All posts by DanM

Ruby developer, entrepreneur, hobbyist

Why Do We Have 6 Strollers?

Honestly, I don’t really know, all I know is I would have done it differently if I knew what I know now. This has been somewhat of a constant battle and silly learning in our family… I often reference it as poor planning and wastefulness, while my wife probably has a fond place in her heart for most of the strollers. I believe you can get by with one or two strollers, and perhaps my descriptions of all our strollers will help someone out there decide on the right set of strollers for their family.

TL;DR

If you are having one kid, get the City Mini GT. If you are having two, probably get that first single stroller, then upgrade to a Baby Jogger City Select Double Stroller when the second kid arrives.

Meet The Strollers

Below I will share some details about what and why we have each of the strollers we have.

The Perfect Single Child City Stroller

Actual Name: The City Mini GT
AKA: The Only One You Need
city_mini_gt
If you only plan to have one kid or you’re determined to get a second stroller when you have a second kid this is the absolute best single stroller for a single child. It travels great it fits through the metal detectors it doesn’t require you to buy a second travel stroller (see more about that later )it’s a highly efficient and easy to move around the stroller with lots of space, adapters, and features. It’s great on all sorts of terrain from bad sidewalks to lighter hiking trails. We have been able to effectively use it as an “offroad” stroller, which is something our travel stroller could never do. If you are headed towards two kids, read on for the best double stroller.

The Best Double Stroller

AKA: If you know you are having two kids, just buy this one

baby_double

If you’re only going to have two kids, you can perhaps just get away with this as a single stroller! This stroller is a great option because before the second kid arrives at has all sorts of attachments to use the extra space like a shopping cart attachment or other things helpful when rolling around a city. The city double isn’t quite as easy to maneuver as the regular city mini, but it’s still quite great — it’s wheels work really well even on bumpy and off-road conditions like going on trails. We have yet to travel with a stroller yet, I don’t believe it will fit through the standard security scanner. Which will require extra time for the stroller to go through the metal detector and inspection, so that’s a negative against it. That is the primary reason to get more than one stroller, having something smaller that can get through security. If you really want to limit yourself to a single stroller and you’re planning on two kids this is a great option.

The Jogger Stroller

AKA: The Aspirational Stroller
the_jogger
Did you jog a lot before you had a kid? No… Now that you have a kid you’re going to find all that extra time for extra workouts… Really No, it isn’t likely to happen. We’ve used the stroller maybe 10 times in the multiple years we’ve had it. If you are already a serious exercise addict maybe but don’t believe having a kid will help you get in shape.

The Travel Stroller

Actual Name: ?
AKA: we should have just brought the city mini GT
travel_stroller

The idea that you will want a smaller stroller while traveling is cute. Although most of the time you will just want your trusty primary stroller. If you’re going to Europe and running around all tiny alleys and public transportation it sort of makes sense, but the wheels on the travel stroller across bumpy cobblestone roads and areas without sidewalks really make you regret the decision to have a less than good stroller with you. You generally just want your primary stroller with you, one that can travel well enough and fold up well enough. A travel stroller has limited storage capacity starts to fall apart quickly, after taking a beating while traveling, and really isn’t that much easier to move through an airport than anything else.

Just a quick note from Erin here — I took Theo around Europe a lot and definitely think we needed the travel stroller. This one is a good mix for price, weight and utility. You want your primary stroller to have more of the features described above, but if you are traveling outside the US with a kid too big for a carrier, you’ll want something like this too. If your kid still fits in the carrier, use that. If not, you want a stroller that is light, easy to fold, and can be carried over your shoulder one handed while your kid is in the other arm — both to walk up to your 5th floor walk up and to maneuver the many stairs in their metro systems.

The Cheapo Double Stroller

AKA: We should have just bought the city mini double stroller
cheapo_double
This stroller’s fine but it’s only just that, fine. It’s wheels aren’t great on bumpy sidewalks, it’ll get stuck on small bumps, and you’ll have to push and pull to get it going again. It kind of starts to fall apart quickly, the bottom already his required home repairs to keep the basket from tearing apart as it drags on the road when loaded. It’s okay it was just me I’d probably keep it, and avoid spending more money. Why did we get another double stroller, the 10% of the time I’m not pushing a stroller and my wife or a grandparent is using this stroller all you will hear is complaints about how hard it is to push and how it doesn’t maneuver well and how y’all really should have just paid for a better stroller.

The Grandparents Stroller (not sure)

Actual Name: Baby Trend Expedition Jogger (same as our jogging stroller)
AKA: Another Stroller, just for visits, sure why not…
grandparent_stroller
The one on the left, another jogger kept at grandparent’s house

If you don’t want to always lug a stroller around, you can keep a stroller with your grandparents. I still think this is a bit silly, but we have used it more than the “aspirational” jogging stroller, so perhaps it makes more sense than I think. If your grandparent’s help with the kiddo’s a lot and want to keep a stroller at their place, go for it. Overall it is a nice stroller as well and has great handling. You can see it was in action alongside our City Mini GT on a pebble hiking trail.

Baby 2 electric boogaloo

It is day 4 of Baby Sasha and we have already had to do some divide and conquer with the kids… Not too much because we have tremendous support from family.

Everyone is still doing well and we even managed to figure out to get a good amount of sleep on night 3.

Sasha Anne Mayer

Erin and I are so happy to announce that Sasha Anne Mayer made a slightly early arrival earth-side. She was plucked a bit early due to mom’s gestational hypertension (and an attempt to avoid a repeat of the severe preeclampsia from last time). She was born at a bit over 38 weeks and weighed 5lbs, 6oz and measured 18 inches.

So far the experience has gone much more smoothly than the last time. Everyone is doing well happy and healthy.

We are currently working on the name for Sasha’s chicken-shaped nursing pillow, Theo’s eventually was called “buck buck”. And yes, we had to get a second $50 nursing pillow because as soon as his mom suggested that his new sister would need his, Theo started sleeping with his pillow every night… Names currently in the running:

a_chicken_pillow

  • Cuckoo
  • ChaChaCha
  • Clucky
  • Kikiriki (The Spanish word for a chickens sound)
  • Spark Plug

 

Amsterdam Recommendations

I have a couple times been asked by folks for various recommendations around Amsterdam. I visited a number of times as my previous job moved their HQ to downtown Amsterdam right on the canals. It was a lovely city to visit and is a great connection point for all over Europe. Erin joined me a number of times along with Theo and we always had a good time. Theo particularly enjoyed boat trips on the canal (including when he knocked my glasses off my head and into the water). Since the office was in the canals I generally stayed very close to the waterways as well, an easy walk to most of the popular attractions. Which means the majority of things I recommend are in that general area.

Activities

 

  • If you do a boat tour I highly recommend “Those damn boat guys” We have done that twice with Theo (who is now 2)
    • I have also done a number of larger tours with work, which was also fun
    • They are smaller boats/groups, and less stodgy very funny and factual kind of stand-up comedy history
    • Theo loved it both times, as have some friends and their kids
    • I have recommended it to others who went with them and enjoyed it
    • The pick up / drop off is across the canal from the Anne Frank house an easy to find the location
    • Watch all their videos/homework

IMG_20170523_172923-ANIMATION

  • I haven’t been yet but Erin and Theo have and everyone has rave reviews about the Nemo Science Museum
  • Anne Frank house, obviously a popular stop.
  • Go through museum row (Museumplein), my favorite is the small Banksy museum there… Rijksmuseum, etc… all the others are great and as one would expect.
  • Vondelpark, frequently has music and other events going on just see what is happen while you are there
    • Rent bikes and cruise through Vondelpark, regardless of biking or walking Vondelpark is awesome on a sunny day
  • The splash parks everywhere are great, Theo basically travels the world to compare the splash parks, swings, and slides. If you travel to Amsterdam in summer there will be splash parks everywhere — the parks, the museums (including the Science Museum) and by restaurants. So, if your kiddo is young, make sure you are always prepared for him to get wet — have a towel, change of clothes and splash diaper if needed with you at all times, or you will just have either an angry or a wet kid.
  • Amsterdam is a great city for strollers — the bike infrastructure makes it very easy to navigate with a stroller and you will rarely be required to fold it up and lug it around (unlike most of Europe where a baby carrier is really the way to go).
  • Erin also recommends Red Light Secrets as a museum in the red light district to help you learn more about that part of Amsterdam’s culture and economy. Probably best for grown-ups. You actually get to go inside one of the brothels.
  • I would recommend going during summer weather, but it is beautiful and fun to walk through the snow-covered streets as well. If you do go during the summer and with your kiddos, beware the jetlag. Having the sun up until nearly 11PM can be tough on bedtime routines, but also quite fun if you are willing to go with the flow.

Food & Drinks

  • The Pantry: A slightly touristy but fun restaurant to try a bunch of traditional Dutch food
    • probably worth getting reservations as it can fill up (small not too many tables)
    • one of you should order the ham shank it is so good I get it once every visit to AMS (photo below)
    • The Pantry is also a Theo favorites

00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20180615183125852_COVER

  • In general if you like Asian food many of the Malaysian and Vietnamese places are great
  • Brewery: Might not work with kids your age but a really cool brewery in an old windmill, Brouwerij ‘t IJ
  • If traveling with young kiddos get them babychinos at the cafes (just frothed milk). Theo loved them.
  • Other restaurants: Piqniq, Winkel, Foodhallen, De Silveren Spiegel

PANO_20180706_224855

Honestly, my favorite part of the city is just walking around the canals, randomly stopping for snacks (chocolate covered waffles). I could easily waste hours away just walking around through the odd paths, walkways, alleys, and bridges that sprawl through the city. On work trips, I would listen to an audiobook while strolling through the streets in the evenings, which was always a pleasant way to spend an evening.

 

 

Moving Off Facebook

Hey folks, after the multiple data breaches and seemingly blatant disregard for privacy. I taking steps to remove FB from my life. I am following some of the lifehacker advice on reducing FB usage. Folks might have noticed that I haven’t been active for a good while, but I plan to hardly ever use it in the future and will use this blog to share photos and such.

Anyways, thanks for all the good times and helping folks to connect but there are other ways… Feel free to follow here and from time to time I will post a link on FB to stuff I share here.

VID_20181215_124953-ANIMATION.gif

Anyways, a new year and a new plan… Here are some photos of 2018!

MVIMG_20180915_095849_1_exported_stabilized_7959250780099092611.gif

Basically a Theo photo show…

Forced Wireless Headphone Adoption

I write this as I am on a plane using $7 only semi-functioning headphones to watch a movie… This is because of course, the in-flight entertainment system doesn’t support wireless headphones. The nice new multi-hundred dollar headphones I bought for the pixel 2 won’t work for the movie… My old Bose noise canceling would have worked for the in-flight but can’t work for the Pixel 2 (adapters never around / totally broken). I started this post on my flight out, on my return flight I had to buy the airlines headphones as I couldn’t get to my wired headphones buried in my back in the overhead bin, with only my wireless headphones in reach. The current situation of headphones is far worse than it was a few years ago.

An awesome plug

Why Buy a Phone without a Headphone Jack?

Well based on the latest flagship phones from Android and Apple, you don’t really have a choice as they are forcing the wireless issue on customers. I bought the pixel 2 despite the missing headphone jack because the new camera and portrait mode photos are truly awesome. I could have got a worse camera to buy a phone that still had a headphone jack, but in a couple years I am guessing that won’t even be an option.

Theo Portrait Mode

Experience Moving To A Jackless Phone

I bought a Pixel2, but that detail really it doesn’t matter. It has been a horrible consumer experience ever since. I want to detail in this post the dozens of times I have had a worse experience since moving to a phone with wireless audio.

  • I have been caught out with my wired headphones in my bag, pocket, and no dongle adapter dozens of times, each meaning I couldn’t listen to my device.
  • I have $200+ nice Bose noise cancelling headphones (the best headphones I have ever had), made fairly useless as they are wired
  • My barely year old phones wired USB-C “adapter” stopped working… It worked at first, then only some of the time when you wiggled it, and no longer works at all.
  • At all times my backpack needs to contain wired/wireless headphones as well as an adapter
  • The same Bose headphones I liked so much in a wireless version are about $400, even as my older pair work perfectly fine
  • I have been out with my wireless headphones only to have their battery die, or try to use them finding they are already dead… Or even more annoying start to give a low battery beep at nearly max volume ever few minutes.
  • The audio drops in an out randomly requiring repairing of the phone to headphones, this doesn’t happen often anymore but still never had issues like this with wired headphones
  • My phone has been paired with my headphones which were in some other room and I can hear audit taking me awhile to realize what is going on
  • My headphones have refuse to pair for whatever reason (likely paired to something else at the moment)
  • I am not even an audiophile and the quality difference is noticable
    • I bought some really nice wireless headphones and my old Bose far are still better
  • My wireless headphones seem to try to do actions every time I touch any part of them, which I often have to do as they don’t stay on as well as my Bose
  • Can’t get to correct headphones needed as I only took one set out of my bag before putting in the overhead bin.

This is not a feature

In no way has removing the headphone jack improved my customer experience. I had wireless headphones for my Pixel 1 and it had a headphone jack which I used about 75% of the time using the wireless only on occasion. Now as I am forced to use wireless headphones I just listen to podcasts and music on my phone about much less than I used to. I end up in one of the situations above so often I don’t trust audio to be available without significantly planning and testing prior to leaving the house. I am now considering just using an older phone or another device as a dedicate audio device because this experience sucks so much. I have a young child which means when I get him to fall asleep in my lap and don’t have all the right combinations of dongles, headphones, or charged wireless headphones in arms reach I am just not going to get to listen to anything. Which happened to me on my two most recent flights when traveling with Theo… Sitting quietly while the baby sleep son my lap, thinking about how angry I am that Apple and Google both decided to ignore the numerous consumer requests to keep their damn headphone jack.

Happy Mother’s Day

After our recent adventures having Theo, I definitely have a new appreciation for Mothers. The sacrifices they make day to day and in the long run to careers (although it shouldn’t have an impact it is obvious to anyone paying attention). I appreciate all the hard work and effort it goes into raising a child that for much of it’s life will challenge and annoy you when ever possible.

Seriously, some of the things mother’s have to go through blows my mind. While much of society and medicine has drastically improved, labor and delivery is still nothing short of shocking and barbaric. If all goes well it can be magic, so I hear, but it didn’t for us. During labor is still one of the highest risk chances of death for in any mother’s life. Considering it is such a common life event, one would think it would be one of the best understood and researched medical events, but conflicting advice with little to no research backing abounds. While sharing our delivery story with folks it was surprising how many people had rough experiences and still frequently are suffering side effects years and decades later.

Clearly, I hadn’t given enough credit on mother’s day (and every other day) to my own mom. Well we get to start working on improving that this year.

This year to celebrate Erin’s first mothers day, we went to Paris! We also brought my mom… Who has been looking to get back over to visit Paris again. So this mothers day will be spent out at cute cafes with a dinner.

On the last few weeks of Erin’s maternity leave we can spend some time celebrating being a mom with each of our mother’s as Erin’s mom will be joining us for the second leg of the trip in Amsterdam.

So cheers and happy mother’s day to every mom out there… Clearly, we wouldn’t be anywhere without you.