All right... here's those pic's I promised, but in a little different form than I was thinking. Here are pictures of the kids in their BRAND NEW STROLLER! Yes, you read that right, and no, I didn't win the ACTUAL lottery, I won the lottery when it comes to friends. Yep, definitely so. You see, 28 of my friends got together and gave to a Chip In account while Emma and I were away in St. Pete for her surgery. I got two phone calls saying "people want to help, tell us how we can." And I had to say "I really don't know, just pray us home." Well, that they did, but they did something else at the same time. Bethany owns a store called the Polkadot Platypus which sells great baby products. She and Michelle spearheaded the efforts and posted to my the RR adoption group and an online Ds support group, Downsyn and together they raised the money for the stroller. I didn't know about it until the end, but I think they raised the money in a week... maybe less.
Michelle and I have some very frank conversations and she was aware that the triple stroller we had was not going to serve our family's needs long term. She knew it wasn't washable (a biggie in my house) and didn't support Emma well enough to be used frequently. It was difficult to maneuver and to get taken apart to go in the car. She knew I hoped to replace it once we knew Emma would be staying with us a while longer... and a conversation from months prior came to mind when I told her we were fine.
I was surprised and so thankful when I found out what these ladies were up to- but then I was SHOCKED to see the total that they raised! Over $550! Between the donations of friends and the final amount being donated by Bethany herself, I received a stroller this morning. One that is more than I could have ever gotten for myself, and I am so impressed with even though it hasn't set wheel outside (since there's still a tropical storm sitting on us).
I have to tell you a little more about my friends though. A little bit more about why this surprised me and why I'm so grateful for their generosity. Because you may think "28 people, that's not that much money each" well, I didn't divide it up to figure out an average, but I didn't need to in order to know their heart. You see... out of those 28 people... I have personally met three in real life, face-to-face meet-ups. The other 25 people have donated to this project- one that I didn't even know about- just because they wanted to bless our family. How's that for winning the lotto? I couldn't have been more blessed. THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROCITY!!
Now, let me tell you about this wonderful stroller that this group of friends purchased for our family... It is a "double jogging stroller" with an optional third seat which fairly easily attaches and detaches to use the third seat or not. Each seat has a sun canopy (the 'toddler seat' canopy is on backorder) which is wonderful for the Florida heat. It has little bags on either side that are perfect for keeping a constant supply of TISSUES and for the bottles that are discarded halfway through our walk. On the back of each side there's another small bag which zips off and on, great for Mom's cell phone and keys. If your kids are mobile, then this would allow you to take your valuables with you if you leave the stroller for a moment. Since none of my 3 are walking, I won't be leaving the stroller... but I will appreciate it some day when they're all able to run away without the wheels as well :) In addition, there's a decent size basket for a jacket, blanket, pillow, diaper bag, whatever. It won't fit my big diaper bag down there but there's enough other ways to carry things that it will be just fine!
Next the actual seats... There are three positions for the shoulder belts of the 5 point harnesses for the two regular stroller seats. All my kids are in the second slot and there's room for growth! The stroller fully supports Emma's back and is easy to recline or sit up with just one hand on either seat. It has infant headrests that came with it but I'm not sure that it's quite big enough for Emma's head. I left one on for a time because it is helpful but I think I might need to find something else. The good part is that I can recline the seat and her neck is fully supported, so the neck support and head alignment are much less of an issue.
Another great thing... If I keep a basic umbrella fold single in my car, I will have all the combinations I'll need no matter how many kids I have with me! Single, double, triple! I'm in heaven :) We used to move strollers around all the time and I sometimes got stuck "out" and realized I had NO strollers with me. Not a good thing when there's more kids than there are arms!
The third seat, or toddler seat, Brianna is in love with! She didn't want to come out when I first put her in it! She likes being up high and "free" to see and move about! She's got the bird's eye view :) That seat also has a 5-pt harness and is wide enough for Brianna to be in it for quite some time- and Micah too! His belly is quite a bit rounder than Brianna's, but it holds (I think) up to 45 lbs! The seat doesn't have to be detached (just press two buttons to fold it in) in order to fold the stroller. Yes, it makes it a 3-step fold, but since it holds 3 kids... I'd say it's worth it!
THANK YOU BETHANY, MICHELLE, AND ALL THOSE WHO DONATED!!
(Emma was sleeping when I was taking the initial pic's but Kristopher was more than happy to sit in her seat for pictures! He's a TALL 4 1/2 yr old and still sits great in the stroller tho! And please Excuse Brianna's "straw" hair- she had just woken up from nap after having a blueberry cereal bar for lunch. She thinks eating is a head to toe event!)