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    Mama Loves Moonshine is an honest, heartfelt, photo-centric blog devoted to all things motherhood, pregnancy & maternity, babies, toddlers, children, parenting and more... all accompanied by lots of photos. Julie is a new mother who has fallen in love with being a mom and already feels like it's going by so fast. Julie is married to Jesse, mother to Ramona Moon (aka Moonshine) and lives on an acre and a half in horse country between Boulder and Lyons, Colorado.

    Loving the journey (most of the time),

    Julie (Mama Moonshine)

    Read more about Mama Loves Moonshine...

A Morning in my Life

I’m always preaching about photographing the natural–about capturing authentic moments and allowing oneself to be photographed in a documentary style, even if that means being exposed or vulnerable.  I’m going to preach it even louder now…

I had the rare and incredible opportunity to be photographed with my girls in this style just 2 weeks ago when my good friend Paige Elizabeth flew in for a visit.  We hung out, caught up, dug up old memories and then photographed each other.  Paige spent the night so that I could photograph her at twilight and then she would wake at dawn (poor thing) and photograph us in the morning doing our thing.  I was nervous.  I feel uncomfortable in my postpartum skin and know that in the mornings, I’m not exactly a sight for sore eyes.  But I cherish these mornings with my girls.  They are truly our “girl” time.  Jesse writes screen plays so he stays up really late at night working and does the night shift.  I wake up early in the mornings and do the morning shift. We also have been sleeping in separate rooms because of our crazy schedule and Sylvie’s night feedings.

And so the morning goes–Momo always wakes me up.  Unless Sylvie wakes me up first, but that is rare–she likes to sleep. Momo likes to catch the worm, (err, chocolate milk) so to speak.  She always brings all of her lovies down with her and gently wakes me saying,  “It’s morning time, mommy”.  Then I need coffee.  Lots of coffee. And then more coffee.  And sometimes we play and sometimes we just wake up in front of the TV for a bit.  They are often long, hard mornings,  as I am naturally a night owl, but I love them–and my girls are growing so fast that I just had to have this ritual documented before it  all changes. Which it does so very fast in parenthood.

Paige documented  our morning so perfectly.  I am IN LOVE with these images and all that they hold within them.  I am eternally grateful to have such a gracious, talented friend that can photograph us so beautifully.  Even with my wrinkles, messy bedhead, and postpartum belly, I am proud of how I look as a mother.

So I am sharing these and am going to preach it again, because I believe every Mama (or Papa) needs images like this.  They are truly moments caught on film forever.  One day we will weep with gratitude over them–I know I will.

Jenifer L Hammond - Tis beautiful because it’s real.

Andrea Brooks Binder - You and your girls are beautiful.

Jodi Peterson Cox - I love these! I want a sleepover!!

Leah Emerick Anderson - Wow!! Paige did such a wonderful job capturing these tender moments at dawn. Julie, you are a radiant mother! XO

Julie Bergquist - Oh Jules. Beautiful.

Elaine Thomas Harris - Oh, my, Julie— I’ve been there for some of those moments. Paige captured them so well. Mostly…I am so touched by the mama that you are to your little girls. I am so very proud of you, darlin’.

Dale Shubert - Magnificent mommy moments. …..wish I had someone capture moments like these……I’m always photographing things……rarely in them……now the kids are teens…..things get busy and aren’t so loose…..need to hug them more I guess…….get that feeling and give it back

MarkAnna Anderson - Julie! your pictures are so beautiful! they are meaningfull!!! not just flowers prety make up and dresses, you show beaty of simple moments of life!! i really adore your phototgraphy

Lauren Penland - Oh my goodness, I am such a sucker for days in the life (or mornings). Lovely!

Michelle Lottner - love love love this!! thank you for sharing!!

Life in the Moment

Even Jesse tells me to put down my camera and be present sometimes.  But only a photographer will understand that for me, looking at life through my lens is being present.  I don’t have to think about the images that I make and the technology has become second nature, so I don’t have to worry about my settings. I just shoot.  I just make images as time unfolds organically, everyday.  If I didn’t have my camera I think that I would miss so much.  The camera forces me to be still and present.  If I weren’t making images, I’d probably be checking my email on my phone.  Honestly.


This is a typical morning for us.  In all of the images that I have made of my girls, it’s the loose ones that I love most–the real moments–Momo’s pink tangled hair or Sylvie slipping in the bathtub.  It’s a typical, messy, long long morning that one day I will look back on through images and wish that I could relive just once again. We can’t go back–so at least I will have the photograph.  And that’s why I do what I do–in a nutshell.


Check out Rachael Weaver and Lauren Penland’s take on Life in the Moment


Elaine Thomas Harris - I love these! You captured them!

Jodi Peterson Cox - Beautiful Julie. I just adore these!

Amy Barnard Hughes - Julie, wow. Wow.

Gail Jackson - Precious photos, even more precious daughters. Looking forward to meeting them in May!

Maria Khoroshilova - Beautiful photos! And I always feel as I’m missing on the moment itself if I’m behind the camera. There are just so many things I do want to capture in my everyday life, but each time I’m behind the camera, I feel that I’m missing on a mom side.. Thank you for sharing links to other photographers’ work. I just love these out of life moments. Sweet and precious.

Life in The Moment 3/27/15


My house is a mess.  A disaster.  I call it CHAOS actually–Cant Have Anybody Over Syndrome.   Last Sunday was supposed to be a day for work–Momo and I had grand plans of cleaning up the yard, front and back and getting our garden ready for some early spring seeds.  Peas, carrots and broccoli were all laid out ready to sow and the soil was aching to be amended.  What happened instead was complete spring fever.  The mop turned to into a witches broom, the garden, a glorious box of “powder’ for “cakes”, and the car was suddenly Elsa’s castle.  No cleaning today.  We had multiple wardrobe changes from fairy, to Elsa to “school clothes”,  basked in the spring sun and ended up drinking beers on a blanket at sunset in a messy, messy yard. There’s a reason things aren’t tidy around here.  I guess I prefer it that way.  There’s always next week–the peas can wait.


**This post is a part of a new project I’m collaborating on with two other incredible photographers. Check out their “Life in the Moment” posts at Rachael Grace and Sea and Rhythm


Meow has only one eye.  Her orange fur is scruffy, sticky and sometimes stinky.  The plush in her limbs and tail have been loved out. Her body has grown thinner, her head floppy.  She’s my daughter’s “lovey” and because of this I love Meow more than any adult should love a stuffed animal.  Meow has oddly become a part of our family and on Saturday, we almost lost her forever.

It’s become an ongoing debate—to bring Meow or not to bring Meow wherever we go.  Meow is a comfort to Ramona and her best pal.  Leaving her at home at times seems cruel. But to take her everywhere is to risk losing her.  Most of the time, Meow is allowed to tag along as far as our destination point in the car but then has to “hold down the fort” while we are out and about.  But every now and then Meow is allowed on a stroller ride, knowing that if Meow is dropped, there will be immediate shrieking.  So it was on Saturday—a gorgeous 65 degree day, we decided to take a little hike around Wonderland Lake and as our spirits were lifted with the sunshine, we felt generous enough to let Meow accompany Ramona in the stroller.  Meow made it around the lake, hung out in the stroller at the park and kept Ramona company while Jesse and I enjoyed adult conversations.  All was well until we left the trail-head to head back home.  Confused as to who was breaking down the stroller and who was buckling in the kid, poor Meow was placed on the roof of our car and left there as we drove away.  Thank God we were only a couple miles away when Ramona started to panic.  “Where’d Meow go, Mommy? Oh no, Mommy! Meow, NOOOOO!!!”   Jesse and I looked at each other, equally as panicked and nearly stopped the car in the middle of the road to search for Meow, knowing what had probably happened.  Pulled over precariously on the side of a busy street, we frantically tossed the car. Meow was most likely in the middle of the road somewhere torn to shreds.  We kept Ramona calm and retraced our tracks all the way back to the trailhead. No Meow on the road.  No Meow in the trail-head parking lot or under parked cars or in the trash can.  I decided to retrace our tracks by foot while Jesse stayed in the car with Ramona, reassuring her that I’d be back soon with Meow.

Panicky and prayerful, I walked the sidewalk up Broadway, methodically eying the road and sidewalk area. After what seemed like forever, I was flooded with relief when I spotted something tethered to a street sign.  It looked like a reusable grocery bag with something in it.  It was Meow! I practically ran to the sign and untied Meow only to notice that one of her glass eyes was missing.  Still, extremely overcome with a new appreciation for the little plush pet, I ran back to the car holding Meow high in the air triumphantly.  Ramona squealed with joy then immediately asked, “What happened, Mommy?  Meow’s eye.”

I wouldn’t say that in general I’m an overly pessimistic person.  I’d like to think of myself as more of a realist. But honestly, for a while there I thought that things weren’t going to turn out well for old Meow. But as we drove home in relief and silence while Ramona cooed and kissed Meow in the back, I was overcome with gratitude for two things. First and foremost, my faith in the innate goodness of humans went up a couple of notches.  Some good Samaritan (I imagine her to be a mother but it could have been anybody), ran out in traffic on Broadway to save a stuffed kitty for a kid.  I’d like to believe that I would have done the same but I just don’t know.  If I ever encounter a similar situation, you bet your ass that I’ll be out in the middle of the street in a heartbeat to rescue a lovey! Some kind, compassionate stranger was looking out for my daughter on Saturday and I am eternally grateful to her.  It makes me want to be a better person—to think of others more instead of being preoccupied with what is convenient or comfortable for me.

Of course, I was grateful for Ramona’s reaction to Meow’s new look.  I thought Ramona would respond negatively to Meow’s eye.  She can be extremely particular and isn’t keen to change. But instead, Ramona just kisses Meow where her eye used to be and says “Awwww, Meow.  Meow fall down.” What a great lesson this has been for her—She can love people and animals for what they are: imperfect, different, broken, missing an eye.  Meow with just one eye, instead of two, is still the same old Meow. Maybe this will help Ramona empathize with the kids with glasses at school, or help her cope with having glasses herself.  Or maybe she won’t do a double take at the neighbor in the wheelchair. Perhaps Ramona will be the person who adopts the three- legged dog from the animal shelter when she’s old enough to get a real pet.

Albeit the stress of believing Meow was a goner for 30 minutes, the gratitude I felt for the compassion of both the Good Samaritan and my two-year-old daughter made losing Meow the highlight of my weekend.  And I love Meow with her one eye even more than I did with two.  She now has a story, and for me personally (and hopefully Ramona), she will always be a token of compassion.

Andrea Shoman-Timmsen - Wow. Needed this today! Thank you!

Alison Christofferson - Both my kids have a “special blanket” that my Mom made for them. When my older daughter was two my step-MIL let her take it to the Zoo and it got lost. Like you, ours was saved by a stranger. I do not kid when I say this event strained my relationship with my MIL for years! I think only those with a child who has a lovey can truly understand. So glad Meow was found! The person who found it was surely a parent, if not a Mom!

Candi Bales Counts - So sweet :) made me tear up

Svatka Schneider - Beautiful.