Saturday, January 27, 2007

"The Club"

Well, we finally did it. We've been parents for over 5 years, but we hadn't joined "the club" until yesterday. That's right... we bought a minivan.

Though our kids have yet to play soccer (and they most likely will, although Kelly isn't the biggest soccer fan in the world - often referring to it as a "communist sport" - but you'll have to ask him about that) driving a minivan instantly brings the title "soccer mom" to mind.

I could tell you that we've held out as long as we could, that we've resisted the minivan movement, wanting to retain our sense of youth and independence... but in all honesty, both Kelly & I have been longing to own one! We sold a car before moving to Rochester, knowing that our next vehicle purchase would be a beloved 7-seater. Love the room, the convenience, all of it. Makes me feel like, well, a mom!

Soccer moms (and dads) UNITE! (You know you love it!)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Another Week In The Life

Well, we made it through the week with no major mishaps, exciting events or trips to a hotel. Our new furnace is cranking in full gear, which is good, since winter has finally arrived in Rochester, with snow on the ground and temps in the 20s. Nolan had his first day of preschool and can't wait to return tomorrow. Claire begins an art class on Saturday, throw in a birthday party and a family pizza party this weekend, and life is continuing at a steady hum.

Next month, Kelly & I will begin to lead a small group video study on Wednesday nights during Awana. Kelly has been "lunching" with various church leaders, namely the executive pastor, and it's officially a "go". We've decided that we need to be making a stronger effort on our part to become involved, not just to meet people, but to establish relationships. Both Kelly and I are extroverts, gaining our energy and momentum from being around people, which has been greatly lacking. We're even hosting a Super Bowl party, albeit for college students, but I've got to get my party hostess fix in somehow. (Go Colts!)

Kelly is also volunteer coaching at RCTC, which will be beginning soon. It's really so important for him to take part, to be part of a team and stand on a field. He'll accompany the basketball teams to Canada next month for a tournament, then the athletic season at Crossroads really winds down from there.

Otherwise, life is good. No complaints, just feeling a little bit lost on my part. Trying to figure out what's next for Angela. Possibly a job, or something else? We'll have to see, but I'm enjoying being domestic for now (having my washer and dryer back, plus a dishwasher all help to put things in perspective!).

To a great weekend!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Never A Dull Moment

While visiting with college girlfriends this past weekend I was reminded of two things. Both of which I was already aware, but are often made more obvious when I'm visiting with friends. #1 - I am incapable of telling a "short" story. #2 - There is never a dull moment in the Spann household. The first is displayed below. The second was reiterated this week.

We finally moved ourselves and all our stuff into our new house. We're very happy to be here. A new gas stove was installed the weekend we moved in and I was looking forward to the culinary masterpieces that would warm in this oven. (Okay, so Claire & I were making Pillsbury 'ready-to-bake' valentine cookies...) As the oven preheated, it began to smell. I chalked it up to being the first time we'd used it. The smell got stronger and both Claire and Nolan complained. Then Claire began to cry. She didn't like the smell. I thought she was overreacting, but also became concerned that perhaps there was a gas leak. I turned off the oven and called the owner of the house, who in turn, called the gas company. A tech came to the house and assured me that all was fine with the stove. He did do a furnace check, however, and it didn't look so great in his opinion. Two service techs later, the furnace was deemed unsafe due to rust buildup and CO2 violations. They turned it off. Oh, and did I mention that it was -12 degrees that morning?! It was to be the coldest night of the year and us with no heat! The owner, being a really nice guy, sent us out to dinner and to a hotel, on him. The next day Nolan and I spent the morning at the mall while Claire was at school, and after lunch we all wore our hats, mittens and several layers as we waited for the furnace to be installed and the house to warm back up. We were up and running with heat blasting by dinner...

Other than that little detail, the transition to our new home has been a good one. Claire started at her new school, which both she and I love. Her teacher is fantastic, and being a smaller school, Claire is able to take part in several things that her other school didn't offer. There are neighborhood kids in her class, as well as several kids from church.

And speaking of school, Nolan starts preschool tomorrow! Actually, it's sort of an intro to preschool. It's a one-day a week program, in a preschool format. He's very excited, though I know he'll be disappointed when he doesn't bring a snack or show-and-tell. Wants to be just like big sis, you know...

As I mentioned earlier, I was able to see college friends this past weekend. Girls (and their babies) traveled from Omaha and the Twin Cities to Rochester. It was a fun time, way over due!

We've got a busy weekend, but I'm hoping it stays relatively boring... we don't need much more excitement around here! Have a good one!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Thrills, Chills & Spills

Thrills: We are THRILLED to be moving into our new home! Each day we get closer to moving day, my giddiness factor doubles! To say that we've been grateful for our temporary home on campus couldn't begin to describe our thanks to the college, but to be moving off-campus - let's just say it's definitely time. We are all soooo excited!

Chills: It's gonna be cold this weekend. Not that I have the right to complain, as our winter has been pretty mild this year. Only one snowstorm to report, medium (30s) temps and relative low winds have made getting around pretty easy. It's just that we have 3 moving days between today and Monday, and it's forecast is in the teens with snow showers. Brrr.

Spills: In the Spann home, "spill" means two things - actually spilling something, like milk, or, as in this case - throwing up (a term Claire came up with as a sick toddler... "I spilled!"). Well, we were so thrilled about finally selling our house, we treated ourselves to a celebration dinner at Red Lobster last night. At about 10:30 pm, the "spills" showed up. Both Claire and Nolan were sick throughout the night, getting up every 30 minutes or so until 5 this morning. We're not sure if it's a 'bug' or something the kids ate, but either way, no one was happy. After crawling out of bed and into the shower this morning, we left for the cities to pre-sign on our closing at 10am. The spills accompanied Nolan on the car trip. After picking up the moving truck, Kelly and the kids & I parted ways. Kelly went to the house in Mayer to pack the truck, the three of us headed home for some rest.

It's been an exhausting 24 hours, but it's looking like everyone is on the mend.

Now, where did I put those boxes...

Monday, January 08, 2007


What a week! We're definitely starting 2007 running... We've found a modest split-level home to rent in Northwest Rochester - and we're moving next weekend! I've yet to pack up our apartment, but a local move isn't quite as daunting as a long-distance one. We'll pre-sign for the closing of our home on Thursday, move our furniture and boxes still in the house on Thursday night, unload them in our new rental on Friday and move the rest of our belongings (as well as ourselves!) in on Monday.

The house is very close to our church - and even better, it's in the same neighborhood as our good friends the Morgans! We're thankful to be so close to them!

Claire will be changing schools as well. We had debated whether or not to make a switch, but have decided that it's in everyone's best interest. Claire said she will miss her class, but when I told her that she wouldn't be able to ride the bus, well, she was up for the change!

Crossroads starts up again this week, with classes beginning tomorrow. Basketball has already begun, with a game on Saturday and two more tonight. A new semester... a few new students, new classes, a new year. A new start of sorts.

Pray for us this week as we finalize the sale on our house, move into a new home, change schools and manage the craziness that is sometimes our life. It's always an adventure...

Monday, January 01, 2007

In Review

The Spann Family blog started in August, however our family has been on a journey that began about this time last year. I didn't write a Christmas letter due to the fact that we feel that we're still in the midst of that journey and we're waiting for many things to come to fruition. We're getting there, but in the meantime, I'll fill you in on Spanns: 2006.

Last Christmas we found ourselves sick with the flu, in -10 degree weather and alone. We realized that we needed our family. Our children longed for grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins (some of which they had never met!). And even though we can't deny the fact that despite our California & Texas roots, we're more Midwestern than anything... the cold was becoming unbearable. We began to wonder if it wasn't time for us to relocate.

Kelly loved his job at Crown College: Head Baseball Coach and Prof of Sport Management. Coaching is what Kelly does - he thinks about it, dreams about, lives it - and to do it at his alma mater, an institution he loved, was a great fit. And as he says, "Teaching is coaching in a classroom." But after several changes in his department and in the college overall, he began to consider that it might be time to move on. Leaving Crown wouldn't be easy, but both he and I felt so strongly that it was time for us to go. This was confirmed by so many sources: chapel services at Crown, the women's Bible Study I was a part of. We knew this had to happen. But where to? That remained to be seen, but visions of southern climates danced in our heads as baseball season began.

That's when one of the biggest steps in this journey began. Kelly gave his notice... before the playing season began. It would be his last season at Crown. He didn't have a new position, only the strong sense of urgency that we had to step out in faith and resign. This wasn't part of our original plan. We thought that Kelly would seek out a new position over the summer and if he didn't find one, well, we'd stay at Crown. That would have been too easy!

Kelly entered the season with high hopes. The Storm Baseball roster was bigger and better than ever before. Kelly had a staff of assistant coaches in place for the first time. It was looking promising. But injury, ineligibility and discipline issues darkened the season. Looking back, the season was difficult, but perhaps it made the transition a bit easier.

During this time, Kelly had applied for a job in Longview, Texas, as a head college coach. It was very exciting and we figured this was it! We had put ourselves out there on faith, we had been obedient to God's calling,
He was now blessing us with the "perfect" job! We told the kids we were moving to Texas! Well, maybe we weren't that definitive, but we were confident that God was taking us somewhere, and we let Claire & Nolan know. It was all we talked about, all we thought about. Claire was old enough to understand, we wanted to make things clear to her. We felt so strongly that this is where we were going...

We were wrong.

The season ended and Kelly was done, all rather unceremoniously. As happens every year, the season ends the same time school does, everyone leaves and that's it. Fortunately, Crown honored his contract through the month of June, which meant he still received a salary and benefits for six weeks while he was at home.

I, in the meantime, continued working at Ridgeview Medical Center, admitting patients to the hospital and Emergency Room. I loved my job and the people I worked with, and I had considered returning to school for nursing. Those plans were forgotten about in the midst of it all, and although I know now is not the right time, in the future it still may be. I had let my employer and co-workers what was going on with us, expecting to have news and to give my notice at any time. Everyone was very supportive. We all waited...

During the summer months, Kelly continued his job search. He applied to several places, some of which seemed promising, others, not so much. Kelly had several telephone interviews and while he had only 6 years coaching experience, his professionalism and passion for the game as well as students often won him a spot on the "Top 5" list. But getting so close, to only lose the position to someone with more experience was taking it's toll. Kelly dabbled in some part-time summer work. We were grateful for the income, but it served to confirm that Kelly has a specific calling on his life.

Meanwhile, we celebrated birthdays, weddings, births. We played T-Ball, went to VBS, spent time with friends, we soaked up as much Minnesota as we could. We had been very transparent with our friends, letting everyone know what was going on. It was great to have support and even better to have prayers. In June we put our house on the market. We had long ago given our home to the Lord, and we knew he'd sell it in His way in His time. But we were certain it'd be soon. We had lots of interest, we'd priced it low. We had 2-4 showings a week... for months. Still waiting.

August rolled around and the tone in the Spann household became one of panic. School was starting soon, very soon. Claire was due to begin Kindergarten... still no job. We considered taking the house off the market, enrolling Claire in school locally and Kelly find a job locally, any job. Within a week, Kelly had 3 job interviews via telephone. 2 of which were serious consideration: he drove to Rochester, Minnesota and flew to Roswell, New Mexico within a week. Crossroads College in Rochester was hiring for an Athletic Director. They offered the position to Kelly. The job started the following week.

Kelly accepted, I gave my notice, we packed up what we thought would fit into a campus apartment, rented a truck and moved. The following week classes began at Crossroads and a short time later, Claire began Kindergarten.

And that brings us to August. If you're reading this blog, you've probably kept up with us since then. The preceding posts highlight some of the highs (and lows) during the last 4 months. We recently accepted an offer on our home (after several price reductions and a realtor change) and close on the 12th of this month.

God is good.

2006 has been a year of faith, of being stretched, of wonder, of thankfulness, of gratefulness, of humility, of blessedness, of learning... one that we are thankful for (but don't want to relive!) As I mentioned earlier, we feel that we're still on this particular journey. We don't pretend to know for a second what is next for us, but we are excited to find out. There is something still stirring inside us, a knowledge that we aren't done, that we're still on our way home.

We anticipate and Thank God for what He's doing and what He's yet to do. He is faithful. Even when we are not.

Here's to 2007 and the adventure that lies within!