fall line // new in the shop

 It is NOT fall, but the twirl shop is getting ready for back to school with our new line: Science Fair. 

 Peanut is wearing ELEMENT and Avery is wearing FORMULA

The perfect skirt for your future scientist or president! 


Available NOW in the shop! 


no bad days

My perspective on life has changed since Ivy's surgery. I looked at things, or pictures rather, and I thought- "oh, we didn't know about Ivy's cranio in that picture." or "that's right after we found out." Now I look at life this way- pre surgery and post surgery. It's healthy, really, because while living with anxiety in the pre surgery world, I didn't have any expectation for the post surgery world because, I was too scared to think about how it could actually turn out. You know, when you sign those forms before your baby undergoes massive surgery, and when you sign the bottom with your hand trembling, those papers. Those fears. Those possibilities. Those scared the hell out of me for 6 months.

But we're here! We're living! We're exploring, we're almost crawling, we're saying "da da da da", we're eating all sorts of new foods, we're out there (Jerry) and we're loving every minute of it!

There are no bad days, only bad attitudes, I have determined. There could have been some bad days, some really bad, bad days. But there aren't. Or maybe they still are to someone else's eyes, but we're seeing the good, and savoring the sweet and snuggling as much as we can. Raise a glass to the post surgery world, friends. Because now I'm just a mom of three girls, running what is quickly becoming a sorority house filled with emotions and tutus.

I'm a platinum member of this all girls club, and no boys allowed, but dad.
(photo proof of these "NBDs"... "no bad days," clearly.)
 Could have tried to take one where everyone was smiling, but that would be silly.
We just ate and Slim's so we're all feeling real good here. 
 Is 8 months the age when you adore their hands? The way they hold them? And that little chub roll at the wrist?
I think that is what you do at 8 months. Adore the hands. 

 These freeeeaking girls. When they're lined up, it's too much. 

 Avery "long legs" and Peanut "move water from cup to cup" Kostrzewa

 Soon, young grasshopper. 

 Peanut is quite stunning lately, completely unbiased observation. 

 Gene Simmons fan club.

 A whole library to explore, and the bigs grabbed books and sat here on their own.

 But then I saw a photo opportunity, so I moved them. 
I tried to get A & E to look up, but that wasn't happening. 

 Then big girl Ivy got to sit up front. It was the best.

 Avery yelling, "from Target to Costco" 
From that video... have you seen it!!! HERE

 Some nights, before dinner, we head to the park and I walk the loop and Ken plays with the girls.
I finished the loop walking up to this. And you know what I said? 
There are no bad days, friends. 


10 on 10 // JULY

 Woke up to this face. Three weeks ago, y'all! Three weeks ago was her surgery, and look at her now. 

 I use my children for my own personal gain.
These skirts though, you'll probably want one for home games and away games. 

 I went to a job interview downtown and I felt so fancy. (Teacher stuff, can't get enough.)

 How about that view though? 

 Thought Drew would be here, buuuuut...

 Picked up some wholesale fabric right by the river, love this view.

Best part of my everyday, putting my brave little one to bed. We sing, kiss, and snuggle. 

(That's only 7! What is happening to me?)


2 years, peanut!

When we found out Ivy was coming, I worried that Eliza would be lost in the shuffle of life. That was my biggest concern when I got pregnant. Then, we planned this fun party for Eliza when she turned one, but then she got super sick so we canceled it. Then, when we got the date for Ivy's surgery, it was a week after Eliza's second birthday. We always said we'd do birthday parties for their 1st, 5th, and 10th birthdays. Mainly to keep me from pinning "fun birthday ideas" at midnight. And because we have 3 kids; could get pricey. Ken said, "we should do something for peanut, do what she loves with some friends, sound good?" So, we're holding strong with our birthday party quota. Oh well, we wanted to celebrate our peanut! 

So, this is what a peanut would do on their second birthday. A morning of blueberry muffins with her sisters, and an evening eating cupcakes and watching Frozen with her buddies. Truth be told, all she wanted was Frozen. 

"Peanut, do you want bagels or muffins for breakfast?"
"Watch Frozen."

"Do you want bean and rice for dinner or macncheese?"
"Watch Frozen."

"Cake, cupcakes, or cookies for dessert?"
"Watch Frozen."

Okay, the girl knows what she wants. 
 The birthday hat was not part of her plan. 
 I tried to make cupcakes like Sprinkles. Emphasis on tried... 

We played, ran all over the house, then ate some cupcakes! I'm laughing in that picture because when we sang EVERY person said, "dear Peanut..." and not Eliza. I feel like having a strong nickname is a good thing. Lucky for Eliza, Peanut is pretty much her name. 

For sentimental reasons, I surely do love this girl. From the day she was born, she has been good to our family. She joined us with such a calm and brought a tenderness to our home. She's smiley and sensitive. She's a great middle sister; fits the role so well. Looks up to her Avery in just about everything, and loves on her Ivy so much. I'm writing this late, but when I came home the next morning after Ivy's surgery, I went to hug her, and the first thing, "Where's Ivy??" 

We love you madly, Eliza Peanut Page Kostrzewa. 
Thanks for being so sweet. 


new skirts in the shop!

I really shouldn't use our family blog to promote my etsy shop, but I am! Eeep!

I added a couple skirts to the shop that I think are really cute. Or that the models are cute. Or both. I'll let you decide!

So many of you have bought skirts already and it means so much to me. Thanks for helping me do something so fun!

These skirts though, this fabric by April Rhodes is the best. I love everything in her collection, but I picked this print for the shop and I hope you like them as much as I do. Yippee!

I added baby sizes too. 9 months, 12 months, 18 months, and then 2T-5T.
And, I added shipping to Australia and Canada, because, why the heck not?


 And for the best part, because you're cool and you read this here blog, if you use the coupon code THEKOSTRZEWA5 you will save 10%!! 

I mean, here's the link: the TWIRL shop
Happy twirling, and happy shopping! 


red elevators

// I wrote this on my phone last night after Ivy's surgery. //

I took the red elevator tonight to the first floor for an evening walk around the hospital. I came out to the emergency entrance, walking past a sign that instructs patients to use the blue elevators, not the red. I've walked past these elevators before. A couple times when Avery had a high fever that wouldn't quit, and once with Eliza for the same. I never paid attention to these red elevators because I didn't need to know where they went. Today I rode them. Today I needed the red elevators.

I remember early visits to the cranio clinic that was at the hospital for Ivy. We only took the green elevators. I remember coming in the wrong entrance and having to walk through the hospital part, to get to the clinic. I held my baby tightly as gurneys rode past, with weeping parents following. I was sad for the moms being held under the arms of their husbands. What did their kid need? Why were they here? Does their kid have craniosynotosis? I'm glad I'm not them.

I walked that same hall tonight, except at 11:30pm. No one around, no doctors in scrubs quickly walking through; a calm take on a space that will be bustling in a few hours. I was in search of a snack, but really a change of scenery from dings and beeps that made me more stressed than anything. And for a mom of three, a night in the PICU is like free babysitting. You know what I mean. 

I walked to a room of vending machines, decided on orange juice and white cheddar cheez-its, and late night with Seth Meyers was on, and I just wished it was Jimmy Fallon. I sat alone at a table, and read the menu for tomorrow and realized it was my first time being alone. And I cried, and cried and cried.

How did this day just happen? How are we already on the other side of this? How did my brave baby do something so incredible I can barely finish a sentence without crying? I sat at this table and said over and over, "Thank you Jesus. This is all I've ever wanted."

After my snack, I wiped my tears and headed back to my baby. Isn't that the thing with free babysitting? You can't wait to get back to them. As I walked back, I thought of those parents I saw months ago again. They looked so sad, but they might feel like I feel tonight; Amazing. Relieved. Like nothing is too big for God. That their child is a hero, a brave little warrior. Maybe they were actually happy.

A security guard asked, "Where you heading, darling?" I replied, "The red elevators." That means something here. Taking those elevators means your baby needs a lot of love tonight. "You're almost there, hon."

And we are. We are almost there, turning the corner through Ivy's journey with craniosynotosis. Walking into the unknown has shaken me, but has marked me. My God has been the rock on which we are standing. He is our refuge.

The support and love we have received through Facebook, emails, Instagram, etc. has been unbelievable. I'm convinced that 500 people were praying for Ivy today. I have never been so touched by life as I am today. Today was the most terrifying day of my life. It also is the best day of my life. To think I lived it, that I went to dark places of fear and anxiety and then found myself physically unable to not hug the reconstructive surgeon after he said those words I had played over and over in my head, "She did great." That happened today. I'm so grateful for every part of it. 

//Now, Ivy has a road of recovery to come, but she will now grow properly from here on out. Please pray for her, for the swelling of her head, the bruising around her eyes; we should be in the hospital for a few more days. Pray for peace in those days to come. //


to our babe-dad

Do you call your husband dad? I do, all the time. Then I thought, no, I have a dad, Ken's my babe. So I called him babe. Then Avery called him babe, and we had to remind her, Ken is your dad. So, she calls him babe-dad. And that's a perfect name for Ken. Our babe-dad.

People say to marry a man who will be a good father to your children. Without really knowing what that meant, I knew that Ken would be a great dad one day. He loves kids, is extremely patient and knows the exact moment when a daddy-daughter chat is needed, or when they just need a hug. He can make them all laugh, and boy these girls love their daddy. Just today, when dad went to work, (yes, on a Saturday. rude.) Ivy cried as he left.

What I love most about Ken's dad-ness is how he cares about the souls of our little daughters. He often says before bed, "babe, let's pray for our girls, that they would know and love Jesus." After days that are hard, that's what he wants to do at the end of the night. He loves to talk about his girls, "Babe, what are we going to do to help Avery understand _____" or "I think peanut just needs more love tomorrow" or "Ivy is so darn cute! She likes to grab my beard, it's so sweet."

Watching Ken become a dad has been one of the greatest joys in my life. He takes this calling very seriously, and is quite proud of his girls. When I go to his school to say hi, all the teachers and staff comment on, "Oh Ken talks about his girls all the time! We get to see pictures, they're so beautiful."

You'd think he had a blog dedicated to posting pictures of them. (...)

And know, some favorites from Ken's fatherhood (going 3.75 years strong.)
And don't worry if you can't tell who is who, cause I make CLONES.

To the #1 man in all the hearts of this house, 

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