Saturday, September 22, 2012


Today is the first day of fall. And it's a rare Saturday that didn't have us up & at 'em by 7am. Instead we ate french toast, drank coffee and lazily lounged. I spent some time cleaning the patio, fetching leaves from the pool {a futile task} and pulling weeds. I came in to find myself all alone. At home. Most moms will understand the rarity of this occasion. In the peace & quiet, I am reminded that I have decided upon a new motto for my life, to accompany the new season.

This is not a new motto necessarily, but a new way of thinking of what I want my life to look like. I'm not talking about an obnoxious, faux kind of happiness, although I am a fan of "fake it til you make it" when it's necessary {like during the last week of school before Christmas vacation}. And I am in contact mostly with children under the age of 12 and their parents, so sometimes my greetings are over the top. And maybe I have taken to calling the owner of each knee I bandage or recipient of each tardy slip I write out babesweetheartbuddyfriend, as is deemed appropriate. But still. I don't just want to be happy. I am longing for joy.

I am a happy person. I would hope that people who know me would share that opinion. I smile often and laugh loudly - often too loud in public for my preteen daughter. And when I cry, it's often tears of happiness. "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion." Ahh, Truvy, you are truly insightful.

But joy. Joy can be experienced in pain, in heartbreak and in turmoil. You can be joyful, without feeling over-the-moon happiness. And that is how I want to be described. Joyful. Peaceful. Kind.

That can be hard to achieve when the word sarcastic is also often used to describe you. And the fact that I think I'm pretty darn funny also doesn't help. I'm not kidding myself here, I will never be considered the quiet, angelic creature that I once longed to be. I have embraced my loud, fast manner of speaking, my witty, intelligent sense of humor (I told you already, I think I'm really funny). But to have joy that is contagious... Does making fun of someone else count?

I'm working on it. I promise.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

ahead of her time

More & more, as I browse the internet, troll Pinterest (no, I still don't have an account... not that I'm bitter or anything), and follow various blogs, I realize that the mother of my youth was a visionary. She was light years ahead of her time. She was an organic, sewing, frugal domestic goddess that many modern women only dream of becoming today.

Most of my clothes were home-sewn. Christmas dresses, skirts, blouses, corduroy pants, leggings, swimsuits, you name it. One year she sewed my ballet slippers, the elastic was rainbow. Everyone was jealous. I just wanted regular ballet slippers.  My sister and I had coordinating outfits and since I am 4 years older, I wasn't always thrilled about the whole matchy-matchy homemade outfit thing. Of course, mom and I had matching outfits as well. We wore them when we visited boutiques to sell her shell belts. 

As we did, we drove around in this. Except ours was blue and had a heart painted on the front tire.

Of course, all I wanted was a pair of Guess jeans and an ESPRIT sweatshirt. I knew we were weird. We lived in California. You have to REALLY be different to stand out when you live 2 hours from Los Angeles.

I grew up in the 80s. Not the hippie 60s or groovy 70s where you would expect someone to tote their kids in a VW bus or make their own clothes. No, the 80s were the decade of indulgence. The decade of wealth and of greed. Of designer jeans and Gunne Sax. But not for us.

We belonged to the food co-op, run by a woman who wore Birkenstocks and no bra (funny how I remember those details). I drank soy milk and Kefir instead of cow's milk until I was in the double-digits. We ate "ice milk" instead of ice cream, ate protein bars instead of candy bars, sprinkled flaxseed on our no-sugar cereal and added wheat germ to our carob cookies. I did not eat a snack cake or drink Kool-Aid until I was an adult.

My siblings & I took tons of vitamins. And by "take" I mean I would dump most of them down the sink when mom wasn't looking. Especially the homemade ones. Did you know you could make your own vitamins? Mom would buy the herb or crushed form of vitamin and fill empty capsules, or roll them with dissolvable vitamin paper. Those were particularly disliked by my sister and I... not sure why. We typically had 12 or so various vitamins & supplements sitting by our juice glass each morning. 

When we had a hint of a cold, mom would give us a clove of garlic smeared with peanut butter. Natural peanut butter, of course. We would make it ourselves in the machine at the health food store. No sugar added! I begged for Jif. Never happened. 

I can honestly say that I never remember being truly sick during all of my childhood. That came much later. In college. Ahem. The only way to stay home from school was to fake it, and then I would have to eat the garlic. Finally, I just gave up and went to school. It wasn't worth it. Trust me, the garlic stays with you for a long time. 

My mom tells me that my nursery was decorated with homemade decor, scarves from India and a sheepskin rug. Ahead of her time, I tell you.

When I left home, I departed from her healthy, frugal ways. I ate white bread, shopped at the mall and didn't take a single vitamin for years. After my children we born I saw the wisdom in her choices. In the years since, I have come to appreciate and emulate some of her ways.

Now, 25 years later, blogs are devoted to sewing - everything from home decor to their children's clothes. And it's chic. The shell belt picture above is a current Etsy listing. Mom's were a bit more intricate, but I'm sure someone would totally rock one today. And receive a ton of compliments.

DIY is everywhere - and people are proud, not embarrassed to use and re-use what they have. I wanted a white bookshelf in my room. Instead I go this: 

Would be totally cool in some artist loft today.

Women now brag about saving money with coupons, posting their savings on Facebook, when I can clearly remember wanting to hide when mom disputed the price on the fruit leather in the shopping cart. 

Lifestyle blogs include the best organic, natural... well, everything. Clothing, cleaning products, skin care, food. The list goes on. My friends had Capri Suns and fruit snacks in their lunches (yes, I remember when both of those first showed up), I had 100% pineapple juice and raisins.

I would have never dreamed in a million years that my childhood routines would be what many mothers strive for today. I am not nearly as healthy, frugal or creative as she was. But I did make homemade laundry detergent tonight. Mom should be proud.

Friday, June 29, 2012


When we were first married, I was eager to establish new traditions in our house. We lived states away from our families, and occasionally found ourselves alone on holidays. I worked hard to establish traditions that, well, never really stuck. Over the years we had babies, moved again {and again, and again, and again...} so sometimes holidays looked different every year.

Last night, as we were discussing Claire's 11th birthday plans (today!), Claire informed me that we would start the day in the dining room, where it would be decorated. I had every intention of decorating after she went to bed, so she could wake to a bright, birthday celebration, but I asked her why she assumed I would.

"You do it EVERY year, mom!"

That's when it hit me... we do have traditions in our home. Some that have been around for ages, others that are new.

After the kids were sleeping soundly, I reached for my box of streamers, garland & birthday banners and went to work. As I hung (and re-hung) the decor, I thought of the traditions we had established:

*our children wake to a birthday wonderland on the morning of their day. we eat donuts, drink orange juice out of fancy glasses and open presents before we do anything else. just us.

*we give 3 quick kisses in a row, every night before bed 
{I plan to continue this until they are 75 years old!}

*every Christmas Eve, our kids open one gift before bed. new pajamas!

*we listen to 'arise my love' by newsong on Easter morning on full blast - while dancing around the house. repeatedly.

*if it is raining and we have no place to be: one of the star wars movies is on and the curtains are drawn. {and mom falls asleep.}

*we pray out loud every day on the way to school. amazing things have come from this.

*we love and laugh - every day

Most of these traditions came about by accident. And those are the best ones.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

1% (no, not that 1%)

Waaay back in the olden days when Kelly & I were just newlyweds (15 years ago!) we took the Four Temperaments personality test. We also learned each other's Love Languages (highly recommend) and took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

What I remember most about the results of the tests, is this highly significant statistic: only 1% of marriages are between two Sanguines. Can you guess what Kelly and I both share as our Primary Temperament? {The quick description of a Sanguine is "social & pleasure-seeking").

We have different Secondary Temperaments, thank goodness, but I like to revel in the fact that we are in the rare minority. {I cannot prove the 1% statistic to be absolutely true, but our teacher said so, and we were the only couple in our class of over a dozen couples who shared the same temperament. Plus, I like to think we're special!}

For fun, I had the kids take a modified version this evening. They both came up as Melancholy, although, I imagine that they have a large dose of Sanguine in them as well.

What prompted all this?

At the dinner table it dawned on me that we are all so similar in personality, it's scary. Oh sure, there are some majorly HUGE differences, but aside from looking alike, we talk, act and think very similarly too.

Lord, help the Spanns! And for those of you who spend time with us - I'm sorry! What can I say, we were born this way!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

how pinteresting...


When it first came on the scene, I didn't pay much attention to the hoopla. When it comes to social networking, I'm usually a little late to the party. I didn't join Facebook until 2008, and that was only because I worked at a University and I realize that 'kids these days' didn't check their email anymore. I'm still not on Twitter or Instagram and my cell phone is a plain ol' cell phone. No internet or 4G or gps or any of that cool stuff.

Anyway, I heard about Pinterest, and wasn't really interested. People raved about it, and talked about how much time they spent "looking at pins". No thank you, I had plenty of things to suck my time. Then, more and more people I knew - regular people - were talking about it. So I logged on, ready to sign up, to join the masses. What the what? I had to request an invite? I was immediately turned off. Pinterest was a snob! It condescendingly sent me an email, thanking me for my request and allowing me to 'view some pins'. I still didn't know what it was talking about, but I knew that I didn't like it. I felt like a girl trying to rush a sorority, and was told "sorry, we're full. but if you want to hang around pathetically, you can. here - we're having a party, you can watch from outside and maybe later we'll invite you to come in". {I never rushed a sorority - I just sound like I have issues.}

So, I checked my email, waiting for my precious email to be accepted. I did 'view some pins'. I still didn't know how the heck it worked, but was sure that I would be informed of how it all worked once I was in. Mark Zuckerburg was kind enough to walk me through FB, afterall, and even "Tom" was an automatic friend on MySpace back in the day {I only joined that so I could stalk high school friends, and never posted anything about myself, not even a picture}.

When I was finally 'accepted' {Hey look, mom & dad - I have been accepted to Pinterest! You should be so proud!} I was ready to get pinning. But wait, what do I do? I look at other people's pins and then save them as my own? People were following me, and I found myself following others, even though I didn't want to. I couldn't figure it out. I was supposed to pin things I found on the interwebs,  and pin them here so everyone can see what I'm doing?

Wait. A. Gosh. Darn. Minute.

If you've ever read this little blog o' mine, you know that I've been around for awhile. I have been blogging since 2006. 2006! Clay Aiken released his first single, Suri Cruise was born, Justin Timberlake was Bringing Sexy Back, and I started a blog {it was a slow news year, otherwise}.

In starting my own blog, I read other blogs. Lots and lots of blogs. Blogs written by a woman who was married to a schizophrenic man, blogs about parenting, blogs about Christianity, blogs about blogs, blogs about baking, blogs about saving money, and eventually, blogs about decorating. By 2010, I had bookmarked 40 or so of my favorite blogs. Some I would visit every. single. day. Others I would wait until a lazy Saturday morning and visit every. single. blog on my list.. I could be on the computer for hours. Nolan's Mother's Day card this year listed words he associated with me: smart, intelligent, working, reading, relaxing, ice cream, computer, sleep, jawbreakers. I laughed but wanted to cry. I was spending too much time on the 'puter. {I am proud that he mentioned ice cream & jawbreakers, though, I love that boy.} I also had folders saved with recipes, ideas, crafts, etc. I had been saving sites and files to my computer for over 6 years!

Pinterest totally ripped me off! And now, my favorite bloggers were getting in on the action. Well, not me, no sir. You see, I didn't want readers. I had once posted a project I did on a blog I followed, and I've had literally hundreds of people read that post. It's a horrible post. There are blurry pictures of my kid playing basketball, and my camera makes my project look all weird. I suddenly felt like I needed to go back and proof read everything I had ever written. But I didn't write it for them, I wrote it for you. I couldn't handle the pressure. After finally figuring it out, because they made it so difficult, I canceled my Pinterest account. I'm good, Mr. Whateveryournameis {I still think it's weird that a guy invented Pinterest}, I am totally fine without ya. I was at a social where the food was wonderful. Every time I complimented a dish, a different person would just say "Pinterest!". I thought I was going to punch someone in the face.

So then. My computer crashed. Okay, okay, I crashed it. I was trying to be awesome by installing new software, but it wasn't the software I thought I was and I totally wiped the hard drive clean. It's still messed up and Kelly still isn't thrilled with me about it. Anyway - my blogs were gone! All of them! At first, I panicked. My friends were missing, floating around in cyberspace, how would they ever go on without me to read them??? My horror was followed by a sense of freedom. I was not longer a slave to my laptop. I didn't HAVE to visit every single site. Now, I sit down at the computer in the study, check email, Facebook and occasionally write a blog post {not one this long, of course!}. I still check in on a couple of my very favorite sites on my Kindle, but that's totally different, right? Right?

Last month, I hosted a social gathering at my house. Most of the girls coming had never been to our house before. I cleaned and tidied, but that's about it. It's funny, the Angela of 5 years ago would have painted or stained something, frantically rearranged the furniture, purchased new something-or-others, in anticipation of having 40 ladies over. Not anymore, I'm kind of over it. I didn't even paint the hallways where I had filled in holes. Humph - over it. At the party, more than one person commented on my "Pinterest House". STOP. No, ma'am, I don't have a Pinterest house. "But the painted wallpaper, the repurposed chest, the chalkboard pantry, the book page wreath, these are all Pinterest ideas." That was when I vehemently denied even knowing what Pinterest was, and claimed that the ideas were mine, or a spin off of an idea from a blog that I follow.

That's when I realized.

I was ticked that I was not the only creative person in the room anymore. I could not claim ownership of an idea. My ideas were no longer original. No one oohed and aahed over my creative ideas, because someone (or 50 other someones) were doing the same thing and "pinning" it, for all the world to see. I needed to get over myself.

I now take a gander at Pinterest every once in a while, but man, there is some weird stuff on there. How many pictures of Jennifer Anniston's hair and cute little puppies can the world look at? And Lord knows, I don't need another technology related time-suck in my life {Draw Something and Temple Run have been released for Kindle!}.

I may have requested another invite, but I'm not sure if I want to accept. I have a feeling that I will just get frustrated ALL OVER AGAIN. In the meantime, my goal is to just smile and nod, and resist the urge to flinch when I compliment someone and their reply is "Pinterest!"

Happy Pinning!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

charmed life

This morning, in the afterglow of a rousing 9th birthday party, followed by 12 full hours of blissful sleep, while I was lazily drifting in the pool, I was reminded of what a charmed life we lead. Perfect? No. Charmed and lovley? Yes.

I have just 4 more days of work until I am officially on summer vacation, where I will steadfastly remain until August 1st. Just this week Kelly & I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary, plan summer vacations, watch movies late at night with the kids and enjoy lazy mornings.

We will grill & consume more hot dogs than is recommended and squeeze every last drop out of our summer vacation. We made a 'summer to do' list, and we plan to check off every single one of the boxes.

Wishing you & yours the bliss of summer!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

since i've been gone

a lot has happened!

Kelly's inaugural season as head coach for the Chiefs has come and gone, several tourneys with Claire's new softball team under our belt, school is out for summer, Claire & I took a Girl Scouting camping trip, Nolan's baseball season is nearly over, Kelly's weight loss total is up to 30 pounds, we've logged hours and hours of swimming, Claire attended her last day of elementary school and Nolan turned 9!

This past spring totally ate. my. lunch. And stole my milk money. It was wonderful and painful, all at the same time. The busyness of the season overwhelmed me, but it is nearly over. Most of the activities that have kept us running are over and I'm finishing up my last couple of weeks at work (8 work days to be exact, but who's counting? I am!)

I think of this lonely little blog often, and it is my summer resolution - yes, those are totally real - is to get this baby up and running again. Much like we had to do recently to the SpannVan, but I digress.

I'll be here, hope you will too!

Monday, April 02, 2012

absentee blogger

It's better than an absentee mother, isn't it? Gosh, I hope so.

Sorry I haven't been around much lately. I've been blogging HERE to help a dear friend who is battling breast cancer. Please visit & if you're local, consider donating a meal or purchasing on of these rad bracelets or key chains!


Every year about this time, I feel a little like I'm drowning. I've cut back on activities for myself & my children, but the season still gets the best of me. I feel like I have several after school "jobs" which take up valuable time in the evenings - all for a good cause, mind you, but I will uphold my vow to pare back even further next year. 

I'll be back - but until then, YES, I am still here! xo

Sunday, February 26, 2012


It's the 26th of February.

I have sat down at ol' flatscreen more than once during the last 2 months, intending to share a marvelously witty post. I became distracted from the task at hand each and every time. So much has happened as the weeks whizzed by, and along with a user-induced (oops) computer crash, I haven't spend too much time on the world wide web.

Winter is practically over here in Louisiana (it was 85 degrees on Thursday. EIGHTY FIVE!), as March is upon us. In the world the sports, baseball season has started for Kelly, Claire is practicing with her new travel softball team and Nolan just had tryouts for our local baseball league. I have started back running in the mornings (5am is something I used to rarely see!) and am training for a 5K in March.

Kelly has lost 20 pounds {total hottie} and I am waaay behind him, but let's just say that I am not as much woman as I was a month ago.

Claire is once again on her school's Quiz Bowl team (for a boring-for-you-but-thrilling-for-us account of last year's tourney, you won't want to miss THIS). Nolan begins a week-long theatre (leave me alone, spellcheck, I like spelling it that way) program on Monday that will culminate with  performances next weekend.

I took a not-so-insignificant trip to California last weekend, where I enjoyed a vacation at it's finest. I visited family, old and new, and spend many hours in blissful solitude. I am a much better mom after doing so!

Life has been so busy, I've got my pruning shears out and am ready to go to town. No, I'm not talking about the overgrown bushes and hedges in our yard - it is pretty scary, I really need to tackle the jungle out there - but the hyper-busy, over-scheduling I've done to myself. Everything I have been doing is good and worthwhile, but I cannot do it all. I will finish out my responsibilities, but I will say no to next year. And it will feel good.

 As for today, I will rest, enjoy my broccoli-cheese soup and San Francisco Sourdough bread and lazily watch the Oscars while I critique everyone from the comfort of my couch. Tomorrow is Monday, after all.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

a new year!

It really has been the perfect Christmas Break for the Spann Fam. It was a tad bit longer than usual, which was just enough. Long enough that we're all ready to get back into the swing of things, and we're rested and relaxed.

We didn't travel this year, which I didn't miss, but I am a bit sad, because we didn't have any family visitors either. We love and miss them and wish everyone well.

Kelly finished the gate near the new fence (yay!) and has lost 9 pounds in his quest to begin the new year healthfully. We've watched a different movie each night as a family, thanks to a generous family member. Claire and Nolan have jumped on the trampoline for HOURS each day, thanks to the unseasonably warm weather. They've danced their booties off to Just Dance 3, read, rode bikes and Nolan shot a bird with his bb gun (it flew away, but he claims he hit it!). I baked and cooked and put on 9 pounds from all the holiday eating. (Not really, but it feels like it!)

Claire hosted a New Years Eve party, complete with a dance playlist, Twister, bonfire and fireworks. It was a great way to ring in 2012! And now we've had a full week to recover. It's been wonderful!

Personally, I have been on a couple of simultaneous, but separate emotional journeys which have spilled over into 2012. One filled with love, wonder and joy. The other with heartache, stress and turmoil. Family has it's way of making us feel both. I know it's quite cryptic, but that's all I need to say for now. I do know that life comes us at us, sometimes whether we're ready or not. I am ready. I am blessed.

Cheers to you & yours in 2012!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

year in review

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Grab your coffee & settle in, as we review 2011!

brought us frost, crazy hair day at AWANA, basketball, quiz bowl and cozy days at home.


Brought us races, Girl Scout cookies, swimming way too soon, baseball, softball, banquets, Easter, awards, field trips to NASA and NOLA and days spent outside.

Brought us birthdays, parties, all-star softball & baseball, swimming, vacations, cousins, a patio revamp, butterflies, a trampoline, lazy days, canoeing, camp, books and the beach.



Brought us faux-hawks, back to school, soccer, football, 5Ks, homecoming fairs, a goatee, trick-or-treating, Thanksgiving, nerf gun wars, playoffs, the violin, Jeopardy!, and braces.

And as we returned to WINTER...

We celebrated advent, shone like stars in the Christmas program, rode the in the Christmas parade, enjoyed the Christmas Festival, graduated from DARE, watched a different Christmas movie every night, went thuggin, got a Justin Bieber haircut (but don't call it that), rang in the New Year and now we continue to enjoy our break.

2011 was a truly wonderful year for the Spann Fam. We have so much to be thankful for. Blessings to you & yours in the new year!