Thursday, December 27, 2007

LA Highlights

For your enjoyment - a selection of photos of our time in Louisiana:

Claire learning to ride without training wheels

Kelly showing her how it's done!

Nolan at the park (notice his fine penmanship!)

First day at Oasis of Love (it was 50 degrees - we needed gloves)

Claire lost a front tooth

Nolan & Bullie (his beloved Webkinz from the Witts)

A new Christmas toy (I love this pic - it shows his true "boyness"!)

Pouting about something really important, I'm sure

Claire and her (Pink!) Razor

Are they both actually smiling at the same time? (Well, kind of...)

Ang & Claire - Christmas Eve

Holiday Greetings!

Merry Christmas!

I had considered writing a Christmas letter and posting it here... but I figured that this blog serves as a letter of it's own. It provides most of the details of our lives, some of which are TMI (Too Much Information)!

We're staying in Natchitoches for the holidays. We are sad that we didn't see family, but with all the excitement lately, it's nice to have some time to just breathe. Christmas was great - We attended Christmas Eve service at church and ate what has become our traditional Christmas Eve meal (which started some time in the afternoon)... appetizers. Lots of appetizers. Shrimp, Spinach Artichoke Dip, chips & salsa, Lil' Smokies, veggies, etc. Plus pie & cookies. It wasn't intentional, but we realized that we've eaten these delights on Christmas Eve more often than not.

Christmas morning was a delight, watching the kids open their gifts. Nolan received his coveted garbage truck (ask him what he wants to be when he grows up - yes, a garbage truck driver), as well as other fun gifts. Claire tested out her new Razor scooter right away. We stayed in our jammies, drank coffee and ate cinnamon rolls, and had a blissful morning. Kelly spent 2 hours putting together a Lego Star Wars battle air ship-thingy, which grandma gave to Nolan, which is now in pieces, but he loves it, so no matter!

Later in the day we ate some more (surprise), a roast with all the good stuff. I do enjoy cooking, but in a tiny kitchen, it's a bit different. Not to mention that fact that most of my baking dishes are in storage... let's just say I had to be creative. It was a great day, though, all around.

Christmas day we had beautiful weather. Crisp, cool air and the warmth of sunshine. Yesterday it rained all day which was a good excuse to stay inside and watch movies. Today we are getting out of the house. Kelly left yesterday afternoon for Tulane University in New Orleans, where he is working a baseball camp until Saturday. The kids have 17 total days off from school. Seventeen! They don't go back until the week after next... The walls are starting to close in. We're headed to Alexandria today, about an hour away. It has the closest Target - and we may take in a movie.

I begin my new job on Wednesday. Everything has worked out so well: I quit at the department store, and Kelly got the camp gig. I begin work before the kids return to school, but Kelly's schedule allows him to be at home with them. I am so thankful for God's faithfulness!

May the spirit of the season remain with you & yours, and may you see the Lord's faithfulness in even the smallest of instances. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Beyond Measure

We have been blessed... beyond measure.

In the short time we've been in Natchitioches, we have been on an emotional roller coaster. We arrived excited & anxious. We felt hopeful & full of anticipation. We've experienced doubt & confusion. We've been happy & grateful. We've felt worried & scared. But in all, and especially now, we know we are blessed.

We've been touched by people that we barely know. We've received anonymous financial gifts. We've had free babysitting, treated to lunches, been given gifts and felt loved. We've been welcomed, and we are so thankful.

Some call it southern hospitality, I call it obedience to the call to love others. We feel God's hand through new friends. We truly feel loved, by both our amazing Father and through His Children. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Proud Momma

Okay, you're in for some serious bragging here... Ready?

For some reason (I believe it's because they're so darn cute) our kids are often featured on brochures & flyers.

When Claire was in preschool, her school did a large marketing campaign. Claire was featured on the many posters, flyers and postcards around town. We would walk into the bank or the Chinese restaurant, and there she was. She was quite proud of this (and sad when they came down several months later).

Nolan & Kelly were pictured in the local paper around the same time, when they went to a Communiny Ed play day.

Nolan was on the news last year in Rochester when he visited Santa at the mall.

This year, both Claire & Nolan are featured on the Rochester Family Y Winter Brochure. Claire is on the cover and Nolan is on page 4. (Click HERE if you really want to see it).

We just received a release form from our church in Rochester, because Claire is going to be on a brochure for the Children's Ministry in their new marketing materials.

What can I say? Cute goes a long way, baby.

Monday, December 17, 2007


The Spanns are finally connected to the internet again! (We got cable too, just when we didn't miss TV so much). But it's a good thing I'm online once again, since I have much to share!

First of all, we've found a church, First Baptist Church of Natchitoches. If you didn't already know, southern churches are very different than churches up north. We try not to compare, but that's hard to do. We've joined a Sunday School class... I chuckle a bit because it's technically called the "College & Career" class! It's really mostly married couples in their late 20s and early 30s, but we feel old, probably because we are. Everyone is very nice and welcoming, and we feel as though we found our church home.

So, my career as a "pay-for-it-girl" was short-lived. I put in 6 days, and that was just about all I could do. I didn't mind the work, or the people I helped, but rather the management was difficult and the pay... well, "paltry" is the word that comes to mind. So, I phoned to let them know it wasn't going to work out and they didn't seem surprised. Lots of turnover, I guess. But it's okay, because (drumroll)...

I've accepted a position at NSU!

I will be serving as an Administrative Coordinator for Student Services. I will be working with campus student groups to plan and purchase for their functions and events. I will also be working for the Director of Facilities, keeping the university's campus facility schedule. I interviewed with the VP of Student Services and he offered the position the same day. I start Jan 2nd, after the school closes for 2 weeks for the holidays.
The position will be busy, but a great place to be. I'm very excited!! Kelly and I will both be on campus, and next year we plan to send the kids to the Elementary Laboratory school, also at NSU. It's a family affair, what can I say?

The kids have just 4 days of school this week, then 2 weeks off for the holidays. It's cooled off a bit, but the sun is still shining and it's warm enough to play outside (I'm pretty sure it's always warm enough to be outside, but it depends on who you ask!). We'll definitely spend lots of time outdoors during our break. My thoughts turn to those who have ice & snow, but no electricity. It's hard to believe that we're on the same continent, truly!

It's a low-key, simple holiday for us this year. And we're happy with that. We miss family & friends, and do long to see everyone. But we've had a busy year, so I'm content with ending 2007 simply. I have a feeling that 2008 will be just as busy, so I'm gearing up.

So - now that I'm back online, I won't be stopping by the library as often, I'm sure the gals down there will miss me. Send me a note, I'd love to hear from you!

Mary Christmas! (Claire's version - "Mary is Jesus' mom, Mom!")

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Boring Update

I am here to update you with all the latest and greatest in the life of the Spanns! ...okay there's really not much to say.

Life is moving along, as always. It's December, but the weather feels more like September. We've hit 75-80 degrees this week with more than enough humidity. It's crazy as we listen to reports of ice & storms across the Midwest. We might as well be on another planet! The kids go to school in short sleeves, no need for even a sweatshirt! The A/C runs night & day... crazy, I tell you!!

I've taken a seasonal position at a local upscale department store. I started yesterday and plan to be there for the rest of this month. In Claire-ese, I'm a "pay-for-it-girl" (her term for sales clerk). I had forgotten how tiring retail sales was! My amazing husband had dinner and a foot massage waiting for me when I got home. I'm hoping to hit the post-holiday sales with my discount.
Still waiting to hear about other employment opportunities....

As I said, not much else. Claire & Nolan will be out of school next Thursday. We'll definitely have to get creative with our time! At least we'll be outside (sans snow!). I don't miss it this year, but ask me next Christmas and I'm certain my response will be different.

So yeah, pretty boring. Work, school, the usual - you know.
Until I have something exciting to blog about...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Southern Christmas

Can it really be December?

The year has flown by... again. Not to mention that it was 75 degrees on Saturday as we took in a parade and enjoyed the annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival. We spent the day with new friends, watched the (2 hour!) parade where the kids caught beads & candy and we enjoyed a true southern meal, including gumbo and brisket. The evening brought a spectacular fireworks display. It was a great time!

So we get ready for Christmas with parties and presents and baking. But we get to ride bikes outside and enjoy the sunshine. I needed a Southern Christmas, I just didn't realize it!

Claire & Nolan are loving their new school and had a great first week. It's much different than what they're used to, but they are both so adaptable that they're doing great. Kelly has finals this week, (watch out tennis class, Prof. Spann is tough!) and I'm still looking for a job. A couple of positions have opened up at the University, but it will be a few weeks yet until I hear anything.

We're as settled as we're going to be, the kids are enjoying sharing a room (bunkbeds are really exciting for some reason - but if anyone has any hints on how to make changing the sheets any easier, I'm open to suggestions!) and our little 3-foot tree is in a corner of the living room.

We look forward to this holiday season and would love to hear from you! Happy December and all that it brings! (Don't stress too much!!)