Friday, December 26, 2008

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

I write this post from Denver, Colorado where we're visiting family. It only took 18 hours in the Spann Van (spread over 2 days) but we made it! We were hoping for lots of fresh, white snow but the Colorado sun has come out, melting most of the white stuff.

We're so thankful to spend this time with family. We've had a blessed, busy month... Lots of holiday parties & events, time spent with friends. The 2008 holiday season marks the passing of our year anniversary as Louisianans. It seems as though it has flown by, but when we stop to consider all we've experienced & encountered in the last 12 months it makes it difficult to believe it's only been a year!

We're so thankful for our southern family... such good times have been had and surely there are only more to come.

May you & yours have a wonderful holiday season: A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's Gonna Be...

As our family discussed the weather this morning, we marveled at the possibility of snow. We live in Louisiana, for goodness sake! We also talked about the possibility of rain.

"It's gonna be hell", says our sweet little Nolan.

"What?" I ask, as I can only assume that I heard him incorrectly.

"It's going to be hell", he says again.

Kelly listens as I ask him to repeat himself again. He says the same thing. One more time. Same thing.

Finally, Nolan explains: "You know, when ice homes down from the sky, He-ll!?"

Oh! "Hail" ...with a southern accent!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Terrific Kid

What's Up? I'll Tell Ya...

Imagine 2 parades (one of which lasts an hour and a half), a huge festival that brings in tens of thousands of people and an enormous fireworks show, and you'll know what our weekend was like. No, we weren't having an early Independence Day celebration. It was Natchitoches' 82nd Annual Christmas Festival.

We spent the day with friends, did a lot of walking and plenty of eating. We were home by 8pm, but were exhausted! I'd have lots of photos to share, but unfortunately, I lost my camera over the weekend. I don't mourn the loss of that camera, as I'd had it for years and the flash drove me crazy, but i miss the few pics I had on there...

Other than the Christmas Fest, we've had lots of activity in the Spann home. Thanksgiving was great. We all enjoyed our week off. We were lazy, I baked and cooked like a mad woman, and we watched lots of movies. Kelly's mom was with us for the week and the rest of his family joined us Thursday - Saturday. We toured historic Natchitoches, took in the lights and ate some more.

Claire & I decorated for Christmas last weekend. We don't have a tree this year, as we've always had a live one, and we'll be in Colorado for the holidays this year. Still we hung wreaths, garland with lights and stockings. We filled glass vases with shiny silver ornaments and put out candles and an Ecuadorian creche. As we decorated, the boys were out and we stopped our work to enjoy hot cocoa and share a piece of delish vanilla pound cake. "It feels like we're in a restaurant, Mom. The music and the decorations... I love it!".

We're prepping for the party scene this week. A family party tonight, another one on Thursday, a kids party on Friday and a grown-up party on Saturday. Sunday starts a new round, but I won't get into that... I can only do 1 week at a time!

In the past month, Claire & Nolan have both had pinkeye (eh), experienced the "Body Walk" at school (a walk through a simulated, uh, body), Claire was named Terrific Kid (student of the month) and Kelly and some of the baseball players visited the kid's school as a reward for attendance.

Claire is fascinated with all things french these days, specifically the language. We've decided to learn french together as I have always studied espanol. Nolan is even getting into the act, greeting me with a hearty 'bon jour'! Claire is already talking about the trip to Paris she plans to take one day...

And that's the Spanns for now. Many details are lost in translation, but you get the gist. I plan to blog again soon, but just in case, Merry Christmas! May you & yours enjoy the true spirit of the season!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Claire Can Cook

While shopping downtown, Claire & I stopped at a shop featuring cookbooks. Claire's interest in all things culinary is at it's peak. She strongly feels that she needs a cookbook of her own, and thought that this shop would be a good place to find one. While browsing, she says to me, "Mom, I've found it! I need this! It's called... 'Any Bitch Can Cook'!"

A fellow shopper caught my eye and tried not to laugh, to no avail. I told Claire that probably wasn't the cookbook she needed. When I explained what the title meant, her face reddened and said, "I didn't know!". Well, she does now, no thanks to Kaffe Frederick!

At least we can be confident in her reading skills!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thankful Spririt

In the spirit of the season, a few of the things I'm thankful for:

  • coffee
  • a dog that is so happy to see me, her entire body "wags" to say hello
  • an amazing boss who I call friend, first & foremost
  • my genius, gorgeous, hilarious children
  • my extended family, including my "kids" who are student workers & athletes
  • my best friend who happens to be an amazing husband
  • fall weather that doesn't include snow
  • an upcoming trip to Denver to visit family
  • coffee

There is so much more, but I must get to work...

Monday, November 03, 2008


Thanks to the time change, our family was up and at 'em with time to spare this morning. For me to be ready to go by 7am is quite a feat in & of itself, but since I was so chipper, I offered to take the kids to school. (Kelly, being the amazing dad & husband he is, usually takes them).

We drove along, enjoying the sunshine, as I began to pray (with my eyes open, of course!). This is a tradition we began when Claire entered Kindergarten, that our kids would hear us pray out loud for them as they make their way to school. When I finished, Nolan asked if he could pray, to which I said "of course".

His prayer went something like this: "Dear Jesus, Thank you that we believe in you. Thank you for dying for us. Thank you that when we die we can go to heaven and have new bodies. We love you. Amen."

My heart swelled and I thanked him for his prayer. Then I realized just how early it was, too early to go to school. So I suggested that we stop at the gas station for donuts. I ran in, paid the $3.06 and came back to find the kids chatting quietly. Then Claire said, "Mom, Nolan wants to pray that special prayer to have Jesus in his heart forever." I re-parked the car, and we prayed. I cried and the kids knew, "Mom is crying happy tears".

Could I have a better beginning to my day??

Friday, October 31, 2008

Too Pooped to Party

Last week was Northwestern's Homecoming and the Spanns were Demons through and through. Tuesday night I judged the Lip Sync competition. It was quite a sight watching the various sororities & fraternities get their "rock" on. This year's theme was "Live Like A Rock Star". The department decided that next time the Student Activities staff will definitely participate. We may be old, but we can still get our groove on.

On Thursday I took the kids to the Homecoming Parade & Pep Rally. The kids had a blast and caught more candy than they could carry. "This is the best parade EVER!", Claire exclaimed as she stuffed her cheeks and the giant Wal-Mart bag with candy. On Friday we tailgated & enjoyed another Demon victory (at least the first half... We can't stay past halftime, due to boredom.)

This week brought Fall Festival, school carnivals & parties. And I'm pooped. We have candy coming out our ears. Hannah Montana & Batman made an appearance in the Spann Home, for which we consider ourselves very lucky!

Today kicked off the Demon Baseball World Series. It's the grand finale of Fall Baseball. Kelly is once again the head coach of Kelly's Heros, and unfortunately they dropped their first game 5-4. It's a 5 game series, though, and I'm confident they'll take it all the way!

I have pictures to post of the above mentioned events, but I'm way too tired as I sit at work at 8:15 pm to tend to a "work emergency". So, with a sigh & a yawn I'll be on my way...

Sunday, October 19, 2008


It finally feels like we've had a change of seasons in Louisiana. This weekend is the perfect example. The air outside actually feels a bit crisp. Not too crisp, though, because it's always humid. Always. We ate lunch outside yesterday. Usually it's too hot, there are too many bugs or it's raining. Yesterday was picture perfect. Grilled hot dogs & dad hung a tire swing! Yes, a tire swing! The kids love it!

We spent the evening at a portion of a 13-inning baseball scrimmage/practice & just enjoyed the outdoors.

It may (no, it will) get warm again, just when we least expect it, but I'll take this for now.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


I'm not sure if it was the lack of fall weather or just the daily grind, but I'd been in a bit of a funk for, oh, the last 2 months or so. I was working on weekends, staying far too late, searching for an after-school babysitter and feeling the pain of it all. Last weekend I finally decided that enough was enough and I couldn't do it anymore. I decided to buck up and be happy. God is in control, even when I can't feel it, even when I can't see it. He is constant. He sees beyond what I can see. I've already learned to trust Him, I just needed to be reminded of his capabilities.

Life chuggs along at full speed, meanwhile. Claire & Nolan have a new babysitter who picks them up from school and brings them home. She hangs out with them until I get home at 4:30. She adorable and sweet and we're so glad to have found her. Kelly is in the midst of fall full-team baseball practice. They will continue team practices for another month or so, when they go back to 4-on-1 practices. My office is hiring an Admin Asst who will help me and take many duties which I have been performing since May. She will start Monday and I will take a HUGH sigh of relief.

It finally feels a little like fall, with temps at 55 degrees this morning. Chilly for us. Funny, huh? I realized this morning that I never wear socks. Except when I'm wearing running shoes. Small details, but say a lot (to me, anyway!!).

So with this I say goodbye to my funky mood and welcome autumn with open arms...

Monday, September 08, 2008

A Conversation

Disclaimer: This blog is not only for reader enjoyment, but also for the Spann Family to preserve cherished memories. Not all of these memories are sweet, though they may be funny. That said, read at your own risk...

Angela: Hey Bud, what's up?
Nolan: I have to tell you something, but I'm afraid I'm going to get in trouble.
Angela: Nolan. Tell me.
Nolan: But I'm afraid. I can't.
Angela: I can't promise you won't get into trouble, but you can still tell me. What is it?
Nolan: Will I get a spanking?
Angela: I don't know until you tell me. But I promise that if you tell the truth now, you'll be in less trouble than if you don't.
Nolan: Okay....
Nolan: I pooped outside. And Daisy ate it.
Angela: (suppressing laughter but not shock) You did what? Are you serious?
Nolan: Yeah. Am I in trouble? It was only one...
Angela: (now laughing outloud) Only one? Where?
Nolan: In the bushes. Will I get a spanking?
Angela: No you're not in trouble, but please don't do that again!
Nolan: Okay.
Angela: But now you have to tell your dad. (Still laughing but trying not to).
Nolan: Will he give me a spanking?
Angela: No, but you have to tell him.
Nolan: Okay...

Boy - through and through, what can I say??

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Quick Update...

We survived Gustav, as did most southerners. We were without power from Monday until this morning. We have many branches down on our property, as it's populated by some very old trees. No damage to our home, from debris or water. Plenty to clean up, but I can handle that!

We've been so blessed to stay with friends, then parents of friends. We've joked that we're on vacay - and it's pretty close to the truth. Aside from a little darkness, we've been very comfortable. Rousing games of Boggle & dominoes, movies for the kids, good food all the time. No school or work...

The kids return to school tomorrow, Kelly and I will return to work as well. Classes are set to resume, as long as we don't get any damaging storms this evening. There are some pretty major weather warnings - rains & tornadoes - just east of us, we're praying that they pass us by, but thunderstorms are predicted for later today.

My workload when I return, will likely be in the form of cleaning up and salvaging damaged items in some of our (very) old buildings on campus. Evacuees are still on campus as well, and I'm certain that they'll need help in assisting them as they prepare to return.

Over 1 million residents are without electricity and it's been projected that as many as half will have power restored in the next 10 days. The remaining half, however, may take up to 6 weeks! Again, so thankful for our safety and minor inconvenience.

Two more storms are in the Gulf... we may be in for a long hurricane season. We'll keep you updated, but in the meantime, I'll remain amazed at the weather and the power it holds. Not to mention the God who holds the power to control it.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Good Ol' Gustav

Yes, we are preparing for Gustav. Yes, we are north of New Orleans, about 4 hours or so. Yes, we will get rain. But for the most part, the good peeps of Natchitoches are pretty calm. Most living here are locals, and they've been there-done that. Folks are still stocking up on water and snacks though, many of which are hosting family from the south. Fuel prices are starting to creep up and will continue to do so over the weekend.

Northwestern State is an official Red Cross evacuation designation. Students from the University of New Orleans are headed this way by bus, as I type. Students from other universities, as well as displaced families will stay in vacant dorms and the PE & Health building.

Right now, though, as I look out the window and see beautiful blue sky and sunshine, it's hard to believe that we're going to be greeted by a downpour pretty soon. For now, we're headed to the first football game of the season, complete with tailgating.

We'll keep you updated (if we have electricity!) and please, pray for those who are moving in this storm.

Monday, August 18, 2008


ohmygoodness i'm so busy i don't have time for punctuation claire & nolan are in school and loving it my work is piling up and i need to get it done kelly starts classes next week six classes in all and fall practice isn't too far off daisy mae is great being trained which of course is great we're hoping to start horseback riding lessons for claire and karate for nolan soon we're joining a new small group for coaches & wives kids have a fantastic new program at church on sunday nights i'm teaching claire's sunday school class claire made a profession of faith last sunday at church and will be baptized as soon as the renovations on the sanctuary are complete we've enjoyed the olympics and have witnessed our very own gymnasts as they practice in the living room lots of rain and wet weather which cools it off a little but it's still hot and humid most of the time we're so so so blessed by great friends here in la but are missing friends who are far away which makes me so thankful for facebook speaking of which i should probably go to lunch (deep breath) buh bye

Monday, August 11, 2008

Gearing Up!!

While most of the country is enjoying the Olympics and relishing the end of summer, we're fully in back-to-school mode. We've always noted Labor Day as the end of our lazy days, but not in Louisiana! Claire begins 2nd grade tomorrow and Nolan will begin Kindergarten on Thursday. We met our teachers and toured the school yesterday afternoon - and we're ready! Our new school uniforms are washed, new shoes are still clean & supplies and nap mats are ready to be used.

We've had a nice summer, and Kelly has been a fantastic Mr. Mom... but we're ready for the routine, a new school and all the exciting things that come with the school year. We'll have lots to share as we get in the thick of it all. Until then - GO USA!!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Words - Finally

Finding the time to blog actual words was a bit trickier than I had anticipated. But here I am, in all my glory. I know you're thrilled! But instead of boring you will details of the past, I'll give a quick synopsis:

My vacation was glorious. It wasn't what I consider to be relaxing, as we spend much of our time with the actual travel portion. Plane to car to boat to car to plane. But I have no complaints. I didn't get sunburned and that is a major feat for me. I was able to spend the week with my mom and sister, both of whom I hadn't seen in year. A year! I left not only the city of Natchitoches, but the state of Louisiana and the US as a whole. When do we go again?!

Shortly before I took my vacay, Kelly & the kids trekked to New Orleans and Florida for their trip. Baseball camp and a family reunion were the main events. They came home tan and tired. This is the first and last time that we'll take separate "family" vacations!

We're gearing up for school. Claire & Nolan head back in a little over a week. Tomorrow is school shopping day and I'm especially excited because it's Louisiana tax-free day tomorrow. This doesn't mean much to our Minnesota friends since they get tax-free shopping EVERYDAY, but I'll take what I can get!

My job is getting busy again after a nice, relaxing summer. The fall semester starts Aug 25 and we'll be in high gear until Christmas or so. Kelly beings fall practice in September and is taking on a full-plus load of classes as an instructor. We have 7 home Demon Football games to look forward to, fall baseball scrimmages and new, fun exciting events at church.

We're still taking full advantage of summer: swimming & sweating are the 2 main means of cooling off. Evening is the hottest time of day, and I'm still not accustom to the possibility of getting sunburned at 7pm! Of course, the hot weather will take us full in October & November and we'll enjoy a nice warm Christmas.

It's hard to believe that Kelly has lived & worked in Louisiana for nearly an entire year! It's flown by and we're grateful for the journey. Our lives are not boring, that is certain, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. We are all happy, healthy and oh-so thankful.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Photos - Phase I

So much to say, to share... But since this is my first day back in the office after vacation I have much to catch up on. Until then, I've uploaded some pics for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!!

34 Spankings for 34 Years

Oh, the pleasure Claire & Nolan derived from this...

Vacay Love

Daisy Girl

Monday, July 07, 2008

So Much...

So much to say, where do I begin?? Lots to share, so I'll go back a little. (I had hoped to have photos to go along with my stories, but camera isn't cooperating right now.)

I mentioned in an earlier post that Claire made the All-Star team for 6-year old girls. Her regular season team took 1st place and went undefeated for the season. After lots and lots of practice (they practiced a lot, did I mention that?) the All-Star won their first game, 27-24. After 2 nights off, they lost a tough game to a killer team (did I really just say that about 6 year old girls?). They lost again the next night, but took 3rd place and won the tournament Sportsmanship Award. The team played great, and although Claire was sad when they finally lost ("I just love to play, mom!") it was a fun experience. Kelly served as an official coach for the Pink Tigers (their non-official name) and said he was more nervous than he had ever been for a game before.

Claire also turned 7 on June 29th! We celebrated with a party at the movie theatre where we had cake and watched Wall-E with 8 friends. Hannah Montana and American Girl were among the favorite gifts, not to mention purses, movies and even a digital camera from Gramma.

Claire is a wonderful girl - so loving & giving, funny, smart and beautiful. I'm a bit biased, but I'd say she's turning out pretty well. I'm so proud of her!! She's a great friend to me, too.

We enjoyed a fabulous, long holiday weekend for the 4th. Friends joined us dinner and we took in spectacular fireworks here in Natchitoches. Nolan thought they were "sweet!" and Claire said that the 4th of July in Louisiana was "the best!".

And then there's Saturday. What happened Saturday, you ask? Daisy happened.

The Spann family officially increased by one when we adopted Daisy, a beagle-terrier mix. She's 6 months old, sweet and has lots of energy. She's definitely still a puppy, and we have the joy of training her. I was the one to push the dog issue. I wasn't up for a puppy, I wanted an older dog, but when I saw Daisy, I just knew. She's a great addition, especially since...

I'm home alone for almost 2 weeks!!

Kelly, Claire & Nolan left yesterday afternoon for New Orleans. Kelly is coaching at a baseball camp at Tulane University and the kids went along as campers. They'll stay the week until they leave on Friday to visit Kelly's family in the Florida panhandle. It's about halfway to New Orleans, so Kelly figured they'd keep going east a bit and make it a vacation. I miss them terribly, but didn't join them because I'm taking my own vacation shortly after they return.

My mom, sister & I are taking a "mom vacay" to Orlando, where we'll cruise to the Bahamas. I am so excited!! And I don't feel even a bit guilty (yet!). I've never been alone for that long (not ever!). I'm definitely an extrovert and get energized by being with people... but Daisy is doing a good job at keeping me company.

Okay, so it's back to work. I'm determined to get my camera up and running to share photos of the many exciting events happening around here lately. Until then - Adios!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Young At Heart

On Wednesday I turned 31. I am no longer thirty, instead I am 'in my thirties'. This is very different, people. But I figure with all that I do to stay young, I'm really going back in years. So, really I turned 29. What?! Read On:

Last week I took mornings off to volunteer with VBS at our church. I had the opportunity to share "God's Unshakable Truth" with 18 wild & wonderful 3rd graders. It was a long week, as I worked late everyday to make up some hours, but it was worth it. That takes off a few months right there, at least.

This last weekend I attended a retreat for the Student Government Association at Northwestern. My job works very closely with students of different organizations, with SGA keeping me very busy. It was fun weekend & fully participated with the group in team building, low ropes, the whole bit. I even earned a nickname.

And each day I spend my time with college students from all walks of life. They are good to me, but definitely keep me young. I was spoiled on Wednesday with gifts, food, flowers & cards. I enjoyed a wonderful meal and received lovely gifts from my family. Claire schooled me in Yahtzee and I enjoyed every minute of it. I am LOVED.

And young at heart, no matter my age.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Summer Lovin'

Or Lovin' Summer, whichever way you like, it's definitely summer 'round here!

We're settling into out new home, which the kids call the "house in the woods" which is pretty accurate. We've been visited by lizards, squirrels, rabbits and every manner of insect you can imagine.

Kelly is in full stay-at-home dad mode. He's great at it, though we'd both be thrilled to switch roles. We're thankful for how everything has worked out this year and have truly seen God's hand in all that we embark upon.

Claire had her last softball game of the season on Tuesday, taking home a 1st place trophy. Early on in the season, when the team won games, we tried to emphasise that it wasn't a big deal... we didn't want losing to be a big deal either. Well, when they ended up with an undefeated season, we didn't have much opportunity to learn about being a good loser. And just when we thought it was over, I got a call last night informing me that Claire had been chosen for the All-Star team. She's thrilled, especially since she knows that they'll be in a tournament and are playing other cities. It also means that we have tree weeks of practice and games will be played in 100+ degrees. Summer in Louisiana, gotta love it!

Saturday is our 11th Wedding Anniversary. We'll actually be spending it together this year (last year he was in Kansas City & I in Minnesota). We're hiring a babysitter & everything... a very big deal!

We also have birthday partys, softball camps, and VBS starting next week. Like I said... Summer Lovin'!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Picture Day

A while back, one of my student workers who is a photography minor, took some photos of Claire & Nolan for an assignment. Above are a few of the results. Definitely an A, don'tcha think?