Sunday, January 31, 2010

Baby Shopping 2.0

I got my very first bonus check on Friday. It was fairly small, but still very exciting and unexpected. The old automatic bonuses for first and second years were taken away when the economy crashed- our base salary never changed or froze, but the bonuses are now at the firm's discretion. So if the firm has a good year the whole class gets one (the same one), and if it doesn't we don't get anything. Luckily, 2009 was a good year.

Half of the bonus immediately went to savings and the other half has been dedicated to baby accessory shopping. The fun kind of accessories - we have the basic furniture and toys, but now I get to buy a few of the things I wanted when we had Landon but couldn't afford. Also, while Landon slept in his crib in his own room from the first night we came home from the hospital, our master bedroom is now on a different floor from the nursery, and we need something for the baby to sleep in downstairs.

First up was all the the bedding I picked out the day we discovered baby 2.0 is a girl. I still love it and can't wait for it to arrive.

Second was this 11x14 print from an etsy shop which highlights the inspiration for choosing the bedding. I'm going to frame it and hang it between the doors in the room:

Third were these 8x10 wall cards from the same etsy artist. I love the simple nature theme and think they will look great lined up across the room from the crib. (Since we're not painting the room, I'm big on art for the walls.)

So that's what I purchased immediately on Friday. I'd obsessed over them enough in ten days to equate about three months of hemming and hawing; JP had long since refused to look at any more links I sent him regarding baby decor. Now there are two things I'm still researching. One is a bassinet for our bedroom. I want it to be simple and pretty, but also sturdy and well made so that we can use it for baby #3 or other family member's babies. (Man, my brother and sister are going to be so lucky whenever they have kids- we have everything and will be done by the time they get around to it. We had to buy nearly everything ourselves.) It also has to blend with our bedroom because I just finished decorating that and we are not marring the beauty with some plastic monstrosity. This is my favorite so far:

I like the simplicity of the look, the positive reviews, and the fact that it rocks and the basket comes off the top. I do not like the price- it costs more than 2x what we paid for Landon's crib, though it does include the bedding set. The problem is other ones I look at are even more expensive or cheaper to the point of cheapiness. I still remember the white bassinet both my sister and brother slept in when they were newborns, and my sister and I put our dolls in it for years- I know whatever we buy will get a lot of use.

The second item is a jogging stroller. We used the Graco stroller frame for Landon's infant car seat when he was a baby and it was my single most favorite baby item ever. I have never understood those clunky travel systems. When he got bigger we switched to an inexpensive umbrella stroller which works fine for most things, but there are times when I really wish we something a little more rugged. Plus, there's always hope that I'll take up jogging right? We wouldn't want the stroller to get in the way of such a healthy decision.

I solicited recommendations from those I work with and many suggested the Bob.

Once again I like the look, the extremely positive reviews, but very much dislike the $400 price tag. That's a lot of money for a stroller. That's a lot of money for just about anything. And then I wonder - should we have a stroller that accommodates two children? But we so rarely use our stroller, and when we do, it's on some outing that both JP and I are attending. We could both push something. And Landon likes to walk or ride his Spiderman big wheel, so if it's just an evening walk around the neighborhood, baby girl will be the only one being pushed. Is it worth having a mammoth stroller for the few times we may like it? But if I'm going to spend that much money on something, will I be mad that it doesn't accommodate Landon as well?

I'd been secretly hoping my in-laws might offer some sort of gift for baby 2.0, but they've been so bizarre about this whole pregnancy, basically refusing to ask about me or the baby ever, and changing the subject as soon as we told them she was a girl, that I've decided I don't even want anything from them. If we can buy it ourselves we will; if we can't, we'll do without- we have all the necessities anyway.

In the mean time, I'm thoroughly enjoying getting to research and read baby product reviews, and I love even more to hear people's recommendations, so if you have any thoughts on bassinets, jogging strollers (especially the double v. single debate), and other things maybe you added to your collection for baby #2, please let me know!


  1. Have you checked Craigslist for BOBs? We have one we love, but can't take with us when we move due to space issues, so we will be listing it on Craigslist for sale. (We live in Georgia, so not so convenient for you.) We paid close to $400, and I think I'll list it for $100-150 or so. You may get lucky and get a great deal looking for a gently used one.

    I also really like the Phil and Ted's double stroller; the seats stack, so it has the footprint of a single stroller, and can easily be converted from a single to double and back again.

  2. Very Cute stuff! I could spend HOURS on etsy. Sigh.

    We had the eddie bauer bassinet for my first and loved it - it wasnt quite this one, but as i recall, your bedroom has dark wood? the rocking feature is KEY.

    For strollers, I think the Phil and Ted's Dash is nicer than the Bob, and it has a doubles attachment that the Bob doesn't have. You could also (i) set up a craigslist feed to find a used Bob - at least in my area, they come up all the time, or (ii) justify the expense by knowing you can resell a Bob on CL for about $200. Then again, Landon will be almost 3, probably not really needing the double stroller . . .

    I would also encourage you to use the money try to take a baby-moon if you can - maybe in April? You might be short vacay days, but I think you said your firm is flexible with return from your leave? We took one, and it was seriously one of the best things I ever did. I remember your saying you never took vacations . . .

  3. Clare, I have been checking craigslist- they don't come up often and when they do they're still pretty pricey! And even at $200-300 used, they disappear fast, which to me shows how well they stand up to wear and tear and keep their value. So I console myself that even if we end up getting one at full price, maybe I can sell it later.

    I've heard good things about Phil and Ted's as well. Anon, you mentioned at 3, Landon probably won't need it -- I was thinking that as well, but have heard from others their kids still used them for the big outings. We use our stroller so rarely now, but maybe when he sees his little sister cruising around he'll want to too?

    Thanks for the advice!

  4. I have decided I want a double stroller (my kids are 2 and 2 months), but the price is holding me back. They are just so expensive! Using it once or twice a month makes spending $200-$500 seem crazy! But, trying to navigate busy places with two little ones is not fun! Good luck in your search!

  5. I LOVE the BOB. If it were me, I would skip the bassinet and get the stroller instead. A lot of people I know borrow bassinets/cradles since they only use them for a month or two, and those things also abound on Craigslist.

    We bought our BOB at REI during a big sale and paid $300. Since we're members, we can return it at any time and get the full credit back for another item (a double BOB if we want to get it instead when we have another one). They're super easy to fold up, very smooth and recline almost all the way down.

    You might find that you use outdoors items much more with this baby living in a warmer climate. We go on walks 3 times a day and use our stroller all the time. I also HIGHLY recommend the ERGO carrier. We used the bjorn until Timmy was 4 months old, but then he was too heavy and it hurt my back. We still use the Ergo now and we both love it, even with Timmy weighing almost 28 pounds. Another investment, but you can find those used as well. It will be really nice to put the baby in a sling or carrier though so you can pay attention to Landon or do things around the'll want your hands free!

    Have fun shopping! Such cute stuff!

  6. We have BOB and overall are happy with him. The potential for re-sale was one reason we invested as well (although technically it was my inlaws who paid for it; I did the research and purchasing, they just reimbursed for the cost).

    We actually got a discount on it. I "test drove" the stroller at the REI near IKEA and they were having their customer appreciation pre-holiday sale. I think they were offering 15% off any single item in the store. I actually bought it though at Baby Earth (which is an online site that has a retail presence in Round Rock as well). They price-matched for me. I was happy to give business to a local company, but glad to get the best possible price. Consider when you'll start using the stroller and check the sales and perhaps you'll find something as well? (Oh, and I <3 the Baby Earth site and store, so if you haven't seen it before, consider checking it out).

    BOB is not recommended for use before 8 weeks, and after that it's with the carseat attachment (you could possibly borrow ours) until the baby has head control and can take the rougher ride. I think it was about 6 months before we had our little man in BOB without the carseat. The five-point harness did help him ride in it earler than he would have in a traditional umbrella, lap-belt only stroller.

    One thing I dislike about BOB tho is that he is fairly unwieldly for the vehicles we own. Although BOB collapses, I drive a truck and, although a 4-door, it doesn't fit easily in the seat area. If I'm out, and BOB's along for the ride, I often end up transporting him in the bed, then moving him to the cab if I'm not going to be using him during a particular errand. When I go back to driving my Bronco, or if I had a car with a trunk, this wouldn't be a problem. The Bronco is a two-door though and while our little man is rear-facing in his carseat, it's too hard to get him in and out from the back.

    We ended up buying a Chicco umbrella stroller for day-to-day use. It's also what we now travel with. (I flew once with BOB and once with the Chicco. I gate-checked both times, but I almost had to upgrade the rental with BOB to accommodate our bags, the carseat, and the people in the sedan. then again, I am accustomed to the roominess of a truck!)

    Also, there are attachments you can get for strollers -- toddler ride-along boards -- that let your older kid ride stand on a little board behind the rear wheels and they can ride along. I've seen them online but don't have any firsthand experience with them. But if Landon is already fairly independent and happy to walk, then a double stroller might not be useful for long. My friend's son was 2.5 when his little sister was born and they rarely used the double stroller she bought.

    finally, a completely silly reason to like BOB but we have really personified him (as evidenced by my pronoun use). Unless you already have friends or family named Bob, then this can also be a source of amusement for you.

  7. Have you considered a Phil and Ted's? You can get the whole thing with the extra seat for just under $400 and that would accommodate two kids. I LOVE ours and wish I'd bought it as our first stroller. It's extremely maneuverable, so you really don't need a second stroller for things like shopping, but it is also very rugged and works well on trails, grass, gravel, etc. Did I mention how much I love mine? Also, it is super easy to take the second seat off and put it on, so you can make it a one seater or a two seater very easily depending on what you need.

    Love the art for the nursery! So sweet! Especially because of the meaning that song has for you. Love it! What fun!!

  8. I bought most of my baby stuff based on the recommendations that you posted here, when Landon was first born, and then again when he was older. You did not steer me wrong! That being said, as much as I would have loved a BOB or Phil and Ted's jogging stroller, there was no way we could afford either one. So we found a barely-used Baby Trend brand one on Craigslist for $40. We took long walks 3-4 times per week during the summer and fall, and the jogger was great. Part of the reason I think it was so cheap was that the front wheel is static, whereas most of the newer models have a swivel front wheel. But honestly, for walks outside, you get used to the static wheel. I have not used it in a store or other place where there might be tight turns, so I can't tell you how well it would do, but if you're just testing the waters with a jogger, I highly recommend the Baby Trend brand. Good luck with your purchases! I love the Etsy finds!

  9. BOB is amazing. We love ours, and highly recommend it.

  10. Not a mom, but I babysit a lot and have lots of mommy friends - everyone RAVES about the Bob!
    Good luck deciding on the single v. double!

    I can't wait to see pics of the finished nursery. I love the "less girly" theme you've picked. I think it will be beautiful!

  11. Also check out the UppaBaby Vista. That's what we've decided to go with for #1. It gets rave reviews and seems really versatile. So I'm hoping that it will last us through a couple of kids.

    You can also convert it into a double stroller by adding the Rumble Seat attachment (up to 35lbs) or just add on the PiggyBack step for toddlers up to 50lbs.

    The new 2010 should be out now.

  12. How high is your bed? Our bed is pretty low to the ground and I was extremely glad to have a pack n play with mesh sides for our twins to sleep in...having to sit up and peer over the sides everytime I heard them makes me tired just thinking about it!

    A pack n play, definitely isn't cute, but it is extremely practical and I like that I can use it past the first few months when we travel.

  13. We love our Bob stroller. Honestly, it is the favorite baby gear item we own. We got the new version that has the smaller wheels (all three wheels are the same size) and I think that helps a lot in terms of packing it in the car and it taking up less room. I got it at REI at a sale (I think 20% off?). For cold weather, I like to use the Bob with a JJ Cole Bundleme. I love love love this stroller.
    For the bassinet, we used the Nature's Purest Bassinet by Summer Infant. I liked that it was pretty and had all organic bedding, plus it rocked side to side and seemed really sturdy. The thing is, you probably will only end up using it for a few months anyway. Have you considered one of those portable cribs? They are super cute and fold up very easily to be transported, but I think babies can stay in those a lot longer than in the bassinet so you could keep her in your room longer that way. Plus I don't think those are very expensive either. Good luck! Love reading your blog!

  14. The bassinet is beautiful. We didn't have one, but loved our Arm's Reach co-sleeper. It's basically a Pack and Play that can attach to the bed with the option of having one side down. We loved it because it was easy to pick her up and nurse/change her/whatever. She was in it for the first four months, and it collapses and travels easily which is great. Granted, not as cute as a bassinet, but was definitely more functional for us.

  15. Check out some of the strollers with a stand and ride feature. My friends with your age gap all seem to have a platform on their strollers for the preschooler. Our age gap is 4 3/4 years, so my first is WELL out of the stroller stage.

  16. Congrats on baby #2! Piping in about the bassinet...we have that one and, while it is beautiful, I'm not sure how practical it is. My mom really wanted to buy us one (to be a "family heirloom" - her words, not mine), so we got this one because it matched our bedroom decor. Baby girl slept in it for about eight weeks (when she wasn't sleeping in our bed) before she decided she hated it. Hopefully we'll have more kiddos and use it again then, but if this is your last, the use might not justify the price. HTH!

  17. We borrowed a little wheeled platform that attached to the rear axel of our stroller...a Stand and Ride, was maybe the name. It was great for our morning walk to school when time was of the essence, or when strolling around the zoo, but not something I would have used for walking for excercise.

    As a Mom of three kids, I do think you should have the option for Landon to ride. Even though he CAN walk and ususally WANTS to walk, the times when they DONT WANT TO WALK are usually what make the option for the toddler a lifesaver.

  18. We have a Mountain Buggy, $500 new but my MIL got it for fifty bucks at a yard sale, holy cow! It's great on the horrid New Orleans sidewalks, but it is extremely unwieldy. It folds down to approximatly 5/6 of its unfolded size, making it barely worth it, and for that reason we can't really take it to restaurants or small shopping malls. It makes navigating these rough roads much easier on the arms, but we like our umbrella stroller if we're walking to/in a place, instead of just going on a walk.

    For our #2, to start with we're going to stick with the single stroller we have and carry the baby in a baby carrier (super huge props to the Ergo from us as well, we still carry 33 pound Jack in that thing). If it doesn't work, we'll get a double at that time.

    As for a bassinet - we used ours for about 3 weeks before the beab outgrew it (luckily its a family heirloom shared by all the cousins and so - free!) It's beautiful and lovely and if you want it, then get it, but I don't think you'll use it much.

    Your nursery decor is so. Beautiful. I love it!

  19. I bought a beautiful bassinet before our daughter was born. She HATED it. Never slept more than a few hours in it. She ended up in our bed (something I swore I would never do) and it worked out well. At 3 months she easily moved to her own room.

    My opinion - don't spend your money on the bassinet. I think the co-sleepers would be a much wiser investment (even though they are not as pretty.

  20. My older DD was 2.5 when 2nd DD was born. She already very rarely rode in a stroller. We didn't get a double. Never wished we had it. I had several friends who couldn't believe we didn't have a double, but we would have never used it. My older DD wanted to go in all the baby equipment, bouncer, swing, crib, stroller etc. But that was more of a "include me" thing. She definitely didn't want her style cramped by a stroller. I did find that I absolutely had to confine then both to a shopping cart when we went to large stores, but that's not the same as strolling around. We did eventually get a double jogging stroller for exercise purposes. But it was really almost too bulky and cumbersome for me to push, pretty much only my husband used it. That however was back in the dark ages of jogging strollers. I can't believe how much the baby stuff changes year to year. My DD's are 10 and 7.5 for what it's worth. My other piece of advice would be make the ahead of time purchases minimal, as you know from having one kid already, you just never know what that baby is going to like. Guaranteed #2 will be completely different from #1.
    Good luck, have fun.

  21. I absolutely love that bassinet - you didn't say how expensive "expensive" is but geez, I would almost consider it a piece of furniture.

    That being said, the Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper sounds nifty; I've never seen or heard of one but it sounds like something I would have killed to have.

    Can't help much with the stroller issue; I'm afraid I've never even heard of Bob, let alone met him! Still I would lean towards a double stroller (I used one for a while and my girls are 3 years apart) although if you could get one of those stands to attach to a regular stroller described above, that might must do the trick. Double strollers are definitely unwieldy.

  22. My sister insisted on getting a double stroller when she had #2 - her oldest was about Landon's age at the time. She has only used it once or twice because it's so big and awkward. It might be more practical to go with a single and use the umbrella for Landon.

  23. Check out the sleigh style co-sleeper! Isn't it prettier than the classic?

  24. I love that artist too -- my office is filled with her work, and I always get compliments on it!

  25. I'm expecting my fourth any day now and recently spent a week's worth of evenings looking for a double stroller or sit'n'stand kind of thing. What I've ordered is the Joovy Ergo Caboose; takes the infant carrier and the toddler, then when baby can sit in the front seat, the now-bigger toddler can sit or stand in the back section. Lots of other great features, too. Oh and you can definitely find it for cheaper than the $419 that BRU wants for it!

  26. I'm with you that $400 is a lot for a stroller. I have a 3 year old and haven't used a stroller with him for over a year. Now that I'm pregnant with our little girl I haven't been able to carry him and he's adjusted. For the zoo etc. you could always do a wagon and a sling. The bassinet is beautiful, and if you really, really want it I'd say get it. My mom made us a cradle for my first which I loved. You could probably have one made pretty cheaply (and then stained to match your furniture).

    And I love the nursery decor. So sweet, but also not too "baby"

  27. Okay, this is a weird comment and has nothing to do with your post, but... Did you change your font? Because if you didn't, my monitor is messed up.

  28. Wonder how much it would cost to move a used Bob from Georgia to Austin? Anyways, all the accesorizing is fun, but what the h... is the deal with your in-laws? Are they miffed because you reserve the right to decide over your kid when he's at their house, and therefore acting up before 2.0 arrives? Very mature.

  29. Someone mentioned an Ergo, so I wanted to chime in on baby carriers too. I am a huge fan of babywearing because it made my life so much easier when I had my second baby. I had a ring sling with my first, which I loved. I used it with my second too, but I also had a Mei Tai. I am still using it and he's 2.5yo/35lbs. I could carry him with my hands free while I played with my older one. I nursed him while he was in it, but you could just as easily give a baby a bottle in one. Once they can sit up reasonably well, you can use an Ergo or Mei Tai to carry them on your back as well. They are not cheap (around $100, I think), but they are worth every penny. I made sure to get one that was not super girly looking, and my husband used it tool. The Ergo has buckles, so they'd have to be adjusted for each adult, but the Mei Tai ties on, so there's no adjustment necessary when you switch who carries the baby.

  30. Hi Melissa- I don't think I changed my font. I think blogger defaults to ariel and I don't try to make it anything else.

    And Jennie, it sounds crazy and I'm trying very hard not to blog about it, but my in-laws actually seem upset we're having a girl (you can imagine my reaction to that thought- I did a lot of yelling at JP, who just looked at me like, yeah, I know, they're crazy- why do you keep making me talk to them?). Although I keep trying to tell myself that my MIL wanted a large family and ended up with 1 live birth and 3 miscarriages before giving up on any more. It might be harder than I know for her to hear about my second pregnancy. And while I think that I would still managed to express some interest in my daughter-in-law and future grandchild, if there's anything I've learned in 8 years of dealing with her, it's that she's nothing like me.

  31. Thanks! I'm blaming it on the new (but older) computer.

    I think your MIL sounds just like my grandmother. I love her, 'cause she's family you know? However, she is a drama queen and everything that happens in the whole world is all about her. It's probably not all that difficult for her to hear about your 2nd pregnancy, but since it's a little hard, she's going to milk it for all it's worth. Harsh, but true.