Kohl Hard Facts

This adventure we call life in the Kohl Family

The Week When I Almost Gave Up July 21, 2012

Filed under: On Babies and Being a Mommy — kohlhardfacts @ 8:17 pm

[Fair warning.  I talk a lot about pee and poop in this post.  If you don’t like reading about pee and poop or you are already tired of reading about pee and poop {you know, from the 3 times I’ve mentioned it already}, feel free to skip this post.  I promise I won’t be offended.  🙂 ]

Nothing has made me want to quit motherhood more than potty training.


Sometimes the only thing that keeps me going in this endeavor is the thought of no more diapers – or more accurately only one child in diapers.

Because it’s definitely not the extra loads of laundry that keep me going.  Or the number of times I’ve had to drag out the spot cleaner and old rags.  [True story, I had to tell the hubby the other day to please not re-use the pee-soaked towel from a previous accident to clean the lemonade-soaked coffee table, remotes, and books.  Oh, honey. 🙂 ]  It’s definitely not the incessantly sing-songing “What’s it time to do now?” to which she responds, “Sit on the big girl potty!”  Or as the conversation more often goes:
“What’s it time to do now?”
“No!  5 minutes!”
“Baby, it’s time to sit on the big girl potty.”
[As the pleas get more adamant] “Nooooo! 5 more minutes!”
“No, honey, five minutes are all done.  Please come sit on the potty.”
[As the real crying begins] “No, Mama!  Please, no!”

And this week….Oh this week takes the cake.

I almost gave up.  Almost went to the store to buy a big ol’ pack of size 6 diapers.


Monday we met the hubby at our fave lunch spot [Chick-Fil-A of course].  V headed up to the top of the play area, enjoying some new found friends.  I went in to tell her it was time to go and little miss potty trainer announces, “Poor ballet shoes.  Viola go poop on them.”

Oh please let her be joking.  Nope, not joking.

Have you ever had to tell the manager of a restaurant that your child was “that” child?

I apologized all over myself and offered to clean it up for them.

I thought that was the hard part.

As mortifying as that was, it wasn’t really the hard part.  Because next I had to clean up the child.  Gross.

Wednesday I put the girls in child watch at the Y while I worked out [and all by myself – be impressed…seriously, this is super impressive for me].  I was almost done with my work out when I hear the page over the loud speaker, “Attention YMCA guests, Erin Kohl to child watch please.  Erin Kohl to child watch.”

Well, last week she peed through two outfits, so I’m expecting some sort of a similar situation [although I packed two extra outfits this time, just in case!]

No such luck.

The words every mom dreads hearing:  “I was just about to ask her if she needed to go to the bathroom when I realized she had pooped in her underwear.”

Oh joy, I get to clean that up again. [I mean, seriously, have you ever had to clean up a child that pooped in their underwear?  It is not an easy task.  And that little bathroom in the child watch area?  It had to have been at least 100 degrees!  Ok, maybe it wasn’t quite that hot, but I had just finished jogging and I do not do well in hot spaces – especially small, hot spaces.]

When I finished, I came out to ask the worker if I could clean up the floor for them.  I was so relieved when she told me that in fact none of it had gotten on the carpet or toys – just Miss V.

And then there was yesterday.  We were just about to leave the doctor’s office after L’s appointment.  Before we went to the front desk to schedule the next appointment, I asked V if she needed to go to the potty [yes, I say potty – yes, I’m one of “those” moms – sorry Lorelai Gilmore.]  Silly me, I believed her when she said no.  Until she walked over into the middle of the room and started peeing – and giggling.

Is there anything more blood boiling than your child doing something naughty – while giggling?!


I ran over, scooped her up, and rushed her to the bathroom.  [Which is what you do, right?  Except that the child has already finished peeing by this point.  Yea.]

I asked the woman at the front desk if I could clean it up [what’s grosser than cleaning up your own child’s pee or poop?  Cleaning up someone else’s child’s pee or poop.  Seriously, no one wants to do that.]  She assured me, though, that Friday was the day they always had the carpets cleaned, so I shouldn’t worry about it.  ::sigh of relief::

Potty training is serious stuff.

It’s hard work.

It’s frustrating.

It’s messy.

It’s also exciting.

It’s rewarding.

It’s an important rite of passage.

Because those times when she comes out and announces to all of Target “I go pee in the big girl potty.” Are the moments that this Mama beams with pride.

Or when she calls Nana and Papaw to tell them scream at the top of her lungs in a high pitched voice, “I go pee in the big girl potty.”  And they respond with the kind of elation that only a Nana and Papaw can have over pee.

Or that first time she walked up to me and announced, “Mama, I go pee.” And walked herself over to the potty, sat down, and went.

Those are the moments that make it worth it.  The moments that give me a glimpse at the light at the end of the tunnel.

And I am reminded that the most worthwhile things in life are difficult.  They are frustrating.  They are hard work.  And messy.  And exciting.  And rewarding.

But most of all, these things of life that are the most worthwhile take time.

The lessons learned in life that stick are the ones that are developed over time.

The quality of character built within us takes time.

The good fruit we bear is displayed over time.

As Romans 5 says, “we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

So we are glorying in this potty training stage.  And it is producing some worthwhile things in her life and in mine.

Even on the days I have to resist the urge to give in, shriek in frustration, and slap a diaper on her.


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 – Together April 20, 2012

Filed under: 5 Minute Friday,On Babies and Being a Mommy — kohlhardfacts @ 7:44 pm

I’ve been looking forward to this all week!  It’s time for 5 Minute Friday again and I’m linking it up with The Gypsy Mama!

I have to confess, I cheated and gave myself 10 minutes since I was typing one handed.

Today’s prompt is



As I sit tethered to the couch by the little hungry body laying across me, I remember to take in this moment; to use all of my senses.

To breathe in her delicious freshly-bathed-still-so-little smell;  to really look at the way the tiny hairs on her head stick out in all sorts of directions; to remember how it feels to have her cradled in my arms drinking in the nourishment that only I can give her; to listen to the little noises she makes as she gulps down the sweetest thing she’s ever tasted; to taste her tiny, chubby fingers on my lips.

She pauses and looks deeply into my eyes.  I look down and smile at my precious girl.  The smile that crosses her face is exquisite.  The joy that comes from a simple smile from Mama, it’s breathtaking.  Those precious, chubby fingers that were parked up against my lips now wander across my cheek, over to my ear, up to my eye, and finally back to my lips.

I wonder [for maybe the millionth time] what color her eyes will be.  Some days I could swear they’ll be brown, or maybe hazel like mine – brown in the middle with green all the way around the outside.  Or maybe they’ll turn bright blue like her sister’s, her Daddy’s.

She turns her head and gets back to business.

This moment is just for her and me.  Sister is sleeping, Daddy is at work.

Nothing else requires our time.

Nothing else vies for our attention.

We are alone in this beautiful, peaceful, restful moment.

Just Lilly and me.




A Great Delight March 16, 2012

Filed under: Encouragement,On Babies and Being a Mommy — kohlhardfacts @ 10:11 pm

I took the girls to the store by myself for the first time the other day [and it went surprisingly well!  We actually had fun if you can imagine.  It was definitely one of those gold star mom moments.  You know, the kind that makes you feel like “wow, I’m a good mom!  I can do this!”  These moments tend to be few and far between, so I cherish them when they happen.]

As we were leaving, I asked, “Viola, where should we go now?”  Her response?  “Chick-alay wi Daddy.”  Which of course made me one happy Momma seeing as Chick-Fil-A is my favorite fast food restaurant.  [We even had CFA breakfast minis for our wedding!]

So we loaded up, called Daddy, and met him at our favorite place.

As usual, the Princess ate all most of her food and then was ready to play!

C and I were still eating, so we tried something new: we sent her in all by herself to play.  At first she just wandered around in the play area chatting it up with the other kiddos her new best friends [her usual MO…don’t know where this little social butterfly gets it from!]

Then we watched as she ventured toward the climbing stairs.  We held our breaths as she stood there regarding her challenger, observing as the other kids ascended with ease.  I could see the glint in her eyes when she accepted the challenge.  She hoisted her leg up onto the step, reached across for leverage from the side and pulled, wiggled, and slid herself up onto the step.


Caleb and I cheered and clapped and waived frantically.  It was the first time she had accomplished this task without any help from us, and we were so proud!

I’m sure we looked more than a little crazy, but who cares?!  That was our baby girl!

The whole ordeal lasted only about a minute but the moment was stuck in my mind.  As parents we really delight in our children and their accomplishments.  This got me thinking about one of my favorite Bible verses.

Zephaniah 3:17

“The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.”

I can totally see God getting crazy excited over my accomplishments, your accomplishments, even ones that may seem minor to others.

I can imagine Him jumping up and shouting for joy because you did it!

Can’t you just picture Him making a dancing fool of Himself because He is so in love with you? [Is it blasphemous to call God a dancing fool?]

As much joy and delight as I take in my girls, God’s joy and delight over me, over you is infinitely greater!

Bask in that today.  Let His love quiet you.  Picture Him, the God of the Universe, dancing over you.  I don’t know about you, but I find that kind of love undeniably attractive and inviting.

A picture of Caleb and Viola’s first father/daughter dance:


How to Survive the First Few Months March 14, 2012

Filed under: On Babies and Being a Mommy — kohlhardfacts @ 9:16 pm

As we quickly approach look back on Lilly’s three month mark [three months…somehow it seems so much shorter and yet so much longer all at the same time!], I’ve been reflecting on some tips/advice for making it through this time.  Every child enters a family differently and every family situation is different.  This is what I have learned from our situation.  I hope you find it encouraging..

*It’s ok to have a “messy” house.  Because 1. It’s probably not as messy as you think.  And 2. No one is looking at the house.  They are way too enraptured by that gorgeous little bundle of new baby perfection.

*Let other people help you.  If people offer to help out, you can either A. Give them a job/chore that you desperately wish would get done. B. Have them hold baby so that you can accomplish said chore.  Whichever of these methods works for you, let people help!

*Ask for help!  Recognizing when you’re at the end of yourself takes strength and courage.  Your body is recovering from a traumatic event, your hormones are recovering from pregnancy a traumatic experience, and to top it off, you are far from getting the “recommended” amount of sleep.  You are not weak when you ask for help.

*Soak in the moments.  That new baby look, smell, and feel only lasts a short amount of time.  When it hits you how stunningly angelic that baby sound asleep in your arms is – just soak it in!

*In the words of Darius Rucker “It won’t be like this for long.”  I promise, middle-of-the-night feedings, long crying fests [especially for colicky babies], only napping in your arms, nursing [what feels like] nonstop around the clock, the spit up that projects perfectly to go straight down your shirt…none of it lasts forever.  You will get through this!  “One day that little girl is gonna be all grown up and gone.  These days are gonna fly by, so just hold on.  It won’t be like this for long.”

*It takes time.  It takes time to wade through to a new semblance of normal.  Give yourself a little grace when it comes to the routine of life.  You’ll get there – give it time.

*It takes time for your hormones and emotions to settle down and get back to [more-or-less] normal.  You’ll be bawling one moment and blissfully content the next.  That’s ok.  [Tell your husband/best friend/parent who ever to remind you of that from time to time.]

*It takes time for your body to get back to [more-or-less] normal.  You grew a human being.  That’s tough work.  And it takes time to undo.  [Tell your husband/best friend/parent who ever to remind you of this from time to time every day if necessary.]

*Let go of the guilt.  You won’t can”t be the perfect Mom.  As the difficulty of having a newborn begins to teach you this lesson, you’re likely to feel guilty over the things you think you’re falling short on.  Let it go.  The comments from other people that make you feel like you’re not measuring up – let it go.  Which brings me to my next point…

*Remember that you are a good mom!  You are the mom that God chose for this baby.  And He did not make a mistake.

I feel a little like Paul here “Not that I have already attained all this, or have already been made perfect…”  I definitely struggle with each of these things at different times.  I’ve been blessed and encouraged by so many wonderful people through this tough transition, so I wanted to pass some of that encouragement on.

So here’s how I spend my days: