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!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy 100th!

Well, I have struggled with what to do with my 100th post... at first I was excited to get here and I have been counting down these last few posts, but when the 100th finally got here I was kind of stumped. I thought about just letting it pass as any other post, but I have decided I should do something! I have really enjoyed some of the 100ths I have read, and my favorites tend to be those that list 100 things either about themselves or that they are thankful for! So... here's my list... My favorite things (in no particular order... otherwise La, Moo, and Leigh Ann, not to mention my parents, will question why red wine comes before them on the list! Ha!!)

  1. Jesus
  2. Season changes
  3. Red Wine
  4. Lauren
  5. Megan
  6. Leigh Ann
  7. A mother that is also a best friend
  8. A home that is like a safe haven, a sanctuary, to my soul
  9. A Daddy that is still my hero and the best man I know!
  10. Football season
  11. Sangria
  12. Cherry Coke (what's up with me and the beverages... thirsty?)
  13. Cute stationary
  14. The "ah-ha" moment my students have... what every teacher waits for and delights in!
  15. My childhood memories
  16. My siblings
  17. Bentlee... she stole my heard the moment I saw her
  18. Ipods and great music
  19. Girl get aways
  20. Computers
  21. Blogs
  22. Email
  23. Pedicures
  24. Children's laughter... big belly laughs!
  25. Chili and Potato Cheese Soup on cold days!
  26. My mom's green thumb and her beautiful garden
  27. My dad's sense of humor and great mind
  28. Starbucks... Grande Caramel Machiatto to be exact...
  29. Chicken Salad
  30. Talking with La in Ebonics for entire conversations
  31. Movies all by myself
  32. Chili's chips and salsa
  33. Games, games, and more games
  34. Friends over for game nights!
  35. Gain
  36. Cooking for loved ones
  37. Food Network
  38. My Camera(s)
  39. My new laptop!
  40. Taking drives through the country (before gas made doing that expensive!)
  41. The color pink... and green... and pink and green together!
  42. Watermelon
  43. Grilling out or tailgating with friends
  44. My big, king-size, pillow-top, memory foam bed!
  45. Giant bathtubs
  46. Nice kitchens
  47. Tybee Island
  48. Vance and Dawson
  49. Heat in the winter
  50. Air in the summer
  51. The right to vote
  52. The perfect ink pen
  53. Sharpies
  54. Office supplies (all of it)
  55. Digital Picture Frames
  56. Geek Squad
  57. Recipe books
  58. Giving unexpected gifts
  59. Real mail
  60. Living in Tennessee
  61. Ann Taylor
  62. The perfect black pants
  63. Fair food (you know... chicken on a stick, bloomin' onions, funnel cake?!?)
  64. Being an American
  65. Democracy
  66. Kitchen gadgets
  67. A great day teaching a great lesson
  68. Golf
  69. Lowe's
  70. My Bible
  71. LCD projectors and ELMOs!!! (That's right, fellow teachers... I now have BOTH in MY CLASSROOM!!!!)
  72. Alarm clocks
  73. Mixed drinks
  74. Sweet tea
  75. Couch's Barbecue
  76. Christmas
  77. Chicago
  78. Aprons
  79. Pink Tulips
  80. Organization
  81. Junior League of Murfreesboro
  82. Evite invitations
  83. Gerri Moore... the girl knows how to wax!!
  84. Praise Music
  85. Bon fires with hot dogs and s'mores
  86. Calculators
  87. Cell Phones
  88. Quilts... the good, old, dense ones... not the new, puffy kind
  89. The Wii
  90. Fantasy Football
  91. My parent's home
  92. Knowing I have friends I can call on who would do anything for me
  93. Knowing I have friends that I would do anything for
  94. Mom and Dad's swimming pool
  95. The beach and ocean
  96. Springing Curls Mousse
  97. A garage... no frost on my windsheild!
  98. Automatic up/down umbrellas
  99. Cute calendars
  100. Notebooks

... and I could go on an on.

These are just a few of my favorite things!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Weekend Recap...

What a busy, but wonderful, weekend I had!

Friday was Bunko night! I was SO tired Friday after such a long week! I managed to make it through Bunko and had a great time, but I didn't take any pictures. Ashley hosted in her relatively new home - it was BEAUTIFUL! Although I didn't win anything, I had a great time!

Saturday was the big Championship game! I had to be at the game with the cheer leaders as week took on Seigel Middle. The game was exciting with some pretty interesting calls, but we managed to win and were SO proud of our undefeated Tigers!!!!

Saturday night I headed to my OTHER Bunko group! Beth hosted a Halloween theme Bunko night and we had SO MUCH FUN! She made Taco soup and there were lots of munchies and desserts as well! I stayed late and enjoyed the good company and all the laughs!!!

Sunday was a special day! I had brunch with La, Dawson, Moo, Vance, and an "old" friend from Ooltewah... Amanda! She was up for the weekend with La and we had such a great time catching up!!!!! We went to MiMi's of course! Mmm... they serve a great brunch!

Here are La, Dawson, Me, Moo, and Vance!

Here's Vance giving Dawson a kiss! This might be major blackmail material one of these years, but for now it's sweet and we just know these two are going to be big time buddies!!!!

Here's La with Amanda and D-word!

Amanda, I'm so glad you were able to visit! It was WONDERFUL to see you and you have to come back soon for a girls weekend!!!!

Last, but not least, Sunday afternoon La, D-word, and I went to Cannonsburg for a photo-op! See the post below for a link to the pictures!!!!

Overall it was a WONDERFUL and wonderfully FULL weekend!!!!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fall Photo Shoot...

Lauren, Dawson, and I headed to Cannonsburg today for a fun fall
photo shoot! We had such a good time! Here's a little preview...

Visit "My Lense On Life" for more photos from today!


My frist Fall Photo Shoot was with Dawson...

Lauren, Dawson, and I headed to Cannonsburg to take some fall photos! I thought I would share some of my personal favorites! I can't take too much credit... this little man is seriously photogenic!

Lauren, thank you so much for the opportunity! I enjoyed every second!
Dawson, Aunt Meagan loves you very much!
I look forward to many more photo shoots in our future!!!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I've been tagged...

...and it's a good thing because I had no idea what to blog about today! My brain is a little numb after this long week! :-)

So, Rachel tagged me and here are the rules...

1. I hate "collections" of things that seem to only collect dust... just about anything a person collects to sit around their home (figurines, mugs, glass junk, etc)... that stuff just gets on my nerves.

2. I love to be outside, but I don't like getting dirty, pulling weeds, watering plans (which makes gardening a far off dream), or pretty much doing any "work" outside. I mostly just like to sit and enjoy the fresh air, lol.

3. I don't like to wear flats with anything but jeans. I try and try to find cute flats that I like to wear to work with black or khaki pants and I just can't do it. It makes me feel frumpy.

4. It drives me nuts (I mean seriously mad) when teachers do things that they would never allow their students to do. For example, teacher talking or texting in a meeting, not paying a bit of attention, etc. They would SO sock it to their students for doing the same thing!

5. I love a real fire, with real wood, in a real fireplace! Gas logs are pretty, but nothing really does it like a for-real fire! Mmmm.

6. I love notebooks. All school/office supplies really... could spend HOURS in Office Max, but I have a special fondness for notebooks. Especially ones full of good stuff with dividers and colored paper all organized and stuff!!

7. I love snail mail! There's something about getting a pen-and-paper letter or card that just makes it more special!

Now... I am to tag 7 other people... so I tag: Megan, Lauren, Sarah, Betsy, Leigh Ann, Melissa, and Ariel.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A quick recipe...

Okay, so this recipe probably has little or no nutritional value, but it sure is tasty and it sure is EASY and FAST and something the WHOLE family will love which makes it a winner in my book!

A block of Velveeta melted with a can of Rotel (I use mild, you use whatever you like).... so far sounds like chip dip, right? Well... stir in some cooked, chunked chicken and some cooked angel hair pasta and you have a yummy, cheesy, chicken-y, dish that is stick-to-your-rib YUMO!

It doesn't get easier than that! And it was just the ticket when I was standing in my kitchen with aching feet thinking... what in the world am I going to eat for dinner tonight! Ding! 30 minutes and I am enjoying a great pasta dish and have some for lunch tomorrow too!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Back in Action...

So here I sit, drinking a glass of wine, grading papers, enjoying being HOME and I realize it has been an entire week since I have posted! So... I put down my wine (pew) and put down my papers (yay) and decided to update!

I have been one busy girl, ladies! I realize that statement is a bit obvious!

After getting back into the swing last week I taught a unit on on the United States government and started preparing my kids for the election. Each day there is an "issue" on projected on my big screen and two "imaginary" candidates listed with where they stand on that issue. We discuss/debate the issue and then my students record in their warm up notebook which candidate they would vote for (Candidate A or Candidate B) and why they would vote that way! After two weeks of voting on the issues each day I am going to ask them which current presidential candidate they would vote for in real life if they were 18. Finally I am going to have them tally how many times they voted for "candidate A" and how many times they voted for "candidate B" and then I will reveal that "candidate A" is really McCain and "candidate B" is really Obama! I think it's a great way to plug the kids into elections AND get them in touch with their own opinions and how they feel, NOT just what their parents say or what they see on TV! :-)

I also went with my cheerleaders last week to a football game where our undefeated Tigers beat the (up until last week) undefeated Cavaliers! Woo-woo!

In addition to school stuff, I had my mom visit... we had SO MUCH fun going to dinner at MiMis and shopping on Friday night and then going to the Bell Buckle Craft Show on Saturday! This is one HUGE craft show - seriously, you can't even see it all - and we had a lot off fun getting a few goodies for ourselves and some Christmas shopping done too!

I also went to a Halloween party at my friend Rachel's house... it was a costume party, so here we are! Moo and Web went as farmers and I went as a Cat (Ironic since I have an EXTREME aversion to cats... but it was an easy costume! lol)

Rachel is pictured on the left... her husband is a pilot so he wore his regular work uniform, she dressed as a flight attendant and their dog, Little Bit, dressed as an airplane!

Her costume is a little lop-sided here, but she was SO cute running around with her "wings" on!

Yesterday I worked, of course, and then last night went to my first super club! It was so much fun and we enjoyed some delicious food and I can't wait to do it again next month!!!!

So there's the skinny on me here lately! Sorry it's been so long! I am now going to go reading blogs and catch up on all I've missed!!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tasty Tuesday...

I thought I would take advantage of Lindsay's "Tasty Tuesday" to share a recipe that I love! This is a recipe for Chicken Casserole... now I know that sounds kind of ho-hum, but this is different from any other Chicken Casserole I have ever tried and it has become a favorite recipe of mine! I love this recipe because of the flavors and textures, but also because I keep most of the ingredients on hand all the time anyway, so it's a great stand-by for when you're in a crunch and don't want to go to the grocery store!


2-4 Cups Cooked Chicken - chop into bite-size chunks

1 Cup Cooked Rice

1 Cup Diced Celery

2 Tbs. Grated Onion

1 Can Sliced Water Chestnuts with juice (do not drain!)

1 Small Package of Slivered Almonds

1/2 Cup Mayo

2 Tbs Lemon Juice

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 Cup Grated Cheddar Cheese

1 Cup Crumbled Potato Chips

Mix everything but the Cheese and Chips together in a large mixing bowl. Pour into a buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle with cheese and top with chips. Bake at 350 until bubbly and brown (15-20 min.)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Odds and Ends from Fall Break...

Just a recap of some other things I enjoyed during the rest of my fall break...

Had lots of pictures developed... including photos of this Handsome little man...

What a precious little boy!!! Moo, Web... you sure do know how to make 'em cute! Be proud... you have a beautiful and oh-so-sweet son!! Vance, Aunt Meag loves you to the moon and back!!! (and she loves her new camera too!)

Also related to the Hutchings Family...

Megan coordinated "Cooking To Build" for Habitat which I attended Friday! It was a great success and so much fun! I helped at the entrance tent taking up money and registering people for door prizes and the voting! Web (Moo's sweet hubby) was there with his now famous Taco Soup and he took home the Golden Bowl trophy, winning by a landslide! It was the neatest event and next year I am going to enter myself for sure!

Web did something else great too this week! He generously donated his time and efforts to my yard! Web, thank you so much for weed-eating for me! And Moo, thank you for letting me "borrow" your hubby for a couple of hours! You two are such dear friends, and so generous, and I am a better person just for knowing you two!!

Other accomplishments of fall break included cleaning house and cleaning out 3 of my closets for a total of... brace yourself... 7 bags of clothing and 2 bags of shoes donated to those less fortunate! Clearly, I was long overdue for a clean out!

I also enjoyed an afternoon lunch with La...

And while we were there we ran into Julie and Lynn so they joined us for lunch and enjoyed playing with D-word...

And then La and I went out for some afternoon shopping. It was an unsuccessful trip for me, but I went out another day this week and scored some more Christmas gifts, so that's progress!

Fall break was wonderful and a much needed break from the hectic life of a middle school teacher! :-) Too bad it's over. Good news is, in going back to school I get to teach again! My student teacher's gone and I'll miss her, but I am excited to get back to my kiddos... boy do I have plans for them! The'll be busy little bees this week!!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Once Upon A Time... Continued...

(***Read previous post FIRST!)

After realizing the trouble they were sure to be in when their parents arrived home, the children scurried to right the rapidly fraying situation! The older two siblings took charge immediately as all three ran out the front door and out to the pond! What were they going to do?

As the three talked, a plan was formulated! The youngest sibling was sent to the backyard to the pool house to get the large hippopotamus float. The oldest of the siblings ran to the barn to get the LONG (seriously long) lead rope used with the horse. The middle of the siblings remained on the pond bank formulating the logistics of the tent rescue mission that was about to commence!

As the three gathered on the bank with all of the supplies, the smallest one began to worry out loud... this was not a good idea! What if something happened, what if someone got hurt, shouldn't we just wait for mom and dad and take the punishment and let them figure out what to do? She was quickly shushed by the other two and put to work!

The middle child, the boy, carefully laid the float on the edge of the pond and climbed on top! Taking the end of the lead rope, the other two siblings came him a firm shove out into the great open waters of the pond! In this moment the pond looked more like an ocean as they held their breaths and prayed for the plan to work!

The float began slowing down and drifting and the brother had to use his hands to paddle the rest of the way to the sinking tent, of which now only a few inches remained above water. Upon reaching the tent he attached the lead rope and then used the rope to pull himself back to shore. Whew! All three breathed a short sigh of relief when he was back on dry land! They may have been out of the pond, but they weren't out of the woods yet! Their parents would be back any time and as of yet, all they had was a sinking tent attached to a rope!

All three took a firm hold on the lead line and began a very challenging game of tug of war with the tent! They hadn't counted on how heavy the tent would be since it was full of water! They heaved and heaved and were able to pull it into the shallow water just at the edge of the pond, but with all their greatest efforts, they were just not strong enough to pull it all the way onto the bank!

Not wanting to lose the tent again to the depths of the pond, they tied the end of the lead to the nearest tree. With heads hanging and dread in their stomachs they waited the arrival of their parents and their punishments as well.

I don't remember exactly what happened that day as far as mom and dad's arrival. I was the youngest of the bunch and I remember most the fear that Ken would lose life or limb to a snapping turtle who I envisioned popping the hippo float and biting him! I also remember the sick feeling that we were going to be in so much trouble!

Fortunately, we all look back today and laugh! Daddy easily pulled the tent ashore to find that we had caught some fish in our camping adventure! We were given a stern talking to and a "don't ever do something like that again without us here!" and sent on our way, to my recollection and it was a long time before we ever asked to camp again!

Once Upon A Time...

...there were three siblings who loved to play outside together and loved even more to "camp" outside in the front yard! These three siblings lived in a beautiful home with their two parents. At their home they had fields and forests to play in, a huge front yard, a swimming pool, a barn, and on the far other side of the large front yard lay a beautiful pond, and one of their favorite places to play!

One weekend afternoon they asked their parents if they could set up the large, very nice, tent that the family owned on the bank of the pond to "camp" that night. Their kind and always understanding mother and father said that they could do this if they promised to clean everything up the following day and to not leave the tent sitting around all afternoon the next day! The children were elated!

That afternoon they went to work setting up their camp! It was a bit tough to set up the very large tent, but with a little effort and a lot of cooperation, they got the tent up. They decided after the hard work getting the stuff together for the camp out and the time spent setting up the tent, there was really no need to stake it into the ground... that would be too much trouble for a little front yard camp out!

That night the children had a wonderful camp out! They played, stayed up late, and finally snuggled down in their sleeping bags to sleep for the night!

Being that none of them were "serious" campers, the next morning all three retreated to the house for breakfast, a shower, and clean clothes. They figured the camp site could wait and be cleaned up later that day.

That afternoon, the camp site had still not be cleaned up. The sweet parents of these darling three decided to run a quick errand and the three were left to play inside. They were having much too much fun doing their own thing inside to take time out to clean up the camp site... it could wait until later.

As the three played in different areas of the house, the youngest of the siblings walked by the living room window and saw something strange... there was a large animal in the pond... it looked like a giant snapping turtle right in the middle of the pond! She quickly called her brother and sister to come see what was in the pond! Only then did the children gaze in horror as they realized the "animal" in the very middle of the rather large pond was actually what remained above water of the rapidly sinking, very nice tent!

... To Be Continued...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

25 things that make me happy...

Leigh Ann did a post earlier this week on 25 things that make her happy and at the end of her post asked what 25 things make you happy? So, since I am on Fall break and have lots of wonderful time, I thought I would post on it!

1. Spending time with my family.

2. Singing praise songs in my car and feeling the Holy Spirit!

3. Being around Lauren and Megan.

4. Making a friend laugh.

5. Having a really great lesson that the kids get something out of.

6. Getting unexpected cards, letters, or packages!

7. Starbuck's Caramel Machiatto.

8. Football season.

9. Having friends over to just relax, talk, eat, and watch a good game!

10. Cooking something delicious for those I love!

11. Target

12. Shopping... especially with my mom or my two bests!

13. Wine

14. Office supplies

15. Great music with even greater lyrics

16. Game nights!

17. Cute shoes

18. Good food!

19. Bargain prices!

20. Buying, wrapping, and giving gifts!!!

21. Reading blogs and relaxing!

22. Playing with Bentlee

23. The beach

24. Girlz nights and girlz trips!

25. Home!

There you have it! 25 things that make me happy!! :-) If you're having a slow blog week, there's a post idea!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Girlz Trip 2008...

As many of you already know, me and my two bests have an annual tradition of taking a trip just the three of us! Three beautiful women, foot-loose and fancy free, enjoying life together, uninterrupted! It is, in a word, fabulous!

This year we chose Lakeview at Fontana Resort and Spa! OH MY! It was so charming! Moo said it best when she said it was like a little piece of Tuscany!

The whole place was amazing, with several little buildings: the office/lounge/coffee shop, Yoga studio, Spa, and "cabins". It was such a PERFECT spot for a girlz getaway!!!

This picture shows what each of our rooms looked like! We each had a box in our room with fuzzy slippers, a candle, and a book on Relaxation! So neat!

Our cabin was perfect for the three of us with three bedrooms, a living room/kitchen area, a bathroom, and a very large balcony with this beautiful view...

We laughed and talked all the way to the spa! When we arrived we dumped our stuff in our rooms and headed straight to the balcony to exchange gifts, have a little toast to us, and enjoy the view and some more good conversation!

Here we are toasting on the deck.... with these cute personalized cups that La brought....
La also brought personalized pens that are super-fab that say "Girlz Trip 2008" with our names on them! Then we got comfy in the slippers Moo brought!

I love this picture of our feet propped in the sun with Moo's slippers on... I feel like it sums up our whole trip without a word!

This is Leroy the little bird! He is now our girlz trip mascot and will accompany us year after year! How funny will it be when we are 80 years old, cruising at 20 mph on our way to our girlz trip and we still have this little bird with us! Hee-larious!
This last picture is of the three of us in our signature "Relax" shirts that we got from the spa!

Ladies, there is no one I would rather spend time relaxing with than the two of you! Thank you for the wonderful memories, the laughs, the friendship, and most of all for the love! You are and will always be, my two best friends... sisters of my heart!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Great Outdoors...

Many of you who already know me or have come to know me through blogging probably realized a long time ago that I am not an "outdoor" kind of girl! I love being outside, but I don't enjoy getting dirty and doing outdoor-sy things like hiking, camping (the rustic type), etc. What many of you may not realize is that I was raised in the relative "country" and I do have some tricks up my sleeves!

I still enjoy fishing - although I'm not about to touch live bait and I frequently request someone else to take my fish off the line! I love picnics, "walks" in the woods or outdoors - not a "hike" mind you! I have been white water rafting and that was a fun adventure too! I love bonfires and s'mores, and all those kinds of things too! I'm not afraid to sit in the grass or get a little mud on my boots... just not on me, lol!

This time of year seems to beckon me outside and it also causes memories from my childhood to tumble into place... which brings me to my question... what was your favorite childhood toy? Whenever I am asked this, the first thing that pops into my head is always, "The Great Outdoors!"

I grew up on a beautiful piece of heaven in Ooltewah, TN. We didn't' live in a subdivision, but back off the road with a HUGE front yard, a barn, a pond, and the side of an entire mountain of trees to play in! As I remember my childhood, it seems I spent more time outside than in.

My favorite fall play-time activities included...

Putting on Mom's high-heels, and getting all my "teacher" stuff and heading to the back porch to play school. I loved doing this (when the weather was nice) because on the wood floor of the back porch my heels would make the click-click sound that "real" teacher's sound like!

Ken, Sarah, and I played in the loft of the barn a lot when the fall wind was a little on the brisk side. We would also build forts and tee-pees in the woods, start camp fires, and take big long hikes in the woods.

I also LOVED to go down to the barn and play "cook." My ingredients for the most part consisted of the horse's oats, the dog's food, berries, cat-tails, weeds, grass, and water! Oh, but in my mind I made all kinds of wonderful gourmet dishes!!

I have the fondest memories of playtime outside as a child! Some of my favorite moments with my siblings took place outside!

So... what was your favorite childhood toy? Share some of your fall play-time memories!