Wednesday, May 19, 2010

yeah, we got swagger. thats it!

well, we did it.

we bought the dreaded "it".

if you're a family of two or more and drive often, you know what ''it'' is.

it is a mini-van.


when i say it was time for us to buy ''it'', it may have been past time.

okay, so when B and I got married I drove a cute little 3 door saturn coupe. once we became pregnant with bubba, we thought the saturn would work. well in actuality the backseat was too small to safely install a carseat. and we knew we wanted more kids down the road, so we opted to trade up. we thought a jeep liberty was perfect.

and it sorta was. until bubba was born. once we actually had bubba and had his seat in the center of the backseat, we realized it was okay but we couldn't move our seats all. not a huge deal until i discovered i was pregnant with pooks. and as my belly got bigger we realized it just wasn't gonna work with 2 rear-facing carseats. so once again, we researched.

i can admit, upon hearing we were pregnant again, everyone suggested we get a minivan.

i just couldn't do it. i was twenty-two years old and refused.

so we ended up with a ford explorer XLT 4x4. which worked great for with 2 carseats. it fit both seats, had a huge trunk. we had it for about 15 months when the transmission was acting all wonky. i mean full on sounding horrible when shifting from park and then when accelerating you could hear it shift gears and make this grinding noise. between that and the fact that it was sucking up gas like a camel drinks water, we opted to once again get a different vehicle.

after getting slack from everyone for getting yet another vehicle, we did it anyways. once again, i couldn't get a van. i test drove some (i remember the Nissan Quest) in november 2007 we got our Pacifica. once again, NOT a mini-van but it did have a third row, it could seat 6, it had better gas mileage and we bought it knowing that IF we got pregnant (again) it would still work. it rode like a car, we got a steal on it and we were happy.

it's been a great car. once peanut came along, things got a little tight. we opted to big both older boys in the thirdrow, peanut in the second row captains seat and removed the extra/empty seat. like so:it worked pretty well. the stroller was in the trunk and the empty spot was were we put our groceries and luggage, etc. the older boys could climb into their seats on their own and overall it worked great for day to day driving. traveling was bit harder, not a lot of space but we made it work quite easily.

you know what's coming next, right?

we're pregnant. again. so we can easily put the fourth seat back in and safely seat all four kiddos. the problem lies in the fact that between the 2nd row seats is a center console. it cannot be removed. (has the ac and heat built in). so if we have another seat and carseat in the car for sweetcheeks, the boys would have to climb over the center console, into their seats. I would then also have to climb back there to buckle and unbuckle them. climbing over the 2 carseats and kids, that are in the 2nd row, keep in mind.

again, it could be done but it would be a PITA. second of all, i wouldn't be able to keep the stroller in the car because i would need the small trunk area to fit groceries in. the kicker is that when i take bubba and pooks to school in the fall (well really when i go anywhere), i would have to climb back there to undo them, then undo peanut and let all the big boys get out on one side of the car. walk with 3 toddlers to the other side of the car, while i open the door and either pop out of infant seat or put on a baby carrier. now i know my kids listen pretty well but having 3 just standing on the side of the vehicle while i work on sweetcheeks is dangerous.

i began to realize that if we had a van they could hang out inside the van while i situated sweetcheeks. much safer. then i realized that those sliding doors would be much more convenient in the garage, loading and unloading the kids than having them trying to close their own car doors. (which despite me telling them not to, they still do) not to mention in parking lots when I'm trying to buckle Peanut's carseat with the door open and other people pull in to the spot next to me, without looking. or when the wind catches the door as Pooks is pushing his car door open and damn near bangs the car next to us.

okay okay, so i get the appeal of a mini-van.

but, it's still a mini-van. it still had that ''soccer mom'' stigma. i love being a mom but i don't like being a stereotype.

back in february, i opened up and started researching. suddenly i started noticing that the newer mini-vans didn't looks so bad. kinda edgy. then i saw other parents at bubba's school drove them and i noticed how much faster they could get in, buckle up and drive off.

i was intrigued.

so i started researching the price...and i realized that if purchased used, they were much more reasonable than i thought. i did the math and we could buy a ''new to us'' van and the payments could actually be the same or cheaper than what we are paying now. B and I started talking about what we liked and didn't like. we both liked the reliability of our Chrysler and so we focused on the Town & Country and the Dodge Grand Caravan. (plus, lets face it we couldn't afford a newer Honda or Toyota).

after we started really watching what was for sale, we talked to our insurance agent. we were shocked to discover that our insurance would actually DROP in price if we got a van. even if we bought a 2008 or 2009, it was still cheaper.

okay so no increase in payments and lower insurance? i was definitely interested.

then at the end of April, i realized that the traction on the tires of the Pacifica were really low. (like 2/32) and then the brakes started squeaking every.single.time i braked. okay so we were looking at about $450 on new tires, plus the cost of brakes/brake pads. so $500 or $600 on that.

on a vehicle that we knew was less than ideal with 4 small children?

i just couldn't rationalize it.

a mini-van offered lower overall monthly payments, a safer vehicle, more room, less maintenance, more storage, and was more realistic for our family.

so we did it. we test drove one. then we put all the carseats in and drove one home to see how it fit in our garage. while taller, it wasn't much longer than the Pacifica. fit was good.

super long story short, we bought one. (and instead of using the $500 for tires, we used it as part of a down payment.)

a 2009 Chrysler Town and Country LX is currently parked in my garage.
honestly, i'm not really sure how i feel. don't get me wrong, it's nice and new(er). the sliding doors are a-mazing. pooks and bubba can no longer smack each other, steal things from each other, etc. it has 5 star crash test ratings, stow and go seats---which is GENIUS!---and a huge trunk. seriously i was a bit amazed.

i think i'll grow to like it more. i mean when we bought the Jeep i was excited. i was high-fiving B and thrilled. i loved my little Jeepie. this time? eh. let's just say there was no high-fiving. well except to bubba, pooks and peanut who love it. they high-fived and thanked us. pooks may be calling it a swagger-wagon after seeing this video:

i guess we just need to perfect our swagger ;)


  1. Congrats on the new mini-van! I'm sure you'll grow to love it once the reality of it's practicality sinks in! :) btw...LOVE the Swagger Wagon video! I had another friend post it on FB a few weeks back and I think it's just hilarious! :)

  2. Love the video!! A van would be so much easier. I totally get it. With 3 littles who can't buckle themselves and probably more down the road, I have been dreading "it". We still have an Explorer and it has no room. I can't even take the double stroller with us because it doesn't fit! Hate the stereotype, but love the practicality. I hadn't thought about the insurance being lower. That's good to know!


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