Musical Beds (+ Girls’ Room Inspiration!)

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When my oldest brother Will was yet an only child and Dad was traveling a lot, Mom and Will met Dad at the airport, in the days when you could go all the way to the gate to greet incoming passengers. When Will saw Dad walk out of the jetway, he ran up happily and shouted, “Dad, nobody slept in Mom’s bed last night!”

Mama Rote is not a floozy. They’d been working on getting Will to sleep in his own bed all night. Good job, Brother!

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We’ve just gotten through a similar stage with Mary Tobin. She’s always been a champion sleeper and truly is doing great overall. (Please understand, my mom once told someone that I’m a “sleep nazi”—in other words, my standards are very high. I like to get a ton of sleep, so sue me.) Still, Mary Tobin hit a few bumps as several transitions converged . . . moving, new big girl bed, new baby in the family, a bit of potty training, new understanding of the dark and fear . . . who knows. But—knock on wood—getting into our new house with her new room, shared with sister, has helped a lot. I think things have been quieter partly because she’s scared of waking Inez up. Hallelujah.

Tell me, did you share a room with a sibling growing up? I never did because I was the only girl (read: the princess). But I love the idea and think it will be fantastic for them. At least, looking back I think it will be great, and they’ll have to learn to deal with each other in the mean time.

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Unsure about sharing.

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Getting the girls’ room all ready was also a lesson to me that I actually can be a good mover if I can motivate myself. We focused with laser-like precision on unpacking their room first to give these chickadees as smooth a transition as possible. Thanks to pre-painting and curtain hanging by the grandparents, the room was basically good to go the first night.

As we battle the disarray in every other part of the house, I’ve found myself sitting in the girls’ room whenever possible; it’s so peaceful by comparison.

Regarding decorating choices for their room: I’m doing my best to keep it simple, but it’s a struggle. We’ve got some lovely art in there, including the señorita mexicana and some prints from vintage style Mexican calendars. My new favorite is a piece of beautiful Otomi fabric that I’ve been saving for the right spot since I bought it in Mexico, thanks to mi suegra’s bargaining. I had my prices and my Spanish prepared, but after haltingly exchanging a couple of sentences with the vendor my courage failed, so I sent in the big guns: Mama Ortega.

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Let’s call the diaper pail a modern sculptural piece.

As we left the market in Cholula, she told me that the guy was so excited to sell that piece of fabric, and that his mother and sister had worked on it for five months. ¿¿QUE?? I felt immensely guilty for haggling them down (well, Mama Ortega was my bargaining agent) to such a great price for that amount of work. She quickly assured me that the guy was thrilled to sell it, that he’d go home that night and celebrate with his family, that it was quite a big sum of money for them. Phew. I could’ve dealt with colonial angst for a long time.

I love this wall hanging because it’s so charming and Mexican, but instead of the animal Otomi pattern that’s so hot right now, the flowers look like something that my grandmother could’ve had too. (The flowers are poinsettias, which are from Mexico. Did you know that?)

It doubles as a fantastic backdrop for a Father’s Day photo shoot:

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More on kids’ rooms/nurseries:

  • Examples of how to un-obnoxiously use pink in a little girl’s room. (I should be a headline writer! Clickbait!)
  • Lay Baby Lay is still one of my faves for nursery and general design inspiration. Here’s the post where I went a little nuts going through all her inspiration boards.
  • Finally, I’m [somewhat, half-heartedly] trying to follow Nashville designer Rachel Halvorson’s advice to keep it simple in kids’ rooms. This room she designed for twin girls is so lovely, and as she points out, “If you took out the artwork, and a few accessories, you’d still have a neutral palette to work with. And when they come in with their hot pink superman capes and polka dot beach balls?? There’s your pop of color.”

‘Round Here

Remember when I talked about posting more often? Haha. Ha.

Not that you care.

Today, I’ll tell you, the infant stage is not my favorite, though it’s precious. I feel tired. Shocker. Even when my mom visited us for a week and did all the work and the cooking, I still felt tired. While she was here, I was working on a post about sleep routines and tricks . . . not for babies, but for me! I had written a lot of disjointed sentences, and stared at them thinking I’d now be able to reorder and weave them together logically like I’d do when writing a paper in college, but—no good. Lesson: Obviously I wasn’t sleeping as well as I thought and should’ve been napping at that moment.

Anyway, it was nice to look at this picture of Mama Rote and me back in the day:

Christmas mom and baby Josie

which called to mind this picture of Mary Tobin and me from the fall:

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#sundayfinest 10.6.13

A post shared by Josie Ortega (@josieortega) on

which reminded me that this is merely a stage and everyone’s going to grow up.

I had my six week postpartum check up (actually at eight weeks because I failed to make the appointment on time) where the midwife and I talked for awhile about postpartum depression. I was surprised that she said 80% of mothers get it (at some point and to some degree)— it’s wildly undiagnosed and untreated. (From a quick google search, maybe it’s that 80% of moms have baby blues, which goes away two weeks or so after birth. Whatever the case, her point remains.) My assignment on that score was to walk outside in the sunshine for at least half an hour each day to help my Vitamin D levels.

My friend Anna Kate wrote about postpartum depression awhile ago, and I thought I’d chime in too, to help battle the stigma. (Tell the stories!) For me, pregnancy through now—Inez is almost three months old—has felt like one big extended PMS: I cry easily, am extra irritable, have more “down days” than usual, have moments when I really feel like I can’t do it. But I’m never to the point of wanting to harm myself or my family, which is why I think this subject is so tricky, so often undiagnosed and untreated. I know that I’m not feeling 100%, but I don’t know where the line is between normal tiredness and true depression.

Wherever you might be on that spectrum, for anyone feeling down (winter blues! hello!), I thought the acrostic NURSE on the postpartum depression info sheet was helpful:

  • Nutrition (Stop eating garbage. Have a glass of water.)
  • Understanding (Acknowledge how you’re feeling; have supportive people around you.)
  • Rest (Easier said than did.)
  • Spirituality (Take deep breaths; connect to God/your higher power.)
  • Exercise (Ummm, sure.)

So, to sum up, I don’t have answers. The above list won’t solve everything; excellent medications are also available. Talk with someone and try to figure it out. But right now, at least, this gray area is my story and I’m sticking to it.

If you’re blue these days, I’m wishing tons of laughter and endorphins your way! Take care of yourself. xo