Hello, my name is Katie. I am a stroller-aholic.
I really wish that there were meetings for people like me. I have seven strollers right now. Allow me to explain.
The first stroller is the travel system that we purchased before Will was even born. We had done some research and had a Graco carseat as a hand-me-down from a friend. We ended up buying a travel system that I liked, but it is bulky and now that he is no longer in an infant seat, the travel system itself is kind of a waste. So, it sits in the garage.
The second stroller is a jogging stroller that we got from a neighbor. It is a perfectly decent jogging stroller, in that it works and it actually steers very smoothly. However, it is an older model with a three point harness, and now that Will is getting older and more interested in "escaping" his constraints, it is not as safe. Also, it has no cupholders or storage basket, making walking to the grocery store a challenge. I have "rigged" a water bottle holder, but it's not very pretty and a lot of the time, it tips and spills my water.
The third stroller is a double stroller. I got it at a garage sale for $20. I have actually found it to be pretty useful when I go someplace with a friend who also has a baby or if I am watching a friend's child and need to get out of the house for a bit.
The fourth stroller is a crappy umbrella stroller that I also purchased at a garage sale for $1. I bought it after I realized that the bulky travel system was crowding our car and making it difficult to get groceries. It is one of those really basic umbrella strollers with no sun canopy or carrying basket. It also has those useless wheels so if you park anywhere but on perfectly flat cement, the wheels won't work.
The fifth stroller is actually not a stroller. It's a bike trailer, but since it serves a similar purpose, I have to mention it. My parents actually got this for us and we haven't used it as much as I thought we would, simply because Will doesn't look very comfortable with the huge helmet on his head. Plus, after doing some research, we found that it's not really recommended for an infant under one year of age to use the bike trailers.
The sixth stroller is a nicer umbrella stroller, complete with more rugged wheels, a sun canopy, reclining seat, and storage basket. I bought it off craisgslist after I realized that the cheaper umbrella stroller was pretty much useless. I keep this in the car now and have put the $1 stroller in the garage sale pile.
The seventh stroller I just bought this week, after realizing that I really wanted a nicer five point harness jogging stroller. I promised myself (and more importantly, my husband) that this would be the FINAL stroller purchase until we hopefully need a double down the line. The stroller I ended up purchasing is a stroller that will allow me to get rid of my travel system and other jogger, so getting the total number of strollers (after I sell them all, of course) down to three (counting the bike trailer). We will keep the nicer umbrella stroller in the car and the nicer jogging stroller in the garage.
Whew. Who knew that strollers would be such a big issue. There is a point to all of this stroller nonsense. If you are like me, you won't think the stroller is that important when you are pregnant. You will think, "A stroller is just a stroller, why spend a zillion dollars on something when the less expensive model will do?" Now, I get it. A stroller is something that you will use a lot. I use my jogger every single day and my nicer umbrella stroller nearly as much as that. While the travel system was really nice, the amount of time that you will actually be able to use the car seat feature is limited - about six months. Even though your child will use the seat longer than 9 months, they will be too heavy to be carting them around in it and using the system feature and they will also want to sit up and not be confined to a reclining seat.
So, if I had to do it over again, I would purchase a stroller that I wanted for the long haul that has an adapter so you can make it your own travel system. I would also look for the following things in a stroller:
1) Reclining seat (you want it to recline pretty much all of the way).
2) Parent tray that includes a cupholder or two . . . and make sure they are good sized ones that will actually fit more than a water bottle.
3) Basket that will carry a decent amount of things.
4) Random pocket or cubby that will carry things like your keys, wallet, and/or cell phone.
5) All terrain wheels.
6) A wheel that can be fixed or swivel.
7) Easy, compact fold.
For me, the ideal solution was to purchase a jogging stroller that also can have the front wheel swivel for better managability in grocery stores and such. If I had purchased this stroller in the beginning, I would have saved myself a lot of stroller hassle.
Will loves his new stroller, which came with a kid tray that has a steering wheel that beeps, makes an ignition starting noise, and lets him "steer." It also has a plug in and speakers for my iPod and he loves hearing his Raffi while we walk. I really adore my new stroller and if you can't understand how much the "perfect" stroller can really make a difference in your life, then you are probably still innocent and pregnant - LOL!
In addition to his new ride this week, Will also started to give up his morning nurse. Will has always dropped a feed gradually. First, by bobbing off and on the boob, then by shortening even that time, then by going every other day, and finally just not doing it anymore. He started doing all of those things this week, and since we are just down to the final nurse, this has been a very emotional time for me. I am sad to give up this last vestige of infancy, just as I am excited to enter this next phase of toddlerhood. I simply cannot believe that my little, tiny baby is not so little or tiny anymore and will be turning a year old in just two weeks. Time really does fly.
We also did find a baby gate to enclose his play area. We did have to go with a wall-mounted gate, since the pressure-mounted onces were just not big or sturdy enough. I am really glad to have a safe area for him to hang out in while I get some things down. The first couple of times I put him in his new "gated" play area, he was interested in the gate. Once he realized that he couldn't get it open, he lost interest. For now, it seems to be working.
I sent the invites for his one year party earlier this week. We have already received a lot of RSVPs. I wanted to keep the party as small as possible, but we are fortunate to have so many people that love our Little Man and the guest list grew. We are looking to have about 25 people to help us celebrate. We chose to have the party at a local park, so fingers crossed that it doesn't riain that day!