moon river

It's almost been two months since Ivy's surgery and I have to remind myself that it happened because her recovery has been wonderful. Flawless, really. We were at Joann's yesterday, just me and Ivy and she was sitting in the seat of the cart, playing with stuffies and flipping through an elmo book when the lady who was cutting my fabric looked at her. "That's a mighty big scar for such a tiny baby." I was caught off guard. "Huh? Yes, right. Yes, she had skull/brain surgery a couple months ago. Now, I'll take two yards please." It was as easy as that. But often that prompts more questions. "What was wrong?" And in the past 8 months, since knowing about Ivy's cranio, I have summed it up rather well, "The plate above her right eye was fused prematurely so they (surgeons) went in and released the fusion while correcting the deformation that was developing on her left side due to her brain growing asymmetrically. It's called coronal suture synostosis." That's it, right? Now, where are the seem rippers? 

"You know, I have a scar too." The lady precedes to unbutton the top of her shirt to reveal a scar from when she had open heart surgery when she was baby. She shared all about it, and I listened. I wanted to know every detail. Because the greatest thing about all of this (all being Ivy's cranio/surgery journey) is when people listened to you share this experience. Really listened. Countless people, upon hearing about Ivy's condition, googled and researched and most likely scared themselves seeing images and learning facts, etc. I have had so many conversations over the past 8 months where people asked me how she was doing and then said "Yeah, I read that." Blew me away. How thoughtful. As not to bother me with those scary details that were in her future, they went and learned about it before talking to me. They just wanted to know how I was doing with it all, with a genuine concern for my mama-heart. 

I have started about a dozen posts about Ivy's surgery. Details, then personal reflection, then delete, then start again. It's hard to wrap it all up. It's hard to relive some of those moments, even if they were amazing moments, that intense rush of emotions floods my eyes instantly. As the days go by and were further away from the surgery, I still have a time each day where we are right back in the hospital, it's when I put her to bed and we sing.

I wanted to have an arsenal of songs to sing while in the hospital. I have songs that I sing to Avery, different ones for Eliza. For Ivy, I knew she wouldn't be able to see me for a few days, but I wanted my voice to comfort her. We grew pretty close in the months prior to surgery, because there were days when I just couldn't let go; days where it was emotionally easier for me just to hold her all day. I wanted my voice to calm her, so I added some songs and sang them to her nightly so that she'd associate them with home. One, her favorite, is "Moon River." Who knows why I started singing it, but I did and she loved it instantly. She'd smile through her binkie at me with those big blue eyes. I knew, it was our song. 

Moon river, wider than a mile // I'm crossing you in style some day
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker // Wherever you're going, I'm going your way

Two drifters, off to see the world // There's such a lot of world to see
We're after the same, rainbow's end, waiting, round the bend // My Huckleberry friend, Moon river, and me

If you know me, you know that parts that put a lump in my throat. The early days of June, I could barely finish this song without weeping, but with her in my arms it was cathartic. Wherever you're going, I'm going your way. I thought about if this surgery goes South, and we're left without a Ivy shaped void in our family, what then? How would we go on? And I thought about heaven, and that if she did go to her eternal home early, that I'd be "going her way" soon. We all would. And while the thought of heaven brings great joy to me, the thought of her earthly journey ending was too much to bear.

The beginning of the second verse, Two drifters, off to see the world, there's such a lot of world to see. I thought about the adventures my mom and I went on, the travels and experiences we shared. We got to see the world, I want to see the world with Ivy. There's so much for her to see. I would pray that Jesus would let her see those things. Every night. I like to think of the rainbow's end, that no one can really arrive at on earth, as heaven. While we're after the same, rainbow's end, I want to be with her. That's all I wanted, was to still be with my Ivy. I would sing to her, kiss her forehead, pull her in a little bit closer every night before laying her down, and I'd come out to the front of the house to Ken who saw my red eyes he knew I had sang to her.

The afternoon of June 19 is up there with the greatest few hours of my life. When I got to hold her hand, as I couldn't hold her due to the IVs and such, and I got to sing Moon River to her, only on the other side of surgery. She'd fidget and clench my index finger and I'd say, "there's such a lot of world to see, sweet Ivy" and all was right in the world.

Ivy's 9 months old tomorrow. She's crawling, pulling up on her sister's bed, eating everything and wearing her scar well. She's quite a special little girl. Now, at night when I sing to her, I'll save "Moon River" to the very end and she'll sing with me. No other song but that one, she'll lift her head from where is was resting on my shoulder, look and me and smile. Then she'll start humming, or making noise of some fashion, but I know she's singing. It's easily my favorite part of everyday.

To those of you who have read all about Ivy on this little blog, I appreciate you. Your comments have been encouraging. You're listening to me with genuine hearts, so I thank you. Thank you for your prayers and support. I feel all too blessed to have been given this life, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to share it through this outlet. So much love for each of you.


it hasn't been that hot

What else can I say other than this summer has been delightful, and horribly fast. Avery starts school in two weeks, like a big school. Public school. Monday thru Friday school. Uniform school. "I get to eat lunch there" school. Holy fish, I'm more nervous than she is. 

It's all about to change. Avery's daily grind is going to have like a million more people in it. I think I'm going to run for room mother. I don't know if schools here have those, but I'm going to make it happen. Can you imagine being the teacher of my first born? Moms who were teachers, and then are moms are the worst in parent-teacher conferences. I'll be like, "Let me evaluate you, and then I'll get back to you about Avery's growth." I'm certified to do that. Seriously.

We're doing a big thing here. I have been part of the "movement" in education in New Orleans since 2007, and Ken is currently, I often thought, "this is great, but when I have kids, they'll be homeschooled," because the schools just weren't where I wanted them to be. But A LOT has happened, and we found a school, a public charter school, that we really like and we're jumping in, the deep end and we're letting go a bit and taking a leap. Avery will stand out, of course, but I think she's the type of person who will always stand out. Just the way we like it. Everyday when she spends time cutting out toys for her Oriental trading magazine, she was says, "I'm a good cutter, now I can go to school." Yeah girl, you go. 

We still get Avery from 1:30 on so we'll still take trips around town, but I think I'm going to miss that girl horribly. I mean, there are days where I'm like, "can she stay all day?" cause, you know, mother and daughter dynamics. For the most part though, she's incredibly charming and genuinely funny. Now other people get to see this and be blessed by it. Go therefore, child, and make jokes in all the nations. 

So, hellooooo August! Let's not have any hurricanes, okay? 


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! 
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