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.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Stroller Rant, or, Not Made for the Shade

I'm coming out of my temporary "Beetle and a Baby" hiatus to rant. It's time for some new wheels, and I'm having a heck of a time finding a good model.

I'm not talking about the Beetle, of course, but about a stroller!

I hate to see an umbrella stroller that has a dinky canopy plunked on top, doing absolutely nothing to shade the baby. It's also frustrating to see parents have to drape a beach towel over an otherwise beautifully designed, expensive stroller, just to get some shade.

I love our Peg Perego Pliko P3 because you can pull the canopy down all the way. I'll say that again: the sun shade actually provides shade!

But Baby H is almost a year old now, and I'm getting a little bit tired of stuffing the awesome (but not exactly petite) Pliko P3 stroller in and out of the Beetle. Once we get our new convertible carseat, which I'm not even sure will fit in the Beetle (more on that to come), I think my stroller-stuffing will only become more of a problem.

So, I want a compact umbrella stroller. With a good sun shade. No problem, right?

After hours of Googling, I am dismayed I can't seem to find a stroller with these features:

* Lightweight umbrella style
* Tilting or moveable sun shade/canopy/hood
* Under about 35" (about the size that might fit in the Beetle's trunk)
* Reclining seat

I thought I was saved when I found the Peg Perego Si. Finally, an umbrella stroller with a sunshade that pulls down to actually provide some shade! Here's a great review from Stroller Queen that shows off the shade. Yes!

But, alas, here's where I can see why people go out and buy minivans: this thing is still too big to fit in the Beetle's trunk. It's basically the same length (40") as our primary Peg Perego stroller. Foiled again!

Maclaren Quest Mod in black (love those apples!)

I'm thinking of getting a Maclaren Volo (although that has no reclining seat option) or Maclaren Quest Mod (because it's pretty), and then buying an ugly attachable sunshade like the ones from Protect-a-Bub. I also like that Uppababy G-Lite, because it's stylish and so temptingly lightweight. OK, and because "Uppababy" is really fun to say.

But despite their style and other features, these strollers still don't have a sun shade that offers any protection when walking toward the sun.

Then again, there is this option for Maclaren:

Brad says a parasol is too girly. Brad, let's just call it an umbrella and call it a day. (Although it does pose the question...why not just make a sun shade that works, instead of inventing an umbrella to attach to the stroller?)

Buying new carseats, buying a new stroller...I feel like it's a year ago all over again! Only this time, at least I can give Baby H a hung and see him matter what he's riding in.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My favorite baby-related books for grown-ups

About pregnancy (mostly):
Body, Soul, and Baby: A Doctor's Guide to the Complete Pregnancy Experience, from Preconception to Postpartum by Tracy Gaudet, MD, and Paula Spencer

What I liked: I wish I had this book before becoming pregnant, but I'm glad I discovered it at all! I really like its positive approach to pregnancy (I'm giving you a shuddering glance, What to Expect When You're Expecting. Thank goodness you didn't even make it home from the library!). This book gives medical info, but gives equal space to your spirit and how your body feels. It offers exercises for your soul. Reading that makes it sound dippy, but I loved it and I don't think I would have "talked" with my baby nearly as often without it--and since that was probably my favorite part of being pregnant, I owe this book a lot!

What I didn't like: The way the exercises are explained could be improved. They're explained once, and then are referred to; I'd like it better if there was an appendix with all the exercises, so at least I could look in one spot, instead of leafing through trying to find the first mention of an exercise. (Or maybe there was an easier way, but my pregnancy brain didn't find it!)

Perfect Hormone Balance for Pregnancy by Robert Greene, MD, and Laurie Tarkan

What I liked: This book emphasizes feeling great while pregnant because of your powerful, wonderous hormones. And since pregnancy (and life) is all about your hormones being in balance, it's pretty important. It was good to refer to, and more fun than a book on hormones might sound.

What I didn't like: I still gained too much weight while pregnant, even though I thought I was following the program pretty well! As a lacto-ovo vegetarian, it was easy to follow for me--or maybe I still messed it up. But I felt great while pregnant most of the time, so something was working.

A Child Is Born by Lennart Nisson

What I didn't like: This is exactly the kind of book I never would have looked at before becoming pregnant. For one thing, the title is a little deceptive: I thought it was going to be all graphic photos of actually giving birth.

What I liked: But to my relief, it's almost all photos of babies developing in the womb. Now, I still wouldn't have been interested pre-pregnancy, but when it was actually happening to me I was fascinated by it!

I loved the BabyCenter weekly update e-mails, of course--Brad and my friends at work would all try to guess what bit of produce would be the comparison for the baby's size that week--but when I didn't want to imagine the baby as a turnip or a honeydew, I would look at this book.

In preparation for baby (mostly):
The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby by Laura Wattenberg (also the accompanying websites, all based on the info from the book: Nymbler, Your Personal Name Assistant, Baby Name Voyager, and the Nymbler blog.

What I liked: As a writer, I'm always intrigued by names: how authors choose their names and why. I had a hard enough time picking my characters' names for Disneylanders--how would Brad and I ever decide on TWO baby names (since we weren't finding out the baby's sex, we needed at least two great names!).

These sites were the ones that helped me the most--and were the most fun! Unlike every other baby name book I've seen, The Baby Name Wizard and Nymbler give you name suggestions based on the "feeling" or "style" of names you already like. I don't know how it works, but I think most of the time, it does! This is fun for parents and writers, too.

What I didn't like: It's a huge time-suck. I would get drawn into the books/websites and not emerge again for two hours. Also, sometimes the suggestions weren't right on, or I disagreed with them. And, the funniest thing: the name we chose didn't come from the book! Although I think I was reading the book when I came across our grandfathers' names, and thought, hmm.... So maybe the book still gets some credit.

Raising Baby Green: The Earth-Friendly Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Care by Alan Greene, MD, Jeanette Pavani, and Theresa Foy DiGeronimo

What I liked: I referred to this book all the time when we were deciding what to buy. Plus, it supported me in what I already felt was right (sort of the theme with all of these books!).

What I didn't like: There are some scary factoids about non-eco-friendly materials. It makes life more complicated because Babies "R" Us doesn't always carry the most eco-friendly items (although they're improving). But I think doing the homework and shopping around is well worth it. (And my baby now has nicer cradle and crib mattresses than I do!)

About baby (mostly):
The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, MD

What I liked: I think the ultimate "gift of sleep" baby shower bundle (other than a live-in nanny) would be the Happiest Baby on the Block, the Miracle Blanket, and a white-noise machine. This book is essential for understanding how to calm a newborn baby (under three months old). In short: recreate the womb environment. For how to do that: read the book. (Also, this swaddling technique was the best we found for normal (i.e., non Miracle) blankets.

What I didn't like: The author often repeats the same advice. It's very repetitive. The book has much of the same information throughout. (Haha.) But, this could be a benefit for the seriously sleep-deprived!

The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two by a whole bunch of Sears family doctors/nurses

What I like: At one of newborn Henry's first visits, our doctor asked me what I thought my parenting style was. (Um, sleepy?) I told her I thought I'd be more hippy-dippy about things than scheduled, which I think is still true. She recommended this book to me, and it was a great fit, for the most part. It's all about attachment parenting, so it's very pro- breastfeeding, cosleeping, baby wearing, and baby-led routines; it's not for people looking for a cry-it-out, "sleep training" approach.

What I don't like: When breastfeeding didn't work out for me, I found little to ease my guilt about stopping in this book. A huge amount of Sears advice involves breastfeeding. Although I must say, they do throw in the occasional paragraph about making the best decisions for you and your family, etc., one paragraph after a whole chapter's worth of breastfeeding's benefits doesn't really help. I now just try to gloss over any mentions of breastfeeding and appreciate the rest of the advice.

The Vaccine Book by another Sears family doctor

What I like: It's got all the medical information you need, presented in what I think is an objective manner, and is even kind of funny! Plus, it's super short compared to the massive Baby Book, so it's not that intimidating. The alternative vaccination schedule in the back makes it worth the price alone.

What I don't like: Again, there's the breastfeeding talk, but I understand why it's relevant.

Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent by Meredith Small, anthropologist

What I like: I'm still reading this one, but it's fascinating. It's about ethnopediatrics--how different cultures raise their babies, and how that might differ from what's actually best for babies.

I think it's a great coincidence that, while I am reading this book, Baby Henry has taken to using his soft "baseball bat" toy--he loves to swing it around, and sometimes even hit the little squishy ball! Brad said he looks like a "cave baby" with a club. This book reminds me that that's exactly what he is.

It reminds me of the line in Jurassic Park, where Dr. Sattler says that the newly recreated dinosaurs have no idea what century they're living in. It's the same for newborns. Good to keep in mind.

What I don't like: I think you'll sense a pattern that I have residual formula-feeding qualms. This book's "eating" chapter doesn't make it better. The author flat-out says that one of my main problems with breastfeeding does not exist. I need to finish reading the whole thing, though.

On the list with a big asterisk
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, MD

What I don't like: Honestly, I don't feel comfortable with most of what the author suggests. I think it could be very valuable if you're into sleep training, though. But this book is on the list because...

What I like: I learned a HUGELY important nugget of wisdom from this book that I haven't seen in any other baby books (and I've currently got more than 25 of them): Young babies generally get sleepy after they've been awake for two hours. Try to put them down for a nap in sync with their natural rhythms, and life will be much more pleasant for everyone. Talk about a revelation! Yes, indeed.

Those are my tops, but I'm sure I'll think of 10 more to add to the list as soon as I hit "publish." If I do, I'll make a new post.

And, if you're interested in my favorite baby books for babies, check out my new blog: Pat the Blog!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My favorite baby things

In the spirit of Oprah, I thought I would put together a list of some of my favorite things that I loved while I was pregnant, and that I've loved since having Baby Henry. (Although unlike Oprah, I will not be giving any of these away to my audience!)

My favorite things during pregnancy:

Bra extender
OK, this isn't a very glamorous start to the list, but it's got to be, penny for penny, the best investment I made in clothing while pregnant! I got an extender for less than a dollar at Macy's (is it even possible to get anything else for less than a dollar at a department store?) and I used it constantly while pregnant and even after, while I was rapidly fluctuating between sizes. Lingerie department employees always seem to hate bra extenders, saying they mean your bra isn't really the right size--but really, when your size is changing every other day during pregnancy and after delivery, do you really want to invest in a new bra each week?

Bella band
This stretchy strip let me wear my pre-baby jeans a little bit longer. It's a great idea--and much like the bra extender, means you get a little extra use out of your pre-pregnancy clothing.

Ann Taylor Loft Maternity
Other than the bra-strap extender, my black maternity dress pants from Ann Taylor Loft were the best thing I bought. They were more expensive, yes--about $78, if I remember right--but I swear I wore them at least three times a week all during my pregnancy, and for way too long after! (I tried to find a link to the site, but it's down right now--poop.)

No- and Low-VOC paints
There are many brands to choose from now--it's important for a pregnant mom and baby, and really, for everyone pregnant or not. Offgassing stinks. (Haha.)

Z Recommends
Essential for checking out bottles, toys, pacifiers, anything you might register for, for BPA, phthalates, lead, and other toxicity issues.

Skin Deep: Cosmetics Database
I used Skin Deep before pregnancy, because I wanted to see what was in the products I was using, if the companies tested on animals, and what the safest products were. When I was pregnant, I researched for new shampoos, deodorants, makeup, skin care, and, of course, baby products with new zeal. I still refer to it all the time before buying a new product for Henry (or me).

My favorite things for baby:

Miracle Blanket swaddling wrap
This has been--and still is--indispensable for us. Henry busted out of every other swaddling blanket we tried--the "SwaddleMe," with its Velco, lasted all of about two minutes, even when he was a tiny newborn. We swaddled him with just receiving blankets ourselves (following The Happiest Baby on the Block's swaddling instructions) for his first month. Then I discovered the Rookie Moms' awesome registry tips, and they recommended the Miracle Blanket--and that's exactly what it is. Henry still loves to be swaddled in it at seven months old.

Angelcare motion monitor
My fellow Beetle Mom recommended this monitor to me while I was pregnant, but I thought I wouldn't need it. "Hey, it can't be good feng shui to have a movement pad underneath my baby, right?" Haha. You know what's not good for energy flow? Not being able to sleep because you're so anxious about your baby breathing. Thank goodness for this amazing bit of technology.

The sensor pad goes underneath the cradle/crib mattress, and is so sensitive, it detects the baby's movement (i.e., breathing). On our "deluxe" version, you can adjust the remote unit's settings so it only sounds if your baby makes noise at a certain level (so you don't have to hear static all the time). And I love the temperature reading (and setting so the alarm will sound if the temp drops or rises more than your settings).

We actually had Henry in our bed for the first several weeks, in the also excellent (and recommended by Beetle Mom) Snuggle Nest. I love the Snuggle Nest, too. When Henry started wiggling out of it, though, and we moved him to the cradle next to our bed, this monitor saved what was left of my sanity.

The first night using this monitor, I slept deeply enough that I had my first post-baby dreams. That's worth the price right there.

Snuggle Nest
I applaud cosleeping if it works for everyone involved--and by "works," I mean "everyone gets some rest." But when Henry was brand-new, I was too anxious to sleep next to him "loose." The Snuggle Nest saved me--he could be close to his parents, but I could rest easy knowing he was tucked in his own little "nest." (Thanks, Brooke!)

Spa Baby tub
I remember seeing this years ago online, and laughing at how funny it was. The babies were in buckets! But when the high-tech tub we registered for didn't fit in our kitchen sink, I traded technology for what is essentially a bucket...and my baby and I loved it! (Henry's even on the Spa Baby photo gallery page:
In the Spa Baby bucket! I mean, tub.

Motherlove nipple cream
Again, it doesn't sound glamorous, but this is the best! For one thing, it checks out on the Cosmetics Database. For another, my lactation consultant (yes, Rebecca, it's a real job!), loved that I had this. And even after I gave up breastfeeding, I still use the cream on any skin rash Henry gets, and it works fabulously. I got mine at Whole Foods.

California Baby skin and bath products
Again, great rating on the Cosmetics Database for most products--the Super Sensitive bath wash and lotion are great for brand-new skin. And no fragrance! (I know, the Burt's Bee's Baby Bee stuff smells sooo good--and I do use it sometimes because of that--but California Baby works better for Henry's skin.) And...even my local Target sells California Baby! Let's hear it for Target!

Ergo Carrier
The Baby Bjorn was good, until Henry doubled his birth weight. Then my back protested. And then I got the Ergo Carrier (from, because they offer a free trial period--very important!). I can't carry him for hours, but it certainly makes shopping a lot easier on me and my back! (The only drawback: Henry can't face outward, which he enjoyed in the Baby Bjorn. But he seems to like snuggling up to me and peeking, anyway.)

I love Baby Legs! They're adorable, they're fun to coordinate with outfits, and they're practical: changing a diaper on a wriggly baby is much easier without the extra step of getting pants on and off. Plus, I'm planning on wearing the very soft, extra long organic Baby Legs on my arms after Henry's done with them! (One problem with those fuzzy organic Legs, though: they seem to shed fuzz everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE on a baby!) I get mine at, a shop that only carries mom-created products.
Flame Baby Legs + Elvis jumpsuit

Seventh Generation wipes
I love Seventh Generation stuff in general, but even if you're not especially into them, these wipes are great because they're not too wet. Some we tried are just soaking wet and don't feel good to me.

Speesees bibs
So, I like a lot of cute baby clothes and bibs (those are posts in and of themselves!). But I had to mention Speesees because they're so soft, they're so big, they're stylish (important, since Henry wears a bib constantly because of major teething drooling), and they work. Oh, and they have snaps at the back instead of Velcro, which scratches his poor little neck.

Combi play yard
Combi makes great-looking, sleek stuff, and I would love to recommend so many products, but some of them have had sound problems. Until I get them resolved, I'm just going to recommend the (silent) play yard. It's cool, but also totally portable, even coming with a tidy little bag that it really folds up in nicely. I don't mind walking through a hotel lobby carrying this thing.

Baby's favorite things:
Henry likes a lot of the above. (And for some reason, always wants to eat the California Baby creams.) He also likes many things that cost nothing, such as chewing on his own fingers and ours! But here are a few more things:

Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo
I don't like for him to jump too long in this every day, because (like the Baby Bjorn, too), I'm a little worried about what the suspended seat might be doing to his boy parts. But man, he LOVES to jump in this toy! It's been his favorite thing to do for months. He also loves to chew on the weirdly floppy dragonfly toy, spin the gecko toy, and look at the flashing lights.
Enjoying the Jumperoo

Honestly, I was a little skeptical about this at first. In Elisha Cooper's charming, hilarious, and touching book, Crawling: A Father's First Year, he refers to some baby toys as being like Las Vegas and Atlantic City--all gaudy flashy things that don't go with his place's minimalist decor. But, like his kid, my baby LOVES this thing, and so I love it too and even like seeing it in my living room now. It's at the point where, on a recent visit to Target, I saw the "new" model of the Rainforest Jumperoo and exclaimed, "Ooh, the new one's out!" and rushed over to examine it. (Mostly the same as ours, but curvier and sleeker-looking.)

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio black-and-white dot carseat
Speaking of good-looking items, I like it, strangers like it, our doctor likes it, and, most importantly, Henry likes it! He still loves looking at and touching the white dots.

Good luck, expectant moms! And happy shopping. :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The swingin'est baby boy clothes!

If I were a guy, I would wear retro-styled bowling shirts, hipster T-shirts and jeans, and all the tiki stuff I could find. (As a female, however, I don't think the aloha shirts tend to flatter me.)

But, the universe solved my dilemma by giving me an adorable baby boy, who I can dress and will contentedly smile and coo at me no matter what he's wearing! And he's going to be wearing some awesome threads!

Tiki shirt and plaid shorts from Georgie World. Details below.

The one problem with dressing a baby boy, I've noticed, is that there simply aren't as many cute boy clothes to choose from in stores. Or even as many clothes, period. If you visit a baby clothing shop in any mall, I predict the store will be set up to appear to have half girl clothes and half boy clothes. But you may notice that, sneakily, the register and check-out display is on the "boy" side of the store--meaning no clothes can be displayed there. And if there are tables in the center of the store, girl clothes fill them up. So the boys are really getting maybe a third of the store for themselves.

In many ways, this is probably a good thing for my bank account. Girl clothes are irresistably cute. Even the tacky ones are often way more stylish and cute than the boys' offerings.

So I am indebted to Cool Mom Picks for running a Q&A highlighting their past reviews of boys' baby clothing retailers. I literally could not order fast enough from Georgie World!

The backside of some impossibly charming boy shorts.

Tiki shirts! Bowling shirts! Retro cuteness! I love it all. And I ordered big, so hopefully Baby Henry will be able to grow into the clothes and get maximum use out of them.

I'm pretty sure that between visiting Janie and Jack yesterday (which has all-encompassing cute clothing, even if the boys get less retail space than the girls) and Baby Gap, for some retro T's (courtesy of a much-appreciated gift card), Henry will be better-dressed than me for a while. And I am totally fine with that!

JunkFood at BabyGap Beatles T-shirt

Photo from BonittoKid, since it's no longer on the J&J website. But from BonittoKid, I just noticed another older J&J design, a parrot T-shirt! Oh man.

In conclusion:
"Too much of a good thing is wonderful." -- Mae West

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Beetle gets no respect (but that's OK with me)

Brad is officially able to drive again, having passed doctors' exams, the DMV's requirements, and his wife's own ambiguous requirements. This means it was back to me and the Beetle again. (Of course, I could well have driven the Beetle the whole time, anyway, but I wouldn't have enjoyed it, knowing there's a new Prius sitting around.)

Anyway, Henry and I piled into the car today, and I was completely surprised by how HEAVY the Beetle felt. Motor Trend says the curb weight (whatever that means) of the 2003 New Beetle is 2,961 lbs., and that the curb weight of the 2008 Prius is 2,932 lbs.--practically the same. But the Beetle drives like I imagine one of those old cars in film noir movies would, the cars that are always plunging into rivers or racing trains or that sort of thing. I think it's a good thing in a car, personally. (The heft, not the charging-into-rivers part.)

How I might imagine the Beetle: 1946 Packard from Old Car and Truck Pictures

Anyway, I navigated onto the main thoroughfare, feeling like I was driving a boat, and was promptly cut off, and then someone drove about 2 feet behind the Beetle's cute little rear for a while. Well, that's more like it. I'm back in the Beetle again. And I'm happy to be there, even if it doesn't command respect. At least I can be comfortable in the driver's seat!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Trying on your car

So, as some of you know, Brad was in a car accident in our 2007Prius a couple of months ago. The old Prius really took one for the team, as they say, and is no longer with us, but thank God, the universe, the airbags, total luck, and anything else that played a role, Brad came out of the accident perfectly fine. The Prius was a mess, but it did its job, and we had no hesitation to buy another one, exactly the same (only in a slightly different shade of blue). And, it's definitely fun to have a brand-new car!

2008 Prius in Spectra Blue Mica (our color, Toyota's picture. That's not us hopping out of the car at a chic hotel--if it were, we'd be lugging around a lot more stuff! LOL)

Actually, since Brad hasn't been able to drive, he hasn't even gotten to drive the new car (which is no fun for him!).

(Let me take this opportunity to give a public-service announcement about voluntarilly waiting a few minutes after receiving a new vaccine for the first time to make sure your body responds well to it!)

Brad will be able to drive again in a couple of weeks, but so far, I've been the only driver of the new car, and the Beetle's been mostly sitting in the garage. Although I'm a fan of saving gas, and the Prius's four doors certainly make it easier to hoist Henry around, I have to say that I'm looking forward to mostly driving the Beetle again.

The Beetle is a good fit for me--and I don't just mean in looks or "personality." I mean in the way I sit in the car, it is vastly more comfortable for me than the Prius.

I love the Prius. It's a testament to how much I love it that, knowing that the driver's seat is uncomfortable for me, we still got another one! (OK, so it's intended to be Brad's car, so my driving comfort didn't really matter that much. It's just an odd circumstance that I happen to be driving it exclusively right now.)

But that darn seat makes my shoulders and back hurt and my arms tingle if I drive it more than a couple of hours a day. (And, alas, in traffic and if I'm dropping off Brad and picking him up, that could be over 3 hours of driving!) And the crazy thing is that, at least on the 2007 and 2008 models, I cannot figure out how to really adjust the seat or the wheel satisfactorally. The rental car we had for a while had fancy automatic tilt adjustments and everything--it was awesome. The Prius, for all of its futuristic features, has a seat that's stuck in the Stone Age. I really hope they change that in the 2010 model.

Fred's car has more seat adjustments than our Prius offers (by the way, I found this photo at a funny account of driving a Smart Car).

The weird thing about the seat is that it's not something I would ever have noticed on a test drive, because it only bothers me when I've been driving for a long time. The passenger seat, by the way, is totally comfortable. It's something about the position of the seat, pedals, and steering wheel that's all wrong for me.

Anyway, my point in all of this is that whatever our next car might be, however far in the future, I'm going to try and rent the car and drive it for a week before buying it.

Fortunately, Henry doesn't seem to care what car he's riding in--he's happy to look out the window, play with toys, and usually fall asleep! I think that despite the seat issues and the accident, we're having pretty good automotive luck overall (knocking on my Ikea wood desk). Getting from A to B safely, and even happily with a 5-month-old, is good enough for me.