Archive | May, 2009

Joovy Zoom ATS & 360 Review

20 May

Peg Si, Mama Board, Dreamer, Joovy Zooms 068I’m often asked what, if any, strollers will work on the beach. The answer: Not many. The good news is, there are a few. And here are two of the newest contenders: the Joovy Zoom 360 and the Joovy ATS. The reason they can handle the soft sand is that they have the muscle of 16″ wheels. Don’t look for anything smaller. As an added bonus, the Joovy wheels have shocks, which really made the ride much softer on the bumpy pier. Peg Si, Mama Board, Dreamer, Joovy Zooms 070
One of the unusual features of the Zooms is the long drop from the seat to the footrest. It’s an astonishing 13″! If you take a look at some of my other reviews, you’ll see the average is around 8″ or 9″. So this is a good choice for a leggy child.
Peg Si, Mama Board, Dreamer, Joovy Zooms 078
Another wonderful feature is the canopy. It is quite generous, but when you pull down the front visor, there is even another 10″ of coverage! Great feature to have in a beach stroller.
Peg Si, Mama Board, Dreamer, Joovy Zooms 075
There is a pretty deep recline, which is done by a single back strap. And instead of a fabric back, there is mesh. This allows for air to circulate around your baby, and prevents overheating.
Peg Si, Mama Board, Dreamer, Joovy Zooms 091
The Zooms come with a neoprene cupholder/parent pack, wrist tether, tire pump, and raincover. Excellent value!
Peg Si, Mama Board, Dreamer, Joovy Zooms 090
There are two net pockets inside the seat, then a large net pocket behind the seat, and a generous sized basket. Plenty of room for sand toys, snacks, and sunscreen!
Peg Si, Mama Board, Dreamer, Joovy Zooms 081
The toughest decision is..which Zoom to choose? I was surprised by how well the 360 performed, despite the smaller 12″ front swivel wheel. Nevertheless, you do have to turn it around and drag it backwards to get from the shore to the sea. Whereas the 16″ front fixed wheel on the ATS makes it possible to push it forward. This also has a handbrake, so is clearly the best choice if you want to run with it.Peg Si, Mama Board, Dreamer, Joovy Zooms 079The fold on the Zoom is really easy, which is such a blessing at the end of a long beach day. After loading the kids, the towels, the bags and the seashells, the last thing you want to do is fiddle with a finicky fold. All you have to do is follow the tag that says “Fold.” Lift the edge of the seat, push back the red lever, and grab the handle. The Zoom will collapse in half. You can quickly pop off the wheels if you need to. But you can see how both the ATS and the 360 fit in the back of an SUV.

Peg Si, Mama Board, Dreamer, Joovy Zooms 106
Joovy Zoom 360 Swivel Wheel Jogging Stroller

Weight: 27 pounds

Drop to Footrest: 13″
Seat Width: 14″
Seat Back: 18″
Seat to Canopy: 20″
Width: 25″
Length: 44″
Floor to Seat: 23″
Handle Height: 41″ on Zoom, 42″ on ATS

Peg Si, Mama Board, Dreamer, Joovy Zooms 073

Peg Perego 2009 Si’ Review 2009

17 May
Easter Si’

Every time Easter rolls around, I look forward to choosing a stroller. Since I am usually travelling to visit family, it has to be a lightweight. One year there was the aqua Maclaren Daytripper. Another year it was the lavender Inglesina Espresso. But this year, instead of going with a pastel, I chose the Easter-eggish “Corallo Stripes” Peg Perego Si’.
And you’ll say YES! when you “see” it, too! If you are a Peg fan, you will adore it. To start with, it has an incredible canopy; remarkable for a lightweight umbrella stroller. It pulls all the way down, and there is a dark mesh visor in the front. There is also a mesh peekaboo window, with a little pocket on the back. The recline is very deep, although not all the way flat. I would be comfortable using it at about 3 months and up. There is a long, extended legrest which makes it very comfortable for a younger child. No “dangling legs” here! The fold is very easy, just two steps. Pull up the lever, yank on the handle. And in case you forget, Peg was thoughtful enough to mark them for you–1 and 2, lol! Good thing the fold is fast, too. We had five! different Easter Egg hunts to go to this year. In fact, they held the last one for us until 6:00, heehee! The basket is very big, for an umbrella stroller. You can see how much stuff you can carry in there. The handles are height adjustable. And there is a side carrying handle. It comes with a cupholder and raincover, and stands alone when folded. Ideal for all your summer travel adventures! But I saved the best for last. Notice something different/unusual/special about the Si’? Despite what we have discussed, I mean? Take another look: Give up? It’s the WHEELS! And they are MAGNIFICO! They are made of some kind of a wonderful hard rubber, with suspension and ball bearings. That is why, even though they are only 6.5″, they can easily glide over all moderate outdoor surfaces, like cracked sidewalks and grass. We agree that the Si’ gets a Royal Rating of 5 Crowns!

Peg-Perego Si Stroller

  • Weight: 16.5 pds.
  • Length: 29″
  • Width: 17″ front, 20″ back
  • Seat back: 19.5″
  • Seat width: 13″
  • Seat depth: 9″-15″
  • Seat to canopy: 25″
  • Drop to footrest: 10″
  • Handle height: 35″-43″
  • Seat to floor: 19″
  • Folded: 11″ x 40″ x 12″

TFK Mama Board & Dreamer Design Review

17 May

Mother’s Day Mama Board on Park Avenue

Ever since I first saw a picture of a Euro mama “skateboarding” with this, while pushing her baby in a pram, I have wanted one. Heck, why should kids have all the fun? So natch I was thrilled when TFK showed up at the “2009 BIG Stroller Roll-Out”, and announced they were coming to America! I was practically swooning over the Mama Board they had on display. Of course, the kind and patient Ms. Katy Halmen of “Trends for Kids” (TFK) thought I was a little crazy. Nothing new, there. But ANY way, TFK has finally made it to this side of the pond, which meant the Mama Board made it to the side of my strollers, haha!

I have this attached to the Dreamer Design Park Avenue. The axle must be thinner than the one on the TFK Joggster, because I couldn’t get the strap quite tight enough. So it did slide around some, but it is not supposed to. It is very, very easy to attach, though.

The Park Avenue, by the way, is an affordable option for those looking for a reversible stroller. And it is rare to find a reversible 3-wheeler. It’s too bad Dreamer went out of business. But you can still find the Park Avenues floating around. The stroller itself weighs 23 pounds. The seat back is 20″. It has a front bar, height adjustable handle, and an easy trigger fold.

The Park Avenue has a one hand recline on the canopy, a pocket with small compartments on the back, a net pouch, and a decent sized basket.

But I think, all things considered, that it would be best to attach the Mama Board to a fixed wheel jogger with a hand brake. The Park Avenue has a swivel front wheel. And that, combined with a high center of gravity, made it somewhat of a tipping hazard.Especially since both the StrollerPrince and Princess were fighting over the ride. They did keep the wrist strap on at all times, but that doesn’t help the stability.

One really nice thing about the Mama Board is how large it is, and it’s high weight limit. As you can see, the StrollerPrince and StrollerPrincess can both fit nicely on it.

Even sitting down!

The quality is terrific, like a high-end skateboard.

As with any riding board attachment, though, keep in mind that the smaller wheels are not going to be able to handle rough terrain. Nevertheless, what a fun way get some fresh air and exercise, for both you and your little ones.

Trends For Kids

Happy Mother’s Day to all of Strollerland!

Baby Jogger City Mini Review

17 May
Baby Jogger Mini Check Mate
I was thinking, because of the success of the Valco Latitude on my last trip to court, I would take it’s Doppleganger to court this next time. And the success of the new Baby Jogger City Mini has been nothing short of amazing. People love the Mini’s light weight, huge canopy, and amazingly easy fold. The wheels are by no means all-terrain, but they do perform better outdoors than your average umbrella stroller. I like it’s versatility. Because of the deep recline, you can put a very young baby in it. And since the seat is quite large, it can hold a pre-schooler. I have tried it out with both sizes. And you can still push it one-handed with a heavier child.As you can see, the under basket is pretty small. But there is another large net pocket on the back. To recline it, you just squeeze that clip that’s holding the strap, and slide the seat down.Now a very cool feature is that when it is in full recline, you can unroll the back fabric, to reveal “voila”! the large net back vent. Great feature for air circulation on a hot day. You can see from both the back and the front how deep the recline goes. Now here is why I am going to court again. I was taking the original Stroller Prince to his first day of Chess. He was so excited! It was early in the morning and the street was deserted. I saw my neighbor walking from the front of the school. He told me to drive around to the back, because it would be closer to the class. Big mistake. I drove up to the stop sign. On one side, there is an apartment building. On the other, the street was closed due to construction, and there was a big sign that said “Closed to through traffic.” I glanced over at all the pavers and bull-dozers. And the next thing I know, a motorcycle cop sprang from behind the apartment building. I was happy I hadn’t done anything wrong. Or had I? He was red lighting me! I pull over, and he asks for my license. “I’m sorry. ” I tell him. “I was rushing to get my daughter to school, and to take my son to his chess class. I had their backpacks and I was carrying the baby and I had no hands left for my purse. It has my license and insurance card in it. I’ll just run home and get it.” “Step out of the car please”, he says sternly. “The law says every time you go out on the highway, you have to have your license.” “But”, I say, “I’m not on the highway. I am just on a little old neighborhood street. I’m two blocks away from home!” Now he starts running a background check on me. “Mom, I’m gonna’ be late! I’m gonna’ be embarrassed!” SP yells. “Could I please just bring him to class?” I ask. “You could follow me.” “You’re not going anywhere, but he can go”, motorcycle cop says. “You mean let him walk four blocks by himself? Do you think that’s safe? ” “I don’t care” motorcycle cop says. OK, now I am getting mad. My son is crying, my baby is crying, and I am being held against my will. “Well, you SHOULD care!” I tell him. You took an oath to ‘protect and serve.’ You are neither protecting me, nor serving me. No wonder there are so many burglaries in my neighborhood. You are too busy hiding behind buildings and trapping school parents, because that is easy! Easy and lucrative. We don’t shoot you, and we pay our fines.” Now he is getting mad, too. “You know I could arrest you”, he says. “What for, for telling the truth”? I say. “You have an illegal sticker on your car. Take it off”, he says. Now, the sticker he is pointing to is mandatory for my area. It allows you to park on the street. I try and explain that. “Nope, never seen it. Take it off”, he says. “You REALLY aren’t from around these parts, are you son?” I said. “AGH”! He waves his hand at me, jumps on his bike and takes off. But not before issuing me a bunch of tickets, including failure to come to a complete stop, no proof of license, no insurance, etc. As he leaves, he drives down the street that says “No vehicles allowed.” I drop my son off at his class, go home and grab my purse, and come back. There he is, hiding behind the apartment building, waiting to trap another suburban mom.” “Hi there”, I said. He jumped. “Here’s my license and registration and proof of insurance”, I say, handing it to him. “I don’t want that. It’s too late” he says. “You know”, I say. “This is all so uneccessary. There is no through traffic here! If I really didn’t stop long enough, as you say, you could have issued me a warning. You could have shown a little compassion fo a mom juggling three kids, trying to get them all fed and dressed and off to school on time. We are all just human, doing the best we can. I’m sure that you didn’t mean to go down that street that is closed to through vehicles.” ‘WHAT?!!!” He says. “Are you accusing ME of breaking the law?” “I didn’t say that”, I said. “I’m just saying we all make mistakes.” “AHHH”, he says, waving his hand at me again, and driving off. So once again, I have to post another thousand dollar bail.

Baby Jogger Mini Stats:
Weight: 16.5 pounds
Folded: 24″ x 29″ x 8″
Width: 24″
Length: 34″
Handle height: 41″
Seat Width: 13.5″
Seat Depth: 9″
Seat to Canopy: 23.5″
Seat back: 21.5″
Drop to Footrest: 9″
Comparison of Mini to Zapp
Since both of these strollers are very hot right now in the lightweight category, I wanted to do a “mini” comparison. The measurements on these two are remarkably similar, as you can see from the stats. The biggest difference is in the length. As you can see, the Zapp has a much shorter wheel base. The handle height is shorter, too. The Zapp is a pound heavier, and has no recline. Whereas you saw how far back you could recline the Mini’s seat.The Zapp’s seat back and seat to canopy is about a half inch taller. Both have very wide seats, but the Zapp’s is an inch bigger at it’s widest part, then tapers down by the hips. It has an inch shorter drop to footrest.Both of these are on the wide side, at 24″. especially for a lightweight. However, a 3-wheeler must have a wider rear stance than a 4-wheeler, for stability. OK, neither are technically 3-wheelers, but that is kind of their design. You can see how the Zapp can fold in smaller, with it’s tripod legs that tuck in underneath the seat. Both have superb maneuverability.

Quinny Zapp Review

17 May

Zapp the Red White and Blue

It’s Election Day! And of course, that requires a stroller that is patriotic. Not a problem! Take the new, cobalt blue Quinny Zapp. Add in an American flag, a red parasol, red Skip Hop, white and red Skip Hop wipes case (Swipe), white onesie on baby, and you’re good to vote!

It was a terrific choice. The husband called in advance to find out where our polling place was. Turns out, it was just down the block, and around the corner. So we didn’t need to walk far. A big A/T wasn’t necessary. But perhaps a one-handed push would be important. There is no umbrella stroller that is easier to push one-handed than the Zapp, period. And it’s small footprint and great style makes it a really fun stroller to use.It has no recline, so it is best suited to a child six months and older. And it will suit a much older child. Look at all the growing room that SP 2.0 has! The seat back is one of the tallest I have measured. But it folds really tiny. In fact, the Zapp bills itself as “The world’s smallest folding stroller.” This, and the raincover and travel bag that comes with it, makes it ideal for travel. Many have reported stashing it in the airplane’s overhead bin. They say the travel bag looks like any other carry-on.All the children were excited to go to the polling place. I say all, because in addition to my three, I generally have four or five others hanging about. But of course, this election generated a huge amount of interest. The whole brood even voted in their schools. After they decorated their bikes and scooters, they started discussing who the winner would be. And who they voted for. Discussing, then arguing. I guess politics isn’t even a safe topic among the 10 and under set! They got another interesting lesson when we got to the voting booths. Despite the fact that they told the husband my name was on the list, it wasn’t. Which meant I couldn’t vote. The lady in charge said she would let me vote provisionally, if I could show her a valid ID. I couldn’t. Yes, believe it or not, I don’t always leave the house with the thought in mind that I will have to prove I am who I am. This has gotten me in trouble more than once, as you will see in the upcoming chapter in “Adventures in Strollerland!” Anyway, it was good to have the Zapp to zip home to get the proof I exist.

 Quinny Zapp


Quinny Zapp Stats:
Weight: 17.5 pounds
Folded: 15″ x 27″ x 13″
Width: 24″
Length: 22″
Handle height: 39.5″
Seat Width: 14.5″
Seat Depth: 8″
Seat to Canopy: 24″
Seat back: 22″
Drop to Footrest: 8″

Quinny Buzz Review

17 May

Halloween Buzz

Halloween is such a fun time to pick a stroller. Of course, as with all holidays, the colors have to be right. In the past, I have chosen an orange Quinny Zapp, an orange Phil & Ted’s E3, a black Micralite Fast Fold, etc. This year I have a little baby, so I wanted a stroller that faced me. I also wanted one that could sail over any bumps or cracks with ease. It’s dark, there’s a lot going on, and I don’t want to have to watch where I am going. So the perfect choice is the new gold and brown Quinny 4-wheel Buzz!
Quinny 4 Buzz

When I tested it on the SQ Obstacle Course, the performance was stellar. The four wheels make it much more A/T than the prior 3-wheel version. More stable, too. I really like it.

It’s a good thing, because this year, we had a lot of chasing around to do. Chasing a Star Wars Clone Trooper and Supergirl, that is. When it comes to kids and candy, speed is of the essence. It’s kind of funny to see them running from door to door, as fast as they can, trying to hit as many houses as possible before everyone runs out of candy.

And this year, we all did. There were so many ghosts, goblins, princesses, clowns, Hannah Montanas and Barack Obamas out trick or treating this year. They started early, and they continued until late. For hours our sidewalks were packed. I mean shouder to shlouder, rush hour on the subway in NYC packed. The wide base did make it hard to weave through the crowd. Although, as tight as it was, even my Shanghai Tang Mac Quest would have had problems. And it is the width that makes it so stable, so therein lies the trade-off. I do wish it had a bigger basket. Though it wasn’t something I needed on this night. You can get the optional “Buzz box” for more storage.

This stroller is extremely comfy. Look at the cozy footmuff, and the thick neoprene seat padding.

A wonderful thing about the 2009 Buzz is that it comes with an additional seat, a “toddler seat”. Not quite so plush, so there is more room for a bigger child’s shoulders and hips. In addition, it comes with a raincover, and mosquito net. To complete the set, is the fabulous carrycot. SP 2.0 naps in this every day. It has the same soft, terrycloth-type lining as the footmuff. He loves to snuggle in to it. All in all, this is a great choice of a pram that can get you from newborn to toddler; even a pre-schooler.

Anyway, despite our best efforts, the Pumpkin, the Buzz, and I lost our Clone Trooper and Supergirl. Well not lost in a bad sense. The Clone Trooper ran into Commander Cody and Obi-Wan, and wanted to navigate the Halloween galaxy with them. And Supergirl stumbled across several classmates having a silly string war. So she was off to fly with them.

The Pumpkin, the Buzz and I attempted to do a few houses on our own. But that was mostly met with scorn. “He’s too young for candy! That is really for you, isn’t it! You are going to eat the candy!” Well, duh.

But all was not lost. My friend was playing “Twas’ the Nightmare before Christmas” with a movie projector on a big screen. On her front lawn! We slowly strolled our way through the mob, past three haunted houses, down the hill and one block over. And there it was, Jack in the sleigh! The party had begun. 

 Quinny 4 Buzz

Quinny 4-wheel Buzz Stats:
Weight: 31 pounds
Width: 25.5″
Length: 29″
Handle height: 39″-43″
Seat Width: 12″ (baby seat, toddler seat is wider)
Seat Depth: 9″-17″ (footrest extended)

Seat to Canopy: 24″
Seat back: 20″
Drop to Footrest: 9″

Silver Cross Dazzle Stroller Review

17 May

Hollywood Dazzle
I started out with a close-up shot of the artwork on the seat of the Silver Cross Dazzle. It’s something that doesn’t show up well in the stock photos. And each of the four colors has a different pattern. It’s kind of like a mask, or a disguise.You see the design, and the true stroller is revealed underneath. Which made it the perfect choice to take to the Halloween costume shop/haunted house. I knew I needed something as small as possible, because it would be crowded. But it also has to have a very deep recline and extendable leg rest, since SP 2.0 was still so young. And I wanted something cozy, so he could hide out a little bit, if the screaming ghouls and ghosts and goblins got too much.

The artwork extends to the back of the stroller, too.

The attention to details carries through to the canopy. There is a viewing window on the top, which is held open or closed with magnets.

And there are dual side mesh vents for air circulation, with flaps to keep the sun from streaming in. Not something I needed in the dark haunted house, though. I guess because we are so close to Hollywood, everyone goes all out on All-Hallows Eve. Animatronics with zombies removing their heads are big, caged insane people, swords through the chests, well, it gets pretty grizzly.

Good thing there is suspension on all the wheels, in case we have to rush out of there fast! But we actually lingered a loooong time. Not just to see the “spook-tacular” displays, but because the original Strollerprince was so picky in choosing his costume. The Princess grabbed a Supergirl set and called it a day. DS, on the other hand, tried on every Star Wars mask in the lot. “Do I look more handsome as Anakin or Obi-Wan? Clone Trooper or Commander Cody?” And he’s 7, sigh.
Fortunately, SP 2.0 was happily enthralled watching a giant animatronics mad scientist mixing up a fiendish brew in a test-tube.The Silver Cross Dazzle gave him a front row seat.
The Dazzle takes up very little room in the car, leaving plenty of space for all the pumkins that need to be carved, orange and black lights that need to be strung, skeletons and witches that need to be hung, and the masks, capes, boots, belts, and costumes to be donned for the big event.

Silver Cross Dazzle Stats:

Weight: 15 pounds

Folded: 41 x 9 x 13

Width: 23″

Length: 20″

Handle height: 43″

Seat Width: 13.5″

Seat Depth: 8″-12″

Seat Height: 20″

Seat to Canopy: 26″

Seat back: 20″

Drop to Footrest: 8″

Valco Latitude Stroller Review

17 May

Latitude in the Courtroom

Now this story begins a while back. I was newly pregnant with SP 2.0, and both the StrollerPrincess and Prince had just started new schools. To say that I was a little scatterbrained is quite the understatement. So what I didn’t need on top of it all, was what happened next. Now those of you who have followed the original “Adventures in Strollerland” know I prefer walking with a stroller to driving a car any day of the week. And there is a reason. I get in a lot less trouble. But, the children’s new schools were out of walking range. So I was driving to pick up the Princess first. I was right next to the school when out of the bushes sprang a motorcycle cop. Now why do they always have to hide right near schools? (Yes, it just happened to me again. Which will be a story for another time.) But, you have to admit, it’s a little unsavory to think that these strong brave warriors, whose motto is “To Protect and Serve”, are spending so much time stalking suburban moms who are just trying to get their kids to school and back. And ironically, I never have any idea why they are pulling me over. I just know it is neither serving nor protecting me. I also know that they will never allow me to pick up/drop off the kids until they are finished with me. And they are not finished with me ever very quickly. No matter how hard I beg and plead. Which means not only do I get in trouble with the law, but I also get in trouble with the kid’s schools. (Um, yes, it has happened more than once.)

In this case, the policeman said I didn’t have the current registration sticker on my car, and that one brake light was out. And he wrote me a big, fat, ticket. Por favor! The registration had expired in September, and it was Oct. 1st. And the brake lights? Huh? First of all, since I am in the driver’s seat, and you can only see if they are working by stepping on the brake pedal, how in the world would I have known? Guess I had to take his word for it. And secondly, I had sent in for the renewal to the DMV. But, blame it on the trees. See, I live on a street that is named after a tree. And there are several other streets near me that are, too. So you have Maple, Pine, Oak, Cedar, etc. And at least a few times a week, I get letters adressed to people who live on tree streets, that are not my tree street. (Except for things like the guy in Redondo Beach whose social security check was sent to me last week. Now the trees I get. But a different city entirely? It’s a mystery.) Anyway, I suspect another tree street person probably was in possesion of my registration. And I told the officer so. “No problem”, he smiles. Just go down to the DMV to take care of it. And what about the brake lights? “Just get them fixed, and the DMV will check that off, too”, he smiles. Then I proceeded to get a tongue lashing from DD’s school, because I hadn’t enrolled her and paid to have her in an after-care program. Then I went to pick up DS at the second school. Where I got another tongue-lashing, and was told they would have called the Police if I had been any later. Great. Call the Police to report that a mom can’t pick her son up from school because she is being held by the Police.

That evening, I asked the husband to check my brake light. He walks behind the car, and I step on the brake. “There is nothing wrong with your brake light”, he says. Huh? So I go and check. It is working. Both are working. Just fine.

Now I have to straighten out the DMV mess. Which means going down there and waiting in line for hours. Not the most pleasant thing to do with the wicked morning sickness. Anyway, I get the registration sorted out. Then I have to go and wait in another area for them to sign me off. For one hour. Then I asked him to sign off on the brake light. “Oh, we don’t do that here”, he says. “Then who does?” I ask. “I don’t know, call the Police”, he says. But in fact it was the Policeman who told me to go to the DMV. That fluomoxxed me, to the point that it went right out of my head. Not hard to do when you combine hormones with holidays.

The next thing I know is there is a warrant issued for my arrest, and my license is suspended.

I decided at this point, that I had to throw myself at the mercy of the court. So I went down there, children in tow, and turned myself in. “Please don’t send me to jail!” I said. “No, no, we won’t, as long as you pay your bail”, says the clerk. “That will be $2800.” HUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHH??????

“But my brake light wasn’t even broken! And my registration was delivered to another tree street!” I protested. “Then tell it to the judge”, he says. And he schedules me for trial. He also told me that I was supposed to have the POLICE department sign off that the tail light was fixed, even though it was never broken. So that is my next stop. I haul the children over there, park far away and still have to pay too much to park there. Drag my big pregnant belly down the street, across three parking lots, and up too many stairs. I’m huffing and puffing, but we are finally there. I tell the guy at the Information Desk my whole sad story. And I ask him to check out the brake light and sign me off. “I wish I could help you”, he says, “But I can’t leave the desk.” HUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHH??? “But, but, the court said you do that! The clerk sent me here!” I stammered. “Well, we do if we have time”, he says. “But today, I don’t have time”. GAH! “But do you realize there is a warrant out for my arrest? And I am here in the Police Department where there are lots of officers here who have time to arrest me, but don’t have time to sign me off so I WON’T be arrested?” “Wish I could help you out, but I can’t”, he says. Um, OK, then WHERE do I go to get this brake light thing signed off??? “Maybe the Sheriff’s Department will help you out”, he says. “But they will make you pay.” So off back to the car we trek. Then up to the Sheriff’s Department we go. Get up there and wait in a long line. Visions of Istanbul danced in my head. That is because I spent lots of days there like this, dealing with bureaucracy, going from department to department, standing in long lines, only to be told I was in the wrong place. Finally it is our turn. And I tell the clerk my story, and that I need someone to come out and check my brake light .She says “Well, we don’t usually do that.” At this point I burst into tears. “You can’t expect a Deputy to take all that time to walk out to your car to check that out. That would be against Department regulations”, she scolds. A Deputy passes by and sees me sobbing. He asks the clerk what’s the problem. After a long series of whispers, he comes out and says “Come one, I can sign you off. But it will cost you $25.” Oh, I was never so grateful to pay $25, until….see below…

Flash forward several months. The day of the trial. And now I have three children, not two. SP 2.0 has arrived. Which means, what stroller shall I take to court? Hmmmm, something classic, subdued, judicious looking. Ah ha! The Black Silk Latitude fits the bill. Even matches the Judges’ robe, haha.

Nice flat recline with boot so SP 2.o could sleep, big basket and rain cover that just screams practicality, small enough to maneuver inside the courtroom, and smooth as “silk” one-handed — the perfect choice!

Haul all the kiddos down again to the courthouse again. “Mommy, are you going to jail?” SP #1 asks.”No”, I say. “I’m hungry. Why do I have to go?” grumbles the princess. “You’re always hungry, and consider this a civics lesson”, I responded. I really appreciated how easy, small, and flat the Latitude folded. Stressing over a stroller would have sent me over the edge.

Now it is time. I am the only one with children in the courtroom. The bailiff comes over and asks my name, then kindly bumps me to the top of the list. After all the people who need translators, that is. As we are waiting, visions of “Boston Legal” are dancing in my head. Who will my judge be? Any as wacky as the ones who preside over Denny and Alan and the gang? Well, um, yes. I was startled when she came out. She was very young, very pretty, and very blond. And, her hair was in pigtails. High up little ones. And, she was wearing pink butterfly clips on her head. Just when I thought it couldn’t get weirder, she opened her mouth. And she sounded like one of the Disney Princesses. Now I know where the TV producers get their inspiration. They don’t create these characters out of thin air. They just sit in LA County traffic court and take notes.

It’s our turn. I am called. I have my whole indignant story at the ready. The judge is looking down reading the notes. Then she looks up at me. “You have got to be kidding me”, she says. “Are you really here for THIS???” she asks. “Sadly, yes, your Honor”, I reply. “Oh, for…what is wrong with those people….” she mutters…”This should never have gotten to my court”…she mutters some more. “I am going to dismiss this, but you have to pay the $25 dismissal fee.Can you pay today?” “Yes, your Honor”, I smiled. And I was thinking how I feel even more grateful to pay $25. Because the alternative was nearly 3-grand. And finally, it would be over. Victory is sweet. And so is latitude in the courtroom.
Valco Baby Single Latitude Stroller

Valco Latitude Stats:
Weight: 17.75 pounds
Folded: 23 x 35 x 11
Width: 22.5″
Length: 28.5
Height: 36″- 40″
Seat Width: 13″
Seat Depth: 9″-17″
Seat Height: 18″
Seat to Canopy: 24″
Drop to Footrest: 8″

Mutsy Slider Review

17 May

Mutsy in Malibu and the Mansion

Summer was here, and we were invited to a party at a house in Malibu. Hmmm, now, who to take. It must be elegant but hip, cutting edge but classic. It must have nice summer beach colors. It must have a bassinette, (so SP 2.0 could have a nice nap), and it must be able to traverse the sand. Tall order, but…I had the perfect candidate. The Mutsy Slider!

 SALE Mutsy Slider 

As I predicted, the Slider was a real attention-getter. People flocked around it, asking me questions. Particularly the pregnant types, and the husbands thereof. Having the bassintte at the party was a great idea. SP 2.0 was overwhelmed a few times, from getting passed around by strangers. When I placed him in it, he calmed down right away. I think he felt safe. And the bouncy suspension was amazing. I just pushed down the handle a bit, and it’s like the thing was on springs!
I also liked how high up it sat. Nearly as tall as the Stokke Xplory. Great for the sand. Or for the snow, slush, unpaved roads, tree roots, etc. How often do you find such shimmery beauty, and rugged functionality, in the same package? (Gee, that sounded like a new car ad.)
Now one thing I *didn’t* think about, was how many steps there are to get up to a Malibu beach house. For this particular one, to have the breathtaking overhang view of the sea, there were a lot. And at 29 pounds, (that’s with the bassinette. It’s 25 with the seat.) hauling the Slider up them was no easy feat. Of course, it would have been easier if I did what the manufacturer recommends, which is to break it down into two pieces (very easy. The top half of the stroller just pops right off!) I was looking forward to using it again that next week-end. This time, it was at a party in a mansion in Beverly Hills. I had been there before, so I knew it was relatively flat. Now this particular mansion once belonged to a very famous TV star. Even though she has long since moved, it is still on the “Maps of the Stars Homes” tour bus route. We had to park on the street, because there were ponies in the driveway of the mansion. The minute we got out of the car, the tour buses appeared. And all the tourists were snapping pictures. Not of us, but, of the Slider! The Slider was a celebrity, haha!Well, I was a bit wrong about the flat part. At least in the back yard. This is a historic BH home. And there were brick steps that went up, and brick steps that went down, and brick steps that went up, and brick steps that went down. And yes, I meant to repeat that, because they kept repeating. And narrow, all of those walkways were NARROW. Despite it’s fabulous manueverability, the Slider’s 26′ width meant the wheels kept getting hung up on the bricks. I guess that is the way they built ’em back in the roaring ’20’s. Well it was almost perfect. The best laid plans of mice and men…
Inside the party, the Slider continued to turn heads. My friend’s mom said it reminded her of a pram she bought 57 years ago, which they had paid $10 for! Her husband asked, “How much does that one go for, about $50?” “Well no,” I said. “It’s a bit more. Actually”, I tell him, “A lot of strollers are running up around a thousand dollars now”. “A thousand dollas!” exclaims his wife, the one who bought the $10 stroller 57 years ago. “That’s the price of a CAR!” “When mom, when?” shouts out one daughter. “And she has a bunch of strollers, hundreds”, says my friend. “HUNDREDS???” says her sister-in-law. “Have you been on Ripley’s Believe it or not?” And she’s laughing her head off. “No”, says my friend. “But she has been in the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, the CBS Early Show, the Today Show…” “But what about Good Morning America?” says her mom. “Have you been on Good Morning America? That’s my favorite!” Now the sister in law, who has been sitting there thinking, says “Now WHY do you have so many strollers? I had one Maclaren for every kid, and that was good enough!” “Well”, I say, “How many pairs of shoes do you have? How many bags?” (She is very well-dressed.) “But that’s different”, she says. “Not to her!” says my friend. She has a stroller to match every outfit, a stroller to match every bag, a stroller for every holiday.” “And what do you DO with all these strollers?” demands the SIL. “I run them on the Strollerqueen Obstacle Course, up and down hills , one -handed, with a cup of coffe in the other” I say. At this point, the sister across the table spits out HER coffee, she is laughing so hard. “AHHH,” says the SIL, waving her hand at me, “You’re just nuts!” Now the mother chimes in again. “Stop talking and go to the gym!” she says. You all need to go to the gym and work out!” With that command,the daughters, granddaughters, and sisters-in-law dutifully stand up to go, pushing their chairs back under the table. “See”, I said to the SIL, “If you had a jogging stroller, you could just take a good run instead”.

i’Coo Targo Review

17 May

The i’coo Targo and the Contrarian Librarian
Spring was turning to summer, and I didn’t want the children’s brains to turn to mush. So I enrolled them in the reading program at the local library. I had visions of walking there every day with my new i’coo Targo, with a basket big enough to hold plenty of books!

Icoo Targo Stroller and Pram 

The canopy unzips to provide plenty of ventilation in the hot weather, so I knew SP 2.0 wouldn’t get overheated.

He would also have a cozy place to nap, as his older brother and sister leisurely perused the stacks.

Well, at least I got the napping part right. The bassinet on the Targo is one of the largest and deepest of any I have seen. And SP 2.0 slept in it very well, indeed. The part I got wrong was, well, all of the rest of it. They say in life, success is a matter of timing. Apparently, so is checking out library books. Don’t ever try to do it when it is A.) Your birthday. And your Driver’s License is expiring. So you *think* you are doing the right thing, by going in early to renew it. But what this means is, your picture ID that you need everywhere, in order to be considered a legitimate citizen, heck to even be considered a sentient being, has been replaced by a flimsy piece of paper. In the parlance of the DMV, it is a “temporary license”. In the library, it means you are a deadbeat criminal who intends to steal every book in the joint. Add in the B.) Which is, don’t even attempt to check out a book if you have moved. Even if it is within the same zip code, on the same block, with most of the digits on the street address remaining the same. C.) Throw in a cantankerous librarian into the mix, and now you’ve got the latest chapter in “Adventures in Strollerland!”

The day we enrolled, things went smoothly. I still had my picture ID, still had the same address. The children made several selections, and we checked out their books. Once they had finished reading them, we went back to the library to return them, and check out more. By now, though, I only had the temporary DL, and we had moved. Yes, a lot can happen in a week. We waited in line, and handed in our returns. Then tried to check out the new books. Tried, as in, in vain, unsuccessfully, failed. The librarian took one look at my DL, and disdainfully handed it back. “You can NOT check out books with THIS”, she proclaimed loudly. All eyes were upon me, as I began to turn red and shrink. “But”, I said, “You let me check out books last week. ” She peered down over her glasses and said, “THEN you had a picture ID. Now you don’t.” “But look”, I say. “Here is my library card”. She scrutinized it, matched it to the temporary license, then yanked it back. “I am confiscating this”, she says. “Your addresses don’t match.” “But, but, we moved”, I stammered, as I shrank, even smaller, and melted as well under the stares of the other patrons. “It’s, it’s just across the street. See, only the last two digits changed. ” “It’s a different address, and you have to apply for a new library card”, she said. So I fill out the application. And get back in line with the books. And the children began complaining that they were hungry, and can we go now? Luckily, SP 2.0 was still resting nicely in the Targo. I liked the fact that the bassinette was height adjustable. So I could raise it up closer for him to be more at eye level.

Now I am at the front of the line. I hand in the application for the new card. “Driver’s license please,” says the contrarian librarian. I hand it to her. “You can’t apply with this”, she says. “You need a PICTURE ID.” Exasperated, I say “Look, don’t you remember me?” (You would think she would at least remember a gorgeous Houndstooth stroller like this.)

I continued…”
Last week you let me check out that stack of children’s books, no problem. All I am trying to do is to follow the lesson plan in the reading program, and to keep the kids up to speed. Can’t you just let me check these out, just this once?” And again, she looks down at me over the top of those glasses. “Do you know how many people come in here with the same stories as yours?” she says. “If I let everyone check out books that don’t have picture ID’s, and have invalid adddresses, there would be no books left in this library!’ Oh yes, she did too say that. And in that instant, I knew the Targo would never again be loaded down with books, taking a leisurely stroll to the library on a warm summer day…

i’coo Targo:

Weight: 23 pounds
Folded: 23 x 44 x 18.5
Width: 23.5″
Height: 23″-40″
Seat Width: 12.5″
Seat Depth: 10″
Seat Back: 19.5″
Seat to Canopy: 24″
Drop to Footrest: 10″