Mar 24

For the Love of Chocolate

Gayle's Chocolates offers chocolate treats for all ages. #fortheloveofchocolate
How do you decide what to do your first night out after popping a kid out? You have a few options, ya know:

  • Go to a hotel with overstuffed pillows and a fluffy comforter… to sleep. All-night-long. Without interruptions. Without a tiny human in your bed. Heck, without your husband if you don’t get down on the cuddle.
  • Go out with the girls and drink yourself into an oblivion… not because you are a lush, more so because you haven’t had a stiff anything in 9 months.
  • Go out to dinner and enjoy a warm meal, consume said meal with two hands, and actually savor the flavors instead of woofing it down like you belong on Orange is the New Black.
  • Go to a wine and chocolate tasting and enjoy quality libations and chocolates. You know, like a responsible adult.

My first night out after having Maverick was a wine and chocolate tasting event at Gayle’s Chocolates with Elie Wine Company. I am sharing the details of my night and giving away a chocolate bunny as part of our partnership. 

Gayle's Chocolates, located in Royal Oak, has a variety of high heel chocolates, the perfect gift for women everywhere! #FortheLoveofChocolate
In case you were wondering, I left Maverick with his dad for my evening of deliciousness. What’s the worst that could’ve happen, right? Well…


Unless you consider me realizing that I need to get out more if I ever want to hold an adult conversation that doesn’t include feeding schedules and bowel movements a bad thing. I like to think of it as my first step back into society. I might have gotten sloshed the first time I went out after Michael, but I was able to drive home from my first chocolate store after Maverick.

Let’s just say aging is doing good things to me… like a fine wine. Ba dum tsk!

Wine and chocolate tasting with Elie Wine Company at Gayle's Chocolates #fortheloveofchocolate
Elie was our tour guide for the majority of the evening. He helped us navigate from Navarra to Port, with pit stops at Arribes, Rioja, Coteaux du Layon, and Pineau des Charentes. All of which were delightful on their own, but I thought only a few were worthy paired with chocolate.

Speaking of chocolate, did you know you should smell your chocolate before taking a bite, like wine? And, you should let chocolate melt in your mouth (not in your hand!) before chomping? And, there is an optimal temperature for storing chocolate, like wine?

How’s that for knowledge? If you’re not learning, you’ve probably croaked!

Gayle's Chocolates is a chocolate store located in Royal Oak, MI #fortheloveofchocolate
I was literally a kid in the candy store. I mean, I was pretty stoked seeing how it was my first time. And there were chocolate dinosaurs, chocolate shoes, chocolate cameras, cases of truffles, and a giant chocolate bunny. A bunny so large it requires its own seat on a plane! For real. Imagine a chocolate bunny chillin’ in the window seat of your flight. That’s a massive bunny!

Oh, and because I think you guys are the coolest cats in town, I am giving away a 2.5 pound chocolate bunny. That isn’t a typo. The prized bunny is two.five pounds. Pounds like lb. You know, 40 ounces.

Happy Easter, you silly rascals!

An evening of wine and chocolate at Gayle's Chocolates in Royal Oak, MI #fortheloveofchocolate

Connect with two fabulous Michigan companies:

Gayle’s Chocolates: There is a real person named Gayle who loves chocolate. Thirty-five years ago, Gayle’s Chocolates was one saucepan on one stove in Huntington Woods, Michigan. It all startedwhen Gayle wanted to find an intensely rich piece of chocolate. She couldn’t find what she was looking for in any store, and decided to make them herself. She wasn’t planning on starting a business, but the rest is history.

Elie Wine Company: Elie started the Elie Wine Company more than twenty years ago, after years in the wine trade. Since then, he has traveled extensively to find new wines, learn face-to-face from the seminal producers of the Old World, and to bring that information and those insights back to Detroit.

*NOTE: You will have just a few hours on 3/25 to confirm your prize. I will be selecting the winner IN THE AFTERNOON so I can send the information to the sponsor that evening. May your fingers be nimble!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Mar 23

Shower Etiquette for Couples

Our shower etiquette tips have been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MySignatureMove #CollectiveBias

Why you should get your man to shower with Irish Spring Signature for Men Hydrating bar soap #MySignatureMove #ad
Is taking a sudsy shower with your spouse on your bucket list? I’m talking about a shower so full of passion that Hugh himself blushes. You know, the kind of shower you see in the movies.

Except, shower scenes from the movies are not based on true stories. They are full of LIES. Lies meant to disappoint eager, young men everywhere.

Just another example of how life isn’t fair.

Watch our Shower Etiquette Tips for Couples:

I forgive you if you are unable to watch our video right now, but you absolutely MUST come back later! Michael is hilarious and we are rocking our birthday suits like seasoned pornstars.

Except, not. Don’t worry, mom, there is no sexy time.

Shower etiquette tips for couples #MySignatureMove #ad
When a man dreams of showering with his lady he doesn’t realize what that REALLY means. Showering with us means you must stand in the cold until our hair is wet, as we rinse out the shampoo, and again when rinse out the conditioner. Are you prepared to make the appropriate sacrifices?

And please tread lightly when it comes to pimples. Just because they are talking smack does NOT mean she wants you to relieve the pressure via force. Unless, of course, you find the doghouse extra cozy. Maybe you do? Maybe it’s outfitted with the latest tech toys, your favorite brewskis, and you are looking for an excuse to be sent there?

Stranger things have happened.

Keep your husband happy by filling your shower with Irish Spring Signature for Men man sized bar soap #MySignatureMove #ad
I feel like the next shower etiquette tip is a no brainer, but I will say it anyway. Please! Please don’t break the first rule of marriage by farting in the shower. Warm, wet farts linger for far too long. Not even manlicious Irish Spring body wash will protect the two of you from the invisible cloud of stank!

Although… the Signature line has man sized bar soap made with natural ingredients and scents that are chockful of lady attractants. They must. I don’t see how they aren’t. They draw me in like a moth to the flame.

Eliminating your man’s stench with Irish Spring Signature for Men Hydrating Body Wash #MySignatureMove #ad
But farting isn’t the mack daddy of all the male faux pas out there. The one thing that will end your shower privileges faster than it takes a loofah to suds up is:

Washing your lady friend with the loofah you just used to wash your butt!

Just, no. Save the dingleberries for your mama!

These shower faux pas happen far too often in our home. It’s disgusting. Disgusting and yet I can’t get enough of the bottles and bars of man scent! Moth. Flame. Remember?

Shopping for Irish Spring at Walmart #MySignatureMove #ad

Purchase one of the new Irish Spring Signature products and get $5 off a VUDU purchase! (I picked mine up from Walmart.) Take a picture of your receipt and then go to to upload your receipt. Next step, enjoy watching!


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Mar 23

Impromptu Brunch Ideas

This impromptu brunch with girlfriends has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #KeepSpringBubbly #CollectiveBias

Enter to win a Canada Dry spring party pack and Walmart gift card.

#keepspringbubbly Sweepstakes

How to throw together an impromptu brunch while the kids are at school #KeepSpringBubbly #Ad
Do you remember the first time you experienced the euphoric feeling of sending your kids to school? The freedom to do whatever you want? The peace and quiet?

I’m sure you do. I’m sure you were like me and just sat there like, “what do I do with myself?”

It’s very similar to the feeling we get as soon as we send them back after a spring break of ‘I’m bored’. You know, because having 50 bajillion toys to play with is clearly not enough.

Put together a brunch tablescape in less than 15 minute #KeepSpringBubbly #Ad
Which is why I feel it is my duty to show you how to host an impromptu brunch for your lady friends. I’m talking like 15 minutes to plan. No purchase necessary. Resulting in an hour of blackberry sangria and grown-up talk.

Of course, I have no idea what grown-up talk is. I assume you talk about work, relationships, and giggle. Not my infant’s lack of sleep habits. Who needs sleep when you have sangria, amirite?

But I digress… It’s time to show you the ways of the last minute party diva.

Mix and match your colored utensils for an impromptu brunch #KeepSpringBubbly #Ad
Start with what you have on hand. No one is judging your paper plates, plastic utensils, and paper napkins. Trust me. Your girlfriends will be over the moon excited to know you are still alive. That motherhood has yet to consume the little slice of you that is reserved for, you know, being you.

And don’t worry about being matchy, matchy. I challenge you to spend one of your late night feeding sessions browsing for color palettes, instead of Facebook stalking, so you see how okay it is to mix and match colors.

Cheese and crackers is an easy dish to serve at your impromptu brunch #KeepSpringBubbly #Ad
Let’s talk about the food. The noms. The yum yums. It makes no difference what you call it these days. The odds of you having something tasty in your fridge are high. I mean, we all can’t be blessed with a garbage disposal of a toddler.

I’m sure the majority of you out there with tiny humans have cheese and crackers in your house. You probably even have a similar medley of berries to serve. Now, I make no promises that you won’t have to go to the grocery store before lunch time, but at least you will feel rejuvenated from your time spent with the girls.

Raid your fridge for assorted berries to serve at your impromptu brunch #KeepSpringBubbly #Ad

Tip: I set this table before jetting off to school so I know cohesion is possible in under 10 minutes. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to keep a few dishes on hand for events such as this. I purchased the jars for my berries, red bowl for the cheese, and the tiny, clear bowls for nuts from the dollar store. Being able to recharge my sanity with a gal pal date is worth buckets of pennies, but I don’t need buckets when I shop smart.

You can serve fresh strawberries or chocolate covered strawberries at your impromptu brunch #KeepSpringBubbly #Ad
I thought about covering the strawberries in chocolate for a sweet treat, but decided against it to prove to the world that an oh-so-pretty party is possible on the fly. Now, challenge aside, I would have absolutely dipped my RED strawberries in ORANGE chocolate because of the colors I choose for my my party. I tend to complicate things because I like chocolate. And wine. And pizza. And…. we don’t have enough time to list them all!

Blackberry Ginger Ale Sangria Recipe:

Ingredients for blackberry ginger ale sangria chardonnay, vodka, and Canada Dry Blackberry Ginger Ale #KeepSpringBubbly #Ad
An easy party plan calls for an easy cocktail, no?

I picked up:

Mix up a delicious blackberry ginger ale sangria for your impromptu brunch #KeepSpringBubbly #Ad
Mix one 2-liter of Canada Dry Blackberry Ginger Ale®, 1/2 bottle of chardonnay, and 1 cup of vodka in a pitcher. Give it a stir before adding a few blackberries.

Serve blackberry ginger ale sangria at your impromptu brunch #KeepSpringBubbly #Ad
Isn’t she a beauty? I promise this blackberry ginger ale sangria tastes as good as it looks. Not only that, but you can prep it the night before to save time the day of your brunch.

So much winning going on!

Greet your husband at the door with a glass of vodka with cute ginger ale ice cubes shaped like stars #KeepSpringBubbly #Ad
And, because I am the best wifey ever, I greeted Michael after work with Canada Dry Ginger Ale® ice cubes shaped like stars that were swimming in a glass of vodka. Let’s just say a ready to drink cocktail helped him look past the mess that was left over from earlier in the day.

Tricks for days, yo!

Shopping for Canada Dry Blackberry Ginger Ale® at Walmart #KeepSpringBubbly #Ad
I spotted the Canada Dry Blackberry Ginger Ale® when I stopped at Walmart to pick up some of the regular ginger ale. As little Michael would say, “It’s tasty good!” Except… he’s never had it. Ha!

Easy brunch ideas for a last minute party with your girlfriends #KeepSpringBubbly #ad
See more great Canada Dry Ginger Ale® recipe ideas on the Canada Dry Ginger Ale® social hub where you can also enter to win a Canada Dry spring party pack and Walmart gift card.

Tell me, what kind of cocktail would you make using Canada Dry Blackberry Ginger Ale® and Canada Dry Ginger Ale®?

Do a girl a favor and pin this impromptu brunch!

Tips for throwing together an impromptu brunch with your girlfriends in under 15 minutes. #KeepSpringBubbly #ad

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Mar 20

Easter Dinner Hostess Hacks

Easter dinner hostess hacks to host a stress free easter meal #HoneyBakedEaster
So you want to host Easter dinner this year?

Did I hear you mention that you have no idea where to begin? Are you wondering what to serve for dinner? How will you decorate the table? What will you put the food in when your entertaining dishes are last night’s pizza box and a leftover burger box? These are serious questions for any hostess!

Which is why I put together a few hostess hacks for you!

If you follow me at all, you know I love me some HoneyBaked Ham for my holiday entertaining! They might have sponsored these hostess hacks, but that means nothing because I would buy their food myself.

Creative place setting hostess hack for Easter dinner #HoneyBakedEaster
Start by looking around your home for items that might pass for serving dishes and decor. I was surprised to learn that I own a single, lonely Easter/spring-ish sort of dish. ONE! And it sure as heck isn’t big enough for a quarter ham. Bummer, dude!

So what’s a party planner to do?

I raided my photo props looking for inspiration. Then, Michael caught me searching for inspiration in party planning space. I even stood in my craft room begging something to make sense! Surely I owned something that would work because I REALLY didn’t want to go shopping with a 6 week old and his 3.5 year old brother. Just, no.

It just so happens that willing things to make sense works when you have party planning powers! Also known as, figuring out what I could use and then picking up a few adorable egg holders to serve as my place settings.

Hostess Hack: Sometimes the best inspiration is time. Spending some quality time thinking about your table will help the ideas flow.

How to plan and prepare for Easter dinner #HoneyBakedEaster
Let’s talk about staging the table for Easter dinner.

I dug this basket out of who knows where and stuffed it with color coordinating Easter stringy stuff. (I have no idea what it’s really called.) Flowers would also work well if you are looking for a more upscale look. I purchased oodles of stringy stuff on clearance last year so a playful centerpiece made more sense.

Hostess Hack: Label each dish with a sticky note so you, and your helpers, know what food goes where. I find that sticky notes help keep my head screwed on when things start to get dicey.

Easter dinner hostess hack for serving ham and turkey #HoneyBakedEaster
Whenever I host a HoneyBaked Ham party, I like to get a bit of ham and turkey to please the masses. I have family members who rave about their ham, and those that get down on the turkey, so having both keeps both armies happy. Knowing that I won’t run out food is a huge motivator, too.

Hostess Hack: It’s okay to go semi-homemade with your meal when the food is tasty and you have a coupon. Your guests would rather spend time with a happy hostess than a frazzled one. Trust me. 

Creative serving dishes for Easter dinner #HoneyBakedEaster
I have to ask… were you able to guess what I used to serve the side dishes in?

Drumroll please………………………………………

I used a set of candy jars from last year’s clearance haul! For real, dudes. I had planned on using the jars to store my craft supplies, but, yeah… life happened.

Hostess Hack: Look at your home decor in a new light when looking for items to use on your table. You never know what you will come up with!

Easy side dishes for Easter dinner #HoneyBakedEaster
I always get good reviews when I serve HoneyBaked Ham’s mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese, so I grabbed a few side dishes to go with the meat. Easy peasy, no?

Simple side dishes for Easter dinner #HoneyBakedEaster
Pair your sides with a bunch of rolls and you have yourself an Easter dinner in a few short hours! There are oodles of perks to a semi-homemade meal.

Easter dinner hostess hacks for the last minute planner #HoneyBakedEaster
Like pretty desserts. Pretty desserts that I didn’t stand in the kitchen for hours making.

Note: Side and Dessert selections may vary by location.

Easter dinner dessert hack for the last minute party planner #HoneyBakedEaster
I might not slave over the gorgeous cheesecake, but I do like to prepare a little somethin’, somethin’ for my guests who don’t eat cheesecake. Which is why I always keep chocolate chips in the house.

See, I told you I would hook you up with some tips! Enjoy the fruits of your not that hard labor.

Hostess Hack: I like to give my guests a few options when it comes to desserts so everyone is able to enjoy a sweet treat. 

Do a girl a favor and pin these Easter dinner ideas!

Host a stress free Easter dinner with these easy hostess hacks #HoneyBakedEaster

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Mar 18

Marvel Avengers Easter Party

This Marvel Avengers Easter party has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DisneyEaster #CollectiveBias

How to throw a Marvel Avengers Party for Easter #DisneyEaster #ad
These days, my aerobics consist of ducking from Captain America’s shield while simultaneously predicting where the next Hulk SMASH will occur. Is there a better way to keep a girl on her toes? I don’t think so!

With Easter right around we all agreed that a superhero Easter party was in order. You know, because tiny humans run my world at the moment. So, without further ado, grab a notepad and prepare to fall in love with these party ideas.

Marvel Avengers party food:

Thor hammer cupcakes for a Marvel Avengers Easter party #disneyeaster #ad
My Thor cupcakes were inspired by a package of giant marshmallows I purchased for another party plan but never used. I buy all the things when I’m party planning and end up with a ton of leftovers. Keep your peepers peeled for the Thor hammer cupcake tutorial!

Note: I created my main tower by placing a red charger on top of a superhero bucket from the Easter section at Walmart.

Hulk hummus for a Marvel Avengers Easter party #disneyeaster #ad
I added a bit of green food coloring to a bowl of hummus and called it Hulk hummus.

Thorburgers for a Marvel Avengers Easter party #disneyeaster #ad
I decided to serve hamburgers for the main course because they can go a few different ways. You can call them Hulk Hamburgers or ‘Thor’burgers. You know, whatever tickles your fancy more.

Captain America and Iron Man cookies for a Marvel Avengers Easter party #disneyeaster #ad
And then there are the cookies.

For the sake of keeping it real… Captain America cookies are not for the faint of heart. Just sayin’. Iron Man cookies? Not that difficult. Captain America cookies? Prepare yourself for hours of decorating. Unless, of course, you know how to decorate cookies better than this party planner. Which is totally possible. I own my faults!

The million dollar question is whether or not I would make Captain America cookies again. I absolutely would! They give the party plan a wonderful, high impact treat that I wouldn’t trade unless I was really strapped for time.

Captain America fruit tray for a Marvel Avengers Easter party #disneyeaster #ad
Which is probably why I opted to accent our party menu with an easy, breezy fruit shield. It doesn’t get much easier than placing fruit on a plate.

Captain America drink for a Marvel Avengers Easter party #disneyeaster #ad
The drinks were inspired by something you would put together for Independence Day.

Captain America drink:

  • Start with Cranberry juice.
  • Add ice.
  • Add blue Gatorade.
  • Add more ice.
  • Top with a lemon-lime soda.

Iron Man drink for a Marvel Avengers Easter party #disneyeaster #ad

Iron Man drink:

  • Start with cranberry juice.
  • Add ice.
  • Top with yellow Gatorade.

Marvel Avengers party decorations:

Captain America shield background for a Captain America party or a Marvel Avengers Easter party #disneyeaster #ad
I am <in love> with this Captain America backdrop! There are a few different ways you can craft something like this for your own Marvel Avengers or Captain America party. All you have to do is pick your preferred method below and hot glue them in whatever pattern you want. Simple.

  • Option 1: Purchase a bunch of shields from the toy section of Walmart.
    • Pros: No DIY required, they look perfect, and you can add them to your costume box. Cons: The shields will increase your party bill.
  • Option 2: Turn red frisbees into shields.
    • Pros: Cheaper. Cons: Time consuming and not as pretty.
  • Option 3: Turn round pizza pans into shields
    • See pros and cons for option 2.

Captain America and Iron Man utensils for a Marvel Avengers Easter party #disneyeaster #ad
I know utensils aren’t exciting, but you need them to eat and drink. That’s just the way things work outside of the caveman era. So, I played up the theme with Captain America and Iron Man colors.

It’s the little things that make your guests go gaga.

Party favor tins for a Marvel Avengers Easter party #disneyeaster #ad
Or it’s the party favors. You know, because they will never admit to loving the party favors, but they sure as heck take theirs home!

Note: I placed a white crate full of superhero garb in the middle of the table so the kids could flex their imagination muscles during the Easter party.

Fun party favor ideas for a Marvel Avengers Easter party #disneyeaster #ad

Marvel Avengers party favors:

  • Marvel tin- Walmart Easter section
  • Pinball toy- Walmart Easter section
  • Marvel candy- Walmart party section
  • Iron Man toy- Walmart toy section
  • Skittles and/or favorite candy- Walmart Easter section
  • Baggy of animal crackers and Avenger cheese crackers- Walmart grocery

How to decorate for a Marvel Avengers Easter party #disneyeaster #ad

Marvel Avengers party activities:

Searching for eggs during a Marvel Avengers Easter party #disneyeaster #ad
And then we partied!

I filled Iron Man Easter eggs with candy, animal crackers, and cheese crackers so there was something for all of my guests to enjoy. We didn’t trek outside because… Michigan, but hiding eggs around the house is just as cool when you are talking toddlers.

What to put in the Iron Man Easter eggs for a Marvel Avengers Easter party #disneyeaster #ad
There were even extra special eggs filled with Iron Man toys.

Decorating eggs with Marvel stickers during the Marvel AvengersEaster party #disneyeaster #ad
I wanted a fun Easter activity for them that did NOT include little bowls of dye, so I picked up a few Marvel Easter sticker sets. The kids loved covering the fake eggs in stickers and I loved my clean table.

Disney Easter baskets for a Marvel Avengers party #disneyeaster #ad
And now for the grand finale!

Because the kids haven’t been spoiled enough already, right? I filled a few wicked cool Easter baskets with an egg kit, puzzle, and coordinating superhero mask. The kids had a blast with their goodies! I’m talking about the type of fun that results in the same puzzle being put together 5 times in one day. Parents everywhere know what I’m talking about.

Baby Maverick is all tuckered out after the Marvel Avengers Easter party #disneyeaster #ad
Even though the tiniest superhero didn’t get to participate in the festivities, he was pretty tuckered out at the end of the day.

Shopping for Marvel Avengers Easter supplies at Walmart #disneyeaster #ad
As I mentioned earlier, I found the majority of my party items in the Easter section at Walmart. Happy hunting!

Do a girl a favor and pin this Marvel Avengers Easter party!

Party food, decorating ideas, and fun activities for a Marvel Avengers Easter party #disneyeaster #ad

Follow Mallery Schuplin’s board Superhero Party on Pinterest.

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Mar 09

Managing a Relapse with Steroids

It all began on February 5th…

That Thursday will likely haunt my dreams for quite some time. It will serve as the traumatic reminder that I am dealing with something very real despite looking ‘normal’. I might not let Multiple Sclerosis define who I am but it sure plays a large and in charge role in my life.

Michael and Maverick at the Institute for Neurological Disorders during my steroid treatment
The first day of steroids was emotional to say the least. I took my time with our final nursing session before our three day pump and dump began. I fought tears the entire drive to the clinic and my mother in law talked about who knows what. I was numb and just wanted to stare out the window.

The nurses put me in a chair that allowed for plenty of privacy (More for the patients than me. You know I’m not modest.) so Maverick could settle into our unfamiliar location with a few guzzles from my breast as they started the iv. I owed him that much and he thanked me with a poopy diaper. So, with my limited mobility, I changed his diaper and made him a bottle.

Proving to myself that moms are capable of anything when it comes to their babies.

Three days of steroids did nothing for me.


Fast forward to the 27th…

I have now had 8 rounds of iv steroids and will start a 7 day oral taper to tide me over until my appointment on March 9th. I feel stronger but I know all too well how short lived steroid protection can be. Not to mention… the false sense of confidence that anyone stuck on bed rest clings to when things get a little better. I want to move around. I need to move around.

I shouldn’t move around.

My appointment has come and gone without a real treatment plan. And, as I continue to wait on Blue Cross to decide whether or not I should be on Tysabri, I’m reminded of how shallow my energy pool is. I can feel my balance slipping away again.

I guess that means I get to keep enjoying my steroid candy diet without guilt? Silver lining, amirite?


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Feb 23

The Final Baby

Pregnancy is the magic pill for Multiple Sclerosis, they say. Your hormones will protect you for 6-8 weeks after delivery, they say.

In a perfect world, sure.

taking my newborn baby to a steroid infusion
But then something unexpected happens.

Instead of pregnancy la-dee-da, they say you are ‘unusual’ and should really consider your health before having more children. Women don’t relapse WHILE PREGNANT, they say. You have two healthy boys and they need a healthy mom, they say.

But. But. But…. (Cue the tears and devastation.)

I want babies. I want a big family full of chaos and comradery. I want my Mia Gene and Mark Julius, maybe even a Mackenzie. I picked out my names and now I can’t use them? That’s not the way this works.

Good, loving moms deserve babies, and squishy babies deserve good mommies.

THAT’S the way this is supposed to work.
feeding my baby while getting a steroid infusion  It’s hard enough for women to come to terms with their baby makers being all dried up (Trust me, I know all about bitchy women when you tell them they are old enough to be in menopause.) so you can imagine how earth shattering it was for a 20 something to hear no-more-babies.

I was in shock. I didn’t know how to process the news outside of crying. I cried. A lot. I holed myself in my room with Maverick and no one, not even his dad, was allowed to hold him. I wanted every curious glance, every snuggle, every finger grab to myself… from… my final baby.

Words typed 10 years too soon.

And then I saw the MRI. I saw the lesion in my brain. I saw the lesions down my spine. I saw the really big jerk face lesion wrecking havoc on my mobility and the strength in my lower body.

So. Many. Lesions.

So, in an attempt to reduce the inflammation, I started another round of steroids. This time the steroids would last five days. Five days of metallic yuck in my mouth. This time they had better provide some sort of relief.

My neuro didn’t want to put me back on Tysabri because my risk for PML was 8.5/1000 before getting pregnant, but we have to. (That’s 8.5 vs something like 1/1000.) We have to go back to Tysabri because it’s aggressive, fast (45 days to begin working) and exactly what I need to get on top of this relapse. But, for no longer than a year.

Why? Because I will switch to a different, newer drug once I have stabilized.

Unless, of course, insurance stops me. Tysabri is a front line treatment these days. Woot! We’ve come a long way since the original PML scare, but insurance is now requiring a reach around before ‘approving’ the drug. Really? Fucking insurance. And I won’t know for at least 2 weeks. Fucking insurance

So, now you know what I didn’t know how to share last week. Now you know why your future pregnancy announcement may trigger the sleeping beast I thought I had under control.

And don’t you dare check your compassion at the door and tell me to be happy with my boys because they are my world. My family is my world. Just let me grieve free of trolls, mmmkay?

Note: More updates and grainy cell pictures to come in a few weeks. I have an emotionally and physically exhausting week ahead of me.

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Feb 16

Feeling Lost

I never imagined ‘do you want to end up a mom in a wheelchair’ would ever be this real. This close. Being confined to my bed with the highlight of my day being going downstairs to eat dinner with my family wasn’t exactly the push present I was shooting for. I was thinking more like a shiny new 105mm f/2.8 or a panty drawer overhaul. You know, frivolous things because walking… who worries about walking?

This girl.

coping with a multiple sclerosis relapse after having a baby

Here are the updates I am willing to share right now. I refuse to speak of one because it can’t be real. Writing about it makes it real and… I can’t. It hurts too much.

I had 3 days of IV steroids without any improvement. I had brain, cervical, and thoracic MRIs done but only know the results from my brain- there is an active lesion on my temporal lobe. I had a new JC Virus draw done but my number wasn’t available before I left last Wednesday.

I’m stuck in Multiple Sclerosis limbo. Or hell. Same difference.

And yet, none of the answers I seek would help me right now because my appointment isn’t until the 23rd. I still have an entire week before I can begin to put this dreadful experience behind me.

For the first time in my 8+ years of being diagnosed, Tysabri isn’t the default answer and I don’t know what to do. For the first time in my Multiple Sclerosis journey, I feel lost.

Lost and still thankful for so much. Like only needing a walking aid, not a wheelchair.

Note: Please forgive how rough this post is. I wanted to share what I could for those of you following along. Thank you for every comment, well wish, and share. It means a lot to this old bird.

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Feb 10

Sip and See Party

This sip and see party has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WarmUpYourDay #CollectiveBias

Yellow and white spring themed Sip and See party that is easy to turn into a bridal shower. #WarmUpYourDay #Ad
Have you heard the news? Maverick Bradley was born on 1/29/15! Hooray for happy, healthy babies!

And because there is no better excuse for a party, I put together a gender neutral sip and see party that can also be used for a beautiful spring bridal shower. How’s that for versatile? Wedding season is upon us, and people are forever having babies, so you might as well invest in a party theme you can reuse. Amirite or amirite?

Simple spring table decorations for a sip and see party that is easy to modify for a bridal shower. #WarmUpYourDay #Ad
I had a feeling the spotlight would be on my newest squish versus my decorations so I kept things simple and full of impact. Meaning, all I did was dress the table in a spring fabric, a single faux bloom arrangement, and a delicious party favor.

No place settings. No china. No crystal stemware.

This party was all about our tiny human. (Or the bride to be. Or the mom to be.)

Create a mimosa bar using 100 Florida orange juice and Cook's spumante for your next sip and see party or bridal shower #WarmUpYourDay #Ad
Let’s talk about the sip portion of the party, mmmkay?

I made a mini mimosa bar using 100% Florida orange juice, peach juice, and bottles of Cook’s spumante. We both know guests appreciate options when it comes to cocktails so I always try to offer two variations of my signature cocktail. Just call me a people pleaser.

And, if you like monkey bread made with cinnamon rolls, you should try making a batch of monkey bread with the pecan caramel sweet rolls from Pepperidge Farm. You won’t be disappointed.

Optional: Feel free to set out bowls of fresh fruit if your guests like their drinks extra fruity.

Filling the champagne flutes before your guests arrive is a great way to help your sip and see party guests get their drinks #WarmUpYourDay #Ad
I added a bit of youthful charm to the grown-up champagne flutes with polka dot and striped paper straws. It might sound weird but cute straws add oodles of fun to every type of beverage. Try it. I dare you.

Create faux cupcakes out of Pepperidge Farm pecan caramel sweet rolls #WarmUpYourDay #Ad
Now, we all know it’s not a party without cupcakes. Just, no. Sorry.

Even though this sip and see party plan is full of easy breakfast ideas using sweet rolls, I still served faux cupcakes. Here’s how…

How to make cupcakes out of pecan caramel sweet rolls by Pepperidge Farm #WarmUpYourDay #Ad

  • Start by unrolling one of the pecan caramel sweet rolls and ripping it almost in half.
  • Roll the smaller section back up and place it in the bottom of the cupcake liner. Top the small roll with the leftover, bigger portion of the sweet roll.
  • Put a dollop of the sugar mixture on top of the ‘cupcake’, much like frosting, and spread it out with a spoon.
  • Sprinkle a few pecans on top of the faux frosting and bake at 375 for 18 minutes.

Create an apple open faced pastry our of Pepperidge Farm apple cinnamon sweet rolls #WarmUpYourDay #Ad
OK, so you might be wondering where the catch is? You probably don’t believe a party this simple is possible. I mean, monkey bread is so easy to make that my toddler could do it, and the cupcakes? The faux cupcakes took longer to cook than I spent creating them.

True story.

So much so that I created another scrumptious sweet roll dish. Here’s how…

How to make an open face pastry using apple cinnamon sweet rolls by Pepperidge Farm #WarmUpYourDay #Ad

  • Unroll one of Pepperidge Farm’s apple cinnamon sweet rolls and rip it in half.
  • Create the bottom of the pastry by pressing the pieces into a spiral in a pie pan. If needed, use an additional 1/3-1/2 of a second sweet roll to get the appropriate size.
  • Cut an apple into small pieces and add about a ½ cup to the center of the pastry. Add half of the fruit packet from the package of sweet rolls before spreading the apple mixture out.
  • Finish off the open face pastry by taking the unused portion of the sweet roll and stretching it around the edge of the circle. Once the piece is in place, press the top into the bottom to eliminate any seams.
  • Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

Pair your sip and see party pastries with fresh fruit and personal details #WarmUpYourDay #Ad
Adding personal touches, like pictures of the new baby, is the main reason why you don’t have to go crazy with decorations. People love the little details.

Also, pairing the sweet roll dishes with oranges and blueberries gives your guests more options in the grub department without veering from the breakfast theme.

Turn a yellow and white party theme into a sip and see party with a simple diaper bunting #WarmUpYourDay #Ad
The bunting is the main detail that will have to be adjusted to fit the shower/sip and see theme. For this sip and see party, I rolled up diapers and wrapped them with a fabric duct tape. It took me maybe a whole 10 minutes.

Note: Stick with something fitting of the guest of honor’s personality for a bridal shower.

Edible party favors for a yellow and white sip and see party theme #WarmUpYourDay #Ad
Did you know- the odds of your guests forgetting their party favor is pretty dang high? I’m talking like don’t spend a ton of cash on them unless it’s a favor you want for yourself. Like chocolate. Chocolate is typically my go to for party favors so I can smash the forgotten treats.


Create a sip and see party with easy breakfast ideas using Pepperidge Farm sweet rolls #WarmUpYourDay #Ad
Oh… and… don’t come crying to me if you all you are left with are a few dirty dishes and wrappers. That’s what happens when the grub is tasty good!

Finding Pepperidge Farm sweet rolls at Walmart #WarmUpYourDay #Ad
I found the Pepperidge Farm sweet rolls tucked in between a plethora of competitor items at Walmart. And let me tell you, they are well worth the browsing! Depending on the number of guests at your party, these easy breakfast ideas will keep your menu fun and within budget!

Do a girl a favor and pin this sip and see party!

Easy breakfast ideas for a yellow and white sip and see party that will also work for a bridal shower #WarmUpYourDay #Ad

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Feb 09

Life in a Multiple Sclerosis Relapse

I am a prisoner of Multiple Sclerosis. A prisoner of my own body.

Just this afternoon I convinced my eager toddler he shouldn’t shower with me because my legs were tired. When he asked why, I told him I didn’t want to fall and hurt him. A sentence no parent should ever have to tell their child.

And, for the first time in ages, he didn’t throw a tantrum. He said okay and played in the bathroom before taking one of his man-child poops.

Moms in a Multiple Sclerosis relapse manage however they can
Then, as I realized there was nothing to hold on to, my legs began to falter and a mild panic washed over me. For a brief moment I was reminded of how I broke the towel bar during my last relapse. So, I did what I thought was logical and sat down to wash my face. The final, and probably the most dangerous, step in my shower routine because I have to close my eyes while standing.

But then… I couldn’t stand back up.

My legs no longer worked and my heart started to race.

(This is where the movies insert dramatic music.) How do I explain this to Michael if he pokes his head around the wall? Will it scar him to see me like this? Will this foil all of my attempts to shield him from Multiple Sclerosis?

I tried bracing myself with the edge of the tub. Fail. I tried leaning over the side of the tub and pulling my legs over like the creepy girl climbing out of the well in that scary movie. Fail.

Meanwhile, Michael had finished pooping and needed me to wipe his butt. Awesome.

I hollered for big Michael. Nothing. The bathroom door was closed as he watched Star Trek in the other room with a baby on his chest. Not to mention, my toddler gopher had poop hanging from his butt cheeks so I wasn’t able to send him to get his dad. That meant I needed to talk myself back from the ledge and figure this out on my own. As I should. I refuse to be a burden.

The motivation behind not wanting my child see me wet, naked, and unable to move was fierce. I might have made all sorts of grunting noises and wanted to cry my eyes out, but I got out of the shower unharmed. I got out and crawled to the toilet so I could wipe Michael’s butt.

Because that’s what moms do. We wipe our toddler’s butt when asked.

Once Michael scurried off to play, I managed to pull myself up with the help of the toilet. I was determined to get to the couch in my room. At least then I would be able to cool down enough and walk again. My warden owed me that much.

There was so much determination, quiet tears, and rubber legs in my short walk. Even though my efforts didn’t make the trek easier.

And then I made it to my room, only pausing in the door to gather myself before moving to the couch.

I avoided any and all eye contact with big Michael because I didn’t want to remember his face at that moment. I didn’t need to see the worry on his face. His look of fear is one I have a hard time forgetting, and I didn’t want a fresh one for my nightmares. I have enough of those types of faces locked away in my brain for a lifetime.

I might not want my helplessness to define me, but I really don’t want to remember the looks of fear. I can’t. There is too much life to live. I have babies to raise and vacations to not super warm destinations to take.

Note: There is more to this story but the stories are delayed because I have to process things internally before sharing them with you. Thank you for your patience.


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