house. It just wasn’t Christmas without the lights. Maybe next year :/

You’ll also notice that Violet has one of Hallmark’s annual singing snowmen. It was $17. We almost didn’t get it. Good thing we did. It’s her absolute favorite thing in the entire world (next to Violet the Dog). It’s already out of batteries because she plays it so much. And by “she” I mean Nick and I. We can sing you the song if you like…

Speaking of songs, what about Christmas?!?! We spent Christmas Eve with the Bottos and Christmas Day with the Comeaus! It was a good split. Here are some lovely pics so you can get a feel for our two day Christmas Extravaganza!

She love, love, LOVED the bacon appeteether! She tasted each gift to make sure it was delicious. Most of her toys were hand-me-downs from her cousins (best idea ever), but there were some new ones that she liked, too. The appeteether, for instance, was a winner (we already have the short ribs and the chicken wing, so it was a good guess that she’d like the bacon.) Aunt Sue got her an adorable doll that the hugged and kissed right away. She also got some awesome toys from Bodhi Leaf Mothering. She especially enjoyed the rainbow rattle and musical eggs!

To end the month, my sisters, sisters-in-law, aunt, niece, nephew and I celebrated my mom’s birthday with a paint night at Muse Paintbar in Manchester. A little painting, a little wine, a few appetizers. We had a great time laughing at how unartistic we all are. (Ed. Note: the finished piece now lives in our recently-refinished bathroom. It really pulls the room together)

Phew! Done! All caught up and it’s not even the end of January!! I’m on a roll! (Ed. Note: I’ll admit, much of the delay rests on the shoulders of yours truly, who seems to find any reason to avoid performing in his role.)

Have a happy January.

Oh November? When Was that?

Happy Holidays! And by “Holidays” I mean Thanksgiving. We’re a little behind here is Botto world. Though, we’re always behind so I’m sure no one is too surprised.

November was full of fun times! Violet tagged her very first Christmas tree! She really wanted that tiny one, but we convinced her to let that cute little sapling grow bigger and we’ll cut it down in a few years. We went for the tree behind her instead. (Dad really wanted a blue tree).

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Then there was a lot of leaf raking (Nick) and leaf blowing (Brige- that one time). Violet enjoyed the leaves a bit. She really didn’t know what to make of them. And look at ALL THE ACORNS! Nick and I finally called someone to take down some trees in our back yard. Not only will we have fewer acorns next year, but maybe, possibly, some sort of space for a back yard that isn’t just all moss! Yay for sunshine! Yay for less branches touching the roof! Yay for freedom!

Someone voted for the first time!! Her very first presidential election. The last time I went to vote, she was the large lump of my belly. In November she was able to vote from the outside! Violet LOVED staring down the people in line. She made eyes at all the older people (who just adored her). She also snagged two stickers for us! We celebrated by going shopping for some new clothes. Good job participating in your (mom’s) civic duty, Vi!

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Nick ran a 5k with auntie Court. We didn’t get any pictures of them but we DID take this lovely selfie! (note to all: we’ve also purchased some drool pads for our baby carrier).

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Violet is super, super chatty. We took some pictures for our Christmas card in November. Someone was chatting away the entire time. She just wouldn’t stop talking. Which was adorable if not problematic for our pictures. Luckily, we got a couple winners.

Someone has impulse buying issues and bought his daughter this dinosaur. Pretty sure he loves it more than she does though he insists that she’ll learn to adore it.

 

Now on to our Thanksgiving! We spent Thanksgiving in North Adams with MimiGigi/GigiMimi (she can’t decide on a name so Violet calls her both), Grandpa Scott, GG, and various aunts and uncles. It was great! Violet loved celebrating now that she kind of doesn’t mind food.

She enjoyed going to Bright Ideas Brewery and then jumping over to MASS MoCA to take a snooze on her favorite napping spot baby whisperer auntie Celia.

Violet also saw her very first snow fall on Thanksgiving!! What a lucky girl! She really wasn’t sure what to make of it, but that’s ok. Still a first!

October with the Bottos: 5Ks, baby food, and more than you need to know about spit, poop, and boogers

October was quite eventful in the Botto household.

Violet tried food for the first time! She HATES it. Seriously, not a fan. Nope. Noooo. Squash? No. Apples? No. Bananas? No (Ed. Note: but yes for mom and dad! Seriously, so delicious). How about some cereal? No thanks. Even if we make it with breast milk? Still no. “Sorry suckers”- Violet Botto

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Her food gets in own shelf. Lucky girl.

Nick’s been all healthy and such this month. He completed his first 5k in a LONG time! (Ed. Note: Notice it doesn’t say, “Nick ran his first 5k in a LONG time.” What I did could barely be considered running) Nick, Court, Jode, and–making her running debut–Violet all ran the Witch Way to the 5K on the 30th. They did great! Really, the fact that they finished means they did better than me! Scott and I cheered them across the finish line while snapping pics!

To celebrate their success, Court and Vi took a serious look at the Purple Finch menu and then Violet passed out.

Let’s not forget Violet’s first Halloween! She had a bunch of fun dressing up in ALL of her many costumes!

Oh and lets not forget that Violet now really enjoys animals. She watches Lola’s every move and LOVES Tootsie. She had fun whacking petting Woodrow last weekend and squeezing itching his ears!

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The month of October also brought a very first Date Night for me and Nick! Hooray! We checked out the new Lounge bar at the BVI Grande. It was great! We definitely recommend checking them out for drinks (Ed. Note: for you beer enthusiasts out there, they happen to have Founder’s KBS on draft. Be ready to pay a pretty penny for it, though. Trust me. It’s entirely worth it!) and appetizers (though not dinner. The dinners were small).

 

Parenting Truths we’ve learned in October:

-Babies make sooooooo much slobber. Bibs. Buy more bibs.

-Food rarely makes it to the mouth. However, it often makes it to: the hand, the shirt, the bib, the sleeve, the neck roll, the ear, the hair, the nose, the spoon that just fell on the floor. Celebrate anyways. (<well that was an adorable addition Nicholas! You’re so clever)

-Boogers are meant to be smeared across mom and dad’s shoulders (Ed. Note: I can no longer put on my work shirt until 5 minutes before I leave for the day. Otherwise, they are snot-stained for the whole day).

-The baby is going to stay in our room for a while. Let’s face it. I’m not walking across the hall to her room twice a night (Ed. Note: Remember the whole not-doing-the-5k-thing from earlier?). And I know Nick isn’t (Ed. Note: I already run. My cardio is done for the day by bedtime). And, lucky for us, “they” just came out with a report saying babies should sleep in your room forever until they’re one. So yeah.

-Poop changes. That’s it. (You’re welcome for not going into more detail).

-Sometimes falling over in slow-motion on a soft surface makes you cry. And that’s ok.

-There’s a toy basket now.

-Drinking beer helps with milk supply. So buy all the beer.

-Stranger Danger is a real thing.

 

And we’ll leave you with a little Violet with a flower on her head, thanks to MimiGigi!

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When was September?

 

Well there goes September! Remember when Nick and I (let’s be serious though, it’s always been me) used to write cute little posts about our house and trips different places? That was so adorable of us.

Before Violet we installed fans and built shelves and painted entire rooms from floor to ceiling. Since Violet we’re lucky if we remember to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer (come on, we can’t be the only people who’ve run the washing machine a second time after realizing clothes had been sitting there for a while…).

My house goal for September was to finish painting the shelves for our new, beautiful, stunning, amazing built-ins. Four shelves. That’s it. Though, in fairness to the project, each shelf has to be primed before it’s painted. And then I have to repaint all the places where knots have shown through. But then we decided that nice weekends were better for picking apples for the first time:

Or maybe checking out local breweries. Which are all, surprisingly, baby/kid friendly!

Nick did get super handy and muscular and put together a window box for the house. He even stained it and mounted it! I filled it with flowers for him, because he did SUCH a nice job.

Who needs silly house projects like putting all the maternity and old baby clothes away when you have awesome costumes to wear on a random Saturday? Violet decided to dress up as Snow White on our way to the St. Baldrick’s head shaving that Nick participated in. And, lucky us, we passed ANOTHER Snow White on our way there who took a picture with us!!! How lucky were we?!

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We learned later that there was a ComicCon going on at the Radison in Manchester. Weird, weird coincidence.

Nick and his brothers, father, friend, and coworkers all shaved their heads after raising a whole bunch of money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for childhood cancer research. Look at how wonderful they all look!

Last, but not least, September is leaving us with some nice, crisp weather. Do you know what that means?! HATS! SO MANY HATS!! Seriously, someone is definitely a hat girl. Look at her in her daisy hat (from one of Nick’s wonderful coworkers)

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And then I made her this one last night for the winter. Do you see how big that pompom is?!

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I’d love to tell you that in October we plan on finally taking down the wallpaper in the kitchen. Or finally finish painting the shelves. But we probably won’t get to any of that. As long and I wear clothes every day, then I’d say we’re doing pretty well.

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.