Mommy Morsels: meet Ronnie of oh, fancy that

Ronnie's blog is a visual escape for me. As a mom of three living in Australia; her photography always seems to grab me and pull me in making the ordinary days seem extraordinary. Her three boys {and hubby} are positively adorable and I always learn a tip or two upon visiting her blog like how to make a playroom look organized but chic or how to turn a children's party into a colorful, well-balanced Amy Atlas-esque wonderland. Everything she does has an extra dose of TLC...I think you'll find her just as lovely as I do. Meet Ronnie!

A huge thanks to Johanna for having me here at her lovely blog. We have three wonderful little boys at home: James is 1, Pete is 2 and Angus is 3 (yes we've been busy). They are loads of fun to look after, even though by the end of the day I'm usually collapsed on the couch in both mental and physical exhaustion. Still, this stage of life with them at home is utterly precious, and I do my best to cherish all the moments - both the tearful ones, and the hilarious ones. Having kids close together can be quite demanding, but our boys all get along really well and are great mates with each other, and to me, that is worth everything. Plus, just with everything else in life, you adjust and you adapt. Quite frankly, I can't imagine life without these three little guys.

So without further ado, here are some peeks into my life at home with the boys, and some of the things that make the day-to-day mechanics easier or extra special:

First up, I find that having an organised play room helps to keep all our sanity (but especially mine) in check. There is a place for every single toy, and both Angus and Pete know where they all go. It's quite amazing how quickly little kids learn and remember, even from such a young age. We always tidy up at the end of each play time, and more often than not, the boys will help with packing up. Even Jamie our youngest knows to put toy cars back into the black plastic tub. Not having mess accumulate over the course of the day means that the boys can start afresh at the start of each play time, which helps to keep their interest in the toys. As you can see, I like using a combination of woven baskets, coffee tins, old suitcases, vintage soda crates and plastic IKEA tubs to keep the different types of toys organised. I also recently discovered those awesome Lego storage cubes, which can be purchased for Howard's Storage World in Australia.

I don't know about you, but I always have a hundred and one ideas and lists whizzing through my head. Having an everyday notebook means I have one place where I can dump all my thoughts, which helps me to then focus on the boys because I don't have to worry about forgetting anything and I know that I can come back to my ideas later. In addition to my O-CHECK utility notebook, I also use Notational Velocity on my Mac which synchronises with Simplenote on my iPhone.

When we moved into our new house at the end of last year, I decided to use our two IKEA Lack bookcases to form a 'locker room' of sorts by the back door, which is the one that we use all the time. This is where we put Angus' preschool backpack, Rick's backpack, our reusable shopping bags, and any kids' shoes that need to go back into the garage. The idea is that as the boys get older, all their bags and backpacks can be dumped in their allocated spot in this makeshift locker rather than being strewn across the floor.

I'm sure I'm one of the last people to think of this, but when I was setting up our new kitchen at the beginning of this year, I decided to have a kids' drawer down low dedicated to the boys' plastic cutlery and crockery. This allows Angus and Pete to get their own plates and cups before mealtimes, allowing them to have some ownership of the table setting process. It also means they can help Rick unpack their own cutlery and crockery from the dishwasher every morning. Plus, I find it's easier to keep all the kids' stuff organised if it's all stored in the one place.

I've found that having our diaper bag in a central spot makes getting in and out of the house a lot easier. Ours sits on an IKEA stool in the entrance to the kitchen. This makes it easy to pack the bag with the kids' bottles and food stuff before going out and just as convenient to unpack the bag's contents when we return. I like to keep the diaper bag empty, stocked with just the nappy changing kit, so that no clutter builds up - only the essentials. This makes it easy to get to things when we are out, and it's definitely good for one's back to not have to carry more than what's necessary - especially when you're toting little ones around all day as it is. The bag we use is by Land's End. It is made from tough canvas, stands upright (which I reckon is super important when you've only got one hand free for most of the day), is machine washable (woohoo!) and has a host of inner compartments which you can use for bottles, antibacterial hand gels, baby wipes, wallet, etc. The design is simple and classic, and you can even choose from ten colours and four sizes. Naturally, with three boys, I ordered the extra large...

Oh, and a little note from one's husband which doubles as a motivational message never goes astray. This chalkboard decal from Wallnutz actually goes right above the diaper bag, so I glimpse it about fifty times a day, and boy is it good to be reminded that a smile goes a long way (especially when everything seems to be spiralling out of control!).

As a mum (apologies to US readers for my Aussie spelling), chances are that you are struggling to keep up with your scrapbooking and other memory-keeping efforts. Until recently, I was constantly wading through a huge backlog of scrapbooking to catch up on, and as each little guy was born, the backlog just kept getting bigger. Thankfully, I discovered Becky Higgins' amazing Project Life system of scrapbooking and it has just changed my entire perspective on memory-keeping and revolutionised my 'workflow' so to speak. If you are at all into memory-keeping, I earnestly urge you to at least check it out as you might find that it will solve all your scrapbooking woes as well.

I bought this replica Eames rocker because I adored the design and could see it working in many parts of the house. Since then, however, both Angus and Pete have discovered how fun it is to climb into the rocker and watch television in it. It's pretty cute watching them push the rocker around themselves and sit in it like a grown-up, and I'm stoked with the way they've learnt to take turns and share. I also like the splash of colour the rocker adds to the play room.

The only thing the boys have to play with in their bedroom are these building blocks. My initial reasoning behind this was to minimalise the clutter in the boys' room (plus they only ever spend time in their in the mornings before we wake up and at bedtime). As it turns out however, with only the building blocks to play with in the mornings, both Angus and Pete (who share a room) have actually become quite creative with what they do with the blocks. Some days they'll build your standard tower. Other days, they'll build a dozen helicopters, all with the same 'design.' On other occasions, Angus will sort the blocks by colour and pretend they're different flavours of ice cream and try to get Pete to buy some from him. Just this morning, Angus built a small perimeter using the blocks, hopped inside it and pretended it was his cot. Which just makes me think: the simplest toys can actually give our kids the freedom to be creative.

And lastly, a special bedtime book never goes astray. One of my favourites is Ten Little Fingers, and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury. It is the sweetest children's book, and I just love reading it to Jamie during his bedtime. In fact, it is probably the high point of my day when I read him the last sentence - "And this little baby, as everyone knows, has ten little fingers, ten little toes, and three little kisses on the tip of his nose" - and give him his cuddles and kisses. Such are the moments that warm my heart and melt away the tears and exhaustion.

Thank you for reading everyone, and thank you again to Johanna for having me!
Ronnie xo

Thanks Ronnie - you are my super-hero! Anytime you want to come over and re-org our playroom...we'd love to have you! xo