Thursday, July 11, 2013

true "mom" status..

We've been praying over our transportation situation for years. In 2005 I bought a brand new Dodge Neon. I love my Neon. It's a great little car and it has served my family and I very well over the last 8 years. It has never broken down on us or had any issue bigger than a dead battery (because apparently the trunk light doesn't go off  when it's open). Ben had a VW Jetta when we were dating and into our first year of marriage, but it died a sad death one July weekend when we were headed to Washington to visit with family, we only got as far as Salem. It sat parked for a long time until we were able to have it repaired and then we sold it. We were a one car family for a very long time and we managed okay.

A couple years ago we inherited my father-in-law's car so I could drive the Neon around and Ben could take the "new to us" Dodge Intrepid. It was quite nice having the freedom to get to work a couple days a week (when I worked outside the home) and to run errands and take kids to appointments without having to arrange for Ben to carpool, which he did a lot of (thanks Brad!). 

We've been outgrowing the Neon as a family car for a while now. The bigger the boys get the less leg room they have (well mostly Kai since Des is rear-facing) and there is zero space for any of the loads of stuff that come with packing around a toddler and preschooler. When we go anywhere that's more than a day trip (even just one night) we have to borrow a bigger vehicle. 

For along time I had hoped for a nice crossover or SUV but as I compared them to our needs now, and in the future, they weren't practical. I wanted a 7 seater so we could have 3 more kids  haul family and friends. I wanted storage space, even when using all 7 seats, and the seats needed legroom because my boys are already leggy, and will probably (hopefully) take after Ben and his brother in the height department. So basically, we need lots of space. I also wanted good gas mileage, which is also hard to come by in a hip vehicle. All those things leave the ever popular and super "uncool" minivan. We all dread minivans in our high school and college years, but the longer I drove our Neon packed tight (Desmond's carseat touched the back of the passenger seat and Kai was always kicking the driver), the more I longed for a minivan. I truly envied those who drove them, more so then those who owned their cooler counterparts. True "mom" status people, that's where I found myself. It got to the point where Ben really wanted one you know the height of our car situation when the dad wants a minivan! 

We prayed for years and figured it would fall into place someday. We especially hoped it would at least happen before we decide to add another kiddo the family. I don't think Kai would like riding in the trunk...more than once. 

Recently I started browsing minivans on craigslist and local dealer sites, as I've done many times before. I found a really good deal on one and Ben even test drove it after work one day. He liked it so one Sunday we went to see it. I immediately shot it down, the upholstery was disgusting and it smelled like someone had smoked in it for  its entire existence, non-stop. The night before we went I came across a new listing and so I asked about it after the 1st was a no-go. Our dealer (the same I had purchased my Neon from) couldn't locate it. We were about to head to church when I spotted another couple looking at it. Ben ran to tell the dealer that if they didn't buy it, to call us and off we went. In the middle of service Ben got a call and they had tried to buy it, but couldn't. So after service we headed back for me to test drive it. The car hadn't been fully processed yet (no mechanical work, no detailing) and it was already cleaner than the one we'd looked at that morning. I took it for a test drive and it drove smooth, a 2005 Town and Country (which is the EXACT same thing as a Dodge Grand Caravan, for those of you who are more familiar with Dodge). We decided that pending it's inspection we would buy it (a killer price and so much of it was falling into place that we knew this was our chance). I went home to feed the boys and Ben headed back to complete the deal. 

Sadly it took 4 days and a lot of back and forth for repairs to happen.  Our dealer even said had they done the inspection before selling it that they wouldn't have. That may sound bad, but all that means is that they repairs they made cost them more than they wanted to pay for the low price we got it at. So we got it all fixed up and at a killer deal. Ben traded in the Intrepid and will use the Neon as his work car, which is perfect because it gets much better mileage and is an overall more comfortable car. 

Our first trip was last weekend to the coast for the 4th of July. We didn't show the boys until it was packed up and ready to go. Then we told Kai we had a surprise before we could leave. I opened the door and said, we have a new van! and he gasped and said "yay!", he was so excited. The first 5 minutes of our car ride he kept shouting "this is SO FUN!" over and over. 

We had so much space for stuff for our stay in Florence. We packed our huge plastic wagon, a cooler of food, our luggage, a pack and play, Malakai's cot, camping chairs, toys, and more with room to spare. It was the perfect first run with the new car and we are so pleased. 

The boys have a ton of room in their captain's chairs, we can see them better, and we have more space than we know what to do with for their bags and toys. 

carseats in the neon compared to the T+C

I took it grocery shopping for the first time today and it has the perfect amount of storage space and handy little hooks to keep your bags from flying around. I feel so blessed to have a car that is so useful for our family!

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