We’re Over There…

Hi! Hi. Hiiiiii.

hi on Make A Gif

We’ve been blogging at www.whatthevita.com ever since we made the big move, but this old blog has been getting new followers and subscribers. Which is awesome, I love that you want to hear about what we’re doing around the house, but I’m not posting here anymore. Come over to www.whatthevita.com and subscribe/follow us there instead!




We’ve MOVED!

No, we didn’t move to a new house…. at least, not yet!

I finally bit the dust and got our own URL, so from now on you can find us at www.whatthevita.com!

Please update your subscriptions and feed settings… and go over there right now to see what’s been happening at our casa!

Thanks for reading!! And I hope to see you over there!!

xoxo Elisa

Friday Randoms

Another day, another week, another month. Every time I stop and realize that it’s Friday, I’m amazed at how fast the week went. And then I realize that I haven’t even blogged anything or done anything that could fill out a complete blog post.

Hence, I’m trying something new here. Friday randoms, where I stop and look around and groan at our slowpoke process at making this house our home. Here goes!

The first thing I’m going to do after I finish this blog post is to order this pendant light for our living room:

Oversized Equator Pendant light cb2

I am so excited! I will have to put away a few months’ of spending money to get this, but I know it will take our living room to the next level. I’ve been looking for the perfect light fixture for that room since I wrote this post.

I’m still plugging away on the laundry cabinets… well, I should be honest and say that I’ve abandoned the project for two weeks now. I keep on saying, “It’s too late into the day now, I will do it tomorrow, I WILL!” and then I don’t. It’s the last lap around the track, but when you’ve run 1,000 miles, the last lap is the hardest.

laundry cabinet doors

I will finish it this weekend. I will. I WILL.

After all, the cabinet frames have been completed since April 11.

painted cabinet boxes laundry room

Poor, patient, and lonely cabinet boxes. I’m sorry, guys. You’ll be reunited with your beloved doors soon.

Remember the art I want to work on for our master bedroom? I have several large pieces of plywood in the garage waiting for me to get started on it, but I wanted to experiment on a small piece to make sure that it will look good. So far, I’ve sanded it, added wood filler, and primed it on one side. Next, I will add gesso on both sides and see if the primer is really necessary.

plywood art experiment 1

Once that little project is done, I will update you all and hopefully have a tutorial on how to do DIY art on plywood!

Back to the laundry room – we haven’t put up the art that I made on the wall because we wanted to experiment with templates first and see what layout would look the best. I originally thought we would have the four frames in a grid (two on top, two at bottom), but it didn’t look right with our short ceilings and the second row was too close to the floor. We realized that we were planning to remove the door anyway (to bring in more light to the game room), so we could use the whole wall and line up the frames, side by side.

templates for frames in laundry room

Looks great! We will put them up this weekend. I hope. Sometimes weekends have a way of fooling you on Fridays into thinking that it’ll be long, productive, and full of events. And then on Sunday night, you look up from your laptop when you’re sitting on the sofa and realize you’ve done nothing all weekend. No? Just me? Okay.

Oh, we used wrapping paper to serve as our templates to determine the location of our frames. It worked very well!

Our girl Janella loves strawberries. At the end of a strawberry eating session, she looks like Dexter, according to Nick.

janella loves strawberries

Janella is working on her crawling. She’s not there yet, but she definitely can move forward towards something she wants. However, you need to put the right thing to entice her into crawling/lunging forward. Put a toy in front of her, she will give you a blank look. But if you use a necklace, a working phone (somehow she knows the blackberry I give her is broken), a camera, or a leather purse, you’ll see her move with determination.

I found some redness on her knees, so I told Nick we needed to buy baby legs. But I read in this fun book that I could just cut up some old socks and put them on her legs. I tried that with a pair of argyle socks that I never wear and they look mighty cute on her legs!

baby legs from cut up socks

I’m gonna cut up more socks now. It takes 3 seconds to do – my favorite kind of DIY project.

Oh, and do you see that cute white/gray/yellow pillow in the photo above? Nick gave that to me for my 30th birthday. Love it.

Last AND least, I’m eating this greek dip right now. It’s really good and aside from lots of chopping, it’s ultra easy to make. I mean, if I can make it while entertaining a watermelon-eating baby, anybody can make it.

making greek dip

The end. I wish you all a great and productive (or lazy, that’s good, too) weekend.

The Case for Baskets

When I was preparing for the baby’s arrival, I knew that we would need baskets and boxes and all that stuff to corral ALL THE BABY STUFF but I didn’t exactly understand just what the STUFF would be, so I couldn’t just go out and start buying random baskets.

Instead, I waited and gave it a few months. It was worth it, because it helped us figure out exactly what to buy and what to skip. I’m not done yet and I know the STUFF will increase as Janella gets older, but this is a good start for us.

Come and visit, why don’t you. Check out the nursery closet…

orange closet green boxes organization

First – the clothes! Janella is six months old and obviously doesn’t fit in her newborn or 0-3 months clothes, but still fits in her 3-6 months clothes. Yes, she’s a thin one. 50% in height, 10% in weight.

The green box (from IKEA) on the right is filled with newborn and 0-3 months clothes. The one on the left is pretty much empty and waiting for the next batch of t00-small clothes. These little cute boxes do the job! No need for huge plastic bins. For now.

green boxes closet

Janella’s stash of toys were getting out of control, so we found a couple of spots around the house to keep them contained. These two cute purple mesh baskets were found at Home Goods and they store toys that Janella isn’t currently playing with (we rotate out toys).

purple wire baskets closet nursery

Okay, back up a little to re-enter the nursery. This little picnic basket with teal stripes were picked up at Target and holds all of Janella’s cloth diapers.

diaper basket nursery

I know what you’re thinking. A picnic basket?! But it is the perfect solution because I wash these diapers almost everyday and it’s hard to empty out the dryer with a squirming baby in one arm. With the picnic basket, it’s easy to just pick it up by the handles, dump the diapers in it, and transfer it back into the nursery. Plus, it’s cute and it will still be useful when I’m done with diapers. When will that be, by the way? I wonder…

I can’t move on without telling you about the colorful bag you see in the basket. It’s called a wet bag and it is an ESSENTIAL item to have if you use cloth diapers. It’s waterproof and seals in all odors. I can’t imagine using cloth diapers without these bags. You can find them at Amazon – we have three of this.

Okay, now turn your head a little to the right and you’ll find a cute green laundry basket with a cute baby in it.

green laundry basket janella

I have a confession to make: Janella’s not always in it. So, the basket isn’t always this cute.

Nick found the basket at Target and brought it home without consulting me. I was two weeks postpartum… It was a risky endeavor but he did a good job. It’s the perfect size for all of Janella’s tiny clothes and when it’s full, it makes a full load.

Lest you think that I’m some kind of organized guru with 1,000 baskets that hold all kinds of categories of stuff, let me show you what it looks like under the daybed in the nursery. (I haven’t told you about the daybed, have I?)

sad area under daybed nursery

Yep. Time to get some more baskets. I’ll measure the space and put the measurements in our iPhone to help us find the perfect baskets that’ll fit in there perfectly. For now, just don’t look under there. Thanks.

Since we spend a lot of our time in the living room, it’s where we store the majority of Janella’s toys that she plays with these days. For a while, we just dumped them in a corner or in a baby swing, but that got annoying fast. We realized that we had two old teal ottomans that were holding random things like old letters and blankets, so we emptied out one and chucked in all the toys in there. (I want to reupholster them, but you know, later.)

ottoman in living room baby toys

It’s perfect.

toy storage ottoman living room

At least, for now. The time will come when this little ottoman won’t be able to contain all of her toys. It will be a sad day…

The other ottoman is residing in the weird space between the TV set and our side table.

sad area in living room

It feels like wasted space. The space is actually bigger than what it seems like in the photo above. It would be great if we could fit in a chest under the window that holds blankets, toys, etc with a soft cushion to sit on. Something like this:

chest under window


If you’re looking for baskets, boxes, and that kind of stuff, some great sources include IKEA, World Market, Home Goods, and sometimes Target.

There’s a couple of green baskets at Target that I’m itching to get my hands on but I’m waiting for them to go on sale. Will I win? Or will I lose when they go out of stock without going on sale? I don’t like this game.

So. That’s the story of how I got my act together and organized everything. And by everything, I mean only a few things. I guess I need to buy more baskets and boxes.

Before I leave, I want to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of our family and friends for the gifts and hand-me-downs that you’ve given to us. You’ve been amazing and we’re so grateful. XOXO

Spray Paint Mania

Do you get spray paint mania? Right after you spray paint something and you remember how easy it is and you love the result, you go foraging around the house looking for things you can spray paint.

I’m in the middle of a manic episode right now. I’m even considering spray painting my dining table. Fortunately, there’s a wise guy here named Nick who will stop me from committing this madness.

But nothing is stopping me from spray painting things that don’t work in our house in their original state.

It all started with this little project:

the thinker and the cat, before

The Thinker and the Snobby Cat were both Home Goods finds. We grabbed The Thinker a long while back for the office and I planned to spray paint it white, because it was just too dark and we don’t need any more gray things in this house. The Snobby Cat is a recent find and it was too silver – the kind that looks cheap. It looks better in the photo than it did in real life.

My original plan: turn The Thinker into a white statue and paint the Snobby Cat a cool orange.

I gave both mini-statues a coat of primer. This step changed everything.

The Thinker just didn’t look good in white. It made him look fat… well, not really. He just had too many dents and dings and he looked weird. This photo shows this, but this was after the first coat of teal spray paint.

The Thinker doesn't look good in white

Sorry to ruin the surprise but we decided to make him go teal.

Also, the white primer on the Snobby Cat looked really good and I decided that he had to get a lighter color than orange. What about a bright yellow?

Snobby Cat turns yellow

He’s still snobby, but he looks better doing his snobby thing.

Here’s The Thinker in all of his teal glory.

The Thinker goes teal

Why does my camera curse me so? That’s not teal, that’s blue, camera!

Here’s the same photo, edited heavily to show you the real teal color that it looks like in real life.

This, but only darker.

Well, this is a really simple project (spray paint projects always are) but let me tell you something that I learned…

Rust-oleum spray paint is the best.

rust-oleum spray paint is the best

It coats BEAUTIFULLY… Just be sure to shake the can constantly as you spray. It costs slightly more, but it’s worth it. It’ll be the only spray paint I’ll use from now on – if the color is right. I just wish they had more colors!

The Thinker was sprayed with Rust-oleum Satin Lagoon and Snobby Cat was sprayed with Rust-oleum Gloss Protective Enamel in yellow. Both great, bright, saturated colors.

The pair is now happy in their new home – the Expedit in our game room.

The Thinker and Snobby Cat in their Expedit Home

The nice thing about creating a home with a good color flow is that these things can be put in any room and still look good. So, even though they look good in the expedit right now, they might make a move sometime in the future.

Remember what I said about my current manic episode? Well… guess what I’m working on right now. Here’s a hint:

In other news – I hope you had a great Easter weekend!! We spent ours at the park and it was perfect. Mounting Bloggif

Iowa is Awesome

It’s awesome to us because that’s where my family lives right now.

It’s also where we’ve been over the past week.

Janella met her favorite cousin, Lily Kate, for the first time. I say she’s her favorite because Janella always stares at her and smiles when she sees her! Aw!

janella and lily kate meet!

I tell you, there is nothing cuter than a 3-year-old fawning over a 5-month-old like an old lady.

And Janella also met another cousin, Joseph Jr., who is only seven months older than her. It was so cute watching them meet for the first time. Even though they didn’t really seem all that interested in each other… But that’ll change before we know it.

janella and joseph jr meet!

I’m really glad that Janella has two great cousins living somewhat nearby (if you consider 14 hours “nearby” but it is to us, with all of our other family living on the east coast).

It was also really nice to finally see mom’s new/old house. I love that house – it has SO much potential.

They’re getting a whole new kitchen installed soon, which will be SO exciting. I forgot to take before photos while I was there, ugh, hopefully mom takes a couple of great photos so I can share it with you all.

Our spring break was awesome… and awesomely long, since Nick got an extra week off due to electrical problems at the school he works at. He’ll have to make up for these missed days, but it was really nice to have TWO weeks off!

Now we’re back home. Nick said that the time at Iowa was a really nice vacation for him, since I wasn’t pestering him to mow the grass or to put up the curtains or some other home-related stuff.

Well, Nick, vacation’s over. Put up them purple curtains STAT!

Janella’s Birth Day – Part Three

It’s hard writing everything down with a newborn that’s clamoring for my attention (or the food bags on my body) every few hours, so I had to write this story in parts. Read Part One here and Part Two here.

As Dr. Hooi pulled on her latex glove, a lighting contraption of some kind started to lower from the ceiling. Suddenly, I felt like I was in a spacecraft populated by aliens. It was all very surreal.

The doctor told me to do another round of pushes (three pushes in a round). First push, the head was out. I didn’t really feel that, I was just 100% focusing on the pushing because I didn’t really feel much of anything and wasn’t sure if I was actually doing it right.

Second push. Am I doing it okay?

“One more. One more.”

Third push. I felt something come out of me… like a plop. Then the doctor lifted her hands up and there, in the bright light from the contraption, was the baby. All covered with blood and the cord was… across her neck?

Did I just give birth? Was that red thing my baby?

What about the CORD?

The doctor handed the baby off to a nurse… and I looked around. Whoa. Just seconds before, it was just my nurse, Nick, and Dr. Hooi in the room. Now that the baby was out, there were like 10 nurses in the room, all busy doing SOMETHING. Where did they all come from?

The doctor said that the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck, but only once and it was normal and she would be fine, but they had to check her immediately and couldn’t give her to me right away as planned.

I was fine with that – all I cared was that she was okay. I told Nick to go and be with her.

Even though the baby was only a feet away from me – in the same room – getting cleaned and checked, I felt like she was so far away. But I was glad her dad was with her, watching her, with a happy look on his face.

“Do you want to see the placenta?” The doctor asked me. I was distracted at first by everything, but then I told her, yes, I would. She pulled up this huge red thing… wow. If you have the chance, do ask to see it. It’s mind-blowing to really realize that it was inside me, along with the baby. Even today, it’s still hard to believe.

She showed me all the parts of the placenta, including the water bag and where the baby lived in for nine (plus 11 days) long months. She even pointed out some white spots, which she said were signs that the placenta had started to age. Again, I was SOOO glad I had went ahead with the induction.

Then they stitched me up. It took a while, but again, I didn’t feel a thing. Thank goodness, because I sure did feel it later and I can’t imagine feeling it then.

I looked over to Nick and he was holding little Janella. Our baby.

I told him to go ahead and stick his tongue out!

A few weeks beforehand, I had read in one of the baby books about a newborn who was only eight hours old. Some researchers decided to do a small experiment with him – they had several nurses seated around in a circle and handed the newborn to the first nurse. The first nurse stuck her tongue out until the baby stuck his tongue out as well. Then the baby was passed on to each nurse… but all the other nurses didn’t do anything except look at the baby. When the baby was finally passed back to the first nurse, the baby stuck out his tongue again! He remembered the first nurse! Isn’t that amazing?

So, I wanted Janella to meet her dad. After all, she lived inside me for nine months. It was time for her to meet some other people.

And it worked! Nick stuck out his tongue, Janella stuck out her tongue, and they bonded. I just know she’s going to be daddy’s little girl.

Then finally… they gave Janella to me. The room suddenly became empty… and there were only us. Nick, me, and brand-new Janella.

This was the best picture of us. It’s not very good, but the other pictures are of me showing my teeth, but not smiling. At least, I wouldn’t call it smiling. It’s kind of scary. I guess it was still a shock and I had forgotten to smile.

That first hour together as a family, in that hospital room, was wonderful. I am so glad we had that hour together.

Then a nurse came in and said she was there to pick up Janella to give her a bath and do all the nursery stuff. I told Nick to go with the baby. He took pictures, even though the nursery didn’t allow any cameras in there. I guess the nurse could see the love in Nick’s face and just turned a blind eye.

Her first shampoo. That doesn’t look like fun.

Sticking out her tongue for daddy!

While Janella was getting the fancy treatment, I was re-learning how to walk after the epidural. No, it wasn’t too bad. I could go into more details here what it was like right after birth, but I’m not sure that too may of you want to hear all about it. If you do, just email me and I’ll share all the details. For now, let’s just say that I was transferred to the recovery room and given lots and lots of pain killers to continue being happy!

Finally, Janella and Nick, my family, my two favorite people in the world came into the room. We had an awesome visitor who brought us delicious burgers and milkshakes and then Nick and I just spent the whole evening marveling over little Janella (and changing her diaper 130 times and breastfeeding her every three hours, that baby loves to sleep more than anything).

I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story that special night.

And that was Janella’s first day.

It’s been three weeks, and she’s just perfect.

Okay, I’m done!! Back to house projects from now on… but I can’t promise that there will be no cute baby pictures thrown in from time to time! Hope you won’t mind…

Oops. Did I just do that already?