Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Deck Demo

Getting down to business
Sides are gone
Measure 17 times, cut once (Oh wait, that's not part of the demo stage)
Admiring his handy work
Don't fall through!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What to do with the deck?

Ahhh the backyard deck. Who can live without one from May-September in New England? I'll admit, I was the first to idolize the backyard deck when we were looking for a house. Lounging in the sun, grilling, decorating with lanterns and flower baskets. 

What I never realized is how quickly these majestic wooden structures can go downhill. So while I was managing an infant last summer, my darling deck was baking in the sun. Hard. Like Magda from There's Something About Mary baking in the sun. 

The deck in all of its sun-weathered glory
Who Wore It Best?

But it wasn't just the sun. It was also the water. Somehow this poor plank caught the brunt of the water damage. Maybe it wasn't treated properly because all of the boards around it were much better off than this one. Anyway, this board really needed to go, but the rest of the deck wasn't looking too pretty either.

Since we're planning to sell our house in the near future, we decided the deck must be dealt with. But how? Knock it down and start new? Keep the structure but replace the deck planks and railings (since this horizontal design is a code no-no)? Replace just a few deck planks, update the railings and cover with Deck Restore from Rustoleum? Well.... currently the last option is our plan.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Stroller Reviews: Goldilocks and the Four Strollers

City Mini GT $349
The City Mini GT was actually the reason for our trip to Buy Buy Baby. I had been researching for months, unable to pull the trigger on Amazon and finally decided that the City Mini GT was going to be the one, but I had to try it out first. For this particular ride, it was an elusive creature, only to be found about 30 min away at the closest Buy Buy Baby. No Babies R US for this one.
  • The one handed close was amazing and is still one of the easiest to use of all of the strollers I've ever demo'd. 
  • Roomy: Grace had plenty of leg room and headroom, basically, the design of this type of stroller with the front wheel is nice and long to allow for this.
  • Sunshade: Very full sunshade, covers very well.
  • Handling: Felt much smoother compared to the City Mini, front tire was nice and solid
  • Front wheel lock: Well, let's get it out of the way now. The deal breaker for this model was an issue with the front wheel lock mechanism. A few times when we were trying the stroller, the front wheel would inadvertently lock itself. This is the exact reason why we were so frustrated with the previous stroller that we returned after 1 week. No Deal.
  • Sunshade: Love the large sunshade, hate that I pinched Grace's fingers in the shade at least 3 times in 5 minutes . It was a weird thing that I would have dismissed if it only happened once, but it happened 3 times. Ouch. Sorry G!
My Husband's Final Verdict: No dice! The fact that the front wheel locked up multiple times while we were taking it for a test drive was a total deal breaker. We asked a Buy Buy Baby associate about it and she said that it "was normal" for that brand. Eeep. No thanks! 

Mountain Buggy $549
Fresh off our disappointment that the City Mini GT that we set out to buy wasn't going to be a winner, our Buy Buy Baby Associate pointed us in the direction of Phil & Ted's Mountain Buggy.
  • Bassinet + Toddler: You can't see it here, but this stroller also turns into a bassinet with a few snaps and re-configurations of the seat you see here.
  • Wheels: These wheels don't mess around! They are definitely sturdy and I can see them easily making their way through grass and sand. The front wheels can be locked to get through tricky terrain.
  • 2 Way Facing: The seat can face forward or backward.
  • Not many cons with this stroller. We really loved it. The only drawback was for my husband, the handle was pretty low.

My Husband's Final Verdict: Great stroller, only drawback was the handle not telescoping high enough for a tall man!

Bugaboo Cameleon $889 
At the top of the price range, the Bugaboo Chameleon received rave reviews from one of Matt's co-workers.

  • Stylish: I love that pink!
  • Versatile: You can get many different configurations of this stroller.

  • Weight Restriction: Only 37.5 lbs! If I'm going to pay this much for a stroller, I would hope it would last longer than that! In comparison, the UPPAbaby is 50 lbs.
My Husband's Final Verdict: This is an expensive ride. The fact that the weight limit is only 37.5 lbs is a deal breaker.
Uppababy Vista $729
By the time we put Grace in the UPPAbaby, we had pretty much decided that the Mountain Buggy was our new stroller. What changed our mind? Well it did help that 2 different people who were also shopping said that they owned and loved this stroller - and the final winning attribute? An adjustable handle for tall people! My husband was sold!!


  • Handling: She drives like a dream. Not quite as smooth as the Bugaboo, but noticeably better than the City Mini GT, and even the Mountain Buggy.
  • Extras: Not only does this stroller come with a bassinet (not that we need this now), but also, the belly bar, rain shield, and mosquito net.
  • Sunshade: Great coverage, exceeded the coverage of the Mountain Buggy.
  • Local: UPPAbaby is from Hingham, MA! (South Shore LOVE)