Much Reason to be Thankful

This is the first Thanksgiving I’ve ever been without family. Although it was sad to not see my parents, siblings, and in-laws, my Nashville family was there to make the entire 4 day weekend a really special time. I’ll warn you now that this blog post is really long – but the past few days have been crammed full of awesome and I wanted to tell you all about it.

Wednesday evening was Mindy’s coming home party. If that’s not reason to be thankful, I don’t know what is. After three months in hospitals and rehabs, she finally made it home. They’ll be moving shortly into a home that can fit their new needs (bedroom on the first floor, room for their nanny/caretaker/live-in Grandma- Rhoda, who is doing such an amazing job, space for their third son who is 3 months old already-I can’t believe it!, and wider space for walkers, etc) and will have another party then. But for now, it was a small gathering of people who really care a lot about their family and had much celebrating to do. Welcome home, Mindy! We’re so glad you’re back!

After the kids were ready for bed we left the party and the HBC (as our smallest group of friends is so affectionally called) went out for our very first ever triple date. I’m not sure how to express to you how giddy we all were to be all outdoors together at the same time after bedtime without the children. It was a magical time. We had chips and salsa, went bowling, and had a miniature birthday celebration for Dave. It was SUPER fun. Turns out, we are not exceptional bowlers. But we sure are exceptional singer-alongers to bowling radio. To prove our musical prowess, we decided to head back to the neighborhood and play some midnight Rock Band. We should take this show on tour, if you ask me. We’re quite the force.

Thursday morning we woke up and headed across the street to watch the parade with our neighbor-friends, the Griffins and Amanda’s mom, Kaye. The food was AMAZING. Oh goodness. I want to eat Thanksgiving food every day.

In the evening, after we had filled our bellies as full as they could go, Rhoda, Kevin and Mindy, and their boys came over to hang out also. We spent the whole day cooking, laughing, being thankful, and spending time together.

Turns out, Dave can balance lots of stuff on his face. He can also juggle and make balloon animals. I’m thinking of enrolling him in some sort of circus club.

Amanda had decorated her house beautifully for Thanksgiving. Seriously… look how beautiful.

Friday was The First Annual Nashville Turkey Bowl, a little evening Black Friday shopping (my first ever Black Friday shopping trip), and the most successful Flea Market trip ever, eating Chinese food, and playing at the park. Dave’s annual tradition of playing football on Thanksgiving moved down south this year. Since I don’t understand how football works, and I don’t care for participating in group sports, my very important and difficult job was to keep baby Wesley warm and cozy. I think I should have been crowned game MVP. Though I heard from several people who actually know how football works that Dave was a star performer during the game… so I suppose it’s ok with me if he wins MVP. As long as it’s a Hagen.

Saturday we mostly lounged around. We slept in, picked up our flea market loot with Dave’s truck, had delicious Mexican food, and then Dave and I went on a little date to the dollar theater.

Sunday after church, we headed home and fired up the fireplace. I was super productive around the house for the first time in far too long – cleaning up and rearranging (aka prepared for this week’s Christmas decorating marathon) and sat on the couch with Mr. Hagen. It was lovely. As I sat down to write this blog post, I realized how very much I had to be Thankful for. So sorry if this blog post is SUPER long, but I couldn’t help myself.


The Playroom Challenge

My friend Earl, who is not 87 as his name implies, is starting to get hated by my husband. Not because Earl’s not cool, because he is, but because his surprises are starting to make my husband feel slightly inadequate as a gift giver/surpriser. Thankfully I keep getting to be a part of his awesome surprises (like this awesome trip) and the newest surprise: The Playroom Challenge.

Earl told his lucky little wife that she had until Christmas to redecorate their basement. Now, this doesn’t sound awesome to everyone, but wait! there’s more! He gave her an envelope of cash and told her she’s got this cash, the help of a few friends, and an overnight trip to Atlanta (IKEEEEAAAA!!!) if we need it. Of course, we’re going to need something from Ikea. It’s Ikea. I mean, really.

If we finish before Christmas, and we have money left over, we get to take a group trip to a fun little cabin in Gatlinburg. If we don’t finish before Christmas, Earl gets to take the rest of the money and take a trip with “the guys” which is totally lame. So if Amanda doesn’t get this basement done by Christmas Eve, I’m going to sneak into their house overnight and finish it. These are some of our ideas so far. All found here.

Painted Birch Walls

Color Scheme

Super awesome play area tent.


House Stuff

Today is the day the agent dealing with the house we put an offer on submits the best offers to the bank. The bank then picks the best offer and says, “hey guys, here’s your new house.”

We’re hoping that’s us.

We had to fine tune our offer a little bit (raise it) to match what the bank said they’d accept and now we just wait to hear if we won.

I may have driven past the house and snapped a picture today because I was tooooo excited. As much as I love the house (I really really love the house) I won’t be terribly disappointed if we don’t get it. It’s no secret that I like living next to my best buds. There’s room in this house for my friends though because it’s way more house than we can use right now (we’re thinking ahead to the day we have 17 children). If we move, I’m going to invite my friends to live with me. What do you say, guys? I’ll even let you use the indoor swing I’m dreaming of.

Rough Spots

Over the past few months, I’ve been in an emotional rough patch with infertility. I haven’t been talking about it much because I don’t want to overwhelm people with it and I really am doing great otherwise. But I’ve had so many people come forward who are dealing with similar things, that I feel like it’s important that I be open about it.

The last time I talked about fertility issues on the blog, I said I was getting ready to start Clomid, a fertility medication. But, at my appointment to discuss it, my doctor decided to have me wait a few months so she could do more blood work in the meantime. However, since I am without health insurance, I probably won’t be going in for blood work any time soon. So I’m back to the, “why the heck does this have to be so difficult?” feelings and the “I’m done trying. Maybe someone will just give me a baby” thoughts and the “really? THAT person can have 5 kids she can’t take care of and I can have zero? Really?” meanness that I am so quick to fall in to.

It’s a pretty constant rotation of anger, sadness, judgement, frustration, and trying to pull myself back up. And man, it is wearing me out. There’s this one thing I’ve been wanting for at least 5 years. I think about it several times a day, every day. Even on my good days, that’s a lot of reminders of my disappointment and lack.

So I’m trying to be thankful instead. It is so very hard sometimes. But this is the time of the year we try to be especially thankful, and I’m going to try to do that too – thankful that I have a mom that will be angry with me when I want someone to throw a fit with, thankful that I’ve got friends who will let me cry to them, thankful for a husband who is forever patient with my mood swings and my desires, and thankful that God chose me to fight this battle for a good reason and that He knows I am capable of handling this pain with His help. For whatever reason (I hope I someday understand) I have been selected to be a woman who wants little more than to be a mother and nurture a child, and I have been selected to get stronger,wiser, and more vulnerable first. I have been surrounded by people who understand or try to understand, and for that I’m thankful as well.

Romans 5:3-5 from The Message “There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”


I started working part time this week, which feels a bit like skipping school still. I keep thinking I’m going to get caught. Someone will walk up behind me while I’m at the park and say, “Hey! Gotchya! Get back to work, you!” But that hasn’t happened yet… so far so good.

On my first day of part-timedness, I went to the park, I made a painting, and I started a little wardrobe craft project I saw here on Pinterest. So far the sweater is just an old thrifted sweatshirt with the neck cut out, but we’ll get there. Things I love: Pinterest, craft projects, sweatshirts, and my new painting.

It’s been a long time since I painted. I’m not really sure why. But I’m back, and I’m loving it. It’s not quite finished yet, but here’s a peek.

I can’t wait to show you the finished product!