Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Boba Carrier - At Home and Abroad {A Review}

I was blessed with the opportunity to review the Classic Boba Carrier in Breeze during our recent trip to Brazil.

The Boba Carrier is a soft structured carrier, ideal for wearing babies from 15 to 45 pounds. It is an attractive and extremely comfortable carrier. The wide shoulder and waist straps are sturdy and comfortable made with high density foam. The military grade waist buckle is easy to snap and extremely easy to adjust. My husband and I found it very easy to adjust the waist back and forth when we took turns wearing Lydia. All you have to do is snap and pull on one strap and it tightens easy and centers itself on your waist.

One of the the things that make this soft structured carrier stand out among all the others is that it has removable foot straps. The foot straps have given me so much peace of mind. We have worn Lydia for very long periods of time and I did not have to worry about the carrier cutting into her dangling legs because I could easily slip her feet into the straps.

The other outstanding characteristic of the Boba is that the back is designed to be a bit higher than others. This is another key to making the Boba the absolute best carrier available. Even when Lydia tried to lean back, I did not feel the pull uncomfortably in my back AT ALL. I had briefly tried using another soft structured carrier that a friend let me borrow before I received the Boba, and I had found it a bit uncomfortable because Lydia was leaning back and it was pulling on my shoulders. With the Boba I have not felt that even once. It is so perfectly comfortable for myself and my baby! Actually, the whole reason the Boba came into being was because the creators were experiencing this problem with other popular carriers, along with leg discomfort for their baby and therefore the Boba was invented with a higher back to prevent the "leaning back" feeling, and foot straps, to prevent the problem of leg discomfort for toddlers and larger babies. You can read the story here.

I am busting at the seams with wonderful things to tell you about my experience with this product! Whether at home or traveling abroad I have come to see the Boba as an absolute essential, and you know me...I love finding things that I don't need to keep it simple. THIS, however will simplify your life in the having of it. I am so thankful that we had the opportunity to test and review the Boba for this trip. It was priceless.

Even before our trip to Brazil the week before we left I started using the Boba. It made getting ready for our trip so much easier. I had to make so many quick trips in and out of stores for last minute things. It would have been a pain to have to get the stroller in and out and in and out and in addition to that to not have my hands free in the process. Using the Boba made it go so much more smoothly. I quickly discovered that Lydia LOVED being on my back and that I loved having her there. Learning to get Lydia on and off of my back went a lot more quickly and smoothly than I thought it would. I found these videos very helpful!

As we embarked on this trip I was a little nervous because I have a history of back and hip problems that is usually aggravated by travel. I was hoping that carrying a toddler would not make that problem worse. I am here to tell you that I had almost none of the hip or back pain that I've had on previous trips and I wore Lydia a whole whole lot. We carried her everywhere in the Boba. We didn't even take a stroller with us. It was AMAZING how easy it was to get around this way.

The verdict is that traveling with a toddler is easy IF you have a Boba Carrier. I cannot imagine our trip without it. I seriously don't think it would have been possible. We walked, and walked, and walked, and walked. When we weren't walking, we were in and out of taxis, combis, buses, metros, trains, etc. We developed a system where we would wear her on the front for metros and buses and such forms of transportation so that we could protect her as those can get pretty crowded. We could also sit down while wearing her on the front. Invariably whichever of us was wearing Lydia would be offered someone's seat! Then, when we were walking long distances, we'd put her on our backs as this seemed overall more comfortable with a toddler. Our friends' baby is 10 months old and a good bit smaller, so she is more comfortable on the front all of the time.

In Brazil we spent two weeks in Belo Horizonte with our friends who are missionaries working with the children in that city's largest slum at a place called The Lighthouse. We also took a few days with our friends to go to Rio de Janeiro. While in Belo, at the Lighthouse, we were trying to help out as much as we could with the ministry there. Even there we wore her a lot to help us be able to do more things and because she just loved it!


I mostly took care of Lydia but was able to help out with one group of girls a couple of times and to do a little work in the kitchen. How was that possible? The Boba! Here's a picture of me kneading bread for well over 20 people with Lydia on my back! Honest truth: It did not hurt!

 I had to take various trips to the store for food, milk, etc. and I always went walking with Lydia on my back. It was such an adventure. It's a very hilly place too so it was a great workout.

In Belo Horizonte on the weekend we visited a local park to see the monkeys. We took a bus most of the way and walked the rest. Lydia napped in the Boba for a good part of the time but she woke up in time to see the monkeys!

 Also while in Belo Horizonte, we went out for Acai, as it is served very deliciously at a little shop near the Lighthouse. There we discovered a FABULOUS use of the Boba that ended up being a LIFE SAVER throughout the whole trip, especially when we went to Rio. In spite of the fact that Brazil is incredibly baby friendly, there are many small stores and shops that do not have baby chairs, and if they do, they do not have straps. They are just a smaller, higher chair. We discovered, however, that we could keep Lydia perfectly secure by strapping her into any chair with the waist buckle of the Boba. Here's Lydia enjoying acai this way. More pics of this to come...

 Then came the trip to Rio. As I've said, I don't think it would have been possible without the Boba. We required a good deal of luggage as we were carrying a pac n' play. How we would have managed with all that at the bus station and to and from if we'd been using a stroller or our arms, I have no idea! Then while in Rio, of course we were walking an incredible amount, out and about seeing the sights, and eating out of course since we were away from our "home away from home." Here are some pics of Lydia at the famous Christ the Redeemer statue of Rio de Janeiro!

Under the Christ the Redeemer Statue.

Here we have the hood attached and hanging because Lydia had just been napping. Normally we kept it attached and neatly rolled up. I love how easy it is to do!

Just a little happy! ;)

This typical high chair at a nice restaurant did not have straps. Never fear...

The Boba kept her nice and secure!
Sleeping baby ready to leave Rio. This hood snaps on and off and if you want to leave it on it has attached bands that make it easy to roll up.

The verdict after a very thorough trial of the Boba is that of all the baby equipment available today, I think it is the most practical and the most worth investing in. It's right up there with the crib and changing table in my opinion, especially if you plan to do any traveling. Even here in the States, there are so many places where a stroller is cumbersome to use. I find that Lydia is much happier in the Boba than in a stroller as well. 

I recommend the Boba over other popular soft structured carriers. My friends in Brazil have another brand, and they tried the Boba and found it to be more comfortable and simple to put on. As I mentioned before, I had tried another kind of carrier briefly and felt a bit uncomfortable with Lydia leaning back. I also find the waist much easier to attach with the Boba. The buckle is mega quality and easy. And again, no other carrier as adjustable detachable foot straps!

Back at the Lighthouse in Belo Horizonte when Lydia and I were resting in our room, she started whining and I asked her what she wanted. We had the Boba laying on top of a suitcase. She walked over to the suitcase, picked up the Boba, walked over to me with it and lifted it up to me with a grunt. When I didn't immediately do anything about it because I was trying to find the camera to catch the adorable moment in a picture (at which I was unsuccessful), she sat down and started trying to put it on herself!

Please take a moment to go to Boba's website and learn more about this product! If you're trying to decide what kind of carrier to get, I recommend you stop your search here! If you are not sure about investing in a carrier, I encourage you to do it. It will be money well spent!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Our Family in Brazil

Our friends Laura and Felipe Matias that we spent the last three weeks with in Brazil blessed us with the our first professional family photo shoot! I had hoped we could have this done when Lydia was a toddler. Not only is Felipe an amazing missionary and leader, but he's also a gifted photographer! You can see more of his awesome photos here and here! Thanks so much Matias family! We miss you!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Not so Wordless Wednesday: Ellie Loves the Lighthouse!

She loves the people, the food, and especially the dog. We will miss this lovely community when we leave here. There is truly LIGHT in this house!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Brazil So Far...

We've had a week in Belo Horizonte now at the Lighthouse having a great time seeing the work there, trying to help out in some practical ways and having a good time with our friends, Laura and Felipe who are leaders at the Lighthouse. You can look at their blogs here and here see more of what's been going on here in their last 2 or 3 posts.

Lydia walking with girls from the Casa Refugio (Refuge House). All of these children have HIV. Please pray for them as there is a new law and such homes are no longer allowed to exist, and many adoption possibilities have fallen through.

This is on a soccer/basketball court at the Lighthouse that kids from the slum love to play on!

We are on a hill and can see much of the slum from our windows.

There aren't too many ways I can help, but I can definitely knead bread, though this was a much larger batch than I've ever made.

Hanging out on Laura and Felipe's front porch.

Getting ready to go visit a local park on Saturday...

where we saw lots of monkeys...

and fed them crackers!

Lydia started walking almost as soon as we got here!

We're now in Rio de Janeiro at the end of a short trip along with Laura and Felipe. We've had a nice time so far seeing some of the sights and relaxing at a local bed and breakfast with a fantastic view of the city. We actually saw Obama fly down from the Christ the Redeemer statue earlier yesterday We went to Copacobana beach yesterday and it turns out he was staying in the Marriot there. There were tons of army men and trucks and police. The street was blocked off. People were crowded around waiting for him to arrive. We had to eat and get home and did not wait. So strange that we'd happen to be here at the same time as our president!

Here are some pictures from Rio de Janeiro:

Laura and I with our girls at Christ the Redeemer Statue.

And we're off right now to head back to Belo Horizonte and get back to work. These are really random pics and really random info. as I have had very little time to think about blogging! Just wanted to share a little.