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!

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. 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.


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?


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*"