Keeping Warm!

6:39 PM

Given that it's 17 outside right now, but says it only feels like 3, this title feels somewhat appropriate, don't you think? 

Walking past Touhy Park to the train stop
It's kind of essential, the business of keeping warm. Especially when you have kids who like to play outside, not to mention an infant who needs toting about. 

 And even if you're not playing outside, there are outings like the one I just made to Sam's and the one we'll make later tonight when we head to the gym when Kyle gets home.  Sometimes, when it's mid-30's if the wind isn't blowing, it feels downright warm! But the wind can be fierce, making it feel much colder than it is.

Kyle and I learned very early on that when walking Singer (our Golden), if the wind is blowing, avoid Touhy Park (the park a block away) because the wind roars across the open fields and well, talk about freezing your keester off.  It's on the cold and windy evenings that you stick to building-lined streets. Wind-blocking properties are advantageous. 

 Yes, it's cold. Do I love it? I absolutely do. I get genuinely gleeful when I look at the forecast and see a single digit temperature or numbers in the teens. Call me crazy, but I love winter. 

When people heard we were moving to Chicago, one of the first questions they would ask is..."Do you know how cold it gets there?" Yes. I do. And that is just one reason I can't wait! 

But I digress. 

A few years ago, I found the most helpful post ever on dressing kids for cold weather. It's right here, posted by one of my favorite bloggers, Rene Tougas. She's Canadian, plus her family are big-time outdoor adventurers. She knows cold and how to deal with it. 

Based on her advice, a few years ago I began buying certain items for the kids in sizes that I knew would be too big. Planning for the future, I guess.  

Basically, depending upon the severity of the weather, it boils down to something like this (from the skin out):

-Base layer
-Regular shirt or fleece
-Fleece layer
-Puffy layer (down)
-Waterproof layer, if conditions require
-wool socks
-waterproof boots or gaiters
-waterproof gloves

In Arkansas, it was never cold enough to need the base layer, although Kyle and I owned those for ourselves because we used to ski all the time. But I did get the kids all fleece jackets and down puffy coats from Patagonia.  They rarely ever needed both at once. And I knitted hats and scarves. This past summer, I ordered all the kids Sorel winter boots at a crazy discount from  

Still, we discovered upon arriving here (and encountering several snows - some wet snows, some dry snows), there were definite gaps in our gear. Namely, waterproof gloves and that base layer for the kids.  Neither Kyle nor I had good snow boots, either. And Kyle didn't have a coat, per se. He walks about 3 blocks to the train every morning and evening, and that was kind of a must. 

 Unfortunately, good winter gear is not cheap. They're all pricey, but most have amazing sales a few times a year, and I have taken advantage of those. If you're patient enough, you can find a great deal on just about anything.

Wilder is about a year away from fitting into our smallest down puffer.
I even found a "warmie" for Wilder. It's ginormous on him, but because this boy is growing like a weed, that will not be the case for too much longer. Plus, it keeps him warm as toast no matter the windchill. I have been known to put him in it, plop him in a baby Bjorn to walk Singer and find the boy sweating inside while it's 2 degrees outside. 

Filling the gaps for the kids' gear happened mostly at Christmas this year. I found REI and Patagonia mid-weight base layers and Smartwool knee high socks online for super discounted prices. I also found some awesome gloves (thanks to Rene Tougas' blog) that are waterproof and extend to the elbow (Lbow gloves)! No more gloves slipping off the little ones and no more snow in the sleeves. It's truly genius. 

We got Kyle a wool topcoat from Banana Republic a few weeks ago when they were having a 50% off sale! Score! And I got myself some Sorel Joan of Arctic boots (not on sale, sadly) after slipping and sliding on the snow and finding none of my other shoes tall enough, warm enough or traction-y enough. I love them. They better last forever.

So for now, let the wind rage and howl and bring on the snow! Our bodies are warm, thanks to modern technology, good old fashioned wool and down and a thrifty momma.

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