This is the story of our van

I know that it's sort of an unspoken blogger rule that I shouldn't apologize for not blogging or give excuses. So, I won't. But, I will give an update of sorts. It's been a crazy, busy month for me. Going to school has been such an interesting thing for me. I'm extremely grateful that I started going back to school with a majority of credits that I need to finish. I had 111 starting and I need 120 to graduate. I'll actually end up with 138 but only because I also needed all the right courses.

I'm glad I had so many credits because it's definitely been a lot more difficult to balance going to school with everything else in my life than I anticipated. But, it has also been a lot more rewarding than I anticipated. I'm learning so much and I have to try to restrain myself from actually implementing a lot of what I've learned because my school assignments take up so much of my time. And honestly, the last thing I've been wanting to spend my free time doing is anything on the computer. But, things are starting to get close to the end. I have one really huge project to finish up and only a few more weeks until I'm at the end of the semester. And after that, I only have one more 2 credit class to take. Phew! I can't wait!!!

Okay...that aside, here's the story of our family van.

You guys...we have had this van for 10 years! We bought it when my oldest was 1. She's 11 now. We've taken it with us to 13 different states and clocked 150,000 miles on it while we were the owners. 150,000 miles!!! That's a ton!

For almost 6 months, we've been thinking about getting a newer van. It's felt like it's time. Partly because of these experiences.

Last year, I went to Wendy's to pick up a quick dinner for the kids. It was -3 degrees outside. I rolled down the window to place my order and it would not roll back up. No matter what I did, that window was stuck down. Did I mention that it was -3 degrees outside? I cried. And started to drive away grateful that I only had to drive 5 miles. After the first 1/2 mile, it started to work again. It really was a miracle!

Another time last year, I was taking it through the car wash and the side view mirror fell off. It was really embarrassing. It didn't just fall off completely, it was still dangling on the side with some sort of electrical cord, so continuing through the car wash would have damage our van. This wasn't a touchless carwash. It was a full on scrubbing one with a long drive through. The carwash people had to stop the carwash (inconveniencing everyone in front of me) and ask every single car in back of me to also back up so that I could get out. Oh, also, it was a fundraiser day for the high school, so the carwash was extra busy. Everyone stared. Yep. Definitely embarrassing!

We've been casually looking for newer vans for a while. We knew we didn't want a brand new one, but a few years old one. One that was still in good condition but didn't come with a steep price tag.  But, we honeslty, we hate having a car payment. We have one on our car right now and really, really didn't want to add another for a newish van. Plus, our kids are still young enough that they're hard on stuff. We finally decided that it was probably worth keeping our well-loved van longer. We've had it for 10 years, we could hang onto it a couple more.

And then one day last month, something changed that.

Our 5 year old was sick that morning so I asked my husband if he could be a few minutes late for work and stay home with him while I ran the other two to school. Normally, he's gone by the time I get back from our morning school drop-off. He said that he had a meeting, but could probably be a few minutes late - but only if I hurried.

I loaded up the older kids and rushed off. After I dropped them off and started back home, I remembered a nice mom honking me down in the drop-off line at the school the week before. She kindly told me that one of my tail lights was out and suggested that I should get it fixed before I got pulled over. I had a small moment of panic that I had forgotten and slowed down just a little bit so I didn't attract any unnecessary attention. I definitely didn't want to get pulled over!

Okay....right here is where I need to explain our subdivision just a little bit. It's right off of a busy road. Our neighborhood is very small and has 2 entrances, so we really don't have very much traffic ever. In the almost 9 years we've lived here, I can probably count on 2 hands the number of times I've passed a car on our street. And it really only happens on Sunday as we're all coming home from church at the same time. Two houses down from our house, the road curves a full 90 degrees.

Back to my story. I was thinking about not getting pulled over because of my darn tail light. As I turned into our sub division, I saw another car coming toward the curve by our house. The driver was going a little bit fast and a little bit wide around the corner, but that happens. The closer I got to the car, the more I decided to pull to the side and slow down to make sure she had enough room to get by. Because even though she was going fast, I though that of course she would see me and leave me enough room to drive by. It honestly never crossed my mind that she wouldn't see me.

But she didn't. Instead, she ran right into my van. My poor 10 year old completely paid off van. The one that we had just decided to keep for a couple more years.

Thankfully, everyone involved was completely fine. And I was right. The other driver didn't see me at all. Texting, maybe? Definitely distracted.  I'll probably never know!

She had her two kids with her and we were all shaken up a bit. It was pretty crazy experience to have my driver's side window shatter all over me. There was glass everywhere! I still can't believe how much glass comes from one window!

But I just have to say, getting into a car accident 3 houses down from my house was definitely convenient! Especially because my husband was home. There really is no other way to do this kind of thing! Seriously! (And of course, I'm kidding. Not getting into a car accident is obviously way better).

We knew right away that our van would be totaled because it was old. And it was without a doubt going to cost more to fix it than it was worth. Although I will say that it's a little strange to me that it works that way. The van still ran completely fine, so hauling to a junk yard to sell for parts seems a little bit wasteful. But, it's the way of the world, I guess.

We started immediately in our search for a new van. I don't know if it's this way in every city and town, but here vans are popular. And apparently, people are loyal to the one they own because we couldn't find anything that wasn't completely new (and therefore out of our budget) or just as old as the van we already had (and therefore old and decrepit). We literally looked at every used car dealership around.

We were really blessed and ran across a white 2009 Chrysler Town and Country on Craigslist that a used car dealer has just picked up the day before. It was originally a fleet car in Hawaii and since Hawaii is small and there is no where to drive, there is only 57,000 miles on it. And it's never been owned by a family, so the interior is immaculate. I mean it really looks brand new.  I instituted a no-food-in-the-van rule immediately. I'm not hopeful that we'll be able to keep it as clean as it is, but I'll be darned if we don't at least try!

I love it already! I can't believe the amount of storage in this thing. And it has Stow n Go seating which is nice. I didn't even know that existed before. I don't think I'll ever be able to go back! Oh, and it has climate control which is going to be nice on our long road trips when I like to be warm and Dave likes to be cold.

We've already clocked over 1,000 miles on it in the last couple of weeks thanks to a quick trip to Boise. I'm pretty excited to see where the next 149,000 miles will take us!!