Life · Parenting

Products and Ideas for First Time Mommies -Part One – The Stroller

amy-nycfc
Written by Amy Rios Crochet Artist/SAHM

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Bella Baby Photography

It wasn’t too long ago that we were welcoming our son Spencer into the world.  I was so excited and scared during my pregnancy, but nothing really prepared me for 1. bringing him into this world and 2. bringing him home.  I thought I had everything covered during pregnancy.  I went to all my prenatal visits and asked my doctor all sorts of questions, read a bunch of books, researched parenting styles and baby products online, ate all the right foods.  Boy, I had no idea what I was in for.  Now believe me, motherhood is amazing.  I absolutely love my son and would do anything for him.  But my life changed forever the moment I found out I was pregnant. There are a few things that really worked for me and some things that didn’t.  Hopefully my experiences will help you through your motherhood journey.  After all, we are all in this together!

 

 

R935838_10100223237951430_1532211918_nesearch your stroller extensively.  I mean really think about how you are going to use it, what your car situation is, where you are going to use it and how many kids you plan on having.  For me personally I chose the Uppababy Vista 2013.  I was extremely fortunate that my in-laws gifted it to me.  Let me tell you a little bit about why I chose this beauty and why three years later I am still thrilled to call it my own.

I drive a Toyota Solar.  It is a full sized car with two doors.  Its sporty, has a sun roof and bucket seats.  I got it when I was an assistant scientist and a baby was no where on the horizon.   What this meant for pregnant and soon to be mommy me was flipping the seat up and climbing into the back seat EVERY time Spencer got in and out of the car.  I decided that a removable car seat was not the way to go for me.  I wanted a stationary seat that would grow with him. More on my car seat choice later.  So there went all the click and go strollers that are so common.

I really wanted a bassinet stroller for when he was an infant.  I see all these babies sitting up in car seats or strollers or specifically designed seats or pillows all the time.  Personally I feel that if a baby can’t do it on their own they shouldn’t be doing it.  Now don’t get me wrong, I had a pillow for him, he had a swing and a bouncer.  But I knew I wanted him to sleep in his stroller and I didn’t like the idea of him being crunch up all the time.  Why did I want him to sleep in his stroller you might ask?  Well years ago my husband and I before we were even married bought this pillow top mattress that was 18 inches thick.  From his on of his previous jobs we were fortunate enough to get a lovely bed frame for free.  There are some perks to being the porter in an apartment building.  Our bed was and is literally three feet tall.  There were no side car sleepers that would slide up to our bed and line up perfectly.  I had dreams that this child of mine would sleep next to me in his stroller.  The stroller was literally tall enough that he and I could sleep next to each other and I could reach over at a moments notice and touch him if he needed me.  Little did I know that he wouldn’t sleep on his own.

You also need to take your living situation into account when you start thinking about your stroller.  We lived in an apartment building and did not have a parking spot on site when we first moved in.  At first that meant street parking which was very difficult with all the apartment tenants in the area vying for a very limited number of parking spots.  I was very fortunate to get a spot in a church parking lot down the street.  I  knew that when I took my baby out of his car seat he would most likely be asleep by the time I got him home.  9 times out of 10 by the time we were walking into our apartment he was asleep, and because he was laying flat in his bassinet I didn’t feel the need to move him and potentially wake him.  My husband was the Handyman and our apartment came with the job.  We had large apartment with plenty of closet space so the fact that this stroller was on the larger side was not a drawback to us.  You do need to consider where you are going to store your stroller when not in use.  They are big, and even when folded they can take up a significant amount of real estate.

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Fahnestock State Park

Rob and I are fairly outdoorsy.  When we were first married he got me into hiking.  I was strictly a beach girl before that.  This means that our nice days are split between walking in the woods and the beach.  I wanted a stroller that could handle most conditions.  I know you are thinking southern New York where on earth are their woods for this crazy couple to be tramping around it.  Well there are plenty of options in Westchester and Rockland Counties, trust me!  The large wheels of the Uppababy Vista are able to handle a wide variety of situations including snow, sand, unpaved paths and it even does stairs.  We realized that we weren’t going to be doing our several mile long hikes with our little boy for years to come but we wanted to share our love of the outdoors with him.  There were several occasions that I went on outings with him in the stroller for little hikes.  I think I needed the fresh air back in those days just as much if not more than he did.  We live just north of the Bronx in Westchester.  We have easy access to the City and the Island.  The first time I took him to Orchard Beach was in April and I was so impressed with how well the stroller handled the sand.  I had high hopes for Robert Moses in the summer that year.  Unfortunately the sand out there isn’t as packed and the stroller doesn’t do as well on that sand.  A quick fix is to turn the stroller around and drag it behind you in light fluffy sand.

When he was older I joined a group of moms that walked a flat unpaved trail in Hastings-on-Hudson called the Aqueduct Trail.  My stroller far out preformed the other strollers.  For two seasons Spencer and I walked that trail extensively in my attempt to trim my waist.

I live in the suburbs.  I grew up walking to the supermarket in my town.  Well we lived in the city next to my old town and I decided that on nice days I would walk the one and half miles to the supermarket.  It got me out of the house, in the sun and exercising as we lived at the top of a huge hill.  One thing that I loved about my stroller is the under carriage storage capacity.  I could go to the market and fill the stroller with a weeks worth of groceries.  I brought a cold storage pack with me and put the milk and whatever other refrigerated products I purchased in there to keep them safe for the one and a half mile back.  What is also nice about this under carriage space is there are two pouches built into the lining.  They are perfect for just carrying a few diapers and a pack of wipes.  So on market outings I didn’t have to carry my large diaper bag and waste valuable grocery space.  The under carriage storage is very well built and can hold a considerable amount of weight.  I never once had it break on me.

I go out a lot.  Most people are surprised when they see the amount of activities we do.  I have no problem driving and I drag my son every where.  I have specific things that I like to do with him each season including but not limited to, the Bronx Zoo, the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, the New York Botanical Gardens, Wave Hill (a botanical garden in the Bronx), Pound Ridge Preservation, Bear Mountain, Croton Gorge, Robert Moses State Park, Orient State Park,  Green Chimneys, various play grounds, parks and hikes.  My stroller has very rarely let me down.  I was tackled by some roots at a reservoir once and the beach can be challenging, but for the most part I am good to go no matter what the conditions.  People always comment on how well prepared I am for virtually every situation too.  I have a sun shelter and a blanket,  a large diaper bag that I would pack with all sorts of things for our outings and I can even throw some folding chairs hanging behind the seat.  I can carry all of these things because of the under carriage storage and the sturdiness of the stroller.

Going out a lot means eating out a lot.  Spencer’s stroller was tall enough that I could pull the stroller right up to the table and he could eat right out of his chair comfortably.  One thing I absolutely loved about the stroller was my ability to change the direction of the seat.  With one click he was facing me and with another he was facing out.  Though they don’t recommend it I could easily change his position with him in the seat.  The seat itself can be tilted all the way back for an on the go nap.  It can be tilted and locked in a variety of positions to make baby comfy.  Spencer used to tell me how he wanted to be even from the time he was very young.  The portion down by the feet can also be tilted in a wide range.  When he was little I had it folded all the way up to let him rest his feet on it so he felt a little more secure.  When he was older I tilted it down further and he would rest his little feet on the silver bar as a foot rest.  Now he is so tall I imagine his feet would rest on the bar and his knees would be bent considerably.

While writing this post Spencer saw the pictures of his stroller and he said he missed his stroller and he wants to go out in it again.  The story behind that is now we live in a fourth floor walk up and its too heavy to drag up all the stairs.  We also don’t have the closet space for it anymore.  My land lords are generous enough to let me leave my umbrella stroller downstairs.  My nice Uppa Baby is NOT sitting in a hallway unattended for any amount of time.  Currently it lives either in my trunk or in my in-laws garage.  He is three and a half and still willingly sits in strollers.  I truly believe it is because he is so comfortable in his stroller. When we go for short walks its the umbrella stroller all the way and when he is in his mood he complains about how bumpy it is or how he can’t get comfortable.  He totally got spoiled in his ‘Cadillac’ of a stroller as one of our old neighbors used to call it.

If you think you might want to have more than one child you might want to consider this stroller.  It grows with our family.  The stroller is a big ticket item and for your first child most people are willing to splurge.  Come the second and third little bundle and you may not have another shower.  Do you really want to have to upgrade to a double stroller for the price of a single after your next baby?  For $100 you can get the extra seat for this stroller and snap it on to your current frame.  I don’t know about you but I would much rather do that then buy a whole new stroller.

Lets talk about some of the great things about this stroller…

  • It can turn on a dime. For real.  With one finger.  It is truly amazing.
  • It does stairs easily.
  • It has a crazy amount of under carriage storage.
  • It can carry up to three kids at once when the additional seat and buggy board are attached.
  • The sun shade is 50 SPF.  The sun shade has a roof that can be rolled up for either venting or sneaky peaking in on baby.
  • The bassinet has a bug shield that zips to it.
  • The seat has a bug shield as well.
  • A rain slicker is included and works with both the bassinet and the seat.
  • The wheels are large and can go through snow and off road situations easily.
  • It has a trick to folding but once you learn it its easy enough to do.
  • The seat and bassinet click out easily.
  • The straps come with little cozies to keep little necks from chafing.
  • It has great shocks, so the ride is very comfortable for baby.
  • The seat and the bassinet are nicely padded so baby is nice and comfy.
  • The seat is fully adjustable with a wide range of locking positions for optimum comfort.
  • The handle extends in height to adjust to the pushers height.  Both myself (5’2″) and my husband (5’11”) are comfortable pushing it.

Lets talk about some of the down sides

  • Because it is so sturdy and rugged it is rather bulky.  Trying to lift it into the trunk can be a bit of a hassle.
  • The back wheels are set wider than the front wheels.  If you are like me and you are spatially challenged you will run into a lot of things and people.
  • The price tag.  They did make an awesome product.  But the price just puts it out of range for a lot of people.
  • My model year the additional seat can only face out.  I didn’t like this because I really wanted the children to face one another occasionally. I liked that even as a young infant I could face Spencer out and he could view the world from his stroller and he felt secure.  Any additional children do not have that potential because if I turn them all they would see is the back of Spencer’s seat.

 

Well there we have it.  I love my stroller to this day and I am so happy we have it.  I did have one issue with it in the beginning.  The zipper on my under carriage was broken right out of the box.  Customer service was very accommodating and  sent me a new pouch no questions asked.  I just had to provide the serial number and the purchase information.  I think the pros way out weigh the cons.  Obviously I haven’t had a second and a third child yet like I thought I would have.  But life is mysterious like that right? Best laid plans.

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