Living With Kids: Stasia Savasuk

Stasia is a bright ball of enthusiasm and infectious energy. She tells a story with all-caps words highlighted to make sure you’re getting it, to make sure you’re feeling it. I did and do. You will, too.

Come meet her, please. Welcome, Stasia!

Hello there! I’m Stasia (41) and I live in Brattleboro, Vermont with my husband, Knowles (46) and our two little biscuits, Raisa (nine) and Zealand (three). I am wildly extroverted, with extreme doses of sass, hyperbole, drama and wit. I’m brave. I like to do hard things, but I’ll likely belly-ache through the whole darn thing (see hyperbole and drama). Knowles, on the other hand, is more like The Dude from The Big Lebowski. He goes with the flow, doesn’t get rattled, and thrives on deep meaningful conversation. He does hard things too…just with no belly aching. Knowles and I met while rock climbing in Alaska 20 years ago, which is pretty cool since we were both Mainers living the mountain-life in the Land of the Midnight Sun.

Our daughter, Raisa, is nothing short of a wonder. When I was pregnant with her, the docs were not sure she would survive childbirth. She was born with multiple physical anomalies, not all of which were discovered when she was born. Over the past nine years, Raisa has seen at least a dozen specialists at Children’s Hospital Boston, has been under anesthesia over 15 times, and has had literally hundreds of doctor’s appointments. She is wildly curious, asks way too many questions, and has the gumption to show up and speak up no matter what. She’s smart, sassy, opinionated, and filled with a love so deep, she can hardly find ways to express it all.

Zealand (aka ZZ) is quick witted, LOUD, and incredibly mischievous. He has the most dramatic and varied facial expressions I’ve ever seen on one tiny human. His personality is larger than life, which makes complete sense, since he was born a ten pound 11 ounce whopper!

I’m pretty sure both my kids would trade me in for a steady supply of gatorade and candy bars — neither of which I allow in my house.

Raisa was born a Mainer in March 2007, and six months later, we moved to Brattleboro, Vermont, so that Knowles could earn his Master’s Degree in Conflict Transformation from SIT Graduate Institute (The School for International Training). We were two years post Peace Corps (Moldova 03-05), still holding on to a dream of living/working abroad once Knowles graduated. But by the time we arrived here in Bratt, Raisa’s medical needs were so complex, we realized we needed a new dream.

Fortunately for us, Brattleboro was that dream. Within days of arriving, an incredible support system was created for us, BY THE COMMUNITY, that was unwavering in its willingness to support us through some really hard years. Brattleboro is synonymous with community, and that’s exactly what we love most about living here.

Here are just a few of my favorite things I just LOVE about Brattleboro:

We have belonged to the same CSA for six years, which means I know my farmer by name.

Our trash collector is one of the kindest men I’ve ever met.

We have a curbside composting program that has reduced our community’s trash production by over 50%.

Bernie.

We live on a dead-end street, and almost every single day during the summer months, we sit in the street and on our neighborhood benches for cocktails and conversation. Ages range from 3 to 85.

We have at least a half dozen good sized hiking mountains within a 15 mile radius.

View More: http://melissareid.pass.us/stasias-final-part-2

After living in a series of apartments (with noise-sensitive neighbors) in and around Brattleboro, we decided it was time to buy a house. We were tired of shushing Raisa from making kid-noises, and wanted her to be able to bang, jump, sing, and dance with wild abandon until her little body collapsed into her bed each night, filled to the brim with elated joy and expressive freedom.

Diving into the housing market was a shock to the system. Brattleboro is a small town in a rural state, with incredibly high taxes and a housing market that never really crashed. We were thankful that we were a family of three that could fit nicely into a small home.

In the fall of 2010, we started looking at small homes within our price range (under $160K), but most all of them needed to be gutted. In fact, I walked out of the showing of THIS house because the pet smell almost knocked my socks off, and it needed a fair amount of cosmetic work. But after seeing what else was out there, we RAN back to this house, made an offer, and in January of 2011, we bought this home for $153K, and moved on in!

I’d love to say that this home was a dream come true, but to be honest, we’ve had a fair amount of trouble with this house. After our son ZZ was born, we decided to add a dormer to the upstairs, bringing this from a two-bedroom/one-bath home to a three-bedroom/two-bath home. Except, the contractor we hired was not as competent as he led on, and caused a significant amount of damage to our sweet little home. Long story short, when we presented him with a report from a structural engineer stating that the structural integrity of our home had been severely compromised (our house was no longer safe), the contractor threw his hands up and said ‘Sue me’ and walked off with $20K in his pocket. We had to immediately hire a new contractor to make our home safe again, and bit by bit over the past three years, we’ve pulled together most of the finishing touches.

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We still need new ceilings, a new front door, and some new windows, but compared to where we were just a couple of years ago, we’re living the high life!

What I love most about our home is that it reflects my family’s collective soul. We are a wild, quirky, spontaneous, vibrant, scrappy little bunch, and our home is a reflection of just that. Our style is both soul driven and values driven. I’m of the belief that there is enough stuff in circulation on the planet already, so we might as well share. Most of the things in our home were found either on the side of the road, at a thrift store, or at the swap shop at our local dump. In fact, the dump is undoubtedly my favorite place to go shopping for home decor. It’s amazing what a little bit of elbow grease and a can of paint can do to a mid-century credenza!

To be honest, until VERY recently, I had no idea how to decorate a home. For years I studied old Pottery Barn catalogs and tried recreating the rooms with found and salvaged goods, but my design always fell flat, and I never understood why. I didn’t think I was creative enough to do home decor, which was of course, bananas.

Turns out I was approaching home decor all wrong. I was trying to copy somebody else’s vision, without considering who we were as a family, or how we wanted to feel in our home. When I started asking the questions, WHO ARE WE, and HOW DO WE WANT TO FEEL IN OUR HOME, everything changed.

The other thing I’ve learned is that as we grow, mature, expand, and open, our style changes! How could it not? We are dynamic human beings, and operating under a static-world-assumption of decorate-and-done doesn’t make any sense! So I’ve made it a household habit/practice to continuously check in on our things, to see if we still love them. We are constantly upgrading from love to LOVE LOVE, so things tend to cycle in/cycle out pretty regularly. It’s not wasteful or globally negligent, because we bring in something used, and then donate our used thing back into circulation. I love to shop and explore and find new treasures, so “letting go” of what no longer suits us has been something I’ve taught my kids from a very young age. Things are, after all, only things.

Though I work as a Personal Stylist today, I would have burst out laughing at such a preposterous proposition just three years ago! I had broken up with style years ago because something was obviously wrong with my body (small boobies/big bum), and let’s face, style was for ‘them’ — not me. I held tight to the belief that it was what’s on the inside that matters, and that what I wore didn’t matter.

Except it did. I fought with my closet, and it sometimes made me cry.

When Raisa was just a babe, I started thrifting, and it opened up a whole new world to me. When I thrifted, money wasn’t really an issue (I’m talking $4 for jeans!), so I bought all the things. And I experimented. I learned that my body was really quite perfect, if I put the right things on my body. I learned that size doesn’t matter — shape does. I learned that I don’t like beige, or brown. And I learned that some pieces, the right pieces, made me feel really happy. And when I was REALLY happy, I was kinder, more vibrant, more ALIVE. But I didn’t really understand the connection. Why this and not that?

Until Raisa taught me.

Beginning at around age two, she started trending toward ‘boy clothes.’ In the beginning, I made nothing of it, and figured it was just a phase. By three she stopped wearing the dozens of pretty dresses she had hanging in her closet, and by five, even bootcut jeans and capped sleeves were out of the question.

I begged her to wear cute things. She refused. We battled.

At age six, when we were shopping at our local thrift shop, she asked me to help her look for a shirt and necktie. I refused, naturally, so she walked away from me, and asked the lady at the counter if SHE would help her find a shirt and necktie. (The audacity!) Moments later, she presented to me the ugliest shirt and tie my eyes had ever seen. I begrudgingly said yes, not because my heart was aflutter with admiration at her fierce independence and sense of self…but because I was too embarrassed to say no.

When we got home, she put on her shirt and tie, looked in the mirror, and took her own breath away. She ran across the living room, into the dining room and said, ‘Mama Mama, look how fast I can run!’ and then she jumped high into the air and said, ‘Mama Mama, look how much higher I can jump when I’m wearing a shirt and tie!’

That was it. She could run faster and jump higher when she was wearing clothes on the outside that matched who she was on the inside. In that moment, belief systems crumbled, and I began to truly SEE Raisa in a way I had never seen her before. All my years of protecting her, making sure she looked cute despite her physical differences, was stripping her of her power.

Let me translate that for you into grown-up terms: When we HIDE (protect ourselves from shame, vulnerability, and oh-my-goodness-what-will-they-say), we make ourselves LESS POWERFUL. Knowing WHO YOU ARE, and presenting that knowing on the outside is LIFE CHANGING. I call it Inside-Out Congruency. My clients call it TRANSFORMATIONAL.

Raisa’s story is WHY I do what I do. And it is why Stasia’s Style School sells out so quickly each time I offer it.

I’m not sure what’s more difficult: parenting as an entrepreneur, entrepreneuring as a parent, or entrepreneuring and parenting as a housewife! There are days when I let my kids watch too much television so I can post one more picture to Instagram. There are days when I completely ignore my inbox, so I can clean the toilet and wash the bathroom sink. And there are days when I let the dishes pile up in the sink ten miles high so I can take the kids to the farm to collect our veggies, pick flowers, play in the dirt, and visit the pigs.

In my experience, there is no such thing as balance. Just choices. And I need to get better at accepting those choices, rather than getting flustered because I can’t do all the things perfectly, all the time.

My favorite part about living with kids is the unlimited supply of kisses and hugs that come my way every single day. Before I had my own kids, I don’t think I ever understood what it would feel like to be loved this big. It’s awesome. And I get to love them back!

Undoubtedly, Raisa has taught me to not grip too tightly to narrowly defined belief systems. To think outside the box. To open up to the unexpected. To love fiercely.

Zealand taught me to trust my intuition. When I was 38 weeks pregnant with him, I measured in at around 49 weeks pregnant, which would make sense if I were an elephant, but that’s crazy talk for a human. An ultrasound revealed that my baby was more the size of a three-month old than a typical infant, and I panicked. How in the world could I grow such a huge baby? Even though I read everything I could about birthing big babies, I absolutely could not get past the fear.

One evening, days before ZZ was born, I went out for a late night walk and had an out-loud, raging conversation, angry at him for being so big. Well heck if he didn’t speak to me in a voice as clear as day. ‘Mama, we’re gonna be fine. We can do this. Don’t be afraid.’ I KNOW how woo-woo this sounds, but I’m telling you, my fears melted, my anxieties disappeared, and when I went into labor just a couple of days later, I birthed my ten pound 11 ounce baby naturally, and it was by far the most amazing thing my body has ever done.

I hope they remember the dance parties. The arm wrestling matches. The neighborhood parties. The goodnight stories. And the love bench. I also hope they remember the leaky roof, the flooded basement, and the creaky windows we have to plastic every winter. Because adversity breeds flexibility. And it seems to me, adversity, when paired with fierce love, creates whole humans.

And my wish for my kids is that they both grow into whole humans. Flexible. Honest. Confident. Creative. And above all else… LOVING.

My kids are three and nine, and already there are a million mama-things I would do differently. If I was given just one  do-over card, the thing I would change was the transition from being a perfect family of three, to a perfect family of four.

When Raisa was born, we didn’t know if she was going to live or die. For the first three years of her life, I did NOTHING but care for her. I was a medical mother. When the doctors said ‘She can’t’ or ‘She won’t,’ I said ‘WATCH HER!’ When she was born, her fingers did not move, and her arms and legs did not extend fully. I massaged her little body for HOURS each day for YEARS, until her fingers moved, and her muscles stretched. Until she could walk on her legs, and pick up itty bitty pebbles with her fingers. Every play activity we did was therapy based. It had a purpose.

I held her tightly each time she went under anesthesia, and supported her anxiety and fear with a love so deep, the docs in the OR would be reduced to tears every single time. She was my entire life. I went from being shy and underspoken, to being a TIGER — fierce, confident, outspoken. I don’t regret that for a second, because it quite honestly saved her life.

But what I do regret is that I got tired.

When I became pregnant with ZZ, I all but checked out. I was so sick and so emotionally exhausted from five years of life-or-death parenting, I collapsed. And in many ways, so did our relationship.

As I sit here writing this, tears are streaming down my cheeks. Yes, it is my greatest regret. I wish I had taken better care of myself during those long hard years of surgeries, appointments, therapies, and code blues. I wish I had anticipated the exhaustion. The withdrawal. The collapse. I knew it was happening, yet I couldn’t stop it. She was screaming for that same level of fierce, unconditional love and connection, and I couldn’t provide. It wasn’t insidious. It was abrupt, and it broke her little heart. Mine too.

But as hearts break, hearts mend; and today, Raisa and I continue to rediscover our mama/daughter relationship through the context of what’s truly possible in our busy and beautiful family of four!

–-

Oh, thank you, Stasia. Putting this tour together didn’t feel like work at all; it felt like sitting with a screenful of joy and contentedness, and it was contagious for sure. I hope everyone else felt it, too.

I don’t know if I’m just overly emotional from all the heartbreak in the world, but this line just about cracked me in two: “When we got home, she put on her shirt and tie, looked in the mirror, and took her own breath away.” Do you remember the last time you took your own breath away? It’s worth remembering, isn’t it? Share your moment if you can; it would be good for us all, I know.

P.S. – Are you living with your own kids in a unique way? Are you interested in sharing your home and experiences with us? Let me knowWe love to be inspired! And it’s a lot of fun…I promise! I should also mention, I have a goal to bring more diverse points of view to Design Mom this year. So if you don’t see yourself or your community reflected here, let’s make it happen — send in your details, or recommend a friend! Take a peek at all the homes in my Living With Kids series here.


Photos a sweet combination by Stasia and Melissa Reid Photography.

90 thoughts on “Living With Kids: Stasia Savasuk”

  1. I Loved this tour. And I think I love this family. And Brattleboro. And that admission of exhaustion – of seeing it coming and not knowing how to stop it. And of working your way back to connection. It’s all so beautiful. And truly brave.

    1. Oh Sarah! Thank you for the kind words. The transition from a family-of-3 to a family-of-4 was challenging indeed. When I think about it, I’m beginning to see that the transition was inevitable, and likely would have happened even if we hadn’t had our second child. I think ME needing to find ME again coincided with my pregnancy, but it was something that NEEDED to happen regardless. I think it’s common for us mamas to lose sight of WHO WE ARE when we become parents, and it’s ok… as long as we can find our way back again. It’s one BIG reason I do what I do. Thank you again, Sarah. xo Stasia

  2. Utterly transformational. I feel like a different person than I was when I started reading. Every word was so deeply felt. You are reminding mothers everywhere to accept their children (and themselves!) for who they really are. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL LITTLE GIRL! And ZZ too! I can’t thank you enough for sharing. I will be thinking about you for days to come.

    1. Wow Diane, thank you THANK YOU for the kind words. It’s amazing how we mamas can *think* we are supporting our kids, when we are in fact completely ignoring what they ACTUALLY need. In my case, I wanted Raisa to look my version of “cute” so that she wouldn’t get picked on for her physical differences. But instead, I was stripping her of her power to stand tall and truly accept herself, as she was!! It’s so obvious now, but geesh it took me a while to get it! Now, my kids wear what makes them “run faster and jump higher”. Raisa wears bow ties. And ZZ loves his pink socks. :) AND, it’s a pretty big lesson for us grown-ups too. We TOO must wear clothes that make US run faster and jump higher! We TOO must wear clothes that are a reflection of WHO WE ARE on the inside. Oh the power! Love to you, Diane, and thank you. xo Stasia

  3. I never say, “favorite tour ever!”, even when I’ve really liked them because I have a hard time with favorites. But this is definitely My Favorite Tour Ever! What a beautiful life! I think Stasia and I could be mama-soul-sisters :)

    And Stasia, please don’t be so hard on yourself over the transition from 3 to 4. Just like a plant that fruits, sometimes you have to water children a little less so they can flourish.

    1. I absolutely love that, “…sometimes you have to water children a little less so they can flourish.” Perfect. Perfect.

    2. Well geez Candice! That’s quite a compliment! Thank you! I do hope you’re following me over on Instagram (or my email list) because how else are we to be soul-mama-sisters if we don’t know each other! Shout out and say hello. :) Oh, and though I feel sadness over that transition from 3 to 4, I know it was inevitable. I think the exhaustion would have happened regardless. I had lost all sense of who I was in those first 5 years of intense medical momming… and it was time to reclaim ME. It was a rough transition, one I wish I had navigated with more grace, but today there is only today… and tomorrow. And love. There is always love. xo Stasia

  4. I love the house, the decor and brightly colored vignettes. But most of all, I just LOVE how Stasia already knows exactly what her two children have taught her. She is paying attention on so many levels. Wow, that is EVERYTHING.

    1. Oh Danielle, When Design Mom asked me what I’ve learned from my kids so far… I about burst into tears! My list was LONG, and I had to sift through all of those life lessons, one by one, to really feel them, and decide which ones I wanted to talk about. It’s so easy to move through life at breakneck speed, and ignore all the ways we mess up… but heck if the universe doesn’t keep challenging you the same way over and over again. I’ve learned that it’s better to learn the lesson real quick so I can navigate my way through it with more grace the next time it rolls around. So happy you enjoyed seeing our sweet little home too. We do love it! xo Stasia

  5. I love this tour. I often struggle with this series, feeling like I can’t relate with these families, their beautiful homes and lives. This tour spoke to me. A house that is not perfect, but still beautiful and affordable. A woman who hit her tipping point but is happy and vibrant and so real. Thank you.

    1. Thank YOU MTLee. Our home is far from perfect… and I like it that way. I love my furniture from the dump, the art we’ve created as a family (that painting above our dining room credenza was a family painting project!), and the pieces on my wall that all hold a story. Every piece has value and meaning to somebody in the family, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m so honored that you felt connected to my home and story. For a long time I thought that because we didn’t have lots of expendable money (and even if we did… we didn’t want to buy new fancy stuff), our home couldn’t be beautiful. I was SO wrong! Thank you again for your kind words. Stasia

    1. You are so sweet, Robin. Who’s to say we can’t be virtual mom-friends! It’s a tough job, mom-ming, and the more supports we have, the better! xo Stasia

  6. Danielle Lindberg

    Wow, what a beautiful story. I loved her thinking behind knowing who we are and how that can empower us!

    1. Oh YES Danielle, if you can ask yourself… “who am I, way down deep on the inside, underneath all of the exhaustion and stress and overwhelm” – and connect to that POWER every single day!?! Heck, you could change the whole world!! I think of my closet as a direct line to my SOUL! I never ask myself, “what will I wear today”, I ask myself “who am I, and how do I want to feel today” – and I go from there! Try it! It just might change your life! xoxo Stasia

  7. I think it’s so utterly beautiful that Raisa taught her mom such an important lesson about being yourself. What an amazing child.

    1. Yes, she is an amazing child. And she taught me the biggest life lesson… of my whole life! She taught me that living authentically – from the inside, out – yields universal transformational power. I’m glad I was awake enough to finally learn the lesson. xo Stasia

  8. Stasia,

    Girl. That was really, really great. I already know what a ray of sunshine you are– you have this infections way of pulling people into your orbit–but you are SO WISE my friend. I love reading this and hearing how much purpose is in every part of your life. From your home, to clothes, to thrifting, to parenting…really, you are so inspirational. Love this tour and love you!

    1. Oh Miggy! Thank you, for your kind words. I do hope we meet again someday!! Funny that we met at Alt Summit, and then here we both are! So much love to you, and your gorgeous family! xo Stasia

  9. Stasia, thank you for sharing this! It was such a delight to read your words & see your beautiful pictures!

    You’re an inspiration in every sense of the word. Thanks for sharing your gift!

  10. This is my favorite tour, so much love, so much wisdom, so much sincerity, thank you so much! I am originally from Moldova, I live in Canada now, since 2001, but I have so many wonderful memories of the Peace Corps volunteers I have met in Moldova.

    1. Salut Viorica! What a treat to hear from you! I don’t meet many Moldovans here in the US, so thank you for popping in to say “buna ziua”! I could write a whole post on the things I learned as a Peace Corps volunteer in Moldova! Writing to you just reminded me of my favorite Moldovan saying… Hai la masa! :) xo Stasia

  11. Love this tour–the style AND the perspective! Love Vermont, love Bernie (who did the right thing today) and as an occupational therapist in pediatrics, love the independence and experiences provided to Raisa by her biggest advocate, her mom!

    1. Oh yes, Ali… we’ve been “feeling the bern” here in Vermont, for sure! As an OT, you can imagine the amount of therapy I did with Raisa over the years to get her sweet little body to move. We would visit her OT several times a week… for YEARS!! When Raisa started using her fingers and legs and arms with ease, we simply couldn’t say goodbye to our OT, so she became a very dear family friend! :) xo Stasia

  12. Oh, Stasia…I love, love your home and your attitude! Your daughter Raisa’s independence and confidence in who she is reminds me so much of my own daughter Violet, who I wrote about in my Living with Kids interview back in November. (And I’m also 41, birthed a ten-pound baby naturally and am addicted to thrifting…are you sure you’re not my long-lost twin sister? :)). Thank you so much for your inspiring post. Beautiful house and beautiful family!

    1. Oh goodness Lara! Sounds like we just might be long-lost sisters! I’ll go back and read your LWK post for sure… but in the meantime, I just hopped over to FB and liked your page!! Let’s be friends, shall we! xo Stasia

      1. Thanks, Stasia! Loved seeing your name pop up on one of my posts. :) I just signed up to receive your newsletter. Looking forward to keeping up with what you’re doing! xo

  13. BIG thanks for sharing this. Pinning this tour to re-read whenever I feel the need, and following Stasia on Instagram for sure!

  14. “There is no such thing as balance. Just choices.” ️THAT took my breath away! I’m going to write it down and put it where I can see it everyday. “Balance” is what overwhelms me and has been my self- professed struggle for years. But, this is a whole new angle! Thanks , Stasia, for your little gem of wisdom.

    1. Isn’t it true Patti?! I’ve been seeking balance for years… and I’ve come to the conclusion that it just doesn’t exist! At least not for me. When we make choices… we assume ownership over those choices. We say yes to one thing, and no to something else. We have to both accept, and let go, at the same time. This is graduate level living if you ask me. :) xo Stasia

  15. Wow. Stasia, as usual your words bring me to tears. Your house screams warmth, love, comfort, and beauty, and you as a person are inspiring beyond what words can express. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you, sweet Amanda. It is so nice to LOVE my home, because for a long time, I didn’t. Now, I find myself just stopping to look around, just like I’ve done for years with my closet :) It’s my happy place, and that feels so so good. Love to you. xo Stasia

  16. My favorite lwk ever. Stasia, thank you for your gorgeous wisdom and depths of love. Your honesty and self awareness are illuminating and purely refreshing, especially at a time like this. So much love from UT and NY.

    1. Wow! What an honor, Nora, to be your favorite LWK. Thank you. And I agree, all of humanity needs fierce love and understanding right now. The more we show up and live our truest most brightest selves… the more goodness we can put out into the world. Let’s do it together, shall we? xo Stasia

  17. Wow, as a Brattleboro-ian I love seeing a local inspiration and creative force here on Design Mom, which is also such an inspiration! Stasia, thank you for sharing your profound parenting experiences as well as your home. So awesome in so many ways.

    1. Oh how cool to see YOU Prof. Kitty! We met in the very beginning of my style journey… do you remember?! Brattleboro representing!! xo Stasia

  18. Truth always speaks to people, and I have only ever heard you speak beautiful, authentic, heart-felt truth.
    This is beautiful. Your family and home are beautiful. Thank you for bringing this beauty and light to others!

    1. Oh Kim, thank you. It was an honor to be featured here on Design Mom, and I’m so glad you popped over to say hello. Love to you. xo Stasia

  19. Wow!!! What a great home tour and story. I have been inspired by Stasia and Thrift Me Pretty for years and the first time I heard the story of Raisa learning how to “jump higher” I broke down in tears. May we all learn how to jump higher and be happy in our selves. Thanks for sharing Design Mom! And keep up the amazing work Stasia!

    1. What a treat to read your comments, Candy! Thank you, darling! You, since we’ve met, have been a true inspiration to so many, with your own ability to run faster and jump higher! You inspire ME to show up with more vitality, bravery and honesty! You are a force, Candy, and I’m happy to call you my Style Sister. xo Stasia

  20. Thankful for this article and my good friend @nicoleliloia for sharing it with me. I have four beautiful boys, all different, and all loved endlessly. Your style of life is an eye opener to many people.

    1. Thank you, Laura, for your kind words, and thanks to Nicole, for sharing my home/story with you! What I love about this LWK series, is that we have an opportunity to learn and become inspired from others who live differently than us. It’s about community and connection, and Design Mom is doing a beautiful job of cultivating commonality in diversity. xo Stasia

    1. You sure have, Desha!! Thank you for all of your love and support over the years. I’m so lucky to know you, and call you my business BFF. xo Stasia

  21. You have a beautiful home and family! Thank you for sharing your story! Also, I was very excited to read that you were in the Peace Corps in Moldova! I’m a little over halfway through my Pre-Service Training here in Moldova and will swear in as a volunteer in 2 weeks.

    1. No. Way!! Are you serious, Beth!! A gal from my local community just got home from HER Peace Corps service in Moldova a few weeks ago! Oh – and my host brother from my village of Gura Bicului works in the admin office at the PC headquarters in Chisinau. His name is Costea Palii – please tell him I said hello!! Small Small world! Enjoy the vin de casa, the harbuz and the sarmale! SO COOL! Te pup. xo Stasia

      1. No. Way!! Are you serious, Beth!! A gal from my local community just got home from HER Peace Corps service in Moldova a few weeks ago! Oh – and my host brother from my village of Gura Bicului works in the admin office at the PC headquarters in Chisinau. His name is Costea Palii – please tell him I said hello!! Small Small world! Enjoy the vin de casa, the harbuz and the sarmale! SO COOL! Te pup. xo Stasia PS. I just checked out your blog! My village was right along the Nistru, just north of you!

        1. It really is such a small world, isn’t it! I’ll be sure to say hello to Costea when I’m at HQ. I am thoroughly enjoying the vin de casa and harbuz, which is perfectly ripe right now!

  22. Words can’t express how inspirational Stasia has been to my life. Her story, her truth and her take on style has brought so much hope into my world. Stasia is like pure sunshine! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful journey with all of us.

    1. Oh Lynne, I adore you. Thank you for the kind words. You are pure sunshine, my sweet friend, and I’m so happy to call you my Style Sister. xo Stasia

  23. Such a wonderful story – except that its real. Thank you for sharing, I couldn’t stop reading and thinking. so much love and selfless caring

    1. True stories are the best, aren’t they Disie? Our stories can teach us, motivate us, and inspire us to live and do better. I hope your story is driving you to become even more of who you are!! xo Stasia

  24. Maybe it’s just pregnancy hormones but I could not stop crying through this story. Thank you both for sharing this. Stacie, your children are absolutely beautiful and amazing and you are doing a great job.

    1. Congrats, mama on your pregnancy! My husband cried the whole way through… so you’re not alone. :) And he’s NOT pregnant. Parenting, being a grown up, and heck – being a HUMAN is hard work. Together, we can hold each other up, inspire each other, love each other… and make this world more beautiful. xo Stasia

  25. I don’t have the words to describe how deeply this post moved me. So much wisdom and honesty and love – thank you for sharing your story.

  26. Thank you, Amy. It was an absolute honor to share my home and my story here on Design Mom, because I do believe that STORY can change lives. Especially right now, when the world needs more stories of love, and less of devastation. How can you story change the world, Amy? xo Stasia

  27. Sara Marshall

    This was just lovely and honest and inspiring. Thank you. Beautiful home, beautiful family and beautiful words. I agree completely about the need for more stories of love. This was one I will remember.

  28. Still love your hair, Stasia! And Raisa’s first tie story still gets me. Go, mama! I always look for the bookshelves in the living with kids posts, and yours are lovely as can be.

  29. This was such an uplifting article. I know Stasia to be nothing short of fierce and a very loving mother. But being able to take a tour into her world, into her space, is the icing on the cake! It is comforting to know that there are people and families out there whose purpose in life is to seek that which makes them happy and to live life paying it forward. So much good juju!! This is an absolutely amazing article that had me smiling, teary -eyed, and feeling hope!

  30. “And it seems to me, adversity, when paired with fierce love, creates whole humans.”
    I will quote this ’til the end of my days. Thank you for this.

  31. Lovely home, lovely family, lovely Instagram, lovely words, lovely children, lovely outlook, lovely words of wisdom!! An absolutely delightful home tour! THANK YOU

  32. I met Stasia on this tour on Design Mom a few years ago and am so thankful for it. I learned so much from her, following her on social media. Thanks for bringing her back!

  33. Stasia, this home tour is a gift. You’ve clearly scattered incredible and influential flowers of love and enlightenment to mamas/papas/friends all over the world by sharing your beautiful family. So much of what you wrote resonates with me – including the stench of animal urine when we toured the tiny home we now live in, haha. I poured my whole self into my oldest and I experienced the same crash. I’ve learned and am recovering, but your words gave clarity to an experience I’ve grieved for years. Thank you.

  34. I was very moved by this unique home, their love of the true connection to self & each other and Stasia’s brilliant words and thoughtful observations on self, parenting and her beautiful children. I immediately went over to follow her on IG. Thank you for sharing her with us. Thank you!

  35. Stasia. You had me at hello? You have me in TEARS! I missed this tour in July because, well, life is busy — or maybe it was grace because I needed to read it today. Either way, thank you for sharing a glimpse into your beautiful life and soul. I was so captivated by your words I didn’t see a single photo until my second pass. You have really touched me with your insights and willingness to be vulnerable. I, too, have been too broken to parent at times. Sometimes I worry that the challenges have hurt my children, so I love this: “Because adversity breeds flexibility. And it seems to me, adversity, when paired with fierce love, creates whole humans.” You have a beautiful family. Thank you!

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