The Bugaboo Bee – It’s True Love

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Oh, Bugaboo Bee, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

I have a confession: I have a stroller problem. I don’t want to tell you how many different strollers I’ve owned over the past 6 years, but suffice it to say that I presently have 6 (and that’s after I’ve sold several recently). Yes, I’m a strolleraholic! So without further ado, let me tell you about my absolute favorite for the past 5 years: the Bugaboo Bee.

After owning countless strollers, I realized that my biggest complaint with all of them was their size and weight. No matter how wonderful their other features might be, the heft of most strollers became a big bummer on a daily basis. I didn’t like lugging them in and out of my car (or how much of my trunk they took up). I didn’t like running into doorframes or display racks with the edges of the tires. I really didn’t like not fitting down some store aisles or not being able to easily maneuver around displays. Don’t even get me started on trying to fit in changing rooms at stores!  I needed a narrower, lighter stroller, STAT.

tog-662px-bgb-bee3-totalAfter several failed attempts with other, less expensive brands, I finally closed my eyes and hit buy on the Bee. It arrived in all of its European-designed funky glory, and I wondered how I was going to deal with a stroller that didn’t look entirely traditional. But as soon as I popped it together and had my daughter climb in, all my doubts evaporated. She immediately decreed, “Mommy, I wuv dis -troller!”.  And the push! My goodness, the push! The Bee g-l-i-d-e-s! Everything about the Bee immediately exceeded my expectations and made me a believer in the Bugaboo brand.

In addition to all of this, the Bee is solidly built, parent-faces (a must for me with babies and young toddlers), and is also exceptional for tall kids.  The seat pan is extendable (to continue providing leg and thigh support) and the seat back is also extendable!  Both of my kids have been near the 99th percentile for height as infants and toddlers, so these features were invaluable.  In fact, my oldest is now almost 6 (and has slowed down to the 50th percentile), but she still fits nicely in the Bee with the seat fully extended in both directions.  Amazing.

I’ve owned many iterations of the Bee over the past 5 years now: the “original” Bee Minus (as it’s become to be known), the Bee Plus (or Bee +), the black framed Bee Plus, and the Bee3.  I’ve gotten adventurous and made my own custom canopies, tried out the baby cocoon when I had my 2nd child, added the Bugaboo rider board, imported a Twoo Seat to attach to the board so my oldest could grab a seat if she tired of standing… I.just.love.this.stroller.

If you are in the market for your first stroller, spare yourself the all too common mistake of buying “too much” stroller and just buy the Bee straight away.  If the price scares you off, buy a used one off of Craigslist.  Even an old Bee Minus (identifiable by its solid white wheels, “wings” on the sides of the seat, and the extra large canopy) in good condition will be a far better stroller than most and should run you between $75 and $150 depending on your area.

The Bee Plus (white spoke wheels, a non-extendable canopy, 3-piece harness buckle) on the silver aluminum frame should run from $200-$350 depending on your area (assume $50 extra for the black frame).  You can always update a Bee Plus with the Bee3’s basket (it’s slightly larger), seat (fabric is different and the harness straps are 5 pieces), and extendable breezy canopy (it zippers open to reveal an extra panel) should you feel the need for any of these parts.

bgb-bee3-bassinet-662pxThere is also now a bassinet/carrycot for the Bee available as an additional piece.  Between you and me, I think the cocoon is more than sufficient for use with a newborn (it’s easier to cart around AND easier on your wallet).  But, if your heart is really set on having the full pram look for your newborn, you can certainly splash out for the beautiful bassinet!

If you’ve been going round and round, wondering if those high end strollers are really worth the price, I’m here to tell you YES.  Absolutely.  I’d rather have an old Bee than nearly any other brand new stroller.  It’s just that much better.  Happy strolling!

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The Fisher Price Rock & Play – Because You Need a SHOWER

Fisher Price RockNPlay

Do you have a baby?  Are you shopping for a friend?  Then you need a Rock & Play.  It really is that simple.

This ingenious invention provides you with a safe, confined area to place your little bundle of joy for sleeping during the day, the night, or just while you take a shower.  Its inclined angle is a godsend for babies with reflux (and babies who like to look around), its rocking (although the range is small) provides just enough motion to lull a baby back to sleep, and its portability (it collapses into a flat package) allows you to cart it from room to room (or from your house to grandma’s).

The Rock & Play hit the market after my first was already too old for it, but after seeing a friend with one, I swore that my 2nd baby would absolutely have one.  Let me tell you, it did not disappoint.  The public at large should send Fisher Price personal thank you notes as the Rock & Play is THE reason I showered regularly while my 2nd was still new.

The Mama LOVES the Rock & Play and the rest of society is really glad I showered!

Showering as a new mom

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The UPPABaby Vista is a Winner

UppaBaby Vista Colors

There are approximately eleventy-thousand stroller options out there.  Umbrella, Snap N Go, travel systems, luxury…

I became obsessed with strollers as this purchase would mark my official First Large Baby Investment and hitting that milestone meant I really was having a baby.  I looked at every stroller going by, I did internet research, and I finally started chasing down people pushing strollers I was considering in order to grill them on their strollers and to see if they were happy with their purchases.

I finally decided that my needs were as follows:

  • Relatively light (but not so light as to compromise durability)
  • Turns easily and can be steered with one hand
  • Does not require a PhD in structural engineering in order to fold
  • Can grow with me as I hope to have another baby before this one graduates from the stroller
  • Has a nice pattern that doesn’t scream boy or girl so that I can keep it should the next baby be a boy

Points 1, 2, and 4 eliminated travel systems for me, the Snap N Go was too bare bones and did not meet Point 4.

As I ticked options off my list, I started looking at the “luxury” lines.  They really met my criteria – although they also made my inner cheapskate die a little.  I eliminated the Orbit for its non-traditional looks and proprietary (and expensive) car seats.  The Stokke Xplory was too futuristic for my baby dreams.  The Bugaboo Bee didn’t have a carrycot (at the time).

I was down to the Bugaboo Cameleon and the Uppababy Vista.  Two things really sold me on the Vista over the Cameleon: being able to fold the frame up with the seat attached and the price point.  Also, every person I spoke to that had a Vista RAVED about how great it is.

I proudly hauled home my new Vista and regaled my husband with stories of its greatness.  He was only marginally sold and not entirely convinced that we really needed all of this.  But oh boy was I happy and I knew it would just be a matter of time before he loved it too.

Fast forward to having my daughter and proudly pushing all 6 adorable pounds of her around the block in the bassinet attachment (it was exactly like the image I had in my head).  My husband joined us for a walk and, half way down the block, stopped to proclaim “This is the most awesome stroller of all time!  No really, this thing is great.”  Aha!  Convert!  I knew he’d see the light.

The Vista is everything I expected it to be and I can confidently recommend it now that I’ve used all three attachments with it.  My only complaint about the stroller is how much room the frame takes up in my trunk.  I have a Prius and it takes up virtually the entire footprint of the trunk (it’s too wide to stash it on its side).  That being said, this is not reason enough to tarnish its image in my eyes – a smaller stroller just wouldn’t get the job done in the same way.

Also, if you have to fly with your Vista, the travel bag is really the only way to go.  The double stroller gate check bags only fit the frame if you also remove the wheels – which is a real pain when you gate check.  Order the travel bag when you can find it – it tends to go on back order often!

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The Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper – Because You Need SLEEP

Arm's Reach Cosleeper

The great debate: will the baby sleep in the nursery or in the master bedroom?  This always seems to be a lively topic of discussion, with everyone having a different opinion of the pros and cons of each decision.  Every first time mom has her vision of how things will play out when she comes home from the hospital.  But the fact of the matter is, all of your plans go out the window when you return from the hospital as a very tired and sore lady.  No matter how Type A you are, you end up going with “what works”.

What works for us is the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper.  This genius bassinet has one side that drops down, so when you park it next to your bed, you have easy access to the baby.  This is SO much more convenient than getting your exhausted and sore self up to walk even two feet to a normal bassinet to get your baby up/soothe her/make sure she’s still really in there.  If you have a baby that nurses every hour for the first 6 weeks of her life (like mine), this convenience is the only thing that keeps you from completely losing your mind.

It’s also wonderful:

  • when you need to just flop a hand down next to them for soothing
  • for parking that pacifier that refuses to stay put right back in their mouth before a Stage 4 Melt Down occurs
  • checking to ensure the blanket is still on when it’s a cold night

I love my co-sleeper so much that I not only own the Angelica from the “Little Palace Collection”, I also own an Original in cream.

The Angelica is beautiful and made my Mommy Heart go pitter-pat when I first saw it and envisioned bringing my little girl home to it.  It is also solidly constructed of high quality metal framing and well-finished fabric.  The Angelica is the same size as the Mini, so it will only hold your baby up to 23lbs.  It also does not break down easily – this is a design to leave at home.

 

The Original is not as fabulously girly, but it is much larger, it can convert to a playpen, and can be folded down into its travel bag for transport.  It’s a bit heavy, but the ability to take my co-sleeper with me when I travel means that I don’t care how small or light a play yard option might be.  My baby doesn’t wake up fewer times at night just because I’m traveling, so my need to have her next to me at bed level doesn’t diminish either.  It was a bit tricky to break down the first few times, but after a few dry runs I was a champion at getting the Original up and down in no time flat.

Do yourself a favor and get an Arm’s Reach Co-sleeper.  You will love it just like I do!

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