Thursday, May 28, 2009

Q&A Dreamer Design

Q: I need some stroller help! I just bought a new Dreamer Design Ditto Deluxe, 2007 model. It's the model with one-hand fold. Is anything on it likely to break? Anything I should know? I am worried since I can't get parts. If I need new wheels, can ANY bike store wheel work, or does it have to be a certain kind (no longer made)? Also, will this stroller turn? It's a fixed wheel, and I jog, but slowly. Actually I am walking now since baby #3 is due in 2 months.

A: I have the 2005 and 2006 Dreamer Design Ditto models, but not 2007 so I can't speak to the folding mechanism, specifically. I have a Kelty single stroller which has one-hand folding and the only problem I've had with that is that the handlebar padding getting a little torn and as it has aged, you have to make sure that it clicks into the locked position with the build-up of dirt, etc.

You probably will need to replace the tires every 1000-2000 miles, but your 16" stroller tires are just the same as a 16" children's bike, so they are easily found at a bicycle shop like Performance Bike or your local shop. Likewise, the innertubes (in case you get a flat) are easily found at a bike shop. With light-to-regular jogging on paved roads, I would not expect you to have a problem with the wheels or spokes themselves. I had to replace one of my wheels for becoming untrued (bent), but a bike mechanic can fix this if it is not too bad plus I take this stroller off-road and stuff so I'm sure that contributed to the problem. I did recently discover, however, that though they appear to be the same, the front tires from different brands are not necessarily interchangeable because of the quick release.

I have also replaced the brake cable and calipers (the parts that squeeze the wheel to make it stop) after about 2000 miles. They just got worn out and gunked up since I don't do a good job of cleaning off dirt, etc. after runs. When DD was in business, you could order the whole thing, but now you'll just have to get the parts at a bike shop. Just the same as a bicycle as well except that the cable is really long.

What IS likely to break on your Dreamer Design is the fabric. With each year, it seems like it becomes flimsier. Just check to make sure that all the nylon straps which support the seats are going around the frame so that the fabric is not supporting all the weight of the child.

This stroller turns GREAT! That is actually the #1 reason that I stuck with Dreamer Design despite the cons (such as going out of business). Because the back wheels are relatively far forward as compared to other strollers I've tried, it turns much easier than other fixed wheel strollers. You'll find it much easier to turn when you aren't pregnant anymore too. Though it can be annoying when you are walking, you would want to lock a swivel wheel into the fixed position for jogging anyway.

Two important cautions:
1. Also because of the back wheels being relatively forward, it is easy to tip over backwards if one of your kids stands up in his seat or if the stroller rolls backwards and hits a bump or even if you lean too hard on the handle while running uphill. Keep the kids buckled just in case.
2. You may experience this with 3 kids - the footrest looks like a really appealing seat for whichever kid doesn't get a real seat, but it will break the frame if you let the kid sit there because it is only welded together.

Good luck with #3...Third's a charm! I love having three.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Running in the rain and other thoughts

Great day in Houston, TX. Went for a run with my husband and dog. It just poured on us. Made me know why I married him in the first place. We were only a mile 1/2 from home and I knew he wanted to just run through it. I was already soaked and agreed to keep going. He just beamed. Our runs are the only real "dates" we have but we've been doing it for 15 years now. I can never seem to get the energy to leave the kids and make plans for a night out, but running is just so effortless and he and the dog always want to go. I know all the books say we need "date night" - they're not wrong, but hard for me to fit in. When our 2 year old is older maybe we'll get more traditional. For now we're so happy to have the time for a run. Happy Memorial Day. God Bless the fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and others who gave their lives for our freedom. God Bless the families that must carry on. You're not forgotten.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nominate a Teen to Carry the Flame!

Coca-Cola is looking for 10 teens who you think live positively to carry the Olympic Flame during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay and they’re asking consumers to help find them. Go online to www.livepositively.comby May 31, 2009 to nominate a teen who you think inspires positive living and would be a great Torchbearer.

The three areas of positive living are:
  • Balanced Living: Staying active and physically fit while having fun with family and friends.
  • Community: Working to make good things happen for the people who live around you.
  • Recycling: Helping the planet by recycling or donating time to a recycling program in your community
Maybe your daughter volunteers to teach swimming lessons; maybe your neighbor started a recycling drive, maybe your nephew helps to clean up local parks; whatever it is they are doing to inspire others - Coke wants to know at Who knows, your teen nominee could carry the Olympic Flame on the Olympic Torch Relay in January!

You can watch a cool video from Apolo Anton Ohno too about it here:

It is guaranteed to be one the most exciting experiences of a teen's life -- I should know!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Okay, I've admitted on this blog before that I am a Dancing with The Stars crazed fan. Love it! Love dancing! Love watching dancing! Going to figure out a way to get one of my young daughters to become a professional ballroom dancer!!!!

At any rate, for those who did not vote for GILLES to win - ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?!? He was the absolute best dancer that show has ever had!!! Unbelievable upset. Yes, people, I cried and then got really mad.

First upset was Lil' Kim not making it to the finals.

Now this tragedy! Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay -- this is not a serious post. But, man, can that "naked guy" dance!!!!!!!!! What fun! This truly was the best season yet. Now what am I going to do with myself? Dance myself perhaps?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Been Out of the Loop_ Wounded Warrior Run

Greetings fellow Moms! I have not been posting because I hadn't been running..... Adjusting to a deployed hubby, sickness plaguing our house and plain old burn out. I was really thinking about hanging up the running shoes. Plus~~ I joined the gym and fell in love..... with the Precore machine. It's a great workout and didn't kill my knees. I'd still do a little on the treadmill but mostly my beloved Precore and weights. However, this weekend there was a Wounded Warrior Run at the local base. I really believe it is a great cause. I hesitated registering because I know I'd have to push the double with a 4 year old and nearly 3 year old......I hemmed and hawed because I'd been sick for over 3 weeks and ran ZERO miles and didn't even go to the gym for two of those weeks. I procrastinated because..... it was a race.....

THEN, I got out of MYSELF and knew the right thing to do was go for those wounded warriors, so I registered the afternoon before the race.

I am so glad I did. I had a great time once I took the "burden" of a RACE off the picture. I honestly don't even know what my time was, I didn't even bother to look. I met up with many friends to include other wives of deployed Marines and Sailors and fellow Nurse Corp Reserve and Active Duty Nurses. We ran, we walked, they took turns pushing my boys, we talked, we stopped to help a heat causualty ( the nurse thing....). I had my 12 year old son go too. I thought it important for him to honor the wounded . He ended up running it ....... way faster than me. Evidently he was bored and didn't want to take the chance of having to push his brothers again. I was super proud of him. We plan on doing many more this summer.

There may be some true runners who wouldn't agree but I say go out and do those races. Not for your "time" or place but for you and the cause.

P.S. The T's were to unite us, the wives of RCT-8

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Training and Life: How to Find Balance?

Did you watch Biggest Loser last night? I really don't want to give away any details in case you recorded it but let's just say that Jillian, the queen of quotes, had her best one of the season last night: "Wanna know how to train for a marathon? You run. And after that, you run some more. And after that, you run more." Said while pushing the speed up, up, up on a treadmill. How true is that?!

Speaking of running then running more and more, etc, etc, you ever feel like the rest of your hobbies have been shoved way to the very back of the back burner? After I ran the Shamrock Marathon, I went on and on to everyone who would listen about how now I was finally going to get back to things I had neglected during my marathon training. Like maybe I'd finally fix these:

Those are the drapes in my bedroom. I bought them at Ikea over 3 years ago. See the cut edges...the strings hanging down all willy-nilly? Apparently, French doors are way taller in Sweden then they are here in America (I wonder if they even call them French doors?? I bet they are Swedish doors! Totally explains the fact that they were approximately 4 feet too long...). I am not a type who sews. I've been a 'tom-boy' my entire life and most likely couldn't thread a needle so the idea of sewing a curtain to the proper length literally makes me itch and kind of freak out. So what did I do? I cut them. Yeah. Smart, right? The idea was that I'd cut them and then use that super simple iron mending tape stuff and just like that, a perfect hem! Fast forward three years and I'm still looking at what you see above. After the marathon, the plan was to jazz them up with the perfect cute yet sophisticated trim/fabric and hot glue it on and finally be done with it. So after Shamrock, when I was feeling all full of myself and homemakerish, I went to Jo-Ann's and within 5 minutes, nearly had a nervous breakdown and ran out of there.

The other thing I've completely neglected is my love of reading. I've been a big reader for as long as I can remember. Nothing makes me happier then curling up with a really good book and a glass of wine. Before I started running, I'd read a book a week at least. There were a lot of times when I'd be reading two books at once - one for 'the kids are at school and I'm on the couch with tea' reading and one for 'the kids are asleep and I have wine and a fluffy pillow and not a care in the world' reading. During marathon training, by the time I'd get into bed, I'd crack a book, read three sentences and promptly fall asleep. As you can imagine, it takes me approximately 4 months to read a half of a book. That didn't stop me from buying books though and so this is what my side of the bed looks like:

I felt no need to panic or feel guilty because as soon as Shamrock was done, I was going to read! I was going to hot glue drapes and read!! But then I signed up for the Pacer's Running Festival Half Marathon taking place on Mother's Day and so I'm still reading what I was reading when I ran the Shamrock Marathon. And I really want to be done with it because honestly, I'm kind of tired of it.

I also had big plans to cook all kinds of fabulous foods. I have a semi-abnormal love of cooking sites and blogs and read them daily. I bookmark and print out recipes sometimes I even go so far as to purchase necessary ingredients but then I'd be so drained from training, I'd resort to some old standby meal.

Anyway, the point is, I kind of miss all that stuff and really, really, really mean it this time when I say that after this weekend's half marathon, I'm going to take a much needed break from training. I'll keep running but I'm going to force myself not to sign up for any major runs before my busy October (Army 10-Miler and Marine Corps Marathon). Think I can do it? How does a person addicted to training find balance?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Perspective on the Mommy only gym

Howdy Running Moms: I've been going to the mommy only gym for about a month now. My daughter no longer likes the child care and it is much too crowded for my liking. We're back to looking for a good gym that includes Dads and Sons. The thing I did notice was that there is a lot more eye contact and smiling going on with all women. There were also all shapes, sizes, and ages there. They also try to sell a lot of stuff at the front of the store and really push it. Men do not shop at the gym I'm sure. The price was amazing though-- $10.00 a month after only a $50.00 sign up fee. The gym we're looking at now is $70.00 a month and you pay for child care. The paid child care place is immaculate and not crowded. There were a few comments on my last email so I'll clarify here. Our whole family works out all the time. We love to exercise and it is a mainstay of who we are as a family. My 13 year old has figured out that she is much happier after exercise and it boosts her mental acumen to do homework. My 10 year old plays two sports and lives in the pool the rest of the time. Our 6 year old is an avid biker and on the swim team as well as just plain busy being 6. Our 2 year old is well on her way to a lifetime of fitness too. I guess for me this whole issue of women's only fitness is mine. My husband needs a place to do swim laps too so we'll be shopping for a gym. No free military gyms for us anymore, we've joined the civilian ranks and paying to work out.