Momtourage Monday- Dealing with a Tongue Tie

1. How would you define Momtourage?

Momtourage to me is my support group. My Mom is my very best helper and my whole Momtourage would fall apart without her. She helps with Bryson whenever I’m in a bind. She offers to pick him up early from daycare. She cooks for him and makes fun toys for him. The rest of my Momtourage is made up of my other Mommy friends near and far. My best friends that I’ve made through work who share crazy stories daily and my distant best friends in California with toddlers. We keep each other sane. I think that’s the most important part of your support group; relating and encouraging each other.

2. How do you balance Motherhood?

Some days I feel like I’m teetering on a thin wire between being a Mommy and working full time and pleasing others. It’s not always easy. I’ve made a promise to myself to make sure I take a small amount of time for me when it allows (sometimes having to remind my boyfriend it’s time for a much needed Mommy break). Whether that’s an extended hot shower, a trip to the salon for a pedi or going to bed early. I absolutely cherish sleep so an extra hour means the world to me. I also take advantage of ordering take out instead of spending hours in the kitchen. I’d rather sit on the floor with my kid playing cars.

3. What is your Mommy must have item?

My camera. I’m photo obsessed and don’t wanna miss a thing. I love photography and trying to capture all of the insanely cute moments. Since it’s on my iPhone it doubles as last minute entertainment when we are on the go and I need to make Bryson sit still for more than 2.5 seconds.

4. What is your Momtourage Story?

Bryson’s father and I met the day we both started at US Airways. He couldn’t take his eyes off of me! More like the other way around. We started dating, moved in together the next year, traveled the world and 5 years later brought our amazing little boy into this world. My Mom, Dad and sister are nearby. Brian’s family is mostly in Delaware and Maryland. We travel when we can to visit and see everyone.

As much as we are alike we are also very different. I’m hyper and stubborn while Brian is very level headed and calm. We balance each other very well most days. Bryson’s little personality is starting to shine through and he has traits from both of us that are very unique. It’s so amazing to see him grow and watch him change. We both love to travel and hope Bryson does too someday. So far so good! His first trip was to Cancun, Mexico. He’s also been to Charleston and Philly and Los Angeles to meet his cousins.

When Bryson was born I promised myself to breastfeed him for at least six months. My goal was really his first year. Brian and I both felt very strongly about not using formula if at all possible. Most women probably say the birth was the hardest part. Breastfeeding for me was a total nightmare for the first 12 weeks. Bryson didn’t latch well and fell asleep while feeding every single time. We tried every position except upside down. I went back and forth to the hospital lactation team and no one knew what was wrong. They kept telling me to increase my supply, rest and just be patient. He’s a “lazy eater” was the common term used. I felt so awful and so alone.

No one understood the physical pain I was in trying to feed my son the only food he could eat. He was losing weight. The final straw came when the pain was so severe I screamed when he latched on. I went back to the hospital the next day and asked to speak with the lactation nurse that had the most experience. This nurse watched him latch on and immediately saw the problem. She instantly knew he was tongue tied and needed surgery immediately. She checked his mouth to confirm. 2 days later we were in a doctors office in Charlotte having the procedure. Within days it was like I had a different baby. I healed up, he gained weight and all was right in the world. I breastfed him for just over a year and we never had to use formula. That year was by far the most rewarding experience of my life. Our bond is so strong and I feel certain it’s related to the time and patience we had with each other.

I also learned doctors aren’t always right. Sometimes a second and third opinion are well worth it. Don’t give up on your goals. Many people tried to talk me out of breastfeeding. We stuck with our beliefs and accomplished our goal together. I’ve also learned the importance of talking to relieve anxiety and stress. Don’t bottle those feelings up. You’ll eventually explode. Stay strong Mamas!

Thank you Meredith for sharing your story, as always we hope that these stories can encourage another mother. Until next week….

XO,

Meka

Momtourage Monday

Happy New Year!!! I can’t believe it’s already 2018! This season, I want to introduce some new elements to the blog. Starting off with Momtourage Monday. I wanted to take time to feature Motherhood from all walks of life. So without further ado here we go:

1. How would you define Momtourage? 

To me, it doesn’t matter if you’re married, single, divorce, working or staying at home the phrase Momtourage brings us together like a sisterhood. It’s your inner Mom Circle that doesn’t judge you and always has your back.

2. How do you balance Motherhood? 

I balance Motherhood by incorporating self love. Sometimes it’s so hard to get caught up in the daily hustle of Mom Life that you forget about yourself. My goal this year is to incorporate Mandatory Mommy Moments when I either go to the spa for a massage, get my nails done, stop by my favorite smoothie shop and read a book for a hour or sleep an extra 2 hours so that I am able to recharge.

3. What is your Mommy must have?

My mommy must have would be a portable phone charger! Because the way my phone is set up, I have to capture videos and tons of pictures throughout the day and I will not let a 10% notification ruin that.

4. What is your Momtourage story?

Although many people will tell me how much they love my family, or we are family #goals, my family is far from perfect. Personally I’ve been battling Rheumatoid Arthritis since I was 17. This form of arthritis basically attacks my joints and causes them to swell or worst become deformed. I’ve already lost some moment in my wrist and currently I am unable to close one of my fingers. On a positive note I have started back getting infusions so I’m praying for a full recovery with my hands. This pregnancy with Axel was so hard having RA that I had to go on short term disability. Normally when I’m pregnant all of the RA functions are reversed but this time was hard and emotionally draining. Imagine having swollen wrists, knees, ankles etc and a toddler that still wants hugs from their mom but you can barely lift them up, not because of the pregnancy but because of the excruciating pain in your hands and shoulders. I rarely talk about my RA because I just want to feel like a normal mom and not so much a great grandma. Each day I’m able to get out of bed without pain and run or walk up and down the steps is a serious blessing for me because there have been times when I could barely walk to use the rest room and my husband would have to take me to the urgent care. I wanted to share my story to let others know that I am not perfect. I just choose to be happy. Never let a disease, or illness define you. Stay positive and SMILE.

Until next week…….

XO,

Meka.

Little Campers

As the cold temps head our way, more creative ways to incorporate play is needed for the boys. We are so excited that our friends from Picasso Tiles sent over this awesome camping set for them!

Having a house with 4 kids, 3 of which are BOYS can get loud and a bit crazy. Many of you know we don’t allow the kids to watch tv during the week so creative play is always our go to. This camping was the perfect way for the boys to enjoy an outdoors adventure in the comforts of home.

There’s something about these walkie talkies that get Jagger going from 0 to 100! I love watching the boys use their imagination, they set several “bear traps” and called for “mayday” at least 20 times.

Would you believe me if I told you that they have played with this tent at least 20 times since receiving it a few weeks ago?! Even little Axel decided to get in on the fun.

From utilizing the compass, to roasting hotdogs on the convenient gas stove this camping set is ready for any adventure your little one can imagine. I love encouraging the kids to play creatively, it truly helps with their social and expressive skills.

Each set comes with the following:

• Gas Stove (2 AA Batteries required)

• Oil Lamp (2 AA Batteries required)

• Water Bottle

• Pan

• Shovel

• Hot Dog & Steak

• Plate

• Binoculars

• Multi-function Whistle

• Utility Knife

• Watch

I’m so thankful that this tent is big enough for Maveric and Jagger to comfortably fit inside or we would have a serious issue on our hands. What are some of your little ones favorite creative play items?

Be sure to snag one here for your little one, trust me this camp set is #HWTH approved!

Until next time…….

XO,

Meka

Holiday Guide for HER

Welp here we are the first week of December has gone and if you’re anything like me you might be a last minute shopper.  So I’ve put together a shopping guide for that will make life easier! So here you go:

1. A watch from Jord

I have the Frankie in purple and it’s so cute! I love that it’s super original and whenever I have it on, it’s an instant conversation starter! Currently I’m giving all of my friends a 25% off coupon so snag one here choose from an amazing selection of men’s or women’s unique watches.

2. A Gucci Cross Body

While everyone else is swooning over the Gucci belts, I’m here for a crossbody! This classic black with gold hardware it a timeless piece that will last for generations. I’m not the biggest spender on designer bags, but I do believe in quality or price to some extent. And this bag is a YES for me. Snag yours before they sell out!

3. The Master Planner

How many times have you purchased a planner only to receive a pretty cover with BLAH pages?! Well this is NOT that planner, with the Master Planner you get more BANG for your buck and it’s made by a small business located in Charlotte! Monthly goals, A reusable menu/ grocery list and monthly affirmations are just a few of the amazing features of this journal I’m sure you’ll love!

4. Fenty Beauty Trophy Wife

When pop sensation Rihanna launched her beauty line, makeup junkies across the globe went WILD! I’ve heard nothing but great reviews from her products ranging in amazing foundation colors to this BOMB a$$ highlighter Trophy Wife! I went to Sephora and had a personal consultation, my coverage was awesome and this highlighter is a dream. Rihanna has totally changed the makeup industry for women of every shade.

5. Anne’s Apothecary Black Honey Facial Cleanser

If you follow my Instastory then you know how I feel about the recent use of this amazing product! Not only is it all natural and made local in Cary, NC it’s a small business and this cleanser is like Heaven in a bottle. I washed my face with this and it felt like new skin! I had a beautiful natural glow and my face was hydrated. This cleaners is a must have item for your daily regimen.

6. KeepSake Capsule

This compact capsule allows you to cherish memories in a stylish way! Recently I have been battling what I want to do with Mommy’s ashes. Most of you know I lost my mom at age 21 and here I am 36 and holding on to a black box. I’m so thankful that Keepsake reached out to me, that’s when I knew exactly what I wanted to do with Mommy’s ashes. With the help of my husband I’m going to turn my keepsake capsule into a memory necklace with mommy’s picture and ashes. This is the perfect way for me to let go and always have her with me. There are so many options for the keepsake this gift is perfect for parents, newlyweds and so much more!

7. The Weekender by Birdling Bags

You guys know my love for this awesome bag! I have literally packed my clothes as well as the kids for an overnight staycation. As well as a our Fourth of July road trip to Baltimore and I’m using it next weekend as we head off to the mountains. This bag is EVERYTHING and more! It has pockets galore and the compartments inside allow for easy packing for families. Be sure to grab one before they sell out and they just launched a new color as well! Go here to find out more.

Well there you have it! I’m sure there is something on this list that you mom, sister, Wife, daughter, girl friend, Auntie, grandma, or bestie will LOVE! Now everyone be sure to tell JoColby I’m need number 2 when you see him!

Stay tuned for Kids Guide tomorrow! Until next time…….

XO,

Meka

Girl Power!

Last sunday we were invited by the Raleigh Little Theater to see one of our favorite books come to life, Grace for President. If you’re not familiar with the storyline it is based around Grace, a little girl that learns about the Presidential election process and the fact that there has never been a female president. With this new discovery Grace, instantly starts her political career and runs in the schools mock election.

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The book was brought to life in a musical form by some amazing actors. Most were in high school!

The cast did a wonderful job, the audience was engaged and really enjoyed the jokes as well as the songs.

After the play we had the opportunity to meet the cast and snag some autographs. I thought it was so important for Elle to get this experience as well. Especially since she can be shy at times.  This was my opportunity to help her engage on a deeper level.

 

Elle was very hesitant to ask for autographs, but I knew that she would have regretted not taking this opportunity.

I hope that this play will give Elle the acting bug! She’s so talented but she’s still in her shy stage. I’m not exactly sure what to do to help her overcome her fears, besides constantly reminding her how talented she is and how she needs to share her talents with others.

It was pretty cool to have a chance to chat with TaMaya’s (Grace’s) mom after the show, she told me how shy she had been when she was little as well.  So maybe hearing this story will also inspire Elle to test the waters in the acting world.  

Be sure to check out some upcoming events, here are some that I’m looking forward to checking out:

  1. Cinderella  December 1-17
  2. Little Shop of Horrors February 9-25
  3. Beanstalk the musical March 16- April 1

If you have any advice for getting your kids to come out of their shell  or any personal stories of overcoming shyness, please comment below, until next time…..

XO,

Meka

Homemade Naan Pizza

As many of you know, I’m not the biggest fan of cooking! But when you have 4 kids and a husband to feed you pretty much have to make it work. One of my kids favorite dishes besides pasta is PIZZA! So today we are sharing our favorite Naan Pizza.

Start off by preheating the overnight to 350 degrees . Ingredients include the following:

  • Garlic Naan Bread
  • Cheese
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Garlic Salt

Add sauce to your liking on the bread, we recommend covering the entire bread and leaving about a inch sauce free for crust purposes

After adding your sauce, you want to add a little garlic salt for flavor. If you’re unable to find the garlic naan bread you can add more garlic salt or garlic powder for flavor.

Next up is CHEESE! Now this recipe can work for a vegan lifestyle as well. Simply add your favorite vegan cheese instead.

After the cheese is layered, proceed with your favorite toppings. In this case, Elle decided to use tomato, spinach, and mushrooms. Maveric and Jagger are happy with plan cheese pizza. I love letting the kids help with cooking because for some reason, when they help they eat more. Go figure…. Once you’re done with topping, place your pizzas in the oven for 16 mins.

If you prefer a crunchy crust, you can leave them in for an extra 4 mins.

Nothing beats a fresh pizza with fresh toppings! And I’m the words of Elle this helps us save money and it’s fun to make your own.

This concludes our Cooking with the Harrells segment, hopefully I can find the strength to come up with another fun recipe to share with you all!

Until next time…..

Xo,

Meka

Fall Family Fashion

Even though I was born in the summer, FALL is one of my favorite season’s!  Thanks to our friends at Tea Collection the kids are ready for cooler days.  I really love dressing the kids in coordinating styles.

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As we all know Elle is the fashionista of our crew, she has been dressing herself since age 3!  She has always loved clothes and especially shoes, my husband and I have are constantly encouraging Elle to express her style and be confident with herself.  How CUTEEEE is this cape Elle is wearing! I wish I could get one in my size.

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Maveric is so care free and energetic, I love nice slim fitted pants for him and layers are key to success when dressing boys!

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Since Jagger is in his independent TERRIFIC 2’s stage I love comfy athletic gear for him, because he’s either in mud, throwing rocks, tinkering or constantly running.

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At this stage Axel’s role is to just be the hunky chunk of cuteness that he does so well, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my kid! Comfy sweats, a cute little sweatshirt paired with our favorite moccs are our go to this fall.  I just love being a mom to these 4, they are a ball of fun!

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As for me, nothing beats a nice white tee, ripped denim, a cute duster and comfy block heel boots!  I absolutely love the florals in this cute duster from Pink Blush it’s the perfect mommy look that’s also functional when you have to chase after a VERY active two year old.

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These are just a few of our staple looks for fall, besides boots what are your go to pieces?

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Until next time….

XO,

Meka

Library Adventures

A few weeks ago the kids and I ventured downtown to check out the re-opening of the Central Library.  It was everything I could imagine and more.

IMG_3113 The Children’s section was out of this world, it’s set up for play and reading.  I love that they have items that will entertain toddlers and school aged children.  I’m not sure who had more fun, the big kids or Jagger.

IMG_3106 From the reading nooks, to the computers, I recommend going in with a game plan or you will get a bit overwhelmed.  I will be honest, I was a tad bit nervous taking Jagger, all I could think about was the stereotype of a library and the fact that you have a librarian saying Sssshhh but this is the complete opposite.

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They have story time, an auditorium, a cafe, a teen section and a PARKING DECK and so much more!!!! There are so many levels that we didn’t even have a chance to check out the entire library.

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One really neat thing, is that kids can get their own library cards starting at age 4 and up.  Maveric was so happy to check out his first book on HIS card!  This was such a cool Mommy moment.  Elle has been getting books with her card for a while, now she’s pretty much a pro so this is a pretty sweet memory for us.

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I totally plan on going back so that I can truly soak in all the Central library has to offer, until then please make a family trip downtown, you won’t be disappointed! Until next time….

XO,

Meka

Cooking with Kids

*The following post is sponsored by KidStir, all opinions are my own*

This weekend the kids and I hung out at home for some much need “mommy rest”, however, we were able to have some fun thanks to Kidstir.  In case you’re not familiar with Kidstir, it’s a cool subscription box that sends kid friendly cooking utensils, as well as monthly recipes straight to your doorstep.  IMG_2681

Elle and Maveric were super excited, they scanned through the cookbook and agreed on making Watermelon Cucumber smoothies.

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I love that the recipes are so kid friendly and they really make it exciting for the kids.  Elle and Maveric really took pride in creating these smoothies without any help.  I was basically there to capture the memories and assist with the use of the Ninja.  First step was cutting 2 cups of water melon, Maveric of course was the first to volunteer to complete this task.

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Elle completed the second step of peeling and deseeding the cucumber.  This cute veggie peeler was a gift from kidstir and it’s so safe for them to use.  I couldn’t believe how easy it was for Elle to peel.

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After gathering all of the ingredients the kids were able to blend and taste!  The recipe took no more than 15 minutes and that’s with me taking pictures.

All in all the kids gave it 3 thumbs up!  I have to say I truly enjoyed watching them work together creating these smoothies.  I personally look forward to making the next item on our list.  Stay tuned for S’mores Shakes! IMG_2684

Be sure to snag a subscription box for your family, trust me you won’t be disappointed.  It’s totally worth the $15.95!  You can easily choose from 3 options: 1-5 kits: $15.95/kit,   6-9 kits: $14.50/kit or 10-12 kits: $12.95/kit.  Click the link below to get started.

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Until next time,

XO,

Meka

Beach’n Babies

*The following post is sponsored, all opinions are my own*

August is here and I can’t believe summer is almost over, this week this kids are taking a much needed beach trip with their Nana and Papa, so we decided to test out our brand new beachmate  at the local sand park.  First off I love that it’s engraved with our family name, this gives it a classic spin.  Having a custom piece really stands out while on vacation.

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As a mom of 4, it’s so important to have my hands free, so this durable strap really came in handy after everyone was finally out of the car and in route to the park.  I love that it’s comfortable enough for Elle to carry, while I’m busy rounding up the younger boys.

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Once we hit the park it was over, the fun began and the kids went to work.  I love the that all of the containers can double as organization or just plain toys!  The shovels are extremely durable and they are actually industrial strength so I know they will last forever, especially being a mom of 3 boys.

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The beachmate also comes with a cooler, this was so perfect because I was able to pack up some snacks for the kids and an extra bottle for Axel.  Did I mention the tote bag has several pockets?  Oh my gosh, this is so necessary for my car keys, cell phone, sun block, shades, literally anything you can think of!  And on top of that it’s bottomless so there’s no issues of having sand in your car or home after the trip.

Whenever we are out in the sun we ALWAYs pack our Nuby water bottles, because staying hydrated is a must.  The cooler kept the water cool and I never have any issues with the kids drinking their water with these awesome bottles!

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Now that the test run is over, I have the kids swimsuits, beach chairs and of course the beachmate packed up and ready to hit the road.  Be sure to head over and snag your very own Beachmate here trust me your family will love it and it’s so durable it’s totally worth every penny! No more cracked buckets being replaced every year.  These containers are so sturdy and legit!

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How are you guys celebrating the last days of summer?  I’m enjoying all the fun memories with the kids before they head back and we have to be on a schedule.

Until next time….

XO ,

Meka