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!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Chris and I are addicted to Words With Friends on our phones.  :-)  At any given time we have 3 or 4 games going just between the two of us!  With all of our interest, Lily wanted to know what was up?  We showed her and now she uses Chris' phone to play me! lol.  She's so smart anyway and her skills are improving with practice, so the other night we broke out the scrabble board!

 It was a family affair!  Lots of words, lots of spell check (lol), and lots of laughs!  Lily made sure Ava Grace was included - she loves to hold her now!

We put lots of thought into our game and all three tried our best, and guess what?!?!? 

Lily beat me!  Fair and square!!!!  How about that?

It's a new family favorite!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

ring tailed tooter

Think we are going to have our hands full?

Check out these expressions....

Evil plan brewing?

What'cha  lookin' at?

Hm... if I could just walk over there... 

That's just silly 

Are you watching me?

This girl can't talk, but you can read her little face like a book!  I have a feeling she's going to keep us laughing!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Did you know we have a star in our midst?

Lily loves to act!
She puts on a lot of "shows" for us at home, makes commercials... but she has started a "real" acting career this summer!!!  :-)

Last summer Anne asked if she could sign Lily up for acting camp! Lily was so excited! She practiced and performed The Sound Of Music.

This summer she wanted to do it again!  Lily participated in not one, but TWO weeks of acting camp!

The first week was one of Lily's most favorite plays - Annie!  She was so excited, but also a little timid and nervous.  She did a wonderful job.  The very next week, she did The Wizard of Oz!  And the best part???  She got the lead!  She played Dorothy!!!

We were all very excited that she had speaking parts in the second play.  She was more confident and did an even better job!  We were so proud!!!!

Here we all are with the star of the play!

(Side note:  Ava Grace screamed through Annie and had to be taken out.  I think she was overwhelmed by all the people and noise.  At The Wizard of Oz, however, we had a front row seat and she did great!  She watched the entire play and was mesmerized by Lily's wonderful performance!  YAY!)

Lily with Erin, Jay, and Anne!
We are so thankful to have this sweet family in our lives!  They may not be "officially" related, but they are family in our hearts!  Thank you, Anne, for making Lily's acting career possible!  We sure do appreciate all that you do for us and the girls!

Mimi and Pap might just be Lily's biggest fans!  :-)  They were at both performances as well.  Thank you both for making Lily's performance in The Wizard of Oz possible and for helping with transportation in the afternoons!  We couldn't have done it without your help!  We sure do feel blessed to have such a loving family!!!

Jodi and Silas came to both performances as well!  Silas impressed us both times by being so sweet and so quiet during the performances!!!!  It meant the world to Lily (and to us) to have you there!!! 

Aunt Jan was there cheering also!  (Are you getting the picture that Lily had quite the cheering section??? lol)  We were tickled pink that you got to come to see Lily in both plays!  We sure do love you!

 And I have to give a special shout out to these two!  Rob (above) and Crystal (below)!  They came to Annie to cheer Lily on and they came to the pre-play dinner we had before the Wizard of Oz.  We appreciate you both and we can't thank you enough for helping out with Ava Grace during Annie!  Thanks to y'all (especially Crystal), I was able to stay and see most of Lily's play!
This isn't the first time Crystal has taken care of our screaming wee one and we appreciate the help!  (And yes... that's purple hair you see in the picture of Crystal... right before she went completely blue! ;-)

We are so proud of Lily.
We are so blessed with and through family and friends.
Our hearts are full!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


We recently met our friend Kelly and her daughter Ella at the Splash Pad for an afternoon of water fun!

Because of Ava Grace's fair (and sensitive) skin, we have kept her out of the sun for the most part, but she LOVES being outside!!!  We found a nice big tree with lots of shade to park under so that Ava Grace could enjoy the beautiful day and being outside without worry of irritating sun screen.  She loved it!!!  She stayed wide awake for 4 hours with no a single whimper or whine!  She was too busy looking all around her and exploring her world!

Lily, on the other hand, is a sun (and water) lover and spent minimal time in the shade and maximum time splashing!  :-)

This little girl is a water bug!  She couldn't wait to get in there and get splashing!

 Chris and I took turns sitting with Ava Grace in the shade and splashing with Lily in the sun.  Ava Grace's big accomplishment of the day was sitting up!!  This is the first time she "sat" unassisted by us!  She used her arms to prop herself up! 

 Lily was timid at first... it was pretty crowded...
...but once she got wet, she was ready to go back for more!

Ella jumped right in!  This wild girl is her own person and she doesn't need anyone to help her have fun!  Okay, maybe she needs her Mommy from time to time, but other than that she was going and doing her thing and it didn't bother her one bit who was or wasn't watching and who was or wasn't playing!  LOL!  I love her sweet sense of independence!

 At one point Kelly looked up and told me to look over at Chris.... he attracts a crowd wherever he goes!  He had his own little Daddy daycare going on, it was hilarious!

Even though Ava Grace didn't get in the water, we let her wear her bathing suit and shades! 

It was a BEAUTIFUL day to be outside!!!  I think we all enjoyed the fresh air and extra dose of sunshine!

The day wasn't just all about water either... but it was all about fun!

We played in the water and on dry land!
Chris went to the gas station around the corner and got us all slushys! 

 Now where did she get such a long tongue...
 ...I do believe she got it from her Daddy! 
What do you think? lol

 Ella showing off her red tongue!

Ava Grace pushing up.  It's hard to believe that this was just 3 weeks ago and now she is getting ready to crawl already! lol 

two peas in a pod 

We are the two biggest water bugs in the family!  Lily and I would be happy swimming and splashing all day every day!   

Thank you Kelly and Ella for a fun day of sun and splashing!  We can't wait to do it again!!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

6 Months Old

Ava Grace turned 6 months old this week! 


How has time gone by so quickly?  She is growing like crazy and changing every single day, seemingly by the hour!

Sweet girl, you are our pride and joy!  You now sit up unassisted for extended periods of time.  You have excellent posture too!  You like to reach for everything around you - we really have to watch, especially at the table!  You can even lose your balance and catch yourself before you fall and push back up to sitting.  You haven't figured out yet how to go from laying down to sitting, but I know it won't be long!

 You love water!  You love bath time and don't want to get out of the tub.  Now that you can sit up, splashing is even  more fun!  We can't bathe you in the Kitchen anymore because you splash too much and every time we gave you a bath everything was wet - us, the floor, the counter... everything!  You also experienced the swimming pool this month!  Oh my goodness!  You absolutely LOVED it!  You are going to be a little water bug just like Mommy and big sister!

You are so close to crawling!  You completely skipped over army crawling and scootching and went straight for the real deal!  You are up on all fours and rocking back and fourth.  You even dig your toes in and lift your whole body off the floor with nothing touching but your tippy toes and hands - what muscles you have!!  You can go backwards super fast, but you can't figure out how to go forward yet!  Daddy says he bet's you are crawling by the end of next week... we'll see!

You are the happiest baby!  Everyone that meets you comments on how happy you are all of the time.  The only time you fuss is when you are hungry or tired... and sometimes when loud noises/crowds scare you.  You don't take great naps, you prefer short naps throughout the day to one or two long naps.  We'll work on that now that you are a little older.  Dr. Johnson said we should be glad you are a good night sleeper and not worry about naps so much - he says you'll get the sleep you need!  You are very good at playing by yourself.  You'll do anything for 20-30 minutes on your own... this includes playing in your bouncy, sitting/playing in your feeding seat while we eat dinner, playing on your blanket int he living room, etc.  You also get very excited when we break out a new toy - it's so cute to watch you get excited and anticipate!

You are a great eater!  You have tried applesauce, pears, bananas, green beans, peas, squash, and sweet potatoes!!  The only thing you aren't wild about is bananas.  You'll eat some, but I think the thicker texture throws you for a loop.  You didn't like rice cereal at first (same texture issue I think), but now you are warming up to it.  You hardly spill any food and open very wide for each bite... the only mess you make is because you think it's funny to blow raspberries while you eat.  It's hard not to laugh because it is pretty funny, but we are trying to discourage you from doing that when we eat because it goes everywhere! lol.  When we go out to eat you sit in your high chair now.  We are so proud because we don't have to get you out or hold you - you are very good about staying in your seat while others are eating!

You are just precious!  We think you might be a little pistol when you get a little older.  You seem to have a very bold personality!  You have so many fun expressions and a sense of curiosity that is so fun to watch.  You aren't very patient when you decide you want something and you have a determination that is impressive for your age!  You are making consonant sounds - so far you have made the sounds for B, W, and M.  You are starting to try to copy us and it's so cute!  Me and Daddy battle for "Ma-Ma-Ma-Ma" and "Da-Da-Da-Da," but right now "Ba-ba-ba-ba" is your favorite sound and we think that means your first word will probably be bye-bye, or ball, bite, or bottle... we'll find out soon enough I guess.

We sure are proud of you little girl!  And we love you so much!

(p.s. Looking at these pictures it appears that our baby spends an unusual amount of time in just her diaper.  I assure you we do put clothes (super cute ones, I might add) on her every day, but she drools so much in the evening we take them off and let her run around half naked, lol.  We think teeth are on their way!!)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Daddy's Girls...

Of all the things I love about my husband, the thing I think I love the most is what a great Daddy he is!

It doesn't get much better that this...

He would do anything for these girls...

They will always know how loved they are...

And will never lack for cuddles and snuggles....

The girls and I are so lucky to call him ours!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Menu Monday

Chris and I just took two weeks "off" from coaching and opening the gym to enjoy some summer time!  We spent the week that Lily wasn't with us at home relaxing in stay-cation mode!  We did as little as possible, lol.  We have a "Can We Get It All Done Before The End Of Summer" list like Lily's and so we worked on it a little.  My friend Courtney kept Ava Grace so we could go on a date - just the two of us.  We also did a double date night with my brother-in-law and sister(ish)-in-law (only the ish because they aren't married quite yet) with Ava Grace along for the ride.  We went to Cherokee Steak House on the lake and marked it off our list - it was a great evening with great food!  The rest of the week we watched movies, took naps, and just enjoyed being home.  The second week, with Lily, we spent on "vacation" with family!  We spend time in Murfreesboro with Chris' family and then headed to Chattanooga for the second part of the week with my family and the annual 4th of July bash!  It was SO. MUCH. FUN.  All of it... the stay-cation, the vacation, time with both side of the family!  We enjoyed every moment!

Anyway, that explains the long break from blogging.  Now it's Monday and although I haven't been doing Menu Monday over the summer because we are much more laid back and unpredictable during the summer, we have been cooking great recipes at home!  I thought I would share some of our favorites from the past few weeks!  All of these are worth trying out!  Yum!

(Picture and Recipe from Kayotic Kitchen - Click HERE to see original post)

We made stuffed Zucchini the other day!  It was literally a meal in itself - we didn't even need the grilled chicken I served with it!  I was kind of surprised at how much Chris liked it!  It is Zucchini stuffed with onion, bacon, cheese, and spices!  So good!  Click HERE for the full recipe.  They were very quick and easy and the only adjustment I would make is to leave out the curry, but that is just because I don't care for the taste of curry.  :-)

We have grilled chicken a lot lately.  It's one of our favorite foods and we probably have some variety of grilled chicken at least once, usually twice, a week!  There are so many variations of marinades, cuts of meat, and ways to serve!  We do grilled chicken in all kinds of marinades, we like breasts, thighs, legs... we do kabobs, sandwiches, you name it!  Here are two GREAT marinades we have used recently:

Our all time favorite...
(picture and recipe from What's Cooking Chicago? click HERE for original post)

Honey Chicken Kabobs
(We use it for kabobs and just grilled thighs or breasts)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cloves minced garlic

A no-name marinade recipe -
I can't even remember where it came from, but it's so very good:

1-2 Tbs vinegar
2-3 tsp herbs of your choice (I used Crushed Peppercorn and Garlic rub from The Pampered Chef - SOOOOOOOOOOO good!!)
1-2 Tbs Mustard (I use Dijon)
1-2 tsp garlic/onion powder (I use one of each)
1/4 cup oil

Last night we had stuffed peppers that were really good.  I liked them most because they were NOT a "southwest" stuffed pepper like most recipes and not stuffed full of rice.  Chris liked them a lot too, so I know it's a keeper!  I can't remember where I got the recipe from, but it was very quick and easy to prep. 

Preheat to 350 degrees,

Brown 2 pounds of ground beef

Combine beef with 1 cup bread crumbs, 1 cup cooked rice, 1 Tbs parsley, 1/4 cup milk, 2 Tbs sauce mix (below) and 1 Tbs Cajun seasoning.  Season with salt and pepper as well to taste.

Sauce: Mix 1 can tomato soup, 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/3 cup water, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper.

Cut 4 bell peppers lengthwise and take out the stems, ribs, and seeds.  Stuff.  Place in a 9x13 dish.  Cover with sauce,cover with foil, and bake for 1 hour.

This recipe made enough for Chris and I to have dinner and then I froze two sets of peppers for meals in the future.  I also made a big batch of twice baked potatoes to freeze for future use.

I have lots more recipes to share, but I'll save them for another Monday!  Hopefully you'll get a chance to try some of these out - I know you'll love them!