When I was pregnant with our 5th daughter we purchased a minivan. Brand spankin new, entertainment package (translation -> DVD Player), etc. We thought for sure it was the perfect solution for our growing family. We also have a Suburban, so this would be our 2nd "family" vehicle. Oh the places we would go!! and go comfortably.....so we thought.
Fast forward 2 years. There is a carseat in each 2nd row bucket seat (we could put them in the back, but how the heck would we actually strap them in??!!). The 3 older children....who aren't so small anymore (Jenny is 5'4", Casey is 5'7", and Sara is 5') are stuffed in the back seat. At this age, they don't like to look at one another let alone sit next to each other, and they especially don't want to SMELL each other. It's best if the tallest one sits in the middle so she has somewhere to put her spider legs. But then she's caught between the slinging verbal banter of the 2 other ones (who are a lot alike). Matt and I are up front trying to ignore them and praying there isn't any bloodshed that will stain the interior. So...the only people comfortable are the 2 little ones, snug in their carseats, watching Madagascar 2 or Finding Nemo.
I have begun dreaming of 15 passenger vans. The Quintessential vehicle of the large family. I dream of cargo space (you do not even want to know how we pack for a trip in the minivan!). I dream of each kid with their pillow and blanket in THEIR OWN SEAT. I dream of leg room and peaceful family road trips. One day, I shared this dream with the children. We were driving through a large parking lot and I pointed to a van and proclaimed with confidence "There is our next vehicle!" Well...let's just say they were not so enthusiastic. How could I do that to them? Apparently, while they dislike being stuck next to their smelly sisters after basketball practice in the minivan, it is better than being SEEN in a "bus"! (I wasn't going to buy a yellow one!).
The plot thickens.....Memorial Day weekend we will be driving to Reno, Nevada for a high school Basketball tournament for Jenny's travel team. There will be 1600 teams, over 80 courts in play. Supposedly, there will be 1000 college scouts. Great exposure for the kids and we are looking forward to it....except the commute. I was really dreading it and trying to figure out how we were going to pack everything, etc. I always take a cooler of food, etc. The coaches are very adamant that the girls do not eat fast food at the tournament - it's healthy food only. So, us parents, bring food for them to create lunch from as well as snacks. It is more healthful and much less expensive. Anyway...back to the story here....I had a revelation the other day. My in-laws have an extended version 15 passenger van. They live in Southern CA but are coming up frequently to work on a house they bought up here last year. I wonder if we could borrow it?? I discussed it with Matt, he thought it was a great idea, so he asked his Dad and Dad is willing to drive it up for us. Dad will then drive our minivan on his return trip to Southern CA. I'm so thankful!! Maybe he'll want to trade?! (I doubt it).
We haven't told the kids yet - they'll be thrilled, don't you think??? The first thing my husband said was "well, we could take more of the team with us". Ya...that's what we need....more teenagers in the vehicle. NOT!