Thursday, September 28, 2006

Fabulous Fall

Autumn is by far my favorite season. I'm sure it has a lot to do with growing up in California, where a change of season meant it might rain, or that the coastal fog would linger a bit longer during the cooler days. I do remember that it felt cold at the time... of course 60 degrees is freezing to many coastal Californians.
Well, we couldn't live in a better place to enjoy the season. I've seen Aspen, CO in Autumn - pretty amazing - but truly, there's no place like Minnesota to experience fall.
Today was a perfect day. Life feels simple. I enjoyed a morning of bible study with a large group of women from church, followed by lunch with my family. (Kelly comes home almost every day for lunch. Am I a lucky girl or what? After all the time we spent together this summer, I think I'd experience Kelly-withdrawal if I had to go cold-turkey!)
And this afternoon, after the kids and I put on new coats and played outside, we came in for cinnamon toast and hot chocolate. Really, does it get any better?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Crossroads in Color

Our Life at Crossroads College in Pictures...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Home Again??

When will Rochester be home?

We made a quick trip back to Mayer this weekend, causing a bit of confusion for Claire & Nolan. Prior to leaving Friday afternoon, a teary Claire insisted that she would miss Rochester. We promised that we'd return the next day, but I don't think she fully understood. We arrived in Waconia and after spending an hour with our friends, the Bechtles, we headed to our (mostly empty) house in Mayer. "Everything looks so different, Mom. The stairs are shiny and the doorknobs are rounder," Claire observed. (I think she just wasn't used to seeing it so clean.) We bedded down on an air mattress and sleeping bags and watched a movie on our 7" DVD player. (I did several loads of laundry, trying to clean as many clothes as I could without having to pay $2 a load...)

The next morning as we got ready to head to breakfast, Nolan was upset that we'd "left all our toys in Rochester!". I explained that we were only visiting our house and that we'd return to Rochester later in the day. Really, he couldn't have been more confused.

All in all, we had a great time with the Fisk Family on Saturday, enjoying lunch, playing & shopping. It was very quick, to say the least, but we needed to pick up a few forgotten items and make a price change on our home with our realtor. We wish it could have been longer, that we'd been able to see more friends, but it's difficult trying to exsist in two places at once. Kelly & I have stopped referring to either Mayer or Rochester as "home", not wanting to confuse anyone, including ourselves!

We hope that with time (and the sale of our house), Rochester will become home, no matter how long we're here. Some days we can see the future here in Rochester, other times, well... let's just say we're staring intently at the calendar, wondering what's next.

As a family, we are enjoying ourselves. Life is very simple right now. We're taking advantage of the conveniences of Rochester, including the many restaurants and ample shopping close by. We're eating out more often than we should (but if you saw our kitchen, you'd understand!) - and we've not frequented a restaurant more than once so far! It's fantastic!

And today, a lazy Sunday, we enjoyed a morning of worship, followed by lunch and a sunny afternoon: reading the paper, riding bikes, jumping in mud puddles, and finally, everyone napping as I write.

Claire & Nolan enjoying sunshine today for the first time in a long time

We hope you're also able to enjoy some "lazy Sunday" time with your family.
Have a fantastic week!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Another Week In The Life

... just a photo taken before we moved. The kids we're "practicing". Practicing what, I'm not exactly certain. They'd run and flip... and call it practicing. Remember when it was that easy?

We had the joy of welcoming some of our old friends to a new city! Jeff & Angela Morgan and their family arrived in Rochester last weekend. Nolan & I spent a morning with them and our families dined together at their new home here in town. For those who don't know the Morgans - they are dear friends of ours of many years. Both of our families made the recent move to southern Minnesota! It's so fun to have built-in friends in a foreign place. We're so grateful for them!

And speaking of friends, we had the opportunity this afternoon to cultivate new relationships at a backyard picnic for our new 'mini-congregation' (aka sunday school). Lots of families, lots of kids!
Claire & Nolan were a bit slow to get in on the action, which is pretty unusual for them. Although there were lots of children, not many were Claire's age. She got over it, though, when she decided to play football with the 'big boys'. She even made a tackle and got a high five from one of the guys! She had a blast! Nolan ended up muddy, which means he enjoyed himself too. I, especially, was able to connect with a few women and am looking forward lunch with a new friend tomorrow and starting a morning bible study this Thursday.

I had a job interview this week, at the Olmsted Medical Center. Olmstead is the lesser-known medical facility here in Rochester. The position was an admitting clerk for the hospital emergency room, 2 evenings a week and every-other weekend. After the interview, I was undecided as to whether I would accept the job, if offered. My prayer was that if it was not the job for me, that I wouldn't have to make the decision, but that it would be made for me. Friday I was told that they offered the position to another candidate. I felt relieved! There were many factors in my unease with the position, and I'm so glad to still be at home. I do believe that a time will come for me to work in some capacity again, mostly likely sooner than later. I had thought it would be in a medical environment, as that is where I've been the past 2 years - and with the Mayo Clinic & it's hospitals less than 5 miles away, there are various opportunities. But perhaps there is something else in store...

We're still waiting on something to happen with our home in Mayer. When we left, we did so thinking that we'd receive an offer in the near future. No such luck. If anyone knows anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone looking for a new home - give us a call! We'll probably make a change in the next few weeks, in regards to our agent or the price, or both! Please pray as we decide what to do. When we first put our home on the market, we did so with excitement and urgency, knowing that our home was God's rather than ours, and He would sell it at His price in His time. We still know it to be true, but the time and distance (knowing it's sitting there, waiting for a family to fill it!) has stripped away at all that excitement. We're so thankful that we have a place to call home here in Rochester, that we are together as a family in one place, able to plant our feet here, get connected and make new relationships. Jon & Laila - I think of you! But really - if you know anyone...

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Big Yellow School Bus

School began and the autumn weather has set in. It's fitting, really. Doesn't 'back-to-school' mean new sweatshirts and jeans and backpacks? This picture was taken before the rain & cooler temperatures arrived - after a hearty lunch at Denny's and before an afternoon at the park. What more could a kid ask for?

As I posted last week, we did make it through the first days of school with no tears. But it wasn't without disappointment. Claire was devastated that she wasn't joining most of her classmates on the school bus at the end of her day. We talked about it, and today was Claire's first trip home on the big yellow school bus. It's not that I'm anti-bus, but assumed that Claire would rather be greeted at the end of her school day by her brother & I, instead of the bus driver. Boy was I wrong. My biggest concern was that she'd forget to get off the bus, as she's the only one at her stop and is known to get a bit distracted at times (something I'm sure she didn't get from me). My fears were erased, however, when her driver warmly greeted me and it turns out there's only 3 kindergarteners on her bus ride home! Claire: "Just me and two boys from another class. I wish I could ride the rocket ship bus with some of the other kids from my class, but that's okay. I love school even more when I can ride the bus, mom." What's more to say? I'm still Claire's means of transport on the way to school, which isn't bad since she doesn't begin until 9:15.

Wednesday night begins Awana, a first this year for us. Kelly & I are really excited - we have a confirmed date every Wednesday evening! We're pretty giddy, we haven't spent time alone... well, in a very long time. Claire is still trying to figure out what Awana is (for those of you who don't know, it's a Christian kid's program), and when I tell her that she's a Spark and Nolan is a Cubbie (the different club levels by age), she says "the Teachers have cubbies at school to put their papers in", different kind of cubbie.

Switching gears, I've been trying to get Kelly to post again, especially since his first one was not quite so "ha-ha" funny, as we all know him to be. I guess I didn't catch him on a good day. Since then, he's had some positive things to post about, but since he's not here just now, I'll fill you in. Last Friday was Crossroads' annual golf tournament, which is the big athletic fundraiser of the year. When he first arrived, the college didn't expect to make any money, rather they were hoping just to break even. Kelly worked it and secured hole sponsors. The week of the tourney they had 60 confirmed golfers which meant that they might pocket a few hundred dollars. Then came the Friday morning shotgun start, and they had 94 golfers! They tee-d off 45 minutes early, enjoyed lunch on campus afterwards, gave out great prizes and called it a success. It far exceeded everyone's expectations.

The second positive came on Saturday afternoon - the volleyball team secured their first victory over St Cloud Tech. It was the first win for the team in a very, very long time. (It didn't hurt that St Cloud only had 6 players and one of them sprained her ankle in the first play of the game, which meant that as she sat the bench, each time it was her turn to serve Crossroads scored a point...) Nevertheless - the Knights won, and that's good news any way you can get it! Go Knights!

Here's to little kids growing up into big kids, small successes and the thrill of victory! Have a great week!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

No Tears Today

Angela: I can still remember the day my mom & I attended my high school freshman orientation. The cheerleaders performed, pep-rally style. I looked over and saw my mom crying. I knew she had issues, but cheerleaders?? Now, years later, I understand. It's not the cheers that made her cry, but what they represented. I was growing up, going to high school. And here I am today, after just sending our only daughter off to kindergarten.

Everyone has asked me, "How are you taking it?", "Are YOU okay?". I'm fine. Really. I got a tiny bit misty when told of another mom breaking down after leaving her daughter inside, and as I looked around at the "big" school with the "big" kids running around. But tears? Not today. Maybe it's because Claire has been talking about kindergarten since the day she emerged from the womb, or perhaps it's because I know she's ready for school, or maybe it's because I'm ready for the routine that only the school year can bring - whatever it is, I'm not sad.

And as anyone who knows me can attest: Angela Spann is an emotional woman. I emote at every turn. Show me a tear and I'll bawl with you. But no one is sad today (well, Nolan was missing his sister and really wanting to play with that cool train set in Claire's classroom, but his new Fergus - a dear friend of Thomas the Tank Engine - has erased any tears that may have emerged).

We'll celebrate this big day with lunch at McDonald's playland. Yes, Claire is only in school for 2 1/2 hours each day... Maybe I'll cry next year.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Virgin Blog

This is my first attempt at writing my thoughts down on this blog. Forgive my "rookie" post; I'll try to make sense out of what's going on here at Crossroads. What a whirlwind the past two weeks! The previous regime left little to no paper trails of any system or reason of how the department was run. A new computer system was installed....... but didn't work. I had to come up with syllabi...... with lousy textbooks. I had a overzealous student question my integrity...... over a one credit PE course. Ah, the life! The athletic culture here is an untrusting, mediocre, circus act, complete with clowns and death defying acts. However, this has stroked my ego, because any small act of order and consistency is cheered and applauded. I have to be careful not to let it go to my head, but trust me, there's always something to bring me back to reality. This is definitely a challenge, but I have settled into a groove and look forward to making a difference here. My challenge to the department is to ensure that leadership qualities are taught, learned, and applied. What a challenge that will be.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Sparkles & Stars

The Spann Family has increased by two! Okay, not quite, but Claire & Nolan each acquired a new pet today. Meet Spakles and Stars - Goldfish extraordinare!

Okay, these aren't
actually photos of our fish, but they look just like this - I promise!

Have a fantastic weekend!

ps - Kelly & I are placing bets to see how long Sparkles & Stars stick around...