CHRISTMAS LETTER(I was not able to get our Christmas letter to everyone so those who did have a chance to read it, enjoy!)
Dear Friends and Family,

This year has had a lot of major changes in the Mansius Family. We bought our first home, added a new addition to our family, taken many family trips, and even done some remodeling to our new home.

February 1 presented an exciting but tiring day. It was the day we moved into our very first home. We purchased a 2 bedroom 2 bath home from Grandma and Grandpa Dansby. We finally found a place near part of our family in which to settle down and raise our family. This house provided us with lots of room for the kids to run around in and even a nice little patio where the kids can ride their bikes and play in their play house. We are both very excited especially James. He was so excited that this would be the first time he got to put up Christmas lights on his very own home.

On April 26 Aubrey Fern Mansius was born. She was born at 12:18 AM. She was 7 pounds 2 ounces and was 19 inches long. She was named after her Great Grandmother Fern Viola Oviatt, who is James’ Grandmother on his Mother’s side. It was a wonderful day! When we got home Joshua and Eliza could not even wait for us to get her out of the car before they were holding their arms out and asking to hold her. Since that day their biggest arguments start out as who gets to hold Aubrey first. While Aubrey is just loving every minute of it.

This year has also been one of family exploration. We have been able to take trips to both Puerto Vallarta and Hawaii. We went to Mexico with the whole Fitzgerald family as a small family reunion. It was a well deserved break that everyone on the trip needed. Our trip to Hawaii was one to visit Uncle Russell and Aunt Joan. While there we tried to see as much as we could of the island of Hawaii in one week. Though we did make sure to leave some activities for the next trip to visit them.

James is still working for Progressive and has been there for over 2 years. He is also busy taking financial classes in Arizona. Some of his highlights in his week are the Mondays when he gets together with Dad Fitzgerald to work on our home. Not only have the added a wall but they have started making our old paneled walls look like real dry walls. They have also taken out the lowered ceiling in the kitchen and replaced a sliding door with new front double doors.

Nichole LOVES being a stay at home mom! When she has free time she loves to read and crochet. Some of the crochet projects that she finished this year are Aubrey’s baby blessing dress, a couple pair of baby booties, and a stripped baby blanket. Her greatest goal this year was to work on family history. When she gets the chance she helps Grandpa Nelson with family history.

This year Joshua is learning his colors, shapes, counting to ten, dressing himself, saying the alphabet and tracing lines. We will soon begin to teach him to write his name by tracing it. One of his favorite activities is playing soccer and he loves to go and watch his Uncle Kory’s games. We have plans on putting him in Soccer next year.

Eliza started Nursery this year and loves it. She had started to become very clingy just before she hit 18 months and we were a little worried that she would not want to go. The first week that we took her she saw all the other kids and all the toys and was off, never to look back. Nursery is now one of her favorite times of the week. Her supply of words has also grown and she is now talking up a storm. She can almost say as many things as Joshua can and it never ceases to amaze us what new words she picks up from those around her. Also within the past few months she has begun the process that every parent dreads. POTTY TRAINING! Actually it has gone a lot better then expected. She started on her own by watching her brother and now can ‘almost’ make it through the day. All in all she has come along way. She is a cutie who on some days is the girliest of girls and on other is very much a tom boy.

All of our kids have never been ones to be content to stay in one place for very long and Aubrey has proven that she fits right in. At about 4 ½ months she had learned to pull her knees underneath her. It didn’t take her long after that to figure out how to crawl and get from one place to another very quickly. She now has to be in the middle of everything that is going on. Currently she is learning to pull herself up to her feet using the furniture and to get around by walking. It won’t be long before I have three kids running around the house in three different directions.

We hope that everyone had as great a year as we did. We send our love with lots of hugs and kisses. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Love,

The Mansius Family

MY WONDERFUL SISTER
If I have not told everyone how wonderful my little sister is I am doing so now. I have the most wonderful sister. I can always count on her, she is always there when I need a baby sitter, I can talk to her for hours even though I may have just talked to her a few days earlier, I love bouncing new ideas off of her to find out what she thinks, and she will even take family pictures for me even though I asked her at the last minute. Of course we have had our share of tears and arguments but if you know of an sisters that have not please I would like to meet them. As teenagers I think we were closer than a lot of other siblings were. We even hung out in the same group of friends where most people would not even be caught dead with one of their siblings at school. As we have gotten older, gotten married, and had children that are within months of each other we have become even closer as we face similar challenges (like potty training) and situations. Not only is my sister wonderful but she has found a wonderful eternal companion who is one of the smartest guys I know. He is also talented, handsome, and loves his family. Together they have two of the cutest children in the world. Even though I am partial because they are my only niece and nephew. Evelyn is almost 2 and is on her way to becoming diaper free. GOOD JOB Evelyn! Your Auntie is very proud of you! She is also very cute and has so much hair. (At least compared to my kids) I love it when her hair is up in two pig tails. Preston is a very calm baby. Last time I was at the Waite home he was just sitting on the couch smiling away at everyone. He is 4 months younger than my youngest, Aubrey, yet he is just about as big and weights at least a pound more. Last time we compared their feet together we would have had to cut off his toes in order to get them to be the same size. Though as Evelyn looks like her Mommy, Preston definitely takes after his Daddy. Together the four of them make up a fun, happy family. Those kids will be some of the smartest kids ever. And I know my sister does not like getting thanks you notes so I hope she does not look at this as one. I still have to tell her THANK YOU for everything you have done for my family and I hope our kids continue to grow up together and become even closer. I LOVE YOU!


P.S. Don't worry Amber I am still planning on getting to my tag blog in sometime soon.
I just want to say
CONGRATULATIONS
to my grandparents, Paul and Maryann Dansby, and my SIL, Tiffany. Recently, my Grandfather became a 32 degree Master Mason and Grandma and Tiffany became the star points, Adah and Martha, in Order of the Easter Star. (A branch of the Freemasons much like the Relief Society of the LDS church.)


DAY 3, 4, 5, 6

DAY 3 & 4:
The walls in our home are completely covered in the brown paneling that is very common in mobile home. In order to make the hallway match the new wall that we just put in we needed to fill in all the lines. To get it smooth we had to do 3 layers of joint compound, which needed 24 hours each to dry before you could do another layer.

DAY 5 :
Not only are we going to paint the walls but we decided to put texture on the new wall and on the hallway walls. First we needed to apply primer in order to get the texture and paint to stick on to the smooth paneling. Later on in the week Dad also came by to put in the door to the new room. Now its officially a separate room!

DAY 6:
ARE WALLS ALMOST LOOK LIKE REGULAR WALLS!!!
Today, Dad, James, and Kory applied texture of the walls. Now you can't tell where the new wall comes together with the paneling of the hallway. They did a GREAT job. Also while James and Dad prepared to put on the texture by covering everything that we didn't want textured Kory and I took down the lowered ceiling in the kitchen. That was tough!!!! It had been put in kind of funny so it was hard to get out but it makes the kitchen look huge and VERY bright. It will look nice after we get new light fixtures and hide the octopus wiring that's in the middle of the kitchen ceiling.

THANK YOU DAD AND KORY FOR ALL THE HELP. THANK YOU GRANDPA AND GRANDMA FOR TAKING PICTURES. THANK YOU MOM FOR LOANING US DAD.
NEW CHURCH CALLING

Heavenly Father has decided that it is time for me to take a step out of my comfort zone. For the past couple of years I have always been given callings in church that seemed very easy. I was on the Relief Society Enrichment Committee where we planned 4 activities a year. I was first counselor in a Primary Presidency that was over 3 nursery age kids (18mo to 3 years) and 2 sunbeams (3 to 4 year olds). There were more adults than kids. And my last calling that only lasted for a few months was Achievement Day Leader. (Activities for 8 to 11 year old girls similar to Cub Scouts). My new calling will be Primary pianist. I can play the piano but I have only played a few times with people were singing along. It has also been a while since I have practiced. Not only is my piano at home badly out of tune but every time I do sit down I have two kidos banging at the keys on each side of me. Its hard to tell if I'm playing the song correctly when all I hear is banging from them. On the plus side I am playing for a group of kids and not for adults. Kids won't notice when I mess up. I am thankful for this calling because it is pushing me out of my comfort zone and it gives me a reason, no matter what happens, to practice. I love playing the piano. This will be a fun calling.

MY FAVORITE PRIMARY SONGS ARE: A Child's Prayer; I am a Child of God; I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ; I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; Scripture Power
OFF TO NEVERLAND!!!
For Halloween our family chose to take a trip to Neverland. We all went as characters from Disney's Peter Pan movie.

Joshua (Peter Pan)
Eliza (Princess Tiger Lilly)
Aubrey (Tinker Bell) James (Pirate) Nichole (Wendy)

In order to get ready for Halloween we bought the movie and started watching it almost everyday for about a week before Halloween and I had been working on creating the costumes for the past month. On top of that James taught Joshua to say "Off to Neverland!" and Eliza to say "HOW!"instead of "Trick of Treat." Joshua was so exciting about being Peter Pan that he wore his costume for three days. Not only on Halloween but on the day before and the day after. The night before we went to a Trunk or Treat put on by our church. Joshua knew exactly what to do and Eliza tagged along behind. After getting her first piece of candy she was ready to stop right there and eat it. Then she realized that she got more as she went along.

On the day of Halloween I took the kids to the historical Fox Theater for a showing of Pooh's Heffalump Halloween movie and they got to wear their costumes. It was packed but the kids loved the movie. The only thing that upset them was that their Daddy was not there so I decided to take the kids over to the Progressive office to go Trick or Treating. His coworkers just loved it and the kids loved showing off their costumes. Later that night we all dressed up again in our costumes and took the kids trick or treating at a nearby neighborhood. Unfortunately, there was only one family giving out treats on our block so we packed the kids in the car and headed to a friends street. We started on one side and worked our way back to their house where they were holding a spooky Halloween party. We had lots of fun. The kids were so hyped up on candy that it took a while before we got them to sleep but you only have Halloween once a year so we let they have fun.

The next morning the first thing Joshua did was put on his Peter Pan costume and was asking to watch Peter Pan again. That was when my Mom and Dad came to save the day. Not only did they let me put off watching Peter Pan but my Mom took pictures of the kids in their costumes. So now I have some great pictures to show off.
!!!!!THANKS MOM!!!!!
This year we had a great Halloween. I love making costumes for my kids especially when they never want to take it off and wear it three days in a row. Actually he would have worn it even longer if I didn't throw it in the wash. I hope that everyone's Halloween was as SPOOKY and FUN FILLED as ours was.
For all of those who went to Mexico with us this should bring back some memories.
(P.S. you may have to click on the pic to see it clearly)

NO MORE PICTURES FOR A WHILE.

Eliza decided that my camera needed a bath. So while I was distracted doing something else she pulled my camera out of my purse and ran it under water. AHHHHH!!!!! I tried to take it apart as much as I could so that it could dry out but with no such luck. It will turn on and take pictures but the screen is very light. Maybe once I put it back together the pictures will be okay after I put them on the computer. (That is IF I can put it back together) If anyone knows anything about cameras please HELP!!!!! On the plus side this will give me the excuse to pull out my Dad's old SLR camera and play with that again.
DOCTORS, DOCTORS AND MORE DOCTORS!
After seeing the doctor three times in one week Aubrey is finally feeling better and is caught up with her shots. Last week she started to get cranky, sleepy, and was just not my usual on the go little girl. While we were visiting my parents in Tehachapi my Mom noticed she had a fever. That night it reached 101 degrees and then the next night is got up to 103.5 degrees. She was scheduled to see her pediatrician for a regular well baby check up the next morning so I didn't make another appointment. At her appointment her fever had come down but it was still at 99.9 degrees so the doctor would not give her the shots that she was actually coming in for. The doctor was worried that she had an infection but unable to find. So we were sent over to get a chest x-ray which turned out clear. Then the doctor decided that she wanted more test done to determine the cause of the fever. Originally the doctor wanted me to come back in the next day to see if her temperature continued to go down before she did those test but changed her mind because I had all three kids with me. So after three hours in the doctor's office, urine samples taken, and blood drawn from both arms so that they could get three vials of blood for culture tests we were able to go home. I had a funny felling that after all that her temperature would go down and she would be fine and sure enough throughout the day it slowly returned to normal.

We returned the next day just for a quick check up. All the test that were given came back normal. Her temperature was fine but she still was a little congested so the doctor again sent us home but said to stand with her in a steamy room to break up that congestion so that we could prevent an infection. Now I never thought I would say this but the hardest part of that whole visit was getting out of the doctor's office. While Aubrey was going through all of these test Joshua and Eliza were eating cookies and watching Finding Nemo. Joshua threw a fit and I practically had to drag him to the car. That was a sight to see.

Finally after a week of Aubrey getting better we returned so that she could receive the shots that she was unable to receive the previous week. There she receive two vaccines in each leg. Och! These then caused her to be cranky, feverish, and not to have her usually on the go personality all over again. My poor baby! That first year can be rough.

I am happy to report that she is once again consistently on the move, crawling anywhere that she can get to. Her favorite place in the entire house is the kids bedroom. Usually after laying her down in the front room I return to find her in the bedroom with Joshua and Eliza playing with the toys. We have a great doctor that really cares about my children and their health. She even called a few times during the week just to check up on Aubrey.

Oh I almost forgot. Aubrey now weighs 11lbs 2 oz and is 25 inches tall. She will be 6 months old on the 26 of October.
DAY 2: LOOK IT'S A WALL!
I'm so excited! James and my Dad are really doing a great job on putting up that wall. It looks great. What do you think? Only a few more things left to do and then we can paint.

DAY 1 OF TURNING MY 2 BED 2 BATH
HOUSE INTO A 3 BED 2 BATH!

Dad and James worked on Saturday to begin putting up a wall where the old front room and formal dinning room were. So far they have gotten all the framing done.
Joshua and Eliza both did their share of the work too.



NEW PICTURES!
I got to watch my niece and nephew this last week and while they were here I took a few picture of them with my kids. From oldest to youngest there is Joshua (3), Eliza (23 mo), Evelyn (21 mo), Aubrey (5 mo), and Preston (1 mo). We had a lot of fun that day.

THE CREATIVITY BEGINS:
Joshua and Eliza love to draw, color, paint and do all sorts of art projects but there favorite is play dough. Everyday during art time when I ask them what they want to do they yell for play dough. Its only after I remind them that there are other things that they can pick from that they may or may not change their minds to do something else. Here are a few pictures of their latest creation. Joshua decided he wanted to make a snake family. There is a Mommy snake, a Daddy snake and a bunch of baby snakes. Take a look!

WHO NEEDS PAPER?

No matter where I hide the pens in this house there is always one that is left undiscovered by me that is soon discovered by one of my kids. Even though my kids are great at finding the pens they can never seem to find the paper to draw on. Actually, I just think that they find it more fun to draw on other thing besides what they are supposed to use.

So I think I jinxed myself. Not long after I sat down to write this blog did I find Eliza using her little sister, Aubrey, as a piece of paper. The whole time Aubrey was just laughing away. Just goes to show that Eliza will color on just about anything.


AUBREY IS ON THE MOVE!

video

She started pulling her knees up underneath her about two weeks ago and now that is usually how she sleeps. Like a stink bug! Yesterday, September 9, she got up on both her hands and her knees and even got a little froggy hop going. Here are some pictures and even video that I was able to get today. She is 4 1/2 months.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY
KORY
AND
JAMES



Hope that both of you enjoyed your birthday party last Sunday!!
Here are a few pictures that were taken there.