Christmas with the 
Mansius Family At 
Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm

For Christmas this year we drove down to California not to meet up with the Fitzgerald side of the family but to spend time with the Mansius'.  (Though I refused to drive all the way and not see my parents but I'll save that part of the trip for another blog.  When I get more pictures.)  We drove down bringing Keith with us and meet up with Mom and Dad Mansius and Susan.  We spent 2 days at Disneyland, including Christmas Day, 1 day at California Adventures, and 1 day at Knotts Berry Farm.  We had a blast and no one was ready to come home but we were so exhausted by the end of the week.  

In the process Lilly decided to get sick and the first day just clung to her Grandpa Mansius.  I think she spend most of the time in his arms.  If I am in the room she refuses to be held by most people but Grandpa Mansius was the exception.  When she started to feel better we discovered that her favorite ride was the Merry Go Round.  I stood outside and every time she would go by she would wave at me. 

While we were there we also got to see some really interesting people and experiences.  Mom, Keith, Susan, and I got to experience snow in Southern California after watching the fireworks.  (Okay so it was not real snow!)  Some of us got to meet Sully from Monster's Ink. Because of miss communication problems we happened to be sitting as he walked by and jumped up to get a picture with him.  Talk about serendipity! (One of Aunt' Joan's favorite words)  And all of us got to meet and take a picture with Pluto!

 My new favorite part of going to amusement parks is watching the excitement of my kids.  Joshie could ride every single ride at Disneyland including Indiana Jones and Eliza could almost ride all of them.  Joshie could not decide which was his favorite ride between Indiana Jones and the Tower of Terror.  Neither one of them surprise me because they were both the biggest and fastest rides that he could go on and he was so excited to ride the big rides.  He was really mad when he was not tall enough to ride the rides at Knotts Berry Farm.  Eliza's favorite was Space Mountain!  She even got to go on the Tower of Terror.  She was a funny kid.  After most of the rides she always looked like she was going to cry and said she would never get on again.  After a few minutes she was ready to go again and then after the second time would be just bouncing for joy.  We decided that she just like knowing what to expect.  It was not the ride that scared her it was just not knowing what was going to happen. My favorite ride continues to be the Tea Cup rides mostly because it brings back fun memories of riding them with my Dad and trying to go as fast as we could.  Then we would try and go as fast as  we could the opposite direction.  This time around it was fun watching James, Dad Mansius, and Joshie trying to go as fast as they could.  If only I could have gotten a picture of their faces.  They were so focused!

That's right!  That would be Joshie and Eliza on the Tower of Terror.  I spend the whole time making sure that Eliza was okay but she loved it.  In this picture from our family is Joshie, Mark, Eliza, Nichole (Me), Lois, and Keith's arm.

What an adventure we had!  It's not easy trying to take 4 kids to amusement parks and trading off so everyone who could ride all the rides but definitely worth it to see their excitement.  I love riding all the rides but if I had to give it all up just to see my kids faces as they rode them I would!

 This last picture was my favorite!  As we were waiting for the train at Knotts Berry Farm to leave one of the cowboys was walking by and scaring people on the train.  He stopped to talk to Joshie and Joshie just started to giggle and giggle and would not stop.  When I pulled out my camera to take a picture this guy pulled out his gun super fast and aimed it at Joshie.  Joshie just continued to giggle.  

After the train started going the same cowboys decided to rob the train.  When they got to Joshie they said, "Oh!  It's the Giggler!"  As they walked on by deminding money Joshie stood up and yelled at them, "My Mom is not going to give you any of her money!"  They turned around so fast and threatened to throw him out of the window.  Luckily they didn't throw him out.  

When we got to the station and off the train we ran into the train robbers once again.  Joshie then went on to tell them how stealing was wrong and that they should get a real job to make money.  That was the right way!  I was so proud of him not only for recognizing when something was wrong because he is not shy like his Mommy.  That would have been unthinkable for little me and I'm shocked that at least one of my kids is not shy in the least bit.

I hope everyone had as much excitement and fun for their Christmas.  It was not your typically Christmas that's for sure but it was a blast spending time with family and watching excited children!!
(Dec 22 -25)

Thanksgiving was really simple this year.  We didn't have a lot of family over because there were not too many close enough.  Neal and Rachael were able to come up from Provo and since Keith lives in our basement it was a long walk for him.  James and his brothers can get really goofy when they get together and they love to talk about sports.  So we definitely were not lacking on the Thanksgiving football talk this year.  I do miss having a lot of family around and I especially miss having my niece and nephew nearby.  The kids asked several times when their cousins were coming.  They are so used to having holidays with cousins.  Well I was all for attempting to cook a turkey on my own this year but everyone coming voted on a ham so we had a basic Thanksgiving meal.  Ham, Potatoes, Veggies and Pie.  

The day after Thanksgiving is when our family traditionally decorates the tree.  We had to wait until the next Sunday when James had a day off and we surprised the kids by putting up the tree with lights without them knowing.  Lilly though the whole things was just great and would just sit there and point at it forever. 
Silly Girl!!

Taken & Edited by

ELIZA IS 5!!  

It seems like it was only yesterday that I was wondering if I was actually in labor 2 weeks early with my husband in Ohio and my parents on a cruise.  Thankful that my Aunt Kristi happened to be in town that day.  Eliza is  now a smart and beautiful girl ready to start school and ballet.  
(This post is just a little late but we were out of town on her birthday)
 Before age 1

  Age 1

 Age 2

 Age 3

 Age 4

Halloween 20101
We kicked started Halloween off this year with the City Halloween Activity.  This kids and I braved what we thought would be a busy theater where it was held to paint some pumpkins, meet the Chick-fil-a Cow, watch a Costume contest and then go trick or treating at the businesses in the shopping area.  I had not gotten costumes finished so I told the kids to pick something out of our costume box if they wanted to.  Eliza choose the tiger costume, Joshie decided to stay in his soccer uniform, and for some reason Aubrey didn't even want to dress up but wanted to wear this extra large green hat.  (But she was definitely cute in it)  They had a lot of fun and were super excited to find out that that day was not Halloween and that there would be more fun to come.
On the Friday before Halloween we Joshie's school had a costume parade so we all dressed up in our costumes to cheer his class on.  We also stayed for the class party and helped out with the pumpkin bowling.  Lesson learned:  Pumpkins are fun to bowl with but eventually break and make a mess!!!  Of course the girls got to tag along and they fit right into the class.  They love being involved in class activities and one of their best friends, Sydney, is in Joshie's class so they get excited to see her everytime as well. 

 Eventually came Halloween night (or in are case the Utah Halloween where if Halloween lands on a Sunday everyone celebrates the day before.  Awesome right!!!)  We attended the bi-ward Trunk or Treat.  It was full to capacity but we had fun.  Yummy chilly, a story from Heidi the Witch and of course the trunk or treating.  Which turned into classroom trick or treating because it had started to rain.  After that we decided to brave the rain (okay at this point it had stopped raining) and go trick or treating down one block or so in our ward boundaries.  It was fun getting to know where everyone in the ward lived and since 99% of the street was Mormon we knew most everyone.  Yes  it is so weird to be living in Utah!!!

Our costumes:
This is our Bug Collection.  We own one spider, one ladybug, one dragonfly, and one bumble bee!!  James and I attempted to look like exploring bug collectors!!  Not sure if we pulled it off or not though!  Did I tell you that I love family themes!!  The kids helped pick out this idea.  I think I might have infected them with the family costume theme bug!! (No pun intended but HAHAHA!!!)