One of my things I love doing most – especially with my children – is taking brisk, leisurely walks throughout our neighborhood. These excursions are something I try to work into our routine daily, and while monsoon rains may stop us from going, nothing else can. Not even meltdowns (mine or the kids’) or freezing temps. If you live in a climate that tends to be rather bone-chilling during the winter months – and you want to walk outdoors but are turned off by the prospect of freezing your ass off, then this post is for you.
While I love our walks in the summertime, I’ve come cherish our winter walks even more because I’ve found the right recipe, sartorially speaking. Trust me, this is not always easy to do: Wear one jacket, and you’ll freeze to death; swap it out for another and you’ll sweat like a whore in church. It can be difficult to find the right combination to be comfortable in. But I’ve found it. Below is a pic of the kids all snug as a bug in our Maclaren Twin Triumph. DS isn't wearing his Patagonia coat because I decided to wash it since it was a pretty mild day. Instead, I put DS in a very thick wool sweater with a pullover Patagonia fleece underneath. It was warm enough that day, so they didn't need the stroller blanket, either:
All of the items featured in this post are the exact same items my children and I wear during our walks. (I’ve chosen to use file photos in most cases because, after beating these things to death day in and day out, mine don’t look quite as camera ready – especially my Uggs.) Over the years, I’ve purchased everything on this list on eBay, save for a few* – and even those can still be found on eBay at a deep, deep discount (I just checked).
Maclaren Twin Triumph Stroller in Brown*
I am so proud of this purchase that words simply cannot do it justice. For the first two years of DS’s life, I pushed him around in a jogging stroller by Baby Trend, which I loved. But what with my caviar tastes, I have lusted after a designer stroller for a very long time. I actually bought this Maclaren stroller before I had DD. Even before DH and I conceived her! I found this beauty brand new on clearance at my local TJ Maxx for a mere $99 – although it retails for $299!! (This stroller is currently listed up and down eBay at a deep discount.) I bought it back when DS was only five-months-old, but I was fairly certain that DH and I would try for baby #2. (I saved my receipt so that I could take it back and get store credit for clothes in the event that another baby wasn’t in the cards.) While I’ve heard pretty good reviews about this stroller, I’ve heard even better ones about the Maclaren Twin Techno stroller, which is a step up from this model. But, still, I have no regrets. This thing maneuvers beautifully, fits through every door I have pushed it through, and turns on a dime. (And believe me, we live on dirt roads, so I’ve put this thing through the ringer.) It fits both DS and DD comfortably and folds in a cinch. My only complaint is that it doesn’t have cup holders. A $300 stroller that doesn’t come with cup holders? Now that’s pitiful. I ended up springing for this, which I found on eBay for half its retail cost.
Boys’ Patagonia Winter Jacket
I bought this exact jacket for DS last winter. It was gently pre-owned and the original owner had purchased it so that her son could go skiing on holiday. He only wore it once. I paid – no joke – only $25 for it. I bought it large so that DS could grow into it. So he might even be able to wear it until the beginning of next winter. We’ll see. I have not been coy about my love for Patagonia on this blog. (Hey, Patagonia, if you want to send me any new products to try out in exchange for all of this free advertising, I’ll gladly accept.) But, no, seriously, nothing keeps you warm like Patagonia, and it fits like a glove.
Black Chanel Sunglasses
I love the large lenses on these glasses and that they have a deep, dark tint. I bought these on eBay eons ago for just less than $100. Brand new, I think these glasses cost nearly three times that. Mine we so cheap because one lens had a nick on it, but is doesn’t impede my vision, so this purchase was a no-brainer, flaw and all.
Wool Fingerless Gloves
The primary reason I bought these gloves was due to something you can’t see: They were sold by an eBay store that sells only fair trade items, which means that the Peruvian woman who knitted these gloves received rightful payment for her work. I think, with shipping, these were no more than $20. In terms of function, these gloves cannot be beat. When you walk with a baby and a toddler, you need to be able to use your fingers. So when I need to zip of DS’s jacket, help him with his own gloves, or pick up DD’s pacifier, I can pull back the flap of my own gloves; but while I’m walking, I pull the flap back over so that my hands stay warm. Love. These. Gloves.
Black Knit Pom-Pom Hat
Admittedly, I don’t wear this hat all the time, only when it is positively freezing out because, otherwise, I’ll roast to death. I love that it is cute and playful. I bought this on eBay two winters ago brand new for about $12.
Mink Ear Muffs
Again, I got these on eBay. Years ago. I can’t even remember how much I paid for them, but I think it wasin the neighborhood of $20.
New Balance Women’s Running Jacket and Tights*
Now, these items I did NOT get on eBay. (Shocking, I know.) I bought these on site of a 5K race I ran back in 2008, back when I tried my hand at long distance running. (I won’t even go there.) Anyhow, New Balance was one of the sponsors of the race, so they offered a slight discount on these items, but, still they were very pricey. I want to say I paid around $100 total for both the jacket and leggings. But considering how many times I’ve worn these items since, I consider them investment pieces and have more than gotten my money’s worth. They both wash really well and I wear them constantly.
Patagonia Boys’ Fleece Vest in Black
You know me, despite the fact that I charge my credit card up the wazzu, I still try my hardest to find a bargain, and this vest falls into that category. This boys’ vest isn’t for DS. It’s for me. Did you know that a boy’s size extra-large in Patagonia is comparable to a woman’s small? Well, it is. So when I set out to buy a form-fitting fleece vest – and found this one – I bought it without thinking twice. Yup, eBay again. This was pre-owned and cost around $15. It still has “This vest belongs to Tyler” on the name label. It was written with a black Sharpie so there’s no way in hell I can remove it. Oh well.
Patagonia Baby Fleece Zoo Bunting Suit
And speaking of Patagonia sizing, size 3 months is a very large 3 months. This bunting suit nearly swallows DD whole – and she is currently just over 12 pounds at two months, but, man, is she cute as a button in this thing. And warm. She is damn-near sweating when I get her out of this thing – even after a long walk. But, hey, at least I know she ain’t shivering. Oh, and, yes: eBay. This was NWT, and cost $25! (Brand new it would be – gulp! – about $80.
Pottery Barn Kids Stroller Blanket
Another needle in a haystack eBay find. NWT, also. I bought this back in 2011 when DS was just a little peanut. I think I paid about $20 for it, also. It is made of 100% cotton, machine washable, and air-dries overnight. I like that it is large enough to cover both DS and DD’s lap when folded in half.
Ugg Classic Tall Boots*
I think I’ll be 80 years-old with dentures and a cane, and I’ll still be rocking my first pair of Uggs. I bought these off Zappos.com back in 2003 and have worn these so often since that there are small holes at the top where my big toes touch. (I’ve sewn them up myself with a needle and thread.) I probably should toss these, but I simply can’t. I have never, ever worn my Uggs with socks – even on the coldest of walks – and my feet stay toasty. And the shearling inside has conformed just so to my arches; like memory foam made of thick hair.
Walgreens SPF 50 Lip Balm*
An impulse purchase, here. I picked this up on a whim at the check-out of our local Walgreen’s drug store. Lip balm is one of those things I can’t stop buying, although, oddly enough, I rarely use. This one, however, I have. I keep this in the little caddy near the stroller’s handles. Not only do I use it on myself and DS in the summer, I use it on our faces – on the chin and around our mouths – as a “hands-free” moisturizer. I hate that some lip balms are either too waxy, while others are too slick, but this one is just right.
Now, go. Walk on in peace...and warmth!