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

Exploring University Place!

Last month the kids and I got some early shopping in, as we ventured to University Place in Chapel Hill. I’ll admit, this was my first time visiting but it didn’t let me down. The kids were thrilled to check out the stores and I was curious of what they had to offer.

Our first and LONGEST stop included Glee Kids! I have never in my life stayed in one store with 4 kids for so long. The store offered a variety of items from clothing , jewelry, shoes and TOYS.

Jagger and Maveric were all about the toys, while Elle was all about the fashion! They offer a variety of kids clothings such as Tea Collection, Hatley, Native Shoes and so many brands you’ll love.

How adorable is this fury pink coat! I wish I could find this in my size.

Elle was in heaven, the clothes, accessories, and even the cute stuffed animals were right up her alley.

Maveric found the coolest toy called Zipes and he has been playing with this since we visited.

Our next favorite spot was Burlington Shoes

As always Elle went straight toward the boots. She gets her love of clothes from me and her love of shoes from her dad. I’m pretty sure we’ve created a mini fashion monster.

I found the perfect pair of flats for work. They are super comfy and these black flats can be dressed up or down.

Not to mention good quality leather at a great price.

We were also able to make a quick stop at Kitchen Works. Initially I thought this was a place where I could find items for myself, however I was WRONG.

In true “Mommy Style” we went straight towards the kids section. They had so many cool items from truck themed spoons to amazing lunch bags. I literally had to pull the kids out of the store.

So we pretty much left with items for the kids to eat with and a sweet night light for Elle. Moms I warn you to go ALONE. Who would think kids would love a kitchen store so much.

Before leaving to head back to Winston, we were able to take a sneak peek inside the Kidzu Children’s Museum right before they closed which for your info is at 5pm. I was able to grab some info about their memberships because my kids absolutely love museums and a membership is a gift that gets more bang for your buck!

If you’re ever in the Chapel Hill area be sure to check out our recommendations, you won’t be disappointed! 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

Farmer’s Market Adventures

So recently I have been battling the urge to go VEGAN! Yup vegan and YES I too watched What the Health!  Although I have done 30 day Vegan challenges, nothing is harder than fully committing.  As of today I am not vegan, I have however, given up meat.  The main items I’m having a hard time getting out of my system are seafood and CHEESE.  Also milk, not as if I’m drinking the milk but milk is in so many normal items I use on a regular basis like, Pringles! Why exactly is milk in a plain can of Pringles?!  I have really been reading labels and to be quite honest the best thing for me to do is head over to the farmers market and just buy fresh veggies.

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Last weekends trip to the Durham farmers market really made me want to explore more of what my local market has to offer.  I have pretty much found my favorite “fast food” meal and if you follow me on Instastory you know that it’s zucchini and sautéed spinach.  Growing up in Baltimore it was normal for us to go to the market to purchase everything from fresh doughnuts to deli meat.  And going to the Supermarket  (grocery store) is where we purchase everything in between.

WebImage16I was  so inspired to add more fresh flowers to the house as well, even though I have a bit of   “black thumb”.  Nothing sets the tone more than fresh flowers at the dinner table, so I’m going to give it a try more often.

WebImage19 One thing I really love about visiting farmers market’s are the small business vendors, like this delicious lemonade stand.  It wasn’t too sweet, very refreshing and delicious.  Anytime  I can spend with the kids and create fun memories are always a plus in my book.  After walking and exploring we decided to grab some pizza ( not vegan, SUE ME HA!)  then we headed to our next destination….. Charlotte.

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I will eventually fully convert into the Vegan lifestyle but I’m taking it one day at a time.  This is my journey and I will share with you all along the way.  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

#KidGoals with Gymboree

Summer’s officially OVER, and I don’t know about you but I feel like it really flew by.  I mean we are already wrapping up Elle’s first week of school.  I can hardly believe that Elle is in the 3rd grade.  This year Maveric will be off to Pre-K and since Jagger is 2, we are letting him attend preschool twice a week.  Although it’s only half days, I am all in my feelings about Jagger venturing off to school.  Yesterday, Jagger’s teachers came by to do a home visit and we discussed our goals for the year.  It really resonated with me how important it is to have attainable goals, not only with my self but with the kids as well.  .

 

We have been given the opportunity to partner with Gymboree and share our #KidGoals for the school year and Gymboree really came through with some cool gear just in time for back to school! Here’s a snap shot of a few of the pieces, each of the kids have their own style and especially since I have 3 boys, it’s so important to get durable staple pieces that will last and be able to pass down to the next “little bro”

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My little fashionista Elle, is all about the emjoi’s, currently her goals for 3rd grade are to knock those EOG’s out of the park! It’s funny we just started school and she’s already thinking about end of grade testing! My personal goal for Elle is to come out of her shell and show her secret talents of singing and dancing in  PUBLIC!  She’s awesome and we just want to support her dreams in anyway possible.

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Maveric is off to Pre-K and we are so excited for him,  if you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting him, you know he’s a BALL of energy and one of his favorite places in to release energy is at the playground!  His goal for the school year is to play, eat lunch and go to music class!

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My personal goal for Maveric is to master his penmanship and continue to indulge in his love for music!  Music lessons are coming soon…. I love mixing classic looks with fun looks so pairing this cute monster button up with these awesome joggers just made sense!  He’s always running, jumping, and climbing so we need his clothes to be durable and functional.

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As I said earlier, Jagger is headed to preschool and we are thrilled!  Since he’s doing his  speech therapy he’s been having more phrases.  I am so proud of him so my personal goal for Jagger is to  meet new friends and use his words more.  We call him the professor because he’s so serious and extremely analytical.

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Boy moms know how much their boys loveeeeee trucks, so of course we went with the truck theme for Jagger.  My boys are absolutely obsessed with them, the joggers are so cute and I loved the yellow and blue details at the ankle.

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Last but obviously not least, was baby Axel.  He will still be home chilling with Mommy and Daddy so his goals are to stay cute and keep hitting milestones.  He’s rocking his awesome onsie because well he’s AWESOME! We are so excited about the school year and looking forward to all of the memories to be made.  And thanks to Gymboree our kids remain stylish!  What are your kid’s goals this year?  Cheers to a happy school year!!!

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Don’t forget to capture as many memories as possible! Stay tuned for a giveaway!!!

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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

Let the Church say…..

Sunday I was on a mission to make it to church on time!  I haven’t been to church since having Axel so Saturday night I made up my mind that we were going to church in the morning.  I set my alarm clock so that I had enough time wake up, nurse Axel, do my hair, do Elle’s hair, get all 3 boys dressed, grab some breakfast on the go for the kiddos, hop in the car and make it to church ON TIME!  That was my goal Saturday night… fast forward to Sunday morning!

I woke up at 7:30 and drifted back to sleep some how then I woke up again at 9am, thanks to my back up “get yourself together so you can leave the house” alarm.  Church started at 10 and by the time I did everything I mentioned above it was 10:10.  Ummmm I’m not sure how that happened but I told the kid’s there was no point in going to church now because we would get there at 10:30 and that’s not cool.  But for some reason I decided to look on Instagram and there was my sign… Church didn’t start until 10:30!!!!!

Well needless to say Momma we MADE IT, on time and the kids enjoyed themselves.  See I almost gave up, but this time social media came through in our favor.  We even managed to have an impromptu photo sesh afterwards #winning. 18595415_10156050503858368_2679487757354792922_o

Well that was my Sunday summed up! How do you get your squad ready, out the door and on time?  Until next time…

Meka

S.S.L Giveaway

Hey hey hey! We are excited to team up with the Greensboro Coliseum for a fun filled family night out.  We are giving away a family 4 pack to see Sesame Street Live, and we can’t wait to share the love.  IMG_1382

Our family LOVES Sesame Street so when I shared the news, the boys were thrilled.  Jagger was actually Elmo for Halloween and Elle’s 2nd birthday party was Elmo themed.  I know that Mother’s Day is only a few days away but hey we all know Momma’s love anything that will put a smile on their little ones face.  Be sure to enter here for your chance to win!

Spring Contest

If you don’t win, no worries just head here to purchase tickets for your family.  See you at the show!

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XO,

Meka