29 June 2006

bible totin'

I've noticed a curious thing over the last week. I didn't think much of it at first, but now I'm wondering if there is something to it.

The Precious Moments NIV bible Maya received from my mom right after she was born has been sitting in a basket on her bookshelf for over a year. She rediscovered it shortly after we returned from Seattle. She has been attached to it ever since.

Maya LOVES books and rarely leaves home without something in her hand - a cup, her sunglasses, her purse... so I'm not that surprised by her newfound attachment. The curious thing is that she probably has over 50 books on that bookshelf - books with sturdy pages, colors, pictures and even some with sounds. Yet this book, with over 1000 tissue paper pages of 10 pt. type, is the one to which she continues to return.

We went to the pediatrician's office last week for Cole's well-child checkup. As we were heading out the door, Maya stopped in her tracks.

"Oh, my bible," she suddenly remembered and raced up the stairs to retrieve it.

She proudly toted the book into the office, and leafed through its pages as we sat in the waiting room. She can't read! She clutched it to her chest as we watched the nurse take Cole's measurements. And still, she held onto it as the doctor poked, prodded and played with her little brother.

"Is that your book?" Dr. Barbe asked.

"It's my bible," she proudly proclaimed.

He wasn't sure what to do with that one, so he diverted his attention from her and continued Cole's examination.

Later that afternoon, we stopped into a sandwich shop to pick up lunch. The woman behind the counter playfully engaged with the kids as I fumbled through my wallet with one hand and juggled Cole and the sandwiches in the other.

"Whatcha readin'?" she sincerely inquired of Maya.

"It's my bible," she proclaimed once again.

"That's a good book," the woman said with a broad smile across her face.

"Yeah," Maya responded pointedly. The conversation was over.

My daughter... the evangelist.

Nearly every morning this week she has walked over to the basket to grab the good book on the way down to breakfast. It has accompanied her to the grocery store, to the pool, to the bathroom and even to bed... I just left her snuggling it like a pillow as she was settling for a nap.

We've had a handful of sweet opportunities to speak about Jesus, and we've read in colorful board books about his life. We pray together every night, but I don't think I've actually ever opened that book she's been toting around all week. She's 2! It never occured to me that she'd be interested in it... at least not yet. Nevertheless, she's sleeping on a hardback copy of the gospel as I type.

Somehow I think that there is a lesson here.

25 June 2006

speaking of cole

It is only now that the frenetic pace of the last few weeks has slowed that I have been able to really sit and reflect on one of the most important days of my life, June 17, 2005 - the day Cole was born and the 373 days since then.

On May 22, 2003 at 2:35 a.m. I wrote...

"Cole William... of him I dreamed. One day, two days, three days, four... Just last night another test. How many have we taken? This time, this moment... two lines. I walked in and my heart stopped for just a moment. I switched the light off, then on. I peaked again... two lines!!"

I dreamed about my son the night before I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. I have prayed for him ever since.

From June 17, 2003 at 5:55 a.m.

"Father, bless Cole. Cover him. Give him zeal laced in compassion. May he know you, be overwhelmed by you and eager to receive all you have for him..."

From August 27, 2003 at 9:30 a.m.

"Cole William Olukayode Tschetter - victorious and resolute; a protector to whom God has brought joy." Father I praise you for this life fearfully and wonderfully being formed in secret - soon to emerge in your glory. Bless him, Lord. I pray he would be strong in mind, body, spirit and soul. I pray that he would know you and stand fast in the victory by which you have freed him. May he walk boldly and confidently in you - willing to guard that which is pure, holy, sacred... yours. Fill him with life, Lord. Let his joy abound. Let it overflow to all with whom he comes in contact. Teach him to laugh, to rejoice, to abound in thankfulness. Give his zest, zeal and abundant life."

From October 18, 2004 at 11 p.m.

"Here I sit... a different couch, a different home... nonetheless, familiar. A year ago, if you would have asked me where I thought I would be today, I never would have dreamed of this. One day, two days, three days, four... the test... two lines. TWO LINES??? The cramps, the hunger, the disbelief... utter disbelief...

Father I give you this life. I pray that from the very foundations and formations that he or she is yours. He or she. Father, I thank you..."

From October 26, 2004, not sure what time

" Although I've only known about you for a week, I've been praying for you for over a year. Totally unexpected. Another gift. Another promise from the Lord. My son? Is this you growing inside of me? Is this you Cole?"

From February 5, 2005 at 8:00 a.m.

"Cole Solomon Ayodele Tschetter - Victory, peace, joy. This is the name - the legacy - the prophecy I believe the Lord has given to you. As I studied about David this fall, I was struck most by his son. God spoke to me through his son, Solomon - peaceful. Only as I read further did I realize that God has spoken to me before about MY son through Solomon. "For my son," I wrote in the margin of my bible in 5/02... "For our Solomon 5/02.

The prophecy is yours...

"Behold a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I willl give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon. For I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for my name and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever." - I Chron 22:9,10..."

From June 17, 2005 at 3:00 p.m.

"Today is the day! As the hours go by, it seems more and more clear that the day we've been waiting for is here. You are calm within me... every once in a while I feel your feet moving, but you seem to be at peace. Rebekah, one of my midwives, just called to say that Kim, the other mom who went into labor today, had a boy. I wonder what and who you will be.

Father, Thank you for your timing. Thank you for your sovereign hand guiding every step along the way. Be with all of us, Lord. I ask that you would be Lord of each and every contraction. I ask that your holy hand would rest on this baby, on Maya on Paul, on Cheri, on Rebekah and me. I ask for joy and favor, Lord. I ask that you would uphold each of us with your strong hand. Be with our baby, Lord. Work out each and every detail. Sustain him or her. Help this child to endure. In your perfect timing, bring this life forth. I thank you, Lord. You are good and your love endure and overwhelms me. Cover us in your fortress. Strengthen us in our weakness. Be glorified today."

At 6:48 p.m. my son, my promise was born.

From June 22, 2005 at 12:15 p.m.

"My son. My beloved promise... you are here. I've dreamed about you... the first was over two years ago. God has spoken to me about you, about your life and your purpose... nearly three years ago... and now Cole, you are here.

When I first discovered I was pregnant with you , I was unsure how to love you and how to receive the most unexpected news. Since then, God has just warmed my heart for you; revealed such beautiful, powerful insight into you. And today, as we sat together - just you and me - all I felt was immense, overwhelming love. My son. My beautiful, peaceful, victorious son. Thank you, Father for this most precious gift. Thank you for Cole William Olumide Tschetter. Thank you for the perfect and complete promise. I am forever humbled and eternally grateful."

As I sit here and read through old journals and just a handful of my thoughts and the prayers I've prayed over the last three years for my son, I am overwhelmed with emotion. As I think about my little boy and the fulfillment of prophecy he already is, my chest is tight, my heart is full and my eyes are flooding. As I think about the hardest six months of my life - Cole's first six months - I can't help but chuckle. "WHEN WILL THE PEACE COME, LORD???" my mind screamed countless nights as I bounced (literally) so he would fall asleep. It did. It has.

I am humbled. Totally and utterly humbled. I am so thankful.

Thank you, thank you, Lord for my son. Thank you who he is and who he will be. Thank you for the lifelong companion and friend he has in his sister. Thank you for my beautiful children, Father. Thank you for this most remarkable year.

24 June 2006

back in the splash

Today was our first day back to the pool this summer. At first, Maya was a little nervous, but by day's end, both kids were fish in water (except for the swimming part). Maybe we'll start lessons later this summer.

23 June 2006

seattle 06

There is an unspoken (okay, pretty loudly spoken) rule in our immediate family when it comes to visits... especially family visits. Whether hosting or visiting, we (I) have a strict five-day limit. I know... it sounds silly, sterile and anal - especially with a family like ours that is spread out all over the country - but hear me out.

Five days is sufficient time to catch up, delve deep and feel like you've spent quality time. More often than not, you not only part on a positive note, but you leave hungry for more. At the same time, five days is brief enough that you can easily jump back into the cadence of "real life." And more, you've said so long just before the quirks and idiosyncrasies that go hand-in-hand with family really start to grate.

We just returned from our trip to Seattle. It's been nearly two years since our entire family has been together in Washington, so to my reluctance, we broke the cardinal rule when planning for this trip: we decided to stay for a week.

It was slated to be a big week and weekend for our family: Friday - David's high school graduation. Saturday - Cole's first birthday. Sunday - Father's Day. I can't articulate all I expected out of our trip, but I can say that
things didn't go as I imagined. Nearly every aspect of our trip was... surprising.

As we expected, our first few days in town were great. We played and spent ample time together. We shared stories and laughs over sushi then lasagna. David and Great-grandma Vi opted out. We posed for our first family portrait since the kiddos - Maya, Cole, Max and Ava - joined the team. The guys - Paul, Jason, and Richard - got in an early round of golf, and the kids delighted in each other and basked in the affection of their grandparents. As an added bonus, Paul and I were even able to catch up with his former teacher turned dear friend, Michael and his wife for the first time since we've been married.

Cole (1) and Ava (1)

Then came the unexpected.

David was our primary reason for being in Washington that particular weekend. If he wasn't graduating, I ordinarily would have opted to be in our own home for Father's Day and the monumental first birthday. I digress. It turns out, we didn't actually see much of David. HE'S 18! He had people to see and places to go. After 13 years of schooling, he had sleep to catch up on. He, like every other 18-year old out there, was in and out of conflict with his parents and waging the pervasive war toward independence. Of course we would have loved to spend more time with him, but we've been there too. Surprisingly, it was okay.

Graduation was cool. I've never experienced one like it before. The two days preceding it were cold and rainy, so the rain contingency was in place. The clouds parted just in time for us to enjoy an outdoor celebration on the football field. The ceremony was casual, light. Everything and nothing you would expect. Countless caps were ornately and tackily adorned. Beneath the gowns of faculty and students alike were t-shirts, flip-flops and shorts. The musical selections were all you would expect from a high school graduation, and the speeches - all the sppeches - were good. REALLY good. As the event reached its conclusion, and the graduates of Bellevue High enthusiastically tossed their caps into the air, I was struck by the genuine elation that wove its way throughout the event. It was more than graduation or commencement. It was a party. I think it is the best high school graduation I've attended.

David with his big brothers and sisters - Liz, Jason, Paul and me

We returned home to discover that Maya had vomitted while under the care of sitters. Perhaps this was a sign, a warning from "the bug" - the omnipresent nuisance that reared its little head for the last half of our stay in Washington. By the end of the evening both Elizabeth and Paul went to bed with upset stomachs.

By morning (Cole's birthday) Paul and Grandpa were laid out on the couch, David returned home from Grad Night feeling under - way under - the weather, and out in Snoqualmie, Liz was also feeling a little blue. The day was monopolized by aches, pains and the U.S. Open. Cole's birthday... his FIRST birthday... quickly became just another day. No cake. No fanfare. Nothing. Just a cloudy Seattle day when the family wasn't together and "the bug" was king - not at all what I had hoped for. But the kid kept smiling. Surprisingly, it was okay.

Our only picture from the big day

Sunday morning (Father's Day), we all woke up feeling great. I went for a run, Jason, Liz and Ava drove in, and we made plans to enjoy the sun (which had finally come to visit) on the boat in Lake Washington. By mid-morning, however, it became painfully obvious that Jason and I would become "the bug's" next victims. Rather than celebrating the fathers in our family on a boat on Lake Washington, Jason returned to his bed in Snoqualmie and I spent the better part of the day in bed in Kirkland - emerging to sip soup and Sprite. Surprisingly, it was okay.

I don't golf, and previously, under NO circumstances would I actually sit and watch golf on television. But this Father's Day,
my father-in-law and I bonded in a way I NEVER expected... over golf. I caught bits and pieces of the U.S. Open throughout the weekend, and I actually woke up feeling better after a long nap dying to find out who won... huh?!? To my delight (huh?), Dick recorded the final round, and we stayed up late with eyes pinned to the TV to watch the suspenseful conclusion... OGILVY?!?!?

Unfortunately, Karen was unable to escape the wrath of "the bug." By Monday morning, she was camped in bed, and we had not yet connected Paul's Grandma Vi. Since Cole has never met his great-grandmother and Maya has only seen her once before, I was especially excited for the opportunity to spend time with her. For fear of passing "the bug" on to her, however, she was sequestered. Sadly, we left Washington without seeing her.

You would think after a weekend of of sickness and thwarted plans and especially after exceeding our visit limit by two days, we would have been ready to high-tail it out of Seattle on Tuesday morning. You would think... but we weren't. Surprisingly, it was okay. It was better than okay, it was amazing. We left Washington with full hearts - overflowing for our family. We saw with different eyes than we ever have. Words cannot describe the delight of watching your kid sister become a mommy. There is nothing like watching your little brother become a graduate. The emotion that comes when witnessing someone else - a grandparent - love your child as much as you do is indescribable.

Elizabeth, Cole and Ava

Cole and Maya with Grandpa Dick and Grandma Karen

We shed tears as we left for the airport on the seventh day. We're even considering breaking the visit rule again.

17 June 2006

celebrating cole

How quickly a year goes by. I have heard this so many time in my life, but it has never been more true than during the last 365 days. Unbelieveably, our little boy, our living beam of sunshine is a one-year old. ONE?!?!? There are infinite emotions and so much to say, of course. In time.

We celebrated a week early with Grandma, the Tuckers, Ratnathicams and Currans. Donning visors and swimsuits, the kiddos fished, splashed, crafted, balled, bubbled and grubbed. It was fun, FUN. Here are a few snapshots from Cole's first birthday celebration...

Grandma and Cole

Lauren, Ella, Taryn, Maya, Rachel, Caleb, Nathan, Mercy and James




Ella B




Gregg and Taryn

Nathan and Rach

Cole, Dadda and Momma


12 June 2006

he speaks

Cole is one of the most dynamic, animated and passionate little people with whom I've come in contact. He babbles incessantly, he screams in delight as well as in frustration, and he speaks volumes with his million dollar smile, contagious laughter and heart-wrenching tears. Yet, this little boy has not actually said anything since he emerged nearly a year ago. Not until now!

Shortly after Maya came into my room this morning, she discovered her Dadda's baseball cap on the dresser. Just as she beamed and proudly placed it on
her head, Cole appeared in the
doorway with a smile on his face.
"Hat," he said with his hands.

He repeated the sign a few times, when I finally realized what he was "saying."

"HAT? Do you see Dadda's hat?" I asked him with a shrill, excited tone.

His face lit up, and he clapped. "Hat," he signed again.

You would have thought the Red Sox won another World Series with the jubilation in my room this morning. We proudly paraded around little brother shrieking and squealing. "Hat, he said HAT!!!" Bedimpled Cole just kept clapping, signing and laughing at his mom and big sister.

Though he still hasn't used his voice to say many words to us just yet, in this short exchange, Cole's silence was broken. It was a great, GREAT moment.