This all started when my lovely boyfriend and I went out for the day and he thought he could handle carrying our (at the time) 11 month old daughter around in her BABY carrier. I warned him it would put some serious strain on his back (which is already giving him trouble, he blames it on turning 28) and his shoulders. I explained I had taken her out with her carrier when she was 8 months old and she was already way too heavy for it. But he insisted and with all the macho-bravado he could muster he gave me his signature half-smile raised an eyebrow and said "c'mon, babe, I can handle it." Needless to say, we got two blocks from our building and he was already huffing and puffing all the while a string of giggles spilled out of our daughter's mouth with each bounce that resulted from her dad trying to re-adjust her into a comfortable position for him. When I saw him in distress I instantly started suggesting buying a cheap 99 cent store variety umbrella stroller. About four blocks from our building, he conceded. We stopped at a Shopper's World, spotted a Disney-princess themed super cheapo umbrella stroller and purchased it just to put my boyfriend out of his misery. It was supposed to be a temporary thing but now it's 4 months later and we're still using it.
This contraption has definitively become the BANE of my existence. I use it every morning to take my daughter to my mom's for the day while her dad and I go to work. And every day I struggle with it because it's so low that her JJ Cole Bundle Me automatically gets caught under the wheels. Her Bundle Me is constantly filthy, it's digusting and I'm so tired of it. Not to mention the flimsy canopy that has gotten all bent out of shape. The time has definitely come to invest in a better, sturdier umbrella stroller, especially since I'm walking in the March of Dimes March for Babies walk and the AIDS walk both in May.
So, for the past few weeks I've been researching better umbrella strollers on Babies R Us.com and Target.com to name a few. Thus far I really like The First Years Ignite Stroller (ranging from $38.99-$48.00 depending on the store and the theme of the stroller), Babies R Us' Butterfly stroller ($54.99) and the Maclaren Volo Stroller (a splurge at $98.00). My first two choices rank higher than the Maclaren because they take us parents into consideration in the form of a large parent console with the First Years Ignite stroller and a cup holder with the BRU Butterfly stroller. The Maclaren offers nothing for the parents other than a lower storage basket, though to be fair that's more than I can say for that disaster of an umbrella stroller that we're currently using.
All in all, I'm slowly but surely coming to the conclusion that the final decision can't be made by just perusing different strollers online, I have to go to the store and actually test them out!