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, April 24, 2013

Menu Monday... late once more

Menu Monday... on Wednesday!

BBQ Grilled Chicken
Grilled Squash
Leftover slaw and green beans

Grilled Pork Chops
Steamed Broccoli
Stuffed Sweet Peppers

No-Bean Chili

Dinner on the Go... 
Chicken Salad??

Fajita Chicken
Peppers and Onions

Ranch Bacon Cheese Burgers
Pork Rinds/Veggie Straws


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Nashville Zoo

Last Saturday, after Lily's softball practice we grabbed a quick lunch on-the-go and headed off to the Nashville Zoo to meet some friends!
Several of Lily's friends from her girl scout troop met at the zoo earlier that day and we met up with them as soon as we were able!  We started our visit by meeting a few animals up close and personal... like this skunk!
Thankfully this skunk has been de-"stunked" (as Lily used to call them).!
We also made sock caterpillars!  Then we loaded up and headed off to explore the parts of the zoo that her friends and their mom's hadn't already explored!
Ava Grace was along for the ride and, as always, was just happy to be in close proximity to Lily and to be outside!
We found some water wildlife - fish and lots of really big turtles!

It was the perfect day for the zoo!  There was a nice breeze and the temperature was mild, but the sun shone the whole day, so it was very comfortable!
There were several animals that Ava Grace just couldn't spot from her vantage point.  I mean, how do you explain to a 15 month old to look for a panda bear way up in a tree somewhere in a huge enclosure???  BUT, there were a few animals that were up close and personal and she L-O-V-E-D those!  The best example was probably these flamingos!  They were making all kinds of noises and moving around near the barriers and she thought they were fascinating!
I didn't know how she would react, but I took her in the petting area.  Really, I just wanted to take advantage of the chance to let her get out of the stroller and run around!  And she did run... right for the animals!  She loved petting the goats.... and playing the mulch too!
At the end of our zoo adventure, and just before the zoo closed, we took the girls to the huge playground for one last hoo-rah and then over to the carousel to cool off. 
We didn't get to see everything because Lily's friends had already done a few things before we got there.  That's good, though, because Chris wants to go with us next time to see it all!  In fact, we had so much fun that it really got me thinking of doing the membership.  It's $100 for the year (which basically, if you got twice a year, you have already covered the price of your membership).  It is certainly something to think about.  Have any of you ever had a zoo membership?  Did you think it was worth the money?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Softball season has begun...

Chris and I were very very excited to hear that Lily wanted to do softball again this year!
This will be Lily's first year a real rec league (instead of One Goal), so there will be actual scores and strike outs and the whole bit!  We are very excited!  It will also be her first season playing in Bowling Green where her mom lives!  We couldn't be more pleased to see her getting involved and playing a team sport!
We also couldn't be more pleased with her coach!!  He is WONDERFUL!  He encourages parent (and step-parent) help and involvement and is so great with the kids!
This past Saturday Lily had practice and neither Chris nor her mom could be there, so it was step parents on duty!  Ava Grace and I thoroughly enjoyed her practice and being outside on such a pretty day!  
(Ava Grace had to give big sis some pointers before she went up to bat!)
While Lily was in the outfield working on throwing and catching, Ava Grace got distracted with other fun things going on at the ballpark.  Like grass...
... and fences to try to climb.
Lily did a crazy good job in practice!  I was SO very proud of her!!!!
Of all the pitches the coach threw her way, she hit them ALL except for two!
She even got some practice running bases.

I can't wait to see what this softball season brings!  I am looking forward to days outside in the sun watching our sweet girl play a game she loves!

After softball practice we loaded up, grabbed a quick lunch, and headed to the Nashville Zoo!  You'll have to stay tuned for those pictures in my next post!  It was a blast!

Monday, April 15, 2013

An afternoon at the park...and a menu too!

I am running about a week behind, but I just had to share these pictures from LAST weekend!
We didn't have Lily, unfortunately, but we couldn't pass up a chance to get outside and enjoy the weather.
We spent a lot of time outside, but our favorite was the park!
Ava Grace absolutely LOVES being outside.  She had a blast on the swings and would have stayed there all day!  
(Yellin' for Daddy)

But, she didn't complain too much when we were done with swinging, because that meant exploring!  Grass, rocks, sticks, tree bark - oh my!  The world is full of treasures!
(Waving at Daddy)

One of the things we enjoy so much about the area where we live is it's proximity to the lake!

One of the things we enjoy about this particular park is that the playground is only a few yards from the water!

So our play day at the park also turned into Ava Grace's first fishing trip.  She pretty much just loved it!

Chris caught a couple different kinds of fish for her to see and touch.  That was lots of fun.  

(FYI, there was no hook on the fishing pole when she had it!)

After fishing and exploring for a while, it was time to head back to the car and nap time for this sleepy girl!

But as we walked past the swings Ava Grace decided a detour was not suggested, but necessary!

So.... we did a little more swinging before we left!

It was the perfect day at the park!  I can't wait to go back!!!

Now... it's also Menu Monday!  If you didn't notice something unusual about our menu last week, I'll go ahead and point it out!  We are doing a low carb thing right now!  We both could stand to trim down a bit and Lily is a carb-a-holic, so we figure it's good for all of us!  We haven't totally cut carbs from the girls diet, just cutting out the noodles and potatoes and white breads for a while for them and focusing a lot more on fresh fruits and veggies... which we all actually love!  Chris and I have gone a little more drastic and are trying to stay between 20-50 net carbs a day.  It's actually going really well and after one full week of no cheating, I think we are adjusting to it quite well!  Sooo.... without further explanation, here is our menu this week:

Grilled Italian Burgers (bunless) with Zucchini fries.

Parmesan crusted chicken tenders and steamed veggies

Grilled Chicken, squash, and steamed broccoli

Taco salad


Stir Fry Veggies and beef or chicken (not sure yet)


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Little Dough Girl

One recent night when Chris didn't get home until late, Ava Grace and I decided to spice up our night with some dough!  Play-Dough that is!  The homemade variety!
We hopped on Pinterest for a quick recipe.  I was looking for one with few ingredients that I had on hand and that could be eaten without causing harm.
Found it!
It flopped.
We tweaked it.

In the food processor we mixed the original recipe of:
1 cup warm water
1 cup flour
1 tsp cream of tarter
1 Tbs oil
1/4 cup salt

We started on low speed and went all the way up to high.  After 2 or 3 minutes this is supposed to turn into dough.  Um.... didn't even come close.  Soooo... we continued to add flour a heaping spoon at a time until a ball formed.  I then dumped it out onto the floured counter top and kneaded in flour until it was no longer sticky and a nice fluffy play dough consistency!  It worked great!  And... after playing, the crumbs dry out and sweep right up!  It made a lot... we made it all pink this time.  We still have a big blob in a zip lock bag. It made so much I just throw it away after she plays with it, so she gets fresh every time!  We'll be using this recipe in the future for sure!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring is Springing...

 ...and Ava Grace is discovering its joy!

Outside is Ava Grace's new favorite word!  She doesn't say it yet, but if you say it you better get out of the way! 

 We have been exploring our yard the last few days for rocks and sticks signs of spring.  Our yard is pretty wild!  It was very wild when we moved in last year and only made worse by a summer of new baby and busy schedules!

Chris and I are looking forward to working on cleaning up the yard this summer when he is not working so much!  In the mean time, it's untamed leaves, weeds, trees, and rocks make for great adventures for Ava Grace!

 Messy or clean, wild or tame... we are just enjoying being outside in the wonderful weather and exploring our world!

 Thank you Lord for the beautiful weather you have given us the last few days and the rebirth, promise, and hope that spring brings every year!!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Menu Monday

Grilled Pork Chop
Steamed Broccoli and Cauliflower
Roasted Asparagus

Grilled Fajita Chicken with
grilled peppers, onions, and asparagus

Grilled Steak with 
grilled veggies and 
roasted brussel sprouts
(I have NEVER had brussel sprouts and just wanted to try them.

Chicken Salad on the go!


Baked Ham
Deviled eggs
Green Beans


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pizza Night!

Last week, I posted on my menu plan that we were going to use only what we had on hand all week.  I had to get a little creative and decided one night would be make-your-own-pizza night!
I picked Lily up from school and we headed home hungry and ready for dinner!  It's a good thing that biscuit dough pizza's don't take long!
When we got home, I quickly separated canned biscuits and rolled them out into small thin rounds and called everyone to the kitchen counter.  I spread out a buffet of pizza ingredients including cheeses, red sauce, pesto, olives, green peppers, crumbled bacon, pepperoni, and even some chocolate chips for a dessert pizza!
We had the best time building different pizza combinations!  We had a three cheese pizza, supreme, a smiley face pizza and even a desert pizza with butter, sugar, chocolate chips and a teddy graham in the center.
All of the pizzas were as yummy as they were fun to make!  Ava Grace even ate almost an entire pizza!  The best part?  Everyone had exactly what they wanted on their pizza and we had so much fun making them!
We will definitely be making our own biscuit dough pizzas again in the future!

Now... Menu Monday, a little late:

Grilled Chicken Sandwiches
Potato Salad and Slaw
(compliments of my hubby)

Pizza Hut Deal

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches with
leftover potato salad and slaw

Ham Rolls
and Veggie Straws

Eat Out

Vegetable Soup


Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter Weekend...

This weekend I headed down to Chattanooga to spend some time with my family.
First stop... Redbud Farm.

My sister and brother-in-law now call this beautiful farm home.  My mom and I headed over there to do some yard work and play!
My mom and sister did most all of the work... Ava Grace and I did a lot of the playing.  We climbed trees, picked flowers, threw rocks in the creek and had a great time just being outside.

Ava Grace absolutely loves outside. 

We walked out to see Malcolm who was working in the field splitting wood from some trees he had recently cut down.

We took a walk to the horse pasture and discovered lots of things along the way. 

This is Sky, one of the four horses that my sister owns. 

Ava Grace wanted to pet the horses so bad, but was a little afraid to do so.  After a while, she got up the nerve to touch them.  

Easter Sunday we headed back to the farm!  Bentlee and Kenslee were in coordinating outfits, as always, and looked so adorable!

They brought an outfit for Ava Grace that coordinated as well!  We sure do love all of our girls and missed Lily terribly!! 

After a wonderful lunch of traditional Easter food, we headed outside to look for eggs!  I think we had about 75 hidden, just for the 3 girls! The eggs were stuffed with candy and also dollar and half-dollar coins! 

The girls had a great time hunting eggs and the weather held!  It didn't start raining until a few minutes after we all went back inside! 

This was Ava Grace's first egg hunt and she got 16 eggs in her basket! 

Thank God for little girls! 

Somehow a few of our family members escaped the camera!  I did snag a quick family shot though. 

...and a picture of my sister and I!

It was a happy Easter and this year we were more aware than ever of the reason we celebrate and the blessings that God is bringing as he works in our lives.