Monday, December 3, 2012

Year In Review: Our Holiday Letter

For Unto Us a Child Was Born and Other 2012 Adventures

Sincerest Greetings Family and Friends,

It’s hard to believe another year has past. Last time I wrote our holiday letter I was doing my best to impersonate Santa’s girth (bowl full of jelly and more!) Zoe Suite Mangum officially joined our family December 7, 2011. And with me now being of “Advanced Maternal Age” (medical jargon, not mine) Danny and I are taking the “one-of-each” status as heaven’s way of telling us, we’ve been just fruitful enough.

Although she’s not even officially one, Zoe is trying to beat her brother’s records in gross motor skills advancement. She loves playing on any stairs, was taking steps at 10 months and is currently “toddling” everywhere – it’s heart breaking. Z has a killer laugh and an infectious giggle. She also has chunkaliscious thighs that complete strangers long to squeeze (and often do). At 27 pounds (basically 100 percentile for height and weight), with ethereal blue eyes and angelic curls, she reminds me of the Gerber baby poster child. Like Mary Poppins, she’s practically perfect in every way. And she speaks mandarin Chinese (ok, maybe I’m stretching that last part a little bit), but she does say “Da-Da” a lot. And her favorite thing (besides nursing and playing on stairs) is her brother. The picture of Z in her blessing dress my mom made and Holden was taken earlier this year – long before we ‘buzzed’ off Holden’s cherubic locks for summer and Zoe’s had grown in.

Holden’s haircut was not the only thing that made him adopt Pinocchio-Status – “I’m a real boy!” Between starting preschool, and his last year in nursery at church, it’s official - he’s a “kid.” And in his words, “growing bigger and bigger to go on the Hulk” (yes, the rollercoaster at Universal Studios). This year I had to come to terms with the fact that EVERY class he tried out he liked better than yoga. He did some tumbling and gymnastics classes, had a week of Montessori Science Camp and I gave him a few swim lessons, though most of his water skills (like floating on his back) were self taught through hours at his grandparents pool. Holden’s at that awesome age where almost everything that comes out of his mouth is charming. Thank goodness for facebook and twitter that have chronicled a good portion of his one-liners. Here’s a sample of some of our favorite recent conversations:

Me: Are you excited for preschool?
Holden: I’m excited for PG-13 movies.

Holden: I learned it at Monkey School.
Me: Where’s Monkey School?
Holden: You just go past Sugarhouse, forwards and backwards and past Pancakes-R-Us.

**Side note, Pancakes-R-Us is code for IHOP – which we ate at once after he repeatedly requested it – I will not go back. And Holden knows why: “Because they don’t have real whipped cream, Mom?” Exactly.**

Holden: Mom I want a snack.
Me: You need breakfast first.
Holden: Fine, I'll have dessert.

Another conversation like this happened just this morning as he asked for milk.
Me: We don’t have anymore. You drank the rest of it this morning. But you can have a water.
Holden: I’ll just have a coffee. 

Holden (fake-coughs at the breakfast table and says): Mom I need some medicine.
Me: Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food. That means that cantaloupe (you’re eating) is really your medicine. Whaaat?!?
Holden: That means rootbeer is my medicine – whaaaat!

Or his delightful prayers:
“We're thankful for the Holy Ghost and The Avengers movie. Amen."

He does awesome things like invent his own superheroes and uses phrases like “That’s what I’m talkin’ about” and “Yeah, baby!” He ‘helps’ me in the kitchen and continues to work on his baking skills. He can spend hours entertaining himself with play-dough and blocks – creating plotlines and “epic battles” (again, his phrasing). In addition to his love of “shows” (must be my Dad’s gene), the kid has an almost preternatural obsession with superheroes.

As for the grownups in the house: Danny has been rocking-it at Mountain West Small Business Finance. He got a promotion from his role as Credit Analyst; and is now doing some business development work and is a Loan Officer and Vice President. He told me that pretty much everyone in the banking industry is a Vice President, but I think he’s just being humble.

One of the many perks of MWSBF is travel. Danny “had” to spend a week on an Alaskan Cruise (Zoe and I were technically invited, but couldn’t bear leaving Holden behind). Fortunately a NADCO conference in Florida meant the whole family got to enjoy a fun and fantastical week in Orlando at DisneyWorld and Universal Studios. Add the fall nights at the swanky St. Regis in Deer Valley, for yet another work conference, and I feel very comfortable saying we’re enjoying Danny’s new job. He heads back to school in January to get a Masters Degree from Utah State’s Executive program.

For moi, life as a SAHM (Stay-at-Home-Mom) remains challenging, yet rewarding, as I continue my search to find and live a more perfect -- eco-friendly and au natural –parenting philosophy. (Just for the record, I believe the practical application should always involve cupcakes). Holden and I continued our tradition of gardening this year, and my mom helped me further my canning skills.

While I’ve been known to be a bit passionate about politics, this year the election cycle was super-charged as I got the opportunity to work on the Howell for US Senate Campaign – as the Campaign’s official blogger, and I even had a stint as their Communications Director. It’s always nice to be needed, and we fought the good fight, but ultimately just couldn’t compete with the a six-term incumbent sporting a $12-million war chest. It was certainly an all-hands-on deck affair; and the family played a huge role. One consultant from California said the Howell team was the only campaign meeting he’d been in that children attended (Z joined me for more than one staff meeting and Holden even kept toys at the office). It was a crazy and amazing experience, and I am so thankful I got the opportunity to participate.

I’m excited to start teaching yoga at the Shiva Centre Studio after the New Year, and hoping that maybe Zoe will show more of an interest and aptitude for Yoga than her brother. Perhaps if my son understood the Hulk’s anger issues could be quelled through mediation, Holden might be more interested.

The other big news is that we’re heading to Disneyland with Danny’s family after the Thanksgiving Holiday for an early Christmas present; so by the time this reaches you we may very well be living it up at the Magic Kingdom.

We hope your holidays and the coming year are also magical. We are truly blessed in every aspect of our lives and wish you and your family a joyous merry and bright 2013.

The Mangums – Danny, Sabrena, Holden and Zoe

For sporadic updates throughout the year visit at or
follow us on twitter @dannymangum and @ssuiteman

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