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!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mother's Day Weekend

This past weekend was one of the best ever!  It was such fun!

Friday started like many others.  Lily, Ava Grace, and I loaded up in the car to take Lily to school.  The morning proceeded in usual fashion with a school drop off, morning nap for Ava Grace, and then puttering around the house doing what we do on Fridays!  The day took a turn, however, when Grandmommy and Papaw showed up around 2:00 for their weekend visit!  They had come up to visit for Mother's day, to see Lily play softball, and to go to the Strawberry Festival with us on Saturday.  Lily's game, however, got rained out!  We didn't let that rain on our parade though!  We just adjusted our plans and decided that dinner and ice cream at Chaney's Dairy Barn was in order! Mmmm!

My first Mother's day surprise was this beautiful art!  When we picked Lily up from school she could hardly wait to get her seat belt buckled before she was digging in her bag to produce her gift!  She was so proud and I was so honored!!!  After the artwork, she produced a beautiful handmade envelope from her bag.  It was for me too!  Inside was a precious message!

"Dear Meagan,
I love you more than anything.  You are the best step mom ever and you are a good first impression on Uva Contuva!
Love, your step daughter, Lily"

(Uva ContUva is Lily's nickname for Ava Grace)

It just made my day!  I was honored that she included me in Mother's day because before the holiday rolled around she had already deemed it necessary to have an "official" Step-Mother's Day in August! lol.

Friday night was filled with fun and laughter!  We played Apples to Apples Disney and Scrabble Slam and just had a great time catching up and playing!

Saturday morning dawned cool, crisp, and cloudy, but we didn't care!  We enjoyed every ounce of our morning, lingering in bed a little longer than usual and then lingering over morning cups of coffee and fresh from the oven peach pie muffins and sizzling bacon!  It was such a relaxing morning and just what we all needed to charge up for our big day!

After breakfast, we loaded up and headed out to the Portland Strawberry Festival!!  Our little Girl Scout Troop was to be in the parade and we wanted to get there early to enjoy the festivities beforehand!

We had a grand time walking around and playing games!  I found a couple small things to buy and so did Lily!  Grandmommy and Papaw got her the scarf she is wearing in the picture above.  She played Plinko and won a bag.  There were little games and freebies all around and she loaded up on all the fun stuff!

After a while, we decided it was time to sit down and warm up for a bit, so we headed over to 5 Chefs for a nice lunch!  We also did some shopping at Occasions while we were there.  Lily and Chris did some sneaky shopping and Lily couldn't wait to surprise me with these...

...attachments for my "Celebrate Everything" plate!  I had commented when we were having breakfast there a few weeks ago that I needed more attachments and she remembered!

After lunch, it was time to start preparing for the parade!  We walked over to the meeting place for our troop and then Lily and I stayed while everyone else went to claim a spot to watch the parade!

One of my little Brownie's grandfather volunteered to drive the girls in his truck!  In honor of the Strawberry Festival, he decked his truck out to look like a strawberry!  I think it was definitely the cutest ride in the parade!

All the girls got to ride in the back of the truck, waving and singing their little girl scout song!

All the moms walked along beside and behind to throw candy to the parade watchers!

It was So. Much. Fun.

I have never actually been in a parade, but it was really neat.  All the girls had a big time, but by the time it was over, they were ready to be done!  I think they were a little jealous that we were throwing candy to kids on the sidewalk and they weren't down there to collect it!

Ava Grace, however, was there to collect it!  Chris, Mom, and Dad said that she really got into the parade and collecting the candy!  She scored a few hand-fulls of candy for Lily to enjoy!

They even let her open a sucker and taste it!  It lasted only a few seconds because... well... it's a sucker and she's only one! lol

(Yes, my baby has a rebel flag in her hand in the above picture.  It was given to her by the Sons of the Confederacy Float.  Cracking. Me. Up.)

She had fun watching the floats and well! 

Overall, the day was a huge success!  It was twice as fun because Grandmommy and Papaw joined us!  We will definately be doing the Strawberry Festival again next year!  It was just the right combination of small town and classic festival!  We even saw country music star, Trace Atkins, walking around with his wife and also one of the guys from Duck Dynasty that calls Portland his home town!  Fun stuff!!

After all the fun, Grandmommy and Papaw headed home and Chris and I headed north to take Lily to her Mom's so that they could be together on Mother's day!

Sunday was cool and sunny!  The perfect day for my Mother's day plans!  I got exactly what I wanted!  I enjoyed a slow, relaxing morning and then headed out to breakfast with Chris and Ava Grace!  Afterwards we hit Lowe's and got several needed things for the yard!

We spent the rest of the day outside!  We did some work to our deck and then Chris headed to the yard and Ava Grace and I potted some plants for the deck!

It was the perfect day and a fabulous weekend!  I am so thankful for my family and so blessed to be a Mom!  I only hope that I am as great a mom to my girls as my mom always has been and continues to be for me!!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Menu Monday...

Last week's menu plan was shot because our plans changed a couple times throughout the week!  We did manage to get some meals out and we fixed grilled chicken and burgers, but other than that, we failed on following the menu!  For this reason, we have a couple repeats this week that I hope to actually get to!

Tacos/Taco Salad

Grilled Steak
Broccoli Salad
Baked Sweet Potatoes

Terriyaki Chicken
Peppers, Onion, Zucchini

Grilled Chicken
Pasta Salad
Roasted Asparagus


Dinner with family

Panini Sandwiches
Garlic and Black Pepper baked Tots

This weekend my Mom and Dad came up!  We had a great time visiting and going to the Strawberry Festival!  I can't wait to post pictures of that!  Saturday morning I tried to a new recipe and it was a big time success!!!!  Peach Pie Muffins!!!  They were easy, quick, and oh-so-good!  
 I found the recipe on Pinterest (shocking, right?).  Here is the recipe.  (You can click the picture to go to the original post and photos - she gets credit... this is  not my photo or recipe... but it sure is good!!)

Peach Pie Cinnamon Muffins with Brown Butter Glaze
makes 12-14 large muffins
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder (yes, 1 FULL tablespoon)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 heaping tsp ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 and 1/4 cups sour cream (I used light sour cream – regular or nonfat would work too)
  • 2 cups peeled & chopped fresh peaches (thawed, frozen peaches would work too)
 Brown Butter Glaze
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tbsp milk or cream

Preheat the oven to 425F.  Line 12-cup muffin tin with liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl until combined.  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg until the yolk & white are combined and light-colored.  Add the sugars and stir until the mixture is thick.  Add the melted butter in 2 or 3 additions, whisking slowly to combine after each addition.  Add the sour cream and whisk until JUST combined.  Do not overmix.

Add the peaches to the dry ingredients.  Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in 2 or 3 additions, carefully folding after each addition.  Stir until the batter comes together, but try not to over mix.  The batter will be very, very thick.

Spoon the batter into prepared muffin tins.  Fill the tins all the way to the top.  Not 2/3 or halfway filled, ALL the way to the brim.  Bake at 425F for 5 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350F and continue to bake for 20-22 more minutes.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

While the muffins are cooling, prepare the glaze by browning the butter in a medium saucepan on medium heat.  Stir constantly until butter is brown with a light nutty aroma, about 7 minutes.  Watch closely and do not burn.  Once browned, remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl.  Stir in sifted powdered sugar and milk/cream.  Stir until completely smooth.

Once muffins are cooled, dip into brown butter glaze and sprinkle with cinnamon.

*Muffins taste best served the same day.
*Why the initial high baking time of 425F?  See the reason here.
© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Under Creative Commons License: Attribution 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ava Grace - 16 months with phone photos

Ava Grace, you are will be 16 months old this week!

You are our little firecracker!  Weighing in at only 20.4 pounds, you may be small, but you have a big personality to make up for it!  On the charts you are 25% in weight and 30% in height, and we are okay with that! 

You love milk and watered down apple juice.  You have milk as soon as you get up in the morning... it's usually the first thing you ask for and you gulp it down like a cup of morning coffee and ask for seconds!  Throughout the rest of the day we shoot for milk with meals and juice in between, but you are starting to tell us which one you would rather have at any given time.  We like that you are using words to ask for things now.  As far as food and drink go, you know the words more, cup, milk, juice, water, cracker, banana, and snack.  Anything else falls under "this" or your version of how to pronounce what you want on the given day and in that moment.

Your favorite place to be is outside.  You love to pick flowers and say "flower" when you find them!  We get lots and lots of dandelions from you!  When asked if you would like to go outside, you say "go!" and run to the door.  You also love playing with rocks and can say "rock" as well!

If it were up to you we would be outside every day.  You don't seem to care what the weather is or who is around as long as you are getting to explore!

You respond to lots of instructions now!  You like to throw things away, so we ask you to help with that often.  You like to carry things for me.  You can bring things, get things, and put things away when asked.  You go to the appropriate room when asked.  If I ask you to go upstairs and put your PJs on, you run to the bottom of the stairs and wait for me to open the gate.

You also love your wagon.  Riding in the wagon is one of your favorite things to do!  Daddy and I like to take you to the park to pull you in the wagon.  We also let you ride in the wagon over to Missy's house in the afternoon if the weather is nice!  When we go outside, you always want to get in your wagon right away!  You like to say "Weeeee!" and sometimes even say it before we have started moving! 

You have a booster seat at the table.  We call it "your chair" and if we ask you to get in your chair you go to it and wait to be lifted up.  You have to be buckled in tight because you can unlatch the tray with ease and figured that out a few months ago.  You reach your hand underneath and unlatch one side, then lean over and do the same on the other side and lift the tray off when you are done eating!

Your favorite food right now is grapes!  You also like bananas, graham crackers, strawberries and blueberries, gold fish, teddy grahams, mandarin oranges, sliced baked carrots, broccoli, and any kind of pizza.  You are not a picky eater at all!!  You will try anything and have liked pretty much everything you have tried for the most part.  We give you everything to try, even supreme pizza and you like it!

You are very good at answering questions with a yes or no.  Sometimes your "no" is a little more enthusiastic than we'd like.  You are very strong willed, but usually handle it pretty well.  You have thrown a fit or two, complete with a floor flop, but they don't last more than a couple seconds once you realize we aren't paying attention.

You love to play all day and I feel so blessed that Daddy works hard so that I can be a most-of-the-time stay-at-home-mommy.  You love your Bitty Baby and spend lots of time pushing her in the stroller, tucking her into her crib, loving her, and sitting her on your couch beside you.  You love to pull and push everything from your little play wagon to the furniture in our house!  You are starting to climb on things more and more as well and it just about gives me a heart attack every time!

We think you are extra smart and people are sometimes amazed when they see you in action or hear you speak in public.  Part of that is because you are so small, but you really are extra bright!  Your doctor even thinks so!

You love our phones and your play phones.  You pretend to talk on them.  When you put it to your ear you say, "'Lo?" (hello), then pause and say "Yeah" ..... "Yeah"..... "yeah" ........ "bye bye!"  It's pretty cute.  When Daddy calls from work you'll talk to him, answering his questions with a "yeah" or a "no" and occasionally saying "la ya"  (love you)! 

You aren't very shy, but you don't talk a lot when we are with lots of other people.  You love to people watch and that usually keeps you busy when we are out shopping, watching Lily play softball, or visiting Daddy at work.

You are still a Mama's girl, but did enjoy spending some one-on-one time with Daddy while Mommy was out of town in Palm Springs.  You are also still head over hills for your big sister.  You two crack me up and play together all the time!!

We love you doodle bug!  You are something special!

Your Mommy, Daddy, and Lily

Monday, May 6, 2013

Back from Palm Springs...

 Yep, you heard correctly... I have been in Palm Springs!  An all expense paid trip that came from... WORK!  :-)  Talk about a blessing!  
 It turns out there is a really cool conference there that focuses on out of school time... like summer camps and after school programs.  It was called BOOST and it was really good. I came back with tons of ideas for my program next year!
 I also came back with a little bit of a tan and an appreciation for the color green!  The only things green in Palm Springs are palm trees and money! lol
 During the day we stayed at our resort that was connected to the convention center.  In the evenings, though, we got a little time to shop and explore Palm Springs.  By the way, it was MUCH smaller than I had envisioned.  MUCH.  We went to a street festival while we were there and enjoyed our time thoroughly! 
 Palm Springs is surrounded by mountains.  REALLY big mountains that look like giant piles of dirt! lol  When we were flying from Dallas to Palm Springs I couldn't get over all the brown and nothingness!  I was glad when we returned to a fresh green Tennessee, albeit cold and wet!
It was a really great trip and I most enjoyed getting to know some of the people that do what I do and sharing thoughts and ideas about work and life alike!

Now... for Menu Monday:
 (stuffed peppers we have been making on the grill lately)

...I have to do some meal planning.... be back to fill in our menu later! lol

Everyone on their own tonight... we are everywhere! lol

Grilled BBQ Chicken
Oven Roasted Cauliflower
Broccoli Salad

Tacos (served in Endive
instead of a shell = low carb!)

Crock-pot Terriyaki Chicken,
Peppers and Onions


Grilled Burgers

Out to eat