Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Test Drive Tuesday

Baby Jogger City Mini Double Stroller

City Mini City Mini City Mini City Mini City Mini
The City Mini Double Stroller is a lightweight side-by-side double stroller capable of fitting a newborn and a fiesty toddler with a weight limit of up to 50lbs per seat.

My shiny new City Mini arrived in an approximately 35lb flat box. I though "oh geez, I'll never be able to put this together without Treybo. It has to be in a zillion pieces to fit in a box this small." I tore off the packing tape and trashed the brown cardboard box and out slid the most beautiful deep red material covered in plastic. (There were a couple wheels hanging around, too) I ripped off the plastic and out popped my new stroller. It opened on my first try without even opening the instruction manual. The only parts not attached were the front and back wheels and the sun canopies. Within 2 minutes everything was attached and the strolled was ready to go. I looked at the instruction manual, which was sneakily located in the back pocket of one of the stroller seats, just to make sure everything was correct and locked into place. It was. 

What I like/love about the City Mini Double (CMD):

Maneuverability: I'm not the most coordinated or strongest person around, but pushing this stroller around is a breeze. The height of the parent push-bar is perfect for both my and DH and neither us have trouble pushing it. It works great on carpet (my first test drive), concrete and the tile at the mall. We haven't taken it off-road yet, but the wheels seem like they would work just fine in grass/rocks/dirt/sand. I had no difficulty making complete 360 turns. I didn't even have to do the back up and push a little right, back up push a little left thing to get it to go where I wanted. It is also super easy to push with both boys in their seats - it does not become off-balanced because of the differences in weight.
Options: My boys, obviously, have very different stroller needs at 4 months and 22 months.  The CMD has 5 shoulder strap heights and a completely adjustable crotch attachment. The shoulder straps have  Baby Jogger comfort protectors that help to cover up some of the loose straps when fully adjusted and prevent neck burn from sliding straps.

Monkey is approximately 26.5lbs and 33.75 inches. He likes his side of the stroller at an almost upright, 90 degree angle. His shoulder straps are attached at the 3rd slot and the crotch adjuster has plenty more room.

Chunky is 14.3lbs and 25.5inches according to our home measurements today. His shoulder slots are at the lowest setting. The lowest is right at his shoulder level so I'm not sure a smaller newborn would fit without the straps being at ear level (=unsafe). This can be easily remedied with buying the carseat adapter bar so that baby can just ride in his/her infant seat attached to the stroller. We opted not to buy the adapter because Chunky will not be in his infant seat much longer.

The CMD is equipped with fully adjustable seat recline positions. The recline can be done with one hand simply by squeezing a little adjuster on the back of each seat and pulling down. This comes in handy when Chunky would rather nap while Monkey is bright-eyed and people-watching. For purposes of pictures I put Chunky's seat at an almost 90 degree angle. He has no problem sitting in the stroller like this and was quite comfortable. When the seat is in a reclined position, there is a fabulous mesh netting that allows you to see baby (or Monkey in the picture below) and gives a little breeze to baby, which is totally necessary in the Texas summer heat.
No, I do not let Monkey ride around like this. Just a picture showing the awesome mesh so that you can see your "sleeping" little one with the seat reclined.

Size: The CMD is neither too little or too big. It fits my 22-month old with growing room while still fitting my 4-month old. Folding is a breeze but does take 2 hands. When completely folded it is slightly wider than Monkey and easily fits in the back of my SUV.
Monkey was upset that we made him get dressed and out of the stroller to take a picture of it folded up.

Price: Compared to other similar brands of high-quality strollers, this one was a steal at $400.

What I didn't like about the City Mini Double:

I have two slight issues with the City Mini Double - #1 is how difficult it was to find on the crimson/grey color! I actually ordered from 3 different stores only to find it was out of stock at each. I finally found one in stock at rightstart.com and had it delivered within the week. I noticed that crimson seems to be more difficult to find than the other colors available.

My #2 issue is the lack of provided accessories. The only thing that comes with the stroller is the sun canopy bar. Every other accessory is sold separately - parent tray, belly bar, cup holder, infant seat adapter, etc.

Overall Rating: 9 out of 10 Chunky Monkey kisses! We love our new double stroller!

Disclaimer: All product reviews done on this blog are my own honest opinions. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Family Fun Friday!

Monkey went to the park and...
hid behind some trees...

picked some weeds for Momma...
rested on a tree root...
rolled in the grass...
and relaxed!

Chunky was there, too. It was his first time to play in the grass. He hated it. He was much happier sitting on the park bench or on Dad's lap.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mighty Meats

Don't you love it when your husband fixes dinner? It is probably my favorite perk (or closely tied with laundry duty) of having a stay-at-home hubby. Tonight's menu was baked chicken - not too shabby! I sat down to eat with Monkey who already has a plate of chicken and a small container of "pup pup" (aka ketchup) and watch as Monkey meticulously eats every last drop of "pup pup" without even attempting a bite of chicken. The kid is a meat eater. He screams for meat - lunch meat, ground meat, steak, chicken, pork, anything... tonight he eats none.

I attempt to coax him to eat his chicken - he screams for "bath."

Trey tells me not to worry... "Monkey ate a 12 piece chicken nugget meal at _____ for a late lunch."

"Ummm.... fabulous?!?"  (in my sweetest, most non-sarcastic voice imaginable)

And this is why I responded that way:

Worst Fast Food Kid Meals

When Monkey was a bright-eyed 6 month old, I prepared each of his meals with fresh, organic produce from a grocery store 30 minutes away. I scrubbed, chopped, diced, pureed and froze in cute little ice cube trays. I popped out a cube to measure the precise 1oz of veggie or fruit he was to eat at that meal... and today my almost-22-month old just consumed the daily required sodium for an adult in one sitting (heck, it was probably one bite.) His vegetable was "pup pup."

BTW - Mighty Meats is one of Chunky's favorite nicknames. His "meats" are actually his chubby little thighs. They are so deliciously squeezable!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wedding Weekend!

My mom got married on the beach this weekend. She was absolutely beautiful! Monkey managed to make his way into the wedding pictures... We also took the opportunity to take some fun family photos on the sand... always interesting when the wind is blowing 30mph and you have to stare at the sun to prevent your face from being completely covered by hair and sand. I'm very surprised we got these shots due to the bad conditions. Many thanks to my new photographer buddy/cousin, Nick, for taking the ones of us as a family!

No big family event can occur around here without a little bit of drama. The drama of the weekend centered around a major car accident, wedding cake on the windshields and a trailer full of decorations in a water-filled ditch. Luckily no one was injured, replacement cakes were at the beach within 3 hours (seashells and all), and Trey was able to de-mud the trailer and get it to the beach house.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Don't Do It!

As a future pediatrician I am dedicating my life to the health of everyone's children, not just my own. My personal choices as a parent are not supposed to "interfere" with my ability to care for other people's children. This isn't a personal choice of some crazy momma who thinks she knows best... it is a well-researched, thoughtful (and maybe harsh) look at the benefits of something I follow as a parent and will recommend as a pediatrician: DON'T DO IT!

Do what? Turn your precious, newly-turned one-year-old forward facing in his or her carseat. 

The obligatory buts...
But aren't we supposed to? NO!
But won't they be more comfortable? NO WAY!
But isn't it safer? DEFINITELY NOT!

I am a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the national organization for pediatricians, pediatric residents and medical students. The  group is currently revising their policy/position statement on the benefits of "extended" rear-facing of a child in their carseat until the child is 2 years old and 30lbs. The policy statement has not yet been written but here here is an article from them explaining their rationale:

Here is their current policy statement (which is being rewritten) discussing the use of a rear facing carseat for as long as possible, even stating that manufacturers should design rear-facing seats for children up to 4 years of age:

Car-safety.org also had a statement concerning rear-facing: Rearfacing and Safety

There are numerous horrific stories about young toddlers involved in car accidents while forward facing. Nothing can say it better than a video of a family faced with the repercussions of one such accident -- 
There are numerous other videos you can watch that tell you how important and how much safer rear-facing your toddler is -- and I would hate for me, my friends or my patients to be one of them. 

What do I do now -- My baby is ONE! (or too heavy or too long for the baby seat)
What do you do when your child outgrows his/her infant bucket seat (i.e. Graco Snugride, Chicco Keyfit, etc)? The best option is a high weight-limit convertible seat. 
Some options include: Britax Marathon/Boulevard/Advocate, Graco MyRide 65, First Years TrueFit line, Evenflo Triumph and the Cosco Scenera. These are considered convertible seats because they can be used rear-facing (most up to 35-40lbs) and then can be turned forward facing once they hit the rear weight limit. These seats are good investments and will last quite a while - some longer than others. When looking at a seat such as these it is best to keep your own child in mind - some kiddos are heavier, wider, taller, etc. and one seat may be a much better fit for your child than another, more expensive seat.

What about MY boys?
Chunky - currently in a Chicco Keyfit 30. He weighs 13.5lbs and is nowhere near the limit of the seat. He will move into a Britax Marathon or Boulevard when he outgrows it.

Monkey - currently in a Britax Marathon in Trey's truck and a Britax Boulevard in the super cute cowmooflage pattern in my 4Runner. We also have a Graco MyRide 65 at my mom's house for use when we are over there. He currently weighs about 26lbs and will remain rearfacing until at least 35lbs (weight limit of his current seats). I may end up buying a newer seat for him to make it to the 40lb weight limits of the newer Britax seats or another not-yet-on-the-market-seat with a higher weight limit. I would rather spend the $300 multiple times to ensure his safety if I were to ever get in an accident with him in the car.

P.S. Its not just turning your kiddo forward facing that can possibly harm them...
Aftermarket Products/Coats/Snowsuits
To new parents nothing can be more confusing than trying to figure out every single thing that little baby may need. What baby wouldn't love a warm, fuzzy insert in their carseat to keep them nice and warm during the winter? I'm sure they are quite cozy, but they are not safe. Products such as these: Bundle Me are not tested for safety by carseat manufacturers and actually void the safety warranty on your carseat. They interfere with the way the straps come out form the back of the seat and wrap around your infant causing gaps and twisting of the straps.
The effects are similar when a child wears a thick coat or snowsuit in their seat: Snowsuits are not Safe

Friday, August 13, 2010

Just not ready...

Earlier this week Trey took off one of the crib sides to Monkey's bed to make it a "toddler bed.'

Night #1: Monkey slept great! 8:30-6:30 and we never saw him!

Night #2: He woke up around 2am and stayed up until 5am. He then passed out on the living room couch until 8:30.

Night #3: Tiny monkey devil was up from 1-4:30ish and roaming all over the house. He ended up sleeping with Trey on the couch...

Night #4: We gave up and put the side to his crib back on...we'll see how it turns out. At least he is contained and we don't have to worry about more crayon on the walls.

But we can't forget my precious Chunky (my amazing sleeper until now) who decided to wake up every hour the past two nights. I'm running on 4.5hrs of sleep combined for the past two days. I need a nap.

I guess we can try the whole toddler bed thing again in a couple months around his second birthday. Maybe he will be a better sleeper by then...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The criminal...

Yes, that would be crayola all over the wall...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Big boy!

Monkey spent his first night in his new "big boy" bed (aka crib with one of the sides removed). He had learned how to climb over the railing and run around the house while he should be napping so it wasn't doing such a good job of keeping him contained. I figure it is safer for him to fall out of a bed close to the ground without a rail than to climb over a much higher rail and fall to the ground in his semi-conscious post-nap daze. Although he is a pretty good climber, who knows what would happen during one of his 3am jaunts over the railings. Now that his baby jail is gone I have an odd feeling that we will be seeing a lot of little Monkey in the middle of the night...

He can climb in and out (safely) on his own...
Then try to act all sweet and innocent like he wasn't doing anything wrong.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Beach baby, Beach baby

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Splish Splash Chunky & Monkey love their bubble bath!

The videos are a little bit shaky. Both boys take baths with me on a nightly basis and this was the best I could do while sitting in the tub with them.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Boys of Summer

I'm a huge fan of sun and sand and so are the boys. We've kept fairly busy in between beach trips, baseball games and Moody Gardens. Here are a few snapshots of our adventures:
Chunky thought the 4D Happy Feet movie at Moody Gardens was pretty awesome

Monkey LOVED the splash pad at Moody Gardens

It was a tad bit windy, but the boys still had fun on the beach.

Beautiful boys!
Chunky loves the Astros!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


My name is Monica. I'm super momma to two beautiful baby boys and wife to Treybo. I am a pediatric resident M.D. in the great state of Texas. I'm still not sure what I really want to be when I grow up --- but I really like the kiddos so decided to stick with them. I can see myself as a pediatric geneticist, neonatologist or, even, a general pediatrician. Needless to say, my mind is still open about my future. I have a slight addiction to baby clothes and pictures. I love my boys, my Treybo, medicine and the beach. My life can't get any better than this...

Treybo is my amazing husband and a wonderful stay-at-home-dad to our two baby boys. He is a sports junkie and has ESPN on in the background all day long. He cooks, cleans and does all the laundry. He is super dad. As if dealing with our boys isn't enough, he coaches other people's sons on the weekends.

Monkey is our sweet, wild, super fast, genius 3 year old son. His angelic looks are just a front... He is very mischievous and loud but is a real sweetheart. He loves trains, tractors, the beach and meat.

Chunky (aka Bubba) is the sweetest, cuddliest, happiest baby in the whole world. He loves to sleep but likes to eat just a tad bit more. He smiles all the time.

I started this blog to chronicle our day-to-day life. Why a blog? Well, I'm not really sure. I guess its just the cool thing to do and gives me an outlet to share my thoughts and my pictures. Hopefully it will act to keep friends and family up to date with our sometimes hectic lives. Plus, I plan to incorporate some of my medical knowledge + opinions on issues that I feel are important in child health. And I can't forget the most important part... it will be another place to show off my beautiful boys!

This is a PR friendly blog.  I am always on the lookout for new products to review & share with my readers. I like to focus on products that benefit or promote children and adult health, spending time as a family or ways to make our chaotic lives a little bit easier! All products that I receive for review are thoroughly tested out by me, my husband and my kids (if suitable) before I write a review. I am thoughtful and honest when writing my reviews and like to include actual pictures of us using the product. All reviews and giveaways are posted on multiple social media sites including facebook, twitter and other giveaway blogs. If you are a business or company that would like to sponsor a review or giveaway on my website, please email me at monica.rinando (at) gmail.com.

*Disclaimer: The information and opinions provided here are my own. They should never be considered medical advice and are not a substitute for seeking real medical attention from a physician. I am only a pediatric resident! See your doctor should you have questions or concerns regarding you or your child's health, diagnosis, or treatment.