Tuesday, November 24, 2020

2020 Annual Update: A Tale of Thanksgiving

Dearest Friends, 

As I write this, our little family is gearing up for our first Thanksgiving as strictly a foursome. We had plans to head to St. George to be with my parents and extended family (and officially meet the newest member of the Suite Clan -- Celeste's new baby boy Celtin. But like most plans for 2020 -- from cancelled trips to D.C., Vegas, San Francisco and beyond -- things change during a pandemic. And yet, amidst the chaos, hurt, heartache and trials of this past year, I find myself with so much to be grateful for. Likewise, I have been so buoyed up by the #givethanks movement flooding social media channels via (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints President Nelson's) challenge. 

So while I have not participated specifically in the daily posting, let me add to the movement of gratitude with the following family uodate (in the manner of gratitude and thanksgiving,) and because it's going to take more more than one sitting -- so depending on when you start reading this, you may need to check back for updates to complete the whole log. 

So let's begin: I'm thankful for my Family. 

And that starts with my #1, Daniel G. Mangum (or cher danny as I like to say.) Danny has been a rockstar at work. He got a promotion at Mountain West Small Business Finance last winter and is now their Chief Operating Officer. I've watched him make tough decisions for the company -- and coordinate with a host of different personalities to make decisions that help protect the MWSBF employees and the company's longevity. He cares so deeply about his team and Mountain West's employees overall -- especially with all of the changes and added precautions needed for businesses to run safe in this "new normal" (and what does that phrase even mean these days?!?!) 

He hasn't spent much time at his favorite Crossfit Box this past year -- but like a good portion of Americans, has managed to overhaul and update our *home gym. While the beginning of the pandemic found us keeping Uber Eats + Door Dash alive and well, thankfully Danny has also embraced his new hobby of cooking. He likes to do it, and is GOOD at it. Which is a plus on so many levels -- especially since we're currently in the "take three days to cook for Thursday's meal that will be consumed in 15 minutes." So I'm extra grateful he's taken on the bulk of meal planning and execution. It also helps that we recently went through a major home remodel -- so our kitchen is a bit of a joy to be in. 

Danny is definitely the more fun and patient parent (gender stereotypes be damned!) He got our family into mountain biking this past year. And we also tried a bit of glamping and camping. Fun Fact: I am better at glamping than I am at camping.  Even more Fun Fact: I am best at hotel-ing. He and Holden have made a goal to ski 15 times this season, and have already kicked off the year by hitting Brighton on Friday (Nov 19th). 
I'm glad I married my best friend. We're seeing a lot more of each other since he's primarily been working from our home office. I love that he's around so much more. He's funny and fun and has the greatest giggle in the world. And yes, I said giggle. 

More coming soon -- but my fingers need a break... 

*our basement family room now housing not only a treadmill, but friend's old elliptical and gently used rower. 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Mother's Day Memory

I don’t know my actual earliest memory of my Mom, but one that is imprinted in my brain is from naptime when we lived across the street from (what my kids now call) “The Red House.” The Red House is actually the house on Eastwood Drive that my mom grew up in, I also lived in my youth, AND where we were living when both Holden and Zoë were both born.

But my memory is from the house kitty-corner to The Red House. In the upstairs bedroom, on what seemed like a GIANT bed, I remember nap-time: my mom reading to me (not sure what story), but cuddled up together in that bed and just hearing her voice, and feeling her body and not having a care in the world – except trying to decide if I wanted to escape sleep more than I wanted to cuddle.

I imagine this image is the one I think about most often because it was imprinted multiple times over. I think back on that moment (or perhaps moments) frozen in time and now, as an adult can wonder: Where was Cassandra? Was Celeste with us, and I just didn’t realize it? How is it that I could feel like I was the only other human in the world at that moment. Just me and my mom.

I don’t remember my time as a newborn – but I do remember time with my newborns. The exhaustion and feeling that you’ll never be the same since you are responsible for another human’s well being. I think about my mom being in “that time” with me. To this day, she says does not remember “the hard parts.” But from my own experience, I can recall on them for her. But I also understand as children age, that work shifts into something even harder--in a different way.

There are so many other memories—the majority involve food.  There’s a reason when I cook or bake something I’m proud of, the highest honor of achievement my children bestow are the words, “This is almost as good as Mama Suites.”

She's an incredible example of service. I firmly believe that the work of social justice is "Women's Work." (Obviously it should be Men's too...but that's a different blog post).

My mom is not one to paint a sign and march at a rally, but she's one to visit the sick and elderly and widowed -- to take in meals and go about her life doing the work of Jesus in realtime (and He was like the ORIGINAL Social Justice Warrior).

I’m grateful for her example.
I'm grateful she gave me life. 
I'm so thankful for my mother. 

Saturday, December 14, 2019

2019 Recap: The Things People Say

OK friends, here's the deal. I actually HAVEN'T written our recap. But I did manage to get a few of the highlights from the things I remembered to write down from our family conversations. Maybe I'll jot a bit of the rest of the history another time. But in the meantime... 

Flashback to Christmas 2018:

Z (almost 7), building the nativity while her brother hangs ornaments: “Mom, should we put baby Jesus standing up or laying down?”


Holden: “Mary should be lying down because she has so much pain. I mean she’s happy, but she’s in A LOT of pain...”


Going through Z’s stuffed animals #KonMari style:

“It sparks joy! I can’t get rid of it—it’s part of my childhood.”
And then:
“We had good times, Bunny. We had good times...”

It’s also worth noting her basic #sparkjoy test for her clothes was if she thought a teenager would wear it.


Danny: “That’s the line for Chick-fil-a!?! I thought the freeway was backed up!”

One Sunday in Primary (Danny used to be a teacher and relays the following):

Primary Chorister: “Who will follow Jesus?!?”
Children: “I will!”

PC: “Who will serve a mission?!?”
Children: “I will!” (Raise arms and fists in excitement).

Holden under his breath: “Not me, I’m joining the Peace Corps.”

Sabrena to Holden: “Sweetheart, can you come pick up your pajamas? They’re still on the bathroom floor from this morning.”

[H walks out of bedroom, looking startled to see me.]

Holden: “Sure, I was just listening to a Ted Talk on children’s structure.”

After a terse response from my Z because Sabrena didn’t recall a kid from daycare, mom suggests we ‘start over’ and go with our original plan of getting a smoothie.

Z: “Yeah because a Roxberry can fix anything! But not if your house is on fire...or a brain freeze.”

Over a casual hot chocolate my Holden randomly says

“So I heard Google is going to be the next Illuminati....”

Danny to Zoë: If I were a dog, what kind of dog would I be?
Z: A baby golden retriever.
Sabrena: What kind of dog would I be?
Z: A poodle.
Danny: A German Shepard, because you like things done in order, and you shed a lot.


Holden: “So there’s a Stairway to Heaven and a Highway to Hell....[Long Pause] You mean I gotta decide between tons of stairs or just riding in a car!?!”

Today during family prayers, Holden asked for safety of people in Asia (because of our trade war with China), and that people in the U.K. will survive Brexit.

Me, asking 10yo if he’s finished his
 (our family version of summer school) for the day.

10 yo, looks forlorn, & responds: “did you ever think about the fact there’s ‘Khan’ in the name? An evil warlord who takes over planets!?!”

#meanestmomever #nextleveltorture
1:50 PM · Jul 30, 2019·Twitter for iPhone

Me *looks at husband who is fake sleeping as I’m talking about plans for next year’s Shakespeare Fest.* “Why are you being such a dick?”

Husband: I’m sorry, it’s just everything that comes out of your mouth sounds like the last thing I want to do—is there a KidsBop option?
10:53 PM · Aug 15, 2019


Holden on Catcher in the Rye Holden’s Caufield:
So he finished Animal Farm and just started Salinger’s Catcher in Rye. His take on Holden Caulfield:
“Ugh, he broods and swears so much.”


Zoë: Mom, me and my friends are basically VSCO girls because…. (holds up wrist that looks like Rainbow Brite)… SCRUNCHIES!

Zoë: Santa Claus is weird. He stalks people!

Holden: You should read the unedited version of St. Nicholas.

Z: Yeah! He used to put gold in the stocking of little girls to keep them from becoming….
(Looks at her brother for backup).

Holden: ….Prostitutes.

Z: Yeah! Wait, what’s a prostitute?


Friday, December 6, 2019

For Zoë's Birthday Walk

Zoë Suite Mangum
Born December 7, 2011 at 11:04 pm
8 lbs 6 oz & 20 inches

When Zoë was One
·      Traveled to St. George, Sun Valley, San Diego and to Mexico!
·      Would go to The Little Gym for gymnastics
·      Took swim lessons
·      Her favorite things were Mickey Mouse (She called him “MeeMee”), Univeristy of Utah Football (or at least their logo and would lay on her day and watch games with him, butterflies, Spider-Man, and yoga.
·      Her Brother was her Favorite thing of All

When Zoë was Two

·      She went on a 7-night Disney Cruise to the Caribbean
·      Traveled to California for her Aunt Brooke & Uncle Brandon’s Wedding
·      She was fearless in a swimming pool –which made her parents nervous
·      Loved being Read to, baking, making (and drinking)
·      Had to go to emergency room – cut her finger when helping her mom make guacamole

When Zoë was three
·      She started in Early Childhood with Ms. Jessica – who is now the Head of Schools!
·      Started taking ice skating lessons and a little bit of Piano
·      Invented “Pink Cake Girl”
·      Her favorite food was fuit – and she once ate a whole COSTCO sized container of blueberries in a single day
·      You told your parents when you grew up you wanted to be a pumpkin

When Zoë was four
·      She invited all her friends to bring presents for homeless kids to her birthday party instead of to her
·      She would say things like “Mom, turn off the fossil! I call faucets fossils.”
·      She called trash “Glitter” because garbage + litter = “Glitter”
·      Played some soccer and danced a little

When Zoë was five
·      Danced & Played soccer
·      Went to Hawaii: had a surf lesson
·      Started Skateboarding
·      Visited Yellowstone
·      Saw Hamilton in Chicago: and complained about how loud it was because she was so tired!

When Zoë was six, she was obsessed with being a teenager:
·      wanted a “teenager starter pack for Christmas”
·      Loved skiing and soccer – music and math

When Zoë was seven:
·      She went to Mexico and Spain and England!

·      Started taking guitar lessons
·      Kept playing soccer
·      Would eat ice cream for every meal if we told her it was ok
·      Loves to read Graphic Novels

Zoë turns EIGHT on December 7th!