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Minivan Momma...aka "The Great Vehicle Swap of 2011"

>> Monday, August 1, 2011

Part of our journey from having 2 kids to 3 included a new vehicle purchase.  In reality, this was probably the hardest part of my pregnancy.  You see, I just always thought that minivans were so *uncool*.  Despite what all my friends that had one kept telling me, I just felt like as a mom in my 20's, the jump from a car or SUV to a minivan was pretty much the worst thing about having 3 kids.

It started back in the beginning of December, 2010.  I peed on a stick and it came up positive.  Yikes!  So, I proceeded to show the aforementioned stick to my husband.  And his first response?  Something like "Oh, great.  Now we have to get a minivan."

So, in January, we had to sell our car.  I guess we could have kept it, but you definitely can't fit 3 car seats into the back of a 2002 Saturn SL2.  As a second vehicle, it wasn't very practical for us anyway because my husband needs a vehicle he can carry tools and a ladder in (he's an electrician) and I need a vehicle that I can fit a wedding cake in.  The sad part about selling it was that it was the first major purchase we made as a married couple (well, really as a couple) and is probably the only vehicle that we will ever purchase brand new (thanks to Dave Ramsey).

The second move in our quest for a minivan was to decide on a budget for our new vehicle.  Once again, thanks to Dave Ramsey, we were out of all consumer debt and started saving in December so we could buy a new family vehicle with cash when the time came.  After scouring craigslist, and for months, we finally decided that we needed to up or budget and to sell our other vehicle.

It was a 2004 Saturn Vue.  We hated to do it because we loved it, but it had low miles and therefore had a higher value than what we could justify just sitting in the driveway for 90% of the time since we couldn't fit all 3 kids in there comfortably.

In May we finally found a van that fit the bill for what I was looking for.  Not exactly what we wanted to use our hard-earned money on, but we knew it was something we needed to do prior to baby #3 arriving.  So, one Saturday morning we hopped in the car and drove to Akron, OH, purchased the minivan and headed home.

We ended up with a 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan.  And you know what?  Despite my hatred for minivans, I actually kinda *like* it!  It has so much space inside, the gas mileage isn't that much worse than our SUV got (like 2-3 mpg less) and the kids love the setup!

It doesn't have a DVD player built in, but we had a portable DVD system (thanks to Steve's parents one Christmas!) that works quite well.  It has power doors...a feature I wanted, Steve didn't understand, but one we use ALL.THE.TIME.  The only downfall is that the boys like to play with the auto doors as well.  I also love the fact that all the seats can go flat into the floor, and when the captains' chairs in the 2nd row are in use, you have tons of hidden storage in the floor!  Plenty of room for a change of clothes for each of the boys, jackets, stroller accessories that only get used once in a while, emergency diaper stash, etc.

yep, we believe in child labor :)

Talk about cutting it close...we ended up purchasing a new (to us) 2nd vehicle this past week.  As in, we looked at the car 3 days before we had a scheduled c-section and picked it up just 2 days before.  It's a 2003 Buick Rendezvous.  It's a little bigger than our Saturn VUE was, but it has twice the miles and therefore fit into our budget better.  It also has a 3rd row seat, so if something happens to our minivan (knock on wood) and it ends up in the shop for a little bit, we can fit all the kids in it.  But with all 3 rows in use, there is absolutely no storage (aka, no room for a stroller!)  We bought it from an individual and it's really dirty right now since we've been a little busy adjusting to life with 3 kiddos, so I'll just show you a photo I found online :)

Anyway, we're usually the type of people who keep our vehicles until they are basically junk, so the "Great Vehicle Swap of 2011" has definitely been out of our comfort zone!  But it's now over and hopefully these vehicles will last a few years so we can save up our cash and buy better ones!

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