Strollers.

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How many of you felt your breath catch just reading that word? Shoes are to Carrie Bradshaw what strollers are to, well, most of the people who socialize with me. It’s a short list, but we love our strollers.

I’m not a stroller snob. I had an Evenflo travel system with my first child, and got a Combi Twin Savvy when my boys were born, even though what I really wanted was the Mountain Buggy Urban Double. (You should click that link just to see the price. It’s worth the chuckle.) I needed a double stroller with a sit and stand but they didn’t exist when I was cranking out my brood.

When we found out I was pregnant with #4, the twins were 1.5 and A was 3. I mentally calculated my boys’ ability to walk alongside me plus my daughter’s capacity for obedience, multiplied by my anxiety level and divided by the number of hands God saw fit to give me, and found that I was lacking. I knew I could make do for a short time with the baby in a sling and the boys in the double stroller, but my aptitude for sling use drops off sharply once a baby moves out of the limp doughy phase.

I wanted a triple stroller, and scoured the resale shops for one. Instead, I stumbled upon a J Mason Quad Carriage for $100. You can bet I snapped that thing up and dragged it home. I want to make some shoes reference here, like, “…Carrie Bradshaw finding a pair of vintage blah blah somethings at a thrift store,” but I don’t know enough about high end footwear, plus I bet Carrie Bradshaw would never step foot into a thrift store.

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The quad stroller – or “four stroller,” as my children call it – wasn’t perfect. But alas, what union between parent and stroller is? The quad was heavy, bulky, and a real beast to maneuver on uneven terrain. But for trips to the zoo, for example, it was a godsend. And let’s be honest: I was staying home with four kids 4 and under. I wasn’t going much of anywhere.

Three days before the twins 5th birthday, I sold the four stroller. The kids were devastated. They wept in protest as they watched me clean it up, and they begged me to keep it. We settled on one final ride.

A’s gangly legs didn’t fit in the back; she had to throw them over the lap bar in the front seat. The boys climbed into the back, I placed baby #4 into the open front seat, and we set off. As I sweated and gasped for air, I reflected on my maiden voyage with the quad stroller, three years ago. Then, too, I sweated and panted my way around the block, Braxton-Hicks contractions kicking in as I pushed my 90 lb toddler payload. This 2009 haul was more like 150 lbs, and left me grateful that I don’t have to do this anymore.
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When the couple purchasing my stroller arrived, I was happy to saunter back inside and watch from the window as they wrestled that mammoth into the back of their van. Never again will I watch my husband sweat and curse quietly while struggling to fold it. Never again will my children stream out from the quad stroller’s depths like it’s a clown car. Never again will we look like a circus sideshow in public. The moment was bittersweet, until I remembered I’d just made $75, and then it was only sweet.

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Product Review: Wagon V.S. Stroller

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I know most of us MOMS, love our strollers…it’s our main form of transportation for at least the first year after our twins were born.   Because lets just face it, trucking around twins or higher order multiples, is not as easy as scooping up one baby out of the car and putting his/her car seat in a grocery basket or carrying one baby around in a baby carrier.

My first stroller for the twins, was the double snap n go, which was great, once i finally figured out how to use it correctly.  There was always a little thought in the back of my mind, that the baby seat would flip over for some reason.  The stroller itself was sturdy, but sometimes i’d struggle to pop the darn thing in right.  Oh how i remember times in the mall parking lot, sweat dripping from my head in the 100 degree temps, struggling to get the darn things popped in just right.  I’d pop one car seat in and then the second one would not pop in right…i’d have to pull it off and try to place it in the darn thing in a different way. Then a few times i’d hit a bump and not actually use the little strap that goes across(because who has time to strap those in when your sweating and have two crying babies and people are walking by staring) the car seat and it would flip forward or backwards(in a rocking motion).  We used the double snap n go until the girls hit 8 months and moved on to the big girl car seats.

Well, after we moved up to the big girl car seats i knew it was time to invest in another stroller.  I had already bought a graco duo glider when the girls were babies, in hopes of taking some nice quiet walks.  That didn’t happen and they HATED the darn stroller from the get go.  On top of that, i was always scared the one in the front was going to somehow slip out and i’d run her over with the stroller.  To me, the Graco duo gliders just aren’t made for small infants, unless you plop the whole car seat in and use it like a snap n go.  Maybe i didn’t have the baby put in right…not real sure.  But i know, the baby in front always cried the whole walk and it would break my heart.  It became so unpleasant to walk, that i gave that one up and decided to try another stroller.

After i bought the duo glider and parked it in the living room, i decided i needed a double jogging stroller(keep in mind, i have never went jogging, a day in my life).  I went to a local MOMS garage sale bright and early one morning and scooped up a nice one, for one hundred dollars!  I thought i had gotten a GREAT deal and was soo excited when i got home with it.  Who doesn’t love a great deal on a nice stroller, right?  We decided to use it for our first March of Dimes walk.  We cleaned it all up and never tried it out, till that day.  WHAT a day it was!  The girls cried and cried the ENTIRE 3 mile walk.  What a nightmare!  After that, that double jogging stroller made it’s way to the little storage shed in the back of our yard and hasn’t seen the light of day since then.

We had a lot of luck with our single maclaren for my first daughter, so we checked into a few of  maclaren double strollers.  We found a nice one on Craigslist for a great price, since it had only been used a few times and was in mint condition, we thought it would be perfect(i think we paid 125). I used it until they were about a year old.  This stroller was nice but didn’t have little snack or drink trays in front of them.  So in all reality, it was only good for short trips to walgreens or brief trips to mall.   Plus, it didn’t have a drink holder up top for mom and the handles were so far apart, it was hard to hook a diaper bag across it.  Later i found out, you can purchase some kind of hook at BRU and i’ sure on line, that hook on to the handles to hook your shopping bags on and i also found after the fact, a little mesh sort of organizer that hooks across both handles and has a cup holder, although the cup holder doesn’t look very stable(maybe more for water than a hot coffee or a can of coke.)  And water is NOT what a new mom of twins should be drinking right?  Well maybe, but it was never on my list of drinks, it’s usually coffee or some sort of caffeinated drink.  Otherwise how would we make it though the day?

The girls next new “ride” they received for their first birthday and Christmas presents combined.  I convinced my mom & dad to buy them a step 2 choo choo wagon and add the third caboose for my other daughter.  It looked nice, and i really thought the girls might enjoy being able to see everything around them.  We took it everywhere with us.  It was a bit of a pain, to load it in and out of my suburban, but the girls really loved the ride.    We have fallen in love with this wagon.  Now, at 18 months i actually take the choo choo wagon everywhere i go.  It’s not heavy and it has replaced my stroller!  Why, you might ask?  Well, because my girls love to look around.  When we had them in a stroller, they couldn’t see all around them, and they fought like cats and dogs on top of getting bored really easily.  I felt like they just didn’t enjoy themselves and i never enjoyed the trip myself.  Fighting and crying are not on the top of my list of exciting and fun journeys out with my girls.  On top of that, it was hard to clean if the girls ate food while sitting in it, and i couldn’t see what they were doing while i was pushing them.

So my point of this blog, is to really put some thought into what you really want when you purchase a stroller or wagon.  Most moms i know love their duo glider and most used the double snap n go, prior to that.   I, on the other hand, have gone through WAY too many different kinds of strollers, only to find out that my girls just aren’t stroller babies.  My girls love being able to see everything around them.  Too bad i didn’t figure this out prior to purchasing my duo glider, maclaren & double jogging stroller.  The double snap n go was perfect and fit our needs perfectly.  But we could have done without the other three strollers.  I finally sold my dou glider for 3/4ths of what i paid for it, since i literally used it twice.  The jogging stroller is still in my backyard shed & the Maclaren is now parked in the parking lot in our formal dining room!  My step 2 choo choo wagon lives in my suburban.  We take it everywhere with us!

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