We've recently moved to the Greater New York City area and are loving it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Posted by Tracy

Well, it appears that the mandatory 6-month no-post-period has gone by, which means that we owe the world another update. Conveniently, Today is Easter--so we have plenty to talk about. There is also a lot going on! I will do another post tomorrow about the family's updated plans, career movements, and happenings. This post will, like the rest of the universe, revolve primarily around Sophie.

Sophie sure has grown up a lot lately; and it's understandable seeing as she turned two years old about three weeks ago! Far gone are the days of getting excited simply about new words and dance moves. These days she's spouting mini-speeches and choreographing entirely new Disney Princess Medleys. She's daily trying to master the art of manipulating her parents through rehearsed crying and "I need it" routines. And it appears she is increasingly cunning. She is daily discovering new ways of throwing increasingly crazed fits and determined to never agree with her parents. However, Sophie would argue that the terrible-two's symptoms are getting more airtime here than truly deserved, and she'd probably be right. The chaos and fits come with an opposite, and arguably more frequent, trend: Sophie can be sweeter and kinder than parents can endure dry-eyed.

Sophie (at moments) has such a gift for caring about others. If she sees that you are sad, she will immediately drop what she is doing and attend to your needs. She enjoys helping others so much and has really blossomed around others. We are pretty sure that the Nursery at Church is a huge part of this, and Sophie loves her Nursery class, classmates, and teachers. She has made many friends at church and around the neighborhood, and seems to be doing quite well with others. We think she knows that her parents will love her no matter what; which may be fueling the fits mentioned above. Regardless, Sophie is a huge blessing in our lives and we are so proud with how she is developing and learning. She can sing and recite the entire alphabet, sing several Disney princess songs, pray for all of her friends, and completed her first term of swimming lessons. Her language is amazing. Evidence? Today she was blowing bubbles outside and saw an ant, to whom she shouted, "Hello buggy! Come over here! I'm gonna blow bubbles for you now." She may have accidentally murdered the ant in a fit of compassion and excitement, but we're pretty sure that ant felt really special up until that point.

But yes: Sophie is two now, and she had quite the party to celebrate it. Hanna, in a display of motherly love I wish the whole world could have seen, was determined to make Sophie's birthday truly special. I think Hanna will be doing a post specifically about Sophie's Birthday Party soon - so I won't go into details. But there was a multitude of friends, more cake than is healthy, and more balloons than are ever necessary. It was a beautiful day and we all had a blast. Look forward to Hanna's post!

Today was a special day, too. Easter has always been a big deal, but Sophie really converted to the idea just today. Chocolate was arguably the leading factor in her recent conversion. Regardless, Sophie is now a fan of Easter. Hanna (again determined to make each and every day an adventure) made sure that Sophie had a beautiful Easter basket loaded with presents and surprises. She demanded that we let her wear her new pink tutu swimsuit, gleefully oblivious to the snow we received on Easter morning (it's supposed to be a Spring Holiday, right?).

Anyway, our day consisted of watching General Conference, Sleeping Beauty, Dying Easter eggs, and going for a walk to the park. Sophie got to make a couple eggs all by herself, and actually did a pretty decent job. Of course, in her words, hard-boiled eggs are "squishy and disgusting". But she sure didn't mind painting them! Our little family had quite a day today and it will be one we are unlikely to forget. But before I wander from the key topic of this post (Sophie, of course), let's give you a video of her discovering her basket...

It is hard to believe that Hanna and I visited Utah over five years ago when trying to decide whether to come out to BYU or not - Time sure does fly by. Anyway, I hope that everyone out there was able to enjoy a wonderful Easter Sunday! I know that we sure did.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Time of Thanksgiving

Posted by Tracy

It has been a long time since we last updated our blog, but with the Holidays fast approaching I felt it was important to put out an update on what has been going on. I also thought that it would be a nice time to share some of the things that I am thankful for. The idea came from a recent video that a co-worker shared with me called "In the Spirit of Thanksgiving" in which random people on the streets of New York City share a variety of grateful responses to one simple question: "What are you thankful for?"

So I thought I might try and put together a small list of things that I am thankful for:
  • A loving, beautiful, and brilliant wife: Hanna never ceases to amaze me with her hard work and passion for life. Whether it is keeping to her gym schedule when I tempt her plenty to just stay home, or how she is such a talented mother -- I am so very grateful that she loves me. Hanna is the motivation for just about everything I do and she pushes me to be better. I am grateful for her love, her beautiful voice, her smiles when I am down, and her encouragement when I tire. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
  • A beautiful, smart, funny, and healthy little daughter: Sophie is joy, curiosity, and imagination wrapped up in human form. I love her. I am more and more proud of her every day! She is my hope for the world. I couldn't leave the world with a greater gift than her joyful and loving spirit.
  • Wonderful family: Hanna and I have been so very blessed to have great parents, siblings, grandparents, and on and on. We are surrounded by examples of hard work, integrity, faith, kindness, humor, and love.
  • Parents of faith and understanding: I am grateful for parents that raised me to believe in something beyond myself. I am grateful that they have taught me to be understanding of others and yet find joy in my own beliefs. They are great examples in my life. My father taught me everything I know about hard work and duty to family. He is my hero. My mother is my rock of faith and a beacon of optimism in a very pessimistic world. She inspires me.
  • Country of opportunity: I am so grateful to live in a land of freedom. I love the debate and passion that drives this country. While things aren't perfect, I am still proud to be an American. I am certainly grateful for the troops that defend the freedoms I enjoy!
  • A full education: I love BYU. I am so grateful for the opportunities it has given me. The professors there are among the greatest people I know. My time at BYU has opened so many doors and opportunities for Hanna and me. The Accounting program especially has changed my life forever and taught me much more than debits and credits.
  • Job security: I am grateful to have a job at Novell that I love and enjoy. I am grateful for the job opportunities which have opened up for Hanna and me. I am especially grateful to kind recruiters and selfless professionals from all the accounting firms which went beyond their normal duties to help me.
  • Faith and hope: I am especially grateful for my faith and my beliefs. I love my faith in God. I know that not everyone believes in God, but I am grateful for the way that my beliefs encourage me - the way they make me a better husband, father, son, and brother.
  • The small things: I am thankful for many of the little things which make this world a better place: Juice, Indiana Jones, Excel Spreadsheets, the Steelers, Shoes, Warm Showers, Cars, Gandalf and Hobbits, Smartphones that tie my shoes and everything in between, Planes, Craisins, Honey, Electricity, Plumbing, Pillow-top Mattresses, Email, and Fruit Snacks.... Just to name a few.
In other news... I thought it would be nice to update everyone on the recent happenings in our lives. Hanna has been busy at the gym and of course always busy with Sophie. Remarkably, Hanna has turned out to be quite the cook lately. She has really been trying to spice up our home meals and I am learning that she has been hiding or neglecting a valuable talent!

Sophie has been a busy girl as well. She learned how to jump into piles of leaves, count to 10, play in her kitchen (thanks yaya) and is now going to nursery at church. She loves playing with other kids and seems to be on top of the world. Hanna and Sophie will be heading back East for the Christmas Holiday while I stay in Provo to catch up on work. However, we are looking forward to a wonderful Thanksgiving Week and have plenty of time to plan some fun family events.

I am staying busy with Novell, working as a Teaching Assistant for an Accounting Research professor, and school. However, things have calmed down a bit recently. I participated in PwC's xTax competition again this year (my fourth and final time participating), and our team won first place at BYU! I was very excited and we should find out soon if we make it to Nationals. I also finally ended a very long saga of recruiting and signed an offer with PwC in New York City in their Financial Instruments and Credit Group. I was very impressed with the group there and am excited to begin my career with such talented professionals. So it will be off to New York City sometime next Summer! While everything isn't nailed down quite yet, and changes to our final plans are still possible, we are already getting excited about the move!

Well, I know it was only a small update, but I hope that everyone reading this is doing well. May your Holiday season be one of joy, safety, and great memories with family and friends. Hanna and I have been so very blessed over our years in Provo, Utah and I hope that everyone can take a moment to consider their blessings - What are you thankful for?

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Summer at YaYa and PapPap's

Posted by Tracy

Now that I have access to my laptop and the other pictures which were scattered over a summer of craziness, I thought it would be nice to post a more detailed review of our stay at YaYa and PapPap's (Hanna's Parents). First of all, I would just remind everyone out there to always double check the date on your plane tickets. Hanna and I got quite the surprise after planning on leaving on a Saturday afternoon but realizing Thursday night that we actually left the next morning. I'm sure the story will be funny enough to tell after a few more months. It is still too near to me for humor...

Somehow we made it to Pittsburgh and made our way down to the Frazier homestead - what we would call home for the next 2 months. All I can say is that I will never forget the opportunity to stay with Hanna's parents over the summer. They were the very best of hosts and I couldn't have been happier to see Sophie playing with her grandparents all day long. Sophie still seems to be walking around the house looking for YaYa and PapPap - hoping they'll pop out to play with her. I will treasure those 2 months for years to come and although things didn't work out with the firm I worked for over the summer, I will never regret going there to have a summer of fun with family.
Rather than give a detailed written account, I think it might just be easier to tell our summer story through pictures (with a caption here or there). So here goes:

Hanna's parents put up a wonderful gate so Sophie could play on the porch.

They practically re-did the entire backyard to make a kid's paradise.

And what would a summer be without bubbles!?

YaYa even made a "My Pap is a Survivor" shirt for Sophie when we went to the Cancer Walk.

Sophie sure did enjoy feeding the ducks at YaYa and PapPap's.

While there are hundreds of more pictures and stories I wish I could tell, a blog isn't exactly the easiest way to share photos. Hopefully, I'll get around to updating and organizing our Flickr page eventually. Until then, I hope that from these pictures you'll get a sampling of what it would be like to spend the summer at YaYa and PapPap's. For indeed, it is a grand life and joy afterall.

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Summer of Memories

Posted by Tracy

I'd love to be able to say that I am turning over a new leaf and that this blog will stay updated. However, I've built a reputation as crying wolf in that regard, and I'm not so sure there are enough leaves out there for me to keep this up. Perhaps I'm trying to turn over the whole forest, but nevertheless, I apologize for the long absence. In those fateful words: "We'll try to do better this time."
I just wanted to be able to update everyone on what we have been up to lately. As many of you already know, we were able to go back home to Pittsburgh over the summer while I worked in an internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Not only was the internship a wonderful experience, we were also able to stay with Hanna's family; which was a wonderful opportunity for Hanna and Sophie to spend time with "YaYa and PapPap". It was amazing to see all the things that Sophie learned over the summer.

(Sophie showing off at YaYa and PapPap's)

Although the internship did not end up with us receiving an offer to work in Pittsburgh full-time next year, it was a great experience. I'll post an update on that front soon - but it looks like we may end up further east than originally planned (in D.C., NYC, or maybe Conneticut?). Either way, it will be nice to be closer to family: Nana, GrandPierre (?), YaYa, PapPap, and the rest of the gang.

In more recent news, Hanna has been very busy lately taking care of Sophie and somehow managing to make a "Home" out of the ridiculous schedule I maintain. Hanna does an excellent job though and keeps things in order just long enough for Sophie or me to mess it all up again. She really is the glue that holds the whole operation together. Although she hasn't been able to work 'officially' for quite some time now, she has been rather good about taking a few clients and working out of the house. She ends up having a hair appointment pretty frequently that way, and it is always great to see her doing something she is so gifted at.

Beyond 'holding down the fort', Hanna has been infected with some kind of passion and vigor about this final year in Provo being "The Year". She is determined to make good on our many "we should go/do..." discussions and has been arranging my schedule accordingly. Armed with her gym membership, friends, maps, and lists; she is out to make our final year in Utah a truly spectacular one. I've caught myself wondering when I traded in my wife for a motivational speaker; but it is exciting to have her by my side - often leading the way to fun and adventure. It's hard to keep up with her these days, even though she did just turn 26! *hides*

Sophie has been very busy. As seen in the video above, she has learned so very much. Thanks to Hanna, she is learning all her colors, numbers, shapes, and words - surpassing all of our expectations. She came with quite an attitude attached to her when she showed up in our lives and it has been a blessing to watch this ball of passion pave her way in life.

As for me, it is back to work and school as usual. I have a very busy year ahead of me, but I am thrilled and excited with the opportunities that have come up. Even though things didn't work out with PwC in Pittsburgh, a number of even better opportunities (career-wise that is) have come flooding in our way. Hopefully we will know soon where it is exactly that we will be moving to. (I say that laughing while Hanna looks at me with 'that look')

I will still be working at Novell Inc. in the Internal Audit group for the next year, and will be trying to put in around 35 hours a week there. They have given me wome wonderful projects and it has been a great blessing in our lives that the job at Novell worked out. I've taken on a second job this year again (last year I worked as a Research Assistant for some accounting professors), and will be working with a Professor Wilks as a Teaching Assistant for his graduate Accounting Research class. It is truly an honor to work with such a respected scholar in the accounting world and I am excited to be working on the class. Of course there is always school mixed in there, and with another 18 credits this semester, it is hard to ignore. However, the classes I am taking are extremely interesting and I look forward to all the learning which my brain is about to experience.

All in all, Hanna and I (and Sophie) are looking forward to a wonderful year out here in the mountains. We have loved being here and will surely miss it when we're gone.

We hope all is well with you (whoever you are - I'm not sure if anyone reads this after all our 'crying wolf'). We hope to get better at the internet communication and socializing - joining ranks with the 21st century. God bless!

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Some Late Thoughts on Easter

Posted by Tracy

I wish I would have posted this earlier, but I really wanted to share a couple thoughts on this wonderful, Holy day that we have all just experienced.

Easter is much more than the Easter Bunny and egg hunts. It is more than the greetings of Spring or the rebirth of the world from the grips of Winter. Easter is a symbol of the Rebirth we all may experience through one who is greater than us all. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, suffered and died that we might all live on through Him. Easter is about remembering that selfless sacrifice and finding renewed life in the Son of God. For we were all lost and could not be saved less an ultimate sacrifice was made.

"And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him..." [Heb. 5:9]

I recently saw this video on the web, and really enjoyed it's message. I hope you enjoy it and enjoy this Spring season!

Truly He is the resurrection, and the life; and whosoever believeth in Him, though he were dead, yet shall he live. May we live on then in the remembrance of Him.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Update on Sophie's Sleeping

Posted by Tracy

I forgot to update everyone about how Sophie was doing going to sleep by herself. Thanks for your comments reminding me. I'll make this a short one, but at least update you on the good news.

About 4-5 days ago, things really started to get better with putting Sophie down to bed. If you do the math, that means it probably took us a little over a week to get Sophie used to falling asleep by herself. While that week was hardly "fun", it was worth it. Sophie began to be able to fall asleep after about 10 minutes of crying with one or two visits by Hanna or I to calm her down. We wouldn't take her out of her crib, but simply reassure her that we were there and that she should go to sleep.

The good news? The past three days, Sophie has been able to fall asleep within 5 minutes of being put into her crib! This is also without any visits from Mom or Dad. In fact, the past two nights, she's fallen asleep in about 2-3 minutes. Sometimes she turns on her Winnie-the-Pooh toy (which is in her crib) so she can fall asleep to the music, but she seems to be doing that even less lately.

So, to all the parents dreading the experience: It was aweful, but worth it. Sophie is happier. We are happier. Our neighbors are certainly happier.

Hope everyone is doing well!

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Letter to Myself

Posted by Hanna

A Note from Hanna as of March 25, 2009:

I am sitting here writing this after listening to my 12 month old daughter cry herself to sleep. Well, actually, that never happened…she never did “cry herself to sleep”…more like she cried herself awake! I probably should have tried this tactic a few months ago when she was less aware of what was going on (at least I think she was). But, I didn’t and so now I am trying this because the past couple of months Tracy and I have been switching back and forth walking—not “rocking”—her to sleep. So basically we will hold her in our arms and walk around her room while playing some sort of relaxing music (usually Josh Groban). For a while this was working wonders to get her to sleep. Eventually though, it was taking longer and longer to get her to sleep..and you couldn’t just lay her in bed drowsy but awake, because she would immediately wake completely up and then all of that walking would have been for nothing. I forgot to mention that our backs have been killing us so we definitely need to change our way of doing things.

I guess Sophie needs to figure out how to put herself to sleep. Note that I used the word “guess” because at this point I am really not sure what to think. I mean sure, EVENTUALLY she needs to do this….but can you really expect all babies to be able to do this at this age? Don’t answer. I guess that is what the “experts” say…but who are the “experts” anyhow?

This is the 4th night we have tried to let her cry. I didn’t want to go “cold turkey” on her so I would go in after five minutes the first night and every night after wait a little longer. Well, tonight I listened to her cry for 35 minutes…no scream for 35 minutes. It really was unbearable (that is not even close to describing how I felt….and I am not sure I know how to describe it). Tonight she just would not go to sleep. She was so tired but just wouldn’t let herself go….I finally caved and got her out and held her until she fell asleep. She looked so peaceful after being hysterical and completely drenched with sweat from crying so much. I love her so much...and I am such a sensitive person that I feel like I am her when she is crying like that. I would actually talk to Tracy as if I was her. Example: “Why the HECK aren’t my parents coming to get me! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE cant you hear me!!! My throat hurts…I NEED some water. I don’t want to be in this dark room by myself. I don’t know if I am tired. PLEASE COME!!! Don’t you love me?” OK….so thinking that way doesn’t help the situation. Especially that last part. I just never want her to feel abandoned or not loved.

So the real reason for writing this besides getting some of this off my chest was …to actually write myself a letter of thoughts and encouragement. I can tend to get really down on myself and slide into a rippling effect of bad thoughts. I was feeling very depressed tonight after this episode.

I hope this helps.

Letter to Myself:

Go with your instincts and the promptings of the Spirit to guide you in caring, nurturing, loving, and everything else that comes with raising a child. Kids don’t come with manuals (though there are many books with differing opinions). Don’t listen to every opinion. Well, listen…but that doesn’t mean they are “right” and you are “wrong.” Some advice really is “good” advice. Don’t take any advice personally…even if it was meant that way. Don’t let the adversary (Satan) convince you that you are a bad mother. You are doing the best you can with the knowledge, strength, patience, and love that is in you. Rely on the Lord to make you a better mother…HE will give you the strength you need to endure all things. And He will give you light to direct your path. Always go to the Lord first before beating yourself up…HE will give you the Spirit to lift YOUR Spirit. Tomorrow is a new day. Look ahead with hope. Don’t get discouraged.

To anyone that might read this. Remember those are my opinions to myself. If they are helpful for you great…if not…that is ok too.

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