Friday, March 26, 2010

The Baby Registry. Part Six - Big Ticket Items.

This is another area where everyone has their own opinion.  Different parents have different needs, funds and ideas about how they will parent that affect these choices.  I can't really tell you which stroller will be best for you, but I will tell you which items I have, what I like about them and what I don't.

1. Infant Car Seat - Graco SnugRide32
    I adore our infant bucket seat.  We have the Townsend pattern, which we picked out for it's gender-neutrality.  It was also purchased as a travel system, but I'll talk about the stroller part next.  The only thing I was told about infant seats from a friend (Robin) was to make sure the straps were adjustable from the front of the seat.  Hers was only adjustable from the back and it wasn't very accessible.  I like that it goes to 32lbs/32in.  Tillie is still using it right now at 10.5 months.  She slept in it for the first 3 months of her life.  (It was the only place she would sleep.  I must be pretty comfortable!)  I've washed the cover and it still looks like new.  I can't think of anything that I would change about it.  We really love it.

2. Standard Stroller - Graco Quattro Tour
    I knew that I liked this stroller because it's the same model as the second stroller we had for Kizie.  (In fact, my mom still has it.  Tillie's used it.)  It takes up most of my trunk, and because of this there are a few scrapes on the "sunglasses case" on the handle and a few small tears in the basket.  But, those are all user errors and not flaws of the stroller.  Now that I've figured out the way to get it in and out easily those have lessened.  It's a good size, but because of that it always seems steady and safe.  I find it easy to push around the mall with one hand or two.  It had two cup holders which is one of my favorite stroller features.  I would make Kizie ride in the stroller for a little bit when she was 3.5 just so I would have the cup holders with me.  The one hand opening and folding works easily and I even impressed my brother Matt with the swiftness of it.  Some people complain that strollers like these are big and bulky, it never bothers me.
    The infant seat easily clipped into it and I liked the height Tillie was at when she was in it.  I've seen some seats where the infant seat looks so low in the stroller.  I loved being able to move Tillie from car to stroller while she was sleeping.  Random tidbit -- Graco invented the travel system in the mid 1990s.
    Since quite a few of my friends are having their second child (or twins!), I've been thinking about double strollers a lot lately.  The Graco Quattro Duo seems like the next step, but they seem so unwieldy.  But, side by side strollers seem to take up too much room.  I'm glad I have a lot of time until I need to come to that decision.

3. Highchair - Graco Classic Wood
   This has seen some pretty steady use since its introduction to Tillie at 4.5 months.  And, it's actually showing a little wear.  But, as with the stroller, it's totally our user error.  There are some knicks in the wood because of me running into it.  Our house is pretty small and I've stubbed my toe on it many times.  It usually just hangs out in the middle of our kitchen.  If we had a kitchen with a wall to put it against it would be in better shape.  The seat padding washes up very nicely and it dries(air) quickly too.  It comes with one plastic tray to cover the wood.  It says it fits in a dishwasher, but I would have to put it diagonally across the bottom middle.  (And maybe it would fit.  I almost wish it didn't have the cover because I'm so slack about wiping it down.  I just move it to the sink where it waits to be cleaned.  The wood tray, however, gets cleaned every time because there's no choice but to do it.  I love that it's wood and looks nice in our kitchen.  Even with bumps and knicks, it will last for many kids.  It also becomes a chair, but I don't think our table is the right height.
    Space saver highchairs that hook on to chairs are a popular option too.  I like the look of a wood highchair in a kitchen, so we didn't consider them. 
4. Jogging/Outdoor Stroller - Chariot Cougar 2
    Yes, we have the double version of this.  Tim knew it was a stroller he wanted as many of our friends do because it's sweet.  My mom found a single and double last year on sale for a good price because they had been floor models.  I decided to just go for the double because we knew we would have more kids eventually and I didn't want to have to replace it.  Also, it doesn't look rediculous with one child riding in it because the harness can be moved to the middle.  The fun part of buying floor models was the price, and the "extras" it came with.
     What makes this carrier so awesome is it's "transformer-ness".  This spring we plan on buying the bike adapter to make it a bike trailer.  You can all buy jogging wheels, skiing harnesses and hiking harnesses too.  It pushes and turns like a dream.  It's the perfect stroller for camp because I can enclose her in it to keep the bugs away and it's great on the trails.  Last summer we used the infant harness, but now she just rides in the seat.  I've been using it about every day since the warmer weather started.  If it's windy, I can pull the rain cover over and she's happy as a clam to watch the swaying trees on our walk.
Tillie, 5 months, in the infant sling
Ki, 7 months, in the regular seat
Tillie, 1 month, in the infant sling
Tillie, 10 months, in the regular seat
Why, yes, I do love my Chariot and babies in hats!  Why do you ask?

So, those are most of the "bigger" purchases.  With that, I end my Baby Registry series. I had fun writing it, and I hope you enjoyed reading it.

Which products are your favorites?


Amy Melissa said...

I love that picture of my baby Ki with Tillie. Did he enjoy riding in it?

KC and I looked at jogging strollers for a long time and ended up never buying one - I think we weren't terribly motivated to exercise in his first year. Learning to take care of him alone was exercise enough for me. I can see if you're a really dedicated runner that it would be essential. I haven't been running since I was pregnant. I stopped when I couldn't go 5 minutes without having to pee.

I also have the Graco high chair. I liked the look of the wood high chairs a lot more than the plastic ones. It turned out to be a lot more than just a good looking high chair. I liked the darker finish one better than the pecan finish, but for some reason it's quite a bit more expensive. I also looked at the Eddie Bauer one for awhile, but it didn't have very good ratings at Target, BRU or Consumer's Report - so I passed.

Amy Melissa said...

PS I realize you don't have to jog with an outdoor/jogging stroller. I'm guessing it's really nice for using on uneven surfaces or hiking as well as for plain old jogging. I do think the screen is brilliant, especially for camping.

Miranda said...

I'm glad you wrote this. I was trying to decided on a stroller like the Chariot to go with this summer for Kaelyn and Zoey. We are going to be doing the 30/30 Hike in St. Louis County and I need something good for trails. Plus we do plan on having a 4th baby in a year or so.