I've taken this photo, not to show you the rubbish bin and power lines (really!) but to show you that all of that summer rain is starting to be replaced with clear blue skies, warming sun and a nip to the air. Autumnal days are I think my favourite time of year. On the weekend we took scooters, strollers, blankets, snacks and books to the local park. I could have slept on the ground for hours, and probably would have, until the whinging started.
"How long do we have to be here?"
"I've hurt my leg,"
"I'm too hot/cold/tired."
"Why are you sleeping Mum?"
"When are we going home?"
I must admit, it is hard to be irritable with this face.
We're gearing up for the fast-approaching Easter holiday. We spend it in the Blue Mountains in a very cosy house. But we have to be prepared for EVERY weather system, which can often happen all on the one day.
Some years I pack better than others. Some years I take seemingly everything we own and then use hardly any of it. Other years I pair back and then we run out of warm/cool things on day 2. One day I may get the balance right, but there are some essentials we can't do without:
Merino under layers are unbeatable. They make you toasty warm, are not bulky (or itchy!), and not stifling if the weather warms up. I nab pieces when the bush walking stores have sales, and I also keep an eye out on ebay. Once a year ALDI even stocks a range. Each piece is $30 but worth every cent.
A decent coat. Op shops can be great for this otherwise expensive item, that in our climate might only be worn a for a few weeks of the year. I've found fabulous secondhand coats, in as new condition for under $15 each. Our current faves are a Bossini down-filled, pale pink coat for my seven-year-old, and a maroon parker with fake fur by Minihaha for my five-year-old. We seem to have a pink theme going on at the moment, but last year we wore black/blue. I often buy coats when they are too big, as it's amazing how quickly kids grow out of stuff and into stuff! Look on ebay under 'coat' and your child's age group/size (eg. 6) to see what you come up with. The bargains can be astounding!
Boots are also a must when cold, rain and mud have to be dealt with. A few years ago in a panicked trip to a shoe store the day before we set off on Easter holidays, I found on the sale table a pair of light-weight waterproof gortex boots for the girls by ECCO. They have been amazing. I later found a larger sized pair on ebay, and the ones we've grown out of have been passed on to relatives. They're still going strong. Other boots have been sale items or op shop finds. Again, you have to buy them when you find them, as nothing good stays around for long. I am a bit of a brand snob - but have definitely found through experience that the good brands (even when secondhand!) outlast and outclass cheaper generic shoes every time.
For girls, you can almost never have too many pairs of tights! One of my girls is not a fan of jeans/trousers so it is the only way I can stay happy about her wearing skirts when the temp is dropping. I love buying up pairs in the end-of-season sales (Pumpkin Patch and Kmart) for the following year, and have picked up snazzy ones on ebay, particularly from international brands like MP, Cakewalk and Room Seven.
If only they made these in adult sizes!