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!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Best Friends...

I can't say enough about Ava Grace's play mat!  I think if she could talk, she'd call it her best friend... or rather, she'd call "them" her best friends!

She's at the prefect age to really enjoy her play mat!  She "talks" to Mr. Sunshine and "sings" along with his songs.  She's learning to focus really hard and make her hands reach out for all the fun toys!
She's enjoying sticking her tongue out these days too!
On a good day, she'll happily play with her play mat friends for a good 30 minutes!  She smiles and coos happily and wildly waves her arms and kicks her feet to make the little butterfly jingle and the sun sing it's silly songs!

Then, as suddenly as the joy of her play mat came, it leaves and all of a sudden, she doesn't care too much about her butterfly and sunshine..

She really really really NEEDS....
...her #1 best friend.
Her paci!

And after that,
this always follows!

Sweet little daytime naps from my sweet little girl!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Time for school...

Did you play school when you were little?

I would have to say that a huge majority of the time I was playing by myself as a child was either spent playing "house/mommy" and playing "school."  They were my two favorite things to do!  I always preferred baby dolls over stuffed animals because I enjoyed having my very own class of students and my own family full of kids!  Nowadays, I am getting to relive all of those fun times with Lily!  Guess what her favorite thing to play is???


Here she is with her pointer posing as a mean teacher! lol!  Chris and I try to make it upstairs to play school with her at least once a week.  Sometimes both of us, sometimes one of us... depending on what is going on.  I just know how fun it is to have REAL students in your class that you can call on and that can do homework and that can do voices for all of the other "students" in the class!

When we play, I always play the model student, but make sure to miss a few answers so she can correct me.  Above you see the students that sit in the back row.  That's Stephen in the chair on the right... he rarely behaves!  Along with Stephen, you'll see George, Maddie, Baby Born, Susan, Felicity, and Amy.

Here is the front row with Bitty, Kit, Elizabeth, and Molly.

Chris, My, and Ava Grace always sit in the middle row.  Sometimes Chris plays the principle and students from the class have to go to him to be disciplined. He even comes in and does class talks and teacher evaluations! ;-)  When he plays a student, he always plays a pesky boy who causes trouble and blurts out and asks to go to the bathroom too much!  He even tries to sleep in class!

And speaking of sleeping in class...
Ava Grace spent too much time sleeping in class and she often gets hungry in the middle of a lesson and has to be fed, so we decided to make her the class pet!  lol.  One of the class jobs on Lily's bulletin board is "Feed the class pet" and my name is assigned to that task!  Haha!

I have so much fun playing with Lily and as a family!  Every time we play together I am reminded to savor the moment and make these memories!  I try very hard to remember this when I'm busy and saying, "not right now"  ... sometimes you just need to put everything down, walk away, and PLAY!

And just because playing can really wear you out... sometimes you need to drop everything and take a nap!  And they did...
...and kept sleeping right on half way through the night! 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Menu Monday... way late!

Butter and Parmesean Pasta

Chicken Casserole

Burgers & Chips
(first grill out of the season!)


Dinner out to celebrate my Mother-In-Law's Birthday!!

Chicken Fingers & Fries

Steak and Potatoes Gratin

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

For Erin...

Last weekend a family friend got married.  She asked me to photograph her wedding.  I quickly assured her I was not at all qualified to photograph a wedding.  She assured me that she wanted me to anyway!  Her wedding was beautiful and everything from the flowers to the photos (haha) were done by family and friends!  I know she is anxious to see her pictures, so I wanted to give her a sneak peek!  I don't, however, want to over share or give away too much... this is her day to share... so I just picked a few "fun" photos to share!  I'll be finished with them tomorrow and get a CD in the mail to her some time next week... in the mean time, Erin, here is a little peek at your special day!

The detail on Erin's dress was beautiful! 

I love a good ring shot!

The girls
You know I have a thing for feet!

The happy couple!

The guys

And, possibly my favorite, because it's so fun!
Erin's Superman!

Erin, thank you for including me in your special day.  I will be sending a CD of hundreds of pictures for you to dig through and play with next week!  I wish you all the best!  I am so glad to see you so happy!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Feeling Crafty?

About every-other-month me and my favorite ladies get together for a visit... and a craft!  Lena came up with the original idea!  We wanted to all get together to catch up, but if you go to dinner and/or a movie, your time and conversation is limited and it often blows the budget.  So, Lena  came up with the idea of getting together for a meal IN and a craft!  She hosted the first craft night at her house and we each made a Christmas wreath!  It was so much fun, we decided to made it something we do every couple of months!

(Dawson, Courtney, and Lena)

I volunteered to host next since we knew I'd have Ava Grace!  Because our house is a drive for everyone we scheduled a brunch instead of an evening event.  Everyone came over at 10 am for a craft and a brunch consisting of mini frittatas (sausage & cheddar as well as spinach & goat cheese), hasbrown casserole, thick and crispy bacon, and mini caramel pecan sticky buns!  Lena brought the makings for mimosas also - YUM!  It was so much fun!

(Lauren and Dawson)

The only hiccup was that about 30 minutes before everyone arrived Chris went to turn on the kitchen sink, only to discover a trickle of water!  We lost water for the entire visit from everyone and got it back about an hour after they all left!  LOL.  I was so embarrassed, but that's part of living in the county and being on spring water!  It turned out to be a very simple fix, but we are still learning how the whole system works!

(Betsey and Megan)

Despite the water issues, we all had a wonderful time eating, visiting, and crafting!  It was SO WONDERFUL to see all of my nearest and dearest and to catch up!  I am really honored that they were all willing to make the drive to come to our home and enjoy a morning together!
Here we all are {Megan, Betsey, Courtney, Me, Lena, and Lauren} with our completed crafts!
It was also a special day because it was the first time that Lena, Betsey, and Courtney got to meet Ava Grace!  :-)  She was a bit fussy, but she still enjoyed all the loving she got! 

Chris took advantage of the craft day to spend some quality time with the girls!  He took them to the library and to get lunch!  But before they left and when they returned there were lots of snuggles and visiting for both girls from all of my favorite "big girls!"
(Lena, Ava Grace, and Dawson)

When everyone loaded up and left, Lily was feeling a little crafty!  I told her she could make her own craft just like ours!  We had each made one of our whole family, but I encouraged Lily to make one of just her and Ava Grace for Chris to put on his desk at work!

She did such a  good job, don't you think?  And now Chris has a constant reminder of his little girls when he is at work every day!

I can't wait for the next craft day!  The hostess always picks the craft and keeps it a secret until the day everyone comes!  The only hint we get is the list of supplies to bring!  :-)  With Pinterest, I think we have a lifetime supply of craft ideas... I wonder what the next one will be?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Thrill Points...

If you have kids, especially little girls, you have got to watch "Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer" movie!  It's great!  Lily got it for Christmas from Santa and we have watched it a few hundred times! The movie basically is about a little girl who thinks every summer is super boring, so she makes a Not Bummer Summer checklist that her and her friends try to complete!  For each thing on the list, they get "thrill points" and can even earn bonus points!  Lily LOVES this movie and wanted her own list sooo....

Chris created the above, "Lily Hooper's Not Bummer Can We Do It All Before The End Of Summer Thrill Points Check List!"  Not only did he create it {the rough draft is seen above}, he had it blow up into a GIGANTIC poster and had it laminated!  Haha!!  It's now hanging in Lily's room and includes things such as:
-swim in a stream or river
-catch a toad, frog, or lizard
-go to the store in your pajamas
-have a backwards day

The list is wild and crazy!  Especially for a girly girl like Lily!  Well, she wanted to start earning thrill points, so the other night completed the first of many things on her list...
 Yep, the picture is just what it looks like!  That's Lily changing a diaper! 

But not just any diaper folks... 

...a dirty one! 


She got 30 thrill points and a bonus 10 for taking it out to the trash!  (It was a stinker... for real!)

I can't wait to watch her check off each thing on her list!  Think about making a list of your own!  Things that take you outside your comfort zone and keep you on your toes!  It's fun!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Look Who's Two!!!

Months, that is!  ;-)
I simply can't get over how fast our baby girl is growing!!!  I can't even keep up on a daily basis!  It's amazing and wonderful and bittersweet!  Some days I wish I could stop time and just enjoy this age and this size because I know as early as tomorrow she will be bigger and older!

(Thanks Jennifer, for the blanket - we love it, as you can see!!)

Here is our beautiful Ava Grace at two months old...
Mommy loves my sweet sleeping face!  She says it makes her heart hurt how sweet I look!  I just am trying to get some rest so I can play some more... oh, and so I can eat some more!  I love to eat... even though I still think my formula is kind of yucky.  Speaking of eating... Dr. Johnson says I am in the 83rd percentile in weight - he says I'm a "petite chunky monkey" because I am only in the 32nd percentile in height!  It doesn't bother me though!

 Mommy insists on tummy time daily!  I don't know what the big deal is!!  I hold my head up ALL. THE. TIME when I am on her shoulder or daddy's shoulder and sometimes when I am sitting in someone's lap or in my car seat, I sit UP and hold my head up and look around!  She STILL makes me do this tummy time thing to "strengthen my muscles."  Really Mama?  Is this necessary?  I'm not loving it.... and I'm not lifting my head while I'm down here either!

My most favorite thing other than eating is being naked!  Naked, naked is the best, but I enjoy just a diaper too!  See my new quilt that Grandmommy made for me?  It's my new favorite!  I play on it every day!

My favorite time of day is a toss up between morning and evening.  I love the early mornings when mommy snuggles me in bed and I am all smiles for daddy when he kisses me goodbye.  I also love the late afternoon when Daddy gets home!  Once he is home, all I want to do is snuggle in his lap!  He thinks I'm too little to miss him during the day, but he's wrong!  Mommy says I'm a different baby when he gets home!  I just want to play with Daddy and then get in my special snuggly spot with him on the couch and drift off to sleep! 

Speaking of sleep... Mommy's trying to "sleep train" me!  Haha!  Seriously mom?  She has this crazy idea I shouldn't just nap wherever anymore, that I should nap in my crib.  I compromise by spending some time in there every day... but it's not my favorite.  I'd rather sleep in my swing, so when I wake up after about 30 minutes I ask her really sweet (by puckering out my bottom lip and filling my eyes with real big tears) if I can go back in the living room with her and sleep in the rocker with her or in my swing.

Mommy has a weird thing for my feet and my belly.  She kisses all over me every day!

I'm STILL keeping Mama and Daddy guessing as to my eye color and my hair color!  Ha!  It's kind of funny... they can't figure it out!  Daddy is starting to lean towards thinking I am going to have green eyes.  My big sister thinks hazel.  Mommy says she just doesn't know yet!  And my hair?  Well... it's light brown... but every now and then look what happens....

...it looks red!  Haha!  Daddy says I don't have red hair, but Grandmommy and Mama think it's possible that I might end up with hair the color of my Daddy's goatee!  I think I'll keep 'em guessing a little while longer!  After all, I'm just two months old.

Maybe when I turn three months old...  ;-)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Driving down the road...

I looked down while driving down the interstate the other day and smiled to myself at what I saw!

Paci rings and hair bow bracelets... such is the life of a mommy! (of little girls, anyway!  :-)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Menu Monday... and a picture or three

This week's Menu plan is pretty sparse!  We have a busy week with some photo shoots and Pampered Chef-ing for me and a rehearsal dinner and wedding this weekend!  So, we are flying by the seat of our pants for change, but I know our meals will include:

Italian Sausage Stuffed Pasta Shells
Chicken Salad
Barbecue Chicken
Pasta with goat cheese and walnuts

And just because, a few pictures from my phone of our little ladybug in her little ladybug outfit outfits!

Found that thumb again!  She works hard at it, with serious concentration every day!  We keep popping in that paci, which she also loves, but often spits out in favor of "practicing" with her hands!  She'll try to steady the one hand with the other, but can never seem to get her thumb and fingers to uncurl!  But every now and then she'll get it!  lol.  And when she doesn't after LOTS of trying and LOTS of drool, she'll get frustrated and cry for her paci again! :-)  It's pretty funny!

She went with me to my Pampered Chef Open House!  I swear I would have made a million if I had just charged a fee to hold her!  Everyone held her at some point - it was pretty funny and as you can see she didn't mind one bit!  She is such a social butterfly!

...and another swing shot!  We LOVE her swing because she LOVES her swing!  :-)  It's a beautiful thing... and so is she!

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Best Big Sister

Ava Grace has had so many posts lately because she's growing at lightening speed!  I just realized the blog was in desperate need of a Lily update!  Rest assured, big sister has NOT gone unnoticed or neglected at home!  :-)  Before Chris and I even conceived Ava Grace we spent a lot of time talking about our future family and what a careful balance it needed to be!  While I was carrying Ava Grace we spent as much or more time talking about Lily and preparing with her as we did for Ava Grace.  We didn't (and don't) want either of the girls to be jealous of each other or feel that they get the short end of the stick.  We go to great efforts to make sure that we each spend quality time together as a family and that both girls get quality one on one time with each of us!  :-)  Lily is one special little girl. 

She is the single most kind hearted and tender hearted little person I have ever known!  She thinks of other's feelings and is considerate beyond her years.

She is also very creative!
Here we are playing "show"  ...imagine a mix of American Idol and America's Got Talent...  with lots of American Girl dolls!  Me, Chris, and Ava Grace are the judges... Lily's the host... the girls and boys are the contestants!  It's a running game... this week is round two!  I can't wait to see what acts we see Thursday night!  ;-)

Lily is also a reader.  We try to foster this love of reading by providing lots and lots of books!  She loves being read to and reading out loud to us and also reading to herself!  On school nights, she reads before bed each night!  (On weekends she gets to watch a movie on her TV).  Some of her favorites are The Berenstain Bears, Junie B Jones, Cam Jansen.... and right now she's working on The Boxcar Kids.

 (Lily reading with her Mimi)

If there is one thing that Lily loves to do most, it's laugh!
I can't tell you how many times we hear, "let's be funny!"  or "let's laugh" or "make us laugh daddy, you're so funny!!!!"  :-)  And boy do we laugh!  Sometimes so hard it requires a hasty trip to the potty! LOL  Lily likes to tell stories to make us laugh, and she is turning into a very talented story teller! :-)

Lily is growing up so fast too!  It's hard to believe that she is already 7 (and three quarters)!  She is quickly developing her own tastes!  Grandmommy took her shopping to let her pick out stuff to decorate her own bathroom...
 ...and she did so good!  See the lamp?  The towels and rugs match the colors with bright pink, green, and blue dot rings!  She likes to pick out her own clothes too, and this year has decided the doesn't really like jeans.  She likes skinny jean leggings okay, but not actual blue jeans.  Her favorite "look" is either a dress or a cute skirt with leggings with a matching top and hari bow for her side ponytail!  It's fun watching her develop her own sense of style! 

She is the most loving little girl in the whole wide world and everyone that meets her quickly learns how special she really is!

Ava Grace sure is lucky to have such a great big sister!