life: home is wherever i’m with you.

Today marks one week away from moving out of our little condo, with it’s 1970s mirrored walls and gigantic sky-lights. The spiral staircase and fireplace. The salmon colored wall. I will not miss the tiny closets or the ancient kitchen appliances. I will miss the natural light. Even though it is horribly unsuited for a family of three, plus cat, I am still feeling pangs of sadness to leave this, our first home as a family. I spent the last months of my pregnancy here, waiting and hoping and dreaming and crying. I lay like a beached whale in that minuscule bedroom, the summer sun slanting in through the blinds, wondering who my daughter would be and would she like me? I took photos of my massive belly in the bathroom mirror, sallow light casting shadows down my face. And then, she was here, and we brought her home through the sliding screen doors. Paced the cracking tile floors at 3AM, our softly sung songs bouncing off the skylights. I stared at her tiny face in wonder in every room of this condo. I will not miss the college kids next door, but I will miss that.

Next week, we become nomads. Again. Except, this time, we have an eight-month-old in tow. In the past, it was exciting. There was that stretch of living in a tent on the banks of the Guadalupe River, newly in love and excited for the coming summer and it’s promise of water, beers, friends, laughter. I worked in a mobile-home converted into an office on a RV park, and he drove college kids up-river and dumped them into the water in their tubes. He told me he loved me while holding back my hair as I threw up my dinner and too much tequila. I cut the sleeves off of all his t-shirts and thought about stitching love-notes into the seams.

We lived in tents, in rooms of Victorian houses, in a dilapidated trailer-park with mice in the cupboards, in a teeny house on the railroad tracks. Summers came and went and we moved back and forth, always chasing the river, always working towards that feeling we had that first time, living under a live-oak on the banks of our favorite river.

This time, Cece is with us and there will be no tents and no tequila. This time, we trade the river for the ocean. We are leaving the part of Texas we thought would be it for us. We are leaving the deep green valley of the Guadalupe and trading it for the windswept landscape of the south Texas coast. But it is still exciting, there is still so much to look forward to. We are going to buy our first house, and if that isn’t as exciting as a summer full of debauchery, I don’t know what is. A house, our own, with a yard and a fence and a patio and a room for Cece. A studio for me. A garage for him. Multiple nooks and crannies for the cat. I will take the bouncing between relatives, the upcoming nights of sleeping in new and strange places with an infant, the long car rides, the chaos of moving and storing our entire lives if that is the outcome. The payoff.

Just like then, when I was staring at him with heart-eyes, it is worth it. This is worth it.

moonshine mama home

moonshine mama home

moonshine mama home

moonshine mama home

moonshine mama home

moonshine mama home

moonshine mama home

wearing: baby blues.

moonshine mama blog // baby blues
// vintage indian cotton dress // vintage wool southwestern blanket blazer // no-name leather boots // vintage lapis cross necklace //

It’s rare for me to want to document my sartorial choices these days. With the inevitable weight gain that comes with having a child and the need for nursing convenience, my confidence in what I’m wearing isn’t often very high. But every once in awhile the stars seem to align, and I feel cute again. This was one of those days.

It is hard to find the balance between comfort, convenience and wearing things that make me happy. I love clothes, this is no secret. I love pattern and texture and silhouette. I have been known to shed tears at the beauty in a french-bound seam. As I grow older, my taste evolves and it’s so interesting to chart the progression of my choices — quality over quantity, natural fibers over man-made, good shoes. The period just before my pregnancy, when I was fit and healthy and confident, was the most inventive, the most expressive time for me. I was working in an arena that didn’t make me very happy, so I alleviated that with my clothes. Getting dressed each day was an adventure. Now, it feels like a chore.

I would be lying if I said I want to lose this extra weight for reasons other than vanity. Yes, I want to be fit again, to be able to run and jump and feel my body coil and spring with ease. But I also want my clothes to fit, to drape, to lay just so against my body. Is it so bad to want to feel confident again?

I’ll get there. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. For now, I’ll just have to keep making conscious decisions to enjoy the clothes that do fit. To wear patterns that make me smile. To find comfort in comfort and say damn! to convenience. And to promise myself to never, ever ever ever, buy a nursing tank. Ever.

moonshine mama blog // baby blues

life: Do not go Gentle into that good night.

Things are brewing for our little family that simultaneously make my head spin and my heart pound. I don’t know when life is going to even out — I feel like we’ve been walking a tight-rope for years, even before the addition of Cece. But this has the potential to make things incredible and I am, once again, relinquishing control and just going. If I had more Faith, or whatever, I would give it up to The Big Kahuna, but for now I’ll just let go. That’s a blog post for another time.

Cece is more than 7 months and less that 8. She is pulling up on everything and doing a little wobbly legged stand for a split second that makes my heart stop. She smiles and two tiny teeth wink from her bottom gums. She knows her name, Mama, Daddy, Peter (her favorite stuffed animal) and various grandparents. She isn’t saying words yet, but her sad/tired/hungry cries sound a lot like Mama-mama-mama.

Cece sleeping // Moonshine Mama Blog

Cece snoozing in her vintage 1940s overalls.

She is sweet and cute and so frustrating sometimes. Do other parents think that there are two versions of their kids? When she is screaming and crying, beating her little fists against me, I look down at her face and it is screwed up in an angry grimace and I swear it’s not her. But I know it is, I know that this hysterical little ball of energy is also my daughter, but sometimes I don’t recognize her. This is her personality expanding, I know, into something new and foreign and separate from me.

Mommy Blogger // Moonshine Mama Blog

The moment I realized I might be a “mommy blogger”: solo trip to target, Starbucks & a Clare Vivier bag. Ugh.

It is a battle, this mom thing. I make a conscious effort to remain calm, to sooth and speak to her in a level voice. But sometimes, I have to hand her to her dad or lay her down and step away because this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I am not usually a calm and level-headed person. Before Cece, I prided myself on my temper. It was a doozy, something I claimed as part of my heritage. The fiery, Irish poet temper ready to flame forth at any given moment. It served me well in college, in careers, in social situations. I could control it and enflame it and use it as a tool. But now, I have to douse it and push it way down. And that is foreign to me. It gets easier every time, but it is still something I struggle with. I want Cece to learn, as I did, how tempers are normal and part of who we are, but that there is a time and place to bring them out.

It is such a fine line, this gentle parenting thing. I want to be the mom who soothes her kids with gentle words and actions when they are wound up and ready to pop. But I don’t want to be the mom who let’s them run rampant over others while I try to “gentle” them into behaving. There is a time and a place for a stern talking-to, and I want to perfect that. I want her to know that her spirit can be wild and free and adventurous, but when I tell her to calm down and chill out that she better do it. I think back to my own childhood, and while there were certainly times I stuck my fingers in my ears and said na-na-I-can’t-hear-you, my mom was very good at this balance. I learned that there were consequences to my actions — and I want Cece to learn this too.

Me at 10 months // Moonshine Mama Blog

Me at 10 months, at my great-grandparents old place in Lapile, AR.

Sometimes I feel exposed and already chastened when I admit that I will probably ground my kids and make them sit in time out and raise my voice at appropriate times. It was really hard to type that sentence — like someone is already judging me. They probably are. But you know what, all that shit happened to me as a kid and it worked. I don’t resent my mother for sending me to my room because I was being mean to my little brother. I don’t resent my parents for taking away toys, outings, privileges because I was being acting out. I don’t resent my parents for raising their voice (God dammit, why can’t I just type yelling? That is how scared I am of the judge-y Mom Brigade) when I was being a bully or treating someone in an awful way or just generally being a little shit. They used the tools they had at their disposal to teach me right from wrong and I will do the same thing.

Being a mom means going off on tangents, apparently. But these are the things that run through my head now that I’m a parent, the things that I worry about and turn over and over in my head. And she’s not even a toddler! Big Kahuna help me. I’m in for a wild ride.