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Warm summer days are so limited in MN. We wait all winter for warmth and when it’s finally here, I try my best to embrace it and allow Juliet to enjoy and soak in every precious minute. For I know all too well that winter rolls back around quickly. You know what I love so much about summer? No jackets, boots, mittens, and hats. To get Juliet out of the house without having to fuss with all of that is so nice. It’s freeing. And I know she feels that way too.

So on these warm days, as soon as we get home from daycare/work, we run outside as fast as we can. We run around the yard, play hide and seek, laugh, roll around on the grass. We eat frozen fruit bars even though dinner is not far away and it will surely ruin her appetite. I don’t care. It makes her so happy. In an ideal world, I would always make homemade frozen fruit bars, but in reality, I often have to go for convenience. So it’s a good thing there are frozen fruit bars like these Fruttare bars for us to enjoy when there is no time to fuss around with the homemade version.

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fave things 6.1 The last week  MN has been pretty lovely, weather wise. We got a ton of rain over the weekend and now everything is so lush and green. I am off work this week in preparation for a new adventure and I plan to soak in every last drop of sun. I’ve been discovering some great products lately and wanted to share all my favorite things I’m loving. This list has quite a bit of Juliet-inspired items as well so if you are a momma to a toddler, you should definitely check these out.
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Juliet 2nd birthdayMy baby is 2. She’s been 2 since February 16th but even after a few weeks I still can’t believe it. I took these photos on her birthday, in her party dress. It required the bribe of a lollipop which despite how much I strive to feed her healthy foods, she still loves candy a lot. I mean, she’s a kid so I get it.

Juliet’s daycare celebrated her birthday on Valentine’s Day. Her daycare provider asked all the children to go around in a circle and say what their favorite thing is about Juliet. One of the little boys said “she really loves candy”. Oh boy.

This is my last monthly update. I am so happy to have the first 24 months of her life so well-documented. From here I’ll probably do an update at age 2 1/2 and 3. I don’t want to think about it but I know it will be here before I know it.

There really haven’t been any big milestones since last month. The biggest change is mostly that she is just such a major talker. Every day I feel like she says a new sentence or phrase and I’ll look at Erik incredulously and ask him “where did she hear that? Where did she learn that?”.

Potty training is touch and go. We went through a major regression in the past month and just accepted it and didn’t push her. The past week has been better. Juliet understands the basics and in my opinion could be fully potty trained if she made the decision. She just hasn’t decided she wants to do it 100% yet. So we wait. At her 2 year dr. appointment her pediatrician told us that 50% kids age 3 are potty trained. I’ve never felt any pressure to get her potty trained but that was an interesting stat.

2 years is awesome. Juliet is such a wonderful little person. She has made me so happy and full in the past 2 years, more than I ever could have imagined. I just adore her more than anything in this world.

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Juliet's dreamy clouds 2nd birthday partyI really shouldn’t be blogging right now and prepping for Juliet’s party instead but I’m tired and have already worked on a few projects this evening (for a peek at those projects check out my Instagram). Juliet went to bed early because she isn’t feeling the best. I really really really hope she is feeling better by Saturday. Last year she got strep throat a couple days before her party and while she was no longer contagious she was a bit out of sorts on her birthday.

I am so excited about her party on Saturday and so is Juliet. She has mastered singing happy birthday and she knows her birthday is February 16th. She tries hard but can’t quite figure out how to hold up two fingers yet. Maybe by the weekend.

I can’t really explain my creative process and how I came up with the theme “dreamy clouds” but I think it had to do with the fact that Juliet loves these two lamb stuffed animals that she calls her “yammies”. I pondered doing a lamb-theme but that didn’t feel right and then I started thinking about an all white cloud theme playing off lamb’s fluffy wool. When I thought all white I thought that sounded really dreamy and loved that idea. I added in some sparkly gold and there you go, “dreamy clouds”.

My party philosophy is all about celebrating the guest of honor with lots of pretty details, great food and personal touches wherever possible. It’s really not my style to spend a ton of money on the parties I host so I always do a lot of DIY projects and try to find deals wherever possible. Juliet’s party dress was $16 and from Old Navy and it is absolutely perfect. I’m using baby’s breath because it’s so airy, light and pretty and also it’s super affordable. I am planning on making Juliet a little baby’s breath headband to wear but my gut is saying she won’t keep it on so maybe I won’t bother.

I’ll have a few activities for the kiddos (there will be about 9 kids between the ages of 10 weeks and 5 years) like coloring, glueing cotton balls to make little clouds on paper and most importantly, a dance party. Juliet loves to listen to her favorite song (Move It Move It) and dance like crazy. It’s one of my favorite things to watch her do.

I’m also really excited for the kiddos party favors. A couple of my favorite kid’s product companies are providing product for the favors and we’ll have a 4-pack of Little Green Pouches and puzzles from HABA toys as well as a few things I’ll be adding.

As far as food we are serving appetizers, snacks and dessert. The party is 3pm-5pm so we don’t need to do a full dinner which is nice because appetizers are my favorite anyway. And it’ll be easier with the kiddos to just serve snacks. We’ll have a blend of healthy and not so healthy snacks (from fruit to animal crackers to smoothies in Little Green Pouches and mac n cheese bites).

Dessert is going to be a white and gold candy table (candy is being provided from Sweet Works, they have gold Sixlets! So awesome) and I am making cloud sugar cookies with royal icing, plus we’ll have a cake and cupcakes. I should probably apologize in advance for the sugar rush the kids will have.

I am working with Shannon from Grace and Guy Paperie on Etsy for all the paper items. She designed incredibly perfect invitations and is making placecards and signs (including signs with my favorite dream quotes to display around the party). If you are in need of paper goods for an upcoming party I suggest checking her out. She does really nice work and is super responsive and reasonably priced.

Here is my Pinterest board for the party if you’re interested in seeing more. And be sure to follow me on Instagram as I’ll definitely be posting a few photos the day of the party.

My baby girl is almost 2. The past 2 years have honestly been like a really good dream, so this theme is very fitting. I couldn’t possibly love her more. 

Photo credits/links:

Cloud cake 
Cloud cookies 
Chiffon-rosette tulle dress
Baby’s breath headband 
Follow Your Dreams print
Powered sugar donut tower

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Juliet 23 monthsThis is what happens when I tell Juliet to say “cheese”

I needed to get Juliet’s 23rd month update up because she turns 2 in less than 2 weeks! Pinch me. I can’t believe she is almost 2! This second year has gone by twice as fast as the first.

 
I am busily planning and prepping for Juliet’s 2nd birthday party that is coming up on February 15 (her birthday is the next day). I am in love with the theme and can’t wait to get a post up with all the inspiration going into her party. Mostly though, Juliet is the inspiration. She brings joy into every moment of my life and each month she gets older I think to myself “wow, it just keeps getting better!”. Maybe that won’t be the case in her teen years but for now I am cherishing each sweet second.
 
While there were a few milestones this month, there was one monumental one.
 
Juliet weaned. 
 
You may have already heard me talk about it on Instagram last week and yes, Juliet is officially done breastfeeding. Wow do I have so many emotions around this. Mostly, I am sad. I can’t believe this chapter is closed for us and it really signifies that while Juliet will always be my baby, she is no longer a baby. She really hasn’t been for months but that breastfeeding bond kept her close in my arms, her sweet head nestled right next to my heart. Don’t get me wrong, we still have awesome cuddle time, she still reaches her hands up and says “momma hold you” when she wants to be held and I still lay next to her every night while she falls asleep. But I do miss breastfeeding her. 
 
I always thought we would wean around the time Juliet turned 2, but I had no real timeline. I hoped that Juliet would self-wean and that’s pretty much what happened. Traveling to Mexico for 4 nights definitely contributed. When Erik and I returned, Juliet did want to breastfeed but shortly after we got back she started losing interest and stopped asking completely.
 
At this point it’s been almost two weeks since she last breastfed. We did have a last session a couple weekends ago where I just knew it was our last. I held her extra close and kissed her cheek and twirled her hair between my fingers and stared down at her eyelashes while she nursed and fell asleep. And I cried. 
 
But as much as I’m sad I’m really happy, too. Happy that we went for almost 2 years. Happy that we overcame a really tough first few weeks of trying to successfully breastfeed with a terrible latch. Happy that Juliet and I shared that amazing breastfeeding experience together.

I want to write so much more about our breastfeeding experience but I don’t have the energy right now. I’d love to dedicate an entire post on it (I’ve gotten a lot of emails and questions) and may do that in the near future. Let me know if that would be of interest. I’d also just love to have that documented for her to see when she’s a momma herself. 
 
Besides that big milestone Juliet has been talking more and more. She’s been saying:
 
“Momma lay down”
“Dada come play with me”
“Dada who is it?” (when the phone rings)
“Come on kitty”
“It’s icy”
“It’s not cold outside”
“Mama has pimple” (I really love this one. Uh)
“I don’t want it”
“Have a tea party”
 
Besides being my little talker Juliet is becoming quite independent. She insists on walking to the car during daycare pick-up, and doing tasks herself like buckling herself into her high chair and peeling her own banana. 

Juliet loves to sing and she knows all the words for a bunch of songs (Where is Thumbkin, Twinkle Twinkle, Ba Ba Blacksheep, etc)
 
Happy 23 months my beautiful darling girl. I can’t wait to celebrate you turning 2!
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Banana chocolate chip donutsI am so, so behind on Juliet’s monthly updates so I am combining her 21 and 22 months updates. My baby turns 2 in a little over a month so I may skip the 23 month update. After her 2 year post I will officially be done with her monthly updates.

These updates are such a nice way to document Juliet’s milestones. Writing in a baby book just didn’t happen after a few months and this blog has so many beautiful memories of her first couple years. I’m so glad I did them, even if they are not reader favorites.

Because I’m so behind, I know I’ll probably miss some of the adorable things Juliet has been doing lately but here goes:

I’ll start with a potty-training update. Did you hate me in my last update when I was all “we are potty-training already and Juliet has been doing wonderfully?!” Well I knew it was way too good to be true that weekend and I knew that it was really early to be actually potty training her. But she seemed ready and more than one person agreed with me. We’ve been taking it very slowly and sort of a toddler-led approach. We just follow her lead and don’t push it. Some days/weeks even go very well where she tells us she has to go all day long and she goes and we hardly have a dirty diaper. But then there are days where she doesn’t want anything to do with the potty so it’s diapers all day. I think we’ll continue letting Juliet lead on this and maybe get more serious about potty training when she’s over 2. I’m proud of her and what’s she’s doing so far and we’ll see what happens.

Next up is breastfeeding. Yes we are still breastfeeding, mostly just at night and once in a while before naps on the weekends. She really doesn’t get much milk but she does it to be close to me and it’s great for snuggling and keeping warm in these cold winter months. I guess I always figured we’d go until about 2. I still think that is the (very loose) plan. There are days we’ll go without her asking and I don’t offer. I always wonder on those days if she is weaning herself but then another day will roll around where she’ll ask for milk (“I want milk”). So it’s pretty unpredictable at this point. All I know is that we both still enjoy it but I think I would be ok with being done soon as well.

Talking, we have so much talking over here. We have full conversations with real sentences and it’s crazy. Here are all the things Juliet has been saying lately:

What a you doing?
Momma, guess what?
Momma, watch this!
Momma/dadda hold you
Dada’s new phone
Come here kitty
I take a nap
Kitty eat food
Kitty get down
No kitty no
I go night night
I eat
I hungry
I go potty
I love you
Hello grandma
Sit down momma
Have a tea party?
I watch cartoons (um…unfortunately yes she says this)
Take mittens/hat off
Momma go away (yes heartbreaking, but she does say this from time to time and I just try to ignore it)
Daddy cleaning (not mommy, haha)

Juliet can count up to 39ish (with a little help with a number or two in there). But she is very good with her numbers. Maybe she is taking after her grandpa who is brilliant in math. I hope she doesn’t get my math skills, that’s for sure.

She knows the alphabet and can identify all the letters. We have this great alphabet mat in the playroom and she loves playing the “show us the letter _” game.

Juliet’s loves to dance and her favorite song is “I Like to Move It” from the movie Madagascar. She has this adorable little elbow jab move that she does and she mostly just bounces up and down.

This isn’t a milestone I’m proud of but Juliet can sit and watch a whole episode of TV now, with total concentration. She doesn’t get a lot of screen time but we will turn on the Baby First Network for her when we need to get something done (like cook or clean, etc) and she doesn’t want to play independently in her playroom. She also LOVES watching videos on YouTube, anything from Simple Songs to Elmo to Peppa the Pig.

Her favorite foods are green beans, edamame, chocolate chips, spaghetti, eggs, oranges, smoothies, plain yogurt with honey, applesauce pouches and animal crackers. She continues to be a great eater but there are some days she eats very little. I try not to worry because she usually makes up for it.

She is learning how to play catch with her big ball and it’s becoming one of her favorite activities with daddy.

Juliet enjoys picking out her own clothes in the morning (though she always wants to wear the same shirt, an owl shirt). She also asks for headbands and gets very excited when I let her pick one to wear.

She loves playing with this wooden play make-up set she received from grandma for Christmas. Juliet sits on the counter in the bathroom while I get ready in the mornings. She always plays with my make-up and while I don’t want to encourage wearing make-up around her, it’s reality that she sees me getting ready for work every morning. So this fake set is perfect because it’s made with non-toxic paints and has cute little soft brushes. She loves brushing them on my cheeks and pretending.

The past couple months have been just awesome with Juliet. We have a lot of fun together playing, reading, cuddling. I just love her so much. I can’t believe she’s almost 2!!!

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