Review: Skip Hop Forma Diaper Bag

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Some women like shoes or clothes, I like bags. Always have. Purses, tote bags and now… Diaper bags. I get bored and change bags fairly frequently. I sell old ones or I’ll keep them if I think I might use them again.

Since my son was born 2 years ago, I’ve had a few diaper bags. I first tried a Vera Bradley diaper bag but found I couldn’t ever zip the bag shut and it’s one of those bags that just looks sloppy open so I sold it. I tried the Kate Spade Stevie and just found it too shallow for my tastes. I tried a Coach leather diaper bag and I found it too stiff and heavy.

Then I found on clearance at the Disney Store a Storksak with slight Mickey ear embellishments that was super cute so I got that one. That one has been my LOVE for the longest time over the last 2 years. Fits so much, looks cute, lots of pockets and DISNEY! But I started to get that itch again before my new son was born because I didn’t think it would be big enough for 2 kids in diapers.

I was at TJ Maxx shortly before my second son was born and found a Coach bag that wasn’t leather and stiff and a matching crossbody purse. PERFECT! I snatched it up and it’s been great for holding everything that I need with 2 kids. Having the matching crossbody is nice also because with 2 kids now I frequently don’t have spare hands or a shoulder to put a big bag on so being able to sling it across is perfect.

But I have the itch … again. Dangit! I was on a thread with my StrollerQueen StrollerSwap ladies (on Facebook – if you haven’t seen me mention them in my prior post, check it out here they’re awesome) again last week and someone was asking about diaper bags and someone mentioned the Skip Hop Forma. I was intrigued by the color and the cubes that it comes with. So I decided to check it out!

It’s a tote style bag with a zippered top that comes open. The fabric seems very sleek and stain resistant as well as washable. The biggest advantage is the front zippered pocket opens up and has these 2 cubes – one for bottles and one for snacks, spare clothes, etc. I measured it at 14.5″ x 5.5″ x 12″.

It has two side pockets for bottles or sippys.

On the front of that pocket is another small zippered pocket for your keys or personal items. 

If you take the cubes out, the pocket they fit in is very roomy if you decided not to use the cubes and there’s also some mesh pockets behind the cubes. 

The cubes themselves are pretty big and pretty handy. They are 6″ x 10.5″ x 2″.

The back of the bag has a pocket that zips open and has a cushy changing pad inside.    On the inside of the main compartment on the sides are stroller straps built in.  The main compartment has several pockets inside as well.

While the cubes are an advantage, the disadvantage is that they minimize the space in the main compartment because of their depth. They push in to the main compartment.

So for me, with two kids in diapers and one needing snacks and a sippy cup and also needing to carry a woven wrap in case I need to wear the baby, the space in this bag is very quickly taken up.

And there really is no spare room for anything else, it would be hard to get the stuff out of the pockets, and it would be hard to zip. 

So for me, as a mom of 2 in diapers and carrying a woven wrap with me as well, it wasn’t a good fit. For someone who only has 1 kid, or only 1 in diapers, I think it would be a great choice and I would highly recommend it for it’s features, functional pockets and cubes. I would get it again once I didn’t need to carry so much around with me. The color itself is actually beautiful as well. It’s available in a few colors – black, berry and this one is peacock.  There’s also a backpack version but that one is much smaller. I purchased mine from Amazon.

Since it didn’t work out for me, I returned it, and per another recommendation on that SQSS thread, I got the JuJuBe BFF. So that will be my next review! And as a tease … I LOVE IT! So stay tuned!

Bun in the literal oven (and other pregnancy/post partum surprises)

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So when you’re pregnant, a common phrase is that you have a bun in the oven. What no one tells you is that you literally become an oven. I have never been more hot in my life than the last 3 years as I’ve been pregnant or nursing/post partum for all but a month or so of the last 3 years.

My wardrobe (read more about my awesome sexy mom wardrobe here) these last 3 years is exclusively tank tops. I might as well pack the rest of my clothes away and I don’t know why I haven’t. I’m sure my husband would appreciate the closet space it would free up. I very rarely put on anything else, especially when nursing but mostly just because I’m so hot and the thought of putting any more cotton on my skin besides that makes me wanna do the polar plunge.

Almost 9 years ago I moved from Michigan to south Texas which I loved. The weather here was perfect to me. Hot but not humid. Now, even 80 degrees here makes me sweat like a whore in church. I cannot get cool enough most of the time. I nearly bought one of those personal misting fans this last pregnancy.

And being hot, especially post partum/nursing hot, makes me so irrationally frustrated and stabby. I get so pissed off that I feel like I become the hulk and I could hulk smash something. My poor husband I get so crazily angry when I’m hot I’ve lashed out and said some things to him that afterward I’m like wtf did I say that for? And I feel terrible. Thank god for him, he tolerates it and doesn’t get his feelings hurt easily.

I’m so hot even in my house with tank top and shorts on, air conditioning and fans on. My poor kids I got from my mom the inclination to dress my kids how I feel, so they’re probably cold all the time because I’m sweating so I put them in minimal clothing as well.

My insane hotness, and not the appearance kind, is part of the reason I chopped off my long hair last summer, couldn’t stand the pony tail down my back. Now that I’m starting to get a ponytail again you’ll frequently find it clipped up.

I was so surprised at just how hot I get and how it makes me feel. I definitely don’t remember anyone telling me about that.

I also didn’t know that I would lose so much hair, which is tricky because with a baby you have to keep an eye out for hair tourniquets. It’s so easy to see how they can get them now, when you lose a handful of hair a day! I’m so annoyed with having to clean up my hair everywhere. And it is EVERYWHERE.

I also had no idea that breastfeeding could make you NOT LOSE WEIGHT! Everyone says the pounds will fly off because you’re breastfeeding. I’m here to tell ya folks… Not necessarily true!! With both boys now, my weight does not fluctuate more than a pound in either direction. No matter what I eat and what exercise I do. So … Might as well enjoy myself and keep my maternity clothes out!

What are some of the things that no one told you about pregnancy/post partum?

Review: Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light vs. Graco Pack ‘N Play 

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Graco Pack ‘N Plays (PNP) have become such a staple in the baby gear market that they are now like Kleenex – the model name is synonymous with the product. We don’t call them travel cribs we call them PNPs just as we call most tissue Kleenex. So as a first time mom it didn’t dawn on me that I would need anything other than a PNP, so when I saw one at my local grocery store on clearance I snagged it up. 

It worked AWESOME as a cosleeper when my son was tiny. I put it right next to my bed and I really felt the flat open surface helped him transition to a crib. It worked great as a place for him to nap in our living room after that. Then it was great to take with us as a place for him to sleep when we traveled…. Until he started to stand and jump. Then I didn’t like it because of the raised bottom it would wobble under him when he stood and jumped. 

I decided since we do travel a bit I wanted to look for something better and more sturdy for that.

I found a couple that intrigued me – the Baby Bjorn travel crib and the lotus travel crib. Both were around $200 which was more than I had to spend at the time so I decided to make do with the PNP for the time being, but put them on my want list for the future since we planned on having more kids. 

 Fast forward a year or so and I’ve had another baby and we have a trip coming up for Christmas. My older son still sleeping in a crib so I start looking at the Lotus and Bjorn again scouring for deals. I really couldn’t decide between the two so I thought I would just get whichever one I could find the better deal on. The Bjorn came down around Black Friday so I snagged it up.

Long story short we transitioned to toddler bed before the trip and I didn’t take the Bjorn with us. 

So it’s been sitting unused but now that my baby is getting older we’re getting the PNP out again and I said HEY! I have that Bjorn travel crib lets test this thing out and see if it’s worth keeping or if I should sell it. 

So this is my review of the Bjorn Travel Crib compared to the Graco Pack ‘N Play. 

Size

Side by side visual comparison the Bjorn immediately looks quite a bit smaller. But this is deceiving as I found when I broke out my tape measure! The PNP measures 39.5″ long by 28.5″  wide. The Bjorn is narrower at the top than it is the bottom. The top is 33″ x 21.5″ but at the bottom, what would be the sleep surface,  is 41″ (longer than the PNP) x 24″ (shorter than PNP). The PNP is 28.5″ tall with the bottom platform being 5.5″ off the ground. The Bjorn Travel Crib Light is 25″ tall but only 1″ off the ground (overall 1″ deeper than PNP).

In terms of size, it’s a draw for me, so it’s a matter of what’s important to you and what space you’re working with. 

Best in size: Tie! 

Cleaning

When it comes to cleaning the two portable cribs, the Bjorn is going to win hands down. The entire cover comes off and is machine washable. That is a HUGE plus, in my opinion. Babies and kids are messy. My PNP is nasty just from 1 kid using for a year and it’s not as easily cleaned since the cover cannot come off and be thrown in the washer like the Bjorn. 

Cleaning Winner: Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light 

Assembly/Pack Up/Stored Size 

The Bjorn comes in it’s own zippered handled case. The case is thicker than that of the PNP. The manual for the Bjorn is tucked into a pocket on the inside of the case.

Pull it out of the case and the mattress is wrapped around the crib. Open up the mattress and then open up the crib.  Once you’ve opened up the crib, it’s so easy it’s ridiculous. just pull those legs up and they snap into place.  

Then flip it over put the mattress in, pull the red tabs through on the corners and snap them in and you’re set! Taking it apart is nearly as easy, just reverse those steps and to get the legs down you just pull them back out (PULL! it says) and they fall back down, fold it up and put it back in the case! Simple! 

The PNP … well … not as simple. To set up and take apart is like a 10 step process. The buttons/sides get stuck at times when trying to fold and unfold. There is a thin cover that covers it once folded with a handle.

In regards to portability, the Bjorn is much lighter. The Bjorn folded is long and wide but thin since it’s basically only folded in half. The PNP is a much smaller footprint folded because it’s essentially folded in 4. 

Assembly/Pack Up/Stored Size Winner: Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light 

Comfort

The mattress is more plush on the Bjorn than the PNP. This is because the PNP mattress has to be hard on the back because it’s also the outer cover once folded. It’s also more comfortable as it’s essentially on the floor so it’s not going to wobble a whole lot, whereas the PNP floor is very wobbly once the baby can stand and/or jump as it’s quite a few inches off the floor. 

Comfort Winner: Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light 

Accessories

The PNP has the Bjorn beat on additional accessories by far. You can get PNP’s with all kinds of features – changers, nappers, bassinets, mobiles – plus you can buy all kinds of sheets and other accessories. The fact that you can even use the PNP as a bassinet is a great advantage over the Bjorn because as a mom of a newborn you don’t want your baby that low to the ground, plus it’s very far to bend to put them in and take them out. For the Bjorn you’re pretty much just limited to sheets for the mattress. This may or may not matter to you in your purchase of a portable crib, but a point to compare as well. 

Accessories Winner: Graco Pack ‘N Play 

Final Decision

For families who travel fairly regularly such as ours, comfort is very important. You’re replacing the baby or child’s normal sleep environment – a nice cushy mattress – with something much smaller. Comfort and semblance to their normal sleep environment are important to keeping sleep habits and schedules while traveling. Also for travelers, set up/take down and folded size are hugely important. When you’ve been traveling all day or had crying kids in the car, the last thing you want to do when you finally get to your hotel is be messing with this thing getting it set up. Folded size is important because it’s one more thing you have to lug with you when you travel now that you have kids! In all of these areas, the Bjorn wins by a landslide. 

However, we do use it at home which is much more often than we travel. As a place to be safe from dogs or to take a quick snooze in the living room, both the PNP and Bjorn will serve those functions fine. However, as a primary sleeping place for a young baby, you can’t beat the bassinet feature on the PNP. In terms of my current decision though, my baby is old enough that we won’t use the bassinet feature too much longer. Fortunately for me, I got my PNP for $40. The same one retails at Amazon for double that, and it’s one of the VERY basic PNP’s. The Bjorn is around $230. I got it for $160. So in my case, I’m going to keep them both – KEEP ALL THE PORTABLE CRIBS! HA! 

But, if I were starting all over again, I would go with the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light. It’s lighter, easier to use and maintain as a portable crib than the PNP. For a bassinet type solution, if needed, I would go with something like the Arms Reach – which I also got one of this time (I am a baby gear junkie), maybe that’s my next review!

However if you don’t want to have separate pieces for these functions, or if you have a limited budget, the Graco Pack ‘N Play would be a great choice as well. I really don’t think the ones with the fancy extra features are necessary. Even my basic one had the bassinet feature, which is all you really need. 

Now the one we’re missing here is the Lotus! How does it compare? Well I have some friends that might be able to help me compare the Lotus to these so I will update if I can get the Lotus comparison as well!

Diono Travel Accessories 

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With the recent purchase of my new Bumbleride Indie Twin (see my review here), I needed to purchase another parent console. I’m too forgetful to move them between strollers so I just get one for each and leave them on them.

Well I took to Amazon to see if I could find anything better than the Britax and Skip Hop ones that I love for my other strollers. I tried one by Dot&Dot that got GREAT reviews and looked like  the perfect mix of the two I love, plus it came with a set of stroller hooks. Bonus! Well it fit great but the problem was it doesn’t fit larger drink cups. BIG problem for me because I usually carry 1L water bottles plus my son usually has a Contigo kids bottle since he chugs water like it’s goin out of style. So I sent it back. Boo.

Next I looked at the Diono one. I’ve always been intrigued because it’s $8, whereas most others are $20. I’ve also heard great things about it from my friends in the StrollerQueen StrollerSwap group on Facebook. So I said what the heck for $8 I’ll try it.

But then Amazon, you know me so well, a sucker for baby gear. As I added it to my cart it said you might also like these… And suggested some other Diono accessories. A pop up trash bin. Well shoot I do need a place for trash. Also around $6. Add to cart. An organizer for between the car seats. Around $10. Why yes I would like something there for my sons snacks and sippys because I used to do the diaper bag but now if I leave it there he pulls everything out so yup… Add to cart. And a organizer for the back of the seat. Well I have one on my drivers seat but I could probably use one on my passenger seat and the pockets look much more handy on this one. It’s also around $8 you say? Why yes I would like to add that to my cart as well.

So around $30 all in, I’ve got 4 handy car/stroller accessories from Diono, a brand who’s car seats I love. I’m excited to try them out but also wondering what’s the catch… Why are they so cheap?

So they finally came. Yay!

Except the organizer for between the car seats that came the next day (even though they’d all said 2 day prime shipping… Whatever).

So immediately as I open them with kid on Christmas morning excitement I immediately notice one flaw that might be the reason they’re so cheap … They come with no instructions!! Not a big deal on a stroller organizer, or a pop up trash can, I can figure those out. But on a car seat back organizer that has two short elastic straps with hooks – uh what? Where do these go?

Then the next day when the organizer for between their seats come, same thing no instructions. Not a big deal for assembling it that’s pretty easy to figure out. But there’s a flap across the back that velcros, I’m assuming to attach it somehow? But how!?! No instruction. I hope it’s secure somehow or my son is gonna fling it on the floor, but I have no idea how you do so.

There’s simple explanations of what these items do on the packaging. But there’s no instructions in or on the package on how to secure both the seat back organizer and the between the seats organizer. Kind of frustrating… And a google search is no help. I found nothing on their site or any other that was of any assistance. Now I’m beginning to wonder if it’s me – am I just not smart enough to figure these out?!? (If so, please feel free to educate err help me in the comments)

So here’s my review of these items, in case you’re considering snatching them up from Amazon at these great prices.

Diono Travel Pal Car Storage (goes between car seats) – currently $10.50

The travel pal fits between the car seats on your rear bench seat. It has two external cup holders, several inside pockets, a zipped inside pocket and some mesh pockets on the sides. Looks perfect for storing some toys, snacks and Sippy cups.    

That’s what it looks like on the back. Looks like it should secure somewhere. I have no idea how. So I half love it, but really confused on how to secure it and how far my son will throw it with it not being secured.

Diono Stow ‘N Go Car Organizer (goes on back of seat) – currently $8.79

Lots of pockets, including one closed. A couple of them could hold cups or drinks. Attaches around headrest with buckled strap. But the bottom?

No clue. Those don’t look long enough to wrap around the seat so I clipped them to the seat tracks for now, but I don’t think that’ll hold it well.

Diono Pop Up Trash Bin – currently $6.00 

It pops up as soon as you take the straps off. There’s a Velcro piece on the bottom though I’m not sure where you would Velcro a trash bin on the bottom in your car (it’s a Velcro piece with tape on the back so you’d have to tape that Velcro strip somewhere to hold the trash bin). They sell bags for it, but it fits the small grocery plastic bags just fine. Very easy to push it back down and wrap the straps around it if you needed to store it.

Diono Buggy Buddy (Stroller Organizer) – currently $8.00 

Out of all the stroller organizers I tried, this one has the easiest and cleanest straps, in my opinion. The Britax and Skip Hop that I use have Velcro strap overhang which snag on things and curl sometimes. The straps on the Diono are a closed loop around the stroller bars full Velcro so whether you have it tight or loose it’s a closed loop and all the Velcro is inside.  

It’s completely open which could be a disadvantage or advantage depending on how you use it. There’s an inside zippered pocket on the back. There’s two pieces of elastic on either side that will make the outer corners drink holders. They fit small bottles and cups easily, bigger ones are a stretch but they do fit, they just don’t slide in and out easily. It usually requires two hands for me to put my 1 liter water bottle in. 

It kind of hangs on my Bumbleride Indie at a little bit of an angle, but not big enough to buy me.

Overall, I like them and the material seems to be high quality. I think at these prices I will keep them, but I would really like to know how to secure the organizers in the car so if you know please let me know! And I will add it to the post as well.

I definitely recommend the pop up trash bin and buggy buddy organizer.

Remember when I said I wanted to be a babywearer …

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Turns out I might be. 

 

(Not perfect form, I know fellow babywearers but it was my first successful attempt at a back carry so I was proud)

This little squishy bundle of adorableness … Loves to be with me. Or dad. Preferably me (hey I provide the food). But either way loves being held. And he may look teeny in the photo, but he’s not. A big ole 27″, almost 19lb, 5 month old. I love that he wants me so much but mommas arms get tired. Especially since he’s in the “I want to explore the world and see all the things” phase. This phase equals no matter which way I hold him, he cranks around to look in the other direction. Even harder on said momma arms. 

So I’m picking up the wraps and ring slings more. And attempting back carries. Because momma hold + baby turn around crank = not much getting done (plus the sore arms). Back carries used to terrify me. I practiced over my bed, many many times, only to end up sweaty and frustrated and too loose a carry to leave the bed. In fact, after my last attempt, not only did I fail but I ended up with baby spit up in my hair. Not once, but TWICE in the same attempt. Thats talent. 

So I decided the other day to finally give it a go again. This time, I used the couch instead of the bed. Wow! What a difference that made. I could comfortably sit while I worked on it. I could also brace him up against the back for some tension as well. And I actually got it and didn’t feel (AT ALL) like he was gonna fall out! The pic you see above is my finished product!

I know, fellow babywearers, that I have some work to do. And I got lots of feedback from Babywearing pros on Facebook on what I could do better and different carries to try. I really like this one though. I just need a shorter wrap now so I don’t have the long tails… Muahahaha. An excuse for another wrap! 

But the result felt very freeing. My little munchkin could explore the world. And I could enjoy my front free space, and free arms, once again! 

  

But I still love my strollers too. 🙂 

Edited to add: clearly he didn’t like it. 

 

Review: Baby Jogger City Mini GT Double vs. Bumbleride Indie Twin

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So I’ve been in search of the great white buffalo of strollers if you have more than one kid … The “perfect” double stroller. Friends in my Facebook stroller group say the perfect double stroller is elusive. Yes there is such a thing as a Facebook stroller group and it’s a magical wonderful place if you’re a stroller lover like me, check it out, by far my favorite Facebook group – StrollerQueen StrollerSwap, which is not just a swap by the way, they’re fantastic for reviews, opinions and questions.

In my case, I feel the perfect double stroller is even harder to find because where I live I need the all terrain factor as we frequently head off road on the ranch not to mention our main road is a special kind of ridiculous called chip coat where it’s super rough and rock chunks stick up to stab you in the foot and make strolling a stroller 10 times harder. While all terrain is a main factor in my search for the perfect double, I also am used to (and just all out LOVE) my Baby Jogger City Mini and City Select which have awesome canopies, great quick and slim folds and are fairly lightweight and the fabrics have stood up very well with my boys. So I hoped to have some of the same features in my side by side double.

The recommendations by my fabulous gals at SQSS recommended the Bumbleride Indie Twin, the Mountain Buggy Duet or the Bob Duallie. All perfect recommendations for my needs. These ladies know their stuff. However, to me, looks is an equally important factor and I just don’t personally care for the appearance of the Bob or the MB. So they let me know of the best deal on the BRIT and off I went to purchase it!

When my BRIT arrived, I instantly loved the look and a lot of the features. Then I took it for it’s first test spin. After my first outing and then needing to fold it and bring it in the house, I definitely had some hesitations about it and probably due mostly to the fact that it was a completely different brand and beast than I was used to. I started to wonder if a City Mini GT Double wouldn’t meet my needs and be a stroller I’d be happier with being a mostly Baby Jogger user otherwise. However I decided to start by contacting Bumbleride to see if they could help resolve some of my concerns. The biggest concern I had was that after the first outing the seat fabric was already dirty. Yes I live in the country and I have boys, but my other strollers have never been noticeably dirty nearly this fast. So Kandi at Bumbleride was great at giving me a couple of options and ideas. I selected her option of trying a different color fabric. However part of me still hesitated and wondered about the CMGTD and I found a great deal for one online so I decided to order and compare.*

Having both to compare and discussing with my friends at SQSS helped me decide to do a full personal comparison and write up on the two as I had only found one other such direct comparison online. So here’s my findings and decision between the City Mini GT Double and the Bumbleride Indie Twin.

If you find my review helpful, you can purchase them here through Amazon using my affiliate links – I would greatly appreciate it!

City Mini GT Double –

Bumbleride Indie Twin (BRIT) – 
Overall Size

Very similar in overall sizing, I measured both to be 29″ wide. The back wheels on the CMGTD are 26″ and the BRIT are 29″ and for me that meant the difference of fitting through some spaces.

Folded size – big difference! The BRIT is nearly twice the size (24″) folded as the CMGTD (13″).

Here they are folded in the back of my trunk (GMC Terrain) also.

In terms of weight, obviously the CMGTD is going to be lighter which combined with the fold makes it a much more easily portable side by side double.

Best in overall size: City Mini GT Double  

Seats

Both strollers have 11″ wide seats and the footwell is 10.5″ on both, however with the Bumbleride Indie Twin the footwell has 3 adjustable heights and even an infant mode as well (bassinet like with upright footwell and straps that come out and snap to form sides). The City Mini GT Double seat back was 17.75″ tall per my measurement, whereas the BRIT was 19″ and also a coupe extra inches of head room above the seat back before you’d hit the canopy.

Both seat backs recline flat, and the adjuster for the seats was a much tougher on the BRIT, in my opinion.

Harness levels are more spread out on the BRIT and it even has infant support straps for you to thread the bottom harness straps through for better infant support.

The seat back came more upright on the BRIT for me.  

Both seats have pockets on the back (zippered BRIT, mesh elastic CMGTD)

and have venting options (unzip and fully open BRIT, mesh CMGTD).

Seat winner: Bumbleride Indie Twin

Canopy

The canopy actually rotates down in addition to extending on the Bumbleride Indie Twin so it will actually come lower than the City Mini GT Double.

    

The CMGTD has 2 peek through windows that are plastic and glare a bit but are able to be rolled up and secured (Velcro closure and roll up).

The BRIT has one peek through mesh window that’s also rolled up and secured with an elastic strap.

The BRIT canopy is slightly tighter than the CMGTD so it can be a little harder to pull down, which can be a good or a bad thing, depending on your kiddos.

Canopy winner: Bumbleride Indie Twin 

Handlebar

The max handlebar height on both is 42″. Both go low enough that your kiddos can push. However the City Mini GT Double has many more setting selections (5+) than the Bumbleride Indie Twin (3?). For me, at 5’8″ it makes a difference. I found a much more comfortable setting on the CMGTD, whereas the next closest setting on the BRIT is about an inch lower and therefore a little less comfortable.

I could put it up higher on the BRIT, to the highest setting, but then it would be hard to use a parent console because of the angle.

Another difference is the middle bar on the BRIT. This will allow you to use nearly any parent console whereas on the CMGTD you’d need one specific to a double.

I personally prefer the rubber on the CMGTD handlebar over the BRIT, but I’m putting City Grips on them anyway so it’s not a huge deal.

Handlebar Winner: City Mini GT Double

Basket

The basket on the Bumbleride Indie Twin is easily more accessible and bigger than the basket on the City Mini GT Double, probably at least in part to the difference in the rear wheel width. 

With either of the footwells up, the basket on the BRIT is also easily accessible from the front too (which is nice because my toddler can put his water and snack cup in there on his own). 

 

Basket winner: Bumbleride Indie Twin

Fold 

The fold on the City Mini GT Double is not only thinner as I mentioned earlier but much easier. Grab the two handles on the seats and pull up. To open, unlock on the one side and flip open. The Bumbleride Indie Twin is kind of a two step fold with a manual lock (the CMGTD lock engages automatically once folded tight enough). For the BRIT you pull up the fold handles on both sides and fold the seats down forward in front of you but you also kind of need to push the bottom forward with your foot too. Then once folded you have to push down and engage the locks manually on either side.  

Fold winner: City Mini GT Double

Aesthetics/Customization

The Bumbleride Indie Twin has an all silver frame whereas the City Mini GT Double has an all black frame. Personally I prefer the all black frame. As I mentioned earlier, the fabric stained on the BRIT very quickly just from mud and using the recommended cleaner (BuggyLove) didn’t do the trick. I’ve never had noticeable stains on any Baby Jogger fabrics before. The seat fabrics on both however are easily removed, washable, and then reattached.

You can easily change the color on your BRIT by ordering new fabrics from them for $120+ shipping. I got an aqua set to try with black liners to see if that will help my dirtying problem. Because the seat fabrics are separate too you could mix and match colors. I’ve seen black and pink mixed seats for boy/girl siblings on SQSS. The seats are all one piece on the CMGTD so you can only change the color of the whole stroller. I’m fairly certain you can order new ones from Baby Jogger for a similar price.

BRIT comes with the belly bars and universal infant seat adapter which is nice, because no accessories come with the CMGTD. For child snack tray options on the BRIT you can get a Snack Pack ($45) which is raved about on SQSS. Bumbleride also sells a parent console ($25). They also sell a combo seat liner/footmuff for $70, great option if you live in a cooler climate. I don’t but I considered it just for the matching liner alone for my staining issue thinking a liner is easier to wash than the whole fabric. You can also get a bassinet ($160), diaper bag ($60), mini riding board ($100), and rain cover ($45).

The CMGTD comes with no accessories. However you can get a parent console ($35), belly bar ($45), snack tray ($25), cooler ($25), rain cover ($65), bassinet ($170), footmuff ($65), infant seat adapter ($110), glider board ($85), and cup holder ($25).

Accessories/Customization winner: TIE!

Handling

Both handle well on smooth terrain and grass. Off road, the Bumbleride Indie Twin glides over gravel, rocks, uneven terrain. The suspension makes it fairly seamless to the riding kids. The City Mini GT Double went off road but it was much more difficult to push and was noticeably much more jolting to the kiddos.

On my awesomely stupid chip coat road, both were slightly difficult to push so that was a draw.

Handling winner: Bumbleride Indie Twin 

Final Decision

For me, the main things holding me back from being 100% on the Bumbleride Indie Twin was the fold/weight, seat fabric and difficulty adjusting seat back, handlebar height and questioning if the City Mini GT Double would handle just as well but correct some of those other hang ups. In my conclusion, the Indie handled just as well or better than the CMGTD and push is a huge factor as I will use it almost daily for walks. The dislikes I had for the BRIT weren’t significantly better on the CMGTD for me to sway that way for a worse push/handling overall. Plus I kinda like the customization and accessory options on the BRIT better and the color is much prettier I think. So the winner for me is …. BUMBLERIDE INDIE TWIN!

Now if you’re someone who doesn’t have as rough of terrain as I do, I think the City Mini GT Double is a great choice and I know so many people who have them and love them. Like I said, I LOVE my other Baby Joggers, and maybe I’ll get the CMGTD again some day for a different use. But for my current everyday usage walking and around the ranch, Bumbleride Indie Twin is mah jam!

*For the record, both of these strollers were purchased by me, they were not provided by the manufacturers. 

Edit to add: I ordered the footmuff and liner as I have a hard time keeping my littlest covered when we go walking due to the high winds where I live and I love it!

It covers him perfectly and provides a little more cushion for him in the seat.

It was very easy to attach to the back of the seat with the elastic strap and re-thread the harness through it. The footmuff easily zips off if you just want the liner.

My only complaint is the exposed zipper when you take the footmuff off, but it’s a minor one because overall it’s great! I’ll have to buy another for the other side as my older son is the one who will dirty the stroller most and the liner would be great so I don’t have to wash the entire seat fabric when he jumps in with his muddy shoes. I highly recommend it as an accessory for your Indie or indie Twin.

I wanted to be a babywearer

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I know a lot of people who love baby wearing. I read lots of blogs and babycenter posts that say handling a toddler and baby is achieved by baby wearing. It’s how stuff gets done when you have your hands full or a needy baby. The carriers are so cute and the moms and babies look so peaceful that I really wanted to be a baby wearer. I bought ergos, a ring sling, a woven wrap, a mei tai… All cute, thinking if they’re cute I’ll use them. And I figured with all the different styles I’ll find at least one that I love and I will become a baby wearer.

I’m not a baby wearer. Insert the sads here.

Ok, technically, I am. I’ve had many baby wearing moms say if I wear my baby I’m a baby wearer. And I do wear him some. But I love my stroller so much more. I love having my space and I love my baby having his space. The biggest relief to me was this week when I put him in the stroller and he loved it. I’ve been wanting to walk and get back into a non pregnant shape, but it’s been hard wearing the baby for me, it’s just so much more hot and sweaty when I’m already hot and sweaty. So I was finally able to put him in the stroller with his big brother and go for a non baby wearing walk. Yay!!

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But I do think that there are many carriers that the general parenting public isn’t aware of, and maybe would help someone like me find a way to wear their baby if they’ve been unsuccessful with the more popular carriers, so I’ll share my baby wearing trials and opinions here:

My favorite is my woven wrap. It was also the more expensive. Think Moby but longer lasting. Being woven rather than stretchy it’s more longer lasting. Mine is by Girasol. I actually want to buy another wrap because this thing is a beast to carry around with me, but the comfort (for me) and sleepy baby factor hasn’t been duplicated in another other carriers for me.

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Second on my list is probably my ring sling. This one is by Little Frog. I love it for its quick and easy up factor. It’s also very portable. It also can easily be used with my toddler if needed.

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Next would be my Ergo performance. I’m not a big fan of “structured” carriers (think buckles and straps) compared to my woven, but if I have to have one, this would be it. It’s got a mesh front which is great for where I live. I used to have a Beco Gemini, and I felt like that one was hard to figure out. The Ergo is easy to me. What doesn’t work for me as well on this one is that the straps run right under my arms (which doesn’t work well for a hot running engine like mine).

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Lastly would be the mei tai. In all fairness, I’ve only tried it once. It didn’t look nearly as comfy for my baby and the fabric wasn’t very comfy. I’ve heard good things about pricier ones, mine is just a cheap one by Infantino (I got it for $17 at Target to be exact).

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But to me – baby wearing hasn’t made me much more productive. I was disappointed because I’d read so much about how housework or dealing with a toddler is so much easier with baby wearing! To me, it’s hard to do housework with a baby strapped to my chest. Yes my hands are free if I’m trying to do dishes or fold laundry, but I have to work around this appendage on my chest. And dealing with the toddler – bahahaha! Maybe those who said this have calm toddlers. Mine will kick at me when I’m changing his diaper, trying to get him dressed, trying to put his shoes on, trying to do anything that isn’t exactly what he wants to do… And that’s not cool if I’ve got the baby on me.

However, baby wearing has come in handy during growth spurts, and wonder weeks, and developments where baby is just needier and fussier than usual, or will only sleep on me, and my arms or tired or my butt is asleep from recliner duty. I also never leave home without one because if I’m at the store shopping I do take them both in in the stroller but if the baby starts melting down and needs to be held – I still need to be able to finish up and get out of there and my carrier has saved me with that. So it does have usefulness to me for sure – but it’s just not something I do all the time, and I do like to have my space. I just have to keep telling myself that that’s ok.

Mom Wardrobe

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I’m not the type of person who enjoys clothes shopping. I also don’t like spending a lot of money on articles of clothing so looking at maternity clothes my first pregnancy got a resounding “oh hell no” out of me. ESPECIALLY since they have such a short useful life. Even if you have multiple pregnancies you’re still using them for only months. I can’t bring myself to spend much money on clothing that’s so short lived.

So for my first pregnancy I was determined to not buy them unless I had to. Instead if I did go shopping, I made sure anything I bought was stretchy – stretchy t’s, elastic waist pants or skirts, yoga pants and leggings. And it worked. I never had to buy anything maternity.

Second pregnancy I wasn’t so lucky. End of second trimester, beginning of third my “normal” clothes were leaving my belly exposed. But thanks to a thread on my birth board on Babycenter, someone turned me on to an Old Navy maternity sale. I stocked up on some tanks (my staple as a pregnancy momma in a hot climate), a couple of shirts I could wear to work, and some gaucho pants. Very reasonably priced stuff – all right around $5/piece give or take a little. That’s my kinda prices. It all came in and I loved it all. So next time I saw a good sale there I got some more.

I also still stocked up on “normal” stretchy stuff. Being in a hot climate, I generally live in shorts. But as a mom (and one that runs super hot when pregnant and post partum nursing, not to mention how I look) shorty shorts aren’t gonna be a part of my wardrobe. I actually found some comfy Bermuda type shorts at Walmart, in their Danskin section. They make them shorter and I got a couple pairs of those too anyway, and some longer in Capri length. I stocked up in all colors. And voila – my pregnancy wardrobe for kiddo #2. Mostly tanks, then maternity tanks, and comfy shorts/capris/yoga pants/leggings. Little did I know it would stick with me post partum also!

So after having baby, I’m still fluffy plus I’m nursing so I want to be be comfortable and be able to nurse easily. At home, nursing tanks are my staple. I want to thank my friend Robyn for turning me onto this idea – she wore them to bed. But for days I don’t leave the house I wear them all day also. Days that I must leave or be more presentable, I put on my nursing bra and still a maternity tank over because they are stretchier and more giving for access. With my first child, I also wore similar attire but when it was cold I used cardigans or hoodies to go over my tanks.

Those would be my recommendations for a pregnancy and post partum wardrobe that’ll be most useful!

Boy Stuff

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When you get pregnant you’re so excited to go shopping for baby things. Once you find out you’re having a boy, and you head to the store, you soon realize there are not near as many cute things to buy for boys as there is girls – especially when it comes to clothes. I also can’t bring myself to spend much more than $5 on a piece of baby or kids clothing since they grow out of them SO FAST so that’s a factor in what and where I buy as well. Here’s what I’ve come across after shopping for now a second boy.

Newborn – 12 months: I prefer Carter’s brand. I like the styles and the fit. They’re also great in that you can return/exchange nearly anything – been washed, no tags, any length of time, Etc. I actually prefer gender neutral for the newborn stage personally I just don’t like the color blue so much. Haha. I like the fit but both of my boys have been very tall for their age. My youngest is thicker, but even the wider onesies from other companies still look odd on him. I do like the onesies with the cute/funny sayings on them from Walmart as well.

12 months+ : I don’t use onesies anymore, I go strictly with tshirts and pants/shorts. I also don’t like Carter’s anymore. Seems like everything has a character, animal or saying on it. I don’t find if as cute for every piece of clothing to have that once they start looking like little men. My favorite brands at this stage have been Old Navy, Circo (Target) and Garanimals (Walmart). You can’t beat the price of the Walmart pants and shirts. However sale or clearance prices of Circo can get close. Also catching a good Old Navy sale can get some good prices also.

Socks: I just like to get big packs of Hanes from Target or Walmart, even when they’re small. I started buying them when my son was 6-12 months I believe. Otherwise Targets Circo baby socks were my favorite and I had a few pair from Old Navy that I liked also.

Shoes: I’ve liked Target (either Cherokee or Circo) when they’re on sale or Walmart – Avia or Starter. Again they outgrow them so fast I can’t bring myself to spend more than $20/pair. I also don’t buy shoes until they can walk. No point!

Pajamas: always seemed to be outgrown first, size wise, so I always had to size up on these first. With my tall skinny kids, I had to buy the “skinny” fit type of pajamas. I did the zip up sleep n plays up til 12mo, after that I went to the two piece type. I get my skinny two piece pajamas either from Target (their Carter’s brand), Walmart (the character ones), or Kohls character ones.

Pants: I’ve heard from others (and with my sons) about having a hard time finding pants that fit and the sizing not matching up with shirt size. Ever since 6-9 months my sons pants/shorts sizes fall behind a size or two. Also being skinny I try to go with elastic waist. I don’t do jeans really. They just seem uncomfy for baby or toddler. I get cotton elastic waist shorts and pants. For the pants, I get the ones that don’t have elastic at the bottom. I think they look good and comfy. I’m blessed in that where I live we can get away with shorts most of the year but this winter I found exactly what I was looking for in pants at Target (Circo lounge pants – $5) and Walmart (Garamimals -$4).

After my second time of shopping for boys now, I actually enjoy it and I like dressing them and finding good looking but inexpensive boys clothes. I just wish manufacturers would make and stores would stock equal amounts of both genders clothes. I am kinda glad I don’t have to worry about headbands, bows, tights, skirts or tutus … Just yet. I am having plenty of fun scouting out stuff for my boys – and I buy what I can because I do plenty of laundry with boys!

2-3 Months: Sleep, Leaps, Growth Spurts and What Else?

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The things you hear about exhaustion and sleep deprivation with a new baby really don’t ring true. You don’t really start to get exhausted and frustrated until the new baby smell starts to wear off – when they’re transitioning from newborn to infant. Within the first few months to changes come on fast – from growth spurts to Wonder Weeks and developmental milestones and sleep regression. In my case, I think we’ve got some teething thrown in too!

It’s funny how much I forgot in 2 short years since my first son was born. Now that I’m deep in the trenches of this transition time, I’m remembering this was the most trying time with my oldest son. But I don’t remember my oldest son teething at this same time also! I’m pretty sure teething is to blame for the random excess fussiness that my son is having but more significantly, the buckets of drool coming out of his mouth!

Right now he is 11.5 weeks old just short of 3 months. Since about a month old, he’s slowly been becoming less and less accepting of napping anywhere but on me. Around a month old he went through his first developmental leap (Wonder Weeks) which was a little challenging, and required some extra momma snuggled naps. Then we got on the other side of it and things went back to relatively normal. Slowly he was sleeping less and less places but I could still get him some decent naps at least in the swing.

Then the second leap rolled around at 2 months not to mention we were out of state on vacation for Christmas and he pretty much would only nap on me or someone for any extended period of time. Then we returned from the trip and he was still the same. I could set him down in the swing but he would only sleep there for about 30-45 minutes. Ever since 6-7 weeks I try setting him down a couple times a day for a nap and now I will only get those short naps that way. And I’ve tried everything and everywhere – swaddled, unswaddled, rock n play, bassinet, swing, even tried laying him in my bed thinking he would like the warmth and my smell and that worked – once.

After a couple of tries a day though I give in and I just let him sleep on me and I’ll get 2-3 hours. I’ve started wearing him too and that helps sometimes so I can at least get stuff done or go outside. But having him not sleep on me is not working him not getting a good nap in so I give in to the nap on me. I’m worried I’m creating a bad habit. Mostly I’ve been okay with it thinking it was just a phase but the longer it goes on the more I think it’s not a phase and the more what other people say about it gets to me – that I shouldn’t let him, I should let him cry, etc.

Everything I’ve read though on sleep habits, development, and fourth trimester tells me that’s all wrong though. I can’t let my baby cry if he needs me. With my older son, I never let him cry ever. I have read the impact that has on the brain, their development and independence and I see it now in him. He’s very confident and independent. Also sleep begets sleep which is why crappy naps aren’t worth it just to have him not sleep on me. Same with my older son he is a great sleeper and always has been and I think that started with a focus on him getting good naps. My little one sleeps great at night though so I can’t complain too much. So if I have to subject myself to some baby snuggles (aww darn!) for one nap a day, for now, I think it’s worth it.

Besides, it all goes by SO FAST. I remember being in the thick of this stage last time, and thinking it felt like it went on FOREVER. And then before I knew it, it was over, and he was rolling… Then crawling… Then standing…. Then walking. I need to just relax, trust myself as a mom that I’m doing the right thing and enjoy my baby snuggles. Soon he won’t want to snuggle anymore…

The other part of it is dealing with the developmental changes. Some of them are so awesome! Seeing him making eye contact, smiling, almost giggling, exploring using his arms and legs, wanting to stand and sit. And some are baffling such as his change in soothing preference. I had it nailed down. I knew exactly how to soothe this kid – side laying, swaddled, paci, shooshing and swaying back and forth – basically the 5s’s. Now, just the last week or so (Wonder Week?) it’s like I’m a big kid now mom I wanna be upright I don’t wanna lay like a baby. So I have to hold him upright to try to soothe him. Big kids also don’t want to suck on pacis either. So with tired arms and legs I hold him upright and bounce and sway and pray something in that combo works.

There’s no magical combo anymore, I don’t nail it. Eventually he stops crying, but I’m not sure there are many worse feelings in the world than as a mother not being able to stop your kids crying. It breaks my heart every time and gets me frustrated with myself. Funny though because I remember his older brother doing this exact same thing to me at this similar age. Damn! Why don’t I write stuff down so I can remember what helped me through this last time?!? Oh well, I’m writing now I guess!

So I hope and pray that I haven’t created any bad habits and that I’m just going through some crazy superstorm of development growth and teething or something that is making one day good and the next day nuts. I also hope and pray that I continue to write this stuff down, when I find the time (ha!) so that maybe I can have it to refer back to next time I have a baby and I’m struggling through this time. Until the next challenge…