It Was the Best of Times...It Was the Worst of Times...

The opening line from a Tale of Two Cities definitely depicts how life has been since Grace came home two weeks ago!!
On one hand it has been so wonderful to have her with us day in and day out, but on the other hand, nothing has ever been so challenging for either Topher or myself!
She is a lot of work, and sometimes is definitely quite the little pill, but along side her challenges she is a beautiful joy to have around. I love holding her, even though all she does is scowl at me! I love just looking at her beautiful face, and Topher and her seem to have an unbreakable committment in which they snuggle and nap together EVERY morning for at least 2 1/2 hours
Our days have been very random since she's come home. There are days where she'll sleep 7 hours through the night and then take 3 naps during the day. And then there are other days where she is awake every 45 minutes because her binky fell out and then she takes two 10 minute naps and screams the rest of the day.
Needless to say it has been an adventure, but definitely one worth every minute.

Since she has come home we've gone to Temple Square with my mom, (beautiful!!), Thanksgiving Point (also really pretty...), Anni's track meet, (congrats Anni on 4th and 5th places!), Toph's parents house, my Dad's house, and my sister's house. We get a little bit better at preparing for these outings each time they come around and hopefully we'll eventually be equipped with everything we need for her, each time we go out. (Last night...we discovered we need to carry around an extra feeding tube, because she now knows how to gag them up!)

Since she is two months old today, I thought I'd go over some funny moments, or milestones.
Yes, I realize this is becoming a lengthy post...but, that's what you get from a tired mom who only has this chance to blog on rare occasions, and the occasions being few and far between.
Grace is starting to hold her head up a lot and trying to look around.
She has started giving us 1-3 smiles each morning, (note that these immediately turn into sobs or scowls within a few seconds!!)
She thoroughly enjoys being held against your chest in the Moby wrap (thanks Karen!!)
She can now eat up to 57cc by mouth! (if you take a whole hour, burp her often and change her diaper)
She has gained a pound and a half since her birth, putting her at 8 lbs. 2 oz.

She has turned her Daddy into THE BEST Mr. Mom
She loves her swing
She loves to be bounced
She loves to be held
She HATES being moved or passed around or messed with in any way!!
She likes watching Animal Planet with Daddy
She likes to go for walks with Mommy

She likes being swaddled up nice and tight
She ADORES her binky (even when its taped to her face, thanks to Dad!!!)
She loves just plain breast milk. She will now eat over 45cc of straight breast milk by mouth.
She has accomplished to go through 5 outfits in one day, compliments of throwing up on each one within a 6 hour period
She has managed to steal the heart of everyone who meets her.
If you don't believe me, that's because you haven't met her. We've been told she's much cuter in person than in pictures. :)

On a more serious note, she has Cardiology appointments every Thursday. So far they have each lasted longer than 3 1/2 hours!! But, she has been doing remarkably well. No decline in her heart function or anything of that sort.

Also, we did her baby blessing last Monday. We apologize for not inviting all of our friends and family, but with Grace's condition we were too nervous to expose her to too much activity or to too many people.
It was a very quiet blessing, (Topher wouldn't speak up!!), but after collecting the different snippets that everyone heard, I have gathered that Topher blessed little Grace that she would have a healthy heart, whether it be transplant or on her own, and that she would live a long time. He blessed her that she would attend and excel in school and that she would bless the lives of those she met. He blessed her for a love of her familiy and a charitable spirit.
It was a beautiful day and she was an angel for the entire evening. Her Great Great Grandpa Max even got to hold her!!
Over the past few weeks and months, we have come to appreciate our families, friends, ward members and neighbors so so much. Thank you all SO much for your support of us over the last few months, weeks and days. Your frequent calls, visits, and offerings of support have been overwhelming. Venice has helped me at least once or twice a week since Grace has been home, worked for Topher several times and just tried to help in every way possible. My mom stayed with me probably close to 4 LONG weekends in a row, taking night shifts with Grace, cleaning my house and keeping me sane. My visiting teachers have brought us meals and goodies. My siblings stocked our freezer and cupboards to over-flowing amounts. Our immediate and extended family have brought us every baby item imaginable that they had in storage for us to use (esp. Emily, Karen and Kalani!! Thank you!). Some of you have brought us food, written us notes, or just called to express your love for us.
Thank you so much to all of you that have helped us physically, emotionally and spiritually, whether by bringing us dinner or saying constant prayers for us in your hearts. We know it has a made a world of difference and we don't know how we'll ever show our gratitude to all of you.
We love you all so much and are so grateful to you for your love and support.
Hopefully it won't be too long before we post again to let you all know how little Grace is growing up.


Lady of the Rings said...

Well, at least you didn't use duct tape....I am sure this was just a joke... because if she has to throw up and the binky is in the way, it could get ugly.
She is such a little angel and I really miss her. It is hard not to just get into the car and head south to be with you all again. You are turning into some pretty amazing parents. The benefits of this are, that once you have more kids, you will be total pros and it will be a breeze for you. Right now, best of luck in DC to Topher, and best of luck to the Bug, see if you can keep it to 3 outfits a day for mother and daughter! Love you and miss you lots. Mum

Super Daysh said...

Yay! Finally a new post...with LOTS of pictures!! She is getting cuter and cuter by the day! Thanks for finally posting some stuff. She sure is cute!

Anonymous said...


This was a wonderful blog. Buggy, it has been inspiring to see the depth of your character in what you write. I remember using the Dickens line at the first of a report I had to do for work that described the previous year, for those I work with in the church. It fits this thing called life very well. Tyler called Dallin and Kalani and told them he had four tickets for the final night of American Idol. Needless to say, they are off to L. A. Amy and Shawn just got back from L. A. tonight. The California Atkinsons have not been homesick yet!
Your little family is in our prayers at all times. What darling pictures. She is truly a beauty. I LOVED holding her. She just looked straight into my eyes like she was trying to memorize me.
We will be praying for you Toph, while you are in DC.
Yeh, I agree with your mom. Taping it in place can cause a baby to aspirate into her lungs, if she throws up. I used to go to sleep with a finger on each side of Tylers binky. I did not think I would survive with as little sleep as I got, when they were little. But, as I look back, it was just preparation for teenagers!

I love you all,

Grandma Atkinson

Lauren K said...

I love reading your posts so much. Ally you have always set this bar of strength through example that I can turn to when I'm not quite sure it's possible to be brave. Growing up I always wanted to be like you because of you're warmth, you're personality and you're never ending supply of goals and hope for the future. Thank you so much for that!
I love you gorgeous girl, and tell Topher he wears that papoose like a natural. :)

Sara & Company said...

I can only imagine how crazy things have been. We've been thinking and praying for you lots. Will often tells me that we need to help baby Grace and say a prayer. She is just precious! One of the greatest gifts that parents receive is that through love, they can somehow survive the unimaginable. Wishing you the best! Love ya!

Carl & Karen said...

Great post, which means you probably sacrificed sleep to do it! Good luck to Topher in DC and looking forward to you being here with us for a couple days!

Simmons Family: said...

Grace is adorable!!! It sounds like you have things pretty figured out at home. It doesn't take too long to get into a routine and find your groove. I laugh when I read other heart blogs because we're all in pretty much the same situation. The 3 smiles and then tears within seconds....the eating such a small amount over an hour and then knowing that some of that is coming right back up! It's our life as heart parents and I wouldn't change it for anything.

You two are doing fantastic with Grace...keep it up!!!!

Owen's Mommy

Mythreesons said...

Wahoo!! An update. The taped on binky was very funny indeed and I love Topher with the Moby wrap! I'm glad you guys are getting used to it.... it's always such an adjustment at first. And she is very cute... at least you get a couple smiles, right!? Good luck to Topher in DC and call me! I love you guys!

mk said...

I wanted you to know how much we have been thinking about you and your sweet family. Your baby is beautiful, and you are AMAZING parents! Your faith is inspiring. You are in my prayers every single day. We wish you all well.
Liz's mom

Melissa said...

I absolutely loved the tape over the binky. Brilliant!
Melissa Andrew - IHH

lizzieluvin said...

you guys are wonderful. :) i would love to come play with you and your child when i'm in bountiful more often for work! she is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!

Our Family . . . said...

All such happy news - I love it!! Grace gives me such hope and gratitude! And I am SO thrilled that Toph was hired for the Navy teaching position!!! I can hardly believe the wonderful blessings the Lord has provided - it's beyond my comprehension to understand how wise He is and how much He truly watches out for us!

Love you guys!