Wednesday, March 19, 2014

From Average to More Series: The Car

This is an area of a growing family I have noticed is often an after thought. While this was not the case with us, the plan we had is one we are no longer pursuing in the near future. We have decided instead of increasing our debt beyond our comfortable point with our home equity loan, we will instead only consolidate as previously planned and pay off our current vehicle. That will financially put us in a very comfortable place of one loan payment (under $700 mind you!). Eventually it is our goal to be 'debt free' but we see borrowing against our home to more quickly set us up for other liberties to be a reasonable compromise. So, moving on to how I am going to revamp my mid-size SUV to accommodate a maxed backseat.

Our Trailblazer we bought last March.

First I will show you what a picture of 3 kids with my current carseats looks like...

My friends baby was in my infant seat while I was babysitting.

Squishy huh? Yeah, I felt bad for Puzzle Boy that day! This is the configuration I will have our kids in but I am going to swap out Mini Me's GIGANTIC carseat for...

After some research I happened upon this: a Diono Radian r100. It has a solid steel frame and is one the safest convertible seats out there. It is rated for birth to 100 pounds. It can rear face, forward face and be a booster. But the best thing is... it's the slimmest seat out there and specifically designed to fit 3 of these seats side by side in any midsized SUV or car. The only down side is the price! Just over $200 depending on which site you look at. I look at a seat like this as an investment. It has an 8 year expiration date with the harness and a 10 year as a booster with regular seat belt. I will probably buy another one when the baby out grows the infant seat to keep him/her rear facing longer. Most of our old seats have either expired and/or are baseline quality. I have made do but I really feel that we are in a place now to start making investments in family gear in general. Call it growing up if you will!

But, what about all the other stuff that we'll need to bring with us? Shopping days? A road trip?? Well, that's what the cargo area is for! One of the things that attracted me to my Trailblazer was the cargo capacity and the ease of it's use. I can easily use the lift gate with one hand and it's low enough to not make heavy loads a pain. Yet, it's still not that simple. We have a rather rugged stroller that I love and it easily takes up half the cargo space. While I like to have it with me all the time, for big shopping trips it has to stay home. And, that's OK with me! When I explain my new shopping methods, you will get why I am. But, even with it out I still have to make some modifications to make that open space more efficient. Right now things run around in the back when I drive. Like my washer fluid... it kinda sounds like a bowling ball back there. So I will be finding some nets to help contain everything from groceries to my cooler. No, they don't look very nice but they work and that's what matters.

Another thing that I need to work into my schedule is cleaning the car. When I had one child it got messy. With two it is a disaster. Montana Man drives it and the trash is crazy. Let's not even go there anymore. So weekly the car needs to be rid of trash, spills addressed (if I am unable to immediately) and given a mat shake out and general wipe down. Once a month it needs to be vacuumed, windows cleaned (inside!), fluids checked, washed and armor all-ed. I hate my car to be dirty and some where along the way I gave up. This is me reclaiming my vehicle!

Some of you may think, 'Geez, just get a minivan already!'. No offense, I don't do minivans. Our next up vehicle would be an Acadia which seats five in back. As of right now five kids is our MAX amount we are entertaining. If for some reason we had more (as in a surprise), we would kinda have to get something bigger. But that's a rabbit trail I'm going to avoid right now! Hahaha!

Til next week!


  1. I really think that picking the Trailblazer is a good choice. Don't mind the people who bug you about getting a mini-van. To each his own, right? Buying that baby seat can do wonders on road trips. Anyway, I hope everyone's in the best of health this summer!

    Ralph S. @ Loans4Less