That Minivan Life.

It wasn’t long ago that we were car shopping, I was eight-ish months pregnant with Claire and we were pretty stressed out trying to figure out how we were going to comfortably fit three carseats in our vehicle. You can read more about how we came to the decision to buy our van in this post, and over the course of the sixteen months, I’ve learned that I not only love my van, but I couldn’t live without it. We ended up buying a Toyota Sienna (not sponsored, I really just love my van like a member of the family), and although we kept our 4runner as our second vehicle at the time (assuming I would want to drive it on the weekends or when I didn’t have the kids with me, I was dead wrong) Brandon ended up trading that in for a truck instead because I was so sure that my van was the only thing I wanted to drive from there on out. It’s that good. I feel like I have conversations all the time with mom friends who are considering getting a van but have reservations, or are maybe under the impression that you can’t listen to gangsta rap while driving it. Spoiler alert, you can, because you are one boss b.
A little breakdown to explain why minivans are life.
1.  Automatic sliding doors. The ultimate win. I don’t think words can accurately express how amazing sliding doors are. It’s like when you live somewhere with brutal winters, and then you move somewhere warm, and you look back thinking how can people live in that cold. Same with the sliding doors, I drove my husband’s truck over the weekend with just one of the kids, and trying to hold open the door to put in groceries & get her in her carseat while holding my purse and coffee, all I could think was HOW DO PEOPLE LIVE LIKE THIS. You can park in any spot, no matter how close people are to you, and easily get your kids, carriers, strollers, etc. out, no worrying about your kids slamming the door into another car or on their fingers, it is a total game changer.
2. Comfort. The drivers seat is like an actual lazy boy, and the center console between the two seats is like a convenient little end table. Your van is essentially your living room.
3. Cup holders for days. I mean this both literally & figuratively. There are six cup holders just within reach from the drivers seat. SIX. One for your enormous cold coffee, one for yesterday’s coffee that you haven’t gotten around to throwing away yet, one for your water, two for each milkshake you just promised your kids as a treat if they stop effing around & one more to spare in case you have to grab another coffee. This is real life people, I laugh in the face of drink carriers at the drive thru window. 
4. Floor space. You can sit indian style in the middle of your van and nurse or change a baby. Enough said.
5. Trunk space. Even with that third row in use, you can still fit a double stroller, a pack-n-play, nine suitcases, three pillows and a yoga mat (for changing kids, not for yoga obviously). Because when you road trip with kids, there is no room for error, you must bring everything, including the kitchen sink. All your groceries (nothing falls out when you open the back), all your kids school crap, and maybe even a laundry basket full of extra things like jackets & toys. Someone tell me I’m not the only one who does this.
I thought it would be fun to include some testimonies from some of my mom friends that are also living that minivan life & aren’t afraid to listen to gangsta rap while doing so.

“I don’t like driving a minivan, I LOVE IT. Remote control doors give me life.”
Favorite song to rap in her minivan: Anything by Sia
Grace, 5 kids, Honda Odyssey

“Owning a minivan is like being part of this exclusive club… everyone on the outside hates on it and everyone on the inside just laughs it off, pushes that sexy little button and watches the door slide closed on their haters. Because once you own a minivan, you really can’t imagine living without it. The convenience & functionality have no rival.”
Favorite song to rap in her minivan: Shoop
Kendra, 3 kids, Honda Odyssey

“I love my van because #automaticdoors. It seems like such a dumb thing but when you have arms full of babies and groceries, it is so incredible to have the door open for the big kids.”
Favorite song to rap in her minivan: Shoop
Jenna, 3 kids, Honda Odyssey

“We call her the mothership. She holds all 7 of us with comfort and ease, and provides ample room for the 93+ items that make their way into her arms throughout the week. The minivan is basically our second home.”
Favorite song to rap in her minivan: Ghetto Superstar
Anna, 5 kids, Honda Odyssey 

“The three things that instantly come to mind are 1. cashing in on a vehicle designed literally just for me, a woman with small children. I feel smart for driving a car that was made with my life in mind. 2. automatic doors and 3. being so far away from your kids that you can barely hear them and you certainly cannot reach them. Oh what’s that, I’m sorry I’m driving and can’t hear you or hand you the thing you want, guess I’ll turn the radio up and you’ll have to wait.”
– Jenn, 3 kids, Honda Odyssey

That’s how I feel when I get in my van too, Harps! 😉

So ladies, if you’re on the fence, don’t be afraid to just test drive it. Get your booty in that comfy seat, slide those doors closed with the touch of a button & live that mom van life for a hot second. I promise you, the only regret you’ll ever have is that you didn’t get one sooner.

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  1. Currently pregnant with #3 and my husband and I are trying to decide to go with either and Odyssey or a Sienna. I will welcome either with OPEN ARMS! #minivanlove

  2. Omg yes!!! Just got my first mini this summer (also a Sienna) and cringe every time I have to drive my husband's Highlander! Minis all the way!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Ok you should probably pursue a career in marketing because I have zero kids at the moment and am now seriously considering a Sienna as my next car purchase. Also, Harper's face/pose definitely means she's also listening to some gangsta rap in that photo #raisetheroof

  4. True that!

    Before kids, I drove an Infiniti G37. When I had my daughter, I upgraded to an Acura MDX for extra space. When I had my second daughter last year, I got my 2015 Honda Odyssey and I love it. I always said I would never drive a van, but now, I can't imagine going back to a smaller ride as long as my kiddos are living at home.

  5. I couldn't agree more with this ❤️We just purchased a Honda Odyssey two weeks ago and the automatic doors are literally AMAZEBALLS! After driving a Suburban for three years with 4 little princesses, I grew so exhausted of climbing in to a vehicle that was so inconveniently organized and designed. It's not for normal families with babies, it is designed for driving the kardashians around to fashion week. I literally had to hurdle the infant car seat in there like I was weight lifting 😂. I never thought I would say this…but… I LOVE getting in my van!!!

  6. YES! YES! YES! I feel like I could have written this whole post myself! I was 150% against a minivan…..until I got my ass in that seat and did a test drive. Cooler box in the dash? Yes please! Camera for right turns? Hell to the yeah! #minivansforlife

  7. I love this! We bought our Nissan Quest to fit all of my craft fair supplies (tents, tables, you name it) inside. It was amazing then & even more amazing now when we can toss ourselves, diaper bag, stroller, 2 dogs & baby in there with TONS of room to spare <3

  8. When we first got our minivan, my husband and I joked that I told him that, "I love my van" more than I told him, "I love you" for the first couple of months. It's that good, and I also wondered how on earth I would possibly manage without it. All the space!

    Soon after we got the van (Sienna), we went on a road trip to see my family (5 hours), and we debated about whether or not to take my daughter's fisher price Slide. Because-WHY NOT?! It would have fit, but we decided against it!

  9. Um,love this!When we found out we were having twins we also played around with the idea of keeping our vehicle and making it work with 3 carseats Then mid pregnancy I had a breakdown of how was I going to open the doors while holding two carseats??? And get my 3 year old strapped in?!?!? Well we went out the next day and bought a Toyota Sienna and I love it! We have had it a year now and I will probably forever drive a mini van. Favorite feature backseat temperature control! Plus all the praise hands to the cup holders!!!! But always make sure you shut the doors I came out of the bank one time and my door was open.Oops!

  10. I have a Toyota Sienna and I couldn't agree more!!! Best purchase we ever made. It's basically the most amazing vehicle ever and I have on numerous times praised God for its existence!

  11. This is the best thing I've read all day! Hilarious! I only have 2 kids but I kept joking with my husband about getting a minivan and he refused. (We have a Volvo SUV instead…). However, on vacation this summer, we were offered a minivan for the same price as a compact SUV and just as my husband was about to decline, I swooped in with a "great, we'll take it!" That week of having SO MUCH SPACE was amazing.You rock your minivan life, girl! I'll be the mom on the driveway with the car door wide open all afternoon because my 4-year-old forgot to shut it….

  12. This post just sold me on a mini van. Is it wrong to get one when you only have 2 kids.
    The thought of sliding doors and knowing I can't reach them anymore sounds like a slice of heaven!
    Good thing my birthday is Sunday, this mama knows what she wants.
    Lauren
    learningtolovehome.blogspot.com

  13. so.much.yes.

    One more biggie: our van has a real life power outlet. This means momma has been able to sit in a nice cool (or heated) cushy van and pump for baby while away traveling for the day. No adapters or extra junk needed. Such a game changer!

    Every single word you typed above is so true. Also, HEATED STEERING WHEEL. Just buy the van, ladies! <3 <3 <3

  14. I drive a Sienna too and I'm so in love. We test drove it as a joke before baby #2 and ended up buying one that day. Seriously a life changer!!! I can't count how many times I've nursed a baby in the back while older brother climbed around inside like a jungle gym. I don't know how or why every parent doesn't drive one!!

  15. I literally bought my first minivan (also a Sienna!) last Thursday and I'm already a believer! I am on a mission to convince all my Mama friends that it is seriously what all the cool moms are doing! 😉

  16. Seriously! I was so distraught 4 years ago when were adding our third child and i realized that a minivan was the best option. Fast Forward to now and we are adding three more kids through adoption …I have to sell my van for us all to fit. SO sad! I will soooo miss those sliding doors.

  17. YESSSSS to this whole post. We were avid anti-van people until we saw the DVD players (with headphones. bless.), the automatic sliding doors, the 8 trillion cup holders, and the one-mile deep trunk. I don't think we ever made a decision to purchase anything as fast as choosing to buy a van. We've had our van a year now, and she is the best friend we never knew we were missing.

  18. Just last week I told my husband I was leaving him for my mini van. Speaking as a reformed massive mini-hater (and I quote "Just because I am a mom does not mean I am driving a vagina on wheels") but then I loaded my seven month old twins, in their carriers, with their side by side stroller and tandem stroller (yep, because I bring both, just in case), two pack in plays, toys, their 19 different outfits for when they coordinate their blow outs, pants and shirts for me (see coordinated blow outs- I'm usually the one holding them when this happens) AND the neighbors living room furniture- because why the hell not? I've got room!

    We named it the White Mamba.

    Also? My vagina on wheels? Seats 8. COMFORTABLY.

  19. Ugh. I have been on the fence, I currently drive a Expedition EL. Its humongous with huge heavy doors! However I haven't found a mini van that can fit the 8 of us, two big dogs and pull a horse trailer – once we find that totally in!

  20. Yes! We went shopping for an SUV and ended up changing our minds on the spot to a minivan. We had one 9 month old and a 50lb dog but practical patrons here knew there'd be more babies before we were ready to tackle the vehicle shopping nightmare again so we walked away at age 25 with 1 baby and a short bus. I mean, talk about feeling like a badass.

  21. All the hip Moms drive minivans, no? I was on the fence because…how could I still be cool driving a mini.van. Newsflash, I left cool behind a long time ago and comfort trumps coolness every.single.time. We have a Honda Odyssey and I'm gonna keep driving that sucker until I can trade it in for a convertable #midlifecrisis.

  22. I feel the exact same way about our Sienna. We bought it 3 days after our first twins were born, and I've loved it every day since. I plan to drive it until it dies because I love it so much, or until I decide I have to have a heated steering wheel. �� I definitely put on my Ludacris Pandora station as soon as I get in with no kids. Gangsta rap for life!

  23. I just laughed and laughed because it's all so true. My husband traded in his little two seater for a van as a gift for knocking me up with #4 (aww isn't that sweet?) and he seeiously loves it more than I do. Which is A Lot. I agree with Jen. The best part about the van is that the big kids might be arguing, they might be singing, or they might be playing some intricate yet loud game. I don't really know, because they're alllll the way back there.
    Also yesterday my husband was detailing the van in order to install the car seat for said 4th child and was like, "I didn't know there could be soooo much stuff in there." He said it like it was a bad thing. Me? I was like, 😍 "I know right?"

  24. Visited my stepsister in San Diego last October, and I STILL dream and wish for Sienna to come to Norway. I love that car! (But it will probably cost about 80.000 dollars in Norwae due to the insaaaaaaaane taxes *cry* )

    Mother of 2 girls (4 and 8), and bonus-mom for one 16-year old 🙂

  25. I'm counting down the days until I can trade mine in for a mini van. I purchased my Corolla when I was eight months pregnant and now I'm like what was I thinking?! lol I love my Corolla, and have had a lovely experience with Toyota, but a Corolla is tiny! I need space! lol

  26. This is hilarious….. My husband and I are currently exploring new car options and I sent this to him and for like 2 hours he was actually looking at a possible Sienna haha! And that's impressive because he is totally against vans! Maybe once the third kid comes I'll convince him I'll need it 🙂

  27. We love our Sienna out there. The van haters are just jealous they don't have one! My best trick…when it's pouring rain, all (including me) jump in an opening door and quick push button to close. All get buckled in dry and I dive over the "end table" to my seat. I count 7 cup holders within reach though. Are you counting the one in your door-down on the bottom? 🙂

  28. I'm dying!! I mean, literally, we all have a stomach and I might die. But this is making me laugh so hard that it hurts! We rent minivans for trips and are obsessed. My husband wants one so bad. The cupholder section is exactly how we reacted to our first time in it. Yesterday's coffee, always has a spot. We even put a full size trashcan in it for road trips.

  29. Get it Lauren! We bought a Sienna yesterday after having our second baby along with a toddler. I felt a little funny about getting one with two but it's already AMAZING and can't wait for all the extra room:)

  30. I almost died laughing and smiling reading this post because we bought our first minivan yesterday and it was a Toyota Sienna!! Is it weird I was totally excited for a minivan and never once worried about being a van mom?! Haha. I can hardly stop staring at my cute van and loooooove driving it with or without kids. Thanks for your honestly and making me laugh!

  31. I read this posting laughing the entire time but secretly envying all the perks! I drive a Honda Pilot that seats 8 (uncomfortably) but I only have a 3 1/2 year old now so I'll hold off on joining you all on cool Mom status for a little bit longer.

  32. We inherited a minivan when my mom upgraded to an SUV and we needed something with more room than a car after my son was born. I literally dreaded the idea of driving it. I ate every bad word I said about it though because a year and a half later, I'm still driving it and I love the extra space. I tried to nurse my son in my husband's car once after we got the van and I literally had to move so many things and I still wasn't comfortable. Van win! Though I'm looking at a Ford Explorer when I do finally "upgrade," I will eventually go back to a van at some point I'm sure if it. Maybe if my van had sliding doors I'd never drive anything else too. 😉

  33. This might just be my favourite post ever, not because I own a minivan but it is so hilarious it hurts. Although my rap choice would definitely be some Snoop Dogg Motha f%$*er. Best quote: Oh what's that, I'm sorry I'm driving and can't hear you or hand you the thing you want, guess I'll turn the radio up and you'll have to wait.

  34. This post is church yo! You had me at number 1, but number 3 takes the cake. I just had baby number 2 & was totally hating life the other day when I had my 2 kids, coffee, hobby lobby bags & to my dismay couldn't get the dam door open to my SUV & thought "wouldn't it be nice if these door just opened on their own" I'm this close to getting a van. Love this post! Happy weekend Garvin family!
    -Lara Novosad

  35. I'm still trying to convince myself that I love our van. I really don't. We just had twins in addition to our 3 yr old, so the van surely does it's job. It fits everybody and everything, it's convenient for sure (sliding doors and cup holders), but I can't help feel like I'm driving a bus around. I so very much miss my mom (yet still cool) sedan. I seem to be the only one of my friends who feels this way. Maybe it'll grow on me in time… 😉

  36. I'm literally wiping away the tears from laughing so hard. My husband wants me to consider a small SUV or something else because that would be totally uncool to drive a minivan. Can't wait to share this with him and watch him become converted.

  37. We got our Honda Odyssey when I was pregnant with #1, I think the car salesman thought I was crazy. Fast forward two years, and now our TWO babies have plenty of space, as do we! I literally tell my husband every day how much I love our van (and I drove a sporty little lexus before). Just last week, I had an afternoon to myself, and rolled down all the windows and blasted Ice Cube, "today was a good day".

    I'm not like a regular mom, I'm a cool mom!!! 🙂

  38. Praise hands emoji!!! I had my third baby in April and we bought our Sienna in March. I love it. So does my husband. My favorite feature is that when it is raining I can climb in the back seat with the kids and get all 3 buckled with the doors closed. No more standing in the rain wrestling children into carseats. Then I can just climb over that center console into my beautiful drivers seat. I was able to do this 39 weeks pregnant, so that gives you an idea of how much room there is. My favorite rap to blast while driving is either Humpty Dance or No Diggity.

  39. We just got home from a huge road trip in our Honda Odyssey. We were able to fit 2 adults, 2 kids, a church pew, a giant antique mirror, 3 framed pictures, 3 suitcases, 1 laundry basket, a dollhouse (Craigslist find!), a cooler, all the toys and movies and food from our house, and all the Christmas presents we brought back with us! I LOVE my mini van!!

  40. This is the blog post that ends all blog posts. You just made a minivan look hot. Three cheers. Wanna do a house swap? You come stay in London for a week at our house with our uber accounts and we'll swap you for your minivan and house…. think about it. 😉

  41. Ha! So funny, but I just got a Toyota Sienna before reading this article. I LOVE it! Sliding doors are the best, and it fits everything. Recently I had to rent a non-minivan while I was in another state with the kids. I'm never doing that to myself again. Minivans are the best!

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