21 months!  Juliette is less and less my baby, more and more my funny, sweet, maddeningly stubborn little girl.  We continue to get a kick out of her gradual mastery of the English language – she’s stringing together 3-4 words now, telling us “all done with sootie! (smoothie)” when her cup is empty, proudly exclaiming “I did it!” when she manages to get her seat belt buckled or when she successfully pushes the button to put down the garage door.  Car rides have become a recurring game of I Spy, as she shouts “BUS!” and “BIKE!” and “CHOO-CHOO!” from the back seat.  Every time we enter a tunnel (or go under a bridge), Juliette pumps her right fist in the air and shouts “TUNNELLLLLL!!!”, as if we’ve just hit the climax of Disneyland’s most thrilling ride.  Her enthusiasm is infectious – Shane and I can’t help throwing our hands up in the air and yelling right along with her.  She still relies on that extra-friendly “HI!” to get the attention of friends (and strangers), but she’s also really into good-byes these days, waving and saying, “Bye-bye water, bye-bye slide!” every time we leave the park.  Last night at dinner, as Shane took the last swig of his Corona, she bid it farewell with “Bye-bye beer!”

Her new favorite pastime is playing in the car, sitting in the driver’s seat and pushing all the buttons on the dash board while I clean out the garage or sweep the driveway.  What are the odds she’ll look this happy 14 years from now, when she’s getting her license and still sitting behind the wheel of our trusty Civic?  (Sorry, Jules – you inherited this car when you threw those crayons all over the back seat and they melted in the sun!)

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She has also recently picked up soccer, spending afternoons at the playfields with Dad practicing her footwork.

And, since it’s been a couple of months since my last photos of a paint-covered Jules…here you go:

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We’ve had some good, good Thursdays together since the weather has turned warm, making our way through our list of Seattle’s best beaches and splash parks.  We spent a morning frolicking in the fountain at Miller Park a couple of weeks ago.  Once the water came on, pants were off in about 10 seconds flat.

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I love the slightly panicked look on her face here – the jets of water shot up pretty quickly and caught her by surprise a couple of times.  Didn’t keep her from running back for more, though!

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And, to top off a perfect Jules-mama outing…ICE CREAM!  Because I want to make sure those chubby thighs and elbow dimples stay intact throughout swimsuit season.

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In reality, I ate three-quarters of the scoop and just let her have a few bites.  But she held on to that empty cup the whole ride home, savoring of the memory of that sweet strawberry treat.  I have discovered the way to this girl’s heart, and it’s through DESSERT (she got that from me).

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Rattlesnake Lake has become one of our new favorite places to pass a lazy Sunday morning, rock-throwing and picnicking and dipping our toes in the cold mountain water.

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That.  Hat.

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Mt. Baker Beach has become our go-to spot for a late afternoon post-nap cool-down.  Butts are usually soaked within minutes of arrival!

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While I’m far from being able to stretch out with a book and read in the shade while Juliette runs wild at the beach or playground, it does seem like I’m doing less “orchestrating” of her playtime.  Especially when she can talk one of her little buddies into pushing her on the merry-go-round!

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Happy 21 months, little lady!  So, so, so happy.

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