Thanks for the input on double strollers. If you haven't yet weighed in, please do so!
I had the opportunity to purchase a 2006 Phil & Ted's e3 (original buggy) stroller off of craigslist yesterday for $250. That price included the car seat adapter, rain and sun shield, and doubles kit. It seemed like a really good deal and I almost went for it. But there were a few things about this stroller that are still nagging at me. The first being that this particular model (and several of them) was actually recalled due to a safety issue when folding up the stroller. Apparently, there were finger guards that the company could send you at the time of the recall, but when I contacted the company about it yesterday, they were very vague and basically said that they wouldn't recommend the purchase of that model (and I made it clear I would not be purchasing a new stroller, so they weren't losing a sale if I did buy it). I was also concerned about some things that I had read in reviews: children getting their fingers stuck in the spokes of the wheels, and the mud flaps that the company sends you to take care of this problem are noisy and break easily; the child in the lower seat getting splashed and muddy if you don't use the rain shield if the ground is wet (even if not raining) and here in the Pacific Northwest the ground is wet - a lot; and the no storage issue when the second seat is in place. All of these were huge roadblocks for me, as was spending $250 for a four year old stroller that the company didn't recommend buying and there would be no warranty for. Ultimately, I decided that we are still not ready to make such a purchase until I have gotten an opportunity to actually go and test drive some models. When I have decided which one I want, I can go and look on craigslist, but I was being kind of premature looking until I was sure. So, back to the drawing board and gladly taking any and all input.
In other news, I took Will swimming today at a pool not too far from our house. If you are in the Seattle area, I have to highly recommend the Mountlake Terrace indoor aquatics center. It is basically made for toddlers. The one HUGE pool is divided (by cement walls) into three subsections: main pool, lazy river, and "leisure pool." The lazy river current was perfect for floating around in. It's not huge, but it has a center area with a fountain, and there are plenty of noodles and floaties for just drifiting around in. It was 3 feet deep all the way around.
The "leisure pool" area is a gently sloped and padded pool that you just walk into. It is at most 3 feet deep but also has a lot of areas much less than 3 feet. There is also "toddler island" which is a raised area that is less than a foot deep. There are balls, more floaties and noodles, rubber duckies, squirting fish, plenty of life jackets, etc. There are also fountains, water showers, and geyers throughout the area. Other than that, it's pretty standard pool features, with swim lanes in the main pool, lifeguards, and locker rooms with showers and lockers (.25 rental fee for the lockers). It was $3.75 for each of us to get in for up to five hours of swim (we were exhausted and ready for lunch after an hour and a half). There is a "happy hour" in the afternoon for $2/person, which some of the moms I talked to said was pretty busy, but would probably be enough time and save a bit of money.
The whole area is geared for kiddos under 6 years of age, and I imagine older kids might be bored, since the main pool is being used for classes during this time. But they do have "rec swim" hours, where the price goes up a buck per person (they also have a family pass which would be more economical per person if you had more than two kids) and the main pool is open, too, and then everyone would be happy.
I really recommend it and think it was a perfect area for Will to get more comfortable in the water. He loves baths, but this was his first time in a pool, and he was a little unsure at first. But he was a pro by the end and we will definitely be back!