Mother’s Day throughout the years 2010-current

I’ve been blessed to celebrate Mother’s Day for 9 years! And each year I have a tradition to coordinate outfits with my loves so today I’m sharing my pictures and things I’ve learned as a mom throughout the years.

Year ONE

This was my very first Mother’s Day and although this is the ONLY picture I have captured of us, I remember it like it was yesterday. JoColby was deployed Elle’s first year of life ( sound familiar?!) so it was just the 2 of us. We wore Pink and White. This is the year I learn how strong I truly was and how thankful and blessed it is to become a MOM.

Year TWO

Toddler Elle and I wore black and white this year. This was the year that challenged my relationship with JoColby as well as helped me grow as a woman. I wore a ring on my left hand because I so desperately wanted to be married, however things weren’t perfect and we were still growing. This is the point where we decided to be the best parents for Elle.

Year THREE

Navy and floral was my theme, unfortunately I didn’t capture the floral shoes I was wearing to coordinate with Elle BUT check out the hand!!! Yes newlywed, JoColby and I worked through our differences and grew to love each other more than ever! This is the year I learned that prayer really works and to NEVER settle if it’s meant to be God will work it out.

Year FOUR

Denim was the theme and we welcomed a new family member. Young Maveric Ellis joined us and he was such a joy to our life. Elle’s new best friend and my first son! This is the year that I realized I could love more and step out on faith!

Year FIVE

There’s NO place like HOME! This year I took a road trip with the kiddos solo to visit HOME aka Baltimore and we stayed with my sister. In true Bmore fashion our theme was Orioles gear. This was the year that I learned that I could truly multitask and take on anything! I had the fashion truck at this point and balancing 2 kids and a husband I thought life was perfect as it was… Boy was wrong!

Year SIX

And then there were 3! This was my most trying year. I’ve never been so scared and confused as a mom, until we had Jagger. Many of you know that Jagger was born 2 months early and stayed in the NICU for a month. This year I was too exhausted but very blessed so I decided PJ’s were the best option for us! We pretty much stayed inside until Jagger was older but we had a ball. JoColby cooked dinner and there was love all over because we were so happy that Jagger was Home. This was the year that pushed my faith to the limit and I learned to pray stronger than ever before.

Year SEVEN

One time for the culture! This was the year of many first. We took the kids to Disney World, we celebrated love, we celebrated US and I believe this is when I coined the term #HWTH, Hanging With The Harrells. I truly thought our family was really complete here. But as we know, I was wrong!

Year EIGHT

Now this was the year of completion. We welcomed Axel Roman to the family and we went with a more relaxed theme of Grey tees with different phrases in them. This is the year I truly grew. JoColby was deployed the entire year and I gave birth without him. This year tested every emotion, every ounce of my strength and sanity. But at the end of it all, God showed me how strong I am as a wife, mother and woman! There’s seriously nothing that I can’t do and I learned that last year. I also learned my value, and decided to step out on faith and started my blog. This was the year of absolute GROWTH.

Year NINE

Pastels and pinks! I’m happier than ever and I feel like this is truly OUR year! God has been showing out every step of the way. We are almost settled in our new location, finding the perfect house for our family and I am working in the BEST location with so much support and growth opportunities. I can’t thank God enough for each lesson throughout the years.

Thank you so much Momtourage for sticking around with each and every journey of my life. If it wasn’t for me becoming a Mother the Momtourage would not be here. I started this group after Elle was born and I’m happy to still have you all around. Stay tuned for more events, oppourtunites to grow and celebrate each other together! Until next time……

XO,

Meka

Momtourage Monday: Military Wife, Blogger and Photography Momma

1. How do you define Momtourage? Momtourage is your Go-to mom group. A unique group of ladies that support you no matter what, relate to you and lift each other up. Without judgment or shaming. A place where you can feel safe, be yourself and open up about this crazy roller coaster called motherhood. Oh and they also get together for those mommy play dates, let’s not forget about that. 

2 How do you balance Motherhood? With Grace, definitely with Grace. But honestly it’s not always there. I have to always be reminded to take care of myself first. Mentally, physically and emotionally. Those things are key for you to be a better mom, wife, friend… But trying to have it all together and keeping it up can be really overwhelming and you lose sight of the most important things. So yes, Grace is always my hero to Balance motherhood.

3. What is your mommy must have item? My Baby Carrier! My god, what would I do without it. Life changing for sure. Can’t imagine motherhood and no baby carrier. You can get so many things done while you baby-wear. It is simply amazing. I’ve traveled, breastfed, cleaned, cooked, shopped using it and I love it. Now my toddler wants to walk all the time but for breastfeeding and napping on the go it is my life saver. 

4 What is your Momtourage story? Well, let’s see… I’m a mommy of two kiddos. A 7 year old boy and a 2 year old girl. Since the beginning my husband has been hands on with house chores and with the kids. We always say it’s all about team work. That’s how we define our relationship and parenting. But when Kayden my eldest was 2 he decided to join the Military, something I was against since the beginning. But he went through with it anyways and I just followed along to keep my family together. (But let me tell you it was the best decision we have ever made because it has lead us to we’re we are now.) So he left for basic training and I remember being terrified about the thought of staying alone with my 2 year old son. All I could think of was that I didn’t know how to be a parent without my partner. How would I balance work, home, parenting and everything in between on my own. Soon after he left I learned that I could and I felt so proud about myself. I became so much stronger and independent and felt like the world couldn’t stop me. After he finished Basic Training we were stationed in NC and moved out of Puerto Rico. I left my job, my friends, my family and everything I knew to start a new life with the man I loved and give a better quality of life to our child. Only 2 weeks in and he got orders to Deploy to Afghanistan the next month. It all happened so quickly. Again I would have to handle everything on my own but this time in an unknown place where I didn’t know anybody. Everyone advised me to go back to Puerto Rico until he finished his tour but I decided to stay. I stayed because I didn’t want to run away from my fears and I wanted to grow as a woman and mother. And I definitely did. I even did things I never thought I could do. Right when he got back from his deployment I got pregnant with my second child, something everyone predicted hahah! I had been staying at home with Kayden only for a year so transitioning from 1 kid to 2 kids and staying at home all day with a toddler (4) and a breastfeeding on demand newborn was a struggle. When Mia was 6 months old I decided I needed a place to share my motherhood journey, my love for photos and everything I liked to help with my anxiety. My husband suggested Instagram, got me my first DSLR and rest is history. I’ve created my own little platform since then and I love connecting with other moms in the community. It has helped me to be much more open, social and take on new adventures. We are In the civil world now, loving every minute of it and better than ever. 

Be sure to check out more of Vil and her amazing family Here

Thank you so much Vil for sharing your story! As always we hope these stories encourage, or inspire other moms and moms to be!

Until next week….

XO,

Meka

Spring Fashion

I’m seriously ready for warmer weather, why are we still dealing with SNOW 😩 Sunday I got to shoot with my favorite photographer in RDU, Erin and boy was it cold, but the pictures turned out pretty dope!

Bell sleeves are so in, and thanks to Target’s A New Day line I’m able to have a nice style at a low cost! I paired this super cute wrap dress with theses statement earrings from Charm City Noir

And I added another pop for color with my new crossbody from Madewell. I just love monogrammed items so of course I had to get the gold foil.

This crossbody is really going to be seen a lot, I’m so excited to pair it with my favorite spring looks. It comes in additional colors see here.

The thing I love about this wrap dress is that it compliments so many different body types!

The classic stripped blue and white helps it to be the perfect addition to my capsule wardrobe this spring!

So here’s to S P R I N G, May the bugs be less aggravating , and your allergies nonexistent! Until next time….

XO,

Meka

Momtourage Monday: American Girl in a Caribbean world

1. How would you define Momtourage?

My Momtourage is my family and close friends. My mom plays a major role in my Momtourage. The boys know her as “Honey”. She spends the night Monday-Friday to help with getting the boys ready for school as well so drop off at school. My family (aunts, grandmother, sister) helps with date night or just relief time. Our friends help with support and encouragement.

2. How do you balance Motherhood?

How do I balance Motherhood…umm I don’t. I’m still learning how to take time for me. Motherhood have taken over my life completely. Although, being a wife and mother is rewarding, it can also be stressful. If we are not careful, we can easily lose ourselves in the process of trying to build our families. Often, I tend to take care of my household and neglect myself. After, self evaluation … I’ve realized that, I  cannot give what I  don’t have. So now, when I need time to myself, I take time. Having boys,  I’m always busy, whether it’s straightening up after them, doing homework, or having to be at baseball, basketball practice or a school event. One of my goals this year is to get “me” back. I have a membership at Massage Envy and I try to go at least once a month as my “me day”. I’ve had my membership for about 4 years, but don’t go as much as I should.

3. What is your Mommy must have item?

Sorry…I had to make it plural…My phone and Jared’s epi pen is most important, both boys are asthmatic and Jared has severe allergies along with my planner is second- to make sure I have all their doctors appointments scheduled.

4. What is your Momtourage story?

My husband and I started our family the “non transitional” way as some may call it. We had Joshua, then got married,  when Joshua was 3, and had another child 3 years later. I was a “nontraditional” college graduate. I attended college at 25 years old. I finished up my degree while I was pregnant with Joshua.

I am a wife. My husband is from a small island in the Caribbean named Saint Kitts. Having a mixed cultural family makes us unique.  We have traveled to St. Kitts as a family 5 times. We usually travel to visit my husband family every other year during Christmas time. This new culture has made me open minded and taught me so many things. I have learned how to cook Caribbean foods. (Which I love, because I love cooking). I have also, sampled different Caribbean dishes that I never would have sampled prior to meeting my husband. I have also dressed up in a mascarade costume, during their carnival time. Having a mixed cultural family and living in the U.S. has it’s challenges.  The boys do not get to see their extended family often. We usually communicate with my in laws through social media. Visiting St. Kitts has taught the boys and I about small island Caribbean culture. Traveling has taught us how to be open minded to any culture that we may come across in life.

Thank you so much Shaketa for sharing your story! As always we hope these stories encourage, or inspire other moms and moms to be!

Until next week….

XO,

Meka

Health is Wealth

*** This is NOT a sponsored post we just love it THAT much****

So many of you follow me on Instagram and if so you’ve seen our Instastory of me and the boys at the chiropractor. I have been getting lots of questions about why we go to the chiropractor so I decided to sum it all up right here! First off let me say we LOVE Twin City Health

As many of you know I suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis, and have been since age 17! Yesssssss S E V E N T E E N. I get adjustments to assist with the pain management of my RA. This was so needed when I was pregnant with Axel, because for some reason my RA took the worst toll on my body, to the point that I had to go out of work on short term disability.

When Jagger was about 9-11 months old he would have issues using with his bowels. I would try so many natural remedies including prune juice with warm water. Once he started getting his adjustments at Twin City Health he was as regular as any normal baby. I seriously could not believe it, if you know me you know how I am when it comes to proving stuff I need PROOF!

I have never really talked about this topic, maybe because I don’t want anyone to look at my child in any other way that the vibrate, engeretic little boy that he is, so only a select few close friends and family know that Maveric was suffering from Febrile Seizures since 18 months old. If you’re not familiar with the term, basically when Maveric gets sick/ congested his temperature would spike so fast that his body needed to break the fever so it would force him to have a seizure. Most children tend to “out grow” febrile seizures by age 5.

We started seeing Dr. Tom and his team at Twin City Health when Maveric was 3. During our process we went from almost 1 seizure every other month to 1 seizure every 6-8 months. Last year we ALMOST made it a year seizure free then Maveric had one at school in October. When we went to Twin City Health Dr. Tom took x-rays of Maveric’s spine and that helped him to really narrow down the location that needed to be adjusted with Maveric. I have noticed a huge improvement in Maveric’s decline in seizures and I truly look forward to the day that we are 100% seizure FREE!!!!!!

Axel has been going just for preventative reasons, one day I told Dr. J that he hadn’t had a BM in 3 days and she adjusted him and said ” ok be careful he should have one by the end of the day” and no lie he let out the biggest BM by the time we got home!

“Your spine is the lifeline for all of your body’s functions. The spine is a key element to healing as it protects your central nervous system”. All of the doctors at Twin City Health have truly been a dream to work with, we just love the entire atmosphere! If you’re looking to get healthy from the outside in, then you really need to check out our friends at Twin City Health. Tell them that #HWTH sent you. Trust me you will love the family environment and the wealth of information and classes. Cheers to a healthier 2018. Until next time…

XO,
Meka

Momtourage Monday: Jet Setting Momma

1. How would you define Momtourage?

To me momtourage is a tribe that doesn’t judge, a sisterhood that’s there to pick you up when you’re down and it’s a way of life!

2. How do you balance Motherhood?

I balance motherhood by doing what I love the most which is work. You’re probably going to think I’m crazy for but I love going to work. I feel so refreshed those 3 days that I’m gone and get to interact with adults. I also see it as a mini vacation. I get to do my hair, my nails and most importantly rest. It’s something that’s always been a challenge when I’m home since I have two under two.

3. What is your Mommy must have item?

My camera! It was a gift when I had my first born but didn’t start using it till recently. It’s definitely been the best investment ever to have pictures of my girls as they grow up.

4. What is your Momtourage story?

Let’s see where do I begin… my husband and I are high school sweethearts. We’ve been together for almost 15 years and married for almost 5. Becoming parents has made our relationship more special and stronger. I can definitely say that I love this version of us so much more than the just us two version. He’s always been a very supportive husband and even with my crazy difficult flying schedule he still holds it down for us. I’m very lucky in this aspect and so are our girls!

I also suffered PPD after having my first child. It was such a dark time in my life but someone told me to never loose sight of who I was before having a baby. That if I loved flying to continue to fly. That I should never give up own my own dreams because my girls will have their own at some point and leave the nest. This always stuck with me and ever since then I’ve decided to be a better me for them. Mamas always remember self care is the most important thing after becoming a mother, don’t you ladies ever forget that!

Love always,

Maggie Tompkins

Be sure to check out more of Maggie and her amazing family Here

Thank you so much Maggie for sharing your story! As always we hope these stories encourage, or inspire other moms and moms to be!

Until next week….

XO,

Meka

My first YONI Steam

Hey Momtourage!

Friday I had the opportunity to experience a Yoni Steam, if you haven’t heard of this it’s pretty much a steam treatment for your vagina.  As a push gift, my husband purchased the steam at Ma’ati Spa you can learn more here .  I headed to the downtown location and was greeted by Martha, she was super sweet and welcoming.  IMG_8463

Things started off a little rocky, for some reason the spa had me down for a massage instead of the Yoni steam ( no sweat, a simple mix up) this actually gave me an opportunity to check out the herb garden where she picked the herbs for my steam.

I even spotted a few yoni eggs during the brief tour.  This was pretty cool, being able to see first hand the actual herbs being used in the process.  Once everything was set up she explained the process and offered me a rob as well as a blanket for the experience.

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The process was quit interesting, the most important thing about it is making sure you find your “sweet spot”  you have to remember just how sensitive our lady parts are so sitting right on the bench is not the best thing to do.  I recommend you slowly lowering yourself over the center of the bench to allow yourself to adjust if needed.  Once you’re comfortable you need to trap in the steam with the blankets for the next 30-45 mins.   This experience was very relaxing, I even did a live Instagram story during the process HA!

The steam has so many benefits such as cleansing, assisting with menstrual cycles, fertility, anxiety the list goes on and on!  Even though this seems to be a new trend, it’s actually been around for centuries.  I personally plan on getting another steam as well as trying some DIY techniques.  I would recommend you experiencing a spa service as well as trying a DIY steam which you can find on Pinterest.  Have you incorporated yoni steams into to your self care regiment?  If so what herbal blends do you use?  I’m thinking a quarterly steam will do my body good!  Until next time…

XO,

Meka

Self Love & Self Care

Wife, Mommy, Customer Care Manager…. These were 3 of the hats I wore just a few months ago.  Currently I am on maternity leave so I can drop the CCM hat for now, however I am still a wife and mommy 24/7.  Being a mom is HARD, don’t get me wrong I feel like I have my family routines down pack but it’s not as easy as I make it look.  Just last month I sat down and realized that I have not been to the dentist in….wait for it…… judge me NOT a YEAR! Like seriously a year!  As moms we are constantly making sure that our family has everything, dental appointments for the kids, swim lessons, girl scouts, soccer, annual exams etc.  How on earth did I go an entire year without seeing my dentist?  Luckily I just went last week and all is well! No cavities, no plaque, no problems.

It’s so important to take time to care for yourself especially when you’re a wife, mom or both!  We tend to put our needs on the back burner to provide and care for our family.  So this year I am making it a point to take time out each month for my personal self care!  If I’m not at my best, how can I fully provide and care for my family?  I’ve compiled a list of ideas for the perfect Mommy’s Day Out:

  • Sleep in an extra hour or 2 without regrets
  • Binge on your favorite Nextflix series
  •  Get a facial
  • Treat yourself to a Mani/ Pedi
  • Pack a lunch and have an outing at the park with a good book
  • Take yourself to the movies or call your Momtourage to join you
  • Take a craft class and learn something new
  • Sit on the back porch and color in a coloring book
  • Pull out your journal and write
  • Take a yoga class
  • Try out a new tea or coffee shop
  • Find a nearby walking trail and enjoy nature

These are just a few ideas that I will incorporate into my monthly self care routine, what’s on your list? Until next time…

XO,

Meka