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Someone Give Me An Alternative

To the minivan.

Sorry I haven’t blogged in awhile. I’m still alive. Barely. I have a book due in exactly one month and that’s not a good feeling when you totally lost time due to a double dose of morning sickness. So I must write like the wind and make sure I’ve weighed in on all topics toddler related.

Here are a few things that can’t help but take my mind off of writing:

There are ants in my dishwasher. How to get them out in a way that’s safe for a pregnant woman and toddler girl?

Our garage door is broken.

The check engine light on my car is on and my mechanic can’t take it until next Friday. Plus it’s making a high pitched noise when I drive. Lovely.

My computer is having trouble coming back from suspend mode.

My daughter is on a napstrike that would put postal workers to shame.

Is Mercury in retrograde or what?

But meanwhile…if you have three children, please please tell me what you drive. I may break down and buy a minivan but if you have an SUV that does the job let me know about it. I’m not quite ready to roll up for drinks with a girlfriend in my minivan yet.

Quick addition to this post: what are your (three kid) feelings on the Honda Pilot? I looked at the new Volvo SUV because I’m a big old safety queen but it is too small.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on July 29, 2007 10:44 pmUncategorized54 comments  

54 Comments

  1. Melissa R. Garrett said,

    We were totally anti-minivan for the longest time, and then we finally broke down and bought a Toyota Sienna. I *love* it ~ I truly do. I love the automatic doors and the back hatch that eases open and closed with the push of a button. The seats fold up and down with hardly any effort. We’re still able to pack a lot in, even when all five of us are in the van too. It’s great!

    | July 30, 2007 @ 12:56 am

  2. andi said,

    Ugh. The evils of the mini-van. One of the many reasons I’m stopping at two kids. Anyhoo, I think some of the new wagons are lovely, especially the Volkswagon ones. Is that a possibility?

    | July 30, 2007 @ 12:58 am

  3. jeanie said,

    Currently, as I only have 1, I do not require the van.

    My SIL has a Prado. We (as a 3 kid family) had a stationwagon…

    My computer is having the same problem.

    | July 30, 2007 @ 1:02 am

  4. Denise Thomas said,

    I’m just happy you’re still alive, girlfriend! Sorry I’ve been out of touch. Will call. Hated, hated, HATED the mini van concept until I had one. Love, love, LOVE it, but the stigma is hard to get over. You gotta love your ride, dude. Jim just bought me a new one last week, and sad as it is to say, it is SWEET. Not as sweet as his hoopty BMW, but that is a bitter topic for another day……

    | July 30, 2007 @ 1:02 am

  5. In the Trenches of Mommyhood said,

    We have 3 in carseats. My vehicle of choice is the Yukon Denali XL. 2 captains chairs in the middle and a 3rd row seat. Plus plenty of room for groceries, beach gear, bikes, etc. I’ll never go back to anything smaller.
    But the gas prices are definitely killer.
    And parking?
    Let’s just say I’ve hurt more than a few mailboxes…

    | July 30, 2007 @ 1:09 am

  6. amazedlife said,

    A thought on the ants – I discovered (while working with kids who I did not want to poison) that ants will not cross fresh baby powder. It seems to suffocate them somehow. Although how well this will work in a dishwasher is… questionable. But I would try a liberal dosing of baby powder in the dishwasher between washings, and then try to track where they are coming in and block their routes with baby powder as well. It needs to be freshened up fairly often, since when it gets damp and old it stops bothering the ants. Good luck!

    | July 30, 2007 @ 1:58 am

  7. K&M said,

    The mini-van…or as I call mine, the rock-n-roll mv (I have these cute little skull decals with bows on each front window. My teenage son wouldn’t let me properly pimp it out.) I avoided it as long as I could, but admit that I love the room. Not too hard to park, drives like a car, and no one can touch each other! That alone is worth taking the journey into the land of the uncool.

    | July 30, 2007 @ 2:13 am

  8. taira said,

    a mercury mountaineer has a third row. big but nice.

    | July 30, 2007 @ 2:07 pm

  9. my minivan is faster than yours said,

    As you well know, I have already sold my soul to the Toyota Siena and love it, if in fact you can love a minivan.

    I’m glad you’re still exploring options. Don’t give up the dream (but if you do, be sure and get pinstripes and spinners!).

    | July 30, 2007 @ 2:31 pm

  10. Cheryl Lage said,

    I too have remained anti-minivan (and we only have our twins, so we’ve dodged the big bullet), but reading these gals’ responses who’ve been converted I daresay you’ll be A-OK if no safe alternative is discovered.

    More than one guy I dated started out unappealing and “won me over” with unanticipated “plusses”—I’d hazard a guess that vehicles may be just as persuasive when you experience their benefits first-hand.

    Kick some deadline booty, only blog when you can (although greedily I wish you could daily!) and keep dem feets up!

    | July 30, 2007 @ 2:52 pm

  11. JMC said,

    I have 4 kids, and yes, a minivan. I avoided it as long as possible and even had 3 kids stuffed into the backseat of a sedan for 3 years. When we finally got the minivan, it was like the sky opening up, sunlight streaming down, and the clear voices of angels singing. But now there is a car that’s like a cross between a minivan and an SUV. It seats 7, like most minivans (though there are some that seat 8). It is a Mazda CX-9. It’s new this year, I think. Anyway, it may be what you’re looking for.

    | July 30, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

  12. Catwoman said,

    Have you seen the Mazda CX-7 And CX-9? They come with three rows and they’re Crossover vehicles, so an SUV-like vehicle. No minivan stigma, lots of room and pretty affordable, since they’re still in the mid 20K range and up.

    | July 30, 2007 @ 3:41 pm

  13. Lena said,

    Chevy Tahoe and I rock it like a vandal.

    | July 30, 2007 @ 5:16 pm

  14. Anne B. said,

    Ford Freestyle with 3rd row. You can do captain’s chairs or a bench seat. The 3rd row is actually pretty comfortable for an adult. I think they might be discontinuing the Freestyle name and rechristening it the Taurus X or something like that ????

    | July 30, 2007 @ 5:53 pm

  15. gmcountrymama said,

    Sorry hon, I have a mini-van. I like being able to walk around inside my vehicle and only have to clean it once a year or so, you can collect a lot of crap in a mini-van. I am looking to trade mine in though because I can’t afford the gas anymore! Also my airbag light is on and I don’t want to pay to fix it. Good luck with your book.

    | July 30, 2007 @ 6:30 pm

  16. Homeschool Housewife said,

    Well, I only have 2 kids, but even now I would love something a little bigger than my Taurus. I too do not want a minivan. We used to own one, and while I loved the comfort aspect, I hated how the groceries all rolled around. So, for me it is not as much an image thing, but a practicality thing. I like the one with the stow and go storage areas, but mine would never hold groceries, they would be too full of toys, petrified fries, and who knows what else.

    My mother in law bought the Honda Pilot because it seemed like everytime we came for a visit it was nessesary to take 2 cars or be TOTALLY crammed in. I have to say I love it. I fits 4 adults and 2 kids with plenty of room, the back seat has easy access for car seat loading, and the air vents allow the people in the back to be comfortable without freezing or roasting those in the front.

    Hope the perspective helps

    Michele

    | July 30, 2007 @ 6:49 pm

  17. Homeschool Housewife said,

    Sorry, one more thing, try mixing a mint oil and water in a spray bottle for the ants, it is a natural repellant and safe for humans. If you want to kill as well as repell mix in a little rubbing alcohol as well. We have used it in and had good results with, well they are called sugar ants or piss ants here, but I am not sure what they are called out of Texas. :)

    Hope it works for you!

    Michele

    | July 30, 2007 @ 6:56 pm

  18. Stefanie said,

    These comments and suggestions are all so great! This is what I love about being a blogger. Where else can you get this kind of real advice?

    | July 30, 2007 @ 6:58 pm

  19. mhutchinson said,

    Delurking to offer my 2 cents. I just traded in my GMC Yukon (like a chevy tahoe-only cheaper) for a small sedan to save money. I will morn the loss of her forever. I loved this SUV. It felt so good to drive and had third row seating and could easily accomodate our 4 children and selves. She was black with leather interior and we bought her slightly used. She had every possible option and was truly the most beautiful machine I have ever seen. If I could ever have another, I would purchase one in a heartbeat. We traded her in on a commuting vehicle for my husband. He got to keep his nice pick-up, not fair.

    | July 30, 2007 @ 9:09 pm

  20. Jenny said,

    Dude, the minivan has automatic sliding doors. THe new Sienna’s also have auto trunk door. The next time you wander out of the grocery store with a toddler, a big belly and cart full of groceries, ask yourself if your ego can handle having a door that opens at the push of a button from the remote in your hand. Its sooooo awesome.

    | July 30, 2007 @ 9:54 pm

  21. Rattling The Kettle said,

    Have you tried *running* the dishwasher? 😉

    Seriously, though, call an exterminator. There are some ant poisons that are perfectly safe for indoor use. Sounds like you have ants in your walls, and they’re coming out through the pipes into your dishwasher in search of water.

    | July 30, 2007 @ 10:23 pm

  22. Stefanie said,

    Rattling – Um, Ewwwwww! I’m calling right now.

    | July 30, 2007 @ 10:25 pm

  23. momomax said,

    I have no recommendations for you. I don’t know anything about any of it.

    I’m glad to hear that you’re okay. I was actually starting to worry about you…and that’s why I didn’t write. heh.

    Do they sell those half length yellow school buses to the general public? Would that be more acceptable?
    I dunno. I’m totally uncool when it comes to cars. I drove a baby blue station wagon when I was a teenager and I loved it.

    | July 31, 2007 @ 2:19 am

  24. Kirsten said,

    After years of refusal. I have a minivan. And I love it. I have no pride or shame.

    Hold me.

    | July 31, 2007 @ 4:32 am

  25. motherlawyer said,

    Stef, my sister has three kids and a Pilot, works great. Three carseats in the second row and a third row is there if you need it.

    Good luck with the babes, I’m very excited for you!

    | July 31, 2007 @ 6:53 pm

  26. G said,

    I was so anti-minivan, but then my husband talked me into it (seems like we’ve got it the wrong way around huh?). I dragged him with me to look at the Pilot and finally had to admit that it was just too small. It was great as long as I never wanted to simultaneously use the 3rd row of seats AND carry more than my purse. We ended up with a Sienna (because it was bigger than the other minivans) and in the end, I LOVE IT!!!

    | July 31, 2007 @ 7:20 pm

  27. Shannon said,

    Okay, had to weigh in here since we are going through the same thing-completely anti-minivan with three kids (including 19 month old twins) We have decided on the new Saturn Outlook. It’s stylish & has 3rd row seating. But are waiting a few months until we can get a used one as the price seems high for a Saturn.

    | July 31, 2007 @ 7:52 pm

  28. cry it out! said,

    I’ve found that three children fit quite nicely — and have a great time – in a mini cooper. All their crap fits great, too — and it’s like a bonding experience for the whole family.

    Oh man, minivan. (A friend has a pilot and LOVES it.)

    Now get back to work!

    Mike

    | July 31, 2007 @ 9:09 pm

  29. Misfit Hausfrau said,

    I refuse to purchase a mini-van. I rented one when we drove to Indiana this summer and it was great. I just don’t want to own one beacuse I don’t want to be the neighborhood mom who drives other people’s kids around. There, I said it. I still drive my 2001 Nissan Xterra. I am hoping it will last another year. I would like a Volvo station wagon, but they are pricey to repair. I think my next car will end up being a sedan.

    | August 1, 2007 @ 12:33 am

  30. doublees said,

    I had a minivan until Dec. 2005 when we were almost hit head on by a drunk driver on Christmas day, we moved onto a Honda CRV as we were on vacation and needed a car quick! My best friend drives a Honda Passport. I think that would have been the perfect size without having to get into a van again. My 14 year old loves that we don’t drive a van. My husband misses the van and I could go either way with it. I can say we looked at the ratings and drove a Honda Odyssey. They are pretty nice!

    | August 1, 2007 @ 3:35 pm

  31. Anna said,

    We have a Pilot. It works with 2 carseats but not sure I’d recommend it with 3. We put one carseat on each side, with space in the middle for me to sit between the kids if I need (that middle seat is really uncomforatble, by the way, and unless you’re tall, the seatbelt cuts right under your chin). But, this means we have to take a carseat in and out for 3rd row access (same problem you’d have if you put all 3 carseats in the 2nd row, and if you put one in the 3rd row, seems like it would be hard to reach), or else have our 3rd row people climb in from the back (they always look a bit surprised at this). Plus, if we use the whole 3rd row, there’s no space for the stroller. All that said, I’d rather have my Pilot than own a minivan :)

    | August 1, 2007 @ 11:50 pm

  32. Mary Beth said,

    We have a Pilot AND a minivan!!(and 3 kids) I like the van much better, especially on long trips. We just drove 15 hours from Florida to Delaware with 3 kids in the van and everyone was comfortable and we fit A LOT of stuff as we stayed a week. I do not define myself by the car I drive, I hope I have more self esteem than that!! For me it is about economy and functionality. When the third seat of the Pilot is being used you cannot fit anything back there and the van gets better gas mileage which is a plus. My advice to you is to read Consumer reports, find the top picks in your categories and then do a lot of test drives (and don’t be afraid to buy a presold car/van/SUV. A new one loses half its value just by driving it off the lot!!)

    | August 2, 2007 @ 3:04 am

  33. Lil Mouse said,

    the minivan thing only occurred to me recently. i have no kids yet, but we’re thinking on it. i have a “three” seater truck.. hm.. not so much. my hubby wants a car eventually, so that might be alright, for a while. umm if there’s only 4 of you a regular jeep, landrover, etc might work.
    if there’s 5.. yeah, you may have to do an SUV. How about a hybrid Ford escape to help with the gas milage?

    | August 2, 2007 @ 11:31 am

  34. Candace said,

    that big-ass acura looks great. I have two kids and a jeep liberty. on the one hand, I can never offer to carpool which is kind of a relief but on the other hand, we are squished. VERY SQUISHED! Not ready for the mini-van either. My in-laws with twin girls and a son have the acura and plenty of room. don’t forget to get the dvd player too……..

    | August 3, 2007 @ 12:59 am

  35. Chicagoland Mamacita! said,

    I have an 06 Pilot, loaded, and I love it. But….I only have one car seat in it. It will work fine with two, but then we can’t move the 2nd row seat forward to allow access to the 3rd row. Which kind of defeats the point of having the 3rd row. The cargo space when the 3rd row is folded down is terrific.

    It’s a lovely vehicle, and perfect for this stage. But when we get to three, I’m favoring a Denali or even a Suburban. The ‘Burbans look a lot cooler than they used to (excusing the horrible gas mileage. And, um, impact on environment). I just can’t embrace the minivan, and while I still have my skinny legs, I don’t want to be hoisting them into a van. It’s really about my ego. I will cave when the kids are in elementary school, but for now I’m clinging to any shred of coolness.

    | August 3, 2007 @ 1:48 am

  36. just4ofus said,

    I refused to drive the minivan too. I only have 2 kids, but have friends with 3 kids that use my car.
    I drive a Chrysler Pacifica with 3rd row. The only issue is that there isn’t much room in the Pacifica if the 3rd row is up. SO? I dunno.
    I hear ya on the mini van.
    Couldn’t do it either, my husband asked me while I was test driving the mini van if I would be OK picking up the girls for drinks in it. That did it for me.
    I have friends that drive the GMC Envoy XL, it is pretty good. The Mazda CX-9 is good too. The only foreign car that I found exceptable with room and without being a gas hog.
    I would have bought it but it wasn’t out yet and it comes with a $40,000 price tag.

    | August 3, 2007 @ 10:42 pm

  37. surcie said,

    I was anti-minivan, too. But I love my Honda Odyssey. When they’re tricked out with leather interior, XM Radio, a moon roof, and GPS, they’re not so bad! (Of course, I don’t live in LA. Not sure my previous fly hoopty, the Volvo, would be cool there.)

    | August 4, 2007 @ 9:50 pm

  38. Anonymous said,

    Expectant father here (first time) and I am curious about the car situation. A second kid might be in our future, but I’m telling my wife to let us get through #1 first. We’re very anti minivan, and considering buying a Prius…are we nuts? Our other car is a land rover but the rear seat won’t stay up (latches are broken) and my wife says that just won’t do…

    | August 5, 2007 @ 11:23 pm

  39. Jenn said,

    Whah! You scoff the minivan? It’s the whole basis of my being. Sorry, but my Honda Odyssey kicks any SUV’s ass. I’ve got Navigation, leather seats, DVD player, volume controls on the steering wheel, full power outlet in back, headphone plugs in last row, stow and go seats, etc. etc.

    Embrace the van!

    | August 6, 2007 @ 2:43 am

  40. L.A. Daddy said,

    We went with a station wagon. It’s the Chrysler Pacifica. And it’s nice. But the Pilot would be a good option. Better fuel economy and pollutants than the monsters that most people drive. And not as dorky as the minivan.

    | August 6, 2007 @ 4:11 pm

  41. Slackermommy said,

    I can relate. Everything is breaking or attempting to break at my house. I drive a Yukon XL. It seats 7 and has a big trunk area which we very much need for family road trips and grocery shopping.

    | August 6, 2007 @ 5:28 pm

  42. It's Just Me said,

    i had the big lexus SUV- loved it. holds 7. My friend has an expedition, it is good too. Gas guzzler though.

    | August 7, 2007 @ 2:37 am

  43. Erin said,

    Have three kids? Yes. Minivan great? Yes. Cool? Not so much but who cares. I love the space and being able to separate the kids. Total must for my sanity!! I love how the doors slide open and wide which is great for putting kids in carseats when people park super close to you and you have to shove an infant carseat into your car somehow. Also great for when kids can open doors by themself – no worries about them swinging the doors into cars next to you. Minivans drive like a car, park with ease, can transport everyone, and they don’t suck your bank account dry filling it up with gas.

    | August 8, 2007 @ 4:01 pm

  44. Deb said,

    Buy the Audi Q7. It’s got all kinds of cool (easy-to-use) gadgets, and the reason we bought it is because it can fit all four dogs (300 pounds of dogs) + kid and keep the two factions separated. How, you ask? Three rows, and the third row collapses flat. Trust me, it’s way roomier than it looks. Perfect for three kids.

    | August 9, 2007 @ 1:55 pm

  45. Amy said,

    We drive a Suburban. It’s the most awesome family wagon ever. Plus the third row cannot be beat when you desperately need to separate a 12 and 15 year old so they don’t kill each other.

    | August 9, 2007 @ 4:14 pm

  46. GIRL'S GONE CHILD said,

    What about something like this?

    http://haxadecimal.com/nucleus/media/1/20060524-4641919251.jpg

    Honestly, the only van I’d drive is a Vanagon. They’re so classic and you can take them to burningman no problem.

    | August 10, 2007 @ 9:35 pm

  47. Erin said,

    We just bought the new Kia crossover–the Rondo. It has seating for 7. We have three kids so the two car seats are in the middle, and my son (in his booster seat) is in the third row. The third row folds down 50/50 so he climbs in the back (trunk door). My 3 year old wanted to sit by him so now we have the 2nd row half-folded and the two bigger kids sit in the back. It gets good gas mileage–we switched from a mini-van (a dodge grand caravan sport(shorter than a regular minivan) 2001 if you’re interested–built in carseats in the middle bench!) Anyway-good luck!

    | August 10, 2007 @ 9:46 pm

  48. Erin said,

    sorry-i forgot–the Kia Rondo also has a 5 year bumper-to-bumper warranty. We got so tired of fixing our stupid cars. Good luck and happy driving!

    | August 10, 2007 @ 9:48 pm

  49. chris said,

    I can only assume at this point, due to the lack of posting, that you bought the minivan and promptly died. Because really, leaving us all hanging like this is so wrong.

    Soooo, where have you been?

    | August 12, 2007 @ 1:58 am

  50. Cory said,

    Ugh…once upon a time, my husband bought me a sweet Expedition. It was loaded, leather, sunroof, 6disc changer, 3rd row seat that automatically folds down with the touch of a button. Plus I looked hot in it, which is important. And then after having the 28-gallon tank for a year and gas being $87 a gallon, he took it away from me and gave me a Saturn VUE. I am not excited…it’s nice, but I feel like I’m driving a minivan…the gas prices make it worth it though. However…i’m currently coveting my neighbor’s GMC Acadia…it looks awesome and I hear it also has a 3rd row seat?

    | August 14, 2007 @ 5:12 pm

  51. Bri said,

    This is way late to actually help you , but the next time you have an engine light come on and you can’t get it to a mechanic right away, you can take it to an Autozone or something similar. They hook your car up to a computer, which will tell you what caused the light to come on. This won’t fix it, but it will let you know if it’s an emergency situation. The best part is, they do this for free. (I learned this the hard way when my check engine light kept coming on. Turns out it was triggered if I didn’t close the gas cap tight enough.)

    | August 15, 2007 @ 7:55 pm

  52. Swistle said,

    I KNOW the cool thing is to be anti-minivan, as if the minivan epitomizes all that is wrong with parenthood–but seriously, those things are THE SHIT. We bought one when I was pregnant with the twins (and we had two kids already), and I have never looked back. It is like driving MY LIVING ROOM–but easier to park. It is SWEET. We have a Toyota Sienna and I give the steering wheel a little pet every day. And if one more person says “soccer mom” I am going to run over him or her with my bitchin’ minivan.

    | September 20, 2007 @ 2:08 am

  53. angie said,

    i drive a suburban and it. rocks!

    i have two elementary school kids and a niece (middle school) and nephew (last year in elementary school) that hang out with us all the time . . . 4 kids, 1 mom and lots of room for shite like groceries, school bags, karate bags, art supplies, bags, and our version of the DMZ.

    good luck!

    | September 20, 2007 @ 5:36 pm

  54. Tiffany said,

    Possibly to late, but I have three kids, and drive a GMC Yukon. Love it. Hate the minivan. Oh and can I just add, Get the DVD player. I don’t care who looks at you like you are a crazy, lazy, mean assed parent. DVD player.

    | September 26, 2007 @ 9:53 pm

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