Morgan was 5, Ethan was 3, and Nolan was 17 months. Our van felt as amazing as a space ship! It had been re-designed, and set the stage for every future Mini Van to be built. It's true! This van was the beginning of the modern body style, flip and fold seats, cup holders everywhere, and an engine that could out-perform most other vehicles on the road. WHILE maintaining amazing gas mileage! I know, I know, I sound like a commercial... :) Even though it was the spring of 2003, our van was a 2004 and fresh off the line. Our vehicle payment was bigger then our mortgage payment, but we knew we could handle it, and we were all pretty darn excited! For years I had my boys convinced this was me.... :)
11 years later I still love driving my Sienna, but have really been thinking lately about life after the mini van. It almost makes me teary. It's like the end of an era. In my opinion, the Mini Van is designed to be the ultimate Mom mobil. You can pack all your little kids safely into their car seats, and still jam $250.00 worth of groceries, a stroller, your "clean up" and snack bin, and a diaper bag in there. THEN...you graduate to back packs, sports bags, school projects, coolers full of food, extra kids, maybe a bike, and STILL get $500.00 worth of groceries in there! My van has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of my family! It's been thrown up in, bled in, peed in, eaten in, climbed in, treated like a jungle gym, driven me to the hospital while in labor, driven kids to the ER, and has gotten us there safely every, single, time. It has sheltered us in hurricane force winds, torrential rains, blizzards and white outs, hail, massive thunder and lightning storms, and one weird, small, tornado-y like thing. It has handled like a dream and gotten us home safely in every weather scenario you can think of. It has also helped me avoid a Black Bear, a few Elk, and several Deer. Now, I do recognize it was all God, but I sure felt safe in my van while he was busy protecting me and the boys. It has also heard us yell, cry, sing, laugh, pray, tell secrets, fight, laugh some more, and talk through life. As I am currently now adding close to 1000 kilometres a week onto our wonderful mini van, it has got me really to thinking about what to do next. I just clicked over 250,000 km, and I still need my van for 4 more years...
As I enter a new stage of life, my needs have changed, and so have the needs of my family. With having 2 boys driving now, no car seats, tons of kilometres to travel, and not always the option to stay home if weather dictates, it was time to explore some options. Could I really justify a CAR?
OK...I need to back up a bit. When I was 16, I bought a 1985 Hyundai Pony for $300.00. What I really wanted?? This bad boy!
Yep! I was just that cool! A 1992 Subaru Outback. When all my friends wanted a Mazda Miata, I wanted this baby. All wheel drive, could throw a kayak on top, my German Shepherd in the back, and still have plenty of room for backpacks and friends!
Then, in the late 90's, I graduated to wanting this!
The Subaru Outback, L.L. Bean Edition. Sigh..... Yep.
However, I also wanted 4 kids. Enter my Mini Van instead.... :)
OK, thanks for joining me down memory lane, I'll get back to business here!
So...what to do now? Well, let me see. I don't always have all 4 kids with me. However, I do need to be able to pack bikes, skis, bags, back packs, groceries, a German Shepherd, and long legged boys into my vehicle. I need to be able to get to the mountains, over the mountains, all over Alberta and B.C., and know I can do it with phenomenal gas mileage and safety. I need to know that if my boys get caught in a freak storm, they are safe. I need the assurance of performance and safety. So guess what??
Yep, back to the Subaru Outback my mind goes.
I still need my van. I still need to be able to seat 6 - 8 people. However, I only need to be able to do that about once per week. So, this is the new member of Clan Koskela... Cypress!
21 years later, I now get to drive a Green Subaru Outback. My van can get some TLC and rest, and I don't have to compromise safety, comfort, or (let's be honest!) style. I am spoiled. I am blessed. I don't deserve my wonderful husband who is indulging my 16 year old inner Ellerie.
Now, if you'll excuse me, there is a highway with my name on it.... :)