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, January 28, 2011

Live Better...

SUPER great website to share!
Oh my goodness!  If you have ever paid, or do pay, for a weight loss website STOP NOW!  This website is so great!  And FREE (or at least the parts I use are free)!  :-)  It is a lot like the weight watchers website - it has just about anything and everything you could put in your mouth already in the system.  You put in what you eat and your activity and it counts your calories down for you every day!  You can adjust your caloric intake based on your needs and goals!  It tracks your weight!  It breaks down what you eat daily (amount of carbs, protein, etc) and compares it to what you "should" have or need.  I can't say enough about it!  So, if you have new years goals or even old goals that have anything to do with health - check out the website!  It is awesome!

In addition, I wanted to share a post that moved me today!  I highly recommend you read Kelle Hampton's blog post, "The Net."  I was moved.  And I am thankful for so many of you who are in my net.  It is something every woman... really every one... should have.  I hope you have a net.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Changes in the wind...

To blog or not to blog?
This is the question that has been on my mind lately.  Let me state that I am NOT considering not blogging at all.  My question was in reference to blogging or not blogging about all the changes coming my way over the next 6 months.  Heck, blogging all the changes that have been taking place over the past 6 months even.  The problem has been two fold... where to start and how much to share.  I am still not sure, but do feel the urge to record all the things that are going on and being considered.

I think I need to go all the way back to Chris' divorce in order to explain why we are where we are and where we are headed...

It is a long, long story.  I will try to be a concise as possible, giving you only the needed background without all the nitty gritty details... I feel like that is his story to tell, not mine.  Know that Chris and Lily are much (much, much, much, much) better off where they are now.  Also know that he did everything imaginable to make it work, but in truth it was doomed from the start.  Sparing all the details, Chris' separation that began when Lily was 18 months old, ended in divorce 4 years later.  Through the 4 year separation they tried many different arrangements, but the prevailing plan was a 50/50 parenting plan with Lily and totally separate lives.  Upon the final mediation, however, the other party tried to change the plan drastically and made some pretty outrageous statements and allegations.  As they struggled to reach an agreement his attorney impressed upon him the reality that our court system favors women in custody cases.  She told him that if they couldn't reach an agreement, and it was left up to a judge, that it was possible that he would be an every-other-weekend dad.  This was unacceptable.  Chris has been the only stable and consistent thing in Lily's life.  So the negotiations began.  In Tennessee there is a Parent Relocation Statute that basically says that if one parent wants to move more than 100 miles or across state lines, they must provide to the other parent: a 30 day notice of intent to move, location of proposed move, and reason for the proposed move.  In addition, the stationary parent gets those 30 days to file an opposition to the move and it is the burden of the other parent to prove that it is in the best interest of the child to move.  In order to avoid the risk of leaving it all up to a judge and to ensure a 50/50 schedule, Chris was asked to sign away the parent relocation statute in favor of a new one that was written a little differently just for them.  Instead of having to comply with the relocation statute, if the other party wanted to move, she would have to:  Provide 180 days notice instead of 30 days.  She would only be allowed to relocate to the Franklin/Bowling Green, KY area (where she is from and her family lives - and this is only 80 miles from here), but that if she chose this option, he could not oppose her move in court without a material change of circumstance (a drastic change).  In addition to these changes, their parenting plan drafted 2 options... a "Plan A" for when they reside within 30 miles of one another (a 50/50 parenting plan) and a "Plan B" for when they do not.  "Plan B" would be the "typical" every-other-weekend-and-holidays parenting plan that we are strictly opposed to.  This was a big "compromise" but it guaranteed the 50/50 parenting plan and 6 months (instead of 30 days) to prepare for a move.  It also guaranteed that the only move that he would ever face would be just north of Nashville... not something crazy or far away!

I hope all of this was clear.  It is very hard to explain in a clear and concise way.  Especially without all the ins and outs and ups and downs that went on over the course of separation, mediation, and final divorce.

I am explaining all of this because it is the root of all the changes underfoot.  Both exciting changes and intimidating changes.  Chris and I are faced with lots of options and decisions and are trying to take them one at a time.  After a series of relationships, Chris' ex-wife has married a guy in Bowling Green and is currently waiting out her 6-month plan splitting time between here and there.  She is also expecting a child.  From meeting the guy to marriage/pregnancy was only a 3 month span.  This has caused A LOT of stress for Lily and for Chris and I.  So in addition to getting married, we are deciding....

  • How and when to sell a house.
  • Where to move to (within 30 miles to stay on "Plan A")
  • What house to buy when we decide where to move (SUPER excited about this part!)
  • What to do about work (he will be able to commute, but I might be looking at a change - a good change.  I am also excited about this!  I am looking at maybe working part time while we get settled and grow our little family and pursuing some of my dreams... but change and risks are also stressful.)
And a million other little tiny things that go along with all these major changes.  I have to say, I am so very excited.  But there is a lot of "ugly" in the situation too that is tough to deal with and stressful.  I am choosing to focus on the exciting and fun parts!  Who doesn't like picking out a house and starting a "new" life!  I like change and am excited about what it can bring.  I am also excited about the prospect of pursuing some new options job/career wise that I otherwise might not have the time or courage to do.  So I am praying for the courage.  I am praying for guidance.  And I am praying that God will provide what we need  from every angle of all this change!

Hopefully this has provided enough background and was clear enough that I can now share with you some of our adventures as we embark on our new life together.

Better Ideas and Better Recipes....

...from Better Homes and Gardens.

I absolutely love this magazine.  I mean, really.  I have subscribed for over a year now and I get more good ideas and good recipes from this magazine!  It's the *perfect* blend of cooking and home!  I was about 3 magazines behind and I used one of my snow days to pour over the pages!  The coolest idea so far?  I found out that there is such a thing as "magnetic primer."  Seriously?  Yeah.  You can put several cotes of magnetic primer on any wall... or anything for that matter... and then paint it whatever color you want and viola!  A magnetic wall... or ... magnetic whatever you want!  How cool is that?!? 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wedding plans...

Chris and I are planning a very small, intimate wedding.  We are a very laid back couple and are excited about a wedding that really "fits" us.  I thought I would share just a few of the plans, especially since many friends and family won't actually be at the wedding.  We are pretty much only having parents, grandparents, and siblings (along with a couple best friends that might as well be siblings to us).

Here is where we will tie the knot.  We were so relieved to find such a beautiful place at such an attractive price!  This is a new place called Gateway Island in Murfeesboro.  It's part of the greenway system and is a little "island" that is so pretty!  You can see the little pavilion above in the distance...

...and here it is up close!  This is where we will actually get married encircled by our nearest and dearest friends and family. 

And this is the adjacent reception center where we will house the cake and food.  We are hoping (and praying) for warm and pretty weather!  The whole thing is planned to be outside!  If it rains we'll be in a pinch and a bit crowded for the reception part.  :-)  But we'll make it work!

In the works are food, flowers, cake, music, and all the other stuff that goes along with a wedding!  I'll share more in another post!  That's it for now!  :-)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

There is never enough...


Even when given lots of unexpected time (multiple snow days), there never seems to be enough.

Not enough time to plan.

Not enough time to be frugal (don't you agree that it takes time to save money?)

And certainly, never enough time to get everything done.

When there just isn't enough time to get it all done.  When there seems to be too many things on the list to do and not enough hours in the day to do them.  When there are so many things that need (and want) to get done, it can be overwhelming....

...then I remember how unbelievably blessed I am.  I am so blessed that I have such wonderful friends and family that need and want my attention.  I am blessed that I have a home that needs taking care of and laundry that needs to be washed.  I am blessed that I have to load the dishwasher so many times in a week, because it means that I have the means to cook wonderful meals and all kinds of food to fill our tummies.  I am blessed to have a job that I love and students that need me.  I am blessed.

...then I remind myself, to ENJOY.  Enjoy the blessings and get done what I can. Don't sweat the small stuff.  And don't get so busy with the motions that you forget why you're doing them in the first place.

My goal this year is to enjoy the time I have
and to stop worrying about the time I wish I had.
Life is too short not to.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Game People...

We are some game playing fools!
Most of you who know me well, already know that I have always loved playing games!  As an adult, that still hasn't changed!  I feel blessed that God paired me with another game player and him with a little girly game player! 
 Lily got LOTS of games for Christmas this year, so we have been playing away!  One was Parcheesi!  I hadn't played this since I was a kid.  It was fun to remember all the rules and play again.
 Santa brought Monopoly Jr.
This might be our favorite!  It's all the fun of Monopoly, but doesn't last for hours on end!  We all three love to play this one!

He also brought Twister!  Lily and I have had some Twister throw downs, but Daddy avoids this one!  He has played a couple times, but he's not quite as "twisty" as Lily and I! lol.

We all love Yahtzee!  Chris and I play this one, just the two of us a lot.  I have been amazed at how quickly Lily has picked up on the game and is able to play!  So. Much. Fun!

Over the last few snow days and weekend days it's been cold and we've been cooped up.  There was no shortage of fun though!  We've had lots of fun!

Do you have any good games you like to play?  We are always up for suggestions!  :-)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Merry New Year!

I am already starting the new year behind on blogging, but I wanted to share some cute pictures from New Year's Eve/New Year's at my mom and dad's.  This is when we got together to do Christmas!

Miss Kenlsee stole the show with all her new moves!  :-)

She is SUCH a good baby!  She just smiles all the time and never cries!  She got ample time in everyone's arms playing and snuggling.

Lily and Bentlee enjoyed some play time together.... LOTS of play time together.  It has been a really long time since they have been together and actually had free reign to play as long as they wanted!  They had a blast!

My brother feeding his baby girl!
Kenslee is names after Ken.

Grandmommy absolutely loved all the time with her girls!  And let me tell you... these two adore their grandmommy!
Chris and Lily!
They are the most affectionate father/daughter... I love it!
Bentlee and Kenslee... sister's!  If it weren't for the matching clothes, you'd never know! lol

It was a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  I really enjoyed getting to spend so much time with family!  It was also fun to have all this quality time after all the Christmas hooplah wore off!  We were all so relaxed and no one had to rush off for anything.  It was great!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas with Friends

Lauren, Megan, and I decided to get all the kidletts together for their own little Christmas party!  So a few days after Christmas, we headed over to La's house for our Christmas Kiddo-style!

These four love getting together to play!  Vance and Dawson adore each other and both adore Lily!  She enjoys being the oldest and only girl!!!  No lack of love here!

The Hutchings got all the kids super hero capes!  What a great gift!!!

We had a Mexican themed meal with hard and soft tacos and nachos!  It was a nice break from the "traditional" Christmas ham and such.

La - the hostess with the mostest!  She made cupcakes for all the kids and let them use chocolate and vanilla frosting with spray, sprinkles, and M&Ms to decorate them! 

They had a great time decorating... and eating!

Ever the neat and clean little boy like his Mommy, Dawson completely avoided messy hands by attacking his cupcake from the top!  LOL!  He dove right in, mouth first so he wouldn't get all messy!  Too. Funny! 

And, all the grown ups had fun too!  :-)
(Lily says she is going to be a photographer when she grows up!  She took this with her little hands and my huge Nikon! lol.... looks like she's onto something!  She does an exceptional job of focusing and getting us centered for a 6 year old having to use the view finder!)

It was a very merry friend Christmas!  I can't wait to do another very merry friend non-Christmas! lol

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to the world of blogging Mama!
I LOVE when you blog!

Check out my Mom, here!