Sunday, February 9, 2014

Goodbye, old friend

Today we sold my Beetle. I no longer have a Beetle--or a baby, as the baby is five years old now. My Beetle was the first car I bought. It took me to my first adult job. It carried my husband and me away from our wedding to start our honeymoon and a new life together, and returned us home to our first house. It toted our son Henry for his first years, from when he was a baby and I started this blog, to now, when he's grown into a little boy. 114,000 miles later, all I can say is thanks for the memories, old friend. I'll miss you.

Can the Beetle hold a big carseat?

Beetle parents, in case this might help anyone out there searching, I wanted to update you on the last carseat we've purchased: the Britax Frontier 90. It's a huge seat, which has the option to turn into just a booster seat when the child is older and bigger. As a forward-facing harness carseat, it can hold kids up to 90 lbs. and 58" tall, according to the manufacturer website. It's so big, I was nervous if it would actually fit in the Beetle. But I'm pleased to report, it does fit, perfectly. Don't be afraid to order a big seat like this one. The Beetle has a remarkable, seemingly magical, capacity to hold what you need to carry.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Wow, a new post!

Hi, Beetle parents! As you've probably noticed, this blog doesn't get too many updates from me lately. I'm in the second year of a wonderful grad school program, the UC Riverside--Palm Desert MFA in creative writing. It's one of the best things I've ever done. But I do neglect my blog. :)

If any of you Beetle parents or parents-to-be out there would like to help other Beetle owners, I would love love love to post any info or stories you might like to send me. It could be what kind of carseat you've used, what kind of strollers you liked/didn't like for the Beetle, your thoughts on keeping your old car while everyone else is getting an SUV...anything you like. :)

The best part of this site is getting a message from someone who has come across it and is in the exact same situation I remember so well. If you send in any Beetle/baby related material, I will of course credit you for it and link to your own blog or website.

Thanks for reading, Beetle moms (and dads...are there Beetle dads out there?!).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Backseat shade options

Hi, Beetle parents! I love getting e-mails and comments from other Beetle owners who have come across this blog. Moms who have Beetles and babies are an awesome group.

Megan posted a comment asking: Did you ever struggle with sun coming in the back side window on Henry? If so, what did you do. Normal sunshades don't seem to fit.

Megan, you're right, that was a big problem for us when Henry was little (and sometimes, it still is an issue). Sunshades don't fit at all on that small window in the back.

The only sunshade option I could think of was to get the back windows tinted or to find some sort of do-it-yourself film I could cut to size and put on the window (like this stuff: I never did it, although I am still thinking about it.

I ended up working around the shade problem by keeping a bunch of sunglasses in the car, and some hats, and stuffed animals that Henry could cover his face with if the sun was really bugging him. Not a great solution!

I did see a rear window "sun blind" on the VW Driver Gear website: I know it's not the right kind of a shade for that tiny window in the backseat, but I'll keep looking!

If anyone out there has a fix for the Beetle's backseat sun shade problem, please post your tips in the comments! Or if you've had your windows tinted or done it yourself with some sort of film covering, please post about that too.

Good luck, Megan! Let me know if you find a fix.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Stroller rave (aka, I might have a screw loose, but that works for me)

I'm coming out of blog retirement to say that after several months of researching and now several months of road time, I can heartily endorse the Maclaren Quest as a perfect stroller for a 16-month-old AND a Beetle!

I have no idea why everyone I spoke with, including people at Maclaren, insisted that the Quest's hood did not tilt. We finally ordered the thing, because we liked it, it felt sturdy, it was tall, and it could hold more weight than the bulkier Peg Perego Aria. Then it came...and I shoved the hood forward and now it tilts just like I had hoped it would!

I suspect the screws holding the hood in place are probably looser than they are supposed to be. But it's working for me, and I love this stroller. It's so easy to pop in and out of the Beetle's trunk, and easy to fit other things in the trunk with it.

Baby H has taken two trips to Disneyland now with the stroller, and it's's easy to maneuver, fits into our Prius's trunk packed with luggage, and it can recline so Baby H can take a nap in the park.

It also collapses slim enough that we can not only fit ourselves and our stuff in the car, but also onto the seat of a Disneyland parking lot tram (possibly one of the only vehicles with less roomy seating than the backseat of a Beetle!).

Watching families struggle with lugging their giant strollers onto the tram, and in one case, being forced to prioritize fitting their stroller onto the seat before their kid (!), I was really glad that having a Beetle made me get more "minimalist" in my stroller search. Having a little car can end up saving you the hassles that can come with big "stuff"...even if you might have to have a screw loose to appreciate it!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Baby boy clothes: part 2 (Georgie World, come back!)

I was so excited in January to find Georgie World--it seemed like Georgie World's clothing had materialized out of my own head. It was perfect. Surfer baby clothes, tiki shirts, retro bowling shirts...I wanted it all!

So I guess the only good thing about Georgie World closing is that my savings account got a break. But sadly, that also meant I never got my (I mean, Baby H's) awesome clothes!

I've been scouring the internet looking for the tiki-inspired shirts and shorts I had purchased, but alas, have found nothing yet. I went a little nuts at this week's great Janie and Jack sale, where I got this very cute almost retro-ish shirt, but it doesn't quite make up for a lack of a tiki bowling shirt in Baby H's wardrobe. Georgie World, come back! Our little guys need you. (OK, so maybe it's the moms who need you.)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Taking a test stroll

First, the facts, for anyone who might have been desperately googling to find out "Will a Peg Perego or Maclaren fit in a Beetle's trunk?" The answer: A Peg Perego Pliko P3 will not fit; a Peg Perego Aria WILL FIT in the Beetle's trunk! And, a Maclaren Quest and Volo (the only two Maclaren models I tried) will fit in a Beetle's trunk! Happy researching. :)

Now for the reporting:

In my my stroller rant, I ranted only from experience online in researching a new compact stroller. As I have come to see this afternoon, it's just as important to take your stroller for a test drive as a new car, because what looks great on paper isn't always the best when you hit the road!

I was almost about to order the Peg Perego Aria online, but I figured I'd better try it out just to make sure it really would fit in the trunk. We went to a very accomodating Babies "R" Us, where they let me put a bunch of expensive strollers in my car's trunk (with some collateral, of course). Here's what we tested, and what we found in the great Peg Perego Aria vs. Maclaren Quest stroller face-off!

Peg Perego Aria
Fits in the Beetle's trunk: yes!
With room to spare. It's short enough, but wide. At first I didn't think it would fit, but after tipping and turning it a few different ways, it easily had room. Whew!
Shade-providing canopy: yes!
In addition to fitting in the Beetle's trunk, the canopy is my favorite feature about this stroller. In fact, the awesome clamshell-folding canopy folds almost as far over as our larger Pliko P3, and that alone almost swayed me to buy this stroller immediately. It's simply the very best canopy I've seen for a compact stroller.

Reclining seat: yes!
Plus a bar across the seat, which Baby H likes to hold onto on his P3.

But now, the part that made me glad for a test drive...

Handling and feel: eh!
Compared to the vast majority of strollers out there, the Aria steers beautifully. BUT...the handles are a little too low for my 6'2" husband. The Aria's downfall for both of us: it feels cheap, and despite being sort of clunky, it doesn't feel substantial to us. Plus, even though it folds up lengthwise to fit in the Beetle's trunk, it's still a very bulky package. Even with the one-handed opening (a cool feature), I don't see being able to fold it up and pop onto the Disneyland parking lot tram in this in a hurry. And for a stroller, that's a real consideration!

Maclaren Quest
Fits in the Beetle's trunk: yes!
I don't quite understand the magic that happened here, because according to the online measurements I found, it shouldn't have worked. But it did. The neat thing about the Maclaren is that it sort of folds in half. The result: a stroller that not only fits in the Beetle's trunk, but leaves room for a couple bags of groceries, too! It's actually a bit longer than the Aria, but it's much less bulky because of the wheel placement, so I feel it's easier to handle, too.

Shade-providing canopy: eh!
This is the only feature that disappoints me, and it was originally SO important to me. There is a canopy, but it's pretty lame. I made the one in the store go forward, but I'm not sure it's supposed to do that! (Sorry, BRU.) I do not understand why such a well-designed stroller has a basically useless (unless the sun is directly overhead) canopy. Is it because England (where Maclaren is made) isn't as sunny as Italy (home of Peg Perego)? Perhaps. This is the sole feature that still leaves the Italian Peg Perego in contention. Maybe it's better to stick with a Medieterranean climate manufacturer where sun is concerned?

Reclining seat: yes!
Nice seat, but no lap bar. However, I like that the harness straps are actually poking through the seat; the Aria (and the Pliko P3)'s harness drives me nuts because it doesn't really attach to the seat; there's a teeny little hook it rests against, and that lasts about 30 seconds with Baby H craning to look around.

Handling and feel yes!
OK, so that's not really a yes-or-no kind of bullet point, but I swear I thought, "Yes!" when I set off for the test stroll. I like the angled handles (like my P3, but unlike the Aria's straight-bar, grocery-cart style handlebar), and they're mere inches higher than the Aria, but that's high enough for Brad to be more comfortable pushing it. Plus, even though it's a lightweight stroller, it feels substantial--the opposite of the Aria.

Brad's leaning toward the Maclaren, because of the height, the very sleek folding, and the fact that it can hold up to 55 lbs. while the Aria can only take up to 45 lbs. (Another curious fact, since the Aria is clunkier.) Plus, he wouldn't admit it, but I think the slicker look of the Maclaren swayed his vote, too.

I'm not decided just yet. I'm hoping that overnight, someone will invent a perfect blend of the Aria and the Quest, and give it to me and Baby H to take out for a test stroll.