Surviving Parenthood

Britax Frontier 85 SICT

by Mother of two

The Britax Frontier 85 SICT is the monster replacement car seat we got for Little Lum after our car accident in May. I went overboard when I purchased this because we had just walked away from a 5 car freeway wreck that totaled our 2008 Toyota Sienna Minivan.  And since the insurance company was paying for a replacement, we opted for the “Mercedes Benz” of all car seats.

The Britax Frontier 85 SICT was their newest model at the time, just released in June of 2011.  I purchased this model mainly because it was a larger car seat that Little Lum could grow into.  I did not want a small seat that I would have to replace in a year or two.  This is especially important now with the new 2012 California Law requiring car seats for all children under the age of 8 and height of 4 foot 9.

Britax makes 2 Frontier 85 models.  The SICT model has added side air bags that provided additional side impact protection.  This is important since the configuration for our new 2011 Sienna Minivan forced us to place the seat closer to the doors in the middle row.  Britax does also make a Frontier model without the side airbags if that’s what you prefer.

The Frontier was a little heavy but pretty simple to install.  You do have some options on how you can install your car seat depending on your type of vehicle seats.  We used the LATCH system, and although it was definitely heavier than my First Year True Fit, I was still able to lift and adjust it in by myself.  Little Lum loves his new throne because it has two prominent arm rests and built in cup holders, one for his toy and the other for his beverage.  And best of all it gives mommy & daddy piece of mind!  When Little Wing is old and heavy enough, we will definitely get another one for him too!


Otter Box Great Customer Service!

by Mother of two

Crack in my old Otterbox.

Otter Box Great Customer Service!

I have an iPhone 4.  With 2 short tempered little boys that have a tendency of throwing the phone when either the 4G or Wi-Fi service is interrupted, I rely on my Otter Box to protect it.  The Otter Box cover has a hard plastic shell that is covered by a soft plastic wrap for a better grip.  It will double the size of your phone, but it will go above and beyond to keep my phone in one piece.  My phone has been through my minivan accident where it flew from the third row of the car to slam on the front dash to daily tantrum beatings by the boys.  After two years, my phone is still intact and working perfectly thanks to the superb protection from Otter Box phone case.

Recently, I noticed some cracks in my hard plastic cover when I was cleaning my phone.  I was disappointed and I wanted to know if it was still covered under warranty.  I called them up to ask if it was still covered, otherwise I would have asked my credit card company to replace it instead.  I spoke with a customer service representative and he said that they would replace it, with no question asked.

I gave them my name, address, phone, & where I purchased the phone.  He told me that if the company still makes the case, they will replace it regardless of the 1 year limited warranty.  Their main concern was that my phone was protected.  So nice!  My poor phone greatly appreciates it!  They didn’t have my exact color but gave me a list to pick from.  My new cover should be arriving within a week or two (they are currently out of stock due to the high demand for iPhone 5 covers).

If you have young kids handling your smartphones or tablets Otter Box covers might be a good choice!  I purchased my case from Amazon but you can also purchase it directly from their site as well at Otterbox.com.


Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat

by Mother of two

Graco Nautilus installed.

Graco Nautilus has 3 different positions.

I purchased a new Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat today for Little Lum.  I am home for the next 2 weeks watching him since his babysitter, i.e. Grandma, is vacationing in Vietnam.  I only have one car seat in my Honda for Little Wing since we use the Minivan as our main baby transporter.  My husband got tired of driving in my little Honda and has taken his Minivan back so I finally decided to buy an additional toddler car seat for my car.

In my new car seat, I am mainly looking at safety, comfort, price, and maximum height & weight limits (especially important with the new California Law).  The Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 car seat is rated at 4.5 stars with over 1000 reviews on Amazon.  I have seen the Nautilus in stores and it is one impressive car seat.  It looks and feels very sturdy and well made.  In addition to side head protection, it has two reinforced steel bars in the additive support.  It also has a cup holder (which Little Lum uses for toys, because daddy does not trust him with drinks) and two cubby holes to hide little toys.

The seat can be used as a traditional car seat using the Built-In Harness, without Built-In Harness (i.e. using your cars seat belt), and without Back Support (booster seat). Depending on the different configurations, it can potentially hold a 4’9”, 100lbs child.  This is perfect for us since we live in California.  Starting January 1st of 2012 a new law required all children under 8 years old and 4’9” be secured in a car seat in the back seat of a vehicle.

We were planning on buying the Graco Nautilus for Little Lum when he was old enough since his cousin has one and totally loves it.  Little Lum will definitely enjoy riding around town with mommy in his new car seat.  I will definitely hide some toys in his cubby hole as an additional surprise factor for his trips.


Baby Gear: Jumperoo

by Mother of two

Our overly abused Jumperoo!

The Jumperoo looked really fun and it had great reviews from other parents when we were shopping for it online.  We purchased it for Little Lum when he was only 4 months old and he really enjoyed it.  We continued to use it even when he had outgrown it.  He had a really great time exploring the different areas and jumping up and down in it.

You will probably notice this about toddlers.  They want to spend some time standing, crawling, and sitting.  This one will keep them standing, and sitting depending on how high you setup your straps.  The Jumperoo has the three basic things that generally keep babies very happy.  It moves, it’s got bright blinking lights, and it plays music.  As an added bonus, if you can make your baby excited while sitting in it, they will tire themselves jumping so it’s going to be quiet night of sleep too.

Unfortunately, our new baby, Little Wing does not like it as much as his brother.  He is only good for about 5 minutes before he starts asking (crying) to be taken out.  Whereas his brother, could last entire meals inside of it so this was really well worth it for us.

The Jumperoo has served us well and it’s actually quite durable despite the abuse that it can take from my older son.  It’s still in pretty decent shape even after our second boy.  Overall, we really like it and I would definitely recommend the Jumperoo to any baby household.


Joovy Scooter X2

by Mother of two

Large Canopy

2 cup holders and 2 zipper pockets for storage.

Little Lum sleeping comfortably.

We were forced to test out our new Joovy Scooter X2 on this past Sunday at Disneyland.  Grandma was kind enough to volunteer to watch Little Wing, so that we could take Little Lum to Disneyland. We recently purchased our new double stroller but had not had a chance to test it out until our trip.  We swapped out the old Graco Quattro Stroller from the minivan into my car and stored the new Joovy Scooter into the minivan. When we got to Disneyland this past Sunday we only had the new double stroller & a single umbrella stroller in the minivan.  The umbrella stroller doesn’t have enough storage space for our gear so we were forced to use the double stroller with just one kid.  It worked out well.

 

Assembly was really easy, and it mainly consisted of installing the 4 wheels.  The front wheels snapped on very easily.  The back wheels required the threading of washers, inserting pins, and capping.  We actually spent more time trying to figure out what to do with an extra part. The box came with a steel rod to hold the box together but it did not belong with the stroller.  We spent the majority of our time trying to figure out why it wasn’t listed on the manual.  It was really, silly that we spent more than 30 minutes trying to figure this out. I guess we just have to blame it on sleep deprivation.

 

When I was researching for a new double stroller, I wanted something in the range of $200 that would be comfortable for the kids to go to Disneyland.  I was drawn by the price, extra large storage, individually reclining seats, extra large canopy, easy breaking system, and parents’ cup holders.  Stirring and handling was pretty good too.  Little Lum took a very comfortable long nap in it this week.

 

There is no such thing as a perfect stroller and there are a few things that they can improve upon.  First of all, I sometimes kick the brake bar at the bottom if I am not careful.  I am 5’6” and the handle bars are long enough for me, but I could imagine a slightly longer bar putting more distance between my feet and the brake bar.  The seat/safety bar can get dirty during folding if you are not careful, but it can be completely avoided if you know how to do it properly. All you have to do is to (1) first remove the safety bar from the stroller followed by (2) folding the edge of the actual seats upwards and finally (3) lift up the front of stroller as you collapse it to avoid the front from touching the ground. If you follow these steps your stroller should stay clean.

 

Overall, I am very satisfied with purchase and it meets a lot of my requirements.  We are excited to test it out at Disneyland with both kids on our next trip!

We got ours from Amazon with free 2 day shipping with Amazon Mom.