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June 21, 2007



Ok- this subject is GREAT!!! Fun!!! Been there- done it all!

First Vehicle with our twins was...
Toyota Camry and a 4-Runner
The Camry was nice for a drive-that was it!
The 4-runner was great! One kid on each side in the back seat and tons of cargo room for the double stoller- plus the groceries!

Then we were expecting our little Eden. So, we went and bought a Brand New YUKON XL.
HUGE- GAS HOG- HATED PARKING IT- But it was great being the big person for once in my life!!! It just gave me the feel good of being huge on the road!!! Loved the space inside, but that really was just more room to clean up a bigger mess at the end of each day. PLUS THE THING WAS A SERIOUS LEMON- so we traded it in for a...

Jeep Grand Cherokee...
I did not mind having Eden in a car seat behind the passenger side and the boys by this time could climb into their own seats and buckle their own belts. This was my FAVORITE of any vehicle I have EVER owned!!! Loved the cargo space- the 3 kids fit perfectly and I just loved my Jeep!!!

Then we went from 3 kids to sad to have to sell the Jeep- not gonna cut it with 4 kids in car seats in a 3 seat back seat...LOL!!!

So.......a week before LilyAnna was born we traded it in for a Mazda MPV. It was a super quick choice- due to the labor pains that started early and scared the crap out of me to go get a vehicle that would fit our entire family!!! It was nice, but if I could go back and do it over- I would have gone with the Honda Pilot, Sequoia, Durango or something smaller SUV. I am not a mini van fan- they are nice and convenient, but I am just an SUV girl!!!

Peter has also had a Ford truck and a Dodge Ram- both of these trucks had the 4 doors and back seats. They easily fit our entire family and we loved both trucks!!! Gas sucked, but with any large vehicle it will be the same. Plus we had all the truck bed to haul anything around---that was SUPER~! But we had to sell the truck. :(

When Peter lost his job we had to cut back on all bills possible- so we traded the New MPV in for a used Toyota Mini-van to lower the monthly- we got a steal of a deal. I like the Toyota (Sienna) but once again- I am just not a van fan. PLUS THEY DO NOT HAVE ALL THAT MUCH ROOM BEHIND THE BACK SEAT!!! With a van full of kids and soccer gear- there is NO room for anything else!!!

So- after all of that- I dream of the day that I can buy my 7 seater SUV!!! On my dream list is...Landrover Discovery or really any Landrover that will seat 7, Toyota Sequoia or LandCruiser, the new 7 seater Jeep, or dream dream dream...the X5 now comes in a 7 seater!!!

I am a freak- yes i know- how many cars can a girl go through in 7 years. LOL! But I have definetely learned what I do and do not need or like!!! Plus I am very educated now! LOL!!!


I'm only 6 weeks into this parenting thing but, I don't see the need for a van with one kid. When I got pregnant I had a 2-door Olds Alero, so we obviously upsized... my husband rolled his eyes when I told him I needed a new car, but can you imagine putting a kid in the backseat of a 2-door all the time? I have a Nissan Altima now and so for me it's a lot more space than I'm used to. His stroller and Pack'n'Play can both fit in the trunk if needed and like you I put stuff in the back seat with him - his diaper bag, my bag, etc. It's fine for the 3 of us for trips out of town - although we don't have a lot of toys, etc to cart along yet. :)


I have to agree with you, Nicole. I have always been way into cars myself, so my entire life I have been saying I'd never be caught DEAD in a minivan... but even though the thought has crossed my mind once or twice since I became pregnant, I ruled out the possibility because it just seems like more of a hassle. I used to have a Toyota Celica (you'd laugh at the possibility of trying to get a carseat in there!!) so I traded it in for a 4-door Corolla instead. Still compact, still sporty... and perfect for a carseat (or even two, if I'm babysitting for my sis). I'm not one to lug a bunch of stuff around, though, so maybe that's just me. But I get what you're saying!


Okay, when I had only one child there was no way I'd get caught dead in a minivan but now that I have 2 kids I find myself actually considering it. My little Volvo S60 is a little cramped.....scratch that.....a lot cramped! With gas prices being what they are I really don't want to get a huge SUV so I guess a minivan is a good solution.

I'll tell you one thing though.....if I do ever buy a minivan I sure don't want to buy it used. I've seen one too many of those things get trashed by children. Call me a snob but I don't want other kids boogers stuck to the back of my seat. My neighbors have one and they call it the puke mobile.....nuff said!


I agree with what you are saying. Whats the real NEED for a minivan if you only have one kid??? The van will just eat up the gas! And in some ways I think that a typical car is EASIER with one kid.

I posted a thought on my blog, fyi


When we first were talking about getting pregnant 3 years ago, many of our friends joked around saying that we need to sell Tony's MINI Cooper and my Dodge Neon and go out and get us a Mini-Van. That was the last thing I wanted, and when it came time for us to shop around about 6 months ago, I was determined to find and SUV or Crossover. We kept Tony's MINI Coop and kept my Dodge Neon as a backup vehicle and for Tony to drive in the winter-time if he wants to store his Coop. We really liked the Nissan Murano, but couldn't find one in our price range while keeping the other vehicles. We decided on a Chrysler Pacifica, and while this may still be considered a Mini-van to some, there are no sliding doors, we opted for the bench for the second row and no third row. So the seating inside will fit 5 and now have a large trunk area. We have used the trunk area to carry groceries, stollers, extra car-seat, small shrubs and trees from Hope Depot. And have been able to lay the second row down to fit in 6 feet of lattice. We are very happy with our Crossover SUV, but have thought that maybe we should've opted for the 3rd row to have room for our friends and their kid to all ride together. Even then those Pacificas only can fit 6 total, since they have bucket seats for the 2nd row as does some vans.


I had 3 kids and drove a 4 door Focus and it was plenty enough room for our family. I don't think I will ever want a Mini-Van although I think that if your kids ARE involved in sports or you carry their friends or your family and friends around it could be a good idea, but for me...the 4 door sedan worked out fine. At some point, I may definitely want a slightly bigger car or mini SUV though.


My wife asked me to read your blog because we recently bought a mini van. We did look at several vehicles, ie. SUV, crossover SUV, mini SUV etc. A van was the last thing on my mind. They're socially labeled as the soccer mom vehicle so tell me how that looks as a guy driving it. However, did we need more space with just one child? let me paint a picture. I own a Honda Accord and to fit our Graco stroller in the trunk, well, it occupies the whole trunk. Grocery trips to the store left us with the two sides in the back seat to put groceries because our boy sits in the middle in his car seat. Not a whole lot of room for a big shopping trip, and yes I do go to the store with my wife, but that is another subject.

A recent trip to Home Depot was something to be desired as I bought some crown molding, 8 foot length and bent them to fit into the my tiny Accord. Would have been much easier with a truck or something bigger than my mid-sized sedan.

I play guitar and have guitars, amplifiers, mic stands, effects, you name it and it is very difficult to fit all of that into one car let alone 2. The Van is perfect because I can now tote all of my gear to whatever show i am playing and know that it is covered in bad weather(alternative to an open truck), and will not get dinged up because of lack of space requirements.

Bought a lawn mower, filing cabinet, small furniture, etc and had to borrow someones SUV or truck just to get it home. It really was crappy every time we needed to buy something, I had to call relatives and say, I need your truck for a few hours. It got very old.

Gas I will agree is not that much different than a car however, it is dramatcially different than a full sized SUV like Suburban. Here in Utah people call those Mormon Mobiles. So gas prices and efficiency was a concern. Cost for the new crossovers, which are very nice and stylish, was out of our price range until we found our 1 year old used Mazda MVP.

It has 2 sliding doors which make it nice to get in and out. It is much easier to load our boy in to the car seat and yes much easier than you would think as opposed to my accord which sits much lower. Fold down seats allow my to haul all of my stuff: wood from Home Depot, guitar gear, stroller plus groceries, road trips, you name it. Nothing against the soccer moms out there that use it to haul all their kiddos around, vans are great for that and I am sure we'll be there one day. My point I guess is that there may be more to why people purchase MiniVan's than just a right of passage to motherhood. Do we need a MiniVan for just one kid, I would say in certain circumstances yes. Did we need something to accommodate other things in our lives that a bigger vehicle helped us accomplish, absolutely.

There's my thoughts for Thursday. Have a good one.


I'm with you on this one, Nic. The thing that gets me with all the mini driving moms is the fact that so many of them are one child families who "needed" the room.
While it is true that personally I just don't want a van and they are not my first choice, still I am not convinced that mini vans are so much more room and so much better gas mileage than other vehicles out there. I'm just not convinced that that is always the case, as I also have seen the room (and convenience) in a van be much less than people make it out to be. Yes, if you have the great vans with the extra cargo room and the fold down seats and the two slider doors, than you are most likely in the class of "roomy". But most standard basic minivans, other than the number of seatbelts, do not have more room or cargo space than many cars or any of the SUV's. And are you really toting around all that much stuff all the time? I nannied two kids after I had Savannah and I took all three kids (infant seat, regular carseat, and a booster carseat) out all the time to do things, including grocery shopping, and I drove a Malibu car. And it was never a problem. So for one child, or even two... I just don't see the "necessity". Convenience, yes.
I do agree that for road trips vans are great. You need space to not be in each other's face, and I'm all for getting as far away from my kids as possible! LOL!
And there are some great vans out there... they're just not something I need.

And maybe I'm way off on this one, but I think even gas mileage nowadays is not that much different between many vans and SUV's. They're making SUV's with much better gas mileage now. We drive a Toyota 4Runner and the gas is not that much different than my mom's mini.

Anyway, all that to say, it really does seem that many of the moms I know did seem to get the van as a "passage to motherhood" type of thing. Like it made them feel more like a mom to the outside world.
But maybe that's just cuz with two kids, I'm still of the mindset where I'd still rather feel fun, rugged and sporty with an midsized SUV and a third row for when we need it, than just feel like a kid and kid-crap toting mom with simply a practical passenger vehicle like a mini. ;)


When I found out i was pregant with my child my friend and I laughted at the thought of the soccer-mom mini-van. We both ended up getting a suburban. I personally love it! I could not think of driving any thing else. Now with two kids there is no way i could imagine fitting in a car. And I love the SUV more than the minivan.


I still squish all our crap into my (recently squished) Civic but I know that won't be possible with 2 - I can barely do it with 1. I can't see myself driving a van though - that's just too much vehicle for me!


Let me say that the van wasn't my first choice. We looked at SUV's, full size SUV's, cars, etc. We needed a car with more room than Matt's Accord and one that gets decent gas mileage since I drive 40 miles to and from work 4 days a week. Full size SUV's were automatically crossed off the list because of gas mileage reasons & the cost of gas, as were cars because they just don't have enough room. We looked at mini-SUV's and I found several that I LOVED...only problem is that we wanted a new Honda or Mazda but the prices were a lot more than we wanted to spend, sooo...we settled on a one year old mini-van. Sure, it's not stylish, but it's bigger and gets decent gas mileage, which is exactly what we were looking for. If it takes a van to accomplish that, then I'm okay with that. We certanily didn't buy it because it's expected with kids or to "fit in", even though Utah is most definitly the mini-van capital of the world. :o)


And, another thought...
You're right...Everyone always "justifies" it. So what if it's just another example of the way society looks at things like mini-vans and "soccer moms" and the fear that we'll be perceived as something less than desirable (aka DORKY!) if we say we drive a instead we say things like "I needed more space", "I have a lot of kids", etc, etc. What's so wrong with saying "Hey, I drive a mini-van"?


I didn't want a mini-van. I was kicking and screaming all the way to the car lot when Ry dragged me. But, with our monthly trips to O-town and our frequent long car trips it's been a lifesaver. I love the space (playpen, luggage, toys, two strollers, the second carseat for mom's car when we get there, etc), and I love that we can still have two more grown adults ride with us if necessary. I love being able to load my friend and her two kids into my car so we can ride together...
Things like that make it worth it. I still look at the SUV's and miss our Durango and it's coolness factor (lol) every now and then...but the van has grown on me now...I couldn't see traveling with anything else. (maybe when we're rich and famous I'll get a little mid-sized hybrid suv for around town, but the van stays for traveling!)


Well, to quote you...“I really LOVED this awesome new van” ! I drive the super cool Nissan Quest with all of its fun bells and whistles...sliding doors, fold away seats, cool trunk organizer, and most important an iPod player! I love this car for me and my two girls. The ease of use, the design, the features...makes this minivan the ultimate in comfort and practicality. Although I am not a soccer mom, I am a mom with little girls who have many friends and when we load up the van to capacity it couldn't be easier. Others can keep their too high and too big SUVs that guzzle up fuel and I'll stick with my hip and fun Quest.

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