Mistymama - yeah, I'm thinking I'll be skipping the infant seat. It really bothers me when I see babies always in their buckets, but it's also a very handy way to have a seat at a restaurant or something for a baby who isn't yet sitting, so I'm slightly torn. Then again, I don't take my car everywhere, ideally, I'll have this kid in an infant seat on a bike by about six/seven months old.
Also, it will save me some $$$. I would not be comfortable using a used car seat unless I know exactly where it came from, meaning, I have a personal relationship with the person who bought it new and I *know* it didn't get in an accident or fall down stairs. I've seen so many ads on Freecycle saying, we stored it in our (uninsulated) attic since our kids used it ten years ago, should be fine...or safely stored under our porch....or whatever. Those seats look fine, but they could have major stress from temperature changes.
I saw a seat at Target yesterday for $150, I think it was a Graco, and it RFs to 40 lbs (35? something like that...) and FFs to 65. Of course, height is an issue, most kids I've known have maxed their seat's safe height long before weight.
What are the top Britax seats up to these days? I looked into all this stuff when I first started trying, but now I have no idea. At some point, I had a complete registry of all the best stuff that I wanted, but that is long gone.
If I do get a "bucket" infant seat, it will be a cheap one that I'm not planning to use for long. And I'll likely only get one if my kiddo doesn't fit well in a convertible at first, which does happen, apparently.
xtara - A lot of guys (self included) prefer the more structured carriers, and they seem more "manly." I personally really like the Ergo and Beco carriers, I'll probably get an Ergo myself, in Camel or one of the plainer colours, but not black (shows too much cat hair!)
I also really like Mei Tai carriers, and I already have one that I've used with other people's kids.
Monarchgrrl - not at all. I really want the dresser/storage part of the changing table I want. I'm quite tall, my bed is on the floor, and I have hardwood everywhere. What I would do if I didn't have one is get the soft topper for one and keep it under my couch along with a basket of changing supplies, so I could just pull it out, change the baby, and slide it back. Except for me, everything would be covered in hair, because I have so many pets.
As kids get older, it's easier to change 'em where they are, too. I think it's more useful with cloth diapers to have a central storage area because they're so much bulkier than unused disposables. I don't think I'll be running to the changing table for every change.