I am not really sure how to start this. You know, a long absence, many things have happened, you miss writing at least once a week, where do you start? That is me right now.
So where do I start. I see that I started talking about Abeka when I left off. We are still doing Abeka and really like it. Both boys have got their first report card (very recently actually) and both did fairly well. Nathaniel was A’s and B’s and Max was the same with the exception of Spelling which is just his biggest problem now. Far from when we worried about this for SEVERAL subjects just a few months ago!
Nathaniel and Max will both finish their schooling year around October. I have dates figured out till August, but not beyond that, but that is when I figure they will finish. We will likely only take off a week before moving on to 1st and 5th grade respectively.
Both boys have also finished with German for the school year. Both got great marks on their report cards with Max nearly making me cry with how good his report card was!
As you can see the children have got taller. I photograph them at every dentist appointment and this was no exception. I can’t believe Max is over 5 feet tall!! Where is my baby??
Well because of the report cards in German, I started thinking about things differently… that and I heard people talking to each other (no I wasn’t eaves dropping, I was standing there, they came around me and started talking) about trips to Germany they were planning, and realizing that we really don’t have that long with Max before he “flies the coup”, we have decided to make taking Max to Germany a priority. And when I say a priority, I mean “we hope in the next 5 years to go to Germany”.
So we have decided to not focus on getting an RV. I actually did the math on this and assuming we finance a $35,000 RV, with current interest rates, for it to sit in our driveway (and not be used) and not including insurance, it would cost us about $4500 a year. For that same amount of money, we can take 3 children to Germany, rent a car, rent an AirBNB, for 7 days. When I put it that way, it becomes clear what I would rather do.
So now rather then finding a larger van that would just stink at gas mileage (12 mpg on a good day!), we are focused on finding something more fuel efficient. This will help us with overall cost of ownership and help us get to Germany faster! This also opens some other doors for us.
So what are our needs for a vehicle?
- We need it to seat 7 people. Tony, myself, Max, Nathaniel and then we are licensed for 3 little people with fostering. 4 + 3 = 7 This means 3 rows. I have said that 7 in our current vehicle would be tight (our Odyssey has seating for 8) but realistically, if we get another medically fragile child that needs nursing, and we all want to go out at the same time (assuming we are at capacity), it isn’t that big of a deal to take 2 cars. After all we had a medically fragile child for a year and I can count on 1 hand how many times we needed to go out with her nurse as a family.
- We want it to be as fuel efficient as possible. This more or less rules out SUV’s but not entirely. We have looked at some that look like they would be efficient enough but…
- We need it to have some cargo capacity. Enough for a full size stroller and the twin full size stroller when the third row is up. This is a huge deal. I mean really huge. We will only take children that are 2 or under. We can’t really take children older then that because then I have to deal with daycare (that is 2 hours out of our day with transportation, state requires it after the age of 3) or public school, something I wouldn’t put Max or Nathaniel in. We are suppose to treat these children as our own, so therefore the age limits. So we need to be able to take a stroller and the ones we own are not small.
- We also need cargo capacity because we will still like to camp. We may not be getting a trailer, but that doesn’t mean we want to stop camping. Yes when we are at capacity or with a medically fragile child this may be a stretch, but when we are not, we would still like to camp. These reasons more or less rule out SUV’s. When you look at them they have enough room for groceries… at the regular grocery store… without a stroller in the car at the same time… for a couple of days for 7 people… you get the picture. No Costco runs with an SUV. We would barely have enough room for a box of diapers!
- Now some things I want that I don’t currently have:
- Bluetooth. Yes this seems simple but I listen to internet radio a lot. Having bluetooth is something I am really looking forward to.
- A back up camera. You know that ability to perceive distances that you can’t actually see, like in a car, that some people have? Yeah I don’t have that. So I am constantly assuming I am going to hit something in my mirror. It has never happened (Thank goodness!) but I tend to error on the side of caution and therefore I assume I look like a fool in most parking lots with everyone else having a back up camera!
- Yeah that is about it that I really want. I am simple!
As you can see I have thought about what we really need and it isn’t that much. However it also means that we are looking at minivans… a segment that is really not that big.
- Honda Odyssey – Obviously this should be top of our list as we own one and we have been happy with it since Thanksgiving weekend 2006. But it has poor placement of air vents in the 3rd row! I have circled the vents in the third row in this photo. I know you can’t see the seats, but I am sure every parent can tell you what is wrong with the placement of these vents… if you use the third row regularly!
- Toyota Sienna – The next logical choice. VERY popular. High resale value. Has the excitement of a wet mop. Safe, reliable and boring. I think because they have been so popular for so long, they really haven’t tried to attract new customers. I mean you are really either a minivan person, or you are not. There isn’t something in between. So the website is even boring with them.
- Kia Sorento – Okay I am going to show my bias for a minute. Last year we got a Hyundai Accent. It was very ironic to get rid of my beloved Sally, who when we moved to New Jersey I told the person at the motor vehicle department that there was no way I was going to cover the chip in the housing to my side mirror with duct tape as I didn’t drive a Hyundai, to then replace her with said product. However we needed something cheap, and safe and it really fit the bill so there you have it! However I don’t think I am really ready to have 2 cars that I didn’t really ever expect to have… so I guess they are an option… but I am not sure.
- Chrysler Pacifica – This is a rebranded Town and Country… which is odd because even I know that a Pacifica was a SUV or Crossover in the not too distant past. Tony has some issues with Chrysler in general do to his family not having a very good experience with them. However I had a Ford that refused to leave New Jersey (when I was moving from New York to Florida) and I have forgiven Ford, certainly Tony can forgive Chrysler for something that happened 30 years ago. I am intrigued by them. They have a plug in hybrid. That alone fascinates me. They say it can get 80mpe (miles per estimate) with that. Strangely, even though it has the same engine (gas) as the straight gas version, it gets better gas mileage with the gas engine in the hybrid. It can also go about 30 miles on a charge with electric only.
So tomorrow we are going to go look at the Chryslers. I am not sure what will happen but I refuse to get my mind set on a vehicle that Tony doesn’t like… even if I am the one primarily driving it, because he, ultimately, will be the one paying for it. Yes marriage is a partnership and yata, yata, yata, but practically speaking, I don’t earn any money (yes arguably I bring in some with fostering but honestly that really does go right back on the kid so I essentially bring in nothing!).
Well that is all I have time for to write right now. I have to take Max to Kung Fu with Nathaniel and foster child… who is sleeping. I still have more to say but this is it for now so that means I will be back. 😀