Eating Mash Potatoes

We re-loaded the video so now anyone can view it!!



These are kind of out of order and are a little old now.but oh well! they are fromThanksgiving day. Bath time, eating mash potatoes, playing piano with her Uncle Joe, showing off her new teeth (two, on the botom!!), etc...

i dont know if that is enough explanation or not, but, its late, im so frustrated with this new computer stuff and such, that i'm just gonna post them and be done... :)
i still haven't figured out the videos. when i do, they'll be up. :)


Happy Thanksgiving!

Last week was quite the whirlwind of activities.
My big sister Emily came into town from Las Vegas with her 3 ADORABLE little boys and Topher was sweet enough to make it possible for me to spend as much time with her and my other sister as I possibly could.
My 2 sisters, sweet sister in law and I all went out to dinner one evening at La Vigna, (an over priced but tasty Italian restaurant with the sweetest waiter) and then went shopping to Old Navy, (until closing), and then to Target, (until closing), both places in which at 20 minutes to closing time we were still either trying clothes on or still in the middle of our store loop.
It was so much fun to be with my sisters! None of us had any kids and so we were free of screeching, hair pulling, chasing kids down aisles, medicines, feeds, crying, and whining. We could just be silly girls, staying out late and enjoying each other's company.
Thank you Dad and Karen for watching most of the kids so that this was possible, and thank you Topher for watching Gracelyn!!
I also met up with them at Dacia's house one night, and then again at my Dad's house another night...but that night, I spent more of my time cuddled up on the couch with all my neices and nephews watching Wall-E than I did with my sisters. THAT also was so wonderful. I don't remember the last time I was able to be an Auntie and big sister without worrying about Topher or Grace or medicines..it was nice to just hear complaints about who got to be under which arm and who got to be on my lap.
For Thanksgiving, it was really neat to have such sweet sacrifices made for us so that we could be part of the festivities.
The day of Thanksgiving, Topher and I spent the majority of the day at home, and my sister, Dacia, and her Husband Joe came over later that evening to have dinner with us.
The day after Thanksgiving, we had originally planned to go to Topher's parent's house, however with Grace's biopsy having happened, we weren't sure this would be the best idea..WE consulted with Dr. Everitt and after some consideration it was determined we could go if everyone was in good health and we felt comfortable....this almost didn't work out because Topher's sweet family is very very protective of Grace and so people were very over paranoid, but that's ok!! It's very thoughtful of all of you!! However, we went anyway, and felt really good about everything, and had a really nice time seeing some family that we had not seen in over 6 months.
On my family's side, it was our year to be in Las Vegas... but... they changed their plans so that Topher and I could attend, (Thank you Emily and family!) We all got together at my Dad's on Saturday and Venice was kind enough to watch Grace. We didn't even consider taking Grace to my family's get together because it is unheard of for my sister's children ever to all be healthy...hm...I guess that's what you get when you lick the floor, your shoes or stick everything you find on the floor in your mouth...oh well!
I also got a chance to go to Body Worlds with my sisters, this was SO interesting. Heart moms, or anyone part of a heart family...if you get the chance, you should do this, it is fascinating and so educational.
Anyway...I don't know how many of you have even gotten this far...don't worry...I"m not offended if you skipped half or even the majority of the post...it was definitely longer than I'm sure people enjoy reading.
I supposed I just could have said that I was able to spend a lot of time with my family and that that was very meaningful to me and I'm very grateful.
There, pretend that's all I said. Short and sweet right?
I truly am so grateful for my family. They are so wonderful and I love each and every one of them so much. They all go out of their way to make things easier for each other and for me and I appreciate it. They truly are my best friends, my examples, my rocks of support. I'm so grateful to have been blessed with the family that I have. No other family could have done for me what mine has. Also, Topher's family is so sweet and thoughtful also. They are constantly giving up their time, and energy to help us in any way. They are so crazy about Grace and would do just about anything for her.
At the dinner at my sister's house, we had a gratitude jar, where people wrote things down that they were grateful for.
I'd like to share some more thoughts I've had along those lines...
I am grateful for ...
the priesthood
temple marriage
eternal families
the spirit
my sweet beautiful daughter
my amazing husband
a loving family
doctors who have saved my daughter's life more than once
a selfless family who has given my daughter a 2nd chance at life
a daughter who can pull the ornaments off my christmas tree, spill hot cocoa on my carpet, try to rip open just wrapped presents, and unravel all my ribbon..because I never thought she'd still be here this Christmas time to do any of those things...and now she can. :)
I am so thankful for all the my Heavenly Father has given me. He is wonderful. It may seem strange, but I can honestly say that I am grateful for all the trials Topher and I have been through together since we became pregnant with Grace. They were not easy, and they still aren't, but I am grateful for them. I am grateful for all the blessings they have brought into my life and for the gratitude they have instilled in my heart.
Love you all so much!!!
Sorry that there aren't any pictures.  i have some really really good ones, but they're on my computer...which is not working right now. :(
as soon as i can get it working, i'll post the pictures and video that we have of her eating mash potatoes and such. 
congratulations for making it through another longwinded blog.
sorry its so behind!!!


Biopsy Results

Sorry for not having updated during the day...Topher was at school from 8 until 2:30, with his laptop...leaving me unable to blog.

And then, when he finally did arrive, the internet connection was HORRIBLE!  It was taking literally 5 minutes for 1 page to load, and then it would freeze up.
The connection seems to have regained some speed now...so I will proceed with the update!
After many late meds, wrong meds, late feeds, no feeds, foot pokes, IVs, mis-communications, frustrations and rude comments, (mostly on my part), we did finally get into the Cath Lab at 9:00 this morning...(Originally this was supposed to be at 7:30, then at 10:00, then at 7:30)...
I won't go into detail about all the above things...because it would take way too long, and it would fire me up and I'd say rude things and look like a bad person all over again. :)
So, as I was saying, she went in at 9:00.  My Mama-in-law was sweet enough to come be with me from 9 until 10:30, and that helped relieve a lot of my stress (Thank you for keeping me company Venice! You're wonderful!).
Grace got out from the lab at 11, happy, and hungry and trying desperately to sit up.  Because of where they went in in her groin, she was on "bed rest" and wasn't supposed to sit up or stand, and was supposed to keep her leg straight.  Hahaha!! I'd like to see anyone keep an 8month old's leg straight and still.
After I met up with her she proceeded to eat 95 cc of Pedialyte in 15 minutes, zonk out for an hour, wake up and eat 120cc of Formula, zonk out for 2 hours, wake up and eat 80cc, play for 30 minutes, zonk out and start all over again.
The steroids are definitely making her super hungry. And hey, if that's the only good thing that comes from this visit..I'll take it, no complaints!
Anyway..I'm drifting off topic...and I know I'm not making much sense and I'm kinda all over the place.  Sorry.
So, the pictures from her biopsy all looked good.  None indicated rejection.  Pulmonary arteries looked surprisingly beautiful, aortic arch looked really funny, but functioning great, SVC also looked good, blood pressures were good.  All her blood work came back looking good.  
Her biopsy snippets came back with an overall rejection level of 2.5 which is just mild rejection.  This is supposedly to be expected, and just fine.  
Because of the slight rejection we'll be increasing her steroids again.  But, instead of taking 2 1/2 months to wean her down, it will only take 2 weeks, so that is definitely good news.....and bad news.
Good news because she is healthy and well overall, and will be even better in only 2 weeks...bad news because we are starting all over again not only with severe immunosuppression, but with the severe house arrest....right before Thanksgiving. :(
But that's ok.  We are just grateful this is all there was to deal with.  We know it could have been so much worse, and we're grateful that it isn't.  We're grateful she is eating so well, sleeping well, and that she is as healthy and happy as she is.
So, it's been a long day, with not much new information, but I'm sure its good to know where we stand. :)
 Thank you so much to everyone for all your prayers.  We have definitely felt them throughout the day.   We are so grateful for wonderful and supportive family and friends. We have recieved so many calls of support and love and are so grateful for each and every one.  It is such a blessing to have such a wonderful support system.  Thank you thank you thank you!
We love you all so much!
Hope you all have a great weekend!
Love the Andersens


NOT part of the Plan!!!

Well...I know we haven't posted in...way too long...and so people aren't too up to date on Grace and her happenings.

I apologize profusely. 
So, to quickly summarize...
Within the past 2 weeks we have had some big changes.  
Week of November 2-8
Grace eats between 50-60cc on her own, 2-3x a day
Week of November 9-15
Grace eats between 60-70cc on her own 3-4x a day
November 13, Thursday
Grace has her usual Cardiology appt. Her Echo doesn't look so good.  There is more than normal leakage from her Mitral valve.  Could be a sign of rejection, could be nothing, could be something.  Reschedule for Monday to check into it more
November 17, Monday
Grace has her check up on the Mitral valve problem...all seems well.  Mitral valve leak seems back to normal, if not better.  All is well!
November 16 & 17 
Grace eats between 70-75cc on her own 4-5x a day
November 18
Grace pulls out her NG tube, and her mom is too lazy to put it back in.
So, NG tube stays out for all of Tuesday, Tuesday night and Wednesday
During this time, Grace eats 70-80cc on her own, 5x a day, and wakes up twice during the night to eat some more!!!!
Talk about amazing!
The process seemed to happen so slowly that Topher and I didn't even really realize how well she was doing until...all the sudden...she's eating 3/4 of her feeds...on her own, and doing it 5x a day instead of 3.
November 20, Thursday
Grace has her usual Thursday appt. again...
Echo looks bad...again...
Her mitral valve had leakage again, and it was worse than it has been thus far

So...in case you haven't guessed yet.  
We are in the hospital.
We admitted her shortly after her appt. and so we are just hangin' out on the 3rd floor.
They have bumped her scheduled biopsy from January...to tomorrow morning.
So, bright and early tomorrow morning they'll be doing a biopsy to check for possible rejection or any other problems.
Please pray that all is well and normal.
If there is any sign of rejection, we would have to start all over at ground zero again...not only with her medicines and immunosuppressants, but also with her super strict House Arrest...
We had just BARELY gotten permission to visit some family and to possibly take her out for the Holidays...and we also were at the bottom of our taper for her steroids..
This would be a big step backwards...and we were really hoping to go the OTHER way.
*big sigh*
I keep telling myself that there are worse things...that we should consider ourselves lucky that the Doctors found whatever this is early on, and in time that anything that needs to be done can be done in the right time frame.  I also have tried to tell myself to just be grateful.  There may be rejection, but it isn't effecting anything other than this valve.  She is happy, playful, sweet, eating well, sleeping well and just an angel.  
I really am so grateful for how miraculously well she has done thus far.  I guess it would just be too easy if we didn't have a bump somewhere in the road.
Topher, his Dad and my Dad were able to give her blessing this evening, (thank you so much!!!) and I feel confident everything will be fine.  This little girl is too feisty NOT to make it through ANYTHING...
But, a mommy can't help but worry when her sweet baby's health is possibly compromised.
Please pray for our sweet little girl, and for me to find more things to be grateful for, instead of things to be pessimistic about. :) 
We love you all so much and are so grateful for everyone's prayers, and support.
We'll try to update over the weekend to let everyone know how it all goes.
We'll most likely be here tomorrow night and possibly the night after as well.
Thanks again!
Love the Andersens
p.s.  oh, and sorry for the lack of pictures...
to paint you a picture...Grace is cuter than ever...trying her darndest to stand up...she loves to jabber and is constantly chanting "a ba ba ba ba ba", and occasionally a 'ma ma ma'...but I think its accidental. :)
She's adorable, sweet, feisty and fun, as well as a big pain in the butt at times. :)
I'll try to include a picture next post!


The Cookie Monster

Fear not everyone. Our daughter will NOT starve to death. No, not at all, becaue how can anyone starve, when their new favorite food is packed with calories.

But where are my manners...let me start at the beginning.
I wanted to eat something fattening, because I was watching Gilmore Girls, and Gilmore Girls does that to me. So, I got out some oreos...and some nutella. Then I plopped myself down next to Grace and began to cram my face full.
Well, only one oreo into it, Grace got EXTREMELY mad at me, and I couldn't figure out why. I tried a binky, a rattle, a bottle...but no, she wanted nothing.
Nothing, except...MY OREO!! She GRABBED it out of my hand, and SHOVED it in her mouth, and began sucking and slobbering ALL OVER IT.
This girl MUTILATED my oreo. She would not relinquish it. It is her new favorite food, and hey! For only ONE cookie she got a little over 50 calories!!! SWEET!

You might ask, "Is 50 calories really worth that mess?". And let me just tell you, it is. It was hilarious and so cute in an amazingly disgusting way.
My only sadness is in the fact that none of these pictures show the pure glee that was all over little Grace's face while she was sliming this poor helpless Oreo. She absolutely loved the thing.
We had to pretty much dump her in the bath tub afterwards because, as I'm sure you saw...the cookie was not just on her face, but on her hands, clothes, arms, legs, butt, back, Topher's face, my arms, my hands, Topher's clothes...
It was quite the ordeal. But so funny, and so blog worthy as a quick update for all of you.
We're doing well...I'll be sure to let you know how she weighs in on Thursday. :)


Last Monday!!!

We had our last Monday appointment this morning!! Twas wonderful.
Grace is still doing really well. Her cardiologist is really pleased with how well Grace is doing developmentally. She can roll over, (not on 'purpose' per say...and not happily, but she can!), she can sit up on her own, and she is starting to stand frequently if you hold her hands. Can I say they are happy with her eating? No. But, oh well, what's a girl to do right??
Grace still will not eat, even after trying a new method, where she received NO FOOD FOR 12 HOURS, (throughout the night), and yet she woke up, happy as pie, and not wanting any food in any form. *sigh*
I just don't know what we're going to do with her. She can eat, she just doesn't want to.
But anyway, we are pretty darn excited about no more mondays. We also got some good news about her 'house arrest'. Although we still can't take her to actual places, like grocery stores, movies, restaurants or any where with crowds, we did get permission to possibly take her to family's houses. Of course no one can be sick, there can't be a large group of people, and it would be better if there was not an abundance of little kids, AND of course, everyone must have a flu shot.
It is something that will hopefully work out, and we'll be able to hopefully visit familiy a little bit more frequently now. I would think we'll still keep it to a minimum, but, its nice to know the option is there now! It may not seem like such a big deal, but this is huge for us!! Grace really is just doing so well. I feel so blessed to have things going as smoothly as they are and to have such a tough little daughter. She may be feisty in ways I don't like so much, but at least she's feisty in all the good ways too.
Here are some fun pics of the little Gracelyn!

She's always pulling on my earrings and necklaces, and trying to stick them in her mouth, so I decided to let her wear them the other day, and I got some cute pictures. :)My sweet visiting teacher made this ADORABLE hat for Grace and I absolutely LOVE it. She is amazingly talented, and you should check out her blog. :) hatsbyash.blogspot.com Thanks Ashly! You're the best!Thank you again everyone for your prayers in our behalf. I know they make such a difference in not only Grace's overall development, but also in my patience with her, my ability to take care of her, her moods and so many other things! Please keep them coming, and pray extra hard that the silly girl will want to eat her food! We love you all and are so grateful for your support, love and prayers! Have a wonderful week!

Love the Andersens


How Time Flies...

It is so crazy to me that just 7 months ago we had this... 2 Months ago this...

And now, THIS!
7 Months has flown by so quickly, and the last 2 even more so.
On the 18th Gracey turned 7 months old!! And then, just a few days later on the 21st, we were thrilled to say that Gracey has had her new heart for 2 months.
We still are and forever will be, so grateful for this immense gift that has blessed our lives. Grace truly is a new little person and is so full of life, spunk and fun. She is a sweet spirit and we would be without her if it were not for the selfless act of a sweet family far away.
She is growing so fast, and progressing so much.
She still is not eating on our own, but that is about as bad as our battles have gotten. And I suppose if that's the only battle we are left to fight, then I can deal with that.
Starting next week, we will only have to go to the Hospital once a week instead of twice! yay!!!
This is a big step for us and we are so excited Grace is progressing as well as she is.

We are grateful to everyone for your prayers and support. Please keep the prayers coming, not only for our little Gracey, but for us as her parents as well. It actually takes a lot more energy that we ever could have imagined to take care of her, and it definitely takes it's toll, especially on Topher with his full time school, engineering department and Huntsman lab committments. He sure is drained after a full day of everything. And yet he always comes home with a smile on his face, ready to play with and take care of Grace. He is a wonderful Daddy and Husband, and I"m so grateful for him..but please keep him in your prayers that he'll have the energy to make it through school!!!
We love you all so much and are again, so grateful for all you do.
Thanks again!
Love the Andersen's
oh...and btw...for those of you that have made your blogs 'private'...but that follow our blog...I'd REALLY like to be able to continue following yours...a.k.a. Baby Joshua and family....and Halle-lou-ya...so, please add my email to your "o.k." list. :)andersen.alysia@gmail.com


Update on Gracey

Grace has been doing all right lately. She has had a little bit of a sore throat and cold the past few days, which has been making her more irritable, more sleepy, more cuddly and even less willing to eat. So, it has its pros and cons. Other than that, not much interesting has been happening as of late.I did go out of town last weekend. My sister and I traveled up to Idaho Falls to visit with my Mom. It was wonderful to get a break from Mothering, and to just have fun. However, I was not without numerous worries about Topher and Grace. He forgot to do her meds a couple of times, and I returned home with Grace on a very new sleeping schedule...its called one nap...an hour before bedtime, and then bedtime whenever she happens to pass out on your lap, (normally around 10:30). Thank you so much Topher!

No, I know I may sound negative, but truly, Topher did a wonderful job with her. We did discover that he definitely can't replace me as the Mom, but he is always a wonderful and amazing Daddy, and I so appreciated his willingness to watch Grace all day, by himself, for multiple days. You are wonderful honey, thank you!!
Our Dr. appointment also didn't have anything new or interesting to say, just affirmed that yes, Grace has a sore throat and cold, but sorry, there's nothing to be done about it, the Drug Companies pulled all Infant Meds off the shelves, so, we've been just sitting it out, and its been ok so far.
I have had numerous requests for pictures...I tried to explain to my sister, that Grace just has not been photogenic lately, but she didn't seem to think that was a reason not to post some anyway...so tossed in numerous random photos from the past 3 or so weeks. This last collage is my favorite...the top 2 pictures just crack me up. I know she looks like she's going to eat you in the left one, however it was actually a HUGE grin. She was thrilled! How funny that she looks like she's about to eat you. And the one to the side of that just reminds me of some quirky bird. She's a cutie.Thank you everyone for your prayers and support. We are doing well, but if any of you are still willing to keep us in your prayers, please pray that Gracey will find the desire to eat once again. I know I joke about it, but it truly is such a battle with her. She will not eat, and what food I do get into her tummy is thrown up almost instantly nowadays. We have actually gotten to the point where it's not that she can't tolerate the food, and its not that she won't put anything in her mouth...She can tolerate it, and she'll put her binky, fingers and any toy in her mouth, but she will go ALL DAY never wanting a bit of food. If not for her feeding tube, this girl truly would starve to death.
We would appreciate any prayers in her behalf to help her re-learn eating and to remember how much fun it used to be for her. Thanks again everyone!


Gratitude and Testimony

The other night, Topher and I were reading a story to Grace before bedtime.  Grace is always very attentive and alert for stories at night...she looks with big big eyes at all the pictures, touches all the pages, and even turns them occasionally when you ask her to...

The story we were reading to her a few nights ago is Fanny's Dream....for all of you who have not read this story...you truly need to...it is a wonderful story about how life does not always turn out the way you had planned or imagined...The main character is Fanny...a sturdy, not necessarily beautiful, girl who lives on a farm.  She dreams of marrying a Prince..or someone like that.  And she's sure that her Fairy Godmother will come and make all her dreams come true, just like all the Princesses in the story books.  But on the night of a big dance at the Mayor's house...no Fairy Godmother shows up...instead Heber, a nice farm boy shows up, and asks her to marry him...it says that "even with all that moonlight" it took Fanny "an hour to give up her dreams".  And then it talks about her life...not ending up the way she planned...
A few lines in the story have stuck with me, and actually, when Topher read them aloud to Grace, I heard the 'choke up' in his voice as he read these lines, and then had to chuckle, because the same lines had brought tears to my eyes as well--
"I'm not a prince and I don't live in a castle--but I have dreams of my own.  I need a wife who will work by my side, through thick and thin, sweat and joy, and be glad for good food and great company..."
At that moment, I realized that my life truly had not turned out the way I had ever thought it would.  I had plans for Miss Utah, for college, for BYU-Idaho, traveling, dating.  I never imagined marrying someone like Topher, or having to quit school to have a baby, and never could have imagined having a baby that required so much care, attention...and money.  However, I also never could have imagined the happiness my life has brought me.  
I am so grateful for my little family, for everything we have been blessed with.  With the trials we have faced, we have also always had even more blessings to balance it all out.  With every hurt, there has been tremendous joy also.  I love my little Grace so...she has taught me so much about life, about love and about family, and also about myself.  And I know she said in the pre-existence, that she could and would, bare her burdens and touch those around her with her sweet and feisty spirit.  
I adore my husband.  For those of you who have known me a long time...you know that Topher was never my type...my type was on the dirt-bag end of the spectrum..and Topher is purely angelic.  I am so tremendously lucky and blessed to have made such a catch for a husband.  He is wonderful in every way.
I also am so blessed to have my family.  My sweet sisters and amazing mom, they are my lifelines when times get hard.  The rest of my family-- immediate, extended and in-laws-- also are wonderful.  They are so supportive and helpful, and always willing to jump right in and lend a hand if I but only ask.
I am so grateful for the Priesthood and for all the worthy and willing Priesthood holders in my life.  Blessings have saved, comforted and calmed little Grace so many times.  It is an amazing miracle and blessing to have this power in our lives.  Not only have blessings helped Grace so much, but they have been a sanity saver for me also.  They always soothe and calm me, as well as boost my confidence and help me remember how much I am loved by my Father in Heaven.
I am so grateful also to have the gospel in my life.  So many times since Grace has been born, have I fallen on my knees and cried, because the burden was too much and I didn't think I could do anymore, but immediately my spirits would be lifted...Heavenly Father would use my family to help me...by them sending me a note, or a package, calling to say hello, or running over to help me...and if none of these happened, it was because Jesus decided to carry me instead...this is probably what has happened the most.  Never before have I been carried and shielded through my problems so much.  I know that my Savior loves and watches over me.  I know he has felt all the same pains I have, and that he truly knows what I am going through.  I also know that he is always there to lift me up or sheild me.  And even more so, I know that he is always watching over Grace, and that, as in a painting my sisters and mom recently bought her, she is always being kept safe 'under his wing'.  He is my best friend, my brother, and my Savior.   
I am so blessed, it is amazing.  I'm so grateful for my life.
And no, it did not turn out the way I had thought, imagined or planned...
but, as it says in Fanny's Dream...
"Heber figured that it hadn't been easy for Fanny to give up on her dreams, so he made it a point to wait on her at least once a day, (by rubbing my feet, playing with my hair), as if she were a princess, and every so often he wiped the grime off the windows, (cleaned the toilets, took out the trash)"
Later, Fanny is outside her little house and it is years, and 3 babies later...but her Fairy Godmother shows up, and tells her to hurry up, there's still time to get a nice visiting Colonel as a beau, who is at the Mayor's house...The Fairy Godmother asks --
"Well, do you want to go to the ball or not?"
Fanny looked down at her work roughened hands.  She looked at the little house where Heber was reading to Davy, Ethan, and Edna Faye.  "Not," Fanny said, and she went back into the house""
Later, Heber jokes that he is the "Prince of Sahiba"...Fanny winks at him and says, "Close enough...Close enough"
To that I say that no, my life is not as I planned....it is better, and more than I ever could have planned, and I wouldn't change a thing.
Thank you all so much for your constant prayers in our behalf.  We pray for all of you as well.  We are always thinking of you and grateful for all of your help and support in our lives.  We hope and pray you are all well and happy...and if not, that someone will be sent to you to lift your spirits. :)
Love the Andersens
I know I didn't really update much on Grace...so, just a quick note that she is doing well.  She is happy and healthy.  Not interested in eating yet...and not really gaining weight...but not losing any either.  She is sleeping well and her heart is still perfect and healthy.  She is sweet and fun, and we love her so much.  She is learning how to get attention, high pitched whimpering, and kicking her feet like crazy. She's doing great...and we'll try to post some pictures soon. :)  


Six Months Old!

Today is Grace's 6 month birthday!! I can't believe that she has been with us for so long already!! At times it has seemed like the time has dragged on forever, but for the most part, the last 6 months have truly flown by.  I can't believe my little baby is already 14.5 lbs!  I can't believe she is smiling all the time, eating so much, and I most especially can hardly believe all that she has been through.  Heart surgery six days after birth, 3 Cath Lab procedures, and a 12 hr. surgery repairing her still present heart, and replacing the sick with a new, and beautiful one.  She has been through more in 6 months than most people will ever go through in their whole lives, and yet, here she is, happy, smiling and ready to share her wonderful spirit with whoever comes around.
We are so grateful for her and wanted to share these adorable pictures of her. I love em', but I'm biased...so sorry if it's a little bit of an overload!!

Well, that's our sweet heart.  She is doing great for the most part.  She still doesn't think it's necessary for her to eat.  She has absolutely no desire whatsoever for food.  Of course, you wouldn't know it from looking at her... :)
She is nearly always happy and smiling, she is finally starting to like her mommy almost as much as her Daddy....not quite...but almost. 
She loves to sit up, does not like laying down...refuses to be on her tummy, is in denial that she has legs, loves her lion rattle, still loves her binky, likes to take walks, and hates having her face wiped. 
We are so grateful for our little angel.  Everday that goes by, we love her more than the one before.  I never think it possible to do so, but everday she surprises me, and I surprise myself, with just how much love we can be capable of as parents.  She is our treasure, and we are so grateful to have her still in our lives.  We look forward to the many months and years ahead of us!


Another Heart Miracle!

Sweet little Daxton Cook is in surgery as I type this, receiving his precious gift of a new heart!! His parents were called around 2:30 this morning, and went through the great, long wait from 3a.m. to 2:00, when they finally wheeled him back into O.R.
Please pray so hard for this sweet little boy and his wonderful family that the procedure will go well and he will come out healthy and strong.
And please, pleae pray for the sweet family that has given him this gift. It is so strange that a loss for one family, can be such a tremendous gain for another. Truly a bittersweet miracle.
Please pray!
Thank you!
I have a link to his page down in my heart links- Its the DaxtonCookPage. But you do have to have a carepage name to check it out..


Just Getting Adjusted

Sorry for the delay! I realize that we've been home since Friday, and I have been a big slacker...but...surprisingly, I have been slightly side tracked. ;) Grace has been an angel. Her meds are definitely overwhelming, however, I think I'm getting the hang of it. I organized everything as best as I could...Here are all of Grace's medications.

This is her Medication Schedule...Its in a nice check-list format so we can check them when they're done. I just love checklists!!!Here is how I've organized them for an entire day. She takes meds at 8-12-4-6-8 and midnight. 8a.m. is the worst because she has nine of them...and that's a lot. But, I got some awesome advice from Kaidence's mom, Shauntelle, and so I've labeled all my syringes and I pre-draw everything the day or night before, so its ready to go. So far, I have not been too overwhelmed with everything, and I haven't forgotten any of her doses. However, they want me to try and eventually memorize all the names, doses and times of her medications....one of her meds is called Sulfamethoxazole Trimethoprin...I can barely pronounce it, much less memorize it! But oh well. Maybe I'll surprise myself with all the repetition. :)
Aside from her medications, she is eating 80ml every three hours...or at least she's supposed to be...but she never has the desire to eat more than about 15..then she just smiles, and drools and gnaws on the bottle.
Don't you just love this face?!!! Its a "I'm not so sure about this lady here...she looks kinda crazy..." look! It's such a cute face!! And she's probably not too far off on thinking her mama is crazy!
Hospital genre aside, she is doing great. She truly is like a new little baby. She's still our little Grace, but we've taken her home, having a door opened to us. She is rarely fussy and grumpy, but rather, she is nearly always happy, smiling, cooing and giggling, (primarily at Dacia!), it is such a wonderful change from the old so called "Princess Scowls-alot". She really is an angel and I have LOVED every minute of having her home. We've read to her, played with her, watched movies together, sat on the patio, cooked together, snuggled, napped and anything else, and I think it's safe to say she's loved every minute maybe as much as we have. :)
So I came into my bedroom and Topher had fallen asleep reading Grace stories. Classic don't you think?? He reads HER stories to put HER to sleep, and instead he passes out. She must have gotten a kick out of it too...Then I came in 5 minutes later, and I found this...what a bunch a cuties.Thank you for all your continuous love, prayers and support. We know they have made all the difference. We can't imagine where we would be without Heavenly Father's hand so apparent in our lives. We acknowledge him in all our blessings and are so grateful he has been there for us to lean on, and sometimes to carry us, every step of the way. Thank you again for your prayers!We'll try to keep everyone as up to date as possible...I would post more pictures, but the one time I got my camera out, she got fussy! punk. ;)
Love you all!
Alysia, Topher and Grace


Picture Mania!!

We are finally posting some pictures for everyone to see of our sweet Gracey!! She has done so well these past few weeks. We couldn't have asked for a better recovery for her. She has progressed so well and so quickly. She certainly is feisty, and down right determined to be healthy and strong and to meet everyone's goals and hopes for her.
The past couple of days, she has really started remembering so much: sucking, eating, smiling, playing, cuddling, sleeping...She just has done so well. We've loved seeing her personality finally come back and her big smiles.She isn't quite as attached to eating as she used to be, but, we're not going to complain. Just her remembering how to eat is wonderful, and she is progressing a little more each day.Right now, she is up to about 80cc every 3 hours, and she normally finishes between 40-60 by herself, and the rest goes down her tube. The goal is to get her to 90cc, and eventually for her not to have a tube.However, with the Med Schedule she will be one when we come home, I think I will just be grateful she has an alternative way to receive her meds, rather than by mouth. Over 13 different medications!! And they are NOT tasty. Her and Grandma were having a lot of fun the other day. But...I would have you know, that ALL of these pictures were taking by moi...which means, that she was smiling at MOI. If you've seen Grace when she's smiling, its normally at Topher...what a stinker...but all these pictures were smiles for Mama!!! Yay for me!!The little stinker pulled her NG tube out 2x in one day. Yeah...I don't think those nurses liked us very much. But I made sure to snap a quickie!! No smiles though...I think she was still really mad that pulling the tube out involved gagging.Look at those big beautiful eyes!! She is once again alert as ever and very skeptical and suspicious of everyone around her. She has actually developed an automatic reaction to people in yellow coats. As soon as someone with a yellow coat walks in the room she panics and starts to scream.Yes, I realize a lot of these pictures are very similar. But you really can just never get too much of a good thing. right?Yes, I realize these 3 are all practically the same shot. But, I gave Topher the job of picking the pictures and posting them...and he of course couldn't choose just a few. He wanted them all!I just love her huge smiles!!!Mom actually looked at these and said "oh, is she still swollen?". Um...no, she's just chunky!! Our adorable chunky little chipmunk!! Darn those Andersen genes that gave her such chubby cheeks!!! ;)Gracey serious hospital model face. She is so beautiful. More and more everyday I just think she has such a beautiful and sweet little face.These, if you look closely, no one is holding her up!! She actually sat up by herself twice yesterday!! Talk about a tough girl!!I believe these are some of Topher's favorites where she is just looking up at the camera. Mom thinks she's going to associate a camera with my face, since it always seems to be attached. ;)So excited!! I think I might fall over!!She actually fell asleep like this!! Like, "ugh...blast these lights and hospital noises...woe is me...let me sleep already!!!" What a cutie. :)This is my favorite picture of her. I don't know why...but I love her face...her little mouth, and those big big eyes. I could just squeeze her so tight!!More smiles. But you just can't get enough Gracey smiles.

So that's our Grace. She's doing awesome. Her projected arrival to her beautiful, steam cleaned, scrubbed and beautified house, (thank you Aunt Alli, Aunt Amy, Karen, Venice and Mama!) is Thursday!!! Wahoo!!! We're breakin' out of this joint!!! ;) The projected day to come home was actually tomorrow...but her Cardiologists are uber cautious...kinda annoying because the only thing they want to work on is increasing her feeds from 80 to 90...which is TOTALLY something I can do at home. But, oh well. What can you do other than accept the things you can't change and be grateful for what you can right? Anyway...we're so excited to have her home. My mom came down from Idaho to help me and that has been a life saver in many ways...namely for me and my peace of mind. :) We're just hoping, praying and crossing our fingers that Thursday truly is the day, and that we are prepared in every sense for the next 6 months ahead of us. They promise to be challenging, but we can't wait to have our angel home. Thank you all for you love and prayers. We appreciate them SOOOOO much!

Please pray for Megan tonight!!! She is getting her new heart this evening!!! I am soooo thrilled for her and feel so grateful that prayers truly are answered. My heart goes out to the family who has lost a loved one also. I think that these experiences/situations truly are always so bittersweet, but it is indeed a miracle for Megan and she will be so healthy and well now!! Pray that her surgeons have steady hands and that she can be comforted in her time of need!!

Love you all!!!

The Andersens