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.


The Mansius Family

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.