Well, I did it, I took the plunge and traded in my 2002 Ford Escape with 115,000 miles on it for a Mini Van! I know, I know....you're probably also one of those people who swore and still swear that you will NEVER own a Mini Van. Maybe true if you don't have kids or have no need to shlep around the family, but for those of us who do, there is always that I-don't-know-if-I-can-do-"it" mentality when it comes to Mini Vans. I often wondered why and was one of those "I'll never do it" people but as much as I loved my SUV and the idea of another, I started to investigate the Mini Van Movement more.
There are many things to consider when you are contemplating taking the plunge. The first is "Do I really need THAT much space?" Well, in my life, there were two things I've grown to loathe about my SUV. The front seats always had to be moved back to accommodate leg room, hence, squishing any adult in the back and/or forcing my pre schooler to kick the back of the chair. Pretty much making it very uncomfortable for anyone in front of my kid or behind the driver. Also, with the dog, there is never going to be room for our upcoming baby. My 80 lb puppy is not pushover in the car. I decided that no matter what SUV we looked at, the leg room was always going to be my issue. OK, going along with the "space" problem....I really wanted enough room so that when the grandparents were visiting we could stop taking TWO cars just to go out for dinner. We see our family a LOT and we love to do things together, and they don't all involve us being in the house. It's nice to find a car where we can all fit nicely, for long or short trips AND have enough room for anything we're bringing along with us. There isn't one grandmother I know of that carries a handbag smaller than an average duffle these days. When I looked at our new mini van and saw all that it could accommodate, leg room, storage compartments, cup holders galore etc. I was in HEAVEN! Certainly there will never again be an issue with a comfortable journey for us all!
The second thing I wanted to consider was finding a car that could really be defined for the family...almost made for one. Well, what's better than a drop down DVD player that comes with bluetooth wireless headphones so the kids can watch whatever they want in the back and the parents can listen to whatever they want in the front!? I couldn't find anything better than THAT! Having gone from just a radio and a DVD player literally duct taped around the headrest of a seat to a car with a borderline space ship technology was our "ah ha" moment. And don't get me started on the overwhelming functions of this technology: DVD player, Sirius radio, and the ability to stream audio from an iPhone/iPod and/or load up thousands of songs onto the cars computer (although I'm still wondering why there is an option to upload pictures? Who's watching a slide show of pictures in my car?) I don't even know where to start! I felt like we hit the jackpot! It's been a looooooooong time since we bought a car, apparently. There are also enough cup holders and storage compartments for an entire soccer team. Family car? Um, yes!
Lastly, would we not feel cool anymore? I don't know what makes you feel cool these days, but age 35 with a preschooler, a dog and another baby on the way, I am not so much worried about what the younger guy or gal at the stop light is thinking about me and what I'm driving. If I roll down the windows, you'll still hear Dave Matthews or Lady Gaga playing, you'll still see me and my cool shades bopping along, and I guarantee there will not be anything "uncool" playing on my DVD player.
The Mini Van Movement is growing people, and it's time we all accepted that for many of us, or many you know, it is now cool to drive one. In fact, I'm thinking for my next Girls Night Out with the Ladies, I'm going to drive. You'll see us driving along blasting the Sirius 80's and 90's Mix station all while Pretty in Pink plays in the back. And for my husband, he now has the coolest tailgating ride around. With tip back seats perfect for rear tailgating, cup holders galore, and all his favorite sports stations programmed in courtesty of Sirius, there will never again be an uncomfortable parking lot fold out chair to sit on.
The Mini Van Movement is geting hot, so hot that there are now entire blogs set up about all the fun things to do in your new ride. If you are in the mood for some good humor, check out "Rage Against the Mini Van" written by a mom, Kristen, who in the spring of 2010, lost her long and passionate battle against the minivan. It now sits in her driveway covered in crushed cheerios and remnants of her self-esteem. Another fave, is "Two Kids, a Mini Van and Mortgage." There are also a growing amount of people on Pinterest, and other sites, writing about all sorts of Mini Van related topics.
But like I said, for us, we'll be enjoying our life on the highway or even the trips to the supermarket a bit more now! So when you see the cool chic with the shades, rocking it out at the traffic light in the big gray Town & Country, just know it's me, and I'm lovin' every second of it!
*For anyone who has a Mini Van and loves it - I encourage you to post fun pics of you and your family enjoyng your Van and share some fun things you've done together.