Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Season's Greetings from the Mangums

In case you missed this year's Holiday greeting....

 “Holden,” I begin, addressing my precocious four-year-old one morning on our way to pre-school, “I'm proud of you for getting your jobs done and getting ready so fast this morning.”
The Front of Our Card
He reciprocates: “And I'm proud of you Mom for telling the truth 'bout how fast I was.”

I can’t promise I’ll be fast for our yearly recount, but I am announcing this as the swan-song for our printed “yearly brag.” (At least for anyone under the age of 60.) My inner-hippie is already conflicted enough about sending Christmas cards, so I guess a move to a future electronic letter is my compromise. We shall consider this December “Lucky 2013” and the end of an era. But as far as this past year’s updates:

We continued our tradition of travel -- St. George a few times, “Upstate Utah” (aka The Barn in Eden) and trying to impersonate the 1% with a couple of adventures to Sun Valley, ID; some time in La Mision, Mexico and a stint in San Diego at the Hotel del Coronado. Some trips for fun, plenty deemed as “work,” but all were a blast.

On the school front – we made the “controversial” decision to homeschool Zoë this year (I’m kidding, nothing controversial about it. She just barely turned two this month!) She’s home with me, and we’re attending a weekly Mommy & Me style class at The Little Gym, where our daughter and her toddling companions are already being ingrained with the importance of a strong and tight core. It’s a “competition free” environment – unless you’re trying to “Keep Up with the (Jonses) Kids” who sport Ralph Lauren and miniature True Religion jeans for tot-time. Oy vey.

For Danny, in addition to his full-time status as a VP at Mountain West Small Business Finance, the man of the house just hit the half-way point for completing his Masters of Human Resource Management at Utah State University.

Holden (turning five in February) is thriving at Elizabeth Academy Montessori. The teachers seem to appreciate and love him for so many of the same reasons we think he’s fabulous: his wit, imagination and enthusiasm. Unfortunately he takes after his mother when it comes to volume control on his voice level: “He’s definitely one of the loudest children in class,” his teacher tells me…she was being gracious using the phrase “one of.” So we’ve all been using this as an opportunity to work on our inside voices. It is harder for some of us than others. #ItsNotHardForDanny

In addition to making lots of friends, and basic preschool curriculum (letters, numbers, science, etc), Holden’s also learning practical life skills. One day after I picked him up he told me it was “another great day at school!”

“Did you learn about art?” I asked.

“No, just finance,” he responded.

Whether or not that’s true, we do know he’s enjoying the art, music therapy and Virginia Tanner dance classes that are included in the curriculum at EA. They also practice yoga daily, and I’ve been volunteering once a month to spread the yoga-love with his fellow Early Childhood classmates.

Speaking of Yoga, we have been getting our asana on this year! There’s been loads of teaching for me (We Are Yoga Studio in Canyon Rim, Tekton Crossfit in Murray, church, community lessons and private students) plus Holden and I were featured on FOX13 for a segment about Yoga for Kids! I know, I know -- the Mangums & “FOX” – who would’ve thought we’d be such a great combination? Obviously it wasn’t their national “news” station. Zoë also joined me at the studio for a plethora of Yoga Playdate classes, and can often be found rolling out her mat at home for an impromptu session -- needless to say Mama’s proud.

Besides, loving her classes at The Little Gym: our spirited and sweet little nursling has been doing lots of things her welf (i.e. Z-speak for “self”). Whether it’s putting on a coat or boots, pouring orange juice or climbing on top of a toilet to use the restroom, she’s surprised us with her independence – which is also accompanied by a deep attachment to yours truly. We are grateful she’s content to be watched by the Grandparents, and someday she may even willingly go to nursery at church without needing one of us by her side.

The Back - obviously...
Family Fitness for All! Holden and Zoë have stayed active with gymnastics and swimming (lessons and plenty of play). Danny and I did a half marathon together, I finished my first Olympic Distance triathlon, but this year’s race highlight was Holden: who ran “The Gobbler” 1k in St. George Thanksgiving morning, getting his first “race” officially under his belt. Not bad for four years old…

We’ve also tried to eat a little cleaner this year. “Red-dye makes me crazy,” Holden has said, on more than one occasion. He has taken an active role in helping our family make better choices, like for instance the time he yelled at his sister: “Come on Zoë! Let's protect the robots of death from stealing our wheatgrass!”

Sometimes his critique on the family-foodstuffs was a little harsh: "Do you have anything better for me to eat than this soup and that sandwich?” Or after my attempt at a stir-fry he did not appreciate: “You ought to be ashamed of yourself!” At which point we reviewed and revamped our media policy trying to figure out where he heard such a thing.

The kid’s full of hilarious one liners (some of which are logged on facebook for posterity) like a few days following a lesson on the Good Samaritan at church: "I really wish the guy that fell on the ground had been wearing a helmet.” And, "Mom You were listening to me great today!" Then proceeds to kind of cry and smile: "This is a happy cry..."

2013 has been a year of “happy cries” and adventure. We’re thankful for you -- our family and friends who inspire us to be better, help keep us grounded and bring so much joy to our lives. We’re thankful for the miracle of Christmas, and for all the special offerings this season (however celebrated) brings. Love and light to you and yours.

Sabrena for The Mangums
December 2013

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