I love this girl and I love her little grumbly face.

Erik can get her to make it on demand. It is generally followed by a big smile so the the title of this post is a bit misleading :)

I thought of writing a longer blog post about our pancake Saturdays but I’ll save it for another day. The truth is I’m really tired…Juliet was up twice last night and this momma needs some sleep.

Night night!

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My sweet girl is 11 months today!!! This past month has been so, so awesome with Juliet. She is getting so expressive, talking (jabbering), so many smiles and laughs.

Here are Juliet’s milestones for the month:

  • Her second tooth came in.  It came just a few days after the first so now she has two adorable little teeth poking up from her bottom gums.  I love her gummy toothy smiles.  
  • Juliet learned to pull herself up to stand.  She does it on just about everything now.  There were a couple days where naps and nighttime sleeping was difficult because she would pull herself up and just sort of bounce and smile.  I’d watch her on the video monitor unsure if she was able to get back down.  She would eventually “fall” back down on her butt and then lay down.  Despite being able to pull up, I don’t think she is close to walking.  She doesn’t really get the whole one foot in front of the other notion when we hold onto her hands to help her walk.  She just sort of bounces and wobbles.  I am in no rush for her to walk.  
  • Like I mentioned in Juliet’s favorite feeding things post, she started eating tons of solids this months.  Real meals.  Big meals.  She loves almost everything and meal time is always so fun.  She is pretty good at feeding herself and sometimes grabs the spoon and insists on using it all by herself.  Her favorite foods are blueberries, scrambled eggs, raspberries, pork, chicken, squash and peas.  
  • So I’m pretty sure this isn’t really a milestone, but Juliet started having little tantrums in the past few weeks.  When she is done eating and wants out of her high chair or is starting to get overtired or if we take something away that she wants, she will scream and then cry.  It’s a very easy to tell fake cry.  She gets mad.  Of course now I think it’s cute but I know that won’t last once she is a full-on toddler.  The tantrums don’t last long and I can usually prevent them by reading her cues and addressing what she needs before it’s too late.  Or we can easily distract her and cut the tantrum short.  
  • She started making this adorable grumbly face.  She scrunches up her nose, purses her lips and breathes super fast and heavy.  I have no idea where she got it from but it’s hilarious and adorable and now it’s sort of a daddy/daughter thing.  Erik will make the face at her and she’ll make it back and they’ll both smile and laugh. 
Breastfeeding is still going well but I can honestly say that I am very ready to be done pumping soon.  Over the holidays I had a week and a half off work and took a bunch of days off from pumping.  When I came back to work it was as though my body didn’t remember how to respond to the pump.  Either that or my pump motor is starting to suck.  My output from pumping has been terrible and it is so stressful and frustrating to sit for 25 minutes pumping with not much to show for it.  Needless to say I am so thankful that I still have about 100 ounces in my freezer stash.  I plan to stop pumping around the time Juliet turns a year and hope that my supply regulates itself so I can still breastfeed her in the mornings/evenings/nights and weekends.  Actual breastfeeding is still awesome.  It’s our special time together and I couldn’t love it more.  Juliet eats in the morning, evening and usually once overnight.  Some nights she sleeps through the night but for the most part she is up around 3ish.  I’ve gotten so used to getting up at night that I feel well-rested for the most part.  
These past 11 months have been just incredible and next month is the big 1 year!  I am really trying not to feel sad about my baby girl growing up so fast and instead am embracing it.  Each month has been more amazing than the last and as she grows Erik and I have more and more fun with her.  We love our little sugar plum so much.  
I am working on Juliet’s birthday party invites this week.  I will be posting about her birthday party details soon!
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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Juliet’s eating habits now that she is really into solids so I’d thought I’d do a post on what has worked for us.

Juliet started on solids when she was just about 6 months.  A lot of sources and research will say that 6 months is an ideal time to begin solids but some say as early as 4 months.  In fact, my pediatrician said 4 months is a good time to start rice cereal.  I thought about it a lot around the time Juliet was 4 months, but she just didn’t seem ready.  I decided to wait until the time felt right.

Around 5 and a half months Juliet started being really curious about everything we ate.  She would watch us move our hands to our mouth and sometimes reach out and try to grab food.  She was sitting with assistance comfortably (on the bumbo) and seemed ready.  So we had Juliet’s first feeding when she was just a week or so shy of 6 months.

Though many sources will say that you don’t have to start with the traditional rice cereal first, that is what felt the most comfortable for me.  When you mix the cereal with breast milk (or formula) for baby’s first feeding, it is a very thin consistently (so it was really not too different from breast milk that she was used to).  Erik and I basically wanted to get her used to the spoon, a bib, sitting in her chair (which at the time was the Bumbo).  She immediately loved the rice cereal.  We gave it to her for a few more days and then started incorporating veggie and fruit purees.  She loved it all, except avocado.  She still doesn’t like avocado much. We also started giving Juliet oatmeal cereal and she still loves having that for breakfast. 

Now that Juliet is almost 11 months, she is eating like a regular person!  She feeds herself awesome with her hands, and she eats almost everything we eat, and she is learning to feed herself with a spoon (it’s messy and Erik always cringes when purees go flying onto the floor).  The amount she eats at times astonishes me.  I used to have the philosophy “anything before the age of one is just for fun” when it came to solids, but around 10 months Juliet showed me that she wanted to eat, and she is hungry for solids.  She still gets the same amount of breast milk she has always gotten (around 24 ounces at day, give or take) but she also gets 3 full meals of solids plus snacks.  On weekends, even if she breast feeds as often as she wants, she still wants plenty of solids. 

Above are products we have loved during this process:

1.  Dr. Sears Nibble Tray.  This is a new addition to our eating regimen.  I can’t wait to start creating bento box lunches for Juliet and being creative with food for her.  This nibble tray is awesome.  It has a bunch of compartments and it looks pretty when it’s packed with fruits/veggies/grains/snacks, etc.  Juliet isn’t old enough to eat off it yet, it would end up on the floor.  But I pack her lunches in it sometimes and it is great for packing for daycare.  You can basically just dump the contents on a highchair and let the baby go to town.
2.  Tommee Tippee Food Pots with Lids.   I am a big fan of the Tommee Tippee brand because when Juliet was going through an awful bottle strike (right when I went back to work), Tommee Tippee bottles worked best.  We’ve used them since she was 13 weeks.  These little food cups are perfect for individual servings of purees and are great to pack fruit, veggies or puffs in.
3.  Tommee Tippee spoons.   I love these spoons because they are small enough for little baby mouths and also change color if food is too warm.  Juliet has always enjoyed using these spoons.
4.  Graco DuoDiner High Chair.  We were lucky that Erik’s mom purchased Juliet’s high chair.  These things are not cheap!  I didn’t do a ton of research on high chairs but went to Target and took a look around.  I liked that this was on wheels, seemed really comfortable, the fabric could easily be removed for washing, and also converts to a booster when your baby is older.  Juliet always enjoyed being in her high chair and the wheels are a must.  I also love the two part tray because if you don’t wash the top one and need to feed, you can always use the bottom half.  We got a brown and red style with a cute giraffe.
5.  Ice cube trays.  I make the  majority of Juliet’s purees and freeze them in ice cube trays.  I cover them with saran wrap while they freeze and then store them in freezer, gallon-size bags.  One serving was 2 ice cubes when Juliet was younger, now she can easily eat 3-4. 
6.  Earth’s Best baby food.  While I make the majority of Juliet’s food, sometimes it’s easiest to reach into the pantry and grab a jar of food.  It’s organic and Juliet likes it.  She’s tried almost every kind and you can find it on sale often at Babies R Us.
7.  Cuisinart Mini Food Processor. This food processor is awesome.  I’ve had it for years and it is the perfect size for pureeing veggies and fruits.  I don’t think the baby bullets or special baby food makers are necessary when a mini food processor does the trick just fine.  
8.  Happy Baby Organic Puffs. These are fun snacks, they dissolve easily and are good practice for little fingers.  When it comes to snacks I prefer giving Juliet fruit but every once in a while she has Puffs and she loves them. 
9.  Tommee Tippee Sippee Cup.  These cups are great, easy for Juliet to drink out of (she still needs a bit of help from mom and dad to tilt the cup when she’s sitting in her high chair).  They are relatively spill proof so even if she’s playing around the sucking the bottom of the cup (which she does often), the contents don’t spill out.  

Juliet’s favorite foods are blueberries, raspberries, peas, toast with hummus, shredded pork, chicken, spaghetti, squash, yogurt and eggs.  She is such a good eater and we try to always make mealtime positive and fun.  I’ve really enjoyed the feeding/solids experience with Juliet. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for when she’s a toddler (eek, only a month and a week away!!!). 

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Erik, Juliet and I spent Christmas in North Dakota.  It is 6 and a half hour away and I was a bit nervous to make the drive with Juliet, but she did great.  This was her second trip to North Dakota, the first time she was 14 weeks and slept the entire way.  This time, we left during her bedtime and she slept most of the way.  When she was awake, we read books, sang songs and had snacks.

We can pretty much always guarantee a few things in North Dakota.  Really good, comfort food.  Cold, cold weather.  Lots of relaxing.  Good family time.

This trip was no exception.  We spent 4 days lounging in Erik’s mom’s sunroom, eating, drinking and also some hot tub time (Juliet too!  We turned the temperature down and she “swam”, she LOVED it!)
We drink a lot of tomato beer in North Dakota.  It’s any beer mixed with Clamato juice, plus olives.  I used to think it was weird, but now I’m hooked.

I also asked Erik’s mom to make wassail tea, it’s sweet and reminds me of Christmas.  I love it. We always have big breakfasts in North Dakota.  Eggs, waffles or pancakes, potatoes and frying sausage (a combo of pork and beef, Erik could eat this every day). Juliet ate a ton in North Dakota.  She is crawling everywhere and builds up an appetite.  She likes grandma’s cooking, too.  Karen (Erik’s mom) always has a ton of appetizers before we eat Christmas dinner. Spinach, artichoke chicken crostini, yum.Tortilla roll-ups.

The traditional Christmas Eve dinner at Erik’s mom’s house includes lobster tails and prime rib. While we were there we also had chicken and dumplings and lasagna.  So much good food.  I guarantee I gained 5 pounds.
Juliet had adorable holiday outfits to wear thanks to her Aunt Chris. Grandma can make Juliet laugh and laugh and laugh.   Plenty of desserts including homemade vanilla ice cream.Juliet had a blast opening lots of gifts.  She was very spoiled by grandma with toys, clothes and more toys.  I just loved the little santa jammies she wore and how happy she was with all the wrapping paper and bows.

We still have our tree up and I am a little sad to think about putting all the Christmas decorations away.  The holidays always come and go so fast and we love the family time.

2012 was an amazing year.  Looking forward to a great 2013!

Happy New Year!

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Juliet turned 10 months today! She is now in the double digits and I feel like the countdown to turning one is on. Don’t get me wrong…I want these last couple months of having my sweet baby girl still an infant to go SLOW. But I have learned a thing or two in the past 10 months and I know that I’ll blink and she’ll be one.

Month 10 has been an awesome month, just like all the rest.  It’s been a month of firsts and milestones.  This month has been the perfect age.  Then again, I’ve thought that about each month along the way.

Juliet’s month 10 firsts and milestones:

  • She said mama!  It is the most beautiful sound.  Sometimes it comes out as nana, but every one in a while she says mama. I know the m sound is not easy for her to make, but when we practice and she is determined, it comes out just perfect.  I’m not sure if she knows the connection between mama and me, but it won’t be long.   
  • I know I’ve talked about Juliet’s mobility for a couple of months now, but I can officially say that Juliet is full-on mobile.  She doesn’t crawl, technically, but can get anywhere she wants to be, and pretty fast.  She is always on all fours…yet instead of a traditional crawl she sort of propels herself forward, using her tummy as a landing pad and then does a tummy scoot to get where she wants.  
  • I’m not sure if this is considered a milestone but Juliet’s hair has been growing like crazy!  It is getting so long and unless we sweep it over to the side, it is in her eyes.  I can’t wait to put her beautiful hair in little pigtails!
  • I can finally say that my little girl is, in fact, teething.  It took 10 months for this to happen but her pediatrician confirmed she had a tooth poking up and I actually felt a sharp little bud of a tooth yesterday (I try to peek in her mouth but she doesn’t like it and sticks out her tongue and blocks me, haha).  It’s probably silly but I feel so excited and proud of my baby for getting her first tooth.  When I describe Juliet I often say she is very laid back and easy going.  Here is an example, last week she had a terrible cold.  She also had her very first ear infection and was teething.  Do you think she was fussy at all?  No.  She was her normal sweet, happy self. 
  • Juliet started “singing”.  I noticed this when I sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to her.  She sort of hums along….sometimes I even think she’s following the rhythm!  Then in church the past couple weekends ago she was “singing” along with the choir.  It’s so adorable.  
  • Juliet is still a very good eater when it comes to solids.  She is still getting purees but is getting more and more table food.  She loves blueberries and raspberries and usually finished those first.  She loves meat!  I think she likes pork the most and also chicken.  She had her first pancake this month and also her first taste of spaghetti.  It was messy which I think is adorable but it makes Erik cringe when she drops handfuls of food on the floor.  
This past weekend was a difficult one, as I know you all share in my sorrow for what happened in our world.  I was away from Juliet all day and night Friday because I had my work holiday party and she stayed at grandma and grandpas.  When I got her on Saturday morning we spent the rest of the day wrapped in a tight hug, with me whispering her name over and over as I breathed in her sweet baby scent and feeling thankful for every second I have her in my life.  There are a lot of seconds in 10 months and I can honestly say that I’ve cherished every single one of those seconds.  
Breastfeeding is going amazingly well.  Honestly, sort of magical.  I know I got this from my own mom.  She breastfed me for two years and my younger brother was extended breastfed as well.  The bond I feel with Juliet when I breastfeed is so awesome and I have no intentions of stopping anytime soon.  The thought of weaning saddens me so much.  So the plan is to allow her to baby led wean whenever she is ready.  It might not be for another year.  We’ll just go with the flow on this one.  But I hope to breastfeed her well past a year.  
And here are the cute outtakes from our quick 10 month photo shoot (daddy was there helping to make sure she didn’t topple off the chair). 

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My sweet Juliet turned 9 months last Friday.  We’ve had a great month with lots of milestones!

  • Juliet started saying dada.  I don’t think she really knows what it means but Erik adores it.  I’ve been practicing mama mama mama mama a ton with her, but no such luck.  Yet. 
  • She understands things.  When I ask her “Juliet, where is the kitty?” she looks around the room and spies Kody, stares at him, looks back at us and gives a big smile.  She is always excited when Kody is near and if he sticks around long enough to let her pet him, she is one very happy little girl.  
  • Juliet is getting much stronger while standing with support.  She loves holding onto the couch, ottoman and coffee table while she stands.  She is still a bit wobbly so we are always right behind her.  She can’t pull herself up but I suspect it won’t be long.  We still don’t have a crawler yet, but she can roll to the other side of the room really fast.  Looks like we need to start baby-proofing soon.  
  • Juliet has been perfecting her pincer grasp.  She eats all sorts of table foods and usually can pick food up and get it into her mouth, no problem.  She also still loves purees and I’m continuing to make most of her food (we also by Earth’s Best organic brand of baby food).  Juliet loves her puffs, mum mums, fruits, veggies, but her favorite is probably pork.  
  • Juliet started waving.  I first noticed it one day I dropped her off at daycare.  I always wave bye bye to her, tell her I love her, kiss her chubby cheek.  That day I noticed her arm flailing around a little…I said, “is she waving???” and Sarah, our daycare provider said, “I think so!”.  The next day she did it again and now she does it fairly regularly.  
  • While much of the time Juliet is a very easy, laid back little girl, I see a bit of stubbornness and sassiness developing.  She started making this mad face where she scrunches up her nose and purses her lips (it’s actually the most adorable little face).  Luckily she never stays angry for long.  It usually just takes some kisses on her neck (she’s ticklish there) and she is giggling up a storm.  
  • Along the lines of getting angry, this comes out the most when we get her dressed in the morning. Lately she hates getting dressed.  Erik just wants to send Juliet to daycare in her jammies to avoid the struggle but I insist on getting her dressed every morning.  She is also on the move and rolls around which makes it impossible to do diaper changes and put her clothes on.  
  • Finally, Juliet’s hair grew a ton in the past month. It is getting thick and long.  I keep meaning to buy those little hair ties to put a pony in but I’m sort of avoiding it because I worry it’ll make her look like a big girl and I’m not ready for that yet. 
Taking photos of Juliet is getting harder and harder.  She is curious about everything and doesn’t sit still for a second.  Here are a few funny outtakes from the 9 months photos I snapped over the weekend.  

Mama loves you so much, sweet girl.  Happy 9 months!

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