We made the leap

photo-201Yes, we bought a mini-van. A 2014 Toyota Sienna, and yes, the kids love it. They love the sliding doors. They love the video screen. My 4-year-old likes being able to walk to the back row through the center of the car (for some reason, probably having to do with his more easy-going personality, he always gets the back row). I had resisted this for a while, but given that we will soon be a family of six, it was inevitable.

We took our maiden full family voyage this afternoon to go pick apples and will be attempting an apple pie tonight. This weekend also featured all 3 kids going to soccer. I made a Costco run. I planned out two children’s birthday parties. I think I am officially living a suburban existence right now.

15 thoughts on “We made the leap

  1. Sliding doors are epic because children cannot POSSIBLY slam them into the car parked next to you.

    We adore our Sienna, and I hope you love yours as much as we love ours!

    (I might have already shared this, but last year someone smashed our back windshield so we had to take a rental Town and Country on vacation, and my soul! The quality and engineering difference between the two vans was incredible. It gave me fresh appreciation for the awesomeness of the Sienna. Such a great van design.)

    1. @the Frugal Girl – we liked the design and handling too. We went with the AWD version, with the 7-seat option (captains seats in the middle row). It handles pretty well, although I do somewhat feel like I am captaining a boat with it…

  2. I traded my small car for a mini-van earlier this year because I now have a small son. I don’t think I could go back or switch to a more expensive SUV. I would rather spend my money in other ways. A car doesn’t determine how cool someone is 😉

    1. @Bree – very true. Of course, every single ad on television would try to convince you otherwise! And Toyota’s whole marketing strategy plays on this — #swaggerwagon? I think the Volkswagon van was pitched with the idea that people might consider having a family just because of how cool it was: “Have a baby for love, not for German engineering.” We all want to think of ourselves as hip, and mini vans are pretty functional. As are all cars, but we don’t think of it that way…

  3. I’ve never understood why people are so reluctant to get a mini-van. I guess you have to get to place where value of the convenience factor outweighs the lack of sporty aesthetic. My baby is 28 years old, and I still love my mini-van. (’04 Toyota Sienna) I ditto the comments about the sliding doors, and it was the best people hauler in the Run-Around Years (when the kids are in extra-curriculars). Now, it accommodates my monthly Costco procurement trips, and I can take a bunch of girlfriends for girls night out. Pretty soon, I hope, I’ll have carseats for the grandkids in that back seat. As for you young moms, I just feel a mini-van adds a load of convenience in the years when you need to be free of figuring out little hassles of the day-to-day. I hope you enjoy that Sienna more and more!

  4. I’m on the other end of the spectrum. I drove minivans for 16 years while the kids were young, but last year switched back to a Subaru sedan! I feel so much sportier now. Minivans are perfect for your situation – enjoy it! And remember, it’s not forever!

  5. We bought our Toyota Sienna new in 2003. Over 200k miles and still going strong! We have hauled everything in it; patio furniture that I found at a bargain that we strapped to the roof, blow-in insulation packages that we crammed into every nook and cranny, 16 ice chests filled with ice, and countless children. There are a few things that are now broken, including the automatic sliding door (we only had it on one side). It’s over $1,500 to fix and with the car being so old we haven’t chosen to fix it. So the kids have just learned to use one door!

  6. We frequently house swap for extended family vacations and while most people have heard of house swapping, they don’t realize you swap cars too. We swapped with a family that had a minivan and it changed my mind about the whole minivan mom thing. I’m a convert from an SUV, haul the boat, off-roading type lifestyle to a proud minivan mom. I thought my teenagers would be too embarrassed to be seen in one but now they have informed me that it is deliciously “ironic” and therefore acceptable. Who knew?

  7. Laura – we got a Sienna when our youngest (now 5) was a few months old, and I LOVE it! I promise you will never look back, especially with 4 kids…(Although full disclosure: in a couple of years, when I turn 40, I may have to buy myself an Acura as part of my midlife crisis 🙂

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