Sunday, January 11, 2015

It's a New Year's Newsletter.

Last time I posted I was pregnant. Now that London is seven months old, I guess I can start blogging again. Because it's much easier now that she's mobile enough to roll over and grab my computer than when she used to just stay where I put her. :)

Miss London May is very happy and very sweet. Since two and a half months old, she has slept through the night without needing any nighttime feedings (although sometimes she wakes up needing to be soothed). I 100% believe that this was a gift from Heaven as she started sleeping through the night the week before school started. I am not sure that I could have taught this year with any less sleep than I am currently getting.

She has three cute and slightly crooked teeth (all came within 10 days of each other), plays independently, and loves grabbing anything that's not a designated "baby toy."

Her eyes are incredible. Not only are they beautiful, but they soak in everything around her. She watches and is constantly learning. She loves her Daddy a lot (sometimes it makes me jealous) and always gives him her biggest smiles. She is absolutely perfect in every way.

I really struggled with my body image after having London. I cried. A lot. I wore maternity pants until London was six months old and maxi skirts every Sunday. I started slowly but have worked up my endurance and strength and am now actually feeling pretty good about myself.

Hiram has repeatedly told me that he thinks I'm perfect and beautiful but also has supported me every step of the way. He would watch London during the fussy hours of the night so I could exercise (now I exercise in the early early morning), buys groceries that are more filling and less fattening, and let me buy a whole bunch of new exercise clothes that I feel good in.

I remember before I had London I read an article about marriages. It said that most people are happiest within the first two years of marriage but it starts to die off after the second year ends and/or when couples have their first child. "Oh no," I thought. "Both are happening within a month of each other."

Good news: I love Hiram more now than I ever did before. He's so sweet and kind and giving. He is a wonderful husband and an adorable father. Every time I look at him I love him more. I told him that, and he doesn't believe it, but it's true.

The same happens with London.

I feel like I've been given an "easy baby" to let me get through this last year of teaching without losing my brain and patience.

But school this year has been incredible. My students are amazing, my curriculum is developed, and I am really enjoying teaching. My two team members (the other two eighth grade math teachers) are funny and supportive and do everything that I forget or don't want to. The students make me laugh every period, and I often find myself lamenting that this is my last year.

But then I quickly end that because I realize I get to spend every day with London. And I'm not sad at all. In fact, I've never felt happier.

Have I mentioned that Hiram is amazing? He graduated from BYU last April with a Bachelor's Degree in Public Health, receiving recognition like "Intern of the Year". He then studied for and took the GRE and applied for graduate school all while working at a clinic, directing internships at a hospital, and taking care of an insecure wife and a newborn baby.

Although we made some mistakes in grad school applications (like writing the wrong name of the school in one essay), Hiram was offered interviews at every school we wanted to attend and offered admission at every school where he interviewed.

Just before Thanksgiving we learned that he was accepted to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) which we were really hoping to get into! The Masters of Healthcare Administration program there is incredible and we're very excited for the opportunities it will bring. We have been living at his parents' home for the past 17 months (which has been a huge blessing for babycare and finances), and will move to Virginia this coming summer! We are so excited and I know Hiram will do amazing things.

Hiram has been the world's best dad and husband. He works 30+ hours a week for his job and his internship, but also willingly does the laundry, shopping, and cleaning while I'm gone at school. He has never complained, only thanks me for all of the hard work that I do. When I get home, he continues to play with London making her giggle and squeal (rather than "passing her off" to me), and often offers to make my lunch for the next day or bathe her or do really anything that would make my life easier.

See why I love him more each time I see him?

My family is incredible. So is our life.

Photo by Annie Mangelson

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Because of Him

This Easter weekend, the phrase "Because of Him" is all over my newsfeed.

It comes from this wonderful video:

I've loved how I've been able to see the love that so many people feel for their Savior. I've loved how posts usually containing silly complaints or sarcastic jabs at life instead show smiling faces and sincere and heartfelt thoughts of gratitude.

At first I wasn't going to do anything. I was content with appreciating the good feelings and reminders I was getting from so many of my friends. "Their posts are enough," I thought. "The world doesn't need another #BecauseofHim post."

But that's just it. The world does.

I believe that Jesus Christ died, and lives, for each and every individual, regardless of their belief in Him. Through His atoning grace and because of His sacrifice, hearts can be healed and lives can be repaired.

One of my favorite hymns is "I Know That My Redeemer Lives". On this Easter day, it's nice to be reminded not just that he lives, but why. I'll share some of my favorite verses below.

I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead.
He lives, my ever-living Head.

Why does he live?

He lives to bless me with his love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in time of need.

He lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with his eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul's complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.

Because of Him, I can experience the beauty of the world (as it was created by His hands). Because of Him, I have peace. Because of Him, I've never felt lost. Because of Him, I can find the strength not only to be positive, but to find joy. 

Yes, I know that hundreds are sharing their testimonies of their Savior today. But let my voice join the rest of theirs because I, too, have been blessed because of Him.

Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"

Monday, January 20, 2014

Missing the Mark: New Year's Resolutions Drama

I've kind of lost my brain. I like to think of my normal brain as something like the London Tube Map:

Complicated, but somehow organized. My thoughts always have a process and always lead to real destinations.

Well, they used to.

Now my brain is like this:

Click on it to zoom in!

It doesn't matter where I begin.
It doesn't matter which "line" of thought I'm on (grading papers, talking to Hiram, walking anywhere, driving my car, planning a lesson, etc.).
My destinations have nothing to do with where I started or the connections that should be made.
And if I'm not thinking about BABY, my mind is blank.

I know that January is almost over, but I have yet to make solid New Year's resolutions. And I feel guilty. Goals are good things. Part of the reason I've struggled is because as soon as I sit down to think, my mind wanders (see above map for details). Another part can be explained through a past experience of mine.

The summer that Hiram and I got married I was a level leader at a girl's camp in California. For one of our activities, we shot rifles at a shooting range. This was my second time shooting a gun, and I had no idea how I'd do. Here are my results:

The man who was running the rifle range brought my target to me and told me I was a "______ good shot." He complimented me on only making four holes with the eight shots I took, because that meant I hit the same spots a few times in a row.

I felt pretty good about myself.

He blamed the inaccuracy of my hits on the sights on the rifle. Because let's be honest, I was nowhere near the center of the target. He said that if the sights were aligned properly, I should have been able to hit "within the 10" the whole time.

I keep this target paper in my journal to remind me of a really important principle:
Consistency only matters if your focus is centered.

I've struggled with my New Year's resolutions not because I can't keep them. I'm pretty sure I can. But I am insecure with setting goals because I feel like I don't quite understand where I want to end up. What's the point of making a goal if you don't know what you really want to accomplish? What if I put forth large amounts of effort just to find out that I'm off-target at the end?

So before I can make specific goals, I need to make sure my sights are aligned.

Here are some of my thoughts:


  • I'd like to be someone who puts my family over myself
  • I want to focus on my husband's needs before my own and provide him support
  • I want to be an educated, patient, and compassionate mother
  • I want to view people and experiences from a positive perspective
  • I want to be diligent and focused in my efforts (whatever they may be)


  • I would like to have my actions reflect my level of dedication/desire
  • I want to be able to see the hand of God in my daily life
  • I want to be malleable and able to be used as an instrument in God's hands


  • I would like to focus more on the individual needs of students rather than the collective needs of my class or curriculum
  • I would like to be considered reliable and responsible by my colleagues

I understand that to become who I want to become, I need to act. I will probably spend more time refining this list and aligning my sights, and then set specific goals. (Well, as long as I can refrain from browsing baby items on Amazon.)

Who do you want to become? What are your goals?
Do you have any advice for achieving them?