Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Choosing a Non-Mini Van Family Vehicle

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I got my first car when I was in high school.  My mom was actually in the market for a car, and I saw a gold Nissan Pathfinder at a local car lot.  I told her about it, but she ended up getting something else.  Well, fast forward a few months and that same car was still sitting up at the car lot.  One of my friends at school worked at the same lot, washing and detailing cars and doing odd jobs for them. He knew I’d had my eye on the car, but I never really said anything to my parents about it.
One day I came home from school, and that gold Nissan Pathfinder was sitting in my driveway.  My friend said that his boss told him to drop it off and let us drive it for a while to see what we thought.  These are the kind of things that happen when you live in a small town where everybody knows everybody. Two weeks later, I was still driving it.  About a week after that, it was officially mine.  It was one of those "happy birthday, merry Christmas, happy new year and happy graduation" type of deals.  Thanks, Mom and Dad!

I drove that car for ten years.  I took me through my senior year of high school and graduation.  I drove it to Clemson and through both undergraduate and graduate school. It took me back and forth from the restaurant where I waited tables.  I drove it to my very first full time job. I drove it through my first few years as a newlywed.  When we adopted Kate and became a family of three, that car was still with me. I would have kept driving it, except that the summer Kate turned one was one of the hottest on record, and my now 11 year old car did not have air in the back seats.  Put that together with a baby who was already hot natured and by law was required to be in a rear facing car seat, and I knew it was time for something new.

Since I’d already driven my first car for 10 years, I wanted to make sure to get something that would last at least that long again.  My only real requirement was that I wanted something with a 3rd row.  We already had Kate, but knew we would want our family to expand again eventually. Originally I thought I wanted a Toyota Highlander.  But after a few months of debating options, I ended up getting….. a 2012 Nissan Pathfinder!  Original, huh? 

I've now driven my new Pathfinder for 5 years, and while I still love it, there are a few things that I wish I’d considered sooner.
Mainly, I wish that I’d considered what it means to be driving a car that has multiple car seats.  Both Kate and Karsten are in car seats or boosters right now, and I can’t even imagine what it would be like to drive a three car seat car.  I’ve always said I am NOT a mini van driving mom but I can definitely see the convenience.  Never say never, right? Well I’m definitely not to that point, but I do have to say, even having two car seats in my Pathfinder is rough.  My car is one that has a bench seat on the middle row instead of captain chairs.  Essentially, once two car seats are properly installed, my third row is useless because there is no access.    
I love so many things about my car that I can't complain too much. There is plenty of room for all of the gear that comes with having kids.  I love that my seat is completely adjustable and that my pedals are also adjustable.  As a pretty petite person (5 foot tall), this is huge!  I can adjust everything so I sit up high enough and can see out well.  So basically, the pros outweigh the cons in this car for me.  But I'm not going to lie, captain chairs would be awesome right about now.  That mini van would also be pretty convenient, but that's just not me.

Hopefully I'm not going to be in the market for another car anytime soon, but when I am, I'll make sure to think through it all just a little bit more.  Do you have any regrets about your car purchase?

Monday, February 12, 2018

My Little Valentines

These two.

I am so very thankful for them.  They gave me the title of "Mama"- one that I don't take for granted. It's a title that I prayed for for a long time, and even though I might hear it ten thousand times a day, I still love hearing it.

These two are silly, and loud.  They are best of friends and sometimes, they are each others biggest enemy.  They love building things together with their magnatiles.  They love wrestling. They love pizza and salad. They love sharing a room in their new bunk beds and Kevin and I hear them giggling for hours before they fall asleep. 

Their days of matching are numbered and so I'm taking advantage of the fact that they LOVE to wear the same clothes as each other right now. Pretty soon they won't be caught dead in the same outfits so right now, I'm buying all the matching things and taking all the pictures. Six and three are good ages.

So happy Valentines day from these two, and from Kevin and me.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Snow Day 2018

A few weeks ago, we got snow. We typically get snow about once a year, and usually just a few inches. It snowed back in December, which was crazy, so this snow was sort of unexpected for me since we'd already hit our one-snow limit. 

We went to bed with nothing, and woke up to a winter wonderland.  TV reports said we got 3 inches but we measured with a ruler and got 6 inches at our house. There was plenty for the girls to play in - and play they did!

Karsten is more like me.  I loved seeing the snow, and enjoyed going out in it for a bit, but then I'm ready to go back inside. Karsten was the same way. It took 30 minutes to get her bundled up, and she enjoyed the outside for about 10 minutes, but then she wanted hot chocolate.  Oh to be three again.

Kate would have stayed outside all day long if we'd let her. She is an outside girl and the cold didn't bother her a bit!  If only I could be a bit more like her in this.

The boys think snow is the best thing ever. They have a nice warm house, filled with cedar chips. You'd think they would cuddle up inside but nope - they like to sleep on the snow.

Now that we've had a snow day in 2018, I think that's enough for this year. We love it.  Just not all the time. :)  Us southerners aren't equipped for snow, and being stuck at home for days is difficult with two little ones!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Wasted Time or Purposeful Time?

I hate commuting to work. I know I'm not alone in this when I say that I hate traffic. We definitely don't live in a huge city but it's not small by any means. Over the years traffic has progressively gotten worse and worse. I've often thought that the person who creates a machine for teleportation will be the richest person alive.  You know, a machine that instantly zaps you where you want to go?  Won't that be the best invention in the history of time?  Maybe not, but it probably seems like it would be to someone who has been sitting in traffic, stuck on the interstate for 30 minutes or more.

To be honest, there probably will come a day when that invention actually does exist.  I'm sure some of us can't wait for that day to happen.  But if we really think about it, will something like that necessarily be a great invention?

We often think of time in our cars as wasted or useless time.  We view our driving time as time that we could be spending doing other things.  If we didn't have to drive places, we could have more time at home or at work, or what ever the case may be.

Sure we might be more productive in those places, but think about the things that we will miss without that so called "wasted" time in our car.  When I'm driving alone, this is often the only time that I ever really listen to music.  Well, it's the time I listen to music that is not geared toward children! Because I listen to Christian music, I'm filling my head with the word of God, singing about how great He is and worshiping him.  Maybe you do the same.  Or maybe ...

  • You're listening to a book on tape. 
  • You are running through your daily to-do list in your head and organizing your thoughts.
  • You're driving your kids to school and this is the one time when they're trapped in the same small area as you so you're able to have meaningful conversations.
  • You are listening to a podcast about a topic that interests you.
  • You are talking to out of town family members on the phone because you finally have a little peace and quiet to make phone calls to other people.

I was reminded this week of just how special that car time can be when I drove Kate to school early one morning. She's getting to the age where she is starting to understand and think through some of the things that she has been learning about since she was born. On the drive to school, she started asking me questions about Jesus and I was so thankful to get to share with her and talk to her one-on-one. Sure we could have had that conversation another time, but it was on her heart then and this is one of the rare moments in our week when she and I are alone together.

We live in an instant world. We live in a place where we expect everything immediately. But sometimes we need to thank God for the traffic, the times when we are forced to slow down and prepare for our day, organize our thoughts, talk to our kids or maybe just listen to Him.


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