Grace hits the 1 year mark!

just so you are prepared...this post has a lot of pictures, and they're all very messily spread around. i'm having issues with blogger at the moment. but, hopefully you can still enjoy the post.
also, i realize she is now 13 months old. i know. i suck at posting. but, better late than never right???

Gracelyn's Birthday was on March 18th! Can you believe it?! Our little girl is already 1 yr. old!! It is so unbelievable. To think that we have had her in our lives for a whole year...wow. Sometimes it feels like its dragged on, day by day, by day...by day...but then, miraculously, it all the sudden has been 1 yr. and you realize that it truly has flown by.

We started our journey with this.
life flight & a lovely i.v. in her beautiful noggen!

and this in the middle...
definitely all cause for stress...

however, we've also had these...

moments like these, have made the difficult patches all worth it...

and most recently...we've had this...a little walker. who walks EVERYWHERE. and gets into almost everything...there's still time for that i suppose

Our feisty little Gracey-lou has been a challenge and a blessing, all rolled into a chubby little ball with big blue eyes & a giggle to melt your heart.

I liked this survey...so I'll think we'll use it for Grace too!
1. Height & Weight: 18.76lbs. & 26in....i think
2. Fav. Color: She is constantly pointing at the pink fish on our shower curtain...but I would say she really loves bright colors.
3. Fav. Movie: She is always very attentive for Veggie Tales...and also Muppets...although i'm trying to lay some baby einstein on her. make her educated. :)
4. Fav. TV Show: probably Veggie Tales. although her favorite thing to see on the t.v. screen is pictures of herself....
5. Fav. Food: Her favorite baby food is the Apples & Cherries. But, let's be honest...she doesn't actually believe in eating baby food for me. she loves baby cheetos and also is constantly getting adult foods. So, she loves ranch, bread, cheetos, orange juice.
6. Fav. Treat: The girl loves oreos. And I recently discovered she also has a thing for nilla cakesters...must run in our womanly genes
7. Fav. Toy: Mommy & Daddy's cell phones...remotes..however, since she ruined a remote, and a charger...we have tried to keep these away from her. Her newest favorite toy is her dolly. Her Grandma Venice bought it for her for her Birthday, and it giggles when you press it's belly. Grace adores this little dolly. She laughs, smiles & giggles right along with it, and we are constantly catching her hugging it, kissing it, picking it up and snuggling it. She just loves it.
8. Fav. Outfit: She hates getting dressed, AND undressed. Her fav. outfit is her Birthday Suit.
9. Fav. Activity: Following around mommy & Daddy and crying until they pick me up. Also, taking all the movies off the shelves and THROWING them behind me. Making a mess. Whining. Ok, a more realistic one...Grace really loves to be outside; going on walks, getting the mail, taking out the trash...any excuse to be outside.
10. Fav. Subject in School: Well, she's not in school, but I imagine she'll love music & dance. She is always dancing to music and shaking her booty. The girl has rhythm.
11. What do you want to be when you grow up? Topher said "just like her mommy"....I
roll my eyes at this...and say that she probably always wants to be Daddy's little girl. We want her to be whatever her little heart desires.
12. What makes you happy?: Cheetos, the outdoors, cuddling with Daddy, playing with Daddy, making a mess, pictures of herself or cousins, looking in the mirror
13. What makes you sad?: Being alone, when mommy & Daddy leave or won't hold me, when I have to eat, when I have to take a nap
14. Best Friend: Daddy, daddy, daddy. And if I had to choose other people....her cousins, Uncle Austin, Grandpa Curtis
15. Personality Traits: FEISTY, STUBBORN, silly, sweet, independent (she can do it all herself...), dependent (her happiness depends on you being RIGHT THERE ALL THE TIME), cuddly (as of late...she loves to give hugs, esp. to her cousins), funny, cautious, energetic
16. Special Stories about you from the past year: Since people really already know the gist of Grace's journey...rather than get super sentimental...because that's what every post is...I'm going to share with you a little it of Grace's fun personality...
She loves to make faces. They make everyone around her laugh out loud.
She has one where she clenches her whole face, with her mouth open & stretched out, and then she shakes her whole body...almost seizure like...but it is hilarious!
Another face, she does pouty/kissy lips, tilts up her chin, and breathes REALLY loud through her nose, while spontaneously blowing snot out. It may sound gross, but it also is really funny.
She loves music & loves to dance. ANYTIME that music comes on, she will start to wiggle. Doesn't matter if its a phone ringer, a commercial, or a full out song, she'll shake her bottom back and forth, raise an arm in the air and shake her booty, bounce up & down. It is so so cute to watch.
She loves little kids & babies. She can't keep her hands off them, always wants to hug them, and if just passing one by on a walk or in the store, she'll wave at them furiously until they see her and wave back. If she ever sees one crying, she'll make a sad face and blow kisses to them.
She frequently falls asleep with her butt in the air.
Everytime we change her diaper, she thinks its time to run away. Once the diaper is off, she'll immediately flip over and crawl away at lightning baby speed, sometimes attempting a dive right off the bed, and of course, she is giggling the entire time.
This little girl is resilient. She can overcome so many things & be so tough. When she had her heart transplant, she sat up by herself for the first time a week later, in the hospital.
She has developed so quickly physically, and not let anything hold her back. We are constantly amazed by her & her ability to overcome challenges & obstacles.
We are anxious, nervous & I guess excited, ;) to see what this next year holds for us!

Happy Birthday Gracey-lyn-lou!

Here are some pictures of her Birthday for your viewing enjoyment!
This was the start of our beautiful baby and her lady bug

She started out fairly timid...not so sure about this sticky red stuff on her hands...

And she became more daring as the night wore on
Soon you have this sweet face...
And of course Topher and I did NOT encourage her to put her gooey hands on her head...that would be completely mean of us...

And you end with this. Isn't it a work of art? It turned the entire bath tub pink too. She had such a fun time mawling that cake. It was hilarious to watch....I think I may have snorted a few times from extreme laughter..luckily that didn't end up on film.

Anyway, it has been an adventure of a year. But it's becoming more and more normal feeling rather than high maintenance health concerns every way you look. Its an amazing feeling to finally think Grace is going to be ok, and that she is here for the long haul. But I think that after a year of ups and downs, that feeling is finally here to stay.
Thank you to everyone who keeps updated on Grace & how she is doing. We appreciate so much the support we get from so many people, even the people whom we have never met or even spoken to in person. Thank you for your thoughts, prayers & support! Grace has needed & been blessed by every bit!


Our Family Birthday

Yes, I realize this post should have been done nearly 3 weeks ago, however, its still important! And I really wanted to let people know how much I LOVE my sweet husband, and cherish being married to him. :)
I'm copying my sister-in-law who did this same type of post, and maybe she copied it from my sister, and who knows who she may have copied it from. ;)

1) Height and Weight: combined, that would be 11.2 ft and 285 lbs.

2) Fave Color: Purple, Blue, Green
3) Fave Movie: Meet the Robinsons, Lord of the Rings, Over the Hedge, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory
4) Fave TV show: Chuck!
5) Fave Food: Korean Food ,Cafe Rio, Sushi, Pasta...ok fine, so Topher and I like everything.
6) Fave Treat: Vanilla Ice Cream, frozen yogurt from Yogurt Stop, fruit pizza
7) Fave Toy: our cameras and bikes
8) Fave Outfit: pajamas on ourselves. topher loves me in skirts/dresses. i love him in CLEAN, dark blue jeans and a nice collared shirt with his hair done. ahhhh my hubby is a babe.
9) Fave Activity: Playing games! WE LOVE to play games. our current favorites are Shadows over Camelot, Munchkin Quest, & Ticket to Ride
10) Fave Subject in School: We both seem to like biology a lot. He obviously is big into engineering and computer programming, I like art and writing more.
11) What do you Want to be when you Grow up: What do I NOT want to be is a better question. I find myself wanting to try everything and be everything. Topher wants to be a biomedical engineer, and possibly a Dr. But we both want to be fabulous parents!!
12) What Makes you Happy: Being together. Playing games, relaxing, eating good food, watching Chuck or a good movie. We also like to go on short and sweet hikes...preferably to a waterfall please.
13) What makes you Sad: When we are not together. When Grace is sick or in the hospital. When we don't get alone time. When Topher is always at school!!
14) Best Friend: First and foremost, Each other. Our favorite people to hang out with as a family though, would be Dacia & Joe, and Austin, or in other words, our families. They are the best!
15) One Wish or Dream you Have for yourself: That we can continue to build a healthy, happy family. That we will always have each other and our babies,and to someday have a beautiful happy home with Topher in job that makes him happy.
16) Personality Traits: klutzy, scatter-brained, Loving, Affectionate, silly, fun-loving, kind-hearted, and Topher is uber smart. :)
17) Special Stories about You from the Past Year: We have had quite a year. Starting with my giving birth to our little Gracelyn, and culminating in her 1 yr. Birthday! It has held many ups and downs. Times of worry, pain, sadness, but to balance them all out, immense happiness, and hope. We have been emotionally, spiritually and even physically, stretched throughout the last year. I know there is most assuredly more to come, but at least now we have a sure knowledge that Heavenly Father will be right there with us through it all, to help us, to lead us, and often times to carry us.
The central things that have happened are obviously, that Grace was born, had an open heart surgery at 5 days old, and then had a heart transplant at 5 months. No biggie right? :) But some other things, that are still very special/important to us are that Topher joined the Navy. This has been such an exciting thing. We never thought it was a path we would go down, but it has been such a blessing for us, and the real work hasn't even begun!! 2 more years exactly, and we'll be in South Carolina! Then the real adventure will begin, right?
Also, I have begun going back to school. Its been so nice for me to have something that is just for me, and that helps me build confidence in myself. I also ran a triathlon, which took a lot of training, and personal butt-kicking, but it was so worth it. I actually participated in the triathlon the day after Grace's heart transplant!! So, she was motivation to finish.
It's been a crazy, hectic, and beautiful year where we have grown as a family and come to love each other as husband and wife more than we ever thought we could a year ago.

Topher is such an amazing husband and best friend. He treats me like a princess, even when i don't get to shower for 3 days! lol. He gives me sweet priesthood blessings when I just don't think I can endure another day of motherhood.
He cereal and orange juice in bed, and always takes out the garbage, (even if it is with a LOT of aggressive encouragement). He reminds us to read scriptures and never leaves for school in the morning without offering a word of prayer with my hand in his. He has an enormous work load for school, and yet always comes home ready to play with his baby girl. He is all I could have ever dreamt of, and I am so grateful he is the rock of our family. He has made this past year so much easier for us with his constant smiles and optimistic perspective. I love him so! And am so grateful to be married to him!
Happy 2 year Birthday to our little Andersen Family!!


new post coming soon....

But...not quite yet.
I spent all morning re-doing my blog while listening dejectedly to my daughter scream her guts out the whole time...
think she's coming down with something again.
so lovely.
i will post again soon.
in all honesty, I have been so leery of posting again, because I just feel like our good news is so....well, its just always great news, and I actually feel guilty posting about how 'great' life is, when so many others are having such difficulties.
I dunno.
Anyway...my husband, and step-sister, and a few other people have convinced me that people need to hear good news too, especially among all the sad news, so that there is something to smile about, and not just to cry over.
So, I will post about our good news, and a few other things, as soon as I get a free minute.
As for right now...I have to go get dressed.
It is, after all, 4:00 in the afternoon, so, I should probably get out of my pajamas.
Thanks to those of you who still check in on us to see how we're doing.
Don't give up on us just yet!
I promise to post tonight or tomorrow!!
The picture is purely to make this post worth reading. :)


"Goodnight Gracie"

11 month old Gracie Gledhill said 'goodnight' to her family last night. She is an amazing little girl, and has touched so many lives with her own. Her family continues to be strong and faithful, and will be an example of courage to so many, especially in this difficult time. Tom Gledhill, Gracie's Dad, has written a very sweet post to say goodbye to his sweet angel Gracie, and it is very worth reading, to gain his insight, and also to say a few words to this sweet family, who although they are showing strength, and sharing testimony, must undoubtedly be going through much pain as well.
Please say a prayer for Gracie and her sweet family today.


Sweet Gracie Gledhill

The amazing Gledhill family is most likely letting their sweet little baby girl go today. They have tried everything, and to no avail. The Berlin heart is no longer an option for her, she cannot receive a new heart, and her little heart is just not strong enough to come off ecmo.
This sweet family has tried everything, and has watched their little girl fight with all her might through it all.
They posted last night, saying today would be the day they let their children say goodbye, and then they would do the same. They will be donating any healthy organs. What a sweet sacrifice, although it does break my heart that this will shorten their time to just hold her. My heart aches for them. This family is just so amazing to me. They are so strong and faithful. Such an uplifting example to all of us. I will be eternally grateful to this family and especially little Gracie's fighting spirit, and the impact they have had on my testimony, and on so many hundreds of others.
Please pray for this family continually today. They need all the love, comfort, peace and strength possible today.
All our love,
the andersens