Thursday, August 31, 2006

"I'm New Here!"

Last night was 'Meet the Teacher Night' at Claire's new school. She's officially a Bamber Valley Beaver & has the tye-dye t-shirt to prove it! Ms. Stekel seems very nice and I'm thrilled to say she's in AM kindergarten (I didn't even have to beg!). Claire is "sooooo excited" (her emphasis) and thrilled at the prospect of meeting new friends.

We visited Silver Lake Park over the weekend, hoping to find the outdoor swimming pool still open, alas it was closed for the season. We decided to play at their wonderful park area. It was fantastic, it reminded me of the Three Rivers play park in Minnetrisa. Silver Lake is part of the park system, which is built next to a power plant. The heat from the plant keeps the lake warm enough that it doesn't freeze in winter! I've heard it's the destination for geese in the winter.They had a huge wooden train to sit in, climb on and just pretend. Nolan was in train heaven. Claire met some new friends when we overheard her say, "Hi, My name is Claire. I'm new here!".

I'm thrilled to say that my sister, Lydia, and my 3-month old nephew, Adrien, are visiting with us this week. Lydia's husband, Andre, is taking an intensive 2-week, 2-class seminary module at Nazarene Theological Seminary in KC, so they made the trip to spend some time with us and give Andre some time to "focus". I've missed socializing, so it's great to hang out with my sis. We're taking it pretty easy, but Adrien is a fantastic baby! So good, and so cute!

As I mentioned, I'm longing to chat it up with some other women. I miss our friends & co-workers, there was never a lack of conversation at most times of my day. We attended the CM&A church here last Sunday, Christ Community. It was a youth service, which we really enjoyed. We didn't actually meet anyone, but the kids loved it and for being a larger church, the service had a really intimate feel. We plan to return this week.

Kelly is still feeling a bit new to Crossroads, but really, it's only been 2 weeks! Classes began in earnest this week, he's teaching Tues, Thurs & some Fridays. Volleyball has home games this weekend and soccer is away. New staff (Kelly) mean changes and as we all know, change is usually met with some resistance, especially at a small organization. Also, Kelly's office in not in the main academic building, but in a separate building which also houses the music dept and the bookstore office and what used to be the Student Center (they built a new one last spring). He's pretty much all alone. He hasn't complained, but I know he misses the camaraderie and friendships often found in an office setting - especially an athletic office! (Yet another reason to get "plugged in".) His biggest task at the moment is planning the annual golf tournament fundraiser on the 8th. He's making lots of phone calls for hole sponsors these days. He's also just trying to understand the athletic department, feel-out coaches and "tighten things up" as he says.

I know he's sorely missing baseball, but he's already been in touch with the coach from Rochester Community & Technical College and he'll help out with their program. They're running some winter camps this year, and Kelly will probably be an integral part of that, since he's run the same camp for several years now and RCTC is new this year. The head coach seems glad to have Kelly's help. Crossroads doesn't have any spring sports, which frees him up a bit to do some coaching.

Kelly is officiating football again this year. This summer he had told his "crew chief" (or captain, or whatever they call him) that he couldn't work on his crew this year because of our pending move. When he found out we moved to Rochester, he reassigned him to his crew. Many of his games are really not too far, but tonight he's going to Norwood! Their crew gets high ratings from coaches, and they've been together for awhile, so they may have a good chance of going to the State Championship game. Whoo hoo!!!! Kelly enjoys it, likes who he works with and makes some nice money, too. I'm glad he's doing it (even if it means I won't seem him on Friday nights for awhile!).

No news on our house (sigh). We still have a showing or two each week, but no offers yet. As school begins, it feels like things are slowing in an already slow market. We're praying it will be soon!

So we're still beginning. I'm not sure when we will feel like we're not "new" anymore. Probably not for a long time. That's okay. New is good, right?. And wherever we are is Home.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Wednesday in Roch

I'm really enjoying this blog stuff. More so than creating my own, I enjoy reading others thoughts, musings and opinions. I'm finding myself reading the blogs of strangers! Some are incredibly insightful while others are just plain weird (or scary!). And I love to read those of friends, it keeps me feeling 'close by'.

Not too long ago I was complaining to Kelly that I get so tired of "new" technology. New phones that take pictures, do your laundry and cook supper! Okay, not quite, but almost. There's always something new, something better. I appreciate computers and what they do for us, but I don't like how they turn us off from each other. Everyone (including myself) is chatting on cell phones in public, which is totally rude and obnoxious. Is it really that important that it can't wait? That said, I'm still loving the blog-world! I do realize that it's nothing new and I'm just green when it comes to this stuff. Perhaps it's being disconnected from friends and family that makes me want to feel close and to communicate.

Speaking of trying to connect: We did attend a church this past Sunday, trying to find a new church home for us - the sooner the better. Autumn Ridge has a beautiful facility (Crossroads uses one of it's buildings for their own weekly chapel service) and it's nearby. We enjoyed the service, but we were so tired from the move that we didn't feel... well, moved! We plan to try somewhere new this Sunday. There are so many to choose from and they all seem to be very established and have great ministries. Women's Ministry is important to me, as it's a way to feel part of something, and to learn and grow in the process. Kelly would like to find something to be part of too, and many of the churches have softball & basketball leagues in addition to bible studies and small groups.

We'll register Claire for school this week (kindergarten begins on the 7th), but not before a quick trip to Mayer! Seems we left ALL of our personal papers (birth certificates, ect) behind! I'm hoping for AM kindergarten, we'll have to see if I can be convincing in my plea. The Rochester library has great activities for Nolan, which we'll register for as well.

The weather is beautiful today, we don't have A/C which means hot afternoons and evenings, but the mornings aren't bad. And really, considering the warm temps just a few short weeks ago, it could be a lot worse!

Our vehicle had a hard time adjusting to the move as well. After we arrived she had a nervous breakdown! (I don't usually refer to our car as she... creative license). The starter went our on the Blazer so we had it towed down the street and we hope to get it back today. The college has loaned us a car to use in the meantime. Another plus to campus life: The walk to work is a short one!

Classes begin today. We're still trying to get a feel for the vibe on campus. With such a small population, it's kind of hard to do. Another reason I'm glad we're here: If we were off campus, the kids and I wouldn't know what it's like. After we move we won't have much reason to come visit. All sports are played off-campus and there's no cafeteria, so we won't be coming for lunch!

Well, we're off to explore the city. May the remainder of your week be wonderful.

Monday, August 21, 2006

We Made It!

Rochester, Minnesota will never be the same! The Spanns have arrived! We loaded up the Budget truck (and used every last inch of space) with the help of amazing friends! Thank you Jon & Laila, Chato & Sheri and Brad. We couldn't have done it without you! (I'm trying not to think about all the stuff we left at home, and how we'll have to load it up too eventually.)

We arrived at Crossroads to find 8 RA students ready & willing to help us unload - yay! All in all, it was a smooth process. We're still getting settled, but the kids like their "new" rooms and enjoy their new home. (We were a bit nervous, as Nolan said "I wanna go home" shortly after we arrived on campus - It was a big day for him, and it didn't help that his eye was partially swollen shut due to a nasty mosquito bite. He's recovering well though and we're enjoying our time spent at the playset on campus.)

We re-arranged Kelly's office today, adding our loveseat as it won't fit in our tiny living room! We'll definitely be sharing the same bowl of popcorn during movie time!

A great perk of being on campus is convenience: Kelly walks to work & comes home for lunch. But two things I'm thankful for are the tv satellite and wireless internet! I feel spoiled!

We plan to get to know Rochester this week. We'll enroll Claire in kindergarten, track down the local library and join the YMCA. Rochester offers lots of activities and options, it's very exciting for the kids (and mom)! Nolan is really excited about the subway & skyway system downtown and Claire can't wait to hit the mall for school shopping.

Time for me to hit the grill though, we're having our friend Jeff Morgan, stay with us this week as they wait to close on their new home here in Ro' town. We're so thankful to have built in friends in this new city!

May your Monday be filled with Marvel! Miss you all already!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Packin' Up... Movin' Out!

With every move we'd made (this is number 8!) Kelly & I always have the same agreement: Angela packs the boxes, Kelly moves the boxes. I do always pack each and every box, but somehow I end up moving them as well. One particular move comes to mind. It wasn't a major move, as we had to move from one apartment to another in Faith Village at Crown as we waited to close on our Waconia Townhome. But after I had packed all the boxes, Kelly sprained his ankle playing noon ball at Crown. I moved each and every box as well! (I love to tease him about that... He's seems to get injured at the most convenient times!)

This time I've definitely procrastinated on the packing. We had done a major purging of "stuff" when we put our home up for sale and I'm not a "keeper". If it doesn't have a place or immediate purpose, I probably got rid of it. This was my reason for the delay. And not knowing where we were going, and the possibility of a cross-country move inspired the thought of hiring packers, but alas, I'm picking up my tape and boxes yet again.

Since we haven't sold our home (yet) we are leaving a lot of things in Mayer. Much of our bigger and newer furniture will stay, as well as several boxes and bins. So, the pressure to pack is not what it could be. I need pressure, however, as I'm a last-minute kinda gal.

Kelly's first day at Crossroads was Tuesday, and he remains in Rochester until today. He's waiting to move into a new office they're preparing for him and he's finding his footing, making his way. It's been a bit slow-going, getting settled. The Athletic Department consists of Kelly and Kelly only, so finding information as been a bit tougher than he anticipated. The coaches are part-time and he's his own admin assistant. Students are arriving this weekend, soccer and volleyball players checked-in this week. As the school-year begins, things will fall into place, we're certain.

My last day of work was Friday. I gave a short notice, and everyone was understanding. I had let everyone know what was going on and my bosses and fellow employees have been extremely loving and supportive. I will miss them! They gave me a Ridgeview Cookbook and lovely card. I did enjoy my time working at the hospital, I liked working with patients especially. But the real reward came from my co-workers, I'm so thankful for the friendships that have been forged over these past 2 years.

We pick up the moving truck tomorrow and will load up on Saturday morning. The kids are excited - we've been talking about moving for so long, they're looking forward to it actually happening.

In the midst of all this, we had a showing last night and another scheduled for this evening. I was tempted to ask the potential buyers to wait until after we're out, but decided to accommodate them. We've had so many showings in the 6 weeks we've had our house on the market, I've lost count. We don't get our hopes up any more. Our realtor did say she expected an offer by Friday from a couple moving from Hutchinson, although it would be contingent as they still have a home to sell. Nothing is ever certain in real estate, so we'll have to see. A contingent offer is better than no offer, though!

As we wait for our home to sell, we anticipate that we'll return to the area to pick up that necessary-but-forgotten box and to eventually close on our home. (And as a friend pointed out, the Mall of America is just about halfway, so friends, when you're read to shop and eat, I'll meet you, okay?!)

But as of Saturday, we'll be residents of Rochester. You can reach us at:
920 Mayowood Rd SW
Rochester, MN 55902
Kelly's Office (507) 535-3338
Home (507) 424-1425

(And for you locals, we're having a gathering at the Pizza Ranch on Friday evening, 5:30pm in Waconia. We'll stuff ourselves one last time!)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Spanns Head South

When our "Year of Growth" (Kelly's words) began, we thought a move would take us south - way south. We were longing for the southern states - Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, the Carolinas...

Well, we're going south, just not quite as far as originally planned! Southern Minnesota is as far as we'll go this year. Kelly has decided to accept the job offer at Crossroads College in Rochester, MN!

God is Faithful, and we are thankful! Pastor Jon's Sermon this morning hit it on the head. God's ways are not our ways, His timing is more perfect than we could ever imagine. We are excited to begin this new chapter in our lives.

Kelly will begin right away (as in tomorrow!) and we plan to move on Saturday. (So if anyone is looking for a free lunch and and a workout, we'd love your help!) Crossroads is providing a 5-bedroom apartment for us to move into. We've talked about moving for so long, now that it's actually happening is surreal. Rochester is just over 2 hours from Mayer, and we're thankful that we're not having to say hasty (and tearful) goodbyes. The short distance ensures that we'll see our Midwestern friends! (Speaking of which, some of our very good friends, the Morgan Family, are also relocating to Rochester! How lucky are we to have great friends make this move with us?!)

And although we haven't spent a lot of time in Rochester, we're confident that it'll be a great place to live. As a family who has to drive 25 minutes to the nearest Target and even further to the nearest shopping mall, we're looking forward to the convenience of Rochester. Restaurants, malls, discount stores, you name it, are all within 5 minutes of the college. Claire's school is just down the road and the Mayo Clinic is just minutes away.

Thank you to all of you who have been so active in praying for us. We have definitely felt those prayers throughout this entire process. We have amazing friends and family supporting us. Thank You!!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Summer Fun

Okay, so we're up and running. I tried to add a few pics, but that will have to wait for now. For those of you not in the know, I thought I'd fill you in on our lives. Big changes in the works, you see.

Last December, Kelly & I began considering a move. Moving somewhere closer to family, somewhere warmer, somewhere new. It began when we were on a mini-vacation over Christmas Break. We spent a few days at Wisconsin Dells, famous for it's waterparks (all closed in December, of course). It was -10 degrees, we were alone for Christmas and although baseball season would begin in a month, snow would remain on the ground through the spring. 'Nuff said.

Kelly began perusing the net and found a few baseball coaching positions available. This starting things in motion and by March, Kelly had given his notice that he would complete his contract at Crown College as Head Baseball Coach and Prof. of Sport Managment through June, but he would not return in the fall.

The catch: Kelly had not secured a new job. That was okay, though. We were nothing but confident that this was part of the plan - God's plan - for the Spann Family's future. And we were excited.

This summer has been an interesting one. Kelly has been home full-time since May, although he's dabbled in a few part-time pursuits, involving manly-man labor and a suntan. Angela has continued her part-time job at the hospital, admitting patients into the ER, two evenings a week. We've welcomed a new nephew, Adrien, to our family, attended weddings, celebrated our birthdays and anniversary, enjoyed a couple of overnight hotel trips, spent time at a cabin with friends, and enjoyed our true 'summer vacation'.

We put our home on the real estate market in June, and have had a lot of interest. During the months of June and July Kelly had several promising jobs leads and 3 formal telephone interviews.

But August 1st rolled around we realized that we were essentially in the same position as we were in the beginning of the summer, but much more tired and a little less enthusiastic. But we knew Jesus had a plan, He just wasn't going to let us in on it until the time was right. We considered taking our house off the market, enrolling Claire in the local kindergarten and Kelly would pursue a job locally until he found something elsewhere in his field.

But then, a few days later, Kelly had 3 new leads, which led to 3 phone interviews, 2 in-person interviews and at least one job offer. As we stand today, we are moving. Where? To either Rochester, Minnesota or Roswell, New Mexico. Kelly visited both campuses in person this week. He's received one offer and is waiting to hear from the other.

We are so excited about our future. Things will happen quickly, as both positions begin immediately. Come Monday, we'll most likely be packing up.

So there it is, and here we are.

And now you know why we've started this blog. I hope to keep it up as much as possible, letting everyone know what's going on with us. If you are in fact reading this, we appreciate your thoughts, prayers and encouragement. We've definitely felt it all!

More to come...

A Blog? Yes!

The Spanns have a blog? Who knew? Well, we didn't, not until right now at least. Perhaps no one will want to read a blog about the Spanns, OR maybe scores will run to their laptops each morning with anticipation...
We'll see.

We're anticipating a move (more on that soon) which will remove us from our current home. Leaving friends, what better way to let those we care about how - and exactly what we're doing after we're gone?

So here we go. We'll start small and build up. The sky's the limit, right?