Juliette hit the big half-year mark yesterday – more and more we’re exclaiming “what a big girl!” as she flies past each new milestone and showcases each new skill.  Six months ago today at about this time, we were on our way home with our brand-new baby, feeling overjoyed and overwhelmed as we strapped her into carseat, praying that we’d buckled it right and her head wouldn’t roll off if we hit a bump in the road.  She was such a tiny, helpless little thing.  And now she’s so strong and squishy and expressive and…fun.  With the exception of the night I spent camped out on the floor of her nursery a couple of weeks ago when she was sick and waking every hour, we’re in a really good groove, lavishing her with plenty of affection but also taking advantage of her increasing ability to self-entertain.

On Wednesday she took her maiden voyage in the stroller without the carseat, facing out big-kid style.  I know, this is such a small, silly thing, but it felt like a really big deal.  I’ve walked a lot of miles with her these last few months, chatted with her and sang to her while she looked up at me from her cozy carseat.  But now she’s ready to see things from a new angle, and while I’m excited show her a world beyond treetops and my face, I’ll miss watching her gnaw on Sophie.  I suppose it’s possible that I’m feeling extra-nostalgic as my maternity leave is over and I head back to work on Monday, but gah!  Stop growing already, baby!

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She continues to tease us with just an occasional laugh – recent rounds of peek-a-boo have drawn forth some pretty adorable giggles.  We continue to make complete fools out of ourselves for the sake of even the smallest chuckle.

Juliette recently discovered her toes, which means it will soon be impossible to keep socks on her.  Thank goodness barefoot weather is coming!

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She was particularly fascinated by her feet when I put her on the changing table yesterday.  I cringed a little when she latched onto her big toe, but then I figured her feet are probably much cleaner than her grabby hands, so suck away, hon.

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We have recently ventured into the word of solid foods, and I believe this wild-eyed look says it all:  Give me MORE!  (And check out those pearly whites peeking through her bottom gums – girly has her two first teeth!)

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We started with rice cereal a couple of weeks ago and have since added oatmeal and sweet potato to her palate.  Tonight she’ll have her first avocado.  Mmm, Mmm, Good.

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Shane put up a bit of a fight when I brought this monstrosity of a jumper home from Emily’s, but once we realized she can occupy herself in this thing for a solid 15 minutes at a time, we decided it’s well worth the space it takes up in the living room.

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We’re still dealing with the occasional 20-minute nap, but for the most part, Jules has settled into a solid sleep routine.  She’s up once in the night around 3:00 for a quick snack and has been (fairly) consistent with the hour-plus morning and afternoon naps.  One of my favorite things about doing away with the swaddle is watching her sleep in all these new positions – she’s pretty angelic with her chubby hands clasped at her chest, just so.

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We celebrated the big 0.5 last night with sweet potatoes for dinner and bananas for dessert – this goofball definitely loves to eat.  We bought her a small booster seat to strap to one of our dining room chairs, and I love having her at the table with us.  As long as she keeps those sticky hands to herself.  Thank goodness bathtime falls right after dinnertime.

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Finally…more gratuitous tummy time photos (I can’t stop myself!):

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The expression in this photo shows her increasing curiosity – craning her neck just a little, wanting to know where a sound came from or where her favorite toy went or what mama is putting in her mouth (sorry kiddo, no chocolate for you).

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And…super-baby!  She looks ready, to take off, doesn’t she?

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Happy half-year Juliette.  It’s beyond fun to watch you grow, but…no rush, ok?