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, October 31, 2015

An update on all things Hooper...

Finding time to post always proves challenging, so I'm taking some times this Saturday morning to update everyone on the latest goings on the Hooper household!

This guy is 7 months old - already!
 Ty enjoyed his first trip to the beach this month.  He wasn't crazy about it, but he thought the waves were funny as long as he didn't have to touch the water.
 Ty had two MAJOR accomplishments this month along with many other smaller accomplishments.  The first is that we have KICKED the feeding tube!  We have only had to drop a tube once to catch up on fluids and, although some days are better than others, he is meeting or exceeding his minimum daily calories most days!  He is up to 17 pounds and if his growth stays on track at his next weigh in, I think we'll be officially free of the tube (hopefully forever)!
 Ty's other BIG accomplishment is sitting up!  He can't get himself into a sitting position yet, we are working on that in therapy, but he is doing GREAT at staying up and playing once you put him in a sitting position!  He loves being up where he can see everything and play with his toys!
 He LOVES bath time!
This is what he does every single time I take him out of the bath tub!  So sad.

Ava Grace makes him laugh every day!  She loves him... a lot!  She wants to hold him, "help" him, and TICKLE him!  He is the most ticklish baby I have ever met!  
He loves his Lily too!  True to her personality, she is much more of a practical helper.  She'll hold him and talk to him sometimes, but for the most part she does her thing and lets him do his.  She is great to keep an eye out for him, though, and help him get his paci or protect him from Ava Grace when necessary, lol.

Ty has started eating baby food and is getting better and better at it!  We have monthly feeding therapy to keep track of how he is doing.  He likes sweet potatoes the best.  This week we experimented with a graham cracker and he really liked it!

This big sis has been growing too!  She loves school this year and loves her teacher.

Her independent streak continues to grow!  She likes to dress herself now and that includes picking out her clothes, shoes, AND accessories.  She is really into shoes and clothes.  She says things like, "I am so fashion" and "I am stylish.  I am the fashionist girl in the whole city."  

Ava Grace is big time into crafting.  She wants to cut, glue, and paint everything.  She loves helping me cook and continues to be such a good eater!  She loves vegetables - We keep a veggie tray in the fridge and it's her go-to snack.  She also really likes just about any fruit, all meat, and will eat most anything I cook.  She even likes slightly spicy things - which totally fits her personality!  She has a sweet tooth as well, though not as big as her big sisters, and a passion for Popsicle!

 She dresses up like a princess on a regular basis and often asks to go out dressed up that way (sometimes this turns into a battle).  She was thrilled when we went to see Cinderella at TPAC and I allowed her to wear her princess dress out!
She resists naps with a passion, but if you can get her still she will crash and when she crashes - she is OUT.

Ava Grace LOVES her big sister and loves to play with her big sister.  Their play time is often cut short by a melt down because Lily isn't doing as Ava Grace instructs her to do, but it never fails, they are back at it in no time.  Lily is infinitely patient with Ava Grace and just the best big sister ever.

Lily is learning to play the clarinet, following in the footsteps of her Aunt Sarah, Aunt Gina, Aunt Jodie, and Great Aunt Jan!  In fact, her Aunt Jan gave her the clarinet that three generations of Hoopers learned to play on and gave her her very first lesson.

Lily still loves playing volleyball and has gotten really good!  She can serve overhand like a pro now and dives for balls like a champ!

Lily was recently invited to join the Junior Beta Club as well!  We are so proud of the young lady that she is becoming!
Lily loves watching the food network and is an aspiring chef!  We have recently turned her loose in the kitchen and she is learning to be more independent in her cooking!

Lily is still sweet, very innocent, and we are soaking up the remnants of her little-girl days before she heads to middle school next year.

 That pretty much sums up the kiddos!

 Please continue to pray for my mom.  She is officially done with Chemo!!!!  She will meet with her surgeon this week and most likely have surgery within the next two weeks.  Her tumor is less than half a cm now!  We praise God for the miracle he is working and pray for complete healing!  We want the cancer gone and to stay gone!  After surgery she'll have several weeks of intense daily radiation.  God provided her with the days for medical leave until her retirement day in the spring, so thankfully she can rest and focus on recovery!  Please keep her close in prayer for healing and recovery!  Also please pray for my Dad as he cares for her!

Mark your calendars!  Breakfast with Santa will be coming Dec 12 and will benefit our fellow heart family's organization, Project Heart!  Money raised goes to CHD research!  Check them out on Facebook under Project Heart and order a Project Heart tshirt!  (Ty and I love ours, but I don't have a picture of us wearing them yet - coming soon!)

I think that about sums it up!  Hope everyone has a happy halloween and a great weekend!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Extra Grace

I heard a sermon a few months ago (I was very pregnant with Ty) that stuck with me.  The preacher talked about people that required extra grace.  He reminded us that God showed us unconditional love, forgiveness, and beautiful beautiful grace.  He spoke of people who needed a little extra grace.  The ones you want to push away or don't want to be seen with that, perhaps, need more grace instead of less.  Those that need our attention, our time, our love.  His words hit home for me.  As an educator, I first thought of students.  The really really annoying ones.  The ones that were way immature, or whined too much, or were always causing drama.  The student that wanted to stand at my desk and talk on and on and on... the random tap on the shoulder kid with important comments like, "Do you like cats?  I like cats.  I have 7 cats and one is about to have kittens..." cats. cats. cats. cats.  Crazy cat lady - kid style.  You get the idea.  I sunk a little in the pew as I realized I have too often cut those kiddos off... shushed them... prompted them to go get busy or to go play or to go talk to friends.  I have a heart for teaching and a heart for kids, but isn't there always that one that just kind of drives you crazy or gets under your skin.  The stinky kid.  The needy kid.  I thought about all those, kids and adults, that I have judged... people who dressed different or acted different or seemed to come from a different world than mine... or at least a different class.  This is real folks.  Real ugly.

I am a God fearing woman who tries to do what is right.  I try not to judge and to be kind to all those I encounter.  Do I love, though?  God is love and God is IN me, so shouldn't I be spilling that love out on to EVERYONE I meet?  Not just those that are like me or from a similar background.

The point of the message I heard was that the very people we try to avoid are the ones who likely need extra grace - more love - those who deserve eye contact, undivided attention, and some genuine listening and loving.

Jesus loved everyone.  Jesus dined with sinners.  He is our example.  He shows grace to me.  Who am I to decide not to show grace to others.  God's grace is love in action and if we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus, we must be love in action as well.  

Color me convicted.

A dear friend gave me a Devotional recently.  Out of the Spin Cycle, by Jen Hatmaker.  Although I received it a couple of weeks ago, today I sat down to read for the first time.  I started with the Prologue, which I would like to share here.  It make me laugh and certainly struck home on several levels.  I was most struck, I think, with her words about young mothers and what they need most is not to be judged, but to be given love, help, and advice.  I love that she says our common ground is showing our children Jesus.  And that Jesus is at Whole Foods and Wendy's.  This reminded me that in my very chaotic, laundry-filled, messy-house, sleep-deprived state, I could use a lot of grace and certainly don't need judgement.  It reminded me of all the other Moms out there probably need the same.  Then I got to thinking it's not just moms... we all need a little extra grace.  

Read for yourself and see what you think.

A (Fairly Lame) Ode to Mothers
An ode to the marvelous woman called “Mother”
Though not one of us is exactly like another.
From the second we’re born to the minute we die
Our preferences are as limitless as stars in the sky.
We might have been perfectly gracious before
But childbirth entered us in the Mommy War.
Rather than letting everyone else be
We criticize parenting that isn’t exactly like . . . me.
So once and for all let me put this to rest
None of us owns the title of “best.”
Natural childbirth does not make you a hippy
Epidurals are not just for women who want to feel trippy.
In a bathtub with a doula or in a hospital bed
We all got a baby with limbs and a head.
Nursing is great if nothing goes wrong
But some nipples turn inward and refuse to play along.
This is a choice for each mom–it’s her route
So it’s just A + B and everyone else can C their way out.
Schedules and timers do not make you cruel
Feeding on demand does not make you a fool.
In the nursery with a monitor or in the family bed
Every chick gets to pick where her baby lays his head.
If I see one more mom roll her eyes at “organic . . .”
“Partially hydrogenated” throws some of us into panic.
But neither judge Sonic burgers and fries
Some of us just want to enjoy food before we die.
Preschool, home school, public, or Montessori
Listen, my friends, and I’ll tell you a story:
Two moms differed on favorite school trends
Their kids turned out pretty much the same. The end.
If a girl gets the title of “mom” accidentally
The worst thing we can do is treat her judgmentally.
How about some love, some help, some advice?
She needs our love and we shouldn’t think twice.
Discipline through various methods will prevail
Look, we’re all just trying to keep our kids out of jail.
These things are just preferences, not right or wrong
What matters more is teaching our kids to get along–
To love and to share, to speak gently and kind,
To obey so that mom won’t go out of her mind.
Showing them Jesus is our common ground
Teaching them how he can always be found.
He’s present in public school and Waldorf (so trendy)
He’s over at Whole Foods but also at Wendy’s.
Jesus never cared about these sorts of things
It’s our hearts that he wants and the worship we bring.
It’s time for us moms to declare a truce
Regardless if we buy Capri Sun or 100 percent juice.
My way is not your way, and your way isn’t mine
But both of our kids will turn out just fine.
Rather than judging and looking down our noses
Let’s enjoy the common ground motherhood poses.
As believers, we all love the same good Lord
We all have children who tell us “I’m bored.”
We all need more sleep than these tiny five hours
Most of us struggle to find time for a shower.
We haven’t been to the bathroom alone in an age
Our mothers have all told us, “Relax, this is just a stage.”
We all love our babies so much we could die
We’d take a bullet for each one without batting an eye.
Though we are different, we’re in the same tribe
Motherhood requires a similar vibe–
Love and affection, sacrifice and grace
Laughter, which keeps the whole mechanism in place.
Though different, by the grace of God, I suspect:
ALL our children will rise up and call us … collect.
She looks well to how things go in her household. … Her children rise up and call her blessed. Proverbs 31:27—28 AMP