Tuesday, December 29, 2009

house stuff

Okay, so I said I would share deets. (details!)

... as long as we've been in Natchitoches, I have been looking online at houses. Knowing that Kelly's mom was joining here, we knew we'd need a bit more room and we were ready to be homeowners again.

Claire & I went to look at a smallish house in a great neighborhood where many of our friends now live. We looked very casually, and decided that it was just too small for us. A friend told me about a house she walked by on her "route" each day with a For Sale sign out front. She didn't know much about it, other than the fact that it had 4 bedrooms and a saltwater pool. After stalking the property online, Kelly & I decided that we needed to see it in person. We were sold.

After some time, an offer was accepted. The process was a bit slower than usual since we were negotiating with a relocation company out of California. But our patience and persistence paid off! We are so excited! It does have a saltwater pool, a large yard, 4 bedrooms, 2 living areas with fireplaces and a large covered patio. It needs a lot of love. New paint. Carpet. Counter tops. Appliances. Like I said, lots of love. But we see ourselves on Tahoe Drive for many, many years to come.

Welcome Home!
So, I know I have more to share... I'll promise, I'll be back!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Hello Friends! I know - it's been FOREVER. My last post was on my last day at Northwestern. SO much has happened since that day. I won't cram it all into this one post, but I will give you a quick update:

NEW JOB: I love being an elementary school secretary! Especially at our school. It sounds so cliche, but it's a school with amazing, talented teachers and staff (not to mention incredible kids). My days have actually slowed down a bit, with the exception of an emergency school closing and the occasional tornado warning. My day starts earlier, but it ends earlier too, all with Claire & Nolan in tow.

Nolan visits me and says hello each time he gets a drink of water or heads upstairs to Art. Claire's teacher often sends her on errands which usually involve making a stop at my desk. I truly, truly love it.

THANKSGIVING: Wait. Back up a week. The weekend before Thanksgiving Kelly drove to Florida to pick up his mom, who has relocated to Natchitoches. We brought her here permanently with the notion of placing her in a nursing home. After much talk, prayer and doctor's visits, it's been determined that she can try to live on her own with some part-time assistance. She would stay with us until an apartment opened up for her. She's still with us.

Later in the week, Aunt Pam, Uncle Roy and Nana joined us for Turkey Day. We ate, shopped and enjoyed their company!

The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas SOAR BY without much time to catch a breath. Christmas parties at church and school (for kids and adults, alike), tests, doctor's appointments, karate and basketball are just a few of the things that keep us spinning. And in the midst of it all, we managed to place an offer on a house for sale. An offer that was finally accepted and finalized on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

We are thrilled!!

I'm dying to share details, but it'll just have to wait. Christmas stuff, too. Tomorrow? Until then, I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, October 16, 2009

every new begininng...

...comes from some other beginning's end.

Today is my last day in the office I've been a part of for 1.7 years (according to human resources!). It doesn't seem like a long time in the grand scheme of things, but I started shortly after we moved to Louisiana, and it often feels like we've lived here for a very long time.

I have so enjoyed my time here - but it is entirely due to the people who make up this place. I have made friendships that have seeped beyond the edges of the office and will carry throughout my lifetime. I have had the joy of being "second mama" to the students who work for me as well as those that I work for.

This week I have been treated to parties and lunches and I hope to make a quiet (early) exit today. I am a very blessed woman.

To New Beginnings!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

rainy day

Yesterday was Columbus Day. Also known as "Professional Staff Development Day" for the area schools. Also known as "Mom Stays Home With the Kids Day". It was great. I cooked, baked, cleaned, washed, organized, folded, put away, wiped down and caught up with the many things that I have let slide over the past few weeks.

The view from our very wet front porch

Homemade Soup

Chocolate Chip Granola - Pre-baking

Chocolate-Chip Banana Muffins

Twister-Movie Watching-GranolaEating-ChillingOut

I know, I'm a total dork. I can't help myself. Just be thankful that I didn't post pictures of the 10 loads of laundry, the spice cabinet I cleared out and the dozens of pairs of socks that I paid the kids to fold!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

extra, extra! read all about it!

I love having news. Fortunately for me, our family has news to share more often than not. What can I say, we abide by the old adage, "the only constant is change".

But I also love giving little hints and trying to make you guess just what my news may be! Any takers??

Okay, I won't drag it out...

I got a new job. Yes! My news is "job news" and it's NOT about Kelly! My last day at Northwestern State will be Friday, October 16th (pretty soon, if you didn't notice). Monday the 19th will be my first day at NSU Elementary Lab School. I have been offered the position of school secretary (and I accepted, duh). Yes, this is Claire & Nolan's school. I will have 8 weeks off in the summer and share my children's school schedule & holidays (oh, Kelly's too!).

I am thrilled. Over the moon. Quite excited! It will be tough leaving my beloved co-workers and college students, but my new role will be THE perfect fit. Quite divine, actually.

So, there you have it. Just picture me at the desk, saying "Welcome to our school!". Yay!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Our Christmas Angel

It's official. We're southerners.

And to drive that point home, Claire participated in her first pageant this weekend. If you didn't already realize, southerners hold a pageant for EVERYTHING. Seriously. Just our little town is known to have a Meat Pie Queen, a City of Lights Queen, Miss Merry Christmas and Miss Teen Natchitoches. We like to celebrate. We have festivals. Lots of them. Every festival has a pageant. And every pageant has a queen.

This weekend was the Natchitoches Christmas Angels Pageant. One queen is chosen for pre-k through 8th grade, and Claire was a participant this year. She donned a snazzy black & white dress with a hot pink sash and made her way across the stage (with a pivot turn in the middle, of course). Miss Merry Christmas (the high school equivalent of this pageant's queen) announced Claire's hobbies, favorite food & color, her ambitions and Christmas list (plus more!).

Claire did great! She was a nervous wreck the evening before at the rehearsal, not knowing what to expect. I think we both regretted signing up for this thing on Saturday night. But Sunday afternoon, about halfway through the 2 1/2 hour (!) long event, she made her appearance. She was lovely and graceful, confident and poised. Our big downfall was the lack of pantyhose. Yeah, I know! But as I watched girl after girl make their entrance, there was not one bare leg in sight! Oops. Okay, so I'm not that southern. I don't even own pantyhose!

Ultimately, Claire was awarded 2nd runner up for the 3rd grade division, and we couldn't be prouder! The nerves passed and Claire declared that she wants to participate again next year!

Our Angel and her trophy

I don't have more photos because I lost our camera last Christmas and have been using an old one of my moms (hence the blurry pic above!). Argh! Hopefully I can find someone who took pictures at the event!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

bad blogger

What can I say? Life has been busy. I know, I know, I ALWAYS say that. And it's always true. But never more so than this past month. The fact that we can't get internet at our house because we're set too far back in the woods (yes, I know, don't even get me started) doesn't help either. So, enough of the excuses, I'll give you the lowdown.

Kelly is loving his high school gig. He's doing a great job at keeping a positive attitude with his students and players. They suffered a heartbreaking loss this past Friday night 21-20, but experienced a great win just last night at a JV game. This week's game is on Thursday night and we're hoping for a BIG WIN.

Claire is student extraordinaire, as always. She's enjoying school and was "Wrangler of the Week" recently. (The school has a western theme this year). She's been attending a softball clinic at the high school, going to travel ball practice and all the hard work is paying off. She gets a hearty workout at first base and is hitting the ball harder than we've ever seen before. She gets to sneak in fun stuff too, sleepovers, birthday parties and time with friends. She loves going to Chief football games and cheers her heart out.

Nolan can now be seen perfecting his karate moves. He attends classes twice a week and loves it. For the first time, he looks forward to an activity. I'm convinced that the fact that karate is done inside an air-conditioned building has something to do with it. He's also doing great in school. First grade has proven to be a challenge, but he's stepped up. He's adjusting to the large amount of homework and is reading like a champ.

I'm just, well, trying to keep it all going. Our activities take us all over town, but we've got a system down. Work is finally starting to let up a bit, thanks to my wonderful director who has rerouted some of my duties to lighten my load. I love picking the kids up everyday and can't imagine doing it any other way. I'm keeping busy with activities of my own. I recently joined Les Amies, a women's service organization and we have a great event this weekend. Claire and I will attend while the boys take off on a camping trip. I was down with some kind of sickness last week. No, not H1N1, but an achy, head, stuffy thing that I'm still trying to totally shake. We're all fighting colds and hope to be breathing clearly soon.

The kids and I are also enjoying a new Wednesday night program at church called S.L.A.M. I'm teaching a small portion of a really cool line-up of activities that we all enjoy.

We have the delight of seeing Kelly so much more often these days. He's home every Saturday. Every single Saturday. This hasn't happened in... well, since my kids have been born! We're visiting the dentist quite regularly these days, as Claire had an abscessed tooth that needed to be pulled and the kids have four cavities between them. Yikes.

It's fall in Louisiana which means we've had a TON of rain, it's super humid and 90 degrees. I'm ready for winter.

Life is good. The details aren't thrilling, but it's what we do. More to come, I promise.

Friday, September 04, 2009

i know...

I know!

It's been a long time. Too long. But I have really good reason. Actually lots of reasons. I usually blog during my workday but my days have been jam-packed since the new semester started. New semesters are always crazy but with my reduced hours I have even less time to get everything done!

Tonight is NCHS's first football game, and we'll be there, cheering them on. Go Chiefs!!

I'll share more details later, but wanted to let you know we're alive and kickin' in the meantime...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

48 hours

actually, less than that.

Two more days til school starts. Haven't been this excited about it in a looooong time. Yay!!

Friday, August 07, 2009

summer of '09

"There's 104 days of summer vacation
And school comes along just to end it
So the annual problem for our generation
Is finding a good way to spend it"

If you're familiar with the above lyrics, then you're a parent. This has definitely been a "Phineas and Ferb" summer for the Spann Fam.

I don't know exactly how many days of summer vacation we've had, but I DO know that there are only 12 days left! We've received the "hi, I'm your teacher this year" letters, the back-to-school meet & greet is on the calendar and we'll celebrate with a splash at our church's end of summer bash.

This weekend Claire will play in her last softball tournament of the season. It will be her first tournament as starting at first base and she's pumped. It'll be a great time.

Kelly has enjoyed his re-entry into the world of football this week. It's going to take some time getting to know the players, but he really likes his fellow coaches and is looking forward to school starting.

I'm particularly looking forward to the school routine again, especially since I've reduced my hours at work. I'll be working from 8am - 3pm, just in time to pick the kids up from school. I am thrilled!!

It's been a great summer. Lots of action. Lots of decisions. Some more difficult than others. But I haven't been this excited about life in a while. Summer 09 will not be soon forgotten!

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Very nearly three years ago I started the Spann Fam blog. I started it because we were beginning a journey that would take us far and wide. At the center of it was Kelly's job and when we looked to the future all we could see was a big, giant question mark. This journey took us from Mayer, MN to Rochester, MN to Kansas City, MO and finally to Natchitoches, LA. When we landed in Natchitoches we were certain that it was just for a brief period. That our life here would be part of the grand plan, it wouldn't be the plan.

Funny how things change. Or how God changes us.

After 2 years as an assistant coach at Northwestern State University, where we saw the lives that Division I coaches lead and the sacrifices they make, namely at the expense of their families, we knew that yet another change was coming. For the first time in Kelly's coaching career, we considered making the transition to high school.

After a long (and kind of painful) process of learning the ins and outs of teaching certification in various states, discouragement set in. We weren't certain what our options even were. Another giant question mark. We'd were getting pretty tired of those things. And then, after all the wondering, all the talking of future plans, all the thoughts of moving (again!) we were presented with 2 opportunities close to our home in Natchitoches.

There were many, many details that kept us up at night, kept us talking during the day and essentially took over our lives for the past 2 weeks. Last night it all came to fruition. Kelly accepted a teaching/coaching position at Natchitoches Central High School.

Our future is no longer a big unknown. We are home. We can settle. We do not have to anticipate and prepare for the "what if" that could have come at any time. We have amazing friends who support us here and around the country. We have relationships with the parents of the kids who will eventually make up his team, who support Kelly and are just as thrilled as we are that we've decided to stay.

So, now for the details:

Natchitoches Central is a 5A school.
The mascot is the Chiefs.
Kelly will likely be teaching PE on a block schedule.
Kelly will serve as the linebackers coach for the football team.
Kelly will take over the baseball program next year,
but will likely serve in some capacity this year.

We are excited about this new adventure! We plan to settle in, buy a home, and embrace the Louisiana life. We are home.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

just breathe

Okay, so maybe you haven't been holding your breath since I last blogged, but I certainly have! I was hoping to be able to make the big announcement today, but as of 8:41am, CST, I cannot.

But if you know me AT ALL, I can't keep a secret. I try and I try, but it's just sooo hard. (That doesn't mean you can't tell me things - I can be discreet when it comes to other people's business, just not mine). Anyway, I thought I'd throw out a few hints:

No, I am not pregnant. (Never again will we have surprise news that we're expecting. Phew!)
No, we are not moving. Quite the contrary, actually.
Yes, it involves Kelly's career. (Most of our news does).
Yes, it involves baseball.
Here's what it boils down to... We are incredibly blessed (luck has nothing to do with it!). We have options (yay!). We should make a decision soon. Very soon. And when we do, you'll be the first (or one of the first anyway!) to know. Until then, remember to breathe...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Vacay Wrap Up

You'll have to forgive me. I was so wiped out after our trip to Florida, I just couldn't put words to the photos. Now that we've been back for... ahem, awhile now... I think I can jump back in.

We really had a great vacay. It was a long drive, followed by a long week, followed by another long drive home. It rained. We chilled. We watched movies and played games. But it was oh so relaxing. We finally made it to the beach (see photo gallery!) and got enough sun to last awhile! We also had the chance to visit with friends we hadn't seen in 9 years. Nine years! We laughed and talked like it had only been 9 days. The kids played and laughed until midnight when we finally pulled ourselves away. We enjoyed the annual Spann Family reunion on our last 2 days in Florida where we caught up with aunts & uncles, swam with cousins and ate our weight in homemade ice cream and good southern food in general.

We finally made it home (5 pounds heavier) and settled back into reality. I went back to work, where things have been blissfully quiet and slow. We're talking internet window shopping-blog hopping-game playing slow. (But I don't feel bad for one second - cause come Aug 23, I won't have a free minute!).

And though it's an entire month away, we're in the back-to-school mode now. I'm happy to report I have 95% of our school shopping done. School uniforms make it pretty easy, but still, I'm no shopping slouch.

Claire had a nice break from softball tourneys & practice, but they've started practicing again for an August 8th tournament. Claire is practicing at first base as we're losing our staring first baseman (basegirl?). Nolan is... enjoying his time playing Lego & Wii (big shocker there!).

We're finally enjoying the lazy days of summer. Reading, naps, leisurely afternoons doing nothing. It's what I've been waiting for. Ahhhhhhh. And in the midst of it all, big things are brewing in the Spann household. I don't want to be a tease, but you'll have to wait.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Sunday night at 10pm we packed up the kids, drugged the dog (it was Benadryl, people) and headed off to Florida to visit Kelly's family. Twenty minutes later, we turned around and headed home. It started raining, and from the looks of it, we were going to be headed into a major storm. In the middle of the night. With precious cargo. We, no, Kelly decided to wait it out. (Kids, dog & I slept). At about 2:30 we re-packed the kids & dog and hit the road. (Again - kids, dog & I... slept). We arrived safe & sound 7 1/2 hours later. But it appears we brought the rain with us.

We brought our bikes and beach stuff for a hot, humid week in Florida. We went to Wal-Mart yesterday to stock up on coloring books, games, craft projects & books as it looks like we're in for a rainy week. We'll still make it to the beach at some point and ultimately, we're enjoying relaxing with family.

Here's to being flexible!!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Fast & Furious (and another Birthday!)

Our weekend came and went, with a softball scrimmage and a baby shower. Monday took us on a fast & furious trip to Texas where we visited with the Fisk Family & celebrated Clarie's 8th birthday. Her gift this year is to decorate her bedroom with a Parisian theme. As I've stated before, Claire is in love with all things French. We're going with a black, white & red color pallate, heavy on the Eiffel Tower. It's still coming together (especially since the bedding is "in the mail") but will be oh so dreamy when we're through.

Happy Birthday, Claire Bear (I'm only allowed to call her that at home. When no one else is around. Sigh...)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

miss louisiana

This weekend Claire & I left the world of softball to go totally girlie. There was not a cleat or glove in sight as we experienced the Miss Louisiana 2009 Scholarship Pageant both behind the scenes and from the audience. We left Thursday afternoon and lived it up until we got home on Sunday morning.

Two nights of preliminaries, days spent shopping & lunching, afternoon naps and delicious dinners. Here are a few highlights:

Opening Number

Claire - Night #2

Claire & Brittany - Our Miss Northwestern Lady of the Bracelet 2009

Momma & her beauty queen

Claire & "Auntie" Madison doing the Stanky Leg (I know!)

All the Girls!

Waiting for the Final Night!

This week brings us back to reality: softball. Practices, scrimmages & the state tournament take us through next week. Who says a girl can't have it all!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Another weekend, another tourney. Again it was long. And hot. But Claire played great. Better than great. She played 3 games on Saturday and was a superstar in every one of them. Nothing got past her at 2nd base, and she made outs left & right. She's not exactly what you'd call a power hitter, but she sure showed up this weekend. Sunday wasn't quite as easy, but she made the last out of the game with a great catch in center field.

We made the trip with friends since the SpannFam van decided to up and quit on us. We had enjoyed a nice lunch Friday afternoon and found ourselves stranded in the parking lot. A call to AAA and a 100-yard tow (literally), Kelly and SpannVan made it to the shop while the kids and I found a ride to my office with friends. (One of the perks of small-town southern life... You always know someone, no matter where you are!) We're still waiting to hear the final diagnosis and hoping to have her back soon.

Another week, another baseball camp. Kelly has worked very hard to make his camps a success this year. This week brings on the pitchers.

Another week, another Vacation Bible School. We're on #3. The kids are starting to tire of this timeless summer tradition, but it makes life so much easier for us while Kelly is running camps.

Another year, another birthday. Mine is on Thursday. I'll celebrate by heading out of town to Monroe, Louisiana to attend the Miss Louisiana pageant with co-workers and college students. Northwestern State's own Miss Lady of the Bracelet, along with 3 other NSU students, are competing for the crown this year. I've never been to a state pageant, but am looking forward to days by the pool, accompanied by shopping & eating, with nights spent taking in the competition at preliminaries. The week will culminate with the televised pageant on Saturday evening followed by the Gala. We'll head home Sunday morning to celebrate Dad's day with Kelly.

Summer ticks away at full speed. I'm still waiting for one of those lazy summer days, where I can work on projects, cook a leisurely meal and have no reason to leave the house. It's coming. I can feel it. Maybe next month...

Monday, June 08, 2009

4th Place!!

Friday and Saturday took us to Ruston for the Crushers 3rd tourney of... well... ever! We'd yet to experience a victory, but when we took 2 games to earn 4th, we were thrilled!

The weekend was oh, so long - we left Saturday morning at 8am. Played 2 games. Ate pizza. Played a 3rd game. Won. Shopped. Swam in the hotel pool. Went to the "Dawghouse" for a late dinner. Slept. Ate breakfast. Played 2 games. Won one. Ate lunch at Applebee's. Played a 3rd game. Lost. Badly. Headed home. Arrived. Crashed.

(Oh, and yesterday was our 12th wedding anniversary. Yay us! Kelly & I sat alone at Applebee's while a friend and fellow softball dad fed our kids. More of a date than we've had in awhile! It's been a wild ride these past dozen years, and I'm looking forward to dozens more!)


Okay, so I didn't totally forget, but kind of. (Blog-wise, that is.)

In the midst of baseball, last days of school and trips for travel ball, Nolan turned 6.

Never thought I'd say this, as I'm not a sentimental kind of gal, but I'm very sad about it. I can handle Claire turning 8 this month. I can manage the thought that Claire will be in third grade. I can even handle her taking trips with friends independent of me. But the thought that little Nolan, who-everyone-adores-even-when-he's-grumpy-because-he's-just-that-cute, is six is a bit daunting to me.

Perhaps it's the loss of babyhood. Or the fact that he now calls his sister "Claire" instead of "Cware". Or just the idea that I am the mother of school-aged children with no toddlers in the mix. Whatever it is, Kelly rolls his eyes at me, the kids lift my sunglasses to check for tears, and my throat hurts when I talk about it. I guess I'll just *sigh* and try to deal... And be thankful for the smart, savvy, healthy, hilarious boy who loves to snuggle with me and still calls me 'mama'.

Highlights of the Celebration:

He insisted on a "birthday donut"

Birthday $$

With Friends at the Movies: "Night At The Museum"

Lego Love

Nolan's 'famous' Yoda impersonation

Monday, June 01, 2009

Let's Play Catch(up)

Last we spoke (okay, I know we're not really speaking - you're typing and I'm reading, but cut me some slack) the Demons were battling in the Southland Conference Tournament, the kids were in their final days of school while playing their little hearts out in Dixie Youth Baseball.

The Demons were eliminated in 2 games, which is a sad way to end the season, but the kids and I were happy to have Kelly back, full-time.

Together Again! (notice the fluorescent green - I'm a loyal Crushers Fan!)

The kids ended the school year on a high note. Both received outstanding grades, and Claire was invited to the "Breakfast of Champions" for being on the 4.0 honor roll for the year.

Nolan's tee ball season officially ended on Friday, with a pizza party and trophies. They didn't win many games, but we had a lot of fun. Claire has a handful of games left, with a double header (!) tonight.

Claire's travel ball team played in a second tournament this weekend. They didn't win any of the 4 games they played. The Crushers are a young team, and we wanted proof that some of our opponents were actually 8 years old or younger! The Crushers are improving and will *crush* the competition in no time. (If nothing else, we're the cutest team on the field!).

It may be summer, but we haven't slowed down at all. The kids had a few days off last week, but we were up bright & early for Vacation Bible School this morning. We have several camps scheduled for the kids and they'll make the rounds to the local churches for VBS throughout the next 2 months. Kelly is busy preparing for baseball camps the next 3 weeks, and I'm plugging away at work. (Okay, so I'm blogging at work, but whatever).

Oh - and I'm changing our blog background. Again. Kelly can't read it on his smartphone, and that just won't do. Change is good, people! Hoping for a bunch of it in the near future!