10 November 2010


Six months ago, I was a very lost individual. I was sinking under the weight of depression. Every post I wrote was sad and full of despair. I couldn't see a light at the end of the tunnel. I couldn't see light at all.

The kids I loved had moved away, I was unable to find a job, my aunt had been gone less than a year and the world was crashing down around me. If I hadn't had this blog to turn to and twitter to rely on for support through the rough times, I can't imagine what would have happened. But things were bad. Very bad. Very bleak.

And then I heard a song from Lady Antebellum. A song whose lyrics I posted way back then I'm pretty sure. Tonight, that song made me cry again. For a completely different reason.

I look back at the first time I heard Hello World, and I think about how much that message affected me then. How I decided that I was tired of living in darkness and depression. "Sometimes I feel, as cold as steel, broken like I'm never gonna heal." Yeah. I was there. I've been there. But at the same time "I see light, a little hope in a little girl, hello world." Yeah. I did.

Living with the kids was the right decision this summer. That little girl was my world for so long, I needed that time. I also spent a lot of hours in tears. Tears no one knows that I was crying, because it was after we'd gone to bed. I can't tell you how many nights I cried myself to sleep. They are too numerous to count.

I finished the summer MAD. Mad because even though I was coming back to a substitute teaching position, I couldn't fathom why none of my sixty job applications had even merited a response.

Today, I admitted aloud what I've known for a couple weeks.

I HAD to come back. I NEED these kids in my life.

"All the empty disappears, I remember why I'm here, I fall down on my knees, surrender and believe, hello world."

The empty I was feeling when I decided to run? Isn't there anymore. I've been put into this position for a reason. These kids need me, but I need them. More than they will EVER know.

I've been told to expect to be in this position until Christmas. There's also always the chance it could go longer than that. One way or another, I'll have changed. For the better. So much.

I cry less. I'm truly happy. An emotion that was lacking for so long has come back to me. Although I claimed it way back then, I think tonight I can truly say:
"Hello world. How you been? Good to see you my old friend"

07 November 2010

A letter to "the boys of fall"

Dear boys,

Today you taught me another lesson about football.

After a long, hard battle, you lost your first game of the season. A season of success. A season of growth. A season of bringing new fans to a game.

I have cherished every moment watching you grow. I have enjoyed every second of every game. (Even when I can’t breathe, because things are that intense.)

This loss means you won’t be playing for the championships next week. It means your season is over.

It does not mean that we are not all super proud of you. In fact, in this game, you managed to do what I have watched you try to do so hard all year. Throw passes for completion.

I know how hard you’ve worked for that. Now that you’re 10, you can’t just sneak through the line of scrimmage with a pass off every time. You practiced on the playground. You practiced at home with dad. And you practiced every night of the week.

The passes you threw today were incredible. You and another student from our class connected for the longest throw I’ve seen from someone your age, in your league.

After the game, you all walked off the field in tears. One mom took her son aside to calm him down, but your parents had coaching business to take care of. After telling another student “good game” and getting a smile out of him and his mom, as well as consoling a student from a different class, I looked for you.

You have been insistent on me learning this game. On me attending this game. On me enjoying this game. Seeing you cry about it? About killed me.

I told you that you had NOTHING to be disappointed in yourself for. You nodded, but I’m not convinced that you really believed me. There’s a ton of pressure on a quarterback, and I think it’s easy for people to forget that you are only ten. You expect perfection from yourself in every aspect of life; not only on the field, but off the field in class and at home. And when you don’t achieve perfection, you become frustrated with yourself.

I told you that if anything, you needed to be proud of yourself. For accomplishing what you’d been working on all year. Those passes were beautiful. And perfect. And next year? You’ll just be bigger, stronger and better.

All three of you need to know something. In life, there are losses that crush us to the core. This may be one of them, but I know that you will walk away as better individuals. All three of you need to know that our community is full of pride. You three need to know that next year? I plan to coach or become involved in some other way (photography perhaps?). This is something I would NEVER have expected to say. Until six weeks ago, football was a sport I didn’t understand. And was determined I would never enjoy.

Thank you for changing my opinion and teaching me to love something new.

~Your teacher for now, who is dreading the day I have to leave

26 October 2010


Today was a rough day at school.

Not for the reasons I might expect. I've had lots of rough days because of behavior and such. Today was actually reasonably good in that respect.

Today I found out one of my students is moving. 2,500 miles away. In four weeks. He's taking it in stride, kind of.

I am not.
I love this student.
I love his family
They are an amazing bunch.

My students are not.
One offered his room, so that this student didn't have to leave.
He also said that this student can't be student of the month because he's leaving.

The student who is moving is the only one higher than the student who is upset.
They are not especially close.
I think he's going to miss the challenge from someone.
And he needs that challenge.

It's hard because in this community, families tend to stick around. Even if they change schools (which we have another student doing), they still see each other. And they'll still go to middle and high school together.

I'm struggling with how to help my students through this sudden change. I'm struggling because I don't want to accept it myself.

I guess I better get over that. And figure out how to best teach my students how to deal with unwanted change.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

15 October 2010

Football Fall

If you'd asked me in August how I'd be spending my Friday nights and Saturday afternoons, I never would have replied "at football". I was the girl in high school who only went to football because my crush was on the team. Or because it was something to do in this rural community. In college, despite being able to have free tickets, I didn't attend a single game.

I never learned the rules. I never truly understood the point. I got as far as knowing a bunch of cheers (First and ten! Do it again!). But WHAT were they talking about? No matter how many times it was explained to me, it never sunk in.

Then the school year started. And I have three fifth graders on the same team in my classroom, including the coach's son. And I had time one Saturday. So I went. And it was FUN. And I (kinda) got it.

I've learned new things (ineligible receiver? huh?) and I'm still baffled by others (WHAT was that flag for?). But, overall? I'm enjoying football for the first time ever.

Today, T, the quarterback for his team, wasn't feeling well. I kept asking him if he wanted to go home. But he knew that would mean not playing tomorrow or being ball boy tonight at the high school. So he toughed it out. And then asked if I was coming to the high school game. And then someone else asked. So tonight? I'll be at my third high school football game in a month. I'm shocked. But, it'll be fun. And tomorrow? I'll be at the fifth grade game. Because it means something to my students that I take that time. And that relationship? Is invaluable.

So, T, G and E, thank you for teaching me to enjoy a sport I'd rejected in the past. And tomorrow? Go, fight win! Stay undefeated. We're all cheering for you!

30 September 2010

I am blessed.

Very very blessed.

I need to remember that more.

13 September 2010

This post does not do the trip justice.

Another 1600 miles.
And I was done driving.
Pretty much for the foreseeable future.
But it was totally worth it.
Because my travels ended with a visit to San Diego with @amandahimes.
Where I got to meet @ladybugsgrama, @childsplayx2 and @trprunner and family.

While passing through before going home, I met up with @kristeneileen and @photographerkel
for dinner. It was lovely. And SUCH a stretch for me socially to plan and meet up with online 
friends. I have to say that I completely surprised myself.

Here are a few pictures.
The one and only wine I've ever liked.
Also, that night I reserved my sleeping arrangements for BlogHer '11.

We stayed on the harbor right across from the Gaslamp District.

Our hotel.

TheMonk likes this bird's "mustache"

Swee'Pea was bit jealous of the "eyeshadow" on this bird.

Cuddling koalas!

I'm afraid of the ocean.
Like pretty seriously.
We went down to the beach at sunset on my birthday and I couldn't
bring myself to wade out at all. However, I did manage to let the water
touch me when the tide came in.

27 August 2010

Weekend #3, 1300 miles

This is the third in my series of travel posts and probably the ONLY time you'll see pictures on this blog.
After I got back from Colorado, I had three days to rest.
Rest, do laundry and pack for the next trip.
My cousin was getting married the following weekend.
520 miles away from here. And about 20 miles from our hotel.
This amounted to LOTS more driving.

But there were cool things to look at.
We made dad turn around and go back to take pictures of these metal dudes.
And the bridge just happened to be on the detour we took due to an accident on the freeway.

The wedding was beautiful - those pictures will come on the photo blog soon-ish, probably.

The 27hrs driving time in three days? Not so awesome. 
Especially not with my parents in the car.

26 August 2010


Today we had training.

It was held in the high school gym.
My high school.
Years of memories came flooding back.
Memories of good times, yes.

But memories of bad times as well.
Memories of the classmates who tormented.
Memories of the boys who harassed.
Memories of the girls who bullied.

Memories I had finally, really moved on from.
Until I stepped into that gym.
When they came back.
And hit hard.

If I never walk back into that room, it'll be just fine with me.

24 August 2010


I think it's fair to say that I'm struggling.

I'm sad.
I'm lonely.
I'm stressed.

And there is nothing I can do about it right now.
I want nothing more than to run away for a day, a night, a weekend.
I can't even pay my bills, so that's not an option.

I'm going to miss Breast Cancer Awareness Day in Oakland.
And that hurts the worst.
If only I could figure out a way to make it for very little money.
Doesn't seem likely.

This is not the post I planned to write.
But it's what came.
So it's what is being posted.

18 August 2010

Another weekend, another drive. 1200 miles.

I had no desire to leave this behind.
It made for a long, very sad drive home.

I know that I'll be back, unfortunately not with the job I was sure I would have by now.

See the blue skies?
See the beauty?

The minute I crossed into my home state it did three things.
1. Started pouring.
2. My car decided the hill was too steep and wouldn't maintain it's cruise control.
3. My cellphone lost service.

I almost turned around and went back.
I wasn't happy to be there and apparently it was happy I was there either.

My next planned trip is October.
I miss my kids.
I miss their mom, aunts, uncles and grandma.
I miss my friends.
I would give ANYTHING to be with them now.

22 July 2010

I'll be back

I'll be back.

At some point when the stars align just right

When I have a working computer and working Internet.

When I don't spend spare time packing.

When I'm not so busy hanging out with K that writing takes a backseat.

See you then.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

13 July 2010

I have the house to myself this week. I don't know that I've ever had a house to myself for a week. It's so quiet. It's also quite useful when all I want to do is mope around for a day. Like today.

Thankfully, I've been keeping myself busy enough not to dwell on the sadder points in life. I drove 70 miles one way yesterday to, in the long run, have breakfast. I had a need for the mountains. So I drove to the mountains. I had a need for small town diner food. So I found one. And then the town was insane so I turned around and drove back.

Along the way I stopped to take a few pictures and met some very friendly chipmunks. Apparently people must feed the chipmunks at the vista point. Because they certainly run right up to you and sit all cute begging for food. I had none. Not that I would have shared if I had any.

On the way home, I stopped at my new favorite store (well, I've liked the store for a long time, but enjoy the convenience of not having to drive 400 miles to not have to order online). I spent entirely too much money but hopefully I won't have to go back or order for a long time.

Saturday, I met Issa at a nearby-ish mall. . It was wonderful to meet someone you've been interacting with online for so long. I've been reading her blog since the first go round. Four? or five years ago? Tomorrow is another meet up at a different mall. Because apparently? That's where I like to meet up. Wednesday I'm finally going to go to a landmark and take pictures. And meet up with yet another online friend. Who would have thought that the girl that panicked thoroughly about meeting people back in March would have three meet ups in four days?

Thursday is the last day of summer school. And then Friday, my friend Katie and I head to Kansas City to watch the A's play. I cannot wait.

Next week I have K all day every day. I'm not sure what we're going to do but the list is long with ideas. I'd bet we'll end up spending most of our time at the pool though.

I can't believe that I've got less than two weeks left here before I have to go home. I'm bummed that I didn't manage to find a job. Still hoping.

12 July 2010

One Year

It's been one year.

It's been one long year.

It's been one long painful year.

I miss her every single day.

I am terrified to go to school today.

I don't want to melt down.

Seems inevitable though.

I'd give anything to spend more time with her.

I'd give anything to be able to call her son and his family.

Not hitting the call button baffles me.

It's a strength I don't have yet.

It's been a year.

A long year.

A short year.

A year of grief.

A year of healing.

A year of growth.

01 July 2010

Getting by

I'm really good at going a week between posts lately. However, when there are no comments and few readers, it's not so hard. I try to remind myself to write for me. And yet, I'm addicted to stats.

I've been super busy. Far busier than I expected. I've also accomplished far less than I expected.

I had an interview this past Monday. I tried to stay positive, but I'm pretty much sure that I failed. Which is both sad and okay. I would love nothing more than to have a job. And to get to stay here. But if it takes another school year for that to happen, it'll be okay. I know that if I have to go back home I have a long term sub position to start the school year, which means a lot and takes a huge weight off my shoulders.

As we enter July, I find myself fighting tears. A lot. I'm missing my aunt tons. In less than 2 weeks it will have been a year. I'm fine when I keep myself busy, but the second I slow down or have time to think, it's on my mind and the tears start.

This is especially awful when my downtime is mostly in the car. Crying while driving is less than ideal. Although, I can't say this is the first time that this has happened on an almost daily basis. Anything little thing will set me off. There is an ever growing list of songs I cannot listen to. When will the pain stop? When will I be able to think about my aunt and talk about her without falling apart?

23 June 2010

Happiness is...

... having eleven kids in summer school. Even if there's never been a day when all have come at once.
... having eleven kids who seem to truly enjoy learning and the activities that are planned.
... hanging out at the pool with K and B twice a week. Or more.
... taking K on "girl outings". She loves to shop and I am usually content to take her along.
... planning baseball with B. He loves it. I love it. It's the perfect date for the two of us.
... the LUSH and Crocs stores in Boulder. I brought more than 15 pairs of shoes with me to Colorado. I've worn one pair for the last week.
... getting to spend lots of time with a friend who you've known for many years, but hadn't seen in about 4.
... planning a road trip 800 miles the wrong way, a weekend before you're supposed to return "home".
... being truly appreciated by the people around you.
... gaining such confidence as a teacher that you feel like you can conquer anything. Even a complete non-English speaker.
... introducing K and B to two of your favorites. We watched Mary Poppins. We're reading Matilda. It's awesome.
... having this many things to write about that make you happy. I should write these lists more often. I'm the happiest right now that I've been in a long time.

13 June 2010

Eleven months, one day

In the last month or so, I have tried to stay more positive and I think it has worked. I certainly hoped that it how I have come across here, on Twitter and on Facebook. I'm not saying I haven't complained, because I have (did I mention how boring Wyoming was? or the unfairness of a review that I'd have to pay to complete?), but overall, I've smiled more and laughed more than I have on a consistent basis in the last year.

I considered not typing this, but I was hit hard today. For a reason, I'm not entirely sure of. And I need to let it out, because even if it only helps a little, I'm hoping it'll will help some.

Last night, as I mentioned, I went to baseball. It was the eleven month anniversary of my aunt's death. My aunt who is the whole reason I love baseball. She took me to the first game I truly remember and the memories that were created on that trip hit me every time I'm at a ballpark, any ballpark. And yet last night, despite being cold, I was happy. I enjoyed the game (what I could see when people weren't standing in front of me).

Today, I was supposed to go to another game. But, it has been raining for three days. And although it stopped for the game yesterday, this morning showed no signs of letting up, so we decided to not go. We made plans to hang out at my friend's house and watch the game, as well as another game where it was warm. I agreed. I didn't hesitate. This was a choice that made sense.

And yet? I fell apart five seconds later. No part of hanging out in the rain appealed to me. But canceling baseball plans caused an emotional breakdown. I started crying and couldn't stop. I sent a tweet and received support. This is invaluable to me. Over the last 11 months any time I've truly needed it, I had people reaching out. When others don't understand it and ask why I use Twitter? I can easily say for the community. Because people reaching out? I don't get that all the time. I can't get that all the time. But I know at any point I can turn there and say I'm a mess. I'm having an anxiety attack or a breakdown and right away I have people lending support.

After my mini-meltdown and some hang out time with my friend and her family, which included some cuddle time with her little girl (is there anything better really?) - I can honestly say that I'm okay now. This day turned around dramatically and quickly. It ended up being a perfect ending to a weekend. Even if the weather didn't cooperate and my baseball team didn't win. I ended the weekend on a high note and that's what really matters.

So, thank you. If I haven't said it enough, thank you for being there through the challenges this year has presented. I appreciate it more than words can possible describe.

12 June 2010

One week down.

This has been a crazy week, to say the least.

I started my teaching on Monday with only six children in my class, by Thursday, I had 9 and I think I'll have 11 on Monday. We have been super busy, with a very tight schedule and a lot to get done each day. So far, we have managed to stay mostly on schedule even with the many times when something has been thrown at me at the last second. I also seem to have fallen into a nice routine with the students, where we do the science curriculum and then do many more laid back activities.

K and B spent the week at an especially exhausting camp. There was much whining and fussing after school, along with a lot of bossing around from a big brother. This is something we will work on this summer, otherwise, I'll go crazy.

Tonight, I spent a (freezing!) couple of hours at the baseball game, which would have been a whole lot more fun had it been a bit warmer and had the people behind us not been freaking obnoxious. Oh, and had people spent just a little time sitting and watching the game instead of standing up and walking around and blocking the view.

Next week should be a bit calmer. B is at a sleepover camp and K only has a camp in the morning, so she should be far happier and more rested. Hopefully I'll fall into an even better routine with the students and we'll make good progress towards our goals this summer.

05 June 2010

Saturday Morning Randomness

I'm sitting in front of a coffee shop in Colorado Springs as I type this. I'm even more convinced that this city is where I'd like to live. It's pretty down here. There were a half dozen places I wanted to stop and take pictures on the drive, but when I drive I tend to never stop.

Speaking of driving, I'm at something like 2000 miles in the last week. Which is insane on a lot of levels but totally typical on others. I'm quite used to travelling far to accomplish simple tasks.

K and B came home yesterday. It is awesome to see those kids. I love them so much. K is *thisclose* to making the jump to reader. That is for sure a goal this summer. I think we'll spend lots of time sitting and reading anything and everything to push her over that edge. She also no longer qualifies for speech services, and it's obvious when listening to her.

I have a bunch of things to review/giveaway. If I'd try the products that have been sent to me! I'll work on that this weekend. Really.

I totally know this is rambling. That's what happens when I'm a more than half an hour early, apparently.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

03 June 2010

I made it!

Not only did I make it to my new "home" uneventfully (except Wyoming - did you know Wyoming was super boring? I didn't until Monday), but I've managed to find my way around quite easily. Except for one occurrence of getting on the wrong freeway. Not bad for a country girl.

I also made it through days 1 and 2 of training. Without tears. For the first time EVER. During introductions/icebreakers, I have always frozen and ended up crying. Not this time. Thank goodness.

Summer school starts Monday and I cannot wait. I will have about 15 fourth graders (who speak little to no English) and we will be talking about measurement and plants all summer long. I need to go on a hunt for good books/poems/other resources to support literacy with out curriculum.

Thankfully, two of my three packages arrived as well (and so did something else but K and B’s grandma has it). I also got to catch up with a friend from Oakland and meet her little girl.

What I have not done is sleep in. Or explore enough. I have tomorrow off and K and B don’t get home until 4pm. I’m thinking it will be the perfect opportunity for both of those things. And finding the teacher store. And possibly a library. And maybe even a post office. I had thought I wanted to go into the mountains. Now, I'm not so sure that's a good option. Perhaps that can come on Sunday.

28 May 2010

See you on the flip side

Please don't be surprised if this blog is quiet for the next week or so. I start my move on Sunday, and am not sure if I'll have internet until next Friday.

However? When I do come back, I should have a giveaway from the awesome CSN stores - I wrote about a tea kettle I received for review from them a while back and this time I get to offer something to you as well! Last time I was browsing their site I spotted bedding, kids' furniture and of course, my beautiful tea kettle. This time? I realized they have so much more! They have lighting (any kind of lighting you want, really!), some really awesome furniture and even bathroom vanities. Seriously, why bother looking anywhere else when there are 200 stores to choose from on that site, much of it with free shipping (pretty much the only way I shop online).

So. Next time I write I'll be in Colorado! Seemed like it was so long ago when I started looking and then finally got a job and now? Now in two days I leave. After a quick trip 150 miles the wrong direction to see Tim McGraw and Lady Antebellum tonight!

21 May 2010

BlogHer@Home - Writer's Block?

This week’s BlogHer@Home question is “What do you do when you are suffering from writers block?”

I often sit here with a blank page staring at me. I often have no idea what to say, but usually I have a lot of little things that I want to share, typically a bit too long for Twitter but not quite long enough for their own post. 

Therefore? When I have nothing specific to write about, I tend to ramble. To form a list and write about a lot of things instead of one broad topic. Sometimes, I can't do that, because there are things I don't or can't share on here. 

On those occasions, I just don't write. I'm not opposed to the idea of skipping a week, but usually if I haven't posted in 4 or 5 days, you'll find a rambly post.

It's like we tell the kids - if you don't know what to write about? Just write. Something. Anything. Take fifteen minutes and spill it all out. Something will come.

12 May 2010

Death is not the greatest loss

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” Norman Cousins

Today marks ten months since my aunt’s death. For the last month or so, I’ve felt fine. I’ve had my mind on other things more often, even though thoughts of her often arise. I no longer need to cry every time I think about her. Progress is huge. 

This month my mom's other sister had a bad mammogram and several biopsies. Thankful the lumps were just cysts that needed to be drained. Still scary and emotional.

Last night, I heard the above quote on one of my favorite shows. It resonated. How much did I miss during the eight or nine months in the fog of depression. How many moments with K were lost because I was mad. Not made at her but mad at the world. How many relationships did I sabotage out of fear. More than I can accurately say.

I still haven’t gone to church. This bothers me, but not as deeply as it did last month. I long for fellowship, but have kept busy doing other things- like getting ready to move in less than 20 days. I’m confident that once I have a “home” and know where I’ll be, I'll better at the building relationships thing. It’s hard to think about making new friends only to up and move. This might be why online relationships seem to be so much easier for me to develop. I've never really planned to stay here, no matter what my family might think. Some things are easier left unsaid.

I'm tired of losing. I'm tired of dying inside. I'm taking the next step and turning the corner. 

29 April 2010

Writer's Workshop

I am blocked on what to write. So I went to MamaKat's site to see what the prompts were this week. I pretty much read them every week and have yet to link up. That changes today.

I chose topic number 3 - List five things you would do different if you started blogging today.

Now if you've been reading for any length of time, you'll know that I've reinvented this blog at least twice after long breaks, including about six months ago. Lately, I'll been thinking about things I wish were happening here.

First - I would have chosen a niche. Or at the very least figured out what I wanted to write about now that I'm not nannying, rarely babysitting and unable to find a job. "Life" is too generic and I struggle with what to write without constantly being depressing. I have to figure out a way to write about teaching, maintain anonymity and keep this as a safe place. This might actually involve creating a new blog - or using one that I've had set aside for some time now.

Secondly - I would have bought a domain a LONG time ago. And probably not from google. Because since I have? I've been indescribably frustrated with blogger. And I have no idea if/how to make a change.

Third- I would implement a different commenting system. This one sucks. I'm constantly getting tweets/emails from people who say that the commenting isn't working. Suggestions welcome.

Fourth - I would make a choice about ads. Do I want them? I'm so unsure. I think about adding google ads but don't think I have enough visitors to make it worth my time.

Fifth - I would comment more. I say this all the time. I read a ton of blogs. I am terrible about commenting. Some weeks I feel like I'm doing better and then the next, I make none. I know that in order to expect comments I should make an effort. If I were to start over I'd hope to care less about what people think about my words and just say what's on my mind.

There are my five. What about you? What would you do differently if you started blogging today?

27 April 2010

Marching on

I was lucky enough to spend my weekend in LA with a large percent of the people I talk to on Twitter.

We got up early. We drove to the university from varied distances. Some of us were early enough to avoid traffic, while others sat at the off ramp forever.

We introduced ourselves. Most of us by two names. And then we laughed.

We watched a kid with a purple mohawk get dangerously close to police bicycles. Until the officers called him over. Then he got shy.

We gazed at a baby. We took group pictures. We put faces to names.

We walked. We talked. We raised money for an important cause.

We met up for dinner where we were entertained by a small aspiring drummer and his new friends. Heather taught him new tricks. We laughed. We cuddled the baby.

Overall, it was an amazing experience. I'm so glad I went. I'm so glad I didn't talk myself out of dinner as I almost did.

I'm already planning next year.

22 April 2010

My name is not Anya

Four and a half years ago I wrote a post explaining why I chose NannyAnya as my name for this blog. As I have added more people on Facebook who I've met through my blog and on Twitter, and I've stopped posting my real name whenever possible, it's caused a bit of confusion. Therefore, I decided that I need to repost it! It should be noted that I say it Ann-ya, but my friend has a little girl named Anya who's name is pronounced On-ya. So here you go.

The story behind my blog name.

So... the 2 1/2 year old I take care of at least 2 days a week (plus a lot of weekends and evening hours) is language delayed and about 6 months ago, I decided that she needed to have something to call me, since until then she was mostly saying 'aaaah' when she didn't have a word. Knowing that Angela was too hard (that hard g/j sound doesn't come to most kids until late in language development), I realized that my brother called me Anya 'til he was about 3 or maybe even older and that K had all the necessary sounds to say Anya I decided to work with her to call me Anya...

It only took a couple days and she picked it up, however, it was interesting that she wouldn't say it in front of her mom, until the day we went to MarineWorld and the JellyBelly Factory. I had waited in line to buy Jelly Belly's for my family and they had gone ahead to get ice cream and then go play outside while waiting, but mom decided that it was too windy to play so they waited inside, which I wouldn't have known except for the fact that K called out "Anya" and I knew that she was calling me!

13 April 2010

500th Post! And a giveaway!

This is my 500th post. It took a while to get there, but that's exciting!

It's also a giveaway and review!

A couple months ago, I won a Vapur water bottle from my friend Katie. I saw that the company was asking for reviewers and emailed asking what would be involved and received four bottles in the mail!

I have two to give away to you guys!

Vapur calls its bottle the Anti-bottle. It's flat and flexible and you can roll it up and put in in your pocket, purse or backpack. But once you fill it will water (it holds 16 oz), it stands up just like a regular bottle. You can freeze it and it's dishwasher safe.

I truly love my bottle. It's easy to use, it's nice that I can put it away in my lunchbox, making it the one left behind at school least. I took the first one on my trip to San Francisco last month and "lost it". Turns out I'd rolled it up and put it in my backpack pocket and forgot! I'm excited to freeze it this summer and have cold water while teaching (it's been so cold that I haven't had a chance to do this yet, but soon!)

Vapur bottles come in pink, blue, smoke, purple and green. They cost $8.95 (pretty much the lowest price I've seen for a BPA free reusable water bottle!) and you can buy a family pack of four for $29.95, along with extra spouts and caps at their website.

You could also win one here!

To enter: tell me which color you'd prefer (I have a purple or smoke, which is black to giveaway!)
For an extra entry you can send a tweet sharing this contest (1x day) - leave a separate comment each time you tweet so that I can count it!

Please make sure to leave your email or twitter name or some way for me to contact you if you win! Thanks!

This contest will run until next Thursday, April 22 at 11pm PST. Winners will be chosen by random number generator, with the first number choosing their color first!

Yesterday was nine months. Nine months since my aunt died, four days after I flew home from Canada. I'd been doing well for the most partly lately. I've come to expect that "well for the most part" is the norm. I've also come to expect that the twelfth on any month will suck.

I was doing okay while helping in a classroom for a teacher that I sub for regularly and babysit for. Sometimes she has me come in to make copies, enter grades, and all that little stuff, and yesterday was no different.

I was doing okay when I walked to the car to go pick up Chinese food for lunch. I was doing okay with the first song on the radio.

And then, Jason Michael Carroll's Where I'm From came on. I had finally hit the point where I can listen to the song without falling apart. Except yesterday. Yesterday I started crying and couldn't stop. Which is lovely when you're walking into a classroom.

I can't believe it's been nine months. I can't believe that in three months it'll be a year. That days bound to be difficult. I'll be teaching summer school then. Here's hoping I can do "well for the most part" until then. And avoid songs that make me cry.

07 April 2010

For Maddie

One year ago Maddie left this world. One year ago, I learned that a little girl can change the world.

At that time, I'd only read her mother's blog a handful of times, and I don't remember if I was following her on Twitter or not. All I know is that suddenly, the beauty and power of connections made online became stronger and more evident.

Since that day, I've not missed a post from Heather or Mike. I've not spent a day without thinking of Maddie and how much she should be here. She should be loving on her baby sister, she should be doing all those things 2 1/2 year olds do that drive their parents crazy. Instead, she's frozen in time as a 17 month old.

A little girl I never met, whose parents I never met, changed the way I look at this world. Changed the causes I find important and things I stand up for.

In a little more than two weeks, I will be walking with the March for Maddie team in LA. I will then come home and walk here with my friend and her little girl who was born prematurely last September. Today on the anniversary of her death, I'd like to encourage you to make a donation to March of Dimes.  Another option is donating to Friends of Maddie, a program that provides support packs for families with babies in the NICU.

04 April 2010

Today is hard.

Easter has always been special. I've also always gone to church for this day. This year is different.

Since my aunt died almost 9 months ago, I have gone to church only two or three times. One of those times, not one person acknowledged me. Not one person out of 200+, many of whom I'd known for years. This hurt more than I can express and I haven't gone back.

I need to find a new church. I should be posting "He is risen" here and on facebook. I have typed and deleted that sentence at least six times this morning.

I feel very lost. I don't like this - I can't live like this anymore.

I know that when I'm in Denver this summer there a couple churches that I would like to check out (is it weird that I've already researched that?) - I'm just hoping that I am welcomed to one of these places, unlike the place I had been calling home.

For now, I'm going to accept that today is hard. There are going to be many more days that are hard, especially as we approach a year - but it feels promising that I can acknowledge that and know that having a community to turn to would be very helpful.

26 March 2010


I wrote this post about a month ago in response to one of the Writer's Workshop prompts at Mama's Losin' It. I didn't post it. But now feel like the right time. This week, Twitter became 'unsafe' for a minute (and possibly much longer - this isn't okay to me.)

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned” ~ Maya Angelou 

Home. The place you belong. The place where you are happy?

This quote from Maya Angelou is so true. 

Right now, I do not have a home in this context. Sure, I have a house. The same house I've lived in for the past six years. With the same people I've lived with for the past 25 years. 

Lately however, I do not feel safe. I have not felt safe in some ways for quite some time, but lately, anytime I say anything or make any decision, I am jumped on. I am either given a look saying "don't bother I don't want to talk to you or hear your concerns" or it's said "shut up, shhh, stop talking." Why thank you? 

When people ask me why I use twitter or why I spend so much time on my computer, I'm never quite sure how to answer without offending. I use twitter and I blog because I feel SAFE. I feel like even if no one ever says anything here, I can vent, I can express things that are bothering me. And yet, I'm so sensitive that when someone says something in response on twitter, I am often quick to take it the wrong way. So really, how safe is that? 

I cannot right now move. I can however continue looking for a job in a state 1000 miles away. I can continue to look at apartments and imagine decorating. I can dream of making my own home.

And hopefully six months from now, that home will exist.

01 March 2010


I am one of the shyest people you'll meet (in fact? You probably won't. Because I won't say hi). I don't talk in groups, I have never made it through a speech without tears. I panic upon hearing that speaking is a requirement in anything. I dropped more than one university class upon reading a syllabus that mentioned presentations.

I was an education major. Speaking is required to teach. And you know what? I came out a darn good teacher after some subbing and student teaching. Talking to seven years olds is a heck of a lot easier than telling a group of adults who are all older than you what to do and how to teach.

Oddly enough? I'm very active online. I've sent 8000 tweets in about 18 months, many of those in response to others. This is my 489th blog post. I read and (occasionally!) comment on 50 or so blogs. I feel safe in doing so, most of the time I think this is because it's not face to face. There is less pressure. Or something.

I am going to meet one of the people I tweet with most (along with a couple others I imagine) in 10 days. I have had two panic attacks already. One when booking a room (why does it have to be so hard to pick a place to sleep for six hours two nights in a row?) and the other when I thought about meeting up.

I want to do this. I need to get out of town. I am excited to meet these people. So why is it so hard? I don't want to spend my four hour drive stressing about what's going to happen. Maybe by typing it out I can calm myself some.

I can only hope.

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