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.