Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Way to be offensive, Target.

Hi, I'm Melody, and I love Target... even though I'm incredibly angry at them right now.

I can get everything I need for me, my kids, my husband, my pets, and my house in one convenient location! As a stay at home mom, it's really helpful to be able to go to one place and get everything I need, especially since I have to run most errands with my kids. My husband hates it because he thinks I spend too much money there... but it's only because they have e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.!!!

I'm a typical 28 year old stay at home mom... we live in Southern California, we own our home, I have a son and a daughter, I dye my hair (because gray hair -for me- sucks), and I have tattoos.

I'm all for tattoo acceptance and tolerance, among other things. So guess my surprise when my friend posted a picture of a Halloween Costume marketed towards men.

I'm posting the link and screenshot, straight from Target's website.


I'm sorry outraged, WHAT IS THIS? What is this supposed to mean? You give a guy an orange button up shirt and a set of tattoo sleeves and now he's a "prisoner?" This is a "prisoner" kit? Why is this okay? Why do you think this is an appropriate costume? Why are we still associating tattoos with "prisoners?" 

Tattoos are (almost always) beautiful pieces of art, created for the owner. They mean something to the owner, created either by them or the artist.

 I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister, cousin, granddaughter, and niece. I have 14 tattoos, and every single one is so, so important to me. I've designed most of them, and a couple were designed by my artist, with a specific vision in mind. They are me, it's my heart on my sleeve

Your doctor might have tattoos. Your attorney may have tattoos. Your grandfather might have tattoos. Your best friend might have tattoos. As of 2012, one in five adults has a tattoo. In the last 2 years, it's gone up 13%, and approximately 30% of the US population has a tattoo.

It's 2014. Can we please stop judging people for having tattoos?

Haven't we made it clear that anyone can have tattoos? No...? Well here you go:

ANYONE CAN HAVE TATTOOS. 

Target, this is offensive. I hope you realize that, now. With all the other judgmental crap going on in the world, why dp you go to tattoos? Come on...

Please, stop judging people with tattoos.

Stop it.

stop it.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Guest Entry: My Weight Loss Journey, by Mike Calvert

Hi everyone!! I'm very excited to have the most important man in my life share a contribution on my blog.

Over the last 6 years, my husband has gone from smoking 3-4 packs a day, to gaining weight (up to 300 lbs!), to being medicated for the rest of his life, to losing over 140 lbs.

Last month, I had seen a few articles with the Huffington Post from other people telling their weight loss stories. I suggested my husband write his own story, just so he could have it and re-read it if he needed motivation in the future. Well, maaaybe I sent it to Huffington Post ;) There is no way this man's story wouldn't be inspirational to others, and if your story can change someone's life for the better, why not share it?

They loved what he wrote, and they published it this morning, though they compressed his story for length.

Here is the full, uncompressed story from the most amazing man I know, my husband, Mr. Michael Calvert!!

-----

My Weight Loss Journey


Name: Mike Calvert
Age: 29
Height: 5'11"
Before Weight: 300 pounds

I was 20 when I met my wife. I had been smoking like a chimney for almost a decade, and I had no aspiration of quitting or doing anything differently. A couple years later, when she started having allergic reactions and her health was impacted just by me smoking, I knew I had to stop.
That was probably the hardest thing I’ve mentally and physically had to do.
In 2007, as a New Year’s Resolution, I made the decision to quit, “Cold Turkey.” I started cutting back, and then in March, I threw the pack away. I was good for about 3 months, and then I relapsed.
I had a cigarette on the 4th of July.
The first time I quit, it was for my wife. She never asked me to quit, but I did it because of her, for her and her health. She helped me realize that I needed to do this for myself, and not for anyone else. This was a decision and a lifestyle change I consciously needed to make.
In March of 2008, I quit again. Cold turkey, again. But this time, I did it.

Why did I tell you that? To lead me to how I gained my weight.

How I gained My Weight:
After I quit smoking, I could actually taste. I tasted food, drinks, snacks… anything meant for consumption, I consumed, because it didn’t taste like ash. I absolutely loved food. I also didn’t have a little stick of cancer making my metabolism run through the metaphoric roof, so my body took a lot longer processing everything that I was eating. That year, I spent fully enjoying food, and the next year, my wife got pregnant with our first child, which led to sympathy weight gain. It just happened, no one really paid too much attention to it, but I went from a 26 waist to a 46 waist.

Breaking Point:
I saw a picture of me and my son and realized I hated the way I looked.
When I was 20, I was a skinny 140 lb guy, and in 2 years had more than doubled my weight to 300 lbs at my heaviest. It felt foreign, and unacceptable. I didn’t like the way I looked, and I knew I had to change.  Then, with perfect timing, during a company Christmas party a couple of co-workers suggested we participate in a “Biggest Loser” type of event, and we would add some monetary value to sweeten the deal.
I am usually a type to think things over, but at that moment, I took it. I saw it as an opportunity to change and I took it.
I put $200 in the pot.
I’m not a competitive person, I just wanted to give myself motivation. So we started week one and I weighed myself in. I started a simple diet with a simple plan of walking every day at lunch with friends who were doing it too.
Slowly people quit off for one reason or another, whether they got hurt or they didn’t want to walk at the pace. In the end there was one other person with me through the whole thing.
I stuck through and beat the competition by losing 20% and weighed in at 215 pounds.

Just like when I quit smoking and relapsed, I did the same with my weight-loss journey. I reached my goal and felt great and started eating again. But, just like smoking, I did it for the wrong reason the first time.
While the weight-loss was for myself, it was for my image, and not for my health. I wanted to look better, and I wanted people to see me differently. Work was stressful, home life was stressful, we just had another baby, we were saving to buy a house.
Within a year, I was right back up to 270.
Along with the weight gain that stress brought on, I also started having anxiety and panic attacks, only I didn’t know that at the time.
During one such anxiety attack, I thought I was actually having a heart attack. I had my wife pick me up and drive me straight to my doctor’s office. He told me no heart attack, but I had a text book definition of anxiety, and I also had high cholesterol.
He started me on Lipitor, and basically I’d have to be on it for the rest of my life.
That’s where it got serious for me.
I had an amazing wife, two beautiful children—a boy and a girl. We have a wonderful life, and I wanted to be around for everything it has to offer. My maternal grandfather had died of a heart attack, and my uncle had just gotten out of the hospital from a heart attack. Dying was literally the last thing on the list of things I want to do in life. I knew Lipitor wasn’t going to fix it, but being medicated really hit a nerve with me. It really changed my way of thinking.
Just like smoking, this was a decision and a lifestyle change I consciously needed to make.

How I Lost It:
Just like before, I started with eating well and walking. I kept a food diary of literally every single thing I ate or drank, all day, every day. I drank more water than I probably have in my entire life, and I also was very loyal to taking my vitamins.
This time I also ended up running! My wife purchased me a second-hand commercial treadmill as a surprise and it really helped to motivate me and get me going. I also joined a fitness group online to help keep me accountable and motivated. I downloaded apps on my iPhone to help me do pushups, sit ups, squats, and pull ups.
Eventually, I participated in a 5k and a 10k… what a great feeling that was! But the best was on May 4, 2014-- I completed the OC Half-Marathon in less than two hours, with my family and friends cheering me on at the finish line, wearing shirts they made for me. 


After Weight: 155 lbs

I have lost a total of 145 lbs in my journey.
My goal is to maintain my weight and gain muscle mass.
Though I have been mostly running, I’m interested in biking and swimming, and hope to complete a triathlon one day!
I am proud to be an involved, active father and positive role model for my children, happy to be a healthier and happier man for my wife, and proud of myself for doing something I wasn’t sure was even possible.

I truly love my life and value everything I have. It is worth living for.





Facing A Family History Of Heart Attacks, Mike Calvert Lost 145 Pounds, via the Huffington Post
-----

Friday, August 8, 2014

"Big, Bad, Scary" Facebook Messenger


I've had at least 20 friends on my facebook newsfeed show honest concern and fear with the recent changes to the facebook mobile app and being 'forced' to download the facebook messenger app. Most of them have been referring back to one Huffington Post article, "The Insidiousness of Facebook Messenger's Mobile App Terms of Service," written by Sam FiorellaPartner, Sensei Marketing; Author, Influence Marketing.

First off, let me start by saying-- this guy is obviously aware of what he is saying. He's a marketing professional, using trigger words as scare tactics to get you riled up about the big scary changes facebook made and continues to make.

Now, on to the meat of the issue. Facebook does not and will not control your phone... the app permissions are generic, and fall in line with other popular apps you may already have on your phone. All this means is that the app will control certain features of your phone when you click on them, within the app itself.

 

 

Example 1: In-App Camera
When it says the app will control all functionality of the phone's camera, it means that the camera is being used with the app, not that the camera will turn on and take pictures randomly. A lot of other camera apps share the same permission. Without the permissions, the app itself would error out and fail to work if you clicked on the photo feature.

Example 2: In-App Voice Record
When you choose to use the voice recorder, it means the app will control the functionality of the microphone of your phone, and record whatever it is you're recording, and send the recording as soon as you're done recording, without you needing to do anything else with the phone. It doesn't mean the app will randomly start recording your voice at any given moment. Other voice recording apps share the same permission.

They are very generic permissions, and a lot of facebook-change-haters are hopping on the bandwagon again, to nay-say and scare everyone out of supporting the newest change to facebook. All they do is bold the scary wording and leave out the simpleness of it all. They don't show you just how many apps are worded exactly the same way.

This is one comment that I happen to agree with, and also happens to have a reply from the article's author:


Again, you will see him using words and phrases (once you give permission, automatically, hacker) to give you an uneasy feeling. It's important to know that when you download an app and give it the specific permissions it needs to work, it is given strictly to that app and that app alone. The permissions do not carry over to other apps under the developer, the permissions are not applicable to any other app in your library, and the permissions do not allow a developer to pull your information via the app and implant it anywhere else.

Example 3: Outlook Email
Outlook is an app on your computer. It is an email service application. That app uses the information from other email services (such as your company's email, yahoo, gmail, and hotmail) to be fed through it. That doesn't mean that Excel or PhotoShop will have your email contact information. That doesn't mean I can get your information from Outlook. It just means you can use all your email addresses in one place, out of convenience.

I'm not an author or professor or licensed professional... I'm not an employee of facebook, I'm just using my head. I'm offering a common sense response to someone who is clearly trying to scare the masses of facebook, and sadly, it seems to be working.

Disagreeing with me is fine, but saying mean, rude, or hurtful things is not. If you have questions for me, I'm here. If you have questions about the app, contact facebook!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

...did my time machine work?

A music video from the year 2000 is trending on facebook right now. Why? How? What? HUH?

Yeah, I really don't even know.

The music video is "Nobody Wants To Be Lonely" by Ricky Martin and Christina Aguilera.

I KNOW! I agree with you, but I still don't know why it's trending!!?!!


Either facebook is trying out something weird, their trend machine is broken, or my time machine is kinda like the TARDIS... it doesn't take me where I want to go, it takes me where I need to go.


New question: Why do I need to go back to the year 2000?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Creativity Takes Courage

I always have ideas in my mind, but I'm usually too nervous or scared to bring them to life.

I used to sew with my grandmother as a kid, but I've never done it on my own. She always helped bring my ideas to fruition, and really helped me see them throgh to completion. We made clothes, hemmed formal dresses, and made lots of costumes.

Since she passed away 6 years ago, I've limited myself and what I think I can do.

Now that I have a family of my own, I decided I needed to just get a sewing machine.

I was so lucky and got the exact machine I wanted (Brother CS6000i) for Mother's Day, from my amazing husband.

I really wanted it, but I didn't know where to start or what to do. I did a lot of research and read every single review I could find. When it arrived, I left it in the box. I didn't even want to open the box without having a good knowledge of what to do with it. I was NOT going to mess this up! I downloaded a digital copy of the instruction manual, and read it like a book before bed every night. I watched youtube how-to videos. I even signed up for sewing classes that will be starting in about a week!

I've had this machine for a month, in the box, waiting for me in the garage. I figured I should meet it before I have to sit in class with it for a couple hours every week.

Tonight, I opened it.

I took it out very carefully. I looked everything over to make sure it was just as I had read. It was like I knew it without ever meeting it before!

I set it up on my covered patio and stared at it for a little while. It really is daunting!! I was so afraid of something going wrong.

First thing's first, I had to make a bobbin.

I pulled out the spool holder, stuck my spool on the spindle, wrapped the thread around, laced it through the bobbin holes, stuck the bobbin on the bobbin spindle, and snapped it into place. The only thing left to do was push the go pedal and hold on tight to the string!

It whirrrrred away, and I watched the thread quickly spiral up and down, filling the bobbin with shiny white thread.

Oh my god, I did it! My grandma would be so proud!!

Next, I had to actually thread the machine. Spiral, down, up, down, and through the needle... wooooo! I did that, too!

My machine does have some fancy auto-thread thing, but I couldn't figure that part out. Oh well, I threaded it just fine.

I popped the bobbin in the table area, and threaded that through with no problem.

I grabbed a strip of plain purple scrap cotton fabric and decided to give it a go...

I did it! I totally cheered myself on in my head.

I folded fabric, I sewed line after line, and I even back stitched them.

I proudly showed my husband the simple lines I did and he showered me with praise. Even my 4 year old was like, "Wow! Good job, Mommy!"

I'm so excited for my sewing class to start, and I can't wait to "Make all the things!!"

It feels good to know I have the courage to be creative. I don't want to limit myself or what I am capable of, and I'm ready to keep moving forward.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My Heart's In Overdrive


There are a lot of things in the world that make me crazy. A lot of things that stress me out. A lot of things that make me feel like if they happen one more time I'm seriously going to explode or freak out or turn into Katie Kaboom or I don't know, just lose it. Whatever 'it' is, it will be lost.

I'm a mom of two kids not yet in school. My house is always a mess. My kitchen is tiny and I rarely get to cook. No matter how much laundry I do, there's always more. My dog sheds so much, I don't know how she still has fur. The only quiet time I get is after 11pm, after starting the day at 6:30am. I almost always have a headache. Something is always happening. Always.

My life is a roller coaster. Sometimes I'm giggling at the adrenaline rush, sometimes I'm screaming at the loops, it twists, it turns, I hold my breath and wait for it to drop again, going a million miles an hour, I just throw my hands up and go with it. It's fun, it's scary, and it's crazy. There are moments that rush you, and moments that take your breath away.

In all of this crazy I have going on constantly, there's one thing that makes my life just stand still for a second. It feels like those pictures where everything is moving except for one thing standing perfectly still... It's the one thing that makes me stop and shhh and wait. It pulls the stress away, it makes me breathe, it makes me calm. Except the thing isn't a "thing," and it isn't an "it." The one is my husband. My best friend. My world.

He is the best thing that has ever happened in my life.

When I met him, he was the 4th person I had been tossed to that day. We were at work, customer service for Arbonne International. It was my first day on the job with actual real-life training, but every person before hadn't been on the right time schedule, so they kept moving me around. I remember seeing him that morning and thinking he was kinda cute, but by the time I got to him, I was annoyed, snarky, and sarcastic. He was still cute, and also shy and sweet. He smelled like cigarettes and cologne, he wore clothes that were too big for him, and he had slicked back hair that sometimes fell in his eyes. He was calm and talked low, and he was so kind to the little old ladies on the phone... I can't tell you how many of them wanted to introduce their granddaughters to him.

I said something once that made him laugh... oh that laugh. That smile. The way he covered his mouth and leaned in to the laugh, holding his stomach... his eyes sparkled. It was the greatest thing I'd ever seen, and it hit me hard. I knew, even if "nothing happened," we'd always be a part of each other's lives.

After a couple days of training, early morning start times, smoke breaks (he would smoke, I just pretended), lunch hours, and overtime, I got my own desk and computer. He was down the aisle one over from me, and I had to look way over my shoulder to see him. I missed him already. I didn't know how he felt, but I'd pretty much fallen for him. I didn't know what to do, so I sent him an email. One line. No subject.

"You know you miss me :)"

I heard his quiet laugh right after I sent it, and I looked over my shoulder to see him looking up at me smiling...

We were married 3 months later, July 8, 2006.

We've struggled together, survived together, had fun together, and have grown up together. We have experienced loss and life. Friends have come and gone. Babies, pets, jobs, cars, and living situations.

For the last 8 years, this man has been making me laugh with his one liners, cry over his sincerity, fight with heart, and love with every ounce of my being. With just one look, one smile, one hug, one kiss, him holding my hand, just being with me... everything that could ever stress me out or make me crazy just melts away.

I sooooooooooo love my husband, you guys. I love him more than Dr. Pepper, Classic Barbies, photography, and coffee ice cream. I love him more than sandwiches and Disneyland and the Wedge. I love him more than red lipstick, classic cars, and tattoos.

I love him...

...k, gonna go cuddle him now.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Product Review: ALMAY Longwear & Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover Pads

Product: 
  • Almay Longwear & Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover Pads
Product Description:
  • Almay oil-free gentle eye makeup remover pads are part of Almay, the number 1 eye makeup remover brand in America, which offers a full line of makeup removers to meet the needs of your skin and eyes. Gentler than soap and water, Almay Makeup Removers condition skin while removing makeup without irritation.
Pros:
  • Removes Waterproof Makeup
  • Removes spray paint from hands
Cons:
  • Extremely oily
  • Small and thin pads
  • Awkward container
  • Difficult to take out just one pad
  • Leaves oily residue, and oil seeps into eyes
My Experience:
I got this product because I had a coupon to get it for free. I figured, hey, why not, I like trying new products, especially if it has anything to do with makeup! I like Almay's cosmetics, so I thought this would be a win. It was not. :(
Basically, there's nothing I love about the makeup remover pads. They're an oily mess. I understand the necessity for an oil-based makeup remover to get the waterproof type of makeup off... but this is probably the most oily product I have ever used, next to baby oil. At least when I used baby oil, I knew what I should expect.
There was nothing gentle about this wipe. Nothing conditioning. You're supposed to use this on your eyes, to remove waterproof eyeliner and mascara. Due to the natural flow of the sensitive skin in the eye area, everything around the eye goes straight to the eye. Yeah, that means I got eyes full of oil, and it didn't go away 'til I woke up. It's uncomfortable to try and focus your eyes on anything after using the pads.
The only good thing that I discovered was that it removes spray paint from your hands. I'm assuming the oils in it just lift the paint off your skin.
I know they make an oil-free makeup remover pad, but I do use waterproof makeup, so I was hoping this would be awesome. It really wasn't.

Bottom Line:
  • I'll keep the product for those cleaning emergencies, post-craft-time. Other than that, I will NEVER use this product on my face ever again.

Hated it!

Disclaimer: No one paid me for my review, and no one gave me the product. I received it for free with a coupon.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Update on the Open Letter to Heavenly Couture

If you were around yesterday, you probably saw my Open Letter to Heavenly Couture. I had a terrible experience in one of their stores, was discriminated against because of my size, and was left feeling humiliated, ashamed, and hurt.

Quite a few people shared and tweeted the blog post and it caught the attention of Heavenly Couture owner and founder, Justin Ha.

I was contacted via Twitter, and a phone call between myself and Mr. Ha occurred just moments ago.

Let me just say this was by far the BEST experience I have had, counteracting the terrible one a few days ago. Mr. Ha was appalled at the behavior of his employees, and profusely apologized. He was empathetic to the discrimination I received, and made leaps and bounds to remedy the situation I experienced.

On Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, I was ready to chalk this situation up to "Life Experience," forget Heavenly Couture ever existed, and move on with my life.

Today, I am glad I wrote the letter, I am glad I had the courage to say something, I am glad it caught the attention of the company, and I'm glad people like Justin Ha exist. He truly has restored my faith, and I think  I will visit Heavenly Couture in the future!

Justin Ha, THANK YOU. Sincerely. Thank you.
You are what an owner should be. You had the courage to contact me. You were not only sympathetic, but empathetic. You wanted to make it right. You wanted to make sure I understood this is not how you want your stores to be run or your customers treated. I am proud of you and I commend you.



Monday, April 7, 2014

An Open Letter to Heavenly Couture

To Whom It May Concern:

I was in the Balboa Island Heavenly Couture store over the weekend. It was the first time I'd heard of or seen your store, and I saw a dress in the window that I really liked and wanted to get for my sister.

Unfortunately, this isn't a letter of praise.

I had a terrible time in the store, and it was due to the sales associate's apparent issue with my appearance.

I am not a typical "Heavenly Couture" girl. I'm 28, I am happily married to a wonderful man, we have two beautiful children, and we own our home. I typically wear jeans and T shirts (in 2X) with sandals almost every day, and I am far from having a couture style.

Your associates made it clear I wasn't supposed to be there.

I walked in to an empty store, meaning there were no other customers shopping in there. I got a very bland, "welcome to heavenly couture." from one of the girls; they were both in the back of the store talking, and it looked like I inconvenienced them when I walked in.

After the welcome, I asked about the dress in the window. They both actually, visibly, looked me up and down, looked at each other, and then said they were out of it; someone bought the last one that day. I said alright, and looked around the store a little bit because I thought there were some cute accessories in there!

Not once did I receive any help, no one asked me what I was looking for, no one checked to see if I was finding everything okay, it was probably the worst service I've ever had.

The best part? I saw a few of the dresses I was looking for in the back area by the associates.

Anyone who lives in Orange County knows how truly diverse this place is, despite what television and movies have made it out to be. We know there are different people, different women, all shapes, sizes, colors, races, orientations, professions, perfections and imperfections. This place is amazing, and yet, there are still so many close-minded people, women, ready to shoot down anyone that doesn't fit their idea of what a person or woman should be.

I didn't come in to the store for myself. I was certain there wouldn't be anything in there for me to wear. I went in to find something for someone else, and, regardless of why I was shopping there, I left feeling two inches tall, discriminated against, and incredibly self-conscious of my appearance.

I have a younger sister, a daughter, and a niece. I have cousins and friends. I am a role model for quite a few females in my life, and, after leaving your Balboa Island store location, I felt like a wilted flower, incapable of inspiring anyone to be the best person they can be. Incapable of telling others how beautiful they are in their own skin. Incapable of loving myself for who I am.

It's a sad situation, and it gave me an emotional cocktail I haven't had in a while. I was humiliated, sad, angry, hurt, unhappy, betrayed, mad at myself for looking the way I do, and just so self-conscious. No person should ever feel like that. No girl should ever be influenced by another person to feel that way about herself.

It took me a little while, even with the help and encouragement of my husband and friends, to remember that I am beautiful, I am proud of myself, and my body is wonderful for all it has done. But a lot of girls don't have the support system I have. They don't have a loving significant other, they don't have really close friends, they don't have supportive parents or family members... and those girls won't recover as quickly as I did.

Basically, there's one HUGE point I'm trying to make right now with this letter:
It's not fair to treat people the way I was treated, and you don't have to do that.

It's not difficult to be kind, there's no stress in being a nice person, and it's actually better for you, as an individual, to be kind to others.

I really hope you take the time to educate your employees on what it takes to work in a clothing store. You never know who your customer is going to be, and you should treat people with respect.

I truly hope this never happens again to any person ever, especially a potential customer thinking about shopping in your store.


“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”


― Maya Angelou



Sincerely,

Melody Calvert


P.S. to anyone reading this Open Letter, don't forget how wonderful you are. You are beautiful, strong, talented, and amazing, and I wish you nothing but the best for you in your life. Don't forget that everything amazing starts with loving yourself. Love yourself first, and everything will fall into place!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

DIY Lego Table!


If you kids are anything like mine, I'm sure they love building with Legos. It's good for their brain development, it teaches them math, architecture, and science, and it also helps build their imagination, social skills, and fine motor skills. Legos are great for girls and boys, and really all ages!

With that being said, my kids are pretty much in love with Legos. My son is obsessed. He has all the books, all the video games, knows all the videos on Netflix, and just started playing with real Legos (not Duplo). We saw the Lego Movie a couple weeks ago-- he just can't get enough. Which is awesome, because his birthday is this weekend.

While my husband and I were talking about what we wanted to get him for his birthday presents this year, he brought up the idea of a Lego table. I thought it was a great idea! Gives him a place to sit and play without having them strewn about all over the floor (hey, a mom can dream, right?), and a level place to build. I looked into them, and they go for anywhere between $40 and $300! You've got to be kidding me. That's when it hit me... I could totally do something like this. Or I could at least try! It might turn out pretty cool, ya never know.

I talked to my husband about me making him a Lego table, and he was totally into it. It's cool, I could make it custom, just for him, and know that no one else has one like it!

I decided to modify or "hack" the LATT Children's Table from Ikea, because it's $20, and comes with two chairs. I stuck with the primary colors, and used spray paint.

Photo step-by-step:

Ikea children's table comes with two chairs, $20
Lay down a plastic sheet (to protect your ground!), lay out your items, and group them how you'd like to paint them. It helps to keep it separated.
Sand all the pieces! I promise, it makes a big deal. There was one spot on one where I didn't sand very well, and the paint kept sliding off. I had to let it dry and re-sand that area. Don't go crazy, just take off all the "smooth" areas, and make it slightly gritty, so the paint will stick.
yellow, red, blue (and green, soon!)
It was so easy, and fun!
This is the paint I used. I got it at Michael's craft stores, but I ended up needing 2 cans of red, and 2 of the blue. The surface area was larger on those pieces.
I got the seats and table top painted green.
4 flat base plates from the Lego store. This was the perfect amount... the guy tried telling me to only buy 3, but I got 4 "just in case" ...I ended up using all but a couple strips and one tiny square!

***MOST IMPORTANT STEP***
MAKE SURE YOU DO THIS! Don't just line up the sheets and stick them together. There's a very small space in between each sheet, and it makes the difference of that area being playable or not! DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!!! If you attach Legos at the 'joints' it will line it up perfectly for you and keep everything attached.
Next, make a straight line of Legos where you will be cutting it, and use them as your guide. You will need a box cutter ($10 at a craft store, but probably WAY cheaper at Home Depot or Lowe's.), and to go over  the same area with a strong arm twice. That's all I needed to do, and it was VERY easy. Just be mindful and don't try to 1) cut it in one swipe, and 2) do it fast. Just take your time!
You can see the line I made above (the horizontal line) and that's what it will look like.
Then bend the sheet, right at the line. Bend it a couple times and it will come right apart.
The two lines and square I mentioned before. That's all that was left from the 4 sheets of base plates! 
This is how the chair turned out!
I sprayed the whole thing with a glossy clear coat spray paint, to help protect the paint. Then, I used some flat orange letters to spell out my son's name on the side, his Lego Table! After that, I sprayed the whole thing again, over the letters, with the clear coat... that way the letters stay put.
The guy at the Lego store suggested I used double sided tape, as opposed to adhesive spray or mod podge. He said the tape helps allow it to bend a little when the legos come off, and the adhesive tends to not work and crack off when it dries. The double sided tape was a great idea. HOWEVER, make sure you put Legos down the entire length of the joint, to help keep it attached when you flip it over, otherwise it will keep breaking apart and drive you crazy! It sounds funny, but I basically applied the tape in the "shape/outline" of the british flag. A few lines around the border, pay attention to each sheet (don't treat it like one), then put a few diagonal pieces in the middle. Flip it over carefully, center it, and press down firmly. Test it by attaching and removing Legos :)
Here's what it looks like up on it's legs!
And here is the entire table, finished, and set up!
All things considered, this was an incredibly easy and FUN project to do. It took a day for me to gather supplies, and a day for me to complete the project. And I'm so happy with how it turned out! I know he's going to love it.

If you have any questions, please let me know!

Pin this to pinterest, share it on facebook, instagram, and G+, and tweet it on twitter! @itslikemusic #itslikemusic #ILMlegotable I'd love to see your finished products!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

When Reality Hits

I think everyone has two worlds they live in. Their positive world and their negative world. The plus and the minus. The good and the bad. I think the two worlds come together very often, and sometimes you walk a bridge between the two; your "I don't know" bridge.

I found out I was pregnant on January 4, 2014. What a way to start the new year, right? We were so excited. My husband and I both had a dream, the same night, that we were pregnant, before we even found out... so finding out was even more exciting.

I had taken, in total, 9 tests. The lines started out very faint... VERY faint. Sometimes I thought I was just messing with myself. Then slowly, they started showing up stronger and stronger, until I got that BFP (the Big Fat Plus). When I got the BFP, we were so excited. We finally told our friends and family (that was at 6 weeks). Definitely earlier than most people like to announce it, but I already had two extremely successful pregnancies and very healthy babies... I figured there was no reason to wait... we were getting our tie-breaker! So exciting!!

We made a big announcement by posting a video of a conversation I had with my son, the oldest, almost 4 years old. He has been pestering me for the last 6-9 months for a little brother, so I took video of me telling him I was going to have another baby. He was elated, and funny, and my facebook page erupted with congratulatory comments and well wishes. It was fantastic.

I lined up a meeting with a midwife, an amazing woman named Lisa Marie with Sacred Journeys Midwifery. I texted with her, she came over to meet me and my family, we talked about babies and birth, and my husband and I decided (long ago) a home water birth is what we wanted to do for this baby. It seemed perfect because of our history, and our midwife specializes in home water births. Score!

Superbowl Sunday came and we went to my husband's parent's house to watch the game... Go Seahawks!

I started spotting there.

That's when I stepped on the bridge...

I knew something was wrong. It was only a tiny bit, but I knew something was wrong.

...one more step...

I told my husband. I texted my midwife. She assured me it would be okay and to watch it.

We went home, nothing else. I was good all day on Monday with no spotting at all. I thought I was messing with myself again, but my conscience kept telling me it wasn't okay.

Monday night I spotted again.

Tuesday night I spotted again.

Wednesday and Thursday, more, and it was different. It was gray-ish.

Another few steps across the bridge...

On Thursday I texted my midwife and she had me come meet her for an impromptu check with a doppler. It was going to be a reach, because I was only 9 weeks, and most doctors and midwives check around 12 weeks for the heartbeat via doppler.

She didn't hear anything, but assured me not to worry. She scheduled an ultrasound for me the following evening at 5.

I knew it wasn't ok.

But I let myself carry hope, of course.

Of course I held onto the little piece of my happy, hopeful, positive world.

Friday, my husband came home from work so he could drive me to the ultrasound and stay with the kids while I went in.

When we got there, he reminded me something he's been telling me forever, but something he'd been telling me every day for the last 5 days.

He said, "I love you no matter what."

I was standing in the middle of my bridge. I wanted so badly to run to the positive side, but I just didn't know. I knew, but I couldn't admit it. I didn't know. I didn't want to hear someone say what my conscience was telling me.

I went in for the ultrasound, and the tech was super nice. She introduced herself, talked with me about how far along I was.

She started the scan, and asked me how I figured out how far along I was... I told her based on my LMP (Last Menstrual Period).

I was supposed to be 9 weeks and 2 days.

She told me I was measuring 4 weeks and 3 days.

My heart sank, but I sat strong.

She said that meant one of two things.
1) I was actually only 4 weeks and 3 days, or
2) The baby stopped growing at 4 weeks and 3 days.

She showed me the ultrasound, and there was no baby in there.

She didn't tell me I wasn't pregnant, but she didn't have to. I've been pregnant twice. I know my body. I know what ultrasounds look like. And like I said before, I knew.

She confirmed my conscience, I thanked her, and I left.

As soon as I left the office, I thought about my husband. I thought about how happy he was when I told him I was pregnant. I thought about how much he wanted a baby. I knew how I felt and how much I wanted the baby, of course, but him... He is my whole life, and I had to break his heart.

My eyes started welling up as I went down the elevator.

Floor 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...

I walked out of the medical building and to the parking structure he was in, waiting for my return.

I started crying.

I had to walk up three flights of stairs (we parked in the wrong structure)... each step was another tear, another sob, another hiccup breath in. I was that much closer to breaking his heart.

I got to the aisle we parked in, and I saw the back of our car.

I started sobbing.

He saw me in the rear view mirror and jumped out of the car.

Of course he knew.

He ran with me across the bridge and we landed together on the other side, just as the entire bridge collapsed behind us.

I was sobbing. I said I am so sorry. I couldn't breathe. He was holding me as tight as he could. just holding me and hugging me. He told me not to say anything, just cry, and it would be okay. He kept reassuring me he loves me. I kept crying and apologizing and telling him I love him.

We got in the car and our son asked us why Mommy was crying.

I told him.

I said, "remember how Mommy had a baby in her belly? Well Mommy was wrong, I'm sorry... there isn't a baby in my belly."

He said, "WHAT? WHY? What did the doctor do to you? Why don't you have a baby in your belly anymore? Are you okay?"

My husband started crying. I started crying again.

I said, "Honey, I'm so sorry. I thought I had a baby in my belly, but I don't. I'm so sorry. I love you."

He said, "It's okay Mommy, I love you too, so much, so so much. It's okay, and I think you'll be okay. I love you Mommy."

After that, I told my family, then close friends, then extended family, and everyone else.

I really appreciate everyone giving us words of love, hope, and encouragement during this time. All of your comments, messages, texts, and calls mean so much to me, to us, and I truly love you all. Thank you so much.


Our worlds are connected with bridges.


That last bridge collapsed behind us, but I know we'll find another bridge back. It's just when reality hits.





Thursday, February 6, 2014

3.5 Years : 1 Month | How A Monster Cured Our Infertility

Once upon a time, back in November of 2008, I went to Disneyland with my friends. It was the first annual Rock Around the Park event, and it was a blast! Except, there were a few brush fires in the surrounding hills near Disneyland. The sky was burnt orange, full of smoke, which meant the air quality was terrible.

 Photos by Melody Calvert Photography

Two days later, I was still coughing and wheezing, so I went to my doctor. It was my first time visiting this specific doctor (husband got new insurance, had to pick a doc, still hadn't met him.), so I had to fill out all the initial introductory and medical history paperwork. Even though I was in there for my cough (which turned out to be allergy-induced-bronchitis), the paper had a small fill-in area with, "Is there anything else you'd like to ask your doctor?" So I thought about it... I wrote,

"How come I haven't gotten pregnant after trying for almost 3 years?"

I know this had nothing to do with my cough. I didn't think he was even going to address it, because it was really so out of left field. But he did. He asked me the necessary questions, so I told him all I could.

My family has a history of strong fertility. We'd been trying, actively, for just about 3 years, watching my fertility and ovulation signs, pacing ourselves, paying attention to the signs, and crying every month when the tests came back negative. We didn't know what we were doing wrong, and we were almost ready to give up.

That same day, he ordered a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG), for the next time I was expected to have my period. The HSG is a mildly invasive procedure in which a solution is injected into your Cervix and through your Fallopian Tubes to illuminate your tubes on an X-Ray, as well as remove any potential blockage that could be there. It also opens up your tubes a little more, sometimes making it easier to get pregnant.

I ended up having my HSG on my birthday in December 2008, less than a month after I visited my doctor. My results came back clear, I had no blockages, and a newly cleaned and widened set of Fallopian Tubes, so there should be no issues on my end.

Well, if it wasn't me, that left my husband.

In March of 2009, he had a sperm observation and count done. First, to make sure he was producing enough, second, to make sure they were active enough.

When we got the results back, we were a little surprised to find he had what was called Asthenozoospermia, or Low Motility. Basically, that just means his swimmers weren't swimming. Our doctor said it can happen from various daily activities, all of which were things he was participating in... jacuzzi, hot showers, hot baths, recovering from smoking cigarettes (a few packs a day), not exercising... really, his swimmers were a reflection of his current state.

Our doctor told us that he needed to stop going to the jacuzzi and to cut the time down on hot showers. He advised my husband to get some exercise, and start eating better. He also referred us to a fertility specialist to help with the Low Motility, and to get him on a supplement to encourage more activity.

In April 2009, we had a phone consultation with the fertility specialist, and they informed us that if it was just low motility, and my husband was making lifestyle changes, there was one supplement that would be the likely candidate to put him on... it was about $200 for a 30 day supply, and we were told that it would take anywhere from 8-12 months for us to see a change, and anywhere from a year to three years for us to get pregnant.

Doing the math, we could potentially be paying over $7,000 for this supplement, so we could get pregnant.

I know there are couples out there struggling with infertility, and others who need to have daily shots, and use In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), which can costs an incredible amount of money.

Realistically for us, that was not something we could do. We were 23 years old and that was just a LOT of money.

We said thank you to the specialist, and let him know we would call back to schedule an appointment.

We never did.

We knew that was not something we could do, we knew it was going to be hard, we almost started accepting the fact that we either wouldn't get pregnant, or we would have to try after we won the lottery...

Then I got to thinking... The specialist was recommending a supplement. A vitamin supplement. I hopped on the computer and started Google searching everything I could about Low Motility Supplements. I saw one main active ingredient in all of these supplements.

L-Carnitine.

I know they sold this supplement at health food stores, but I also knew I saw it somewhere else.

In May 2009, I realized it-- Monster Energy Drinks!



My husband likes drinking Monsters, and this could possibly be the easiest way to handle this. I figured why not, it couldn't hurt to try for a little while... so I suggested drinking one Monster a day, just to see. Who knows what will happen, but this was a relatively easy situation, compared to how much the first initial supplement was going to cost us.

July 2, 2009, I took a test.

I was due for my period and I thought I may have been a day or two late, but I couldn't remember when I was supposed to start.

I peed in a shot glass, dipped the test in, then let it sit for a minute.

I stood up, and looked over at the test. It was the one with the lines and it didn't say ON the test whether they had to go this way or that way or whatever... after so many negative tests, I saw a different result.

I called out from the bathroom, "Honey, can you bring me the insert from the test box? Or just tell me what it says... I don't remember how I'm supposed to look at this thing."

While walking back, quickly, with the insert, he said, "What? How do you not know? You've been taking these tests for like 3 years..."

I responded, "I know... it looks different.."

We both knew.

I checked the insert, he checked the test, and I fell over, crying my eyes out.

He thought I was sad and kept reassuring me, "We did it, this is what we wanted, it's okay..!"

I couldn't articulate that those were the happiest tears I've ever cried in my life.

Finally, I said, "no, it's okay, I'm happy, these are happy tears!"

He was crying them, too.

I had the most wonderful pregnancy I ever could have imagined, and March 2, 2010, our handsome little boy was born.



My husband drank one monster a day, and I got pregnant within a month. When we were told it could take anywhere from 12 months to 3 years for us to get pregnant.

I have since had another baby, and am pregnant with our third. No Monsters needed!

We really think Monster Energy Drinks had a huge role on our infertility struggles, and we can't thank them enough!



Disclaimer: Before you decide to try Monster Energy Drinks for infertility issues, please check with your health care provider. We went through quite a few steps before we decided to try it. It worked for us, but it might not work for you. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sometimes I Give Up

It's February now, which means OMG VALENTINE'S DAY, right?

*sigh*

The biggest source of my current constant annoyance with Pinterest is the heart food. Just... no.

Unfortunately, and I don't exactly know why, but I feel like I need to put this out there:
I will not now, nor will I ever, cut potatoes into little hearts and cook them for Valentine's Day breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Never. I will never do that. Because they are going to be eaten, pushed around a plate, yelled at by my son who hates potatoes (I know, right?), or thrown away. And how long does it take to cut potatoes into heart shapes before the cooking process? Do you really have time for this? Does ANYONE really have time for this? Because no. The answer is no.

Not only will I not cut potatoes into hearts, I won't cut cucumbers into hearts, I won't cut pancakes into hearts, no pepperoni hearts, no toast hearts, I won't make churros in the shape of a heart, and I probably won't halve a strawberry and skewer it and dip it in chocolate to make a chocolate covered strawberry heart. Ain't happenin'.

If you do this, you can think you're better than me, that's fine. You might actually be better than me. I'm fine with admitting that. Do you know why? Because I give up.

I give up.

Because Pinterest has made me really hate the amount of effort I am unwilling to put forth.

I don't even CARE.

"aww, look at that! *pin* It's so cute!! ...I'll probably never make it. *sigh*"


Thursday, January 23, 2014

End the Mommy Wars!

When you're pregnant for the very first time, you learn just how many opinionated people there are in your world. When you have that baby, even more opinions and advice gets hurled at you.

  • You're too young to be pregnant!
  • What are you going to do when you have the baby?
  • I hope someone will be there to help you.
  • You aren't going back to work, are you?
  • You do know, breast is best.
  • Don't use disposable diapers!
  • There's no point in breastfeeding past 6 months.
  • Food before 1 is just for fun!
  • You have to let them cry it out so they learn their own coping mechanisms!
  • Your baby is crying, you better feed it.
  • You're a new mom, you have no idea what the future has in store for you!
  • Get lots of sleep now, because you won't be sleeping when the baby gets here!

Those are just a few of the things people said to me while I was pregnant and right after I had my baby. What's better is, that didn't stop when I was pregnant with my second! And now I'm pregnant with my third, and I *still* get the questions, advice, and opinions.

The point of me writing this is not to say how much I hate this or how much I want it to stop, because that's not the case.

99% of the time, these things are said by well-meaning individuals who maybe thought it sounded different in their heads before they said it. Or maybe the things they comment on are things they've experienced. Or maybe their own mother or sister experienced those things. Or maybe they read it in an article somewhere and are passing it on to you, to be helpful.

No, the reason I am writing this is because I really, honestly want everyone to know that EVERY. PARENT. IS. DIFFERENT. Every child is different. Every experience is unique to the person experiencing it. Similarities are present, of course, but first and foremost, everyone is different.

What does that mean?

It means that my parenting style differs from that of my parents, and that of my sister. It means that I am different from the well-meaning grandmotherly-type woman who told me I needed help after my baby was born. It means I am different from the moms in the groups who chatter about "food before 1 is just for fun!"

I am different because I choose to research on my own. I make educated, informed decisions. My husband and I talk, constantly, about what we are doing and why we are doing it. We keep ourselves on the same page and are on our own team when it comes to raising our children. We are doing the absolute best we can to raise our children as we see fit.

My decisions might be similar to the decisions you make, or they might not be.

When my son was 5 months old, he started screaming whenever he was in the car. He started screaming when he saw the car, or saw me get his diaper bag. He started screaming when we said we were going bye-bye. He would scream in the car so much that his face would be red, he'd run out of breath, and lose his voice. He screamed so much that it made us both physically sick. He screamed so much that we avoided going anywhere.

One night, we were driving 10 minutes down the street to my parents' house. He was his usual self, screaming relentlessly... I had it. I was done with this. I stopped in a grocery store parking lot, got out of the car, took my son out of his carseat, handed him to my husband, and turned around the carseat, from rear facing to forward facing. It was everything I had ever promised myself I would never do. I cried while I was making the switch. I was afraid of what could happen. I was afraid of everything people would say to me.

When we put him back in the car seat after turning it around, it was a complete transformation. He was happy, he was laughing, he was looking at all the lights, and he could see us. He was so happy, he fell asleep. He didn't cry in the car ever again.

We made that switch right around 7-8 months. That means we handled the screaming for almost 3 months.

Why did I tell you that story?

Because it was in our best interest as a family to turn the car seat around. It went against what some people believe as right. I am NOT saying to turn your baby's car seat around right now. I am saying, do what's best for your child. Yes, there are great risks associated with turning a car seat to the forward facing position too soon, but I believe leaving it rear facing was far worse than the dangers associated with forward facing. I drove extra careful, did everything to create stability and safety, and did my best to be safe.

Do you have any idea how many opinions I heard after making that change?

If you guessed a lot, you'd be right. But something changed in me that day. I was doing something for my baby, not for anyone else. I became a new mother, a new woman, a new person. Everything I did for my baby was no concern of anyone else. And any opinion anyone ever gave me from that point on was taken with kindness, but with no more thought than what someone thought of this show or that song. "Everyone is different," I kept telling myself. "Their baby wasn't sitting in the back seat, screaming til they were blue in the face. They didn't have a 6 month old with no voice."


I recently came across an incredible photo series by Connecticut Working Moms, featuring Mom's of all different walks, who choose to raise their children as they see fit. It is called, "End The Mommy Wars" If you haven't seen it, I highly suggest you click over and take a look.

Why is this so incredible?

Because they recognize that every mother is different. Some moms formula feed from the start, some moms extend nurse. Some moms cloth diaper, some moms use disposable. Some moms feed their children only organic foods, and some moms let their kids eat fast food. They aren't judging each other, they are acknowledging their differences, and supporting each other. Being a mom maybe isn't the easiest thing I've ever had to do, but judgement placed on me by other moms certainly doesn't make it any easier. We can be supportive of each other while we be the best mommies to our babies.

Hi, I'm Melody. My kids were turned around in their car seat around 8 months old. I extend-nurse. They love veggies and fruit and string cheese. They love chicken strips and hot dogs and cheeseburgers. They love watching Disney Junior. They love playing video games. They love going to Disneyland. I am a stay-at-home-mom. We don't go to church. We co-sleep. We talk, we fight, we love, we share emotions. We love our children, and our children love us. I get annoyed with my kids and lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes. They tell me they don't want to be my friend anymore because I won't let them have dessert if they don't eat their dinner. It doesn't bother me. I know I am doing my absolute best, and I know they are good kids.

That is who I am, that is how I parent, that is how I raise my kids.