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, November 12, 2013

To blog, or not to blog...

Warning:  Total stream of consciousness post.  Just clearing my head.

(This is my view every morning out of our bedroom window before I get out of bed.  It's such a peaceful sight to wake up to!)

I miss blogging, but time is so valuable these days!  I haven't been here blogging, because my "spare time" (ha-ha) on the computer has been spent creating family photo albums on Shutterfly.  I have finally switched everything to Shutterfly and I am doing all of my albums on there instead of the old way - ordering prints, putting them in albums, and writing captions.  So, over the past month or two I have gone back to January 2012 and worked my way forward.  Yesterday I finally caught up!

("Touch it snow mommy!")

So, today I sit here.  Just finished my quiet time.  Mickey Mouse Club House playing.  I am sipping coffee.  Ava Grace is running around in her footie Pjs half watching tv and half playing baby.  It's snowing outside (yes, you read that correctly).  I'm snuggled and warm and have no where to be until 2:00.  Great time to blog, right?  Yes.  I think so.  But then I also think it's a great time to read my magazines that are piling up.  It's the perfect time to do a load of dishes and start some laundry.  It's the perfect day to "catch up" and I need to go to the grocery store.  I could put up the fall decorations and start getting out some Christmas stuff.  It's a great morning for story books and puzzles in the "fort" with Ava Grace.  It's cold and good time to snuggle and watch a movie with her too!  My mind quickly gets clouded with all the want-to's and the have-to's and it is so hard to choose.  (...and I'm thankful to have so many choices.  That in and of itself is an amazing blessing.)

Confession:  Most days the only thing on the list above that actually gets done is meal preparations, a few dishes and a load of laundry if we are lucky.  I spend much more time playing kitchen, baby, working puzzles, reading story books, and pretending that we are zoo animals than I do cleaning, catching up, or... blogging... obviously.  Sometimes I let a little guilt creep in and think of what I "should" do with my time, but then I try to always remind myself that I have never heard a parent say, "I wish I had spent more time cleaning and less time playing..." or "I wish I had spent more time at work..."  So maybe I am doing okay.

In the light of our miscarriage last week, I find that a bit of the cloudiness has cleared.  I feel reflective.  I feel the need to simplify.  Our family stays way too busy and spread way to thin.  We need to be home more.  Play more.  Go less.  This weekend while I recouped from the procedure Friday, we stayed home.  My Mama was here to help - it was so nice having her here to just be with us.  Chris had to take care of some things Saturday, but other than that we all spent the entire weekend at home in our PJs.  The girls played, we relaxed and watched a good mix of Christmas movies and football.  We all took naps (except for Lily, of course), and it was peaceful.  We need more peaceful and less... well... less of a lot!  Less stuff, less obligation, less self-inflicted pressure.

("Do'wat 'gin Mommy!  It Cooooold")

So I guess today the answer to the question "to blog or not to blog" was... blog.  Just a record of my thoughts.  Not perfect or proofread or written in one sitting (in the process of this post we have had a doughnut and chocolate milk (and more coffee for me) - total indulge... taken baby for a stroller ride... changed clothes... and played in the "snow" on the deck - she couldn't resist).  I think my goal this week is to take each day one at a time and to just be.  Just be me.  Take care of what is most important and not worry too much about what doesn't get done.  Maybe I'll blog again this week.... but if I don't I won't let myself feel conflicted about it.  We'll just wait and see.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Menu Monday

Grilled Steak
Baked Potatoes
Green Beans

Beans and Rice

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches


Date night!


Leftovers or Pizza

Monday, August 26, 2013

Menu Monday

Chicken Bacon Ranch Quesadillas


Cheesy Chicken Noodle Casserole

Grilled Pork Chops
Steamed Broccoli and Cauliflower
Smash Hot Potatoes


Saturday and Sunday:
Plans with family!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Menu Monday... a day early for a change!

Grilled Pork Chops
Roasted Vegetables
Grilled Asparagus

Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans

White Chicken Enchiladas

Breakfast Casserole
Home Fries

Home Made Pizza


Grilled Burgers or Hot Dogs

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Phone Photo Unload

My phone is full of pictures and I try to load them to the computer and clear them off the phone on a pretty regular basis.  The key word there is "try."  It never actually happens.  I usually only manage to do it every 3 or 4 months.  Today, I did just that.  So, here are a few of my favorite phone photos from this summer...

Grandmommy and Ava Grace picking flowers.

The pool!
You know I had tons of pool pictures.
I'm only sharing a few, but had to share this one of our sweet neighbor and friend, Kassidy!  Both our girls love her and think she is the coolest.... because, well, she is!  Have I mentioned today that we have the best neighbors ever?  Ever. 
This picture is posted as proof that I exist.  It's a running joke at our house because I am always the one taking the picture and thus never in them!  

These two have gotten crazy close over the summer.  Chris is just plain and simply the best. daddy. ever.

If one paci is good, two is better, right?

Playing at the park with Papaw.
Ava Grace is a little dare devil!  She loves to slide and swing!!

This was the summer of the scooter for Lily!  This thing went everywhere with use!

Okay, one more pool picture!  This water bug is all about "wimming."  She even jumped off the diving board at Grandmommy and Papaws!

Too cool for school...
LOVES Mommy's glasses!

Chris and Lily at her favorite place...
the ZOO of course!

Fun with Daddy at the gym!

Sister can put away some milk!

The best view is from daddy's shoulders!

Okay, a couple more pool pictures.
They are just too darn cute!

Future golfer?
Ava Grace loves to go to the golf course and ride in the golf cart and "help" Daddy golf.  Last time we went, she insisted on bringing her own clubs and playing alongside Chris.  It was too cute and she was so proud of herself!

Fishing at the park.


2nd day of 4th grade!  I forgot to take a picture when we picked her up on her first day... ooops!  She is getting so big and grown up... I STILL can't believe she's a fourth grader.  Every time I say it sounds weird!

Lauren and Courtney's new addition, Connor!

Me and Connor

Courtney and Connor!
He is the CUTEST little thing!  I was blown away at how tiny he was.  I swear I don't remember Ava Grace being that small.  Too. Too. Sweet.

Ava Grace's new, most-favorite-in-all-the-world thing to do is play "chi-chen" (kitchen).  We moved Lily's play kitchen to the loft and Ava Grace has played with it every single day.  She takes me to the bottom of the stairs every single morning and asks to go up and play kitchen.  This morning I snapped this picture of her serving me a breakfast of hot dogs, chicken and a very large carrot.  Yummy.

Dinner and a movie!
This little plastic chair and table, that we got for the deck, have been loved and used all summer!  Inside AND out!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Menu Monday

Terriaki Chicken and Rice

Taco Salad

Grilled Chicken
Potato Salad
Baked Beans




Saturday, August 10, 2013

All About Ava Grace

Sweet Ava Grace,

 School has started back and I am so thankful I get to stay home with you!  We have so much fun together and you are learning so much!  With Daddy and Lily off at work and school, we have been finding new ways to have fun!  One of our favorites is ditching the diaper and having water fun out on the deck!

 Boy, do you love to splash!

You are 18 months old now and you surprise us every day with new words and phrases!  You are so very smart and a big time problem solver!  You are still small on the growth chart but we have experienced first hand the good things that come in small packages!  You may be small, but your are mighty!

We did some painting this week and you did not like the paint getting on you or off of the paper you were painting.  You don't like getting dirty or messy and we had to stop every few minutes to wipe up all the paint and wash your hands.

We have been working on colors and counting to three.  You can say all of the colors, but as far as "knowing" them, you aren't there yet.  According to you, everything is yellow!  As far as counting goes, your favorite number is 2.  If we ask you about how many of something there are, you always say two!  When counting, you say, "two, two, twooooo" instead of "one, two, threeeee."  It's pretty cute.

You talk in short phrases and sentences now and it is so cute!  You say, "I come!" if you want to go with us.  You also say, "I go, I watch, and I read."  You like giving us instructions like, "Sit right here."  You also tell us that you want to have "lunch" every time you are hungry!

You and I are finding new and fun things to play with around the help to polish your fine motor skills and to work on things like counting, sorting, sharing, and taking turns!  One of your favorite "new" toys is the Parmesan cheese container!  We cleaned an empty one and put q-tips in it!  You love to empty it and then we take turns dropping the q-tips in the round holes one at a time.  You enjoy a similar activity with an empty peanut butter jar that has holes drilled in the lid and pipe cleaners to push through the holes. 

You're still our wild girl!  You love to jump, climb, flip, and romp around!  You and Lily have a big time climbing in and out of your pack and play together and flipping and tumbling around the living room.  You have already figured out that big sis is really cool and fun!

You love love love music!  You dance slow by waving your arms slowly around and slowly spinning.  You fast dance by bouncing, jumping, and waving your hands up and down quickly.  You also enjoy singing... especially songs that have motions!!!

We love you sweet girl!  We fall more in love with you every day!


Monday, August 5, 2013

Menu Monday

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

(This is my favorite crock pot trick!  I put a couple large chicken breasts straight from the freezer into the crock pot.  I cover them with water and season the water with a little salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.  I set the crock pot on low and let it go for 6-8 hours while I'm at work.  When I get home I remove the chicken, shred with two forks, and then toss the shredded meat with buffalo sauce and a little ranch!  Put it on buns and you have dinner!  It doesn't get any easier than that!  For the kids, I pull out a little of the meat and toss with regular barbecue sauce.  All four of us love these!)

Roasted Pork Loin and vegetables
(vegetables - red potatoes, carrots, and onion)

Grilled Honey Chicken
Steamed Cauliflower
Green Beans

Grilled Chicken Salad
(with the leftover honey chicken)

Pasta Night
Pioneer Woman's Pasta a la Betsy


Taco Salad

Saturday, August 3, 2013

July Recap...

We have had trouble with our internet, but got it fixed today.  So here is a quick recap of the activities from the end of July...
Lily did acting camp again this summer!  This is her third summer in a row and she just keeps getting better and better!  This was her fifth play!  This year's play was Mary Poppins!  Lily truly knocked our socks off this year!  Her state presence was fantastic, her voice and motions were larger than life, and her singing was out of this world!  Way to go Lily!  You sure do make us proud!!

 Two days after Lily's play, Chris and I loaded Ava Grace up and headed to Cincinnati for surgery #3.
 We got there just in time to see a Red's game!
 It was so much fun!  Ava Grace LOVED it!
 It was very hot, so Ava Grace had to cool off with some ice cream... of course!
 Overall, we had a great night in Cincinnati and went to bed extra early in preparation for our VERY early rise the next morning at 4:00 AM our time.
 Ava Grace didn't seem to mind the early hour as we drove through downtown to the hospital to her awaiting room and, more importantly, toy bag!
 As if her bag full of toys wasn't enough, the nurses let her play with all of the equipment too!  I'm telling you, this place is the best!
 They always come in and let us pick a hand made surgery cap and a scent for her anesthesia!  They have something crazy, like 37 - I think - "flavors" to choose from.  We went with strawberry, since those are Ava Grace's number one favorite food of all time. 
 There is A LOT of waiting involved when we arrive at 5:30 (that's 4:30 our time) and surgery isn't until 7:30!!
 We walked her back, gave kisses outside the operating room, and then killed a whopping 20 minutes before we were paged back to the post-surgery meeting room.  Everything went great.  She was slower to wake up this time and we beat her back to her room to be there when she arrived... very groggy and slightly drunk.
This is the nurse and student that took care of us this time!  Everyone there is so wonderful!!  It was a great experience again!!  We head back for #4 in October!

The weekend after surgery, we prepped for house guests!! My parents (Grandmommy and Papaw) and my niece Bentlee came up for a visit!!
 It was great fun to see them!  We shopped, had a birthday dinner for Aunt Jan with Chris' whole family, and did lost of visiting.  We went the Corvette museum in Bowling Green and then picked Lily up from her week at her mom's.  Lily didn't know Bentlee was coming - it was a huge surprise!  Bentlee was beside herself with excitement and plans to surprise Lily and Lily was just as excited to see her! 
 They had great fun playing American girl and also putting on a dance show and a fashion show!
 When we were kids, mom had a bunch of dresses she had saved from being in weddings and such and we had so much fun playing in them!  For that reason, I have saved all my past prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses, and dresses from other formal events.  All those dresses taking up space, finally paid off!  Lily and Bentlee did a four round fashion show complete with jewelry!  It was so cute!
 Saturday of that weekend was Ice Day at the zoo!  We, of course, had to get in on that!  We had so much fun!!!  My parents and Bentlee came along, but we also hooked Chris' parents and brother and sister-in-law into joining us!  It was fun to see all the animals with their icy treats!
Ava Grace had fun as always and looked extra cute in her new go-to-the-zoo outfit!

The last leg of our July recap journey happened this past week.  Our amazing neighbors and friends (the one's across the street that keep Ava Grace) told me about the Sumner County Fair and encouraged Lily to enter some things!  We had just made the hair bows that I blogged about in a prior post, so we decided to enter the one Lily made...
...and look who got FIRST PLACE!  Lily was SO EXCITED!  We also entered our "Peanut-butter-Brookies," but they didn't win.  We are already planning our entries for next year!
Missy's girls had several entries as well.  Among them were some photos of Ava Grace!  They got first place too!!
 We went to the Fair Wednesday for some good, but not-so-good-for-ya fair food and some rides!  We saw Missy and the girls and even got to ride a ride with Kassidy!  It was a lot of fun!  Now we are gearing up for the Wilson County Fair next weekend!