A New Stroller, A Custom House Portrait, & Other Adventures

Ah yes, the much awaited Father’s Day post. First off, thanks to all of those who wished me a Happy Father’s Day on Sunday. Here’s a belated one back to all my fellow man-parents out there.

I had a wonderful weekend with my girls and my main man Burger. I learned from my own dad to think of celebrating these holidays not with things, but by doing things… together (like the trail run I took him on Sunday morning). That’s what fatherhood is all about, right? And this year Clara was old enough to participate in the weekend’s activities a bit more, which made it even more enjoyable. Not that she wasn’t fun to be around last year for my first Father’s Day (in the old sunroom- we miss you old house!):

So this year we packed as many activities as possible into the two-day-span (working around a few house projects, of course). The three of us (sometimes four) went out to breakfast, read lots of books, played outside, went on some walks, made some homemade pizzas, and hit up the Farmer’s Market – as you already probably read about here and here.

But perhaps my favorite activity of the weekend was christening my big gift from Sherry and Clara on Saturday morning. Yup, a yogging stroller (much more fun to say than jogging stroller).

Okay, so that pic isn’t representative of its first use (I don’t usually run in a button down, khakis… or with a tiny-legged chihuahua). We just forgot to snap a pic after I returned from our inaugural 3 mile jaunt around the neighborhood with Clara leading the way (so we grabbed this photo after using it on a family walk on Sunday night that capped off the weekend).

I love this thing. And Clara seems to enjoy it plenty too, which is the icing on the Father’s Day cake. Wait, maybe the icing is actually the awesome deal that we scored on it. Sherry and I had been casually stalking Craigslist for a used jogging yogging stroller for a while. But none of the used ones turned out to be that much of a deal (one I found would’ve saved me $20, but was a 75 minute round trip drive away). Then I spotted a slightly upgraded model on Diapers.com that was marked down by $65 (from $189.99 to $124.99) with free shipping.

Though, as you can see, there was a problem: it was out of stock. With no assurance that it would come back in stock (or stay at that price if it did), I thought my deal was dead in the water. But Sherry suggested that I call their 800 number just to see if I could pre-order one or ask to lock in that price or something.

They didn’t let me pre-order. They did me one better. They honored the discounted price on the out-of-stock “Yellow/Grey” model for the very-much-in-stock “Grey/Yellow” version (which I slightly preferred anyways – sweet). So instead of paying $189.99 for the gray/yellow one in the picture above, I got it for $124.99. Score. Somehow the woman applied my discount over the phone – so within a few clicks, Sherry was checking out with this whopping $65 discount applied to her cart (along with free shipping). Thirty five percent off – just for taking the time to call and ask what they could do. So worth it.

It’s a bit over the $100 budget that Sherry and I originally set, but we’re both glad that we splurged on the upgraded version with a built-in speaker for Clara. I know it sounds kind of high tech and crazy, but playing her favorite kid songs during my morning runs and our evening walks have kept her so much more entertained (that and fishing for goldfish crackers in her cupholders). She’s a musical (and fish-loving gal). And since many jogging strollers are in the $300-400 range these days (be still my beating heart) paying closer to $100 felt pretty good.

Oh yeah and one other pretty major Father’s Day development occurred. Clara took her first steps! Completely unassisted. Two of them actually. From Karl the Sectional to Artie the Ottoman (ok, he doesn’t really have a name, but it sounded good). It was amazing. Even though I completely missed them the first time around (I was in the kitchen) I came running in while Sherry went crazy and Clara thankfully gave me a repeat performance. Here’s where I’d insert a photo but of course we didn’t have the camera close enough. So this recent video of her enjoying her walker will have to do (the self satisfied clap at the end gets me every time):

And to my surprise, the stroller and those first steps weren’t my only gift. Sherry used Father’s Day to surprise me with a custom 8.5 x 11″ rendering of our first house that she commissioned from a charming artist named Jennifer Ahnquist from Kentucky. How sweet and sentimental is that? It’s currently somewhere in the mail on its way to us, but we’ve seen this preview photo of it – and are both completely enamored with it (we’ll have to share a photo or scan of the real-deal when it comes since this is just a preview photo of the sketch).

We can’t wait to slap it into a white frame with a big fat mat in our hallway frame gallery. Jennifer sketches them using a pen and ink technique and then segues over to Prisma marker to complete each rendering. And to anyone interested, she’s running a “Christmas in June special” so the first 75 people to order a house portrait by the end of June can get an 8.5 x 11″ rendering for the same $50 deal that Sherry snagged (they’re regularly $90). Just email her at jennifermariedesign@gmail.com.

As much as I love my gifts – especially how one reminds me of good times in the past and another promises more time spent together in the future – I really just appreciate Father’s Day for reminding me how lucky I am to have wonderful people around me, whether it’s the little lady I play father to, the gal who made that little lady possible, or the old guy who still runs faster than me. At least now I can use my jogging stroller as an excuse for my relaxed pace.


  1. says

    Love the pic of Clara looking at Burger. So cute =)

    And happy belated father’s day! Your little family is so awesome, so I’m sure it was the best day.

  2. says

    What a steal! It’s amazing that you got the discount on the higher priced item. The speakers do sound pretty high-tech but I think that’s something I would’ve enjoyed! I swear, kids these days have way cooler stuff than we ever did!

    Glad you had a good Father’s Day!

  3. Katharine says

    OK, forgive the ignorance… but what exactly differentiates a jogging stroller from the regular type? Looks like fun (for you and Clara!)

    • says

      It’s lighter and has bigger wheels and even shocks (to help the person pushing it) whereas regular strollers are smaller and more compact (easier to fit in the trunk) but harder to push since they don’t have big wheels and shocks and stuff.


  4. Katrina says

    John, I loved that you say that you will use the stroller as the excuse for your “relaxed pace”. My husband used to say that too, except now our 2.5 year old daughter (who still loves to go running with her Daddy) yells “faster, Daddy, faster!” whenever they are out on a run. He comes back exhausted, but that he wouldn’t trade his “coach” for anything in the world.

  5. says

    John, the last paragraph got me a little misty. You should add some warnings for the more hormonal of your readers…

    Happy father’s day!

  6. Betsy says

    Okay, I need a stroller review. My current $100 Jeep stroller “works” for running but you have to lock the front wheel or it wobbles like crazy and when the wheel is locked, it always veers to the right which is a little annoying. How do you like the InStep? Do you lock the front wheel for running? Does it roll straight when you do? Is it easy to turn corners? Would you recommend it to a fellow runner?


    • says

      You can’t run with the wheel unlocked on ours (it’s automatically locked and you press a lever to momentarily unlock it to turn), but it’s nice and smooth in that locked position (the whole stroller is very smooth – no wobbling or veering). I do have to lift the front wheel up a smidge (or momentarily unlock it) to turn, but I’ve perfected the lift-the-front-wheel technique so I prefer that route (except for on sharp turns where I use the lever to unlock it for a second). I definitely enjoy running with it so far and would recommend it.


    • Jessica says

      I’m going to have to look into this too. We have this same stroller but the double stroller version and when we are just walking (not jogging) it wobbles like crazy if one of the two seats are empty. Sometimes our two year old doesn’t always want to ride while our 10 month old is in there. I don’t know if it’s an uneven problem or just this whole “lock” thing.

  7. Aimee says

    Does the new stroller fold up pretty easily? I’m looking for a jogging stroller to use on an every day basis, but not necessarily for jogging…but for everything else too! I have a large SUV, so storage space isn’t a huge issue. Thanks!!!

    • says

      It folds up pretty easily but it’s still big! Too big for our little Altima’s trunk unless we remove the wheels. So it’s better used as a runs-around-the-neighborhood thing (than a bring-it-to-the-mall stroller).


    • says

      I’ve been researching strollers for quite awhile (for our little one due in November), and had settled on that same InStep jogging stroller awhile back before I saw this post! (and I also found the same 125$ deal on Amazon and diapers.com… sadly, it was a bit early to buy it, so I had to let that deal slide, sigh) Anyways, it seems like I’ve looked everywhere for the folded dimensions and can’t seem to find them anywhere! Sorry, because I know you guys are busy, but would you mind measuring the dimensions of it folded too much the next time you fold it up? I would REALLY appreciate it!

      Thanks so much!

    • says

      It’s a really odd shape when folded (nothing like a square or rectangle that would be straightforward to measure – it’s sort of like a triangle- but the folded length is 36″ long and the deepest width is 24″ deep – but that’s like a point so most of it isn’t that wide). We can tell you that the only way that we have found to get it into a car’s trunk like a Camry or an Altima is to remove the back wheels (which pop right off and can be re-popped back on). Hope it helps!


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