Sunday, June 14, 2009

The third wheel: researching a double stroller or Baby Trend sit and stand vs. Joovy Caboose

I've been wanting a double stroller, sort of. I currently have 3 children and I'm expecting number 4 in November. The stroller we bought when my first was born is starting to show signs of age and problems due to me trying to fit 2 kids in it.
What I want it for:
  • walking my kids to school (baby and 2 year old would probably ride, but needs to be able to handle the 5-year-old who sometimes decides he is "too tired" and sits down and refuses to move)
  • going on walks with other moms
  • going to the mall
  • going to the zoo/ other outdoor activities
Other things it should do:
  • handle curbs. I dislike walking in the street or having to use people's driveways.
  • fit in my minivan
Options: (first 3 require little or no money expended)
  • keep using the old stroller until it breaks. Tell son to tough it out.
  • front pack for baby, umbrella stroller for who ever else. This works OK. Hard on my back though. If I go this route, I think I'll spring for a new umbrella stroller that has higher handles. This only works for the first 6 months or so, then the baby gets too heavy for me to carry for any length of time.
  • wagon. this is what I used this year. The wagon doesn't handle curbs gracefully. It doesn't fit in the van well. Also, the handle is a little low. I also prefer pushing to pulling since I can see what my kids are doing. But it does fit a bunch of kids. (for reference the bed of the wagon is about 34-36 " long)
  • toddler board that attaches to my current strollers. Those I've seen on-line are expensive, seem to break,and make it harder to push the stroller.
  • sit-n-stand stroller. This could be a good solution. Baby rides and older kid can ride or not as desired. Baby Trend appears to be able to fit 3 kids, but isn't rated for it.
  • full double stroller. I'm not interested in going this route. I was interested in combi double side by side stroller, but I don't like the way it handles. I prefer the tandem models.
Exploring the sit-n-stand options:
I've narrowed it down to 2 strollers: the baby trend sit-n-stand and the joovy caboose.

baby trend sit-n-stand
Weight: 26 lbs
Price: $129
folded dimensions: 36x18x12
dimensions: 21"W x 46.5"L x 42"H
max child weight: 40 lbs
  • big stow bag
  • parent cupholder
  • could fit 3 or 4 kids
  • one handed fold
  • huge
  • doesn't stand up when folded

joovy caboose
Weight: 26 lbs
Price: $140
folded dimensions: 10.50 x 21.50 x 43.0
unfolded: 41h x 21w x 38d
max child weight: 45 pounds
  • takes heavier children
  • shorter than the parent trend (don't let the folded size fool you) by about 8 inches
  • more expensive
  • very small basket under the stroller
  • no cup holders
  • folding takes two hands

The Joovy Caboose is smaller, takes bigger children, and costs more than the baby trend. I haven't decided if the smaller size is a blessing or a problem.

I was able to look at the Baby Trend. The thing is a beast, but it has plenty of room and handles well, even when loaded with all my kids (yes, the six year old figured out how they could all ride, although I don't know how the poor stroller would take it.)

If anyone has personal experience, and has a recommendation, I'd appreciate it.

Other resources:
Here's a video comparison of the two strollers.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Geneva Steel Redux

Geneva Steel Redux
Originally uploaded by Silus Grok
I have something I have to get off my chest: the Timpanogos Harley-Davidson building is ugly. It is located just west of the off ramp I use frequently and every time I drive by it I cringe. It is done in a style I can only describe as 1950's industrial (not just in style, it looks rusty too.) But the dealership was built within the last year. I understand trying to fit into the area you build in, but I can't imagine a city council in its right mind that would demand that a dealership build a building that would win the ugliest building in Lindon. At least with the surrounding industrial buildings, there is some faint hope the owners will eventually slap on a fresh coat of paint.

At first, I tried to give it the benefit of the doubt. Maybe all Harley dealerships looked like that one, based on the look of the very first Harley dealership. Then we went on a trip through Colorado and drove by another dealership, a nice modern looking building. Harleys aren't cheap, it's not like they couldn't afford a nice building.

So did I little research and it turns out they used parts of now-defunct Geneva Steel to build it. Maybe that will help me like it more...No, and I think it might be more ugly than Geneva Steel. Geneva was ugly, but it was for a reason. I say again, if there has to be a motorcycle dealership by my house, why does it have to be the ugly one.?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Review: La Quinta in Louisville, CO

Hotel: La Quinta
Rating: 4.3 stars (out of 5)
Would stay again: yes

What I liked:
  • excellent free breakfast with waffles and a variety of other foods
  • easy check in and check out (fastest I've ever seen)
  • friendly staff
  • good location
  • warm outdoor pool
  • good sized room
  • door key card worked every time
  • clean
  • right next to shopping and eating. This proved useful when I realized I had forgotten to pack my daughter's dress for the wedding reception: there was a Kohl's right across the street.
  • decent tv channel selection
What I didn't like:
(to be fair, most of this would apply to any hotel)
  • room was near the elevator, so we heard people a lot the first night (I suspect they put my family there to prevent our noise from bothering others, for which I am grateful.)
  • doors to bathroom were french type doors, with pull down handles, so my toddler could get into the bathroom and into mischief easily (I might rate this differently if she were potty trained)
  • door to the hallway was pull down type, so my toddler could leave the room by herself. (Fortunately, she is scared of the crack to get into the elevator, so she didn't get very far.)
  • the bottom of the pool was rough, so my kids scraped up their toes
  • ice maker didn't always work
All in all, I liked this hotel. I'd be willing to stay at other La Quintas, if they are all as nice as this one.