Once upon a time I said I would NEVER drive a mini-van...In fact, I think I was still saying that up until about 5 months ago. I was confident that I would sail through motherhood without ever driving a mini-van, SUVs will do just fine right? When I was in college I used to say this (why I was thinking about mini-vans in college I have no idea) and my roomate always joked that one day I would get a mini-van and she would get me license plates that said "MEG E VAN". I should have known to never say never :)
We have a 7 passenger Durango that I intended to drive for many more years of hauling kids around. But I wasn't necessarily intending to need to have 3 kids in carseats at the same time. When we found out about the impending arrival of #3 we started looking at how we were going to work it out in the Durango. Boden is on the verge of being able to move up to a booster seat weight-wise, but I feel pretty strongly that he needs to stay in a 5pt harness at least another year. Getting 3 seats across in the back of the Durango was proving to be a challenge, and climbing up there to buckle them in a challenge as well. There's the option of using the 3rd row, but that creates a few more challenges. In order to get to the 3rd row, one middle seat has to fold forward (so no carseat on that seat), and in order for that one to fold, the middle seat can't have a carseat in it either because it prevents the side seat from folding. So, that means 2 carseats in 3rd row. Challenge 1 - no LATCH hooks in 3rd row. Challenge 2 - seatbelts in 3rd row don't "lock" allowing the seat to be tightened adequately. And finally, Challenge 3 - even if I did get the seats installed in the 3rd row tightly, when the 3rd row up, it's impossible to put anything larger than an umbrella stroller in the trunk. Not gonna work out well with an 18 month old and a newborn.... and I love my Phil & Ted's double way too much to not use it.
So, all that to say - we have now ventured into mini-van land! I was hesitant and kinda had a bad attitude about it at first. I really didn't want to do it. But, then when we really started looking at them and test driving them I was quickly sold. They were just made for moms. Every detail is well thought out for families with kids. And Boden was so excited to have doors that slide "just like Addie's!"
We went back and forth debating between a Honda Odyssey and a Toyota Sienna. I think we test drove each one 3 times. In the end, we went with the Sienna and I'm so happy with our choice. It's crazy to think it, but I can actually say "I love my mini-van!" lol. We've had it less than 60 days and already put 4000 miles on it!
Here's my favorite things about it:
*Automatic sliding doors! This is probably my favorite thing about the van. No more worries about banging into other cars while getting kids in and out, and I can open/close the door with the button on my keychain. I'm thinking this will come in even more handy when #3 arrives and I'm juggling an 18mo old, a newborn, a toddler, stroller, and diaper bag.
* Boden can climb in and out by himself - Lifting a 35lb kid up into his seat was getting harder and harder the more pregnant I get.
*Tons of trunk space even with all rows up.
*Built in sunshades on all the back windows. Even with tinted windows, sometimes the sun is still right in their eyes. These were great on our roadtrip out to VA. (we've had the stick-on kind before, and ours always fell off after a few months)
*The 2nd row seats are on a sliding track that allows us to move them closer to the front row, if we need more room in the back, or slide them further back for more leg room/space in the 2nd row when not using the 3rd row. This was also a huge selling pt for us for the Toyota over the Honda - the 2nd row seats in the Sienna can slide forward, allowing kids to get in the 3rd row, even with a carseat installed on it.
*Back up camera - so helpful to make sure no one is behind me when I'm backing up my big 'ole bus!
*This particular van also has a blue tooth feature that allows me to use my phone hands free - and also allows me to stream music/podcasts from my iphone wirelessly. So great on roadtrips.
We really love our new van, just like every one of my friends who drives one told me I would. I kind of laugh now when I talk to a mom who says she'll never drive a van...not that everyone will, but they certainly aren't the enemy I once thought they were. Be careful what you say "never" about! Guess I better see about those liscense plates....