Monday, June 28, 2010

To Infinity and Beyond!

I like being organized; unfortunately, I'm not always just that! I buy things to "get organized" and then forget to actually, um, use them. I had bought Keagan a Responsibility Chart last year, and we were using it for a while. I'm not completely sure why we stopped...but we did.

Anyway, I'm over it.

I pulled it out again, this time with a different idea! I thought it'd be good for Matt and I to use it to keep ourselves on track every day with what we need to accomplish. Matt likes it and plugs the information into his phone calendar for the week. Seems kind of elementary, I know, but hey, it's working so far!

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It didn't take long to figure out what should occupy the bottom white board. Keagan is working for money to buy this special toy since we went to see Toy Story 3 in the theater:

So, this is the system we've set up for him:

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These are chores that take a while and are "infinity"...er..."above and beyond" what we normally expect out of him. I actually made what could've been a pretty big mistake yesterday morning by letting him clean his room for money. (We quickly realized the folly in this and won't be doing that again!) He should do this on his own simply because it's his room. "Payable work" includes chores like: helping Daddy take out the trash every Tuesday evening for trash day, helping Mommy pick weeds in the flower beds and watering the plants, helping Mommy dust/vacuum/sweep, helping clean the (whole) kitchen-not just clearing the table like the board says (it's the only magnet we have for that!), and helping do the laundry.

Last night Keagan helped me pick a LOT of weeds and then he watered my plants for me. That took over an hour, so I don't think $1 is too much. And earlier in the afternoon he helped Matt clean the kitchen and then started the dishwasher by himself. Matt was worried about how broke we're about to be! But most of these will not be everyday chores, like the trash and picking weeds. He said, "I don't have that many dollar bills lying around!" So, we decided to do the smiley faces that represent $1 and then payday will come once a week or just when we get paid. It was really cute watching Matt explain that to Keagan. He's right--we don't get paid every day after we're done working; we have to wait for payday to come!

So far, Keagan has $3, and he's learning some hard lessons. It's good to hear Matt teaching him, "Sometimes things we have to do to earn money are not easy or fun", "It takes patience", and "You'll appreciate your new Buzz Lightyear so much more if you earn it yourself." Matt is such an incredible dad; I'm very blessed to have him teaching our children so much!

I'll try to update on how Keagan's work ethic and earning is coming along now and then! It's funny to hear him choose "work" over playing on the swing set.

Peace of Christ to you,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

28 Weeks

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Here I am at 28 weeks of our big event. Boy, am I wiped out pretty much all the time! I keep forgetting that normal tasks I did before--like giving one of my classes a lecture on grammar for two hours--will completely wipe me out for the remainder of the afternoon. So, it's quite a relief when I can get both of my kids to nap after lunch!

I had another appointment yesterday, and I was both looking forward to and dreading it because I was having some problems. I was glad for the chance to talk to my doctor about them, but worried about being a whiny patient. My nurse said every time I go in and she asks how I am, that I always smile and say everything's good, so she thought I deserved a day to unload about what's wrong. At least I'm not known as a complainer there; that helped me! :)

I've been having a lot of cramping and even some contractions (mild, but still painful) and these felt different than Braxton Hicks, so I asked about them. I didn't have a UTI, which surprised me and was great!

But then why have I been having such cramping? (I'm always worried about being a baby about having a baby!) :) But there was definitely a reason: Dehydration along with my lower than usual placenta.

So, this kid is just trying to be a pain in the rear, I guess. And I suppose he will continue to be such until he comes out! No, he will be loved....but he could very well receive a stern talking-to upon arrival (after we've given plenty of hugs and kisses, I'm sure)!

My heart medication was also upped at this appointment. Hopefully when all that gets worked out (there was a mix-up with a kind that's being discontinued), I'll start feeling better. Today I had to call class off and leave after I nearly (no joke) threw up on a student up at the front of the room. Whew. My prayer is that God will give me the strength to get through this summer semester without having to bail on the class. We have 6 weeks (including this one) left. Then I'll have a couple of weeks off before the fall semester begins.

Our families have been SO helpful lately, and I'm so thankful. For instance, I just woke up from resting-to try and ease my nausea-with no kids here because my mom kept them the whole afternoon for me. What an enormous help! And yesterday my mother-in-law kept them while I traveled to my appointment. Last night, we opened the laundry closet door to find a huge stack of FOLDED laundry! She did all of my kids' laundry because I had said I was behind that morning. :)

God is so good.
Peace of Christ to you,

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer Silliness

Summer Silliness from Matt Yakel on Vimeo.


Our Anniversary and Other Soft Paths

Monday night we celebrated our 8th anniversary with some time to ourselves, which was wonderfully refreshing. For a mom who uses words like "share," "diaper change," and "sippy cup" throughout the day, adult conversation is restoring and healing. I'm thankful that my husband understands that!

Matt came home with red roses for me and a beautiful card that said I'm perfect, etc. :) We don't do flowers very often at all (which is my preference because they usually feel like a waste of money, and I'm too practical), but once in a while it is nice to be surprised with a few!

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We had a lovely dinner in rather than going out, and I enjoyed it even more than I hoped I would. We cooked together--before you think I did it all myself--and enjoyed candle light along with a perfectly peaceful dining room. No noise but our own voices. I even broke out our Mikasa dishes and crystal glasses! We savored salad, then lemon-peppered chicken and rice without one cross "Sit down" or "Eat your dinner!"

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Afterward, we drove 30 minutes for dessert. Applebee's has this incredible "Triple Chocolate Meltdown" that is just heaven in a bowl. (I forgot to snap a shot until we'd already begun diving in!)

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Next, we strolled across the parking lot to one of our favorite nerd places full of books, magazines, and movies. We usually split off shortly after passing through the front glass doors since we have just slightly different interests. :) When Matt found me on the floor in the Christian children's section with books surrounding me on the floor, he laughed. "Of course," he said, grinning at his hopelessly mothering wife.

Before I allowed myself to ruin the books with my pregnant tears, I decided I'd better move on to another section. This time I moved to read part of "The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom--a book I've ashamedly not yet read. If you haven't either, I think we should read it together.

I left with a pronounced awareness of how blessed I am. I don't understand why some people were chosen for such treacherous lifestyles while I was chosen for...a life with evenings such as these.

I'm thankful with a strange cognizance of the fragility of my comfort. While I drive around in a Toyota and eat fudge-drenched brownies, other human beings--image bearers of God--will meet Him today for lack of rice. Does this ever trouble you?

Before you think I'm out to depress you (because I'm not!), I hope you'll see what I carried away from our evening: I've settled into a peace that what God has called me to is what He wants me to engage in for the moment. Our chocolate meltdown was a blessing from God! It's not a sin to enjoy an anniversary evening with your husband simply because the world is riddled with hardships. But He also doesn't want us to live in a vacuum where we are unaware of others' hardships, and even tragedies. These most often increase our joy and gratitude for the sweet blessings He's supplied for the day.

I hope you have sweet moments in which you are moved by His generous heart and that you are compelled to pray for those who are not walking such a soft path right now.

Any day the soft dirt beneath our feet could give way to piercing rocks, and we'll need the strong prayers of those in seasons of blessing to carry us on.

Peace of Christ to you,

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Way Things Have Turned Out

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8 years ago today, early in the morning, I sat in a trailer house that wasn't yet my home and I wrote in my journal about the day ahead of me:

It's sunny today! I am so excited, but I'm nervous too. I hope I don't do anything stupid. Next time I write I will be Cara Yakel! God is so good to me.

8 years later, I laugh at who I was, what was important to me, and where I thought I'd be today. I had no idea where all God would take us, but I'm so thankful for the journey we've had. All day I've been praising God for the man He has been shaping Matt into over these years. He's a husband who will lead me and a dad who will teach his children to serve Christ.

I had no idea we'd have 3 children--a 4 year old, a 2 year old, and one in the womb. If you'd asked me then about children, I probably would've said I'd be fine without them.

Boy was I ever wrong.

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And I sure am glad.

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I kind of like the way things have turned out.
Peace of Christ to you,