Our new Joovy Caboose
In the last couple months, Kevin and I have purchased both a new car and a new stroller. The later was the more difficult process and decision to make. When Josie was in utero, I researched strollers for months before deciding to buy a Combi stroller and infant seat. The package was less than $200. The stroller was super light which was high on my priority list because I anticipated many subway trips. Once Josie was born and I started using the stroller, I quickly changed my mind about my great new purchase. The front wheels would lock sideways making it impossible to push and this would happen on city streets. Forget about trying to push the thing on the unpaved Milford, PA roads. One day Alex, Ciaran, Kevin and I were shopping in Brooklyn and Ciaran was having trouble pushing Josie in the stroller. This was the day we decided to start looking for stroller #2.
At the time, Josie was big enough to move into the stroller without the infant seat so our options were increased. We went to Babies R Us and test drove several models before deciding on a Maxi Cosi Foray for the bargin price of $350. I am one of the first people to slander the owners of the $800 Bugaboos on the streets of NY but the high end Maxi Cosi was a blessing. It has the big, off-roading, tripod wheels like a jogging stroller. The seat can face forward or backward and it can go completely flat for sleeping babies. It also has a space age rain cover that turns the stroller into a pod. On the downside, it is large, cumbersome and heavy. In over a year of use, I still have trouble collapsing the thing.
Shopping with the Maxi is near impossible because it never fits between the racks. This is why we purchase stroller #3, the $20 umbrella stroller. This stroller handles well enough for store use and it is small enough to keep in the car at all times. It was the best $20 we ever spent.
When I found out I was pregnant a second time which would give us 2 babies under 2 years, I knew we would need another stroller upgrade. I decided we could wait until spring to make the purchase. Winters here are too cold to go outside let alone take a stroller ride. Last winter we didn't use the stroller and this winter was the same. Now that the weather is improving and Keegan is ready for fun on the run, it's time for stroller #4. Of course, I read review after review and talked to moms on the streets but at the last minute I had a lapse in judgement and I ordered a Kolkraft double stroller for $200. Kevin and I knew we didn't want a side by side stroller because we talked to a dad of twins one day in New Paltz, NY who was very unhappy with his. He couldn't get through a single doorway and his kids were too young to get out and walk.
The Kolkraft arrived and it took Kevin over an hour to assemble. It was pretty exciting. It had two seats like the one the Maxi Cosi has. The seats can face each other, go back to back, both face forward or both face backward. There was a huge storage bin under the seats which we've never had the luxury of having. We put the kids in the stroller and gave it a test drive through the living room. After a week of having it in the house, we decided to return it. It was just too big. The trip to the store to return it sealed the deal. It was too heavy for me to lift into the car and Kevin could barely get it to fit into the car once the kids were strapped inside.
I went back to the drawing board and purchased stroller #5, the Joovy Caboose sit and stand for $99. There is an 'ultra-light' model for and extra $100 but I thought back to the bargin umbrella stroller and I decided whatever the difference, it couldn't be worth $100. This is the one I originally wanted to try out before my judgement lapsed. There's a front seat for the younger child which can even accomodate an infant carrier. The back has a platform for the older child to stand on and a jump seat in case they get tired and want to sit. It's easy on and off for the older kid which is great because at this age, Josie wants to walk on her own but sometimes she gets tired and wants to sit. We took the stroller out on Saturday morning and it was magnificent. Both kids seemed to love it and it prooved to be the easiest stroller to collapse that we've ever had. Yes it is heavier than an umbrella stroller but I could still easily lift it in and out of the car on my own and it didn't take up any more space than 2 umbrella strollers would.
I've had a Subaru wagon for the last 6 years. I love it for the rough weather but after renting a minivan for the weekend to accomidate us and our out of town guests we decided it was time to take the plunge into parenthood. I looked to Parents Magazine for reviews of the best, safest, most affordable family cars and I fell in love with the Mazda 5. It's like a mini, minivan. It has three rows of seating but you'd never know it because the exterior isn't much larger than a Honda Fit. Sure, the 3rd row isn't too comfy for adults but it doesn't have to be. It's a good place to put the kids when we want to travel with another couple or more kids for that matter. We went to the Mazda dealer, traded the Subaru and walked out with a 2010 Mazda 5 on the same day.
The whole car buying process was sooo much easier than buying a new stroller. It's funny to think about the stroller purchases. Three years ago I would have never imagined giving it this much thought but now I'm a certifiable stroller expert. All the reviews, manuals and magazines can't begin to prepare you for the real thing. In the end, it seems that different strollers are better for different applications and no matter what, you're bound to suffer from stroller envy when you see all the bugaboos strolling down the path in central park. I know $300 wasn't a steal but who can afford an $800 stroller?!