A couple of Saturdays ago, Kory (my youngest brother) had his first soccer game of the session. So the family decided to get together to support him. We were so excited! Watching soccer games is a favorite past time for our family. We love to watch the games even though it is not easy. There seems to be a soccer bug in our family that runs on both sides and Joshua seems to have caught it. Every time that we go to see a game Joshua would rather be out there on the field with his Uncle Kory then just sitting and watching. He gets to start soccer next year. The kids were really good during this game though I'm sure it helped that between them and my sister's kids, the five of them finished an entire box of Mini Wheats while watching the game. We taught them how to cheer "Go Kory!" and "Go Griphons!" Evelyn had the most enthusiasm. Kory's team played really well and they had a great game even if they didn't win. Maybe next time!

After the game we headed over to Heart Park to have a BBQ and a birthday party for Preston and Kory. Preston turned the big 1 and Kory turned 18. Happy Birthday! David and Lindsey also came and celebrated with us. We enjoyed some yummy food while the kids decided that they were not hungry and played at the play ground. After a while Amber pulled out the birthday cupcakes. She had worried about them all day trying not to let them melt. She stopped worrying about them just long enough for the sun to hit them and BAM they melted. It turned our for the best because it provided for some interesting fun. The kids were all covered in green frosting which also ended up staining them. And when you went to wipe it off all it did was smear even more. Preston was the worse and by the time we had him cleaned up he looked like a mini jolly green giant.

When we finally got every things cleaned up the kids and I headed home while everyone else went back to the soccer park for another game. This time Kory's team won and Kory scored a goal! "GO KORY!!!" It's always nice to get the whole family together and I wished we could do it more often. Even though the job is a little tougher here in Bakersfield for James then it was in Las Vegas we don't regret our decision to move here just because of the time we have gotten to spend with the family. In Las Vegas we were lucky to see my family once a month but now we see them at least once a week and we love it! Now I only wish that more of the family was closer.
Joshua's FIRST First Day of School

So I thought that I had another year for this day but because of Joshua's personality we thought that it would be good for him to start preschool. I have been doing homeschooling preschool I he has loved it. He loved the one on one time we had with each other during the girl's nap time. The problem was that he has a hard time concentrating and participating when he is in a large group. So we thought putting him in preschool would be a great opportunity for him to learn how to behave in a group, makes some new friends, and learn to listen to someone besides Mommy. HE LOVES IT!! Yesterday (Tuesday) the first thing that he did was lay out his school clothes for the next day and wanted me to make his lunch. He only goes on MWF so he was ready for school a whole day early. He told me that he didn't want to be late. Due to the fact that we only have one car Joshua goes to all day preschool. James droppes him off on the way to work and then since we pay for the full day we usually wait to pick him up until the last minute so that he can play all day. It is so much fun to drop him off in the morning because he is so excited to go but it is also fun to pick him up because he is so excited to see the family especially his sisters. He comes home everytime and has to tell them what he did that day and show everyone his picturs that he made. Here are pictures of his first day of school. The one of him on the step is a Mansius family tradition. Every child gets a picture of their first day of school on the front steps of the house. We have to decided to continue the condition. Eliza is also getting a lot out of this because she has learned that she can make her own descisions when Joshua is not makeing them for her. Her personality is really starting to come out. I'm also seeing the relaionship with Eliza and Aubrey starting to get stronger. Joshua and Eliza have been so close for so long. They share a room and while they were playing they would lock Aubrey out and tell her it was their room. Joshua going to school has brought a few changes to our house that are fun. We will wait to see if we put Eliza in preschool or not next year but for now I'm doing a little bit of homeschool preschool with her when Aubrey takes her morning nap. Lots of fun!
Joshua's first day of school was September 3.
Spray Park Fun
With my sister so close we love getting the kids together for some cousin time. We decided to try the spray parks here in town. The kids loved them.! Joshua was running around with all of the older kids. Evelyn and Eliza were best friends and never left the other's side. Aubrey had no fear whatsoever and was running through the little park. Somehow she managed to never get hit by any of the sprays that were continuously going off around her. Preston was so cute. He just started walking and seems very confident except for this one little inch step that in order to get over he had to get down a crawl. The kids had so much fun that next time I told the kids we were going to the park Joshua kept asking me if it we were going to the water park. We are planning another trip soon if anyone wants to join us. The spray parks close at the end of October.

Las Vegas Trip

So much was packed into this fun filled weekend I don't even know how we got it all in. The wedding was not until Monday but everyone was getting into Las Vegas on Sunday evening. Since James and I had lived in Las Vegas for a year we thought that we would get there early and go to church with our old ward. The first night we stayed with some close friends, the Morris'. Joshua and Justin were best friends and were so excited to see each other. Julie and I stayed up really late catching up. It was nice to visit a lot of old friends. A lot of them had moved since we moved here to Bakersfield and we didn't get to see them. But there were enough still around. After church we met up with Mom and Dad Mansius, Susan and Will, Will's family, Lee, and Neal and Rachael and to check in. We were all staying at the Excalibur which is also where the wedding was to be held.

Later that night James and Dad agreed to watch the kids while the rest of us walked down the strip to see the Bellagio Fountains. We got there just in time to see one of their water shows and then stayed a little longer to see another one. After that we headed over to Ceasar's Palace to see the talking statues. We looked at a few shops, got a little lost in the casino, laughed like crazy, and finally got to see the statues about the Lost City of Atlantis. On our way back we got lucky enough to catch another Bellagio Fountain show. Wow! Three different shows in one night. When we got back we found Joshua fast asleep in a chair in the most awkward position. How do kids do it? They fall asleep anywhere at anytime unless it is convenient to you.

Monday was the craziest day. We wanted to do something that was a little more kid friendly so we all took the kids to the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay. The kids loved it. It was hard to get them through because at every stop they never wanted to leave. At one point there was a touch tank. At first Joshie and Eliza were afraid to touch the sting rays but once they saw Mommy get her hands in and was touching the rays they wanted to try too. Of course as soon as they were brave enough we could not get close enough to one and their little arms were just not long enough to reach. But once they saw the sharks and the very large sea turtle they forgot all about the rays. Joshua had his face pressed up against the glass but there was no way Eliza was going any where near the glass. It is funny because usually Eliza is the brave one.

Once through the Aquarium I stopped just long enough with Rachael to find something blue for Susan to wear at her wedding. Then I was on the run to get the kids dropped off at a friends house who was so kind enough to watch the kids during the wedding. Olivia used to live next door to us and her little boy Zach was another one of Joshua's best friends. I got to chat with Olivia for a little while then had to run back. I got back to the wedding with extra time to spare and was able to help Suzie get ready. The wedding itself was beautiful, Suzie was beautiful, the whole family was there, and we were all excited. It was fun to see Dad give Susan away and he had the look of a very proud Dad. I'm so excited for all these weddings this summer and that I have been able to be at all of them to show my family my support. After the wedding we got lots of pictures. Joan was the ultimate photographer and she was taking photos from every angle. She put her energy into taking those photos. I love her energy and wish I had more of it! After the wedding the family headed over to the Excalibur buffet. While we were waiting for the rest of the family Rachael picked out an oyster to get a pearl and Joan had her age guessed by one of those carnival booths. He thought she was younger and she got this goofy looking hat that was passed around.

The next stop to our crazy day of fun was the Titanic museum. I had seen this before with Mom but they had changed it up a little. At the beginning they give each person a passenger ticket of an actual person from that fateful one and only trip of the Titanic. Then at the end you find what happened to that passenger. As you make your way through the museum they make you feel as if you were on the ship. You walk through 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class areas, walk by the ballroom staircase, and out on the deck all while seeing actual artifacts from the ship. The last part and for me the most memorial was when you got a chance to touch an iceberg to see how cold it was and then to think that the water was even colder. I can not even imagine what it would have been like and how cold it would have been. This museum was an eye opener for me even the second time seeing it.

As long as we lived in Las Vegas James and I kept trying to get to the Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur but for one reason or another we never made it. The good thing is that now we got the chance to go with the whole family. Lots of fun! We were routing for Norway but he was out at just about the first dual. The food was good and it was fun getting into the whole experience. I've got a fun photo of that night but I need to scan it so give me a couple of days.

The last stop of our day was decorating the car of the newlyweds. Okay that is not quite true. We tried all weekend to figure out where they had parked their car with no success and they finally figured out what we were trying to do and said that they didn't want their car decorated. That didn't stop us though. Believe it or not I got brave enough to ask the front desk what their room number was and the manager was able to give it to me. So we headed up to their room to decorate their door and realized that we had no tape. We tried to make the best of what we had and what happens next: BUSTED! Will showed up and caught us. He promised he would not tell Susan what we were doing and even unknowingly let us in the room. As quickly as we could we decorated both the inside and outside of the room and just as we were finishing up in walks Susan. So we were caught but still had lots of fun. I guess we are not very good at this. By then it was getting late and we still needed to pick up the kids before we made the 4 hour trip home. We ended up getting home at about 2 am that night.


Katherine has a photography busi
ness and we were guinea pigs so that she could have examples to post on her web site. For a lot of the time Joshua was having a complete melt down and didn't want his picture taken. I think that she did a great job and was able to get a lot of great shots. If she could handle my crazy family that day she can handle almost anything. Here are a few of her shots and you can see more on her website, Flashbulb Memories. Thanks for the GREAT photos.
We love them.