Last winter in Minnesota failed to impress us with its lack of snow and any significant cold. I was beginning to think Minnesotans merely exaggerate when recalling their chilly winters. After recent weeks of bundling the kids in layer upon layer of down and wool before leaving the house, when my fingers start to burn after being without gloves for only as long as it takes to buckle a car seat, when the air is so dry my knuckles crack and my breathes leaves my lips without a trace in the cold, cold air, when our trusty Subaru whines at me as I coax it to start, when I finally look at the thermometer and it matter-of-factly stares back at me with a -8 degrees Fahrenheit - well, I get it.
I remember thinking, on a day the temperature got down to around -20 degrees, that I'd better go outside and feel what -20 feels like. I mean, I've always lived in climates with cold winters. Michigan winter is nothing to scoff at. But -20 degrees, nope, I've never experienced that kind of cold before. After a quick jaunt outside I decided that once it gets cold - I mean really cold - it doesn't actually feel much colder than when it's just plain cold. But here's the difference - any bit of exposed skin almost immediately starts to scream in protest and you feel a sharp, deep burn. This cold is no joke, my friends.
I realized how cold it has been when the temperature hit 16 degrees and it actually felt warm outside. I know this sounds ridiculous - really, if I had read this a year ago I would have thought I was being downright silly. But after a string of temps below zero, 16 actually feels pretty comfy. Yesterday it hit 30. Downright balmy. Minnesotans are a hardy folk. I suppose Minnesota winters will do that to you.
In all this frigidness, I have been extra careful about keeping the little appendages in the household warm. I decided they needed to have a extra layer on the bottom - that regular pants and jeans just don't do the trick. Since wearing snow pants all the time is not a convenient option (especially when I'm the one having to put them on and take them off those squirmy bodies multiple times a day), I made a couple versions of Dana's Basic Kid Pants lined with comfy extra layers for added warmth. For these I used a grey corduroy lined with yummy warm fleece. I added some pockets - cause you know how kids love their pockets. Dana offers instructions for lining the basic pants here, and for adding two kinds of pockets here. So comfy and warm.
Glancing at the forecast I see that temperatures may climb into the mid 30s this weekend. I imagine that will feel just like spring. And not a moment too soon, as I find myself already dreaming of those warm summer days when getting out of the house means nothing more than opening the back door and stepping right outside - free of sweaters, coats, hats, boots, mittens, scarves and all the rest of the winter paraphernalia piled high in our entryway like the mounds of snow that lounge around our stoop. Winter, I love you. But I feel a song of spring stirring deep inside me. She will come soon enough.