Welcome Weary ICLW Travelers!

Happy ICLW everyone. Thanks for stopping by.

For those of you visiting for the first time – Welcome! For those of you who read me every day – Can I hear a What! What!

My name (in this space) is Esperanza. It means hope in Spanish. I had it engraved on a bracelet when I was TTC my first child. During that year I suffered an ectopic. I also got pregnant, and gave birth to, my rainbow baby. Her name is Isadora, or Isa (pronounced EEsa) and she is 9.5 months old.

She’s also screaming inconsolably in her nursery as I type this. Before you judge me please know that “inconsolable” is an accurate description of her state at the moment. I’ve tried to hold her, sing to her, cuddle her and she just bucks away from me, arching her back like a thing possessed. And she is possessed, with the exquisite pain of cutting her second tooth. Teething is one of my least favorite things, after famine, dictators and people who tell you the end of books or movies.

Teething (or it’s effects) also bother my cat, who’s mewing plaintively for me to PLEASE DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE INTERLOPER! At least that is what I think she’s saying.

Luckily my partner is not around to experience any of this. He’s staying late at the office tonight and frankly I’m a little jealous.

But where was I before the incessant crying led me astray. Oh right. Back to me. And my blog.

I’ve been writing this blog for exactly 1.5 years. It has led me to an amazing ginger bread house of caring, validation and support. Luckily no one’s trying to consume me for supper in this ginger-bread house/blog community metaphor, instead the lovely ladies want to pull up a chair and drink a steaming cup of tea and wax philosophical about all the insane shit this life has in store for us. And I’m always down for a cup of tea and a good bitch session. No one can vent like this girl.

I started writing this blog a few months after my ectopic. It quickly transformed from a TTC-after-loss to a pregnancy-crippled-by-anxiety-(and-grad-school-obligations) blog. On June 7th it became a parenting blog and after some initial growing pains I found a nice rhythm to my days. I think in the chaos that was life with a new baby I needed some structure somewhere. The end result is called Paint-By-Weekdays and it takes the form of the following mind-blowingly awesome series:

Mindful Mondays : In which I try my hand at incorporating the Buddhist teachings of acceptance, loving-kindness and mindfulness into my life with mixed results.

Working Mama Mondays : Reflections on how I’m attempting to master the working mother thing and failing miserably at it.

Useful Tuesdays : Recommendations for products and ideas that I can’t live without.

Tootin’ My Own Horn Tuesdays : No denying what this is, one I-AM-A-ROCKING-MOTHER-DESPITE-MY-SHORTCOMINGS sports montage, complete with 80’s theme music, brought to you most Tuesdays by this arrogant bastard.

Wordless Wednesdays : In which I single handedly (and without the consent of the company) try to convince you to get My Hipstamatic Prints for your iPhone.

Look at this print and tell me you don’t want to get it. I dare you.

So What Wednesdays : I “borrowed” this from another blogger. Basically I ADORE calling myself out. In front over EVERYONE. And linking to another blog when I do it.

Thoughtful Thursdays : In which I subject you to a thousand word diatribe on whatever topic currently intrigues me.

Confessional Fridays : Where we play truth or dare and I always pick truth and you wish that I would just accept a stupid dare already.

I also keep track of my goals and talk about how my children’s book is coming along and commiserate about how it sucks to have to lose those last 15 pounds (without dredging up past food/body image issues). Finally, I’m excited to announce my new blog, which will be launching April 1st. So far I’ve been keeping it under lock and key but there will be a big unveiling of the theme this Friday if you want to stop on by. It should be a decent way to kill five minutes, at the very least.

So, that is me and this blog. My jumbled little corner of the World Wide Interweb. I heart it. I hope you do to.

Oh, and I was recently Twitterpated. If you want to experience me in all my 140 character glory, you can do so at @StumblingGrace (or you can just press that Twitter button on the right).

Iron Clad Creme de la Creme Commenter

So, I think everyone who reads this blog has probably heard of Melissa over at Stirrup Queens. Her blog is the “hub” of the ALI community. Her blog role is the place where all new blogs go to be known. She has created amazing things like ICLW which inspires people to comment on 6 new blogs a day for a week every month. You can even become an Iron Clad Commenter if you comment on every blog that signs up for ICLW that month. She just started the Grateful Said, where bloggers can submit their favorite comment. And of course, every year she compiles the Creme de la Creme, inviting anyone and everyone to send in their best post of the year, which she then reads, and summarizes, for the final list. That list is currently over 270 posts long. It is represents the the posts that people were most proud of last year, as chosen by the writers themselves. It is a variable wonderland of awesome blogging.

And I am going to revel in it. Actually, I’m going to devour it, but I will leave a trace. In fact I will leave 270 traces. My foolish dream is to read, and comment on, every single Creme de la Creme entry. And I want to do it in 100 days. I want to be the first Iron Clad Creme de la Creme Commenter (which was not a thing, until now!)

Oh, and I want to document it.

So on this page I will be copying every single comment that I post. I will include a number next to each comment – this will be the number of the entry on the Creme de la Creme list. Each number will also be a link to the post, so readers can easily navigate to the post where the comment was left. By the time I’m done the page will have 270 (hopefully heartfelt, thoughtful) comments written by me. It will also have links to every Creme de la Creme post from 2010.

Mi.Vida thinks I’m crazy for attempting this. Maybe I am. I already read well over 30 posts a day and comment on at least 5 or 6 of them, sometimes as many as ten. What is two or three more comments a day going to hurt? I guess only time (and a possibly foolish attempt) will tell.

Alright blogging buddies! Wish me luck!

November ICLW – I’m thankful…

Happy November ICLW!

I feel like, because this is November’s ICLW, I should do a quick post on what I’m thankful for. Here goes.

I’m thankful …

… for my beautiful daughter, who is already 5.5 months old.

… for my dedicated partner, who is helping me get through some tough, sleep deprived weeks.

… for the almost six months of “maternity leave” I enjoyed with my baby girl. I might not have gotten paid for it, but it was absolutely worth every minute of it. (Thanks FLMA leave!)

… for all the support I get from my family, and my partner’s family. I literally couldn’t do all this without them.

… that I’m almost done with graduate school. My last assignment is due December 8th. I can manage that, right?

… that my sister-in-law is going to be with Isa when I go back to work in one week. I know my daughter is in capable, loving hands.

… that I have four days to spend with my partner and our families this weekend.

… for therapy tomorrow – I have so much to say about going back to work next week. I need some propping up.

… that I’m getting sick now, before I start back at work, instead of after I’m back and I have to talk to class after class of middle schoolers all day. I’m also thankful that Isa seems to be unaffected (so far).

… that I got to see Harry Potter 7.1 today with my sister. It was really, really good.

… that my daughter went down without crying tonight. I’m sure crying will ensue, but it was nice not to start the night with screaming.

… that Safeway sells breastmilk storage bags. How many trips to the dreaded Babies R Us would that knowledge have saved me!?

… for the raise I’m getting this year. Goodness knows, with all that time off and paying for childcare, we’re going to need it.

… that when I see pregnant women I don’t automatically think of loss anymore.

… for this blog and the community of amazing women it’s brought to me.

… for mindfulness, acceptance and loving-kindess. I don’t incorporate them nearly enough into my life, but they do bring me much peace and understanding.

What, or who, are you thankful for this holiday season?

September ICLW

Welcome all! I have not been consistently participating in ICLW these past months but am so glad to be a part of it now!

The long and short of it is this: I’m a 30 year old middle school Spanish teacher living in San Francisco, CA. This started as a pregnancy loss blog a few months after my ectopic. As someone with unexplained amenorrhea and intense anxiety I had been worried about getting pregnant most of my life (my mom’s similar menstrual issues and subsequent story of loss also made me certain I’d encounter difficulties). Still, I was not prepared for my ectopic and it was difficult for me to get over.

I was very fortunate to get pregnant again four months later. That pregnancy stuck and I now have a beautiful three month old daughter whom I call Little Bear.

Routines have been serving me well as a mother and I’ve decided to apply their guiding principals to this blog as well. My blogging week now looks like this: Mindful Mondays (reflections on being present), Useful Tuesdays (reviews of all things useful, products and otherwise), Wordless Wednesdays (pictures and videos), Thoughtful Thursdays (where I try to figure things out) and Freebie Fridays (fun giveaways). Saturdays and Sundays are up for grabs.

For my first Freebie Friday I’m giving away one of the four books that most helped me on my journey through TTC, pregnancy loss, pregnancy and motherhood. It’s very easy to enter – just leave a comment on any post this week (including Friday) telling me about a book that’s helped you in your life and why you liked it. To learn more about the Big Book Giveaway (like which books I’m giving away), check out last Friday’s post. I hope you all can enter!

I know I’ve been very blessed to have my daughter in my life; not one day goes by where I don’t feel soooooooo thankful for what I have. I continue to read all the TTC, IF and pregnancy loss blogs, hoping beyond hope that they too will achieve that which they’ve waited so long and worked so hard for.

I look forward to reading all of your blogs as well. During ICLW week I not only choose six blogs to comment on each day, but I also read and comment on the blogs of those who comment here!

Enjoy ICLW!