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.
I simply can’t get enough of Weleda’s Calendula Baby Cream. I actually have three tubes of it–one in Ramona’s nursery, one in my bathroom and one in the diaper bag. I have honestly tried all sorts of salves, lotions, creams and oils on Ramona’s chapped little Colorado cheeks, but this in the ONE product that works overnight. It’s rich and thick like butter, and the scent is divine (if you like natural, essential oils). The cream is made with essential fatty acids from sweet almond oil that protect and render chapped or chaffing skin. I started using this on Ramona’s cheeks instead of Aquaphor (which has petroleum in it), and then started using it all over her body after a bath. I even use it as a preventative diaper cream and Ramona hasn’t had a rash since. It’s magic! And what’s even better, this cream has now become a staple in my skin regime as my eye cream. It soothes and seems to even plump my skin. And if I’m feeling like I really need pampering, I slather it onto my legs after shaving. I’m in love…
Marlowe Getter was born on August 21st, 2012. I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to look at these images, but today is the first time I opened them up in Lightroom. Maybe I really was that backed up in post production, maybe I didn’t think the images would turn out, or maybe it’s because I needed some emotional distance from this day for awhile. You see, Marlowe Getter is Marie and John’s second baby, but she is the first baby that they held in their arms. She was the first baby I photographed, and the she was the hope and light of an otherwise horribly tragic year and a half. How does one even put this into writing? I’ve said it before that words are few when the heart is heavy.
On June 15th 2011, pregnant for the first time with their son, Marie and John went in for their normal weekly prenatal visit. Marie’s blood pressure was pretty high and the Dr. thought it best to go ahead and induce her, just to be safe. She was 38 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby boy. What started out as a normal induction ended in tragedy, after 72 hours of labor, 4 hours of pushing and a C-section. We still don’t know exactly what happened to little Elliot, but somewhere between the last heart monitor reading and pulling him out of Marie , just 7 minutes later, Elliot’s heart had stopped and he was gone. He was born and died on June 18th 2011. It is still unthinkable. Utterly, utterly unthinkable. I can’t even imagine going on living had this been me, but Marie and John are two of the strongest people I know and they have somehow survived, one day at a time. Day after day. On New Year’s Eve of 2011 Marie and John found out that they were pregnant again with our little Marlowe. Needless to say, there were mixed emotions for them and the pregnancy was very hard on Marie. Every day was a grueling decision to choose to “let go” of her raw fear and grief. Going to anything social for Marie was difficult because people didn’t know how to act with her. It seemed they either completely ignored the fact that Marie had lost a child, or they would just stare, giving her the “sympathy” eyes. I think one of the things that was hardest about her pregnancy with Marlowe was that Marie was terrified that by having another baby, she would somehow be pushing the memory of Elliot away. She was overwhelmed with guilt. Of course Marlowe will never erase the memory of Elliot from any of our hearts, and I knew it more than ever on the day Marlowe was born. As happy and joyous as the day was, there was a strong presence of Elliot in the room and the reminder that Marie had done this before. She had been a mother before. I’m not writing this post to make anybody cry or feel sad. It’s just time for me to process this myself and to proclaim Elliot’s life along with Marlowe’s. Although his time was very short, his presence was powerful and real. Marie and John will never “get over” the death of Elliot, they have just learned to live with their grief. They carry Elliot with them everywhere they go and have a clear image in their minds of his curly locks, his beautiful lips, his long, long fingers…. And Marlowe wears some of these same features as a constant reminder of her big brother.
I have learned a lot about life and death since June of 2011. I thank God for Ramona’s safe delivery and health everyday. And I know that if I had or ever lose Ramona, the most important thing for me will be to acknowledge her life. I acknowledge Elliot’s short life right now and everyday. I am proud to have people like John and Marie in my life who refuse to deny that all of this happened, and remind people that Marlowe is their second child. I’m proud that they are pleased to tell people about Elliot and aren’t scared to share their story.
It was one of the best days of my life when Marlowe came into this world. It was an absolutely glorious occasion. We all sighed a huge sigh of relief and wept tears of joy. It was even love at first site for Ramona–she has truly loved Marlowe since that first hospital visit. Marlowe is a gift and an angel and I have no doubt that she has her big brother Elliot by her side, guiding her through her little life.
Today you are one. Over the last few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about the year–what a crazy, beautiful whirlwind it’s been. How you’ve grown from a helpless little bundle in my arms, to a willful, vivacious little moon who has opened my eyes to all the wonders of the world. How do I write you a letter when my heart is so full, and my words, so few? I love you. I love who you’re already becoming at just 12 months of age. Your thirst for life astounds me. Your sense of humor, already sophisticated, intimidates me, and your compassion breaks my heart. You are RAMONA the REMARKABLE. You are everything I could have imagined you would be a year ago and so, so much more. When I watch you with wonder, I am constantly reminded that you are not even mine. “You are the daughter of life’s longing for itself. You are with me, but do not belong to me”. I am honored to be your mama. And I will forever cheer you on as you both dance and stumble through this life.
You are just one year-old and I am convinced, you have more life than some adults. I love that the second you wake up, you point to 10 different things in the room, ready to take on the world. I love that you wave your little hand and say “hi” to everybody that passes by. I love that you laugh to yourself randomly, knowing that you must have something brilliantly funny going on in that little head of yours. I love the shape of your head–that it once fit perfectly in my palm and is now heavy in my lap. I love that you have long pieces of hair that grow over your ears and that you have none on top. I love your bottom little teeth that you show off with pride. I love that your smile sincerely brightens a random stranger’s day. I love your chubby little hands and your finger that is pointing and questioning everything– “Sthat?”. I love that you love animals–both stuffed and real. That you scramble on to “Big Bear’s” lap when you’re scared and that your first clear word besides Mama and Dada was “chicken”. I love that you hate shoes. I love that you love taking baths with me—laying on my chest some nights and splashing me on others and then laugh hysterically. I love that you can dance the hokey pokey and have horrible taste in music. I love that you love to make coffee with me in the morning. That you’ve learned to smell the fresh ground beans. I love that you have only wanted to face forward since the day you were born. That you want to see the world out front, even though I wanted you to snuggle into me. I love that you have preferences–that you like “Goodnight Moon”, but not the “Little Engine that Could”. And more than anything, I love your ability to laugh when others are laughing and crawl up on a lap when somebody is crying. You are incredibly gifted when it comes to matters of the heart and the ability to read people.
One of the hardest things about being a mama is knowing that I can’t always protect you. You will experience pain in this life and it kills me. I wish I could stand in the way of this, but it’s part of life and I do believe that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. But I can promise you this. I will always tell you the truth. I will always listen. I will always put your life before mine. I will always sing you to sleep if you need it, always stroke your hair when you want it, always kiss you on the mouth, always hold your hand when you want it and put it in my pocket when you’re embarrassed. I will always laugh with you, cry with you, and support you in whoever you choose to be. I will always be your biggest fan. I pray that you will never lose your confidence. I will guard it with my life, if you will. I pray you will know that your smile is like gold, that your heart is like God’s. That you will continue to thirst for life, try new things, make new friends, scrape up your knees and get back up. I pray that fear only protects you, never inhibits you, and that you’ll climb mountains like you climb the stairs now–never looking down, but always looking on, as you squeal and praise yourself. I pray that you will be wise and defend the good in life. That you’ll drink wine in celebration and not in woe. And I pray that you’ll let yourself fall in love with many things and places and people. Love is truly the nectar of life. You are special, Ramona. You are here for a reason. I believe that will all of my heart, and I am the luckiest mama in the world to get to hold you in my arms and kiss your toes every day. I promise I will not take a day for granted.
Happy Birthday, my brave, wild, fun loving daughter. You are my light in the dark. I love you.
Watch a slideshow of our little lady here (sorry for the incomplete black border and lack of video controls… I hate Showit!)