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Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
New mom to baby Otto born April 2018!

2.18.2020

Deep dive: how the stair rail replacement project really went!

I shared the a couple weeks back about how we replaced our stair posts. This week I'm talking about how it really went--how hard was this project??

It might sound daunting, but honestly with a few extra steps I think this project is comparable to installing a door knob or curtain rods! This week on the Your Home Story podcast, I'm sharing all about how we replaced our stair posts. If you thought replacing stair balusters would be a hard project, then you definitely need to tune in.

Links we talked about:
  1. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
  2. Ashley loves the author Kristin Hannah
  3. My tutorial on Replacing Stair Balusters
  4. The balusters and level/base kits that I got for our stairs.
  5. Ashley’s stair railing at her house.
  6. An orbital sander is one of my go-to tools!

You can find us on our blogs or connect with each of us on Instagram:

And you can join our Facebook group here to connect with other listeners and ask questions!

Listen here or in your podcast player!
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2.17.2020

Unique, vintage-inspired bathroom art updates and affordable custom framing

I am the first to admit that art was an afterthought when we did our main bathroom reno last fall. Despite planning that projects for months, I waited till the last week to think about the art. (Why?!) For the reveal I found some pieces we already had and printed out a free printable, but none of it was perfect.

So, I put a lot of thought into it finally and found the perfect vintage print and unique printable and went with ArtToFrames custom framing, a really affordable option and best way to get the exact sizes I wanted!

Thanks to ArtToFrames for providing these beautiful custom frames for me to share with you! Use code CREATE15 for 15% off site-wide through 2/25!

I wanted something short, wide, and horizontal for above the tub. Previously I'd had two vintage Japanese prints there, but they didn't have quite enough presence for that big space. I found a vintage reproduction download, Canyon, from Juniper Print Shop (so many unique pieces, vintage and new!).

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2.12.2020

The first trimester the second time around

I'm 14 weeks along with this pregnancy, hooray! That means I'm through the first trimester, which is weird when you think about it--why is each trimester only 12 weeks, but pregnancy is 40 weeks long, not 36? 40 divided by 3 is 13-1/3. But whatever.

This time around this first trimester was different than it was when I was pregnant with Otto... still hard, but different!

"Morning" Sickness


With both pregnancies I've found out right away (about 3.5 weeks pregnant, I think) and the morning sickness has set in around week 5 or 6. Extreme fatigue and basically feeling carsick all the time have been my main symptoms. Using my phone makes it worse so sometimes I had to just lay on the couch doing nothing. This time around I started reading in my spare time, which became a nice evening tradition after putting Otto down and before Jason has been getting home. (Bedtime is hard. I stopped nursing Otto when I was 4 or 5 weeks pregnant since I figured the fatigue would set in soon! We were just doing it for a couple minutes at bedtime anyway and I don't think he was getting much. It was time.)

Morning sickness is very poorly named because it lasts all day, and for me is worst in the evenings. It's definitely been less severe this time around. I didn't throw up with either pregnancy, thank goodness (I have two friends who've had it really bad with both of theirs, sounds so awful), but I was worried about feeling as bad as I did before while taking care of a busy toddler. Thankfully I've been able to keep it pretty much under control by eating constantly. Evidently morning sickness is very related to blood sugar which is why eating small meals often (a high-maintenance way to keep stable blood sugar when you can't eat big meals) can help.

As with last time, I feel low blood sugar/sort of hunger allll the time, but nothing sounds or tastes good. I don't feel good when I eat too big of a meal, so I have to eat small meals/snacks like every 1-2 hours. But again, nothing tastes as good as it should and I have food aversions, so I'm not able to eat a very balanced, nutrient-dense diet like I prefer. I'm like a fussy toddler. It's very annoying. (But things could be so much worse.)

I've been compromising on food choices again this time around and eating dairy (Siggi's greek yogurts, sometimes ice cream) and more grains than I would like. Still no gluten but definitely more rice products than I need. (I have a long history with different diets and know that I personally feel best when I choose meat/vegetables/nuts/eggs over grains and dairy.) I'm also eating more sugar than I would like. I've learned that if I drink some Naked or Odwalla juice (the thick, 100% juice kind) first thing in the morning it takes away that icky feeling until I can make and eat my eggs. I've always had to eat right away first thing in the morning, but that low blood sugar level first thing in the morning is so hard for me right now. So I'm resorting to spiking my blood sugar with fruit sugar! Ha. (So opposite what I used to do when I ate mostly-Paleo and counted macros and was working on building muscle.)

Movement


Thankfully, I haven't had the ickiness and fatigue so bad that I can't go for walks or do yoga. I'm still not down for CrossFit just yet, but I've done some workouts when I can squeeze it in before I get too tired in the evenings. I know from the low back pain issues I had postpartum before that I need to keep up strength in my back and glutes this time... I don't want to lose muscle mass again. (I haven't been fully back to my pre-baby workout routine but did share how I've been getting strength back here.)

How I feel emotionally


I am definitely excited for this baby. But I'm splitting my focus on a lot of other things and our lives are pretty crazy right now, pregnancy aside. Otto is a (wonderful) handful, Jason is gone 6am-7:30pm right now for his current clinical rotation, he graduates in May and is studying for the (super intense) physical therapy board exam, we're doing some really big/expensive projects on the house this spring, we have some family stuff going on...

I was on a roller coaster with my first pregnancy because I was so desperate to get pregnant and so scared it wouldn't work out somehow. Then I got pregnant and felt so awful at first! This time both of those feelings have been present but less intense.

Another huge thing and difference between baby 1 and 2: my (formerly fragile) body image has improved so much. Getting pregnant, feeling sick and eating (almost) whatever I could handle, carrying a healthy baby to term, losing the weight quickly with no extra effort, and all the while really not worrying about how my body looked that much has been transformative. I've had so much more confidence post-baby than I did before, and it's not because my body is more toned and lean now! (Okay, I didn't like feeling like I emerged from pregnancy with chicken arms and no butt--but I know how to improve those things when I next decide they are important again.)

I worried about gaining weight on the standard curve at every appointment when I was pregnant with Otto. This time around I could care less. I'm feeling confident, I guess, that I'll gain a bunch of weight, have the baby, be only focused on getting as much sleep as possible and eating enough to maintain my milk supply, and then blink and feel pretty normal again. (I could be eating my words in 8-10 months or so. But it's really great to not be worrying about that time now.)

The weird hormone stuff


There are so many little weird things that happen with pregnancy, even in the beginning!

I've stopped losing hair when I shower or brush. Just a few pieces, whereas I used to shed a ton. I have super thick hair to begin with so it's going to be real thick till about 5 months postpartum when it all falls out, if the same thing happens this time around! (I look back at my photos of me later in pregnancy and even I am like WOW, look at that hair...!)

Breakouts. Just random zits here and there, weird! And annoying. I don't remember having that with Otto.

Poor sleep. So unfair cause I am so tired most of the time, ha! I did get some Unisom to try in the evenings (that plus B6 is supposed to help with nausea, and it is a sleep aid) since my morning sickness is worst then. I think it does help me get to sleep. I'm hoping this morning sickness ends around week 16 like I think it did last time, and then I might not have to take it anymore, but by then I'll probably be waking up to pee in the middle of the night more, so... (BUT I'm not forgetting how much better I'm sleeping now than I will be when I'm up breastfeeding a newborn 3-4x/night for 0.5-3 hours each time!)

The bump


I'm in that awkward phase where I don't look pregnant but none of my pants fit. I'm doing the ol' hair elastic buttonhole extender loop on all of them but it's harder this time around since high-waisted jeans are in! :P I feel pretty frumpy not being able to tuck my shirts in anymore.

I don't look pregnant, just bloated. Pic on the left is 8 weeks, first photo I took this time around (oops), pic on the right is the other day, almost 14 weeks. I think I'll be showing earlier this time around...!

I'll keep you posted, I enjoy doing these posts and looking back throughout pregnancy and postpartum! You can see all my pregnancy posts here and baby posts here.
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2.11.2020

No-Spend January (home decor/improvement) Recap

We recently tried (and encouraged our listeners to try) a month of no-spend home improvement projects--that is, going beyond just moving plants around and making meaningful changes in your home without cost being a barrier. 

This week on the Your Home Story podcast we recap the progress we made in our houses, and what anyone can learn from a no-spend month.
One of my No-Spend January tasks is unfinished--I added an extra pair of curtains to our bedroom windows but have yet to hem them correctly and sew each pair together!

Resources mentioned:
  1. Article on benefits of a no-spend challenge from Making Sense of Cents
  2. How To Prepare for a No-Spend Month
  3. Ashley’s first No-Spend January project video progress
  4. Update on No-Spend project progress

You can find us on our blogs or connect with each of us on Instagram:

And you can join our Facebook group here to connect with other listeners and ask questions!

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Listen here or in your fave podcast player!
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2.05.2020

The biggest news!!! (Again!) BABY #2!!!

We have some wonderful news! Not since fall of 2017 has something this big happened! If you haven’t guessed it yet…

I am pregnant, expecting baby #2 in August! We are so excited and happy to be adding another incredible little person to our family. Parenting has been quite the journey for us (wonderful, challenging, the usual) but we are ready and excited to do it again! And we are so, so grateful that we were able to get pregnant relatively quickly again. Unfortunately I have not been feeling great since about week 5, just like last time, the same symptoms although thankfully less severe.

All this means we have a really big year ahead of us… Jason graduates from physical therapy school in May and will take the board exams in either late April or late July. I am hoping to take some classes and do some seminars for a certification for work this summer. We still have a lot of things we want to do on the house this year, although some of it will be stuff we hire out and I’m hoping to take care of this spring. This summer we aren't sure if Jason will start working right away, or if he'll take a couple months off to watch Otto, work on the house, and just help us get ready for this big transition of adding a newborn to our lives in August. Then I’ll take 3 months off, and be back to work around Thanksgiving. Whew! I think it’s going to be a whirlwind.

The past couple years of our lives have been pretty insane, too… Starting a family while one of us is in medical school was not the easiest decision, oh, and also flipping a house and buying a historic fixer-upper… We could’ve made these first years of parenting a lot easier, but we didn’t. I am so grateful to be bringing this next baby into our permanent home, rather than the 500 SF apartment we lived in when Otto was born after living with my parents after selling our last house!

Otto will be 2 years, 4 months old when the new baby is born. I hope that’s a good age gap… He already loves pointing out babies and playing with a baby doll, and talking about tummies… he doesn’t know what he’s in for! After Otto was born I really struggled with how hard it was to have to take care of another person 24/7 and I definitely did not feel ready to have another baby until probably this last summer after Otto was almost a year and a half. I was afraid that I wouldn’t feel ready for a long time, and we have always hoped to have kids relatively close together in age. But thankfully the baby fever set in again and here we are! (And Jason was ready pretty much immediately after Otto was born!)

I will share more pregnancy updates now that we’ve made the big announcement! How I’m feeling, how this pregnancy is different than last, what the gender is, maybe even some nursery decor this time around. I am excited to share! (Make sure you subscribe by email (sidebar on the right below my social icons) to get updates as I share them!)
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2.04.2020

Interview & pro tips on renovating with a spouse

What makes renovating with your spouse easier--and what makes it harder?

Tune in to the Your Home Story podcast this week to hear some tips for renovating together and specifically, how Ashley and Luke work together on DIYs in their home.
Image source
Listen to the episode to hear the great story of that awesome light fixture!

On the show, they talked about:
  1. The Modern Black Powder Bathroom
  2. The light in the living room.

You can find us on our blogs or connect with each of us on Instagram:
@suzannahstanley
@biggerthanthethreeofus
@yourhomestorypodcast

And you can join our Facebook group here to connect with other listeners and ask questions!
Listen here or in your podcast player!
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