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, November 30, 2011

Pregnancy Highlights... 33 weeks!

How Far Along:
33.5 weeks

Size of Baby:
About 4 lbs

Total Weight Gain:
17 lbs 

Maternity Clothes:
Thank Goodness!  :-)
I live in Maternity jeans and plain long sleeved shirts with various accessories! lol

Sweet Baby Girl

More squirms and wiggles than kicks these days - she's running out of room!  She is close to head down, but not quite, with her little booty and feet in my upper right rib cage and her head and hands down toward my left hip!  :-)

Interrupted.  Lots of potty breaks and lots of shifting from one side to the other and back again.

Heart. Burn. (lol)
and a belly that makes it hard to bend down and hard to get up ;-)

What I Miss:
NOT shutting my belling the car door and refrigerator on a regular basis.  NOT feeling like a klutz, bumping into things and dropping things all the time.  And, of course, my wine. Mmmm. 

My sweet tooth is still on overdrive!  I've kept it in check though, only indulging on occasion.  ;-)

Best Moment This Week:
Doctor visit!  I love doctor visits!  I love getting praised on perfect blood pressure, weight gain, baby girl's heart rate, and hearing all the updates!  We are getting so close!!  :-)

What I'm Looking Forward To:
Holding our sweet girl and seeing her tiny little face!  We are so excited!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Baby it's cold outside...

This morning we a woke to a cold and damp morning.  It was oh so hard to get up.  We were hoping for a day out of school, but we didn't get it!  We did, however, get to see the first flurries of the season!
I took Chris to school this morning :-)  and we drove through some raindrops and wet snowflakes on the way while we enjoyed a few more morning moments together before the day's work began.

After I dropped him off, I turned on my FAVORITE Christmas CD - Christmas With The Rat Pack.  It doesn't get any better.  My favorite song on the whole album?  "Baby It's Cold Outside."  A duet by Dean Martin and... well... ME!  lol
Now I am back inside and cozy with my Gingerbread candle burning!  I am gearing up for a very productive day of laundry and house straightening (as much as you can straighten a house that is getting ready to be moved... again... lol).  I am also going to do some cooking and baking today...

Cheddar Beer Chicken for the crock pot for dinner tonight.

Possibly some make ahead meals for after Ava Grace comes.

Some sausage balls for the freezer to have on hand for breakfasts.

Some mini quiche to have in the freezer for breakfasts too!

some peanut butter blossoms... just 'cause my Lily has a rockin' sweet tooth and will be oh so surprised to come home to these!!  :-)  ...or maybe I'll keep them a secret and sneak them in her lunch box... mmm!  We'll see!  Either way, she'll be delighted!

I hope you all have a wonderfully cozy day!

Hugs to all!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Menu Monday... and catching up!

Oh my goodness!
I feel so behind on.... everything!
It's amazing that even staying home I can be so busy.  I have been filling my time with getting ready for Ava Grace (via books and articles and DVDs and organizing, of course).  Add to that house shopping, an upcoming court date (Lily stuff), a holiday, and 2 "homes" to maintain, and a hopping Pampered Chef business and some photography stuff too - whew!  So today, I will attempt to get back in the swing of things! 

Here is my menu plan this week:

Barbecue and Potato Salad (made last night)

Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie Cups (Pinterest)

Crock Pot Cheddar Beer Chicken

Leftovers...or a casserole from the freezer

Grilled BBQ Chicken
with green beans and potatoes

Lasagna (Lily's request)
Chicken Fingers (because Chris can't do Italian since he came down with his stomach virus a few weeks ago on ravioli night... enough said, lol)

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
(mmm...one of my favorites!)

We had THE MOST relaxing and wonderful Thanksgiving Break!  We got to see both Chris' family and my family.  We ate until we were stuffed and then ate again.  Chris and I attempted a little Black Friday shopping in the middle of the night - it lasted all of 30 minutes and we left laughing so hard we could barely walk the zillion miles to our car, lol.  (Friday night we scored our Black Friday Deal anyway... without crowds... thank you Franklin, KY and Wal-Mart where we were passing through after dropping Lily off at her mother's).  And the rest of the break?  A lot of quality time together - watching football and movies snuggled up on the couch!  It was WONDERFUL!

I took a few pictures while we were in Chattanooga... I always get so busy visiting and enjoying myself that I don't take as many as I would like!  But, here are a few family shots...

 Cousins: Kenslee, Bentlee, Lily, and Elizabeth

 My sweet family:  The ever growing belly containing Ava Grace, myself, Lily, and Chris

 My amazing Parents...
We are so blessed to have them in our lives!

Lily, Kenslee (always on the move) and Bentlee 

...and Lily, Elizabeth, and Bentlee again!

It's so fun having the kids around!  They provide endless entertainment and laughs!  They always have such a good time together at Thanksgiving!

I hope your holiday weekend was as fun and full as ours was!  :-)  Now... counting down 'til Christmas!  :-)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Baby Shower #2

"Little Southern Lady"
This was the theme of baby shower number two!

I knew that with Lauren and Megan planning this shower, it was sure to be something very special!  I was, of course, not disappointed!

For my second shower, we had to go to Bell Buckle, TN!  Megan and Lauren had reserved a back room area of the historic Bell Buckle Cafe for my Little Southern Lady themed shower!  It was SUCH a neat setting for a shower!  The decorations, the theme, the charm, and the menu...

My entire pregnancy I have been dreaming (literally) of desserts!  It's so funny!  I have dreamed of my granny cooking desserts, of dessert buffets, of my refrigerator full of desserts!  It's the strangest thing, and I'd be lying if I said it hasn't caused me to crave sweets a little!  So for my shower, Megan and Lauren had a complete menu of southern desserts from which to order!  It was a dessert shower - and they were SO GOOD!

True to the theme (and to Tennessee), the favors were Mason jars filled with raw cotton, Moon Pies, and GooGoo Clusters!  :-) 

 These girls sure do know me well!
Thank you so much La and Moo!  My shower was perfect and I loved every second!

 Mama came to spend the whole weekend with me - we had SO. MUCH. FUN.  You could say the shopping mo-jo was certainly with us!  So my "shower gift" was the entire weekend getting ready for baby from fabric for window treatments to nursing necessities and even a sewing machine and refresher course on how to use one!  I am SO blessed to have a loving and amazing Mama who is truly also a best friend!

 (Sarah, Lauren, Megan and myself.)

(Megan and her Mama, Nana Jo!) 

 (My dear friends, Debbie and Betsy)

Lauren always does amazing gift baskets!  Here is what she gave at the shower... see the little linen hand towel?  It says "Southern Belle In Training!"  SO cute! 

Lauren and I aren't big on shower games, but Moo loves a good game, so I am pretty sure there was a compromise, lol.  No real games, but we did all have a sheet to fill out for Ava Grace!  A whole list of things like, "I hope you always _____, and I hope you grow up to be ______, and I hope you laugh _______."  We filled them out and I read them out loud and we all guessed who wrote each one.  When I got home, I told Chris about it and he couldn't wait to fill one out!  He filled his out and then we read through them all together... it was a very tender and tearful moment for both of us.  What wonderful, loving friends we have!

Friday, November 18, 2011

November Girl's Night

In a life of busy schedules and tight budgets it's sometimes hard to find time to just go have fun!  Recently, my friend Lena declared that we were way overdue for a girls night and we all whole-heatedly agreed!  Once it was decided we needed a girls night, pronto, we began the process of narrowing down a date and time we were all free!  This is a challenge in and of itself, but after that comes the, "what do you want to do?" which is also sometimes a challenge.  We tossed around some ideas, like going to paint or doing dinner and a movie, but decided that those didn't allow us to really connect and catch up.  Then, Lena had a great idea!  A pot luck, at her house, with a surprise craft!  I was so excited I could hardly stand it and counted down the days until our fun night arrived!

Each of us were assigned a "category" for our dish (veggie, dessert, drinks, etc) and we ended up with YUMMY barbecue, cheese biscuits, green beans, loaded smashed potatoes, pineapple cheese casserole, chocolate chip pecan pie, and lemonade!  YUM!  Needless to say, we ate until we were stuffed! 

We were also asked to bring wired Christmas ribbon and 1 box of ornaments.  The actual craft was kept a surprise until we got there!  

After dinner, while we all talked and laughed and enjoyed the company of each other, Lena broke out some wreath forms and fabric and began her tutorial on how to make a rag wreath! 

 It was so fun and so relaxing!
I can't tell you how much I love having these women in my life!  We sat and as we worked on our wreathes we told stories and talked about babies and shared advice.  It was so nice!

 I think time got away from all of us and before we knew it, we had been crafting and talking for over 3 hours.

And everyone's final product was uniquely their own.  Combinations of themes and colors that fit their personalities!  Here is a picture of my finished wreath!  :-)  I can't wait to hang it up!

We all enjoyed ourselves so much we decided to make this something we do for every holiday!  I'll be hosting the next one because it'll be in February for Valentine's day and Ava Grace will still be tiny!  I have already been searching pinterest for fun ideas for our surprise craft!  I can't wait!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Baby Shower # 1

I has been over a week since I posted, which really surprises me!  It feels like I have been SO busy.  I have been overwhelmed by the desire to "nest," but because we are planning to move from our town house into a "real" house here in a few weeks, it's pretty hard to set up for baby!  Luckily Mom coached me up this weekend and I have spent several days now happily doing what I can to get ready for Ava Grace and I feel much better!  One of the things that has occupied my time has been going through all the wonderful gifts we have received from friends and family!  I have been organizing, removing tags, will be washing little clothes soon, and all that fun stuff!  So, for my return to the blog I need to rewind and tell you how we got all these sweet baby things and update you on what we've been up to the past week!

We'll start with baby shower #1
My sister-in-law, Sarah, planned a beautiful shower for me last weekend, so we all headed to Chattanooga for a weekend full of family and fun!

I love the wreath that Sarah made!  It greeted us on the front porch when we arrived at the shower!

This is a picture of our bedding.  I wanted to put it on here for two reasons.  One, to show you how everything at the shower matched the bedding - it was so cute!  Also, to say that we got our bedding at this shower and I was so relieved!  I am so blessed to have a husband that enjoys being involved in every aspect of our family and parenting, right down to decorating the nursery!  It took us a while to find bedding that we both loved!  There were several that we liked, but we wanted something that we both would really be excited about!  Then, when we found it, it was out of stock! lol.  So, my sweet friends Moo and La came to rescue, finding the bedding on babysupermall.com and sharing my concern about bedding with my mom.  I was very surprised to get my complete bedding set from Mom at this shower and relieved to mark it off our list!  :-)

The strawberry cake (my favorite!) matched the bedding and theme of the shower decor!  Isn't this the prettiest cake ever!?!?  It was just as yummy as it looks!

 And of course there were girly balloons and baby things all around the house... I thought this clothes line was a cute shower idea!
 Sarah had also prepared a lot of WONDERFUL food!

 We planned the shower date so Lily could come too!  I think she'd kill us if we went to Chattanooga without her... especially to "Bentlee's house."  This trip was extra special because of the shower, but also because...

 ...Lily was invited to spend the night!
These two girls have SO. MUCH. FUN. together!
They did all the fun sleepover things like stay up late, drink caffeinated drinks, and eat lots of chocolate!

 Here I am with Sarah - the hostess with the mostest!

 ...and here I am opening gifts - with lots of help!  :-)  Kenslee, Brady, and the big girls were big helpers as I unwrapped all the wonderful gifts for Ava Grace!

We got tons of cute clothes, necessities like diapers, wipes, burp cloths, toys, etc, our pack and play, our swing, and our bedding!  Lily even got in on the action with some crazy socks, a monogrammed bag (gotta love thirty-one), books about a new baby sister, stencil and art fun, and all kinds of goodies!

Overall, it was a WONDERFUL day with friends and family!  I am so thankful for everything we received!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Menus and Recipes and Virus Outbreak, OH MY!

We are recovering from a virus outbreak in our house!
A stomach virus swept through late this weekend/Monday.  Ew.  Fortunately, I avoided it (so far), but with it came a computer virus for me.  I rushed my laptop to Best Buy... they encouraged me to leave it in their care to fix over the next 4-5 days to the tune of almost $400.  It would seem I did pay for the service plan, but not the one that would cover a virus (of course).  Thank God, they were able to block the pop up so I could access my files.  This enabled me to back up some important files and bought me some time so I could call my good friend Covin who walked me through step by step and had me backed up and my computer back on its feet and healthy as could be in under 30 minutes, at no cost, and I didn't lose a thing!  I am so thankful, words just can't express!

Anyway, that's why this week's menu plan and recipe dish is a day late!  :-)

Before we get to our menu plan, I wanted to post this picture (above) and recipe (click the picture) for Monterrey Chicken.  We made it... it was TOO easy and delicious!  It's a big time keeper I found on Pinterest and tried last week.  :-)

This week's Menu includes...

Chicken Noodle Soup for the sickling and grilled cheese for me! lol

Another try-and-see from Pinterest,
Cheddar Beer Chicken and Potatoes
(in the crock pot)
(click the picture to link to the recipe... it's a Sandra Lee) 

No Peek Chicken:
a favorite in my house!

Girl's Night Out
Chris will be on his own with leftovers

Mexican Chicken Chili

Pampered Chef Party
Chris will be on his own with leftovers again, lol

Sausage Cream Cheese Squares...
and other football-y foods!  :-)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Are you a pampered chef?

I recently held a "Holly Jolly Shopping Party" with my friends who are both named Beth!  Basically it was a Christmas Open House for us to show off Pampered Chef, Thirty-One, and Willow House products!  :-) 

For the occasion I made Caramel-Filled Cashew Cups.  Oh my goodness!  This recipe was really easy and absolutely delicious!  It's a great one for Thanksgiving gatherings and holiday parties, so I wanted to share the recipe:


1 3/4 C. Salted Cashews

2 Tbsp. Butter; melted

1/4 C. Light Corn Syrup

28 Caramels; unwrapped

2 Tbsp. Milk

1/3. C. Bittersweet Chocolate Morsels

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray cups of Deluxe Mini-Muffin Pan with nonstick cooking spray. Finely chop Cashews using Food Chopper or Manual Food Processor. Combine Cashews, Butter and Corn Syrup in Classic Batter Bowl; mix well. Using Adjustable Measuring Spoon (about 1 Tbsp.) divide Cashew Mixture evenly among cups of pan. Gently press tops of cashew mixture with lightly floured Mini-Tart Shaper to flatten tops; bake 6-8 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Meanwhile, combine Caramels and Milk in clean Batter Bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 2-3 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds. Remove pan from oven to Stackable Cooling Rack. Gently press hot cashew mixture again with tart shaper to form cups (I ended up using the end of a spatula or wooden spoon... the tart shaper was a little to large to effectively make a cup). Let stand 5 minutes. Grasp edges of each cup and twist gently to loosen; remove cups from pan. Divide melted caramel among cups using measuring spoon. Place chocolate morsels in 1 Cup Prep Bowl; microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 1 minute or until mostly melted, stirring every 20 seconds. Spoon melted chocolate in resealable plastic bag. Trim corner of bag with Utility Knife; drizzle chocolate over caramel. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The open house was a success and I got to share a lot of fun products that are especially good for the holidays!  In fact, the Holly Jolly Shopping party is still open for business until Saturday, so if you need anything from Pampered Chef you can click here to shop!  If you need anything from Thirty-One or from Willow House, just leave a comment or shoot me and email and I can get you in touch with the Beth that you need!  :-)

Pampered Chef has a lot of sauces that are great for an EASY party appetizer! Pour over cream cheese and serve with crackers... doesn't get easier than that!  For this show I put out the Apricot Honey Sauce (right) and the Blackberry Balsamic Sauce (left).  They were both good, but that Blackberry Balsamic... oh. my.  It was so good and a little addictive!  It would be good on a turkey sandwich too!  :-)

I also mixed up two salsas using my Manual Food Processor.  One was a Cranberry Salsa Recipe that I got from my friend Anne.  It's not a Pampered Chef recipe, but it was wonderful and a GREAT holiday recipe!  I'll share the recipe in another post.  :-)  The other was an olive salsa... it was simply garlic, olive oil, pimiento stuffed green olives, and ripe black olives... quick and easy olive lovers dream!

One of my goals was to share fun and simple holiday gift ideas!  One idea is this Celebration Cookie Mix - it makes a great and really cute gift in the batter bowl!  There are SO MANY gift ideas in the holiday section of my website!

There are recipes, centerpiece ideas, gift ideas... even printable gift tags to match your Pampered Chef gifts complete with recipes printed on them!  Click Here to see the holiday section for some great ideas!

There are also a lot of gift sets to give!  From snowman dishes to dipping sets, there is a gift for everyone on your list!

If you'd like to earn some gifts for yourself or for friends FOR FREE, this is a great month to host a catalog or cooking show!  For hosting you get your pick of ANY product in the catalog for 60% off (and if you submit your show before the 15th you get a free Butterball turkey too!).  In addition to that, you get all the usual host benefits like free and half-off items!  :-)  It's a GREAT way to get your holiday shopping done for less time and money than you usually spend!

Also, if you are interested in a debt free holiday, I'd love to talk to you about the extra money you can earn through Pampered Chef!  Think... you could fund all your holiday fun and come January be ahead instead of behind!  Let me know if you are interested!