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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...

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!

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

A Wrong Turn Somewhere


It has recently dawned on me that I haven’t been parenting the way that I thought I wanted to.  Never in a million years did I think that I would be that mother who would be out with friends, but catering to my kid the whole time—rattling gadgets at her, picking  toys  up off the floor repeatedly at restaurants, taking half eaten crayons out of her mouth.  I never thought I would let my adult conversations be interrupted by my children.  I just never thought that my kid would rule my world.  But I am that mom.  I’ve become that which I’ve feared.  I don ‘t know when or what I did (or didn’t do) exactly, but I have realized that I have taken a wrong turn somewhere.

We had some good friends over for dinner the other night—good friends whom we rarely see. Good friends who live in Denver and drove an entire hour to see us.  Thank God for stiff drinks and good conversations with Jesse because I certainly wasn’t present.  Just twenty minutes after they left, I couldn’t even remember what we talked about.  I do remember, however, telling Ramona to show our friend’s 6 month-old baby, Harlan, all her toys about a bazillion times.  I recall taking her to the bathroom to wash her hands at least twice to wash off the guacamole that I permitted her to get into while I was cooking.  I do remember numerous conversations, or shall I say, the same conversation numerous times with Ramona about how “Mommy is talking to her friends right now, so please be patient”.  But I don’t remember much about the time that I had just spent with our friends.  I don’t know what the hell we talked about.  Quite frankly, I was completely frazzled.  After they left, I felt embarrassed and humiliated, wondering what my friends must have thought as they toted away their sweet sleeping baby.

I just finished the only parenting book thus far that has resonated with me, “Bringing up Bebe”.  It’s about the difference between French and American parenting and how French babies are raised to be autonomous.  They don’t throw food,  they sleep through the night by 3 months,  they play independently while mom and dad have adult conversations and they eat gruyere instead of Kraft singles.  While Ramona actually does prefer blue cheese to string cheese, she is everything but autonomous and self-reliant.  In my defense, I didn’t even know that the French way was possible for a two-year-old.  I thought that this clingy behavior from Ramona was simply the “terrible two’s” and for all I knew,  was parenting perfectly.  This book rocked my world.  The other night’s dinner with our friends and the looks on their faces rocked my world.  The whining, the fussing, the demanding, the pleas for 5 books to be read at bedtime instead of 2 is rocking my world and it’s time for some change and some God-damn discipline around here!   I’m not sure how to turn this boat around, but I have to believe that it’s not too late.  I just don’t know where to begin.  This blog post isn’t going to end with some sage advice about what I’ve learned or a new technique that I’m going to try in the future.  It’s simply a vent.  It’s a confession of sorts that I have become a boundary-less, exhausted, ignorant, push-over Mama.  That’s  the truth. But  my heart is in the right place. My heart is almost always in the right place—although it’s not always for the better.

I know that I’ve been extremely co-dependent in my life, enabling many around me to avoid conflict or to spare others from feeling pain.  But pain is inevitable in life as cliché as it sounds. I’ve been working hard on changing this about myself over the last couple of years as I’ve gained knowledge about the sickness of co-dependency and the avoidance of conflict in general.   But Ramona is really bringing these issues to the forefront these days .   The insane love I have for her is forcing me to grow and I’m seeing things about myself, every day, that I want to change for her sake.

Ramona needs to feel pain to thrive in this existence.  It’s part of life—I certainly can’t guard her from that; in fact, allowing her to experience pain in small doses and in safe places is part of my job as I usher her into this world.  And God certainly knows that there will be some “conflict” in her teen years that we are going to have to face, so I should be practicing that now as well.  The first step to change it to admit that I have a problem and that my life has become unmanageable because of it.  Dramatic?  Maybe. But holy moly, parenting is dramatic.

Hopefully, I’ll have a follow up post with all that I’m learning and all  the ways that Ramona is becoming an  autonomous, courteous and more cooperative  little lady.  Maybe soon, I’ll be having adult conversations with some of you.  Until then—prayers for some swift  parenting recovery, please.

Chelsy Ann Clark-Supinski - I SO relate to this post. I have totally been there. It wasn’t until my oldest turned 3 that I really was able to recognize and make some intentional changes with my friendships. Also took a Love and Logic class that saved my life.

Jodi Peterson Cox - You are an amazing mother.. Perfect with faults, and willing to admit them. That’s how we all should be! Love you

Laura Esmond - Every mother in the world can empathize with your plight (even the French I’d be willing to bet.) So YOU GO GIRL! You let Ramona know who’s boss. Let your yes be yes and your no be no without debating (oh just wait until those debates get logical!) We still struggle at times with having consistent expectations of their behavior especially when we’re tired. And when they were Ramona’s age I was afraid they wouldn’t love me or feel loved. But they do and Ramona will. Consider reading Parenting By The Book. It’s shockingly old school, but a great follow up to Bringing Up Bebe.

Mark Harris - Perfect cover photo. What a cute little brat. Just so you know, I have never felt like our time together has been compromised by Ramona. Raising a two year old does look like a handful more often than not. You are such a great hostess, and a great parent. I hope you find some peace with some adult friends in the near future.

Anonymous - Ooooh, Ceasar Milan – the dog whisperer. Sounds bass-ackwards but swear it will help. It’s free on hulu.