Tyson Hugh Hooper

Tyson Hugh Hooper
Our son, Tyson Hugh Hooper, was born with coarctation of the aorta, hypoplastic arch, and a transitional avsd. His first open heart surgery reconstructed his aorta and was on day 9 of life. His second open heart repair was not anticipated to be needed until two or three years of age. Ty had other plans. We spent the vast majority of his first 3 months of life at Vanderbilt as he went into heart failure and was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. As a result, the medical team concluded that he needed the repair much sooner than usually recommended, and at just shy of 3 months old Ty underwent his second life saving open heart surgery. God has already worked so many miracles in Ty's life and the life of our family and we know he is using our story. Because of this, we are grateful for Ty's special heart and feel beyond blessed that God chose us to travel this road. We ask for prayers as Ty continues to heal. We are praying for a full recovery and life without restrictions for Ty. We are praying for God to use our family and Ty for His glory.

Thank you to each and every person who supports us through prayer, giving, or just by loving on our family! We are humbled and blessed by all of the ways the Lord is providing for us and know that he is using Ty and his story to do great things!

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I have a friend at work who always says, "breathe!" It's humorous sometimes, and sometimes it's needed! When I get overwhelmed or stressed or frustrated, she'll see me in the hall and tell me to just breathe! :-)

I haven't been overly stressed, or incredibly overwhelmed, and I wasn't frustrated at all... but my soul cried out for a weekend to just breathe! Do you ever get in that mode?

Every weekend I have been on the go, go, go! As I look back over the last month or two I realize I have had plans and events and fund raisers... something (a lot of times more than one something) each and every weekend! So I decided this was my weekend to breathe!

Believe it or not, as social and involved and busy as I am, at heart I am a homebody - I love spending time at home! So I came straight home after work Friday and I promptly turned my phone off! (Okay, so I actually just turned the volume down - I would need to know if my family needed me, but I didn't want to hear it ring!) I went more than 24 hours without hearing my phone ring! It was wonderful!

Do you ever just take time for you? I know it's hard (especially those of you with spouses and children) but I think it is so important and so healthy to give yourself some quality time with you! So for this weekend, that's just what I did... cancelled all plans and did whatever I felt like doing at the moment (which was not much, lol).

Other updates from me...

This is my student teacher's last week! It's been wonderful having her because I have been able to get SO MUCH DONE! She is wonderful and is really going to be an asset to the profession - I really lucked up to get her! However, it is very hard to share your classroom and your students with someone else! I love what I do and sharing my space and watching someone else teach my kids some of my favorite lessons is tough! I will hate to see Rachel go, but I am excited to start teaching again (Thursday)!!

Also, Fall break is next week -Mmmmm! I can't wait and it seems fall weather will get here just in time! It has been somewhat cooler, but this week it is really going to begin feeling like fall with lows in the 40s and highs in the low 70s and even 60s! Over fall break I will be heading off to the mountains with Moo and La...

We have all kinds of big plans... there are no TVs at the spa and we have all kinds of fun things planned to fill our time together! The biggest plans, however, are to enjoy each other, enjoy life, RELAX, and be pampered!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


...came to play at Aunt Meag's! Here are just a few of the shots I snapped while he was having a big time in my back yard!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Just stopping in to leave a recipe I threw together tonight that I think I could eat by the tub! lol.

1 Large green pepper - chopped
2 small cucumbers - seeded and chopped
3 small Roma tomatoes - seeded and chopped
Hand full of your favorite variety of olives - pitted and chopped
1 small container of Feta Cheese (crumbles)
salt, freshly ground pepper, and enough lemon juice and olive oil to dress...

Mmmm... so fresh, clean, and good!!!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

For the Love of Fall...

Mmmm... It's officially Fall!

I always have a hard time answering the question, "What is your favorite season?" because I love them all! Many times I will reply that I love the changing of seasons! There is something that stirs within my soul when the seasons change! Especially summer to fall and then later winter to spring!

Sunday I lit my "Spiced Pumpkin" candle for the first time (Thank you Leigh Ann for getting it for me - I LOVE IT!)

It just got me thinking about my favorite things that go with this time of year! One of them is the scents of Autumn!

One of the scents I love is the smell of "fall" outside! Crunchy leaves and the smell of them burning after they have been raked! Mmmm... I also love the beautiful colors and the bright trees and how when I drive down main street and the wind is blowing it's better than fireworks with all the bright colors swirling around the car!!

I also love football (obviously)! The first few games of the season are always so exciting... but it also just seems more "authentic" when the weather turns and there is a chill in the air!!!

I love making a BIG pot of Chili for friends to enjoy! There is something so warming about Chili that just goes with fall and football and friends! I like my chili with Fritos, cheddar cheese, and sour cream! How do you like yours?

I love when Charlie Brown Thanksgiving comes on TV! I watch it every year (along with Charlie Brown Christmas a little later on).

And finally, I like a wardrobe change! I like getting out my favorite outfits for cool/cold weather and shopping for new ones! And I love breaking out my boots!

I honestly just enjoy the change that comes with fall! There is something renewing and refreshing about changing... sports, clothes, colors, smells... I am so glad that Fall is here!

What is your single most favorite thing about fall?

Bunko and Bowling and Buddies, OH MY!

Well, it was another busy and wonderful weekend for me! Here's the recap...

Friday night was my first night in a new Bunko group (I am now in two!)! We had such a fun time! The group is made up entirely of women who work (or have worked) at my school! It was great to socialize with friends from work and catch up with some others who have moved to different schools!

Here we all are (except Beth who had to leave a few minutes early) on Paige's steps! Paige did a great job hosting with YUMMY food and great bunko prizes. I didn't get a prize this time, but I had a great time!!

Saturday I was up early to beat the crowd to Wal-Mart! The last couple of months I have really tried to be organized with my coupon clipping and grocery shopping and last month it paid off! I went grocery shopping for the month! I am really bad to run to the store every few days to get food for the week. No more! Now I am shopping for the month and I really like it and think it is saving me money doing it all at once!

Saturday afternoon I got together with my galz to go to "Bowling to Build." This was another Junior League fundraiser that the new member class did to benefit Habitat for Humanity! It was a great success!

Here are La, Me, and Moo at Bowling to Build! We didn't actually bowl, but we enjoyed our time visiting with everyone and pitching in when and where we were needed... which was very little because the girls did a GREAT job organizing and running everything!

Here is Moo with the recipients of the home that we raised funds for!

I waited to Sunday all weekend! I had planned a Sunday lunch of slow-cooker barbecue (that cooked all night Saturday night - YUMO), loaded smashed potatoes, and baked beans! I spent the day eating lunch, watching football and golf, and just enjoying the company of some of my nearest and absolute dearests!!!!!

Here are Megan and Web snuggling up for a picture! What great people...I am just honored to call them my friends and consider them part of my family!

Here are two more of my bests! Chris and his namesake Vance snuggled up on the couch!!! The picture below shows them playing - they had a big time together!!

Here I am with little man! He is such a good boy! He took a 2 hour nap!!! Then he got up and played and went outside... he had a big day at Aunt Meag's!

And finally, here are Moo and Vance in the back yard! They went on quite a walk!!! I love this picture - so sweet! He LOVES his Mama... just precious!

All in all the weekend was wonderful... it has started to feel like fall! The weather, the football, the friends! Tomorrow is the first day of Autumn and I can't wait!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Yard Work Success...

...sort of!

So today I headed home from work with big plans! This week the weather has been WONDERFUL and I was ready to get some major yard work done and clean things up for fall! First on my agenda was mowing, then cleaning up the back patio, and then the dreaded weed-eating!

Many of you know that I don't have a lot of success with yard work... there always tends to be some drama or catastrophe (ya know, the usual... hitting something with the lawn mower, flat tire, 21 bee stings, lol), so I quite literally prayed this morning that things would go smoothly!

Mowing went off without a hitch - yay! I do think my mower blades need to be sharpened, but that's the least of my worries! With the yard freshly cut, I set out to clean up the back patio... I wanted to straighten up and put away some flower pots (I don't know why I ever put them out there, I ended up not planting anything in them this year!).

Here is the back yard/patio in the works... it's looking much better than it did before today! :-) And notice, my fire pit is ready for fall... I can't wait!!!!

Next I decided to take on weed-eating! It took a lot of bravery, but I started the darn thing up and gave it a go. I only got as far as the patio area and a few areas of the back yard. At that point, quite frankly, I realized I hadn't had anything bad happen and decided to not press my luck! I was hot and tired and the weed eater wears on my arm muscles (I use the word muscles loosely, ha!) and I decided that was enough today.

Here are thee weeds by my front mailbox that I refuse to weed-eat because I am still afraid of the bees! I really thought I would do it today... I watched and didn't see any bees coming or going and my neighbor already weed-eated the other side and obviously didn't get stung... but I just couldn't muster the courage yet!

The only tragedy of the day doesn't involve something I did, thankfully, but it did really make me sad! I have four beautiful maple trees in my front yard! I am so ready for fall and have been looking forward to them being big and beautiful with all the fall colors. They were little bitty trees when I first moved in and now they have grown to be these beautiful "big" maples...

This is what two of them still look like. Unfortunately the power company decided the other two were too close to the power lines! Look what they did to my beautiful trees!!!!!!!

I was so sad! They were so beautiful and full. They just cut them right in half... they'll never look the same!

On a lighter note, I am really enoying the fall-like weather... it's cooler and there is a breeze and look how bright and clear blue the sky is! Mmmm... I cant' wait for fall to be here in full!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Long Awaited Visit...

So, after the walk Saturday morning it was chill and chat time Saturday night! I have to say that Leigh Ann and Derek are such GREAT people! It was as if we were all old friends instead of new ones! I can't describe how awesome this weekend was and it was simply because of the people I spent it with!!!!

Here are Derek and Leigh Ann at Lauren's - we had so much fun eating pizza, kicking boy butt at Catch Phrase, and talking!

Here are Web, Derek, and David at Lauren's Saturday night! I'm telling you, Derek and Leigh Ann could not have fit in any more naturally to our little circle of friends!!!!

I just love this picture of Web and D-word! Dawson's just one of the boys!!!!

Sunday morning we went to breakfast before seeing LAH and Der off back to Arkansas! Where else would blogging beauties go, but Mimi's Cafe... it's becoming a tradition I think!! Here are the Galz, so happy to be together and so sad to be separated after such a short visit!
Sweet Vance took to Derek, but he wasn't sure about Leigh Ann... it was funny!!!

Here I am with Dawson - um, is he just not adorable! I keep thinking he is the cutest thing ever and then every time I see him he just gets even more cute! I don't know how that is possible!

Dawson LOVED Leigh Ann! Every time she picked him up he just loved all over her, it was so sweet!!!

Moo, La, LAH... thank you loves for such a wonderful weekend! LAH, rest assured that we will be on the road to Arkansas as soon as we can budget and coordinate a road trip! Until then we'll miss your warm hug, joyful laugh, and sweet smile! You'll always have friends and a place to stay in Tennessee!!!!

Walk Now for Autism...

The countdown to this weekend has been long, but worth the wait! Saturday was the first ever Autism Speaks: Walk Now for Autism in Tennessee! The best part of this great cause is that our blogging beauty Leigh Ann and her sweet husband Derek made the trip all the way to Tennessee from their home in Arkansas to participate in the walk and visit for the weekend (more on that later!).

Megan, Lauren, and myself signed up to help with the walk after hearing a woman speak at one of our Junior League meetings and we were so excited about it we decided we would not only volunteer, but actually start a walk team in honor of our friend, Leigh Ann's son who has autism.

Here is sweet Evan! We've never met him in person, but we sure do love this boy!

So Saturday was the big day for the walk! We were so excited to not only meet our goal of $1000, but to exceed our goal, coming in with a grand total of $1,115.00!!!! The walk was so exciting as over $160,000 was raised!!!

Here we are in our green shirts working registration (Moo, myself, and La). You know any time the three of us are together it's a good time... so even though we were working, a little on the warm side, and anxiously awaiting Leigh Ann and Derek's arrival, we had a blast laughing and cutting up as we worked!

After working registration for a little bit, Web and Vance showed up to walk with us! Vance was SOOOOO cute in his little "For the Love of Evan" shirt!!!!

Then, instead of texting when they arrived Leigh Ann and Derek snuck up behind and surprised us at the registration table. Let's just say there was a lot of squealing and hugging and we got some strange looks from all the others at the registration table, but we did not care!!!!

Here are all four of us in our shirts!!!! There were lots of teams with custom shirts, but I thought ours were the cutest (thanks La for designing them!!)

Here we are walking the track with our team Evan signs! It was a really warm, sunny day, but there was a nice breeze too! Perfect day for a walk!!

Overall, it was a perfect morning and I thought the walk was a HUGE success!! If you would like to know more about Autism Speaks, the walk, or other aspects of Autism awareness and research, you can visit the following website!


Stay tuned... I'll be back to post about the rest of our amazing weekend with our new FABULOUS friends from Arkansas!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Lucky Day!

Thursday I was on my way home after Open House at school and running on "E." I had not heard that everyone was scrambling for gas, but all the gas stations seemed overly crowded for that time of evening, so I coasted on through town to the "little" gas station across from my subdivision that I like to use! I pulled up to the pump and put my card in to pre-pay, but all the screen did was flicker on and off the words "insert cash." Odd. You can't insert cash into a gas pump... hm... okay. So I go in and ask the lady if the pump is not working. She looks at the computer, says "it's clear" and asks me to try again. I go out, slide in my card, and now the screen is blank. I figure, maybe it read the card, I'll see if it will pump (you know, pumps these days WON'T pump if you haven't put in a card or pre-payed!). Thankfully the pump began running just fine. Wanting to make certain that I actually HAD paid for my gas I went back into the station and asked the clerk to make sure that the pump had read my card. She replied that no card had been inserted and the pump was off. I told her it was pumping and she came outside to see because the computer said it wasn't pumping at all! After I filled up (just shy of $50), we went back into the station and she told me the machine said, $0.00. WOW? "I guess it's my lucky day," I say jokingly. And she says cheerfully, "seriously, there is nothing I can do about it! It IS your lucky day!" I asked if she was sure, and she told me to have a great night! That's right folks... in the mad scramble for gas, I filled up FOR FREE!!!! :-) I was so excited - stuff like that never happens to me! Thank you Lord for unexpected blessings!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Thank God for Grapes!

I don't know why, but I was struck with the idea of doing a post (or posts) on something near and dear to my heart... (don't laugh!)... wine! My friends affectionately refer to me as a "wine snob" on occasion (joking of course) and as such, I thought I would share a tiny bit of my knowledge and great love of wine.

This love started years ago at my Aunt Jenni's house with a glass of White Zinfandel (gasp!) that I didn't like at all! But I didn't give up, I wanted to like wine so bad! I finally landed on a sweet white I could handle and before long I was reading everything I could get my hands on and trying new wines! After studying and trying many different wines and learning a lot, I went to Washington with my Mom, Dad, and Aunt and we visited several wineries and vineyards and I continued to learn and to develop my tastes. My love of wine has only continued to grow. (Don't get the wrong impression... there are about a ba-ja-zillion people who know SO much more about wine that I do and would scoff at my self proclaimed "knowledge" and pallet... but I can tell you I know more about wine than the average Joe and have developed my tasting skills to be able to identify the type or grape of many wines without checking the label! This was a personal goal of mine - yay me!)

If you are a non-alcoholic beverage person I completely understand and I hope this post is not totally boring or offensive or change your impression of me. Maybe you'll find a good gift idea for someone you know who does enjoy alcoholic beverages. For those of you who do, but haven't discovered the enjoyment of wine or the enjoyment of the variety that wine offers I encourage you to try new wines and stretch yourself! I never thought I would be a dry, red wine drinker and now they are my favorite! You'll be amazed at how your pallet develops!

Wine has become so popular that you see all kinds of gadgets and gizmos every time you turn around. I thought I would share what I consider "must have" wine accessories that are personal favorites of mine!

Exhibit A: The Drip Collar! Who ever came up with this was pretty smart! No more drips! Yes you can twist the bottle as you pour to avoid dripping, but let's face it... that takes coordination and forethought... and after a couple of glasses it becomes more difficult (ha!). So I highly recommend the drip collar - it's my favorite and saves my white counter tops from many a red wine stain!

Exhibit B: Counter top wine cellar! Nothing like always having the perfect bottle of wine at the perfect temperature (and yes, it DOES make a difference)!! I just got a cellar for Christmas last year and I love it! The only problem is keeping it filled up!

And Finally... cork screws! I have three types to share...

A bar cork screw! I have one of these (so cool)! I don't have anywhere to mount it yet, but I received one as a gift last Christmas and one day, in a future home, I will mount it on a home bar and use it often!

These are the best cork screws for anyone who doesn't feel like putting some muscle into it! These are a breeze and take out the cork with VERY little effort... no muss, no fuss!

But, my personal favorite is still the traditional cork screw! I used to have a hard time managing them, but now I feel it's the only way to go! Small enough to go anywhere with you, it's the essential.... no bells, no whistles, and certainly the most reliable and durable!

So there you go. A very random post on my wine background and favorite wine tools and accessories! I think I have every little gadget ever made to go with wine or wine glasses, but these basics are my favorites!

Monday, September 8, 2008


What a bad blogger I have been, huh?

You can certainly tell that school is back in full swing! I have been so incredibly busy I feel like I am running a marathon that never ends! It's not that school necessarily keeps me THIS busy, but all my other stuff keeps me busy and school on top of all that... well... lets just say it again... Whew! Between being teacher, team leader, teacher to my student teacher, going to games with my cheerleaders, and then add my regular friend activities, family activities, Junior League stuff, and, well, life... I have been the best kind of busy and it has interfered with my blogging routine! Ha!

The GOOD thing is that I am busy doing all of the things that I love and I am so thankful for my job and the oportunities that I have! I am thankful that I have so many dear friends and that we are dedicated enough to one another to make time for each other even when life is hectic. I am thankful that I have a family that I dearly love and WANT to travel to visit with (which I have done twice in as many weeks - it has been wonderful!!!!). In short, all the more busy I am, all the more thankful I am. It means that I HAVE a job, have friends, have family, and that is something that is too often taken for granted!

This weekend was no exception to the busy-talk, but it was absolutely wonderful! Let me share why!

Friday was spend with some friends from work at our weekly post-work "meeting" to hash out funny stories and frustrations of the week.

Saturday I slept in and I think it threw me off! I went to run errands and it was borderline comical (and frustrating)! I left the house three times before I got it right... I had to go back home to get my camera card (the reason I was going out), I had to go back to get my wallet (always useful when you plan to drive, pay for things, and gain entrance to Sam's), it was just like that all day long! Ha! In all my running around I managed to grab another Christmas gift (I would say I am a good 1/3 done with my shopping - Yay for me!!!!! I love the holidays and love starting early so I don't go broke come December... I am all about gifting!).

Saturday night was THE BEST! It was finally girls night and LONG overdue! David kept Dawson down stairs while Me, Moo, and La had girls night upstairs. We snacked, watched football, and planned for the Autism walk this Saturday and for our Girls trip next month!!!!!

Here is Big D and Little D after bath time!!! How cute and cuddly!!!!

Here are Moo and La working on the posters for the walk Saturday! We are SOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited that words cannot express! Leigh Ann and Derek (See Horton's Happenings on my blog roll) will be coming to the 'boro to participate in the walk and do some major visiting!!!!

We made lots of fun and beautiful signs for Evan's walk team to sport! Here is the one that I made! (I have about as much artistic talent as tree bark, so I thought this turned out pretty good!)

After Saturday, you would think my weekend would have settled down for a quiet Sunday! Fortunately for me, the fun just kept on coming! I got up early Sunday and hit the road to Chattanooga to celebrate my Daddy's birthday!!!!!! That's right folks, my dad is now officially old enough to be in AARP! lol. He turned 55 today, but we celebrated yesterday!

Here is a picture of my handsome Dad!!!! I meant to get a picture of Mom and Dad Sunday, but I never got around to it with all the fun going on (This picture was taken last Memorial day)! We went to Dad's favorite (and traditional Sunday) lunch spot - Anchor's Deli. Then home for mom's German chocolate coconut fudge birthday cake (YUMO) and gifts! Dad got a Wii from Mom - how cool is that! We played ALL day - it was SO fun!!!! Dad and I played 9 holes of Wii golf and I beat him by one stroke. I can't brag too much though because he totally kicks my rear end in tennis!!

I did snag a picture of Ken and Sarah (my sis-in-law and brother) relaxing on the couch during the opening of the gifts! Ken's birthday is a week from today and I went ahead and gave him his gift while I was in town! He's turning 30!!!!! :-)

Here I am doing a self portrait of Bentlee and myself. It cracks me up because she has the "cheese" face she makes when you get out the camera! A little fake smile.... I did the same thing when I was little and it drove my Mom crazy! How sad is it that my four year old niece has a better tan than me???
Well, that was my weekend (in a VERY LARGE nut shell, lol). I hope the update was not too long... if you hung in there and kept reading this far, thank you! Hope you all have a great week! I hope to post more often (and shorter) as things settle into a routine!

Thursday, September 4, 2008



Just a quick post to say FOOTBALL HAS FINALLY KICKED OFF IN A BIG WAY!!!!!

Tonight I met a few friends at Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner and to watch the Giants take on the Redskins!! I was pulling for the Giants! First because Brandon Jacobs is on my fantasy team (yay for scoring me 11 fantasy points). Second, because I'll always go with the Manning family (being a UT and Peyton fan at heart!)

I am tired... it has been an incredibly busy week (obviously, I haven't posted all week!)... so I am hitting the sheets! I'll be back this weekend with a more interesting post, I'm sure!

Monday, September 1, 2008

What a weekend...

I have had the most wonderful weekend (as most extra long weekends are!).

Friday after work I met some friends at the local Mexican restaurant for some fun conversation and unwinding, as is our Friday tradition! Then a storm blew in and I headed home and snuggled down for an early bed time and some much needed rest!

Saturday I woke up early (for a Saturday) on my own, got ready, packed, and headed to Chattanooga for a long overdue visit with my mom and dad! We had a great time! Mom and I went to Couch's for lunch (of course), then went shopping, then home, the back to Couch's for dinner! (Hey, it's good food, that's where daddy was, and... it's free! :-) Saturday night we stayed up and watched the Alabama Clemson game - what a surprise that was!

Sunday we had a relaxing morning and then headed to our favorite Sunday lunch spot Anchor's Deli to meet Ken, Sarah, and Bentlee. Somehow I managed to not take any pictures, but Sarah did text me a picture of Bentlee in her (pre) school uniform - how adorable is she??
Sarah said she has navy shorts she can wear as well, but insists on wearing her jumper every day - she is really into dresses right now! And, if I may say so, I think she is the cutest thing on the planet!!!
Sunday afternoon I had to head back to the 'boro for my all-female-league fantasy football draft! I really think I got a pretty good team with this one and I am looking forward to how things shape up!
Starting lineup: Derek Anderson, L.T., Marion Barber, Marques Colston, Marvin Harrison, Jason Wittin, Adam Vinatieri, and the Vikings Defense.
Backups: Vince Young, Julious Jones, Deangelo Williams, Santana Moss, Bernard Berrian, Greg Olsen, Neil Racker, and the Redskins.
I can't wait until the season opener Thursday!!!!!