Wednesday, November 23, 2016

#MangumStyle2016 Quoteables: Our Life in Words

From the creators of #Holdenisms and #Lifewith ZoëBug, we proudly present, a year in review from our conversations in the car, at concerts and beyond. 


Holden: Mom, Autumn told me I would look better with a bald head.
Me: Uhhh, what do you think?
Holden: I don't think so. [He's really been hoping to grow a 'fro.']
Zoë: Oh Howden, don't you want a Maaaan-Bun?
Holden: No.
Zoë: [Disgruntled] Ahhhh! I wreally wish my bruwder would get a Maaaan-bun.

After listening to Katy Perry's "Roar," Z pauses and then says: "But Mom I can't 'dance through the fire' cause I might melt."

Me: "Zoë what do you want to wear to school tomorrow?"
Z: "I want to wear some-fing that's pink."

We're watching the video of Zoë dancing to the jazz trio at the Grand Brunch playing Beyoncé, while Danny gets his groove on in the corner. The kids are waiting for their Dad to change his clothes so we can start a family movie. Holden looks at Danny disapprovingly and says to me: "Don't turn that on again. Dad needs to be focused."


Pointing to her new portrait painted by PJ Manion: "This is Bob Dylan, and he was a weally good bander!"

It WAS NOT crazy hair day at school; but Holden surprised me by styling his locks himself, opting for multiple elastics in mini-fauxhawks.
Me: So that's how you're wearing your hair today? Are you worried about being made fun of?
Holden: No. (Shaking his head like I just asked a crazy question.)
Me: ok cool, get your socks on.

Holden on his first Magic TreeHouse adventure:
"This is the best book I've read. I love when plots happen so fast!"

How Holden defines a good experience when asked “How did your ski lesson go?”
"Well,” he says. “I learned about all the legends of the mountain."


Neighborhood playgroup with the 4yo is at our house today -- it's her and four darling little boys. Quotes of the morning from her getting ready to be the Hostess with the Mostess:
"Mom, I want apples and cheese and 'fwuits and vegstables,' and everyone can have their oooooown apple," as she makes multiple trips up and down the stairs to secure enough Costco apples that are almost as large as her guests heads.
She also requested "Wok-n-Woll!" for the background music, but said if anyone asked for "Gangman Style" or "Let it Go" that would be ok, too.
And then:
"Mom, I just want my fwends to help me rake the leaves." 
Me: "Well, they may just want to play with toys." 
"But they are my guests so I will tell them what to do."

I share some Lactivism on Facebook--
“I love it when friends call me for advice about weaning... Because I'm basically like, “your kid's not even three, what's the rush?’” 

Daylight Savings Holdenism:
On discovering it was already bed time when it's completely light outside he moans: "Is this meant to be a dream-breaker for kids, or what?"

First day of Spring Break and I'm wondering what adventures the kids are dying to do today: Library for new books? Zoo to see the new babies? Bernie Sanders rally?
The options are endless! 
The possibilities infinite! 
The social media posts will prove to be epic!
"Mom, we just want a day home," Holden says, excited to play and build something with the wood he got for Christmas.

Apparently I didn’t write down anything interesting my family said in April….at least, nothing I felt merited a facebook post. 


A long form recap when I left my iPhone tucked away for a weekend with the Great Grandmas.  

One particular sick day home from school for Holden, he’s frustrated I can’t be at his beckon call all day. I finish up my conference call, and tell him I need to send one more email before I can come join him again. I draft a few lines of correspondence when he hollers from his bedroom: "Maaaaoooom! What's taking so long?"
"I told you. I had to send an email," I reply. "'Remember, I said that when you're at school that's when I do my work for Neumont?'"
He looks at me quizzically.
"What," I say, "Did you think I was just home doing yoga all day?"
"Yes," he says. "That's exactly what I thought."

I tell Holden he’s growing like a weed, and he reminds me “one man’s weed is another man’s wildflower.”

Last day of sewing for Holden at The Finishing School until the summer. His pièce de résistance: Deadpool, of course.Danny asked him if anyone else sewed a Deadpool today.  "No," he told us. "They were afraid their moms would get mad."

Zoë: "Mom when I grow up I'm moving to Africa to study mathematics...and gen-aw-tics."
Me: "I think you mean genetics."
Z: "What's genetics?"
Me: "The study of your genes." (H & Z erupt in laughter.) "Not jeans you wear, like what make your eyes blue or your hair blonde. Your DNA."
Z (more giggles): "When I grow up I'm gonna move to Africa to study mathematics, genawtics and jeans I wear." (Just a reminder that last year she aspired to be a pumpkin, so life ambitions are upward-trending.)

Me to Holden: "It's so exciting! Last day of school!"
Him: "What's so good about that?"


When puts on an outfit she adores she says: "I'm gonna be FASHION!" -or- "Everyone is gonna say 'Zoë you look fashion!" 

Excited to get back to The Finishing School to start a week-long sewing camp, Holden gives me his plan:  "I'm going to sew like 15 Picachus today!"

Getting her favorite nursery rhymes on Netflix: "Mom, we need to watch Mother Goosebumps," and then sings "Nick Nack Waddy-Pack give a dog a booooone!"

After months of being on opposite school schedules, Z and one of her besties--we'll call her "Franny"--finally got together for a long awaited playdate. On the drive to our house the two were discussing their plans to live together in Japan when they grow up (Z's idea)... and then China because Holden told them there were ninjas in Japan (so obvs. China must've sounded like a much safer place.)
Then they shared their life goals: "I'm going to be a doctor when I grow up, and study lots of things, and help the homeless," Zoë said.
Franny shared her plans: "Well, when I grow up I'm going to be a Mom, and a ballerina and a nurse and a doctor."
"I'm gonna do that too!" Z added, the power of suggestion is strong with this age group.
The Holden chimed in. "I'm going to drive an ice-cream truck and work at Lagoon," he shared.
"Dream big," I tell him.
"I'm just afraid they won't pay me very much money," he lamented.


Z on milestones: "Mom when I get my license when I'm 16 I'm driving straight to the place to get my nose pierced."

Holden, after catching some segments of the Sunday political news round-ups with his Grandpa: “I’m not voting for Donald Trump because he says swears, and mean things about women.” #proudmama


Zoë kissing Holden on the head and affectionately whispering: "You're my little Zika Virus."
After about the fifth time Holden follows up with, "I don't think you know what that means."

Z says: "Mom I can tell that you're going crazy right now and that's why I'm helping you set the table."


Over breakfast, Z's casual comment: "Hoe-den, only girls can have babies. Not boys." Holden, looks over at me with a Mona-Lisa smile and a knowing twinkle in his eye: "Zoë, I'm pretty sure boys play a role in the process."

After Z’s soccer game, she says: "Mom, I'm finished with my cookie because I have had enough sugar. Now I'm just gonna meditate."

Z shares what she loves about school starting (Pre-K4):
"Because they have PB&J that comes in a plastic and it's a circle! And they have chips! And they have corn dogs with ketchup!"

Our kids, the fashionistas:
Z picked out gold sequined jacket from H&M and said: "It is my most favorite shirt in the whole entire world. It sparkles in the sun. Everyone will say, 'Oh Zoë, where did you get your coat?'"

Not surprising, Holden was quite envious of the piece asking for one himself, but later reconsidered noting he thought it would be too disruptive to his classmates and make it harder for others to learn. "I just don't know where I would really wear it," he lamented.

"I just 'wreally' want to be a wrock-star Mom."

"Mom we really need to get me some footie pajamas. Get me pink, but if they don't have pink then get me something beautiful, and if they don't have something beautiful than get me something cool, and if they don't have something cool just get me black." 

Z during the first presidential debate, screaming at Trump on the TV: “That is not how you treat a lady!” #littlefeminist

Danny tells Z she need’s new ski pants: “I need pink!” She squeals. “I only work in pink.... And white.... And sometimes very very very dark red.”

On attending the “Rally for Equal Treatment of Women” at the State Capitol:
Holden was worried he wouldn't be allowed to join us. But Z assured him: "Don't worry Hoe-den, all kinds of mens can come too!" 

On her locks: "Mom, I want straight hair like Adele." 

And having the flu:  “You know the best thing about throwing up? I get to watch shows ALL Day!"

"I've got something really fun that we could do on a trip to Hawaii,” Danny says, “but it's kind of expensive so we'll need to save our money..." and proceeds to tell them about a helicopter ride with breathtaking falls that includes a tour of the island where Jurassic Park was filmed.
"I'm sorry Dad," Zoë tells him. "But I'm trying to save *my* money for a fire jet pack. So how about we just use your money, mom's money and Hoe-dens?"

You can read the entirerecap here, but H &Z’s conversation about The Little Mermaid ended with the Holden weighing in on her life choices: “I don’t think she’s gone to college Zoë. I don’t think she really knows anything.”

Zoë, indignant at such a harsh critique of the headstrong redhead rebuked her brother firmly: “Yes she has Hoe-den! She went to school. She went to Mermaid College and Mermaid school!”


[Scene: Holden practicing his KungFu forms in the mirror this morning.]
Z: "Hoe-den, you are lookin' fierce today!"

On “The Disquieting Muses” (aka. An introspective into failed female parenting and otherness.)
Z: "Mom, will you turn on the poetry?"
Me: "You mean the Sylvia Plath tape?"
Z: "Yeah, I like the 'mother-mother' one because it helps me sleep."

Holden: "Mom, I just feel like my heart is telling me that I should do Kung Fu..." 

And we’ll add December’s as they happen….

Saturday, November 5, 2016

What's In a Name?

I was thrilled to be officially "attached" to Danny Mangum when we wed. I also remember how off-putting it was the first time I heard someone say the words 'Sabrena Mangum.' It was at church, the first Sunday after our honeymoon -- I was being introduced and failed to stand up at first because I thought: "Oh there's another Sabrena in this ward!" (The word ward is Mormon-speak for congregation). 

But they were trying to welcome me. 

Sabrena Mangum didn't sound right then, and ten years later there's still something odd to me about it. I don't know who that person is--in my multiverse, she's never existed anywhere in a legal sense. Basically that name is just a social norm or construct where others assume it is (or should be) my name. 

It was more than a year of marriage before I legally changed my name from Sabrena Suite to hyphenating: Sabrena Suite-Mangum.

A decade later, it's not as big of a deal for a woman to keep her name or hyphenate (even in Utah); but I do remember Danny taking a decent amount of heat for my choice from plenty of work colleagues.

"Doesn't your wife love you?" Some said. 

"She sounds like a feminist..." a different type of, but almost equally abhorrent, f-bomb in Mormon lexicon. 😂

The thing is, I'm honored to have the Mangum name. It's an incredible family and legacy that has blessed my life immeasurably; AND I'm also honored to be a Suite. 

There's a lot that comes with my maiden name. My Dad has no sons and no brothers. I have three sisters. Of the two that are married: one hyphenated, and one took Suite as her middle name. None of the four Suite-sisters were given middle names. My parents anticipated we'd take Suite as our middle name when wed.

A name is a very personal thing; and changing it is also very personal. I make no judgments either way. 

But for me, "Suite" has been a part of my entire life. Many of my closest friends -- especially those I played sports with in high school and volleyball in college still refer to me just by my maiden name--not even Sabrena, just Suite. Some friends have opted for 'Suiter' or 'Suiteness' (if you're my college roommate, Rachel Birr). I adore it and all its derivatives. 

Beyond my youth and time in sports, it's how I was known in the professional world for years through my time in Public Relations and in magazine articles I had penned across the country: my column in SkyWest Magazine was titled "Suite Spots" and the stunt I did for St. George's lifestyle magazine was a play on my name as well, "Oh so sweet!" 

So yes, to some degree changing my name to "Sabrena Mangum" felt like I was trading out my identity, and in a very literal sense giving up the name I had made for myself professionally. But I certainly didn't think I was disrespecting my husband by not replacing my maiden name with his last name -- I felt like I was honoring my family, where I came from and who I'd become.  

What's in a name? Actually, a lot. 

And thankfully, I think Sabrena Suite-Mangum, and all it encompasses has a pretty nice ring to it. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Mangums Take on the Mermaid

In St. George and Z found (one of) my least favorite Disney Princess Stories: The Little Mermaid. 

Yes, the music’s catchy. Yes, she was seen as a spirited and a "doesn't-play-by-the-rules" type of girl…but where I take serious umbrage is how our heroine gives up her voice (HER VOICE!?!) for the chance to persuade a man she’s never even had conversation with  to kiss her based on  “her looks, her pretty face.” 

While I made Z a promise last year she could watch "The Little Mermaid" movie once she had read (or listened to) “The Feminine Mystique,” I did’t say anything about steering clear of the book adaptation. So there I found myself, curled up with my favorite four year old reading the Golden Book/Disney version of “The Little Mermaid” while Holden listened from afar chiming in with comments like “You should fall in love with someone’s personality” and “She should’ve listed to her father.” 

We all recognized that King Tritan destroying all of Ariel's precious dinglehoppers and human treasures did nothing to curb her enthusiasm for the world above. It just made her more upset and less likely to respect her father. (Lesson noted!) But the real gem of the conversation came at the end of the story where Eric and Ariel are pictured post nuptials just three days after meeting with the text “and they were married that day.” 

Even before I could sub out “And they lived happily ever after” with “And they began their life together of shared responsibility and mutual respect,” Holden noted that “you should date someone for three years instead of three days before you marry them;" and Zoë tried to assure me that Ariel hadn’t made a foolish decision saying “Mom, I bet she’s gone to college.”  

Holden fired back smugly: “I don’t think she’s gone to college Zoë. I don’t think she really knows anything.”

Zoë, indignant at such a harsh critique of the the stubborn and headstrong redhead rebuked her brother firmly: “Yes she has Hoe-den! She went to school. She went to Mermaid College and Mermaid school!” 

So that went well. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

It's Mama Suite's Bday! Here's some random stream of consciousness....

My mother has FLOW in parenting.

I look back and my earliest memories of my childhood include snuggling up and having her read books to me before nap time, making playdough from scratch (it was so salty! Not that I ate it…not that I didn’t try), hand made lunchables, and a lot of solo mothering on her part because my Dad traveled so much – especially when we moved to Chicago when I was seven.

I found out later that when we were living in that apartment in Illinois with patio furniture as our first dining table and the green shag carpet that money was tight – apparently our house in Salt Lake hadn’t sold they were covering a mortgage and rent 1500 miles away. But what I mostly remember includes flashbacks of home-made pizzas (my mom made the dough from scratch) and entertaining the LDS missionaries, making loads of Grape Kool-Aid (apparently it best masked the taste of the awful midwest water), and a summer of time in the sun and the swimming pool.

And my mom did it all. Four daughters, away from her family, a husband whose travel schedule (working for a Fortune 50 company) had him retuning home on Friday evenings to pack up and leave again on Sunday afternoon. But I had no idea our lives were anything but perfect.

Before the #HillYes campaign had the market on rad feminist shirts, my homemaker of a mother had the most adorable baby-blue little-girl tee that read “A woman’s place is in the House…and the Senate.” And she was a proud SAHM.

I don’t remember being shuffled from extracurricular to extra-curricular activity until Junior High. Sure, there was the occasional dance class at the rec center, or a softball or soccer team we participated in on a Saturday once in a while, but my childhood was one of school, and milk and cookies when I got home (usually made from scratch or fresh out of the oven) with homework and practicing (more on that later). 

She included us in the tasks of daily life – so I grew up learning how to cook and clean and mow a lawn. I was making myself omelets on Saturday mornings before I was eight; about the same time I started mowing our lawn. (Before I forget, regarding the cooking thing: my kids proudly tout my mother's brownies as the "Best brownies in the world" -- which I believe to be true. Her hommade brownies are incredible. And she's best at making things fro scratch -- we once broke the tip of a kitchen knife trying to cut brownies she tried to make from a box because she was using the time tested methods of how to 'check' baked goods -- and Betty Crockers "just add oil and water" did not cooperate). 

Music was an important part of my childhood. While I was eternally trying to fill up my “Lenny Listener” Suzuki chart (and I was never really good on the violin at all); her passion for music meant I grew up listening to the classic and orchestral music that became something I wanted to make sure I shared with my children early in their youth as well. She taught violin to make extra money -- even driving to Price Utah early on Saturday mornings to add a little extra money to the family's bottom line. We all played the piano too -- which proved to be super helpful when I took up drums in my twenties (post college) and Cicely and I started a garage band when we were living together in St. George. She also has an incredible singing voice and she and my Dad both sang in Skyline's performing choirs. One of the sweet delights of my youth (and to this day, though it hardly ever happens) is hearing my parents sing together -- if you ever get a chance, they do a sweet rendition of "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" (aka Pine-Cones & Holly Berries.)

She had four girls to take care of—and part of that was pink curlers on Saturday nights, for Sunday best the next morning at church.

I think about our house on Gary Road in the cove, when I’d come home from volleyball practice to the rich scents of sugars boiling and sauces simmering. The humidity seeping upstairs, and I’d venture down the stairs to see the basement filled with the matriarchs of our family: peeling slicing and chopping…the whole family room had been turned into a cannery – peaches, tomatoes, grapejuice and the like. There was no purchasing of food storage: this was the preparation for the coming cool season. And their fearless leader: my mother.

I watched her care for her own mother – my grandma, and my Dad’s mom if she was her own. It would take numerous novellas to details the countless acts of service: from meal preparation, to being my grandma’s house-call “beautician” and personal chauffer.

As we got older, and sports became the focal point of our family time: she’d pack dinners to eat on Monday evenings when we had Rec tournaments for junior high. In high school, prep for swim team early mornings meant my mom was often up before 5: packing a lunch for me and Cassandra, plus a snack AND a breakfast to go since practice started before 6am.

Some mornings she’d surprise up with home made cinnamon rolls (was she up at 3 am those mornings or did she just never go to bed the night before?)

She (along with our Dad) would cheer us on in all our sports: track, basketball, volleyball, swim meets and water polo games.

She helped with campaign posters for student body elections and drove across the country with me when I was attending school in Indiana. She’d send me care packages at college – CD’s of the MoTab (which I absolutely loved, being at an evangelical Christian college where I longed to feel more connection to the religion of my youth), helped me relocate to Fresno as a flight attendant.

I spent my 21st birthday with my parents in Indiana: we at dinner at Texas Roadhouse, and all just chuckled when the foodserver assumed I’d be getting’ my drink on later that night.

It’s baffling to think about the money they spent on all four of us: beyond the normal costs associated with raising four daughters in Olympus Cove on the east-side of Salt Lake – there were club volleyball dues, travel to tournaments (which they never missed) and then Celeste and I both played volleyball out of state in college. They’d travel to see us play then too!

I took way to much for granted from my mother—my whole life.

Her aspirations for a career never seemed to come into play. It’s like she always wanted to be a mom and was gifted and brilliant at it. Her expertise actually was cause for some serious anxiety in my own life, because while I admit I work hard at motherhood – it does not come easy or naturally for me.

I remember feeling so relieved when she told me she imagined I’d be like the commercial of the lady on the conference call who hangs up, looks down and begins speaking ‘motherease’ to the baby next to her; and she’s actually killing it as a WAHM.

I’m thankful that she gave me permission to follow my heart and continue to work. Truth be told, I am much better at drafting press releases and statements for Crisis Communications than I am at say, giving birth or breast-feeding a first born. But somehow, with her help and support I have muddled through.

I have always admired her faith and testimony. I wish I had her spiritual gift of belief.

And although she’s way too critical of her own body (which, for the record has always been bangin’), I think she gave us permission to own our bodies and our sexuality. I’m grateful for conversations early on (much different from what I was hearing about at church); that helped me understand that sex was not something to be feared – but to look forward to. How awesome is that!?!?

I could go on and on. Her work in the Relief Society, what an awesome grandma she is and all the service she provides to me.... 

Possibly most important is that I can’t imagine what my life would be like without her, and I don’t want to ever find out. She has always been my best friend, my confidant, my sounding board, my cheerleader, my example and a huge pillar of strength in my life.

Happy Birthday Mom.

Thanks (and curse you) for making it motherhood look so easy.

I love you,


*obviously your favorite daughter,