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Real Talk || The First Week of Mamahood || New/Expecting Moms, Please Read

3.27.2015

I can't believe my Maddox is already a week old! So cliche, but I'd love for time to slow down already! This week has been a whirlwind of family and friends visiting to meet our little man and shower him with love. It's been such a blessing seeing the joy he brings to all of their faces. Little man is seriously L-O-V-E-D.

I am working on my birth story so hold tight - it's coming!

I did want to take a moment to document the roller coaster this first week has been. Not only for myself and the memories I want to document, but for other ladies who are about to experience childbirth and mamahood for the first time. Looking back I can't remember ever reading any woman's experience about the first week of becoming a mother other than the cute pictures plastered on Instagram. I feel like had I read someone's reality, I would have had a different perspective. I was naive enough to think everything was going to be rainbows and butterflies. Don't get me wrong, there are lots of beautiful, cherishable moments! But there are also some really dark moments that I don't hear a lot of women talk about. So I'm going to share my heart today in the form of a letter to myself. I hope this brings peace to a mama in her first week of mamahood.

Maegen,

Your dream became a reality. You are a mama! You made it through childbirth and though it was difficult and painful, those memories will soon fade in a matter of days and you will simply just remember hearing your son's cry for the first time and watching your husbands face change in a way that will be imprinted on your heart forever.

You won't get much rest this week. Forget full nights, HECK, even half nights of sleep. You are going to feel as if your world has come unglued and may never come together again. But I promise it will. The first few nights are the hardest. Once you leave the hospital and you finally have some stillness and a sense of normality at home, things will still be hard. You are learning your son. What his different cries mean, what his body signals are communicating, how he likes to sleep, how he likes to be held. It's all new. Don't be frustrated, he didn't come with a manual.

He won't have a schedule right away. That's for you to create. You can read every article you want about newborn sleep patterns and feeding schedules, but in reality this is your child and God made Him unique. He will tell you when he's hungry and quite often it's every hour. He will tell you if he hates being swaddled and you can try something new until you find what he likes. Hold tight, it will soon become easier and you will feel like you've got this mama thing down to a science (until the next curve-ball is thrown).

You will feel like you may never feel normal again. The house is a wreck, the thought of make-up makes you cringe and a shower seems like a half marathon. Your body hurts (you just gave birth to a child that you carried for 41 weeks) and now you are expected to produce milk for your child and be a constant drinking fountain. Savor it. These moments aren't going to last forever. The love you feel for that child when you look down at him is enough to get you through the next few days. 

Studying your Bible and reading a devotion each day will you give you such a sense of peace that your soul is craving. When you feel hopeless, pray. When tears fill your eyes, open His word and let Him wash you with grace. I promise you will feel Him as quickly as you blink your eyes and a sense of calm will rush over you.

Snuggle Jon. His world was just rocked too, don't forget about him. Maddox needs you, but so does Jon. He needs his wife to remind him this is a phase and a sense of normality is just around the corner! He needs to be reminded Maddox needs you more right now, but there will be a day when all he wants is his Daddy. Use Jon for your benefit too. He will give you the comfort and push you need to get through the next moment. Fall into each others arms and make yourself a team.

Sleep when you can. I know you were never a day napper before, but you better start! When help is around take the opportunity to nap, don't feel the need to entertain. When you are alone and he sleeps, rest. Forget the dishes, they don't matter. Get your rest so you can feel refreshed and be the best mom and wife you can be.

Don't be afraid to leave your house. A simple walk out your front door, soaking up some Vitamin D will make you feel like a new woman! If you really want to feel accomplished, load up Maddox in his car seat and go somewhere. The park, Target, the office, out to lunch with hubby... somewhere. You are going to realize it seems daunting to cross that threshold with your new bundle because you have no clue how he will act, but as soon as you do, you will realize it's not that hard and it makes you feel normal and accomplished. And Maddox can adapt to your life. The sooner he does, the better.

Most importantly, soak it up. It's only been 7 days and Maddox has already gained his own personality and grown up right before your eyes. Savor this time because he is your first child and will always have a special place in your heart. You can't re-live this chaotic bliss.

Kiss that face. Constantly.


Maddox Brian || Born 03·19·2015

3.23.2015

Maddox Brian Mills

03·19·2015
 
9:15am

7lbs · 15oz

22inches

I wanted to pop in real quick and give y'all a quick update on our little man who finally arrived at 41 weeks! This little boy has stolen our hearts and is subject to massive amounts of cuddles and kisses! It's pure Heaven :)

I'll be writing about my birth story later, but for a quick recap, I started having back labor Wednesday night and it continued through the day Thursday. Shortly after lunch time I decided I couldn't take it anymore and I really just wanted to get checked so Jon and I headed to the hospital where they put us in a room to be monitored for an hour. It ended up being 2 hours that we were in there, but during that time my back labor got stronger and I started having contractions about every 15 minutes or so. They told us they noticed Maddox's heart-rate dropped a few times during that 2 hour period so they decided to do an ultrasound to check the fluid surrounding him. It ended up being really low so they admitted us and told us they would induce us at 6:15am the next morning.

We had our boy in our arms at 9:15am Thursday morning and we were home Friday by 3pm. It's been a whirlwind since then. We are learning our little boy and the not so easy sides to parenting. But overall I couldn't imagine my life without this little nugget. He is the best thing to happen to us!

Thank you for all of your support and prayers over the last few days! It has meant the world.

Xoxoxoxoxo to all of you!




Halo Dutch Braid Tutorial

3.13.2015
I received so many compliments on this braid when I posted it on Instagram and this post. I've honestly been wearing braids almost daily because my hair texture has taken a weird turn for the... ehhh.. not so good. I'm not sure what happened, but all of a sudden it's dry, brittle, frizzy and shrivels at the slightest sign of heat. I've heard of women's hair changing texture during pregnancy and I'm wondering if mine is just now taking a hit?

Braids have been my only solution to taming the chaos while still attempting to have a style.


1 … Separate the front section of your hair from the back on one side. 

2 … Begin dutch braiding that front section of hair. Dutch braiding is the same as French braiding only you fold the middle pieces underneath instead of over the top. (Youtube dutch braids for easy demonstrations).

3 … Tie a clear elastic hair tie to the end and begin loosening your braid.

4 … Repeat steps 1-3 on the other side of your head.

5 … Pin back the first section of your hair in a halo shape behind your head.

6 … Pin the second section directly over top of the first section (I was sloppy and didn't overlap correctly here). Tuck your ends underneath the braid. You can use extra pins to hold them in place.


Dunzo!

PS. I have my doctor's appointment this morning to find out when they will schedule my induction. Follow me on Instagram or Twitter to keep up with the news :)

*DUE DAY* Diary Of A Pregnant Girl || Week 40

3.12.2015

Here I am, 40 weeks in all it's misery I mean glory.

I have loved sharing my pregnancy journey with you all. Not only do I have a great "diary" of my pregnancy, but I received such overwhelming kindness, love and prayers from you all and it has been so amazing! I can't thank you enough!

We go to the doctor first thing in the morning to check for progress and get the low down on being induced. Feel free to follow me on Instagram or Twitter as I'll be updating y'all there :)

Due Date | TODAY!

Gender | BOY! <-- click to see our gender reveal.
Name | Maddox Brian Mills -aka- our little mad man

Size | Over 19-22" long and 6-9 lbs.I'm crossing my fingers for some pudgy cheeks and rolls on his legs!

Feeling/Body| Overwhelmed with all sorts of emotions. I can't believe 40 weeks has come and here I am, anxiously awaiting some sign of labor to finally meet my baby boy! I've fallen in love with him over the last 9 months and I know that love is about to grow one bazillion times more when I see his sweet face for the first time.

Oh and my body? It feels like every pregnant woman at 40 weeks I'm sure. Huge and uncomfortable, like it can't take another day. And then it does...

Hormones | None! Just overwhelming joy and happiness :)

Weight | My official pregnancy weight gain: 35lbs for a total weight of 155lbs. I'll take it! Now to get back to my pre-baby body...
Sleep | I am still sleeping pretty comfortably, but I do look forward to sleeping on my stomach again! I have also been having a ton of labor and delivery dreams only to wake up in my bed with so signs of little man...

Nursery | See the full reveal here!

Fun Fact | My breast milk will provide him with antibodies to build up his immune system. The human body is amazing!
Best Moment of The Week | Reaching my due date and knowing he's coming any moment!

Next Apt. | Friday, March 13th if Maddox doesn't arrive sooner. This apt will be to schedule induction if he doesn't appear on his own.

Earlier weeks:
Week 10          Week 15          Week 22    
Week 11          Week 16          Week 23
Week 12          Week 17          Week 24
Week 13          Week 18          Week 25
Week 14
          Week 20/21     Week 26/27

Life According To Insta...

3.11.2015
What do you do when do you expected to have a baby by now and don't have a post planned? You turn to a "life according to my Instagram" post... Or that's what I've done. I apologize, I never thought I would make it to 40 weeks! Speaking of which, I'll be sharing my final bump update tomorrow because there will be a baby before 41 weeks! This is a fact thank Heavens :)

Isn't this the most beautiful blanket? 
Made by my sweet friend, Jessica, owner of Crochet Envy.

I've been braid obsessed lately!
Earrings ➳ I Crave Jewels || Lip ➳ Milani, Uptown Mauve (my fav)
I can't wait to put this stroller to use to soon! I've been strolling it around the house #noshame
Stroller ➳ Urbini Baby || Bedding ➳ JcPenny || Pillows ➳ TJMaxx || Headboard ➳ DIY
 
My sweet tooth has seriously kicked in! And seriously how adorable is this onsie? I die!
#MCM Onsie ➳ Sandi Lake

 
Every evening has consisted of walking at least 2-3 miles attempting to get this baby out!
Sunnies ➳ Rayban || Hoodie ➳ Old Navy (similar) || Leggings ➳ AE (same style)
 
Buying for a little dude has been more fun than I ever anticipated! 
Polo & plaid shorts ➳ Old Navy || Polo Onsie ➳ TJMaxx || Swim Suit ➳ Old Navy

The Creative Closet || Add A Blazer

3.10.2015

I feel like I'm leaving a job or something... like I should be eating farewell cake and giving you all hugs. I'm super sad this is my last Creative Closet for several weeks, but I'm so excited to spend some quiet time at home and focus on my new family. -- No you haven't missed anything, we are still waiting on our little one who is obviously too cozy inside, but he will be here by next week regardless because they will induce me if I don't go into labor on my own by Friday. -- I'm also super thrilled I was able to make it to this prompt. If you have spent any amount of time around this blog you know that have a serious love for blazers. They take up a majority of my closet space. One day I will own one in every color. Excessive? Maybe.

See previous looks with blazers here, here, and here.


Jana is rocking her 2nd trimester. I just love it when pregnant women showcase your closet is not limited to sweats and baggy T's when your pregnant. Our awesome co-host Nancy is just beautiful and should seriously wear red on a regular basis. Click their names to see their full looks.
 

 
Dress • Banana Republic (old) similar
Blazer • Sugar Love Boutique (old)
Flats • Target
Necklace • My Old Boutique
Lip • Maybelline, Ravishing Rose

Join the gals next Tuesday with your green so you don't get pinched!
 

The Creative Closet


Frequently Asked Photography Questions

3.09.2015
I've received quite a few questions regarding my pictures on my blog and Instagram. I'm completely flattered considering my husband and I have worked hard to improve the photography on my blog. I'm glad y'all have noticed a change in the past year!


So let's jump right in and if you still have questions please feel free to leave me a comment below or email me at themoderntulip@gmail.com.

WHAT KIND OF CAMERA DO YOU USE?

Nikon D5100 with both an extended lens and 50mm lens.  

WHAT DO YOU USE TO EDIT YOUR PICTURES?

My blog pictures are all edited in Photoshop Elements.
My Instagram photos are edited by Photoshop if they are taken from my blog. If I take the picture with my iPhone I use Afterlight. 

WHO TAKES YOUR PICTURES?

If they are style pictures of me I have my wonderful and talented husband to thank. After I told him I wanted to improve my pictures he expressed great interest in learning how to use our camera and all its functions. Many Youtube videos and online articles later he has seriously gained a great knowledge of our camera. 

If they are pictures of products, rooms or something like a braid tutorial than I have taken them. For the pictures of my braids I use a remote. Jon has taught me the basics on the camera so I can handle that on my own :)

DO YOU USE A TRIPOD?

It depends on whether I'm in a rush or not. I do prefer to use a tripod because there is a better chance of eliminating blur and focusing better on the subject. If I'm rushing to get a photo shot before it gets dark when I get home I just hold my breath and snap away!

HOW DO YOU RECOMMEND STYLING PHOTOS?

This is something that took me forever to learn and I'm still trying to figure it out. I personally prefer a white background for products. Really you just need good lighting and you can focus on the product and blur out the background for a professional look. Next just play around with your subject. Move things, add decor, take away. Just keep snapping photos and changing it up until you get something that catches your eye. When you are feeling completely uninspired, turn to Pinterest for ideas.

HOW DO YOU GET GOOD LIGHTING FOR YOUR STYLE PHOTOS?

I learned this the hard way. For SO long I kept taking pictures in direct sunlight and never on cloudy days. Turns out it's quite the opposite. If it's super sunny outside just find a shady spot to take your pictures then you can edit it more light if you need it. If it's overcast or cloudy take advantage! That is the best natural lighting you can get.

HOW DO YOU GET GOOD LIGHTING FOR YOUR INDOOR PHOTOS?

Take your pictures in front of a window. Natural light is the best light. You may not even have to have lights on in the house in order to get a good picture, they can have a yellowish affect that ruins your photos. When I have days off and can take pictures during the day I usually use a prop table of some sort and set it directly in front of a window in my home around 11am - 3pm for the best lighting.

I hope this answered your questions or was just some good info to take away!

Hospital Bags & Nurses Gifts

3.06.2015
I started packing my bags at 37 weeks. I am a slowwwwww packer so I wanted to give myself some time to add and take away and rethink things as much as possible. Now, at 39 weeks, our bags are in packed and in the car, ready to go at any moment. They are in the car is because I'm still working full-time so I want to have everything with me if I go into labor at work so we don't have added stress of anyone going back home to get them.


If y'all have anything you would add to this list please do share! As a first time and clueless mom, I've done quite a bit of research and I am sure I have over packed, but I'd rather over pack than under pack in this scenario any day!
 
▼FOR MOMMA▼

→ Robe, easy access pj's for nursing, slippers, fuzzy socks and shower flip flops.
→ Personal shower towel: The hospitals are scratchy and well... not mine.
→ Disposable underwear a size big: I know the hospital provides these, but I purchased my own cotton undies for comfort purposes. 
→ Maxi pads: The hospital also provides these, but they are HUGE. I purchased the (still huge) pads you got in elementary school from the nurses office.
→ Nursing bras & pads: I bought these from Amazon. Super comfortable and they unclip in the front for nursing.
→ Yoga pants & cotton tee's.
→ Going home outfit: Bring something loose fitting and comfortable. Jeans aren't recommended.
→ Pillow: Make sure it's not a white pillow case so it doesn't get mixed in with the hospitals pillows.
→ Toiletries: Travel size shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrush, deodorant, hair ties, bobby pins, blow dryer. I also brought Rose water spray because I'm obsessed and it will give my face hydration in the dry hospital. Also nice if I get over heated giving birth.
→ Makeup: I'm keeping my make-up minimal so I brought cleansing wipes, BB cream, face powder, waterproof mascara and don't forget the chapstick!
→ Calming essential oil.

▼FOR DAD▼

→ Extra set of clothes and pajama's: He can always run home if he needs more than one outfit, but it's nice to have one so he doesn't have to leave in the early exciting moments of your child's birth.
→ Slippers
→ Pillow: with a distinguishable case so it doesn't get mixed in with the hospitals.
→ Toiletries

▼ELECTRONICS▼

→ Ipad, headphones
→ Camera, tripod, memory card
→ Wireless bluetooth speaker ( I own this one and love it )
→ Chargers, batteries

▼FOR BABY▼

→ Diapers & Wipes: I know most hospitals provide these and they don't really use wipes on newborns right away, but I am bringing a couple extra just because.
→ Swaddle blankets, blanket for car seat coming home.
→ Socks, newborn hats.
→ Coming home outfit, plus a couple NB onsies.

▼NECESSITIES▼

→ Car seat & base already installed.
→ Paperwork: Insurance cards & ID.
→ Birth plan (if you have made one).

▼EXTRAS▼

→ Nurses Gifts: (Pictured below) I've prepared some goodies for the nurses who help bring our baby boy into the world to say "thank you". I racked up the $1 aisle at Target and made 6 gifts. It cost me less than $20 for all of it including the containers, tissue paper, goodies inside and thank you cards.
→ Bag for "take home" items: I always hear you get to take home what you don't use like extra ice packs, diapers, pads, etc. So I'm bringing an empty bag to carry all that home in.
→ Snacks: granola bars, trail mix, chips, gum, bottled water etc. for if the munchies or boredom occur.
→ Phone list: I made a draft group text on my husbands phone of people to contact once Maddox is born, but I also have the phone number listed for the pediatrician who does an immediate hospital visit at his birth also. 
→ Body pillow
→ Nursing pillow


Blue Hue's

3.05.2015
Boots » Target
Sunglasses » Rayban
Earrings » I Crave Jewels

This dress had me at first sight with major heart eyes! The color is like nothing I own and the tribal, sequin embroidering just gives it the added "ooompf" if you will. Since nothing fits my ever expanding belly (still no stretch marks thank goodness) I was so thankful to have this dress from Pink Blush Maternity for the larger months. I have to be honest, there is not much dressing up going on over here anymore, my friends. I'm down to yoga pants, cotton tees and a zip up jacket. Sooooo don't expect many more style posts from me for awhile except for The Creative Closet on Tuesday. At least until Maddox is born and I can fit back into my old clothes again. YAY! I'm excited to have a "whole new wardrobe" to wear again. I'm especially excited to get back into my jeans in the weeks to come!

It's hard to believe in a matter of days I won't have this sweet bump to accessorize anymore. I'm going to miss it!

Diary Of A Pregnant Girl || Week 38 & 39

3.04.2015

My, my, my. We are just about to cross the finish line! I am so ready to throw some fist pumps in the air and holla, "Hallelujah!".

Due Date | March 12th, 2015    (9 days!!!!)

Gender | BOY! <-- click to see our gender reveal.

Name | Maddox Brian Mills -aka- our little mad man

Size | The size of a watermelon! Whoa! Over 21" long and 7-8 lbs.

Feeling/Body| I'm just now to the point of waddling. I have so much pressure in my lower back and pelvis it's all I can do to stand. Maddox's movements are definitely much larger and more of a rolling/wave effect across my belly. I still receive some swift kicks to my ribcage simultaneous with a push of his head in my pelvis. I keep telling him if he would just come out he could stretch out all he wants.
Hormones | My tears have tamed down although I have had a few whiny fits about "being so over it". I feel shameful when I say that because I've enjoyed my entire pregnancy. I guess because we are so close I can hardly handle the anxious energy I have and the fact that my body feels so heavy and uncomfortable.

Weight | +34lbs total. I can't believe I gained 4lbs in one week.

Sleep | I have started using essential oils to help with my sleep and they work wonders! So much so that my husband noticed the change in my sleeping patterns and decided to try them himself and he's hooked. I was never a believer before, but desperate times call for desperate measures and now I believe! 

Nursery | See the full reveal here!

Fun Fact | It won't be until after his first month that he actually generates tears when he cries because their tear ducts aren't open yet. I can't wait to kiss his sweet face when he is sad and see his best pout.

Best Moment of The Week | I have two. Hearing that Maddox has dropped! That much closer! And also, Jon keeps talking to Maddox and telling him how excited he is to meet him. He mentions his birth and talks about it just as much as I do now. I just love seeing the excitement on his face when he tells me, "we will have half me, half you here in a matter of days."

Next Apt. | Friday, March 6th. Let's cross our fingers there is some dilation!


Earlier weeks:
Week 10          Week 15          Week 22    
Week 11          Week 16          Week 23
Week 12          Week 17          Week 24
Week 13          Week 18          Week 25
Week 14
          Week 20/21     Week 26/27


The Creative Closet || Color Of The Year: Marsala

3.03.2015

I never gravitate towards the color red or anything even close on the color wheel. I'm not sure why, the color just never really appeals to me when I'm shopping. But when I saw the color of the year, marsala, I was in love! It's such a rich and deep color. It's actually the color of what was once my dining room, but now my living room. Marsala is a color I would purchase in a pair of skinny jeans, a blazer, lipstick or even a hat. As for finding it in my closet, I could only find these heels. It's hard to believe that's my only piece in this color! Probably because blush and black are taking over #oopsie

PS. Would you like to be a co-host in April? Click here to see the prompts and sign up!


Marsala is obviously Jana's color if you ask me. So pretty with her golden locks! I love how Jalyssa  added silver accessories, something I never would have thought about! See their full outfits by clicking on their names. 

PPS. Oh and tear jerker, next week will be my last Creative Closet until several weeks after Maddox is born. Ironically I am taking off on one of my favorite prompts, "Add a Blazer". Y'all know I love a good blazer! The lovely Amanda from Life With Grace will be taking over my spot and I can't think of anyone better! Her style is fabulous. So join us next Tuesday pretty please :)

Top • Gap
Cardigan • Forever21 (similar)
Jeans c/o Pink Blush Maternity (They are having a $15 Flash Sale right now!)
Heels • Target
Watch • Michael Kors
Necklace • Forever21 (similar)
Earrings • I Crave Jewels
Lip • Milani Uptown Mauve


The Creative Closet