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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...

Our First (much needed) Family Vacation

Dear Moonshine –

You’ll be 6 months old tomorrow and I’m more in love with you than ever.  On the way to Aspen yesterday (you slept the whole way) your Dad  and I were remarking on the fact that every time we think or talk about you, we can’t help but smile.  You’ve brought so much joy and life to our family.  And it’s because of you that we are a FAMILY–our own little peaceful threesome.

It’s been a trying season for your mama with work.  It’s  so hard for me to be away from you all day for weddings.  And it seems that all of my portraits are at night, so I’ve been missing our special bedtime rituals.  I get little pangs of jealousy when you reach for your Dad  instead of me, knowing that he has been playing Mr. Mom.  I’m scared that I’ll miss your first word, the first time you crawl, or the first time you pull yourself up.  You’re learning so much–everyday there is a new milestone.  This morning while your Dad was sleeping, we went to the park here in Aspen and fed birds for the first time.  You squealed with excitement as 2 dozen birds chirped noisily and fought  for a piece of our chocolate croissant.

I’m so glad we are here for three days of escape, Monie.  I love being here with you–even though we’re not really doing anything.  In fact, last night when we got the hotel, we threw ourselves on the bed and ordered room service and a beer and watched TV.  It was nice to do absolutely nothing as a family!  It’s our first vacation with you.  Our babymoon, if you will.  We’ve never vacationed just the three of us–there is always something going on or somebody over.  We are looking forward to the next two days of just being here with you with no distractions–watching you learn and soak up new experiences. Today we’ll go to the pool, then to the park.  I noticed a fountain that you’ll love to visit and then maybe we’ll find a toy store and buy you your first souvenir.  I can’t even begin to describe the peace you bring me, little lady.  This trip, these moments–they are not taken for granted.  I’m drinking in every second spent with you.  Happy first 1/2 birthday!  What an amazing 6 months it has been.

Donna Davis - You guys are such a happy family! Ramona is a beautiful baby! And a lucky girl who has such a talented mom to record all the milestones and everyday happenings in her life! Glad to see you guys get to spend some much needed time together!

Jessica Thwaites - Love it! She is so stinkin cute Julie!

Body image


It’s been almost six months since my little bean was born and I’m struggling with my body image.  I’ve struggled with my body image since I was 14 and have been insanely hard on myself over the years–starving myself, binging/purging, pills… bi-weekly colonics – you name it, I’ve done it.  But I swore that when I found out I was having a girl, I would put this struggle behind me.  It was actually one of the first things that came to mind when I found out that I would be having a little lady.  “How in the world can I raise a daughter to be confident in who she is, inside and out, when I can’t do that myself?”.  I’ve prayed about this, read articles, practiced ” healthy” thinking  etc,.  The other day, however,  staring long and hard at my closet and ready to pull my hair out while  eying those skinny jeans,  that familiar feeling of self-disgust crept in.

The first two months after having Ramona, I felt like a superwoman.  I’ve never been more comfortable in my skin.  My body had done exactly what it was supposed to do during pregnancy and I was suddenly 25 pounds lighter!  I could see my feet again and shave my legs without a struggle.  But this feeling of being a beautiful mama changed when I started seeing other moms jogging outside my house with much younger babies than Ramona, wearing sport bras and short shorts.  Did I mention that some of these perfect bodied moms were also toting two dogs on their jaunt?  “Now this is a super mom,” I thought to myself as I sat on my porch swing with my baby and  bottle of beer. Dang it!

And so the dilemma begins–How badly do I want to look like one of those ladies?  Bad enough to spend hours at the gym everyday?  Who has the time?  Bad enough to give up beer?  No way.  And more than anything, I simply want to learn to accept myself where I am at.  I haven’t let myself go.  I just can’t fit into my pre-pregnancy skinny jeans yet. I only have 7 pounds to go – which isn’t much.  I could starve that off in 10 days.  I’ll get there: slowly, healthfully, hopefully.   But how do I learn to be kinder to myself?  I can’t bear to think about passing on any of these insecurities to my sweet girl.  God knows there is enough pressure out there already for women and girls to look a certain way.

So  today, I’m keeping the beer and giving up the sugar.  I’m choosing the longer walks with Ramona (18 lbs) in the Baby Bjorn  instead of the hours at the gym.  I’m choosing grace and acceptance and PATIENCE. I’m doing this for me and my little girl. And I pray tomorrow will bring a new diet pill.  Just kidding.  Kind of.

I found this video while I was pregnant and was insanely moved by it.  I think I need to remind myself that a post pregnancy body isn’t always going to be the same–at least not right away.  But all of these bodies are beautiful.  They are strong and fortunate to have been a home and “nest” to another human being.   It’s a beautiful meditation that I think I’ll visit when I’m having the body issue blues. Check it out.

Caitlin - I’m so proud of you, Jules. You’re such a brave human being…and I’ll keep telling you for ever that you’re just the most beautiful mama there is! You glow, you shine, and you’re so alive 🙂 That’s beautiful.

I love you!

Juli - yes. and i kind of have gotten to the conclusion that this might be one of the ways in which we are reminded we are human and we get to join in this colossal struggle and beauty on this earth. the question i found myself trying to answer the other day was… could i be ok in my body exactly as it is for the rest of my life if i was frozen and this was the body i had. all of the sudden i thought i might be thankful for this big strong body that has some extra padding. and then i do think every morning of how wonderful it would be for a magic diet pill that would just put me smack dab at an ideal weight. you know, we can dream.

as far as the girls go, i am terrified for them, but also know i can’t shield them from the pain they will experience, so we talk through it as we talk through a lot of it and we say we aren’t perfect but we are full of grace for ourselves and others. and we are saving up for therapy. not college. therapy. sheesh.

Kristi Foster Hill - You are not alone in this struggle! I’ve dealt with my poor body image pretty much my whole life and still do today, even after achieving the goal of losing 70 pounds. We are our own worst enemies for sure. Acceptance and remembering that we are amazing, beautiful women is the key!

April Ingram - Oh I feel for you, Julie! I have gone through all these emotions myself. Having a daughter really complicates things as a mom. You have to think of your emotions impacting your child. At this point, please remember to concentrate on adjusting your whole self to life as a new mom, not just your body, and if that means that your body takes a back seat for a while…that’s ok. Cut yourself some slack. You are beautiful, your daughter loves you, your husband thinks you are gorgeous and as my husband always told me “being a great mom is the sexiest thing in the world”. Take it easy girl, and enjoy your beer & wine 🙂

Chelsy - I can completely relate to this post! I battle those same demons. And have two girls that I want so desperately to raise to be comfortable in their own skin among other things.

Sara - Thanks for the reminder, Julie. Love from another mama who is two years out and still has those last five pounds to lose…

Emilie D - Thanks for this wonderful post, Julie. I’m 35 weeks pregnant now and have spent lots of time worrying about what I’ll look like after the baby is born. That’s really sad! My mind should be packed full of joy, excitement and thankfulness for our future son instead! Loved the video too 🙂

Laura Esmond - My Reese is 4 years old and at the pool the other day she asked me how come so people are floppy. From the mouths of babes. I found myself discreetly hiding my own cellulite as I proceeded to tell her that some people are lucky to be so soft, it’s better to cuddle with and that God wants us all to be different and finds each of us beautiful. But then it struck me. She’s 4 years old! How and why is she even thinking about this? There will always be a message to women that we need to be at our thinnest to be happiest. But thankfully there is a counter message from our husbands, children, friends and sweatpants. It’s been at my fattest that the greatest things happened: the first few months I dated Scott and we drank and ate to utter joy and oblivion, coming home from our 2 weeks in France filled to the brim with cheese, and then of course after birthing each of my kids. Fat and happy those days!

Lillian - You are beautiful. God has created you fearfully and wonderfully. I am in awe.

Anne Singleton - Love love love it. I struggle with the same issues and I am working on it…. But when my little bean comes out, I am going to watch this again to gain some perspective! Thank you for your beautiful writings as usual… And you are of course beautiful yourself!

Donna Davis - Truth be known Julie, those same women who seem to be “Supermoms” are probably extremely unhappy, and also project that unhappiness onto their children and families. They seek constant perfection, and hold those same ideals up to the people that are also in their lives. If those women have daughters, those girls will grow up with the shallow thinking that looks are everything, and if they have sons, will project that same thinking to them, that they will only seek “perfect” women to spend their lives with. God forbid their wives have a baby and not still have the perfect body. I can see divorce in their futures. Like my husband says when I get self conscious about my post 21 year birthing body, “Honey, women have this wonderful gift that men can NEVER have. You bring life into this world and any man who could criticize his partner after bringing their child into this world, for not having a perfect body is an idiot. He should be proud of the scars that her body bears, and love her just the same.” He is so correct!

Lauren - This post & video were so so beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

While I was watching, it dawned on me that we are just not exposed to the reality of what mama’s bodies actually look like. And if we were, I think we would just accept ourselves and embrace our bodies. Damn these expectations on women and mothers put forth through the media.

But yes, I too am guilty of feeling this way about my own body.

Rachel’s beautiful letter to her tiny Ruby

Two things mama should do before their babies turn 1

1.)Write a letter

2.)Take breastfeeding pics

…Rachel did both.


Your smile stops strangers in their tracks. Your laugh is an infectious little squeal. It seems like moments ago your Daddy said, “It’s a girl!!!” and I held you for the very first time. How has a full year gone by since those precious first moments? You amaze me every day. I love seeing the world through your bright eyes. Ruby Love, you are a living, breathing, smiling, laughing, squealing example of how quickly years pass by. 

You gave Daddy and I quite a scare while you were still in my belly. The midwives were concerned you weren’t growing enough. They put me on bed rest and monitored your growth and movement twice a week. Daddy assured me you were just a small baby, and boy was he right! You are a teeny tiny peanut, 5lbs 9oz at birth and just 16lbs 10oz at 1 year. What you lack in size, you more than make up for with your huge personality. You are such a ham. You seek out eye contact of anyone and everyone, just so you can give them your little two tooth grin. 
You love music, which is no surprise. You recently started bobbing your head, and I swear you can keep a beat. Daddy loves to play you guitar, and you love to bang on the strings. You recently started pointing at everything, and are so eager to explore the world around you. You could play peek-a-boo for hours, and crack up laughing every time I come out of hiding. You love your dogs, and I know they love you too. You love wagon rides, and your nightly baths. Napping has never been your thing, but you sleep through the night without a peep. I actually miss our late night nursing sessions, when the world outside was silent and you’d fall asleep in my arms. 

Sweet girl, I never imagined a love so deep and pure. It is such a joy to watch you learn and grow. Your little life has enriched mine more than I thought possible. Ruby Love, you are my world, and for that I am ever grateful. Mama loves you so much! Happy 1st Birthday baby girl!