Isaac has kind of taken front and center on my photo reel lately, but I do believe Juliette deserves the spotlight for a moment while I dwell on just how special her first couple of months as an eight year-old have been.

She sashayed into 2nd grade with all the grace and confidence in the world and has been rocking student life.  She’s loved every single day of in-person school and even moans a bit when Friday rolls around, because she won’t get to see all her friends again till Monday.  P.E. is her favorite subject, but she also thinks math quizzes are the most-fun thing ever.  Last night over dinner she explained cultural appropriation to Shane and me.  The world is her oyster and she is eating it up.

Girl is fancier than ever and wants to grow up (and dress the part) faster than I will let her. I put some mascara on her lashes as part of her Halloween face paint and she about fainted with excitement. Don’t get used to it, kiddo – best stick to unicorn headbands and feather boas.

Ok, and pink satin gloves for tea parties, of course…

I asked her the other night if she wanted to walk with me and Isaac around the block after dinner and she said yes, but first she had to “get ready”.  She’s got a headband and a pair of glasses for everything.

(This is her teacher eye-ware.)

And this is her telling Shane to go quietly to the bathroom and to stop disrupting the class (in a very convincing British accent, no less).

She’s fancy, and she’s funny. Like not just aww, that’s adorable, but like legitimately, creatively funny. There’s been a lot of pickle ball talk in our house lately given Shane’s recent obsession, and Juliette came out of her room the other day donning cowgirl boots and a straw hat, strumming her ukulele and saying in her twangiest voice, “Now gathah round for a little storah, ‘bout a game I like to call Pickle the Bawl…”  In her version of pickle ball, you see how many pickles you can jam inside a ball before it explodes, which sounds much more straight-forward than the rules that Shane plays by.

Shane and Juliette have always been close playmates, but lately I’m seeing them enjoy each other’s company more than ever.  Soccer, board games, tickle fights…they do it all together.

When she really clobbers Shane at a board game, she’ll offer him a consolation hug before they clean up – she’s the graceful-est of winners.  Losing well is more of a stretch, but we’re working on it.

And at the risk of letting Isaac inch in on Juliette’s blog post, let me wax poetic for a bit on what an unbelievable big sister she’s become.  I knew she would love having a baby around the house, but I figured there would be some jealousy and disappointment as she came to realize Shane and I couldn’t lavish her with quite the same level of attention.  None of that, though – when she hears anyone remark over how cute Isaac is, she’s quick to respond with, “I know!!!  Isn’t he the cutest baby you’ve ever seen in your whole life?!”  At which point I lean over and can’t help but whisper to her, “And you’re the sweetest big sister I’ve ever seen in my whole life.”.

The first few weeks were a lot of Juliette just oohing and ahhing over Isaac while he slept…

But soon he started to look a little more alive…

And there was a lot of these two gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes.  Slayed me.

She’s continually wanting to up her sisterly responsibilities and now takes the lead on bath time, the occasional bottle feeding, and clothing selection.  Poopy diapers are a hard no, though.

She couldn’t bear the sound of Isaac’s crying when we first brought him home from the hospital, but once she realized there are often some very sweet snuggles on the other side of that crying, she was quick to take shushing shifts.  He got really fired up one evening when he was a few weeks old and neither Shane nor I could get him to settle; I laid him down on the couch for a moment so that I could put on the Boba and take him for a walk.  Juliette scooped him up while I was suiting up and he went from shrieking to silent in a matter of seconds.  She and I looked at each other and couldn’t help but laugh.  “You’re such a little rascal, Isaac!”, she cooed in his ear.

(Rascal?  Him?  It’s true!)

The proud look of a sister that rocked her brother to sleep while Mom and Dad were distracted elsewhere…you go, girl.

Isaac is often in our bed for his morning snack by the time Juliette wakes up and she’ll bound into our room exclaiming, “Where’s the best little brother in the whole wide world?!”  On weekends she’ll snuggle in next to him; on weekdays she carries him into the kitchen so that he can sit in his bouncer while she eats her breakfast.  Either way, I’m left free to go make my coffee.  WIN!

This picture makes me laugh -  Issac is giving me that look that says, “Mom!  She’s telling me I’m adorable and squeezing too tight again!”

Just lean into it, buddy.  I couldn’t get her out of your arms if I tried.

GAH!!!  I’ll stop now, but seriously.

You’re something else, Juliette Grace.  As a big sister of course, but also as my clever, affectionate, fiercely kind firstborn.  Eight is great.