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!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve...

is the BIG day!

In my family most of the "big" Christmas action actually occurs on Christmas Eve. It hasn't always been this way, but as our family and grown and changed it has become a tradition that fits this current chapter in our lives. So I thought I would share some of the goings on of the day with you... with lots of pictures!

First, a little introduction. Mom and Dad took in a dog named Toby...

This 2 1/2 year old dog that is already house trained and VERY well behaved is now a resident at my parents house. His previous owner has a new baby and decided it was time for the dog to go! He is especially partial to my mom and she to him... Tuffy (their Yorkie, is not so thrilled)!

So Christmas Eve started pretty early this morning as we got ready for Dad's side of the family to join us for our annual Christmas Eve brunch! The spread included quiche, scrambled eggs, ham, bacon, sausage, gravy, biscuits, pancakes, hot fruit, cold fruit, doughnuts, and I could keep going... so the cooking started pretty early!

Bentlee got in on the action... she placed all the biscuits on the pan and cracked all the eggs!

I made tomato-basil quiche... it was a new recipe and turned out great! I'll share it on Tasty Tuesday some time! Mom did LOTS, I can't even list it all... she's amazing!

And Dad fried most of the fried apple pies that mom made so I wouldn't get splattered! :-)

This is Bentlee and Elizabeth (my cousin's little girl) toasting before breakfast! They have a good time together even though they only see each other at Thanksgiving and Christmas!
After brunch we always do a Chinese auction (where each person brings a gift and everyone draws a number and then you can open or steal gifts up to three times, etc). It's always SO much fun, SO many laughs, and it's great on every one's budget! We used to gift everyone, then we drew names, but we landed on this years ago and it stuck! It's a real winner in our family! After many steals and some strategizing with my sister-in-law, I walked away with a beautiful pair of candle sticks!
After everyone left, Bentlee stayed with us while Ken and Sarah went to take care of some official Santa business. B fell asleep and had her nap (that she takes daily for about 2 hours - how nice is that!!).

She is so sweet! She sleeps as hard as a rock! We played music, cleaned up, and Toby even jumped on her a couple of times and she never even stirred!
When she got up she was rip roarin' ready to play! Here we are being silly~

And then Christmas Eve night we have our "family" Christmas, just me, Mom, Dad, Ken, Sarah, and Bentlee! This year Sarah and Malcolm chose to stay home for Christmas. We watched Christmas Vacation, had dinner (Paninis and Chili - Mmm) and then opened gifts and played!

At the end of the night we concluded with another tradition we have adopted in our family. It is an Old World Christmas tradition of hanging a pickle on the Christmas tree (we have an ornament that is a pickle, not an actual pickle). Mom always hides it and then the first person to find it get's the "pickle prize" which is always an ornament. My brother got it this year... again! He's good at finding it!
Overall, so far, it has been a wonderful and blessed holiday!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I was reading Betsy's blog and she was talking about a Sunday school party she went to. She said they were discussing favorite Christmas traditions and telling Christmas stories. So, I decided to blog about my favorite Christmas tradition from my childhood and "tag" everyone else to write about their favorite Christmas tradition and/or story as well!

Stockings were my favorite Christmas tradition as a child. From the time I can remember until I moved out (and even the first couple of Christmases after that) our stockings were hung on December 1st. Each year mom would fill our stockings with a treat or goodie for each day of December leading up to Christmas. When our stockings were hung on December 1st there were 24 curling ribbons hanging from our stocking and each day we were allowed to draw one ribbon from the stocking... attached to the end of each ribbon was something special just for us. The treats varied from candy and chocolate to ornaments, pens, pencils, and all kinds of little things. One year I got a tiny nativity scene one piece at a time mixed with other treats. One year we each got candy and ornaments and things as well as zip lock bags of puzzle pieces... we would beg each other to draw so we could put our pieces together each night and try to finish our puzzle! In addition to getting a special treat each day it served as an advent calendar of sorts as we could count the ribbons to know how many days were left until Christmas! I thought this was a WONDERFUL tradition and one that I look forward to sharing with my children one day!!

So, what is your single, most favorite Christmas tradition? I can't wait to get some great ideas and some wonderful holiday stories!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tasty Tuesday...

Another super fast, super easy, and super yummy recipe! This one is GREAT on a cold drizzly day!

Spicy Vegetable Soup
1 lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (30 oz) jar chunky, garden-style spaghetti sauce with mushrooms and peppers
1 can beef broth, undiluted
1 can Rotel tomatoes w. chilies
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups water
1 cup sliced celery
1 tsp sugar
1tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 (16oz) package of frozen vegetables

Cook the ground beef, garlic, and onion in a large pot over medium heat until meat is browned, stirring to crumble. Darin all fat and return meat mixture to pot. Add spaghetti sauce and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20 or 30 min. Makes 12 cups of soup.

This is a recipe I got from my mom and I tried it for the first time about a week ago. It turned out SO great! It's spicy because of the Rotel, but not too spicy... if you make it for kids or someone who doesn't like spicy stuff at all, use "mild" Rotel instead. I served it with cornbread and it was sooooooooo yummy!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Snow Day...

... a great way to start a weekend!

So Thursday night as I made my way through snow and ice to meet my cheerleaders at the basketball games that would be cancelled later that evening, the hope began to bloom! By 7:45 Thursday night, the word was out... our first official snow day would be Friday, December 12.

I got home from the games and settled in for a late night of tv and a morning sleeping in! The snow was SO beautiful... big, wet flakes perfect for snowballs! After watching the snow fall and the yard become white I had to go outside and make a snowman... who could resist! Don't be fooled... this is a little snow man on top of my car with chocolate chip eyes and nose and a scarf made for a wine bottle! lol!

Friday proved to be everything that a snow day is cracked up to be! I slept really late - which is just as well, because the roads were a mess! I met some fellow teachers and Moo at Toot's for lunch and then did a little shopping! My reward... I went to a new place in town and go Photo Shop Elements for $10. It was one of those "junk" stores that has everything from industrial fans to screwdrivers to shampoo and toys... items that have been returned, removed from the package, etc. My item had a ripped box! ha! I loaded it on the computer and although I haven't played with it too much, it seems to work great!

Friday night I was off to La's for our annual galz Christmas gathering! This year was a pajama party with breakfast food! We had yummy fruit salad, breakfast casserole, sausage balls, and my caramel pecan Cinnamon rolls - YUMMY!!!

Here are Moo and D-word... it's kind of an action shot! I think that's all you can get of Dawson these days, because he is on the go-go-go!

And here the three of us are sporting our Christmas colors! :-) I got THE COOLEST gifts... but I didn't take pictures yet, so I am going to hold off on posting about those just yet! :-)
I got a few other things this weekend too that I wanted to share, though, so that I could say a BIG thanks!!!

I got this really awesome pictures frame from my Aunt Jenni - she always gives the neatest gifts! I LOVE this frame! Thanks Jenni!

I got this ADORABLE Christmas card from Leigh Ann! LAH, this just makes me want to jump under the covers right between them and watch a Christmas movie... they could not BE more adorable!!!!

And I also go this too=too=cute card from Betsy! Does she not have a most gorgeous kids EVER! Thanks, Betsy, for including me!
I just was so excited to get these things in the mail... too fun!
Now, I'm off to finish my weekend! I hope yours is great!!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Number One, Best Christmas Storybook Every...

This is my most favorite Christmas Storybook ever! I read it every year just for myself. Whether you have kids or not, this is a must read! It makes and excellent gift or a wonderful purchase just for you! Ever year it gives me chills to read it and the illustrations are fabulous! Betsy posted about a few books she like and I just had to share this story with you all! PLEASE, if you haven't ever seen it, find it, buy it, and enjoy it each year!!
I am interested... how many of you already have it?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tasty Tuesday...

Here's one that's quick and easy and GREAT for a night when you don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen!

No Peek Chicken

4 Chicken Breasts
1 Cup Rice
1 Can Cream of mushroom
2 Cups Water or Chicken Broth
1 Package of Lipton Onion Soup Mix

Preheat to 350 degrees. Butter or Pam a casserole dish. Put uncooked rice in the bottom of the dish in an even layer. Lay chicken breasts on top of the rice. In a bowl, whisk water or broth with cream of mushroom soup. Pour soup mixture over chicken and rice. Sprinkle top with Onion Soup Mix. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Don't peek!

This recipe turns out perfect every time and it's so easy that ANYONE could do it! No skill involved and a hearty meal at the end? Who can beat that! Serve up with some salad or broccoli for something green and you have a complete meal with practically no work involved!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christams Survey...

This was on Amanda's blog a while back and I have been meaning to do it!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping Paper (only gift bags for the awkward gifts that won't fit a box!)
2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial, it's just easier!
3. When do you put up the tree? Usually the weekend after Thanksgiving
4. When do you take the tree down? Day after New Years
5. Do you like eggnog? Yes, but only in small doses and it depends who makes it
6. Favorite gift received as a child? I remember Pam Jilly (Cabbage Patch Kid) who I called Plum Jelly because I couldn't say her name! lol.
7. Hardest person to buy for? Usually my Dad.... what do you get the Man who has everything?8. Easiest person to buy for? Mom and my girlz
9. Do you have a nativity scene? yes! I have a regular size, really pretty one and then I have a tiny and I mean **tiny** one that I put in my kitchen windowsill! I would like a Willowtree one eventually!
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I have to confess... I don't send out Christmas Cards! Every year I say I will and it never gets done!
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Can't think of a bad one!
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Christmas Vacation
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually early September... I try to be done or close to done by Thanksgiving! It makes December a lot less stressful and financially straining!
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I confess... I have regifted... but only for a dirty Santa type thing!
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Cornbread Dressing! Mmmm!
16. Lights on the tree? Of course!, clear ones
17. Favorite Christmas song? Grown Up Christmas List, Santa Baby, and Let it Snow!
18. Travel at Christmas or stay at home? A little of both!
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixon, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Rudolph
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? This year a bow for the first time... last year it was a star and as a child it was an angel
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? Christmas Eve with Dad's side of the Family, Christmas day with my immediate family, later Christmas day with Mom's side of the Family.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Crowds! Everywhere you go!
23. What theme or color are you using? Red, Green, and Gold
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Dad's side of the family family does breakfast/brunch on Christmas Eve morning... I think that's fun!
25.What do you want for Christmas this year? There are a few little things that I think would be fun, but mostly I just want to spend time with the ones I love!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Have you seen...

Well... between being sick with a cold, basketball games, and a visit from Mom I have been a busy girl and posting hasn't made the agenda! So, in an effort to catch up quick, I thought I would post my "Have you seen...!" Three things that are on my wish list that I also think make great gifts for others!
First up...

Hamilton Beach 3-in-1 Crock Pot! It has three different crock sizes so you can cook small things like dips and appetizers and large things like meals for many, or in-between, when you're just cookin' for a couple! I just think it's genius!


The Panini Press! My mom is the Panini champion! She does the best combos.... turkey and olive tappinade, Ham and caramelized onion, tomato-basil-mozzarella! SOOOO good! I have been keeping my eyes peeled for a good and affordable one!!! Any suggestions?

Last... and non-kitchen related...

Corn Hole! Okay, for anyone wanting to know the perfect and unique gift for the special man in your life? This IS IT! Any man who loves football, tailgating, or hanging out with "the boys" outside will LOVE this game! It's great at tailgates, great for family get together, great for back yard barbecues! You can play in grass, on pavement, and really, even inside if you have the space! It's great!

So, there are three things I'd like to get and that I think are just too cool and make excellent gift ideas!! What's on your wish list? I'd love to hear about the cool things you have discovered that you have or want!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tasty Tuesday...

Well it all started with a jar of capers! I had a jar of capers in the pantry that I needed to use so I decided to search for a recipe that would use them up!

I landed on a recipe for Grilled Tilapia with Lemon Butter, Capers, and Orzo! Mmmm. Tonight was the night I finally tried it and I was very excited about how it turned out! It was wonderful. I thought, "With a meal like this at home, who needs to go out?"

1 lemon, zested
2 lemons, juiced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 shallot, diced
1 stick unsalted butter (melted)
3 Tbs olive oil
4 (8 oz) tilapia fillets
1/2 pound orzo (cooked according to package directions)
1/4 cup drained capers

First you combine the lemon zest and juice, wine, and shallot in a small saucepan over high heat and cook until it reduces by half...

Remove from the heat and combine with the butter - whisk - and add capers. Set aside. (This can be made a day ahead, but must come to room temp before serving)

Heat the grill to high. Meanwhile, start cooking the Orzo...

Throw the tilapia on and grill about 3 or 4 minutes on each side until lightly golden brown and slightly charred.

Drain the orzo and toss with some of the butter mixture. Transfer the orzo to a platter or individual plates. Remove the fish from the grill and place it on top of the orzo. Top with the butter mixture and freesh parsley if you have it.

And, viola! It was SO quick, SO easy, and SO something I could have on hand for a quick-fix meal!!! I had this with ceasar salad and chardonnay, Mmmmm!
Note: Next time I will use fewer capers and more wine! :-)