A Toddler's Prayer

I sat down to dinner with Cole tonight and asked if he'd pray with me before we started eating. He put his hand in mine and waited as I spoke, but then interrupted me with "A-meh"...."yay!!!". As if that wasn't sweet enough, we began eating and then Cole put his head down. He then said, "T-ay, Mama, Da, go-go-ride, a-meh.....yay!!!" Seriously, if I could capture time in a bottle, this is one memory I would keep. How incredibly sweet to watch my 20 month-old "pray"! (And honestly, I'm thankful he mentioned Jake and me!)

Black Friday Adventures

Yes, I did it. I ventured out with my sister at 3:45 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving to see what deals we could take advantage of. We began our trek at Meijer where we waited in line for....well, can't say it 'cuz it's someone's gift! But thankfully, we got the fifth to last of this item. While in line, we laughed at a lady who was with her mom.....her mom only there to make sure she got a "really cool" brush and comb set. It was pretty hilarious to hear the two of them interact - or should I say banter?

We then went to Toys R Us so I could get Cole the Home Depot 2-in-1 Tool Bench and Sawhorse (yes, I wrote it out....not quite as worried about him reading this!). I know they have a giraffe as their mascot, and it seemed appropriate on this morning as that place truly was a ZOO! We ran back to the right section only to find that the workbenches were all out.....I was devastated and realized why parents trample each other to find that perfect toy for their child. I'm not saying I would advocate this, but I was ready to do whatever it took to get this toolbench! We went down a couple more aisles and then came back so I could longingly stare at the empty shelf where my dream Christmas gift once lay. Then, Heather said, "2-in-1 workbench?" I couldn't believe it! A woman had found one of the last workbenches and had a clerk get it down for her. That drew our eyes to the last workbench up on the very tip-top shelf. I told Heather, "I'm not leaving this spot" and she quickly ran for a clerk. By the time the clerk got to me, the woman who obviously didn't realize how lucky she was, decided she didn't want her workbench and set it down. So we were able to scoop that one up for ourselves!

Now, the real entertainment came from the line for the check-out that circled the store 1 1/2 times......people finding where the end of the line was was pretty comical. And at one point, a fight almost broke out when we heard, "Don't you talk to her like that!" I turned to Heather and said, "Merry Christmas!" We laughed, as did most of the onlookers in the line. As we were driving home and contemplating whether or not we should wake our husbands, I said, "This is so fun!" I'm not sure how "fun" it would have been if my sister hadn't been there with me.....and I'd be lying if I said I'd have enjoyed it just the same had I not gotten Cole's present. But we'll see......maybe next year it's round 2 for the Ainslie girls and Black Friday!

New Pictures

For all of you who have been waiting for new pictures of Cole and the rest of us, check out the new link in our Photo Album section entitled, "Fall Happenings". Sorry I haven't been that great at keeping up with the photos like I had hoped to. I've been kind of lazy in this first trimester! Speaking of the twins, just an update that we had an ultrasound last week and saw that they are growing right on schedule and also that they are fraternal....whew! No tattoos for our babies, thank goodness! =) I'll keep you posted on how they're doing.....shouldn't be too hard since I go to the doctor every other week! Thanks for all your prayers and thoughts!

Thanksgiving Fun

The Manne family had a great week of Thanksgiving. Yes, I realize it's only 1 day, but we really had a holiday week. We began on Tuesday when Jake's parents and aunt, uncle and cousins from Alabama stopped at our house to stay the night as a pass-through on their travels. We had a fun time staying up until 1:30 a.m. laughing and "solving" the world's problems. It was so nice to see our Alabama family since we don't often get to visit with them. Jake's parents continued on to Alabama to spend the holiday with Jake's sister, her husband and son. Thankfully they made it there quickly and safely!

On Wednesday, we left
for our own Thanksgiving travel to Michigan to spend time with my family. We arrived at about 10 p.m. EST and once again didn't go to bed until 12:30....Cole was jazzed about being at Grandpa and Grandma's, and we were just as grateful to have arrived at our destination and be out of the car! We spent Turkey Day with my parents, my sister, brother-in-law and nephew, my cousins, aunt & uncle and my grandma. It really was a fun, relaxing day. Cole spent the majority of the day either attached to my dad or following A.J., my nephew. Cole is obsessed with both of them! He quickly chooses Grandpa over Jake or me, and especially chooses Grandpa over anyone else! Then there's A.J......the cutest little baby I know! Cole loves A.J. and says his name really clearly. He crawls around with A.J., shares his toys with him, gives him "loves" and tries to teach him new tricks. It is so fun to watch these boys grow up together! Here are a couple of pictures from our trip. Hope your Thanksgiving was a blessed one!
Grandpa & Cole having a blastSweet baby A. J.
Cole & Great-Grandma Janet in deep conversationCole kept taking apart the Christmas trees!

A Great Weekend

Jake and I just returned......literally, just got out of the car and are in his office at church until it's time for me to go to class......from a wonderful weekend of training and learning in St. Louis. We went to the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers' Convention for the last five days and soaked in so much new information. It was a time of learning lots of practical tips for ministry but also a time where God really worked in our hearts and refreshed our love for Him.

One helpful session in particular was a Q & A with Doug and Cathy Fields. If you don't know who that is, he's one of the most nationally known youth pastors these days. But for our session, we didn't talk so much about youth ministry, but instead about marriage and all of the stresses that are put on it when in full-time ministry. It was so nice to hear from "veterans" who figured out a good balance. It was also nice just to be getting advice from two people who understand what it means to be in full-time ministry. I have learned in just this last year of being in it ourselves that people really don't get it....they think they do.....but they don't. I've learned to just smile, nod and allow those folks to make their comparisons, but to walk away and not take too much of it to heart. I don't mean this to sound harsh.....I know that there are many people who have 9-5 jobs that work very hard, work overtime and have many stresses put on them and their families because of their job. I just don't know how to explain it, but ministry is so different.....those of you in ministry can understand and possibly shed more light on this if you have a way of describing it! Cathy said in another session I was in (titled, Help! I Married a Youth Worker!) that the room of women she was standing before knew her life better than her best friends did in the sense that we're living it.....we are now living what she's been living the last 25 years and will continue to live for many more. That made me feel good too, being in that room with all of those wives.

Anyway, I'm just very thankful for such a refreshing weekend. Cole was with my parents so I never worried about him....and let me tell you.....it was nice to not have any responsibility for 5 days! I miss him dearly, but you mothers know how nice a break feels! And now I am off to class......vacation is over.......back to the grind we call life!

A New Spark

June also brought with it a somewhat new adventure for Maurah.  She joined MainStage Academy of Dance in the winter and showcased her work t...