Oddly enough one of the first things that went through our minds after finding out I was pregnant again was, "What will we drive??!!". After getting over the initial shock of course. When we purchased our Yukon just over 2 years ago we had the 5 kids with no plans for more. When surprise blessing #6 was on the way we thought, "oh cool, we've filled up our truck, no extra seat anymore". When we found out about surprise blessing #7 we had no idea what we were going to do. Here's our dilema...
1. We live in the woods on a dirt road that the town does not maintain. It is the responsibility of the few residents that live on it to maintain it. We pay for plowing, etc. but you really need 4-wheel drive (a feature most 12-passenger vans do not come with) if you want to be guaranteed to get out everyday in the winter. Ben gets out with his car but he has studded snow tires and chains in his trunk...we don't fit in a car anyway so that's not an option for us. :)
2. Our garage is only so big. The height of a 12-passenger van is taller than our garage so if we decided to get one of those then it would need to stay parked outside...really defeating the purpose of having a brand new garage. I'm pretty spoiled now and love the fact that I never have to clean snow off my vehicle or trudge through snow with all the kids to get to it.
3. Having just bought the Yukon (you can read all about that here: How God Provided) not too long ago we really were not in a position to buy a new vehicle...and we really don't want to because we love the Yukon!
4. And lastly...I just don't want to drive a van that size! I admit it. When we spent 4 months in WA state, shortly after our 3rd was born, for Ben's work the rental car company was out of SUV's and the only vehicle large enough to accommodate our family size and all the luggage & baby gear we had was a 12-passenger van. So that is what we drove for our time out there. Ben loved it. I'm not sure if it was the van he liked so much or the fact that it was brand new and we've never had a brand new vehicle in our lives! Anyway, I did not like it. I found it really intimidating to drive. I know I would get used to it but I just don't want to...unless I absolutely have to!
So when you consider all these things what do you do? Friends of ours began telling us of this website called "Little Passengers" that will custom make seats and benches specifically for SUV's. You give them your make and model and they customize it to fit. So we looked into it. What we read and learned we liked. It seems like the perfect solution to our transportation issue. While it is costly considering you are just buying a seat, it's cheaper than buying a new vehicle and the seat can be taken out and put into a new vehicle of the same model should you decide in the future to buy a new one. Yes we will lose our cargo space in the back but thankfully we have a roof carrier that my aunt & uncle gave us to put luggage when we travel as well as a covered u-haul style trailer they gave us. We take the trailer anyway when camping because we just can't fit all the gear we need otherwise. So traveling will not be an issue. It is not purchased yet, however. We will wait till the baby is here to do that. I am not a pessimist but a realist and the realist me (that should say "us" because Ben and I are both the same when it comes to this) says wait because even though things are going well and you and baby are healthy anything can happen between now and then. It's a lot of money to spend if you end up not needing it. So I will let you know once we get it and have used it for awhile what we think. For now though I'm excited about it and thankful we have this option. For a little bit longer I can avoid driving a 12-passenger van!