Kohl Hard Facts

This adventure we call life in the Kohl Family

The Dance June 21, 2012

Filed under: On Babies and Being a Mommy,On Learning Life Lessons — kohlhardfacts @ 7:27 pm

It’s an art.

A dance, really.

This motherhood thing.

And some days I feel like I’m a beautiful ballerina.  Floating gracefully through each moment.  Knowing with precision how to execute each movement.

[Wash and hang dry the load of diapers.  Dress the kids {oh and myself} in the just-right-outfit.  Discipline them exactly right.  Better yet, not have to discipline them at all because they are so perfectly well trained.  Cook that perfect meal off of Pinterest.  You know, the stars-all-aligned kind of days.]

But most days?  Most days I feel like a stumbling, bumbling fool.  Trying my hardest to look like I know the dance.  Working to do the right move, only to realize that I’ve messed it up once again.  I stand there thinking about how the movement went wrong and what I should have done differently.  Meanwhile, the dance continues, and I realize I have to struggle to catch back up.

[Opps, I forgot the diapers in the wash overnight.  One has squash all over her “just-right-outfit” and the other has spaghetti sauce all over hers.  Oh and I’m still in my yoga pants.  Lose my cool and shout in frustration.  Give in to the crying because it’s just easier.  Warm up leftovers.  Better yet, “Honey, pick up a pizza on your way home.”  You know, the normal days.]

The thing is, I know the One who knows the dance.  He knows the music – the rhythms of my life – even better than I do.  And He longs to dance the dance with me.  He yearns for me to reach out my shaking hand, place it in His big, confident hand.  He wants nothing more than to pull me up onto His feet – like a little girl dancing with her Daddy – and teach me the steps.

Because the truth is whenever I do this dance alone – whether I’m gracefully gliding through or tripping over my two left feet – I’m messing it up.

And this dance?  This motherhood?  It’s far too important to allow that.  Because it’s not just about me.  It’s not just my life that’s on the line here.  When I dance this dance solo, when I don’t allow the Father to lead, my girls are the ones who suffer.  They’re the ones who miss out.  And if I want them to dance the dance of their lives on His feet, how will they know how if I don’t show them?  If they don’t see it in my every day dancing?

So I pray that God gives me the grace – the humbleness – to reach out my hand, step up on His feet, and let the dance take us where He wants it to go.

Dancing the “Hokey, Hokey” as V calls it.

 

How to Make Friends Like a Two Year Old June 20, 2012

Filed under: On Babies and Being a Mommy,On Learning Life Lessons — kohlhardfacts @ 6:32 pm

I learn new things from my kids every day.

Seeing the world through their eyes has drastically changed my perspective on life.

One thing that Miss V has taught me is her perspective on friendship.

Every person she meets [or even just sees from a distance] is a potential friend in her eyes.

She doesn’t pay attention to their age, their gender, their race.  She doesn’t care if they have special needs or speak a different language than she does.  All of these social constraints that make me fearful of talking to a person for one reason or another – through her eyes I can see how silly they are.

V just goes on up to someone, grabs their hand, gives them a hug, and decides to be their friend.  Seriously, everywhere we go, she meets a new friend.  The other night we were at Culver’s and she made friends with a little boy who had special needs.  She just walked right on over to him and started talking about his Elmo doll.  At WIC last week, there was a little girl – maybe 8 or 9 – in our group walking down the hall, V just walked right up and held her hand.  We went to story time at the library yesterday.  V walked in, sat down next to another little girl, and put her arm around her.

It’s adorable to watch.  And more than that, it reminds me that people are people, and all people need to be loved.

It reminds me that I shouldn’t let my social constructs get in the way of loving people.

It makes me think that this is one of the reasons Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

So the next time you see someone who’s different than you, and you get that nervous feeling and think “It’d be easier to keep walking,” take a lesson in making friends from a two year old.  Let go of the things that hold you back and make a new friend.   You’ll be surprised at what you might learn.

Now if we can just teach her about respecting other people’s boundaries – turns out not everyone likes to be hugged by a complete stranger.  🙂

 

Summer Goals June 9, 2012

Filed under: On Babies and Being a Mommy,Projects — kohlhardfacts @ 6:22 pm

It’s summertime! 

I’ve always loved summer.

The smell of sunscreen mixed with chlorine and a dash of sweat.

Lazy days laying by the pool or on the boat.

Warm evening for grilling out.

4th of July fireworks.

Festivals and street fairs and farmer’s markets.

I love summer!  [Ok, to be honest, I love every season.  Every time we enter a new season I think, “This is my favorite season!”  I know, it’s a little silly, but I just absolutely cherish having four seasons.  I think each one displays a unique and beautiful quality of the Lord.]

Anyway, as winter faded to spring and now spring is transitioning to summer, I’ve found that the days can get away from me pretty easily.  Life gets busy and I feel like nothing gets accomplished [well, nothing except chasing, feeding, changing, putting to sleep, bathing, and otherwise taking care of a 2.5 yr old and a 6 month old.  Holy wow!  She’s 6 months old today!]

And so I’ve decided to set some goals for this summer.  I want to share them with you, so that you can help keep me accountable to them.

So here they are, in no particular order:

1.)  Read 3 non-fiction and 3 fiction books.
This goal is partially inspired by this list of books from The Gypsy Mama.  As well as my dear friend Kyra who has been recommending lots of books to me lately, and my wonderful friend Susan who has deemed this “The Summer of Reading” for her family.  The 3 non-fiction books will be Strengths Finder [which I have to read for Mission 21, is that cheating?], Kisses from Katie [recommended by Kyra as well as Lisa-Jo aka The Gypsy Mama], and A.W. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God.  I haven’t decided on my 3 Fiction books yet, so I’m open to suggestions.  There’s a fair chance I will read more than 3 of each category, but I wanted to give myself a realistic and achievable goal.

 

2.)  Complete at least two creative projects.
I have five blank canvases that I would like to do something with.  I have ideas for all five, but I have yet to implement any of those ideas.  One of my ideas is to paint each of our hand prints one on top of the other with our names around it.  So I’d like to get that done this summer.  Another creative project I’d like to complete is this collage-style picture board of pictures from our wedding to hang in our bedroom.  I might add a couple more creative projects to this list, but again, I wanted to make sure my goal was attainable.  I have a tendency to create goals that make me excited, but aren’t realistic for me.  So I’m intentionally creating a very realistic list for myself.

 

3.)  Take the girls to do three new things that one/both of them have never done.
I’ll get to check one of these off when the girls and I go to Tennessee for the 4th because L has never been on Dale Hollow Lake.  Another place I would like to take them is the fire station.  I think V would really get a kick out of seeing the fire engines up close and personal.  The third thing I would like to take them to do is take them camping.  Neither of the girls has been, and C and I would really like to take them at least once this summer.

 

4.)  Workout a minimum of 4 times a week.
My very motivating friend Melissa and I are [most weeks] working out together Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  I want to add at least one more workout a week.  Be it Wii Fit, 30 Day Shred, or going to the Y myself – I want to be doing at least four a week because I really like the way I feel when I’m working out consistently.

 

5.)  Create [and stick to] a daily schedule for me and the girls.
I’ve realized that when our life is [more or less] scheduled, things go much more smoothly.  So one of my goals for this summer is to have a schedule that includes some time set aside specifically for creative play, some for learning times, some for outdoor times, and some for “chore” times.  I’m hoping to get this schedule created over the next week so that I can implement it the following week.  It certainly won’t be a rigid schedule – that’s just not my thing – but it will help organize our days.

 

So there you have it, my list of summer goals.  Feel free to ask me how any and all of them are going [as well as any suggestions/advice for sticking to them.]  Do you have any goals for the summer?

 

5 Minute Friday – Expectation June 8, 2012

Filed under: 5 Minute Friday — kohlhardfacts @ 9:12 pm

We’ve had a busy Friday around here.  The girls and I went to the zoo with some wonderful ladies and their kiddos.  It was a sweet time of hanging out and building those relationships.  The kids had a blast looking at animals, riding the carrousel, getting faces painted, playing in the splash area – whew!  I’m tired just remembering all of the fun they had!  🙂
I’m so very thankful for days like this – for the fact that I’m able to stay home with the girls instead of working, for the zoo membership my parents gifted us, for my sweet social girls, for beautiful sunshiney days.

And now on to something I look forward to every week – 5 Minute Friday!

If you’re not familiar with 5 Minute Friday, check out The Gypsy Mama to learn what it’s all about.

Today’s prompt:

Expectation

GO

I’ve been thinking a lot about expectations lately.

What I expect of my kids, my husband, my ministry leaders, my family and friends.

What each of them expects of me.

What I expect out of life.

So many expectations – so much to live up to.  And more often than not, we fail at those expectations.  People we love fail us.  Life fails us.

This led me to wonder – is there a way to live life without expectations?  Would it be a good thing to live without expectations?  Would it be possible to avoid disappointment?  Heartache?

And yet if we had no expectations wouldn’t we be missing out on some of life’s greatest joys – of the looking ahead with excitement and anticipation?

STOP

I had SO much more I wanted to write!  But I’m playing by the rules.  5 minutes, and 5 minutes only.  So there you go, my 5 minutes on expectations.

 

Giving Up On Good: A Tidy House June 7, 2012

Filed under: Giving Up On Good — kohlhardfacts @ 9:05 pm

Oh my goodness, this week has flown by!  I had every intention of blogging on Monday….and Tuesday…..and yesterday.  I even have two different drafts started.

But here we are – Thursday – and nothing!  Maybe next week I’ll get one out every day [like I always plan, but somehow never ends up happening.]

Since it’s Thursday, I’m linking up with The Tiny Twig and Naptime Diaries for their series about Giving up on “Good.”  We’re talking about the things that – while not at all bad things – we choose not to do in our family.  We give these things up for so many reasons – to save us time, to save us money, to save our sanity.  Whatever reason, these “good things” just aren’t for us.

Today, I’m giving up on a clean house.

I know, some of you aren’t surprised by this – especially if you saw my bedroom in high school.  Or my dorm room the first 2 years of college.  [My roommate was even less tidy then me, if you can imagine!]

But then I had a couple of roommates who were more into being neat, so I worked on cleaning up my act if you will.

And then I got married, and I worked really hard to keep a tidy home for my hubby.  And then we moved into a tiny 1 bedroom apartment and I had to keep it clean.  And then we moved again.  And again.  And again.  Moving that many times meant that by nature things stayed cleaner and less cluttered.  Then we lived with my parents and [although he tried to be very nice about it] it really bothered my dad if things were messy.

But now?  Now we’ve been living in the same home for 9 months.  And we had another baby.  I don’t feel the need to impress the hubby like when we were first married [let’s be honest, he knew what he was getting into from the beginning anyway!]  My days are full of chasing after a 2 and a half year old and a 6 month old.  Making sure they’re happy, healthy, well fed, growing mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Keeping the house picked up has gone way down on the priority list.

At first I really struggled with this.  I hated letting people see my home in a less-than-tidy state.  But C and I love to host – we love opening up our home to people, inviting them in, and taking care of them.

So I had this war going on inside of me.  And the stress of it was spilling out onto the hubby and the kiddos – even though it totally wasn’t their fault.  Well, maybe it was a little bit their fault – they were definitely contributing to the mess.  But the stress it was causing me wasn’t their fault.  Now I’m a happier, more engaged, less stressed Mama – and we’re all the better for it.

Some days I still get frustrated – still feel horribly guilty when someone comes over and there are stacks of papers and pictures on the coffee table or there’s nowhere to sit because the couches are full of clean clothes.  But I’m learning to let go of it.

God gave me a beautiful picture to help me on those days.  At first I saw our living room all neat and pristine -even the furniture was nicer, newer.  It was also empty.  And then I saw His hands take a chisel and a hammer and chink away the picture to reveal our real living room – mess and all – with some of our dearest friends laughing, having fun, and enjoying time together.  The thing is, no one cared that there were toys all over the floor and dust on the TV stand [our house has some serious dust issues!]

To those of you who have beautifully, immaculate houses – more grace to you!  [And if you want to put your cleaning skills to use, feel free to come over any time!]

What good things are you giving up to make room for a happier, healthier, calmer household?

 

In the interest of full disclosure:  Here’s what my living room looks like right now.

 

5 Minute Friday – See June 1, 2012

Filed under: 5 Minute Friday — kohlhardfacts @ 9:12 pm

It’s Friday again!

Hooray! 

You know what that means….5 Minute Friday with The Gypsy Mama!

5 minutes to write freely.  Without worrying about perfection.  Without worrying about grammar/spelling/editing.

Today’s word:  SEE

GO

I love days like today – all overcast and cloud covered – the day after a good, soaking rain.

I love the way the world looks on days like this.  The colors seem so vibrant.  Plants, grass, leaves, flowers all saturated with the nourishment of the rain brighten – almost glow.

We need the sun – it’s heat; it’s light; it’s energy; it’s nourishment.

But sometimes in the bright light of the sun, other colors are harder to see – they get drowned out by the overwhelming brilliance of the sun.

Isn’t life like this sometimes?

It takes a good, soaking rain [hard times, troubles, maybe a sickness] to help you see the colors of life for the vibrancy that they are.

STOP