Registry Lookback: Hindsight Is 20/20

Sophie. La. Damn. Giraffe.

Sophie. La. Damn. Giraffe.

When you have your first baby, you would be shocked at this newfound ability you have on the internet. You suddenly become a master of finding articles everywhere with something along the lines of, “10 Baby Registry Must Haves!” or “20 Registry Items You Forgot You Needed!” or “If you don’t buy or register for these items your child will in no way survive and if they do somehow make it to adolescence their chances at an Ivy League education are out the window!” [paraphrased].

I read these articles diligently, buying and putting all the items I thought I had to have on there, thinking carefully about my lifestyle, my apartment, and my baby’s future college education. Some things I struck gold on. Others? Eh. But in this 8 month (excuse me, what?!) look-back I thought maybe I could help add to the noise of the registry “must haves” list and help sift through what was worth the splurge and what wasn’t, and what was it like to have this stuff on a day-to-day-to-month basis.


Stroller: UPPAbaby Vista

  • Model I purchased: UPPAbaby Vista
  • Hindsight opinion: Go for the UPPAbaby Cruz instead
This has since been redesigned, but very similar. via

This has since been redesigned, but very similar. via (now $859)

A stroller is probably one of the biggest ticket items on a registry, and everyone has a different opinion on what you need according to your lifestyle. And the reason is because you do need different things according to what you’re going to be doing. I live in a city and use my stroller literally every day. Literally every. single. day. My friends who live in suburbs? Not so much. They opted for the travel system that includes an infant carseat. I wrote a blog post back in the day about the stroller debate and I had it narrowed down to two options: The UPPAbaby Vista and the City Mini Elite, based on what I valued most in a stroller: large undercarriage storage (the single most important thing for a stroller in my opinion), good handling, ease of use, ability to put an infant carseat on top. The UPPAbaby won out, and it is by far the stroller I see the most in Chicago (I hardly ever saw one in Charlotte when I lived there).

It's like the Vista, but edited via

Cruz: It’s like the Vista, but edited via ($499)

However, if I had to do it over again, I would still get an UPPAbaby, but I would have opted for its slightly “smaller” cousin, the UPPAbaby Cruz. The Cruz handles just as well, has just as large a storage underneath, the seat can turn and face you or out, and the infant carseat can still go on top, but the Cruz has a few key differences:

  • Cheaper – please see below re: bassinet
  • No bassinet is included. This might be a bad thing for some people, but Connor despised the UPPAbaby bassinet with the fiery passion of a million suns, unless it was attached the stroller and moving, which lasted about 2 months. The money saved on the stroller could have easily been allocated to a bassinet that was comfortable or to more coffee. Either way, it could have been spent in a much better way. I have read a lot of people have had the same experience with the UPPAbaby bassinet as well.
  • Slightly narrower – the Vista is so wide. No, seriously, it is so wide. Even when I wasn’t taking public transportation all the time in Charlotte, I couldn’t get it through aisles in stores in the mall. It handles great, but it becomes truly unwieldy in some places.
  • Lighter – no matter what your lifestyle, you will find yourself schlepping the stroller in some way, be it into your car, into a closet, onto the bus, etc. With the “normal” seat in, the Vista weighs in at 26 pounds. This is also an unwieldy, large, bulky, odd-to-hold-onto 26 pounds. The Cruz is just a little bit lighter, which would also assuage my guilt when kind strangers insist on helping me up/down stairs (Midwestern kindness never fails!).
Connor taking up too much space on public transportation. (I swear I don't do this during rush hour!)

Connor taking up too much space on public transportation. (I swear I don’t do this during rush hour!)

When I got the Vista, UPPAbaby claimed I could expand on it and add more seats, etc. to it. Then just as Connor was born, they completely redesigned the stroller and every attachment to it and unapologetically refused to make the new attachments, rumble seats, etc. backwards compatible, which means that in the future with more children, I will not be able to easily find the parts to make my stroller a 2+ kid stroller. To say this is disappointing and a slap in the face by UPPAbaby is an understatement. But nevertheless my lesson has been learned: do not buy things thinking that a company will keep its word even a year into the future. Buy for now, not for 2-3 years from now.


Infant Carseat: UPPAbaby Mesa

This is the carseat strapped into the stroller.

This is the carseat strapped into the stroller.

  • Model I purchasedUPPAbaby Mesa
  • DebateGo with infant carseat or just with a convertible carseat that will take them through toddlerhood?
  • Hindsight conclusionIf you travel a lot or need to be in cabs, the infant carseat is a godsend. Otherwise, I would probably really consider the convertible carseat option.
  • Would I buy this model infant carseat again? In a second.

As a carseat, I have 0 complaints with the UPPAbaby Mesa. (I wrote a blog post about it a while back, and all of it is still true!) It’s gorgeous, safe, doesn’t take up too much room, fits easily into a sedan, is easy to use, and, as the pinnacle of amazingness, it’s easy to install. 

I bought the infant carseat to use with the stroller. At the time I was in the market, the Vista needed attachments to use (while the Cruz did not) with their own brand of carseat (one of the major improvements with the redesign is that issue has since been resolved). I used this system a lot, but looking back on it – did I need to? When I weigh the options I think I lean down onto the side of “I’d do this again”, but not by much.

hahahahahahahaha. ha. ha. ha. hahahaha. I am so mean.

hahahahahahahaha. ha. ha. ha. hahahaha. I am so mean.

Since the invention of the infant seat it’s been almost universally accepted that babies go in the infant seat, then to a convertible carseat when they outgrow the infant one. You see this often: moms hauling their itty bitty babies in the carseats out of the car so as not to disturb them sleeping. This model is also helpful because itty bitty babies need something to be contained in for months. What they don’t tell you is this: carseats are heavy. And truly some of the most awkward things in the world to haul around for any distance longer than 5 feet. And heavy. Did I mention heavy? Because they are so heavy. Without a baby inside of them they are heavy, and then you add this baby-thing that just keeps on growing and getting heavier by the minute and this model of taking the baby out with the carseat becomes truly unsustainable. When I realized I could just put the baby in an Ergo carrier (or some carrier like that) and walk around the grocery store, my eyes were opened. Many restaurants have also stopped allowing you to put the carseat on top of a toddler seat, which is part of the appeal of the infant seat as well.

On the other hand, though, the infant seat (and specifically the Mesa) has some definite advantages:

  • Traveling – if you are traveling the infant carseat is a godsend. The ease of installation into a rental car is unparalleled.
  • Cab rides – in large cities you technically aren’t required to have the infant in a carseat, but…if you feel safer, you can have the infant seat without the base, then strap the infant seat into the stroller. This is quite ideal, honestly. While I’m strolling around town, though, I put the normal seat on since it’s much more comfortable.
  • Size – this is Mesa-specific, but this carseat only takes up one spot in the back seat of any car. I’ve had it in the back of a Prius, our Acura TSX (that we sold for our next car), our Subaru Forester. I don’t know how, but the seat somehow just fits into any car with ease.

So where do I come down on this? It’s hard to tell. After about 2-3 months, the carrying the carseat around with a baby in it (sans stroller) became almost impossible, but traveling and cab rides with the infant seat is a million times better than just having a convertible. I guess I would do it over again, but if you don’t really travel all that often or ride in cabs with a baby, I think I would advise just going straight to the convertible carseat and taking the baby out with an Ergo/carrier or stroller, since the infant seat will become a permanent fixture far sooner in your car than you think it will.


Baby Food Spoons

  • IMG_2769Type purchasedEl cheapo spoons from Buy Buy Baby. I think they were these. Later, I purchased more from the grocery store that were about the same price, I think these. (I purchased more on the pro tip from my mom that if you give them a spoon to hold they magically eat more with less fuss, so I typically use two spoons at every meal. Trust me, it works.)
  • HindsightAbsolutely do not purchase expensive baby food spoons (such as these). If the baby is hungry, he will eat off any apparatus you put near his mouth. He cares not one lick what you spent on baby utensils.

This was on the advice of a fellow mom in Buy Buy Baby when I was first purchasing spoons for Wee Connor’s first solids: “Oh my goodness, no, don’t even bother with those expensive baby spoons. If they’re hungry they’ll eat. There’s no difference at all.” This woman knew what was going on. Save that extra money on baby spoons for more coffee. In case you haven’t noticed “save the money for coffee” is a common piece of advice I give a lot.


Rocking Chair/Glider

  • Type purchased: West Elm glider
  • Hindsight: Go with a rocker/glider that is comfortable and you love. I say this is absolutely worth a “splurge.”

IMG_3637In designer nurseries nowadays I see these chic minimalist rockers that look oh-so-Pinterest-worthy. All I see when I look at that stupid thing is, “numb ass and sore neck.” After 8 months, I am still more glad of the glider I purchased from West Elm than any other baby purchase I made. Get a rocker or glider that when you sit in it you go, “ohhh, that is sooo amazing,” because even at 8 months in, you’ll be reading in it, rocking in it, and generally still spending a lot of time in it. At the beginning, you’ll snooze in it.

I love my glider. I love the way it feels, I love the way it looks. I love everything about it.

Get a rocker or glider you love. I can personally attest it’s worth it.


Baby Food Maker

  • Type purchased: Beaba Babycook Pro
  • Hindsight evaluation: I use this almost every day and love it. However, if you’re really debating on cost, an immersion blender and steam basket will accomplish the exact same thing.

I make almost all of Connor’s food because I’m a crazy person. I registered for a Beaba Babycook Pro and use it all the time.

Here’s how it works: you put the food you want into the steamer basket. There are 3 lines on the blending container, and you fill it with water (up to 2 for fruits only, 3 for meats/veggies), you pour the water into the top like a coffee maker, put the steamer basket into the blending container, plop it all onto the machine, close it, and hit the button. When the machine beeps, you take the steamer basket out, reserve some water, then blend it all up in the blender basket. It’s a one-stop-shop and makes making baby food as easy as making coffee that takes up almost no counter space. I use it to make a few baby portions at a time.

The only complaint I have about the Beaba is its capacity is limited. At first this isn’t a problem – the baby doesn’t eat a ton and so you don’t need a ton of food. But then the baby starts doing this thing called “growing” and “needing food” and you need more and more food. Or you want to make more “complex” recipes (one of Connor’s favorites is poached salmon in spinach with crème fraîche…it sounds much fancier than it actually is). That’s when you probably need something more hefty.

I guess what I’m saying is that it’s all personal preference. I think the Beaba is one of the reasons I’ve really stuck with making Connor’s food, and for things like mashed sweet potatoes/parsnips, simple meat/veggie mixes, fruit purées, it can’t be beat. For larger scale makings, I cannot recommend an immersion blender highly enough. I have this one, which came with a mini cup for food processing, and it has not failed me once.

Perhaps a nice compromise would be to get the Beaba with two cooking areas, so you could potentially make more at once, or make an entire dinner’s worth of meals, but I feel like that’s getting a little too nitty gritty.

And if you don’t like cooking or making food, then spend your time and energy elsewhere! I stopped making homemade applesauce because it’s not cheaper, it takes a lot of time and effort, and the store sells applesauce in large, nice jars, already puréed. Same with oatmeal! Everything in moderation, including moderation. Vaya con dios!


Highchair

  • Type purchased: Boon Flair Pneumatic Pedastal Chair
  • Hindsight Evaluation: I love this chair. I could not have been more right in selecting this chair.

Sometimes you just get it right, and this was one of those times. This highchair has been absolutely amazing, and for all the reasons I thought it would be amazing, and then some. Here’s a quick summary:

  1. It has wheels. Why are wheels important? Well, despite telling Connor that I had read many books on French babies and their impeccable table manners he apparently is still a baby and food seems to get everywhere. Wheels allow me to literally roll him to the kitchen for a quick mopping of face and hands.
  2. There are no corners to it. Please see above re: food everywhere. No corners means that I am never digging food particles out of strange crevices because there are no crevices. Easy wipedowns are clutch.
  3. It’s the most stain resistant item in my house. I don’t know how or why, but this white plastic it’s made out of seems impervious to any and all stains, including blueberries.
  4. It has a high back, which is nice for support when the baby is younger.
  5. The cover for the table part fits in the dishwasher. This. is. so. clutch.
  6. The seat is adjustable up or down, which actually has come in handy more often than I thought it would.

Again, I am adamantly in love with this highchair. I cannot recommend it enough.


So there you have it! Those are some of the items I see on a lot of baby registries and my honest opinions on where I went right and wrong.

Do you have any must-haves or must-haves-that-shouldn’t-haves?

 

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The things that helped us survive the first 6 weeks of parenthood

Connor BearIf I look back on the past 6 weeks or so there are many things that I could say to summarize this time, including, but not limited to:

  • Sleep deprivation – but not as bad as I would have thought!
  • Pure amazement that someone has not barged through my door thanking me for looking after their baby and this whole time has just been one grand babysitting experiment
  • Baby brain (Example: I typed “debrivation” on that first bullet the first go. Also, I accidentally took my dog to the vet in my slippers. True story. This baby brain thing is no joke.)
  • Overwhelming joy
  • Wondering who it is that approved me becoming a parent because clearly I have no idea what I’m doing

And so on and so forth. Wash, rinse, repeat.

That said, though, there have been a few items that have made my life these past few weeks easier. And when I say “easier” I really mean, “I so heartily recommend all of these products that I don’t know how we would have survived these past 6 weeks without them.”

Now, let me explain something else. I think almost every single one of these items I have had the following phrase/sentiment thrown at me by people either without babies and/or older generations:

“It’s amazing how people had babies before [insert product about which they’re talking] was invented…” 

In my opinion this sentiment is not only passive aggressive but slightly insulting, mostly because it’s true of every innovation in the history of mankind. Yes, people used to have babies in the woods, but that doesn’t mean that medicine and trained professionals didn’t make the birthing experience better. Yes, mothers have been nursing their children for years before a breastfeeding pillow was invented, but that doesn’t mean that the breastfeeding pillow doesn’t make it easier. I have not met a mom with a child under the age of 10 who has expressed this sentiment because the fact of the matter is this: if it makes your life easier and more survivable and you like it, then you should stick with it. It doesn’t matter if people didn’t have whatever it is you really like thirty years ago. You have it now, it works for you, so go with it.

And so, without further ado, here are those things that have made taking care of this tiny little person easier.

My Brest Friend breastfeeding pillow

brest friend

Image via Amazon

I cannot possibly express to anyone how essential this product has been to me for nursing. My mother made fun of me mercilessly for this saying it looks like a tray that the waitresses in bars used to carry around their necks, but it is something that I have not backed down on recommending to every mom-to-be I know. I truly – to my core – believe that this pillow is why Wee Connor caught onto nursing with such ease. There is a reason why every lactation consultant I have heard of uses this product. The Boppy is the old standard, but truly: the My Brest Friend has it beat by a factor of approximately a billion. I use the Boppy for tummy time, so it has been very useful and a great product, but for nursing it does not get better than the My Brest Friend. Here’s why:

  1. It straps around you and keeps you and the baby in a good position, which means you’re not hunched, the baby is comfortable, and you don’t get horrible cricks in your back/neck/arms
  2. It’s flat. The Boppy’s curvature can kind of roll the baby so it makes it harder for them to get and stay in a good position
  3. It has a little head rest built in for the baby, which means that you don’t have to hold the baby’s head the entire time
  4.  You actually get use of your hands while breastfeeding. As I explained in an earlier blog post, this allows you to do a plethora of activities, but it’s still more than using the Boppy or a pillow or nothing at all.
  5. Again, seriously, use of your hands. Cannot. stress this. enough.

I am hardly so absolutely absolute about recommendations and advice, but the Brest Friend lives up to its name.

More changing pad covers

changing pad covers cropI have mentioned this before, I know, but seriously: there is no such thing as too many changing pad covers. There have been days where I have gone through 3 in one day, nay, 3 in the span of about 5 hours.

I personally don’t really have a preference on brand. I have some Aiden and Anais ones that have held up really well so far and are soft as well as a few PB kids ones that are heavenly they are so soft, and so far the stains on the PB Kids ones have come out like magic. They are all about the same price, but I guess if I had to give a nod to one over the other it would be the PB Kids ones, because my ring has snagged on the Aiden ones a few times.

The key is really this: buy a bunch. You will not regret having a bunch of changing pad covers.

I would also recommend getting a standard-sized changing pad so that you can supplement as necessary. If you are having trouble finding covers for your changing pad because it’s proprietary to the store where you bought it…that’s probably going to cause you unnecessary headaches in the future. This is the one I bought and it’s been great.

Phone/Tablet app: Baby Connect

baby connect timer screenshotThere have been a lot of disagreements about tracking or not tracking your baby. For us, the Baby Connect (also available on other platforms) app has been invaluable and has not caused us stress even a little bit. We have liked knowing exactly when Wee Connor last fed because it helps us figure out if he’s actually hungry or not, when he will most likely need to feed again, or if he’s just plain fussy. The app allows sharing with family members, so we have been able to sync on any of our multitude of devices instantly.

We went into parenthood resolute on one item: we are not going to get into the habit of allowing him to snack, meaning feeding very little amounts very very often, because not only would that drive us insane, we also want him to learn to feed fully and stay full for longer periods of time. (This is our mentality and has worked for our family. Other families do things differently. The reasons we have liked it, though, is it has allowed us to eat out at restaurants, go out and do errands, know when he’ll need to eat again, and has given us an immense amount of confidence and happiness in our parenting.)

This app can help you track everything. It has a great built-in timer for nursing/feeding allowing you to time which side you’re on, it can track diapers (which we did stop using after about 2 weeks or so once we got the hang of things), and really anything else you could think of.

In the beginning appointments the doctors might ask you how many diapers your baby has had, or how often they are feeding. This has helped us remember through the lack of sleep and I don’t have to make sure I’m remembering which side I need to go on next, because I can just look at my phone and know.

Eventually I feel that we won’t need the app anymore, of course, but for right now it’s been a true blessing for us.

Diapers with a wetness indicator strip

diaper indicator stripIt sounds silly, and I never would have thought that it was that useful, but the diapers we use are Pampers Swaddlers, and they have a little strip that when wet turns from yellow to blue.

This has let us diagnose a need of changing vs. feeding vs. anything else so much more easily that I can’t imagine not having that quick reference to go to. I love my indicator strips.

Caveat to the diapers with an indicator strip: any diaper that you like and works, you should stick with it

While cloth diapers won’t work for my family, if they work for yours: great! If you don’t need an indicator strip, you’re a genius and I applaud your mental abilities that so far exceed mine I can’t even comprehend your mental fortitude. If the diapers with indicator strips keep getting blown out and another brand doesn’t, then definitely go with what works.

The key is this: stick with what works. We lucked out with Pampers and won’t fix what ain’t broke, but others like other brands. Different strokes for different folks – and when you’re in the land of poop it’s all about what makes your life better.

A good no-spill water bottle that you can use with one hand

hydro flaskThe weirdest thing happens when you’re breastfeeding. You can be going along thinking things are just honky dory, then the nanosecond you put that baby up and start nursing you have suddenly been living in the Sahara for three weeks and haven’t had a drop of water the entire time. The thirst is unreal.

My suggestion is this: get a really good – insulated if you can – water bottle you can use with one hand. This way you can keep it next to you on your chair/couch/wherever you’re feeding and won’t have to worry about your glass of water being just out of reach on the table.

I use this Hydro Flask with the straw lid and it hasn’t failed me yet. It keeps cold things cold and hot things hot for an excessively long time. A water bottle you like is a simple item, but it’s one I didn’t realize would be vital.

A book/reference guide/philosophy/someone you trust and like enough to be able to block out all the other garbage thrown at you about parenting

bringing up bebeWhether you have a defined/”named” philosophy or not, everyone has their way of parenting and their opinions about it. What works for one family doesn’t work for another. That’s why people are different people and that’s why people are interesting. That said, it will not stop others from spewing their beliefs on you. This can be at its best well-intentioned and at its worst guilt-inducing/harmful. The key is to have your head on straight so you can see them as well-intentioned.

So far what has worked for my husband and I is this: find something (be it a book/philosophy or person) you really like that speaks to you that you both agree upon, and when you evaluate advice thrown at you from every direction, kindly discard the stuff you don’t agree with as well-intentioned, but not for you. If you have someone/something you can turn to as a frame of reference it makes it about a trillion times easier to have perspective on the other opinions thrown at you because you have a lens with which to view these other philosophies and see what works for you and what doesn’t in your own head.

new basicsWhat works for us? I personally really, really, really loved the book Bringing Up Bébé. Her realizations on babies and children as seen through an American living in France spoke to me in such a way that seemed simply common sense to me. These aren’t new-fangled ideas; they can almost be seen as old-fashioned in America that have fallen out of favor, but the practices work for our family perfectly. In Bringing Up Bébé she interviews a pediatrician in Tribeca, NYC, named Michel Cohen who has written a reference guide called The New Basics, which has been our favorite reference book about babies so far. His style is wry but very helpful, and has the same philosophy of “let babies be babies” that we have come to realize we have as well, while also making sure you have your own life as well. If you’d like to see what his opinions are, they can also be found on his website here.

Again: this is what works for our family. There are of course things I don’t agree with in these books, but we are working on what works for us, and that has been what has made parenthood not only survivable but enjoyable.

Allons-y! 

Do you have any essential items that you love for babies? Let me know in the comments!

First impressions: UPPAbaby Mesa

mesa1A few days ago a knock came on our door and at it was the infant car seat we had registered for: the UPPAbaby Mesa! (UPPAbaby’s car seat)

Let me say this right now: we could not be more blessed to have the parents we have on both sides. Wow.

For those who don’t understand the difference between car seats these days (because I had literally no idea going in) let me give you a rundown from my understanding. Which is minimal.

Nowadays you have two basic kinds of car seats to schlep your baby around from place to place in a vehicle: the “infant car seat” and the “convertible car seat”.

The infant car seat is smaller and can easily be popped out of the base (the doohickey it sits on in the car) and into a stroller/on top of a high chair/into the main shopping cart area, etc. You don’t have to take the baby out to get it into the stroller, and they only go up to 35-40 pounds. After the baby gets too big or the entire ordeal becomes too heavy, you graduate to…

The convertible car seat. The convertible car seat can be used rear-facing (which you are supposed to do, by law, at least a year and a minimum of 20 pounds, but longer if possible/ideally). The seat then goes front-facing when they are older. These are obviously a little bigger than the infant car seats since they then go forward up to 70 pounds(ish) and you take the baby out of the car seat in order to do anything with them.

Some people only use a convertible car seat from birth, which is cool, but it seems a little harder in terms of the schlepping around and restaurant maneuverability when the baby is super young, which is why we registered for the UPPAbaby Mesa – an infant car seat – and will also be registering/purchasing a convertible car seat for later.

My husband and I have one car between us, so our needs are a little different from many people in terms of getting car seat bases, etc. However, with the infant car seat you can purchase JUST the base (the doohickey the seat clicks into and out of) so you can transfer the seat across multiple cars without buying separate seats for each car.

Now that we’ve gotten that cleared up, let’s get back to the seat!

Here’s one of the vain reasons I like this car seat: it looks nice. It looks sleek and no muss/no fuss. Here are the other reasons I really like this car seat as well…which I will explain further down.

  • The base itself is very thin, which in any car is a godsend, but especially a sedan since our furry baby (dog, I have a problem, I know) needs his room too when we all go in the car together!
  • The pop out is SUPER easy and you don’t need eyes to use it
  • No threading to adjust the seat for the baby
  • Because this car seat is relatively new on the scene, it doesn’t fit with a lot of strollers but DOES fit with the stroller we chose, the UPPAbaby Vista. (I wrote about the stroller a little while ago.)
    • Side note: you DO need an adapter for this car seat to work with that stroller, which is baffling since they’re the same brand.
    • Side side note: oh well. You can’t win ’em all.
  • The install is so easy, even I feel confident in doing it.

mesa pop outThe “pop out” – what the heck am I talking about? When you’re in the car you need to be able to pop the seat out of the base easily. Some seats have buttons, but the UPPAbaby Mesa has a super easy lever that you can just feel for in the back of the seat to pop the seat out and go on your way. Love that.

Now, no threading? Have I started sewing? What am I talking about? Trust me, when I first started this journey that would have made literally zero sense to me. Basically in car seat talk, “threading” is the norm for how you adjust the various aspects of the seat, such as height for the head and then how tight the straps are. As the baby gets bigger and plumper you need to adjust the head rest higher and the straps out. Most seats use a mechanism called “threading” where you have to take the straps OUT of the seat, and re-thread them through another hole to adjust the seat up. But not the Mesa! It’s so simple that even my husband and I could do it.

And that’s saying a lot.

Here’s me adjusting the length:

And here I am adjusting the…girth? Width? Whatever you call it:

mesa level indicatorFinally, the install of the actual base is so easy it’s a little bit mind-boggling. Since our car is a 2004 it has the LATCH system available, which means that there are special little hooks you would have no idea existed unless you needed to put a child in the backseat of your car. Essentially these hooks come out, and you pop the seat in. In order to get the Mesa correctly installed, you pop the hooks in, and literally just press down on the back of the base until it’s tight. In Buy Buy Baby they have a fake car seat with LATCH system to show how the different car seats install, and this one took less than 1 minute. No, it took me less than 1 minute. If we ever need to transfer the seat to another car, I will have 0 doubts that we will be able to put it back in safely. It even has a little level indicator to show you if you need to adjust the level of the seat for optimal…level-ness. I truly cannot stress enough how easy this seat is to install, which is important since anything to do with baby gear seems to throw my husband and I in for such a loop that we sit confused and frustrated for hours after.

As you can see, it’s really easy. Like, REALLY easy. The rest of the features of the UPPAbaby Mesa don’t really differ from other infant car seats (sun hood, adjustable handle, etc.), but really, the adjustments and the day-to-day ease of use make this car seat stand out, which is good, because the price also stands out. Like I said, we are so blessed to have the parents we have, but really, if you can, take a look at the UPPAbaby Mesa.

First impressions: so glad we chose what we did.

Here’s the seat on the stroller!

uppababy all together

Oh my god, there is going to be a PERSON in there.

Stroller Shopping: Round 1

In case you have never gone stroller shopping, I am going to help you imagine what it is like for someone who basically had no clue what they were getting into in their life.

Imagine suddenly being in the market for rutabagas. (In case you have no idea what a rutabaga is, please feel free to Wikipedia this root vegetable.) You may vaguely have an idea of what a rutabaga is, what kinds of things you’d like to do with the rutabaga, but really other than a broad, “my vegan co-oping friend who has never had refined sugar in her life talks about eating rutabagas” knowledge, you have no idea what you’re in for.

So you go to the root vegetable store. And your adventure begins.

This is apparently what rutabagas look like. Only slightly less scary than strollers.

This is apparently what rutabagas look like. Only slightly less scary than strollers.

Here you are confronted with more rutabagas and rutabaga questions than you have ever encountered. What types of meals are you going to create? What lifestyle would you envision yourself with your new rutabaga-eating habits in 3 years? What kind of storage do you need/have for your rutabagas? Do you need the leaves as well as the vegetable?

Here’s a hint to all these questions: YOU HAVE NO IDEA. You aimlessly start picking up rutabagas and feeling them like you have some idea of how they should look and feel. You imagine yourself cooking, mashing, slicing the rutabagas and then what your life will be like after 3-5 years of eating rutabagas. Then people will start giving you opinions about the rutabagas, and what worked for them, and what didn’t. Maybe you don’t NEED a rutabaga at all! Just go with turnips! Then what about the old-timers who will give you THEIR opinions about what rutabagas were like in THEIR days, and you don’t need any of these fancy rutabaga-prepping accessories, you sissywimp.

And so forth and so on.

You leave the store with a few ideas and some vague knowledge of rutabagas to think on, perplexed and very much wondering if this new rutabaga-consuming lifestyle you seem to have chosen for yourself wasn’t something you maybe should have put off for a while, and ohmygodwhathaveIdone.

This, my friends, is stroller shopping.

After the stroller section I couldn’t make it through the rest of Buy, Buy Baby despite the great sales people because honestly I just wanted to climb into one of the strollers and be wheeled out. I think I have narrowed it down to two choices, but I am sure that many more shopping trips will abound, and my pros and cons lists will be immense.

It’s honestly funny that you can’t drink while pregnant because the thing that would truly take the edge off rutabaga shopping is a big ol’ box bottle glass of Pinot.

Stroller Shopping: 1, Me: 0.