The Ultimate Betrayal

Guys, we have a problem. On the grand scale of “Problems the World Faces” this is, like, a .5. It’s a small problem when placed against the backdrop of all the things that could go wrong.

But it’s still a problem.

My van is falling apart. A moment of silence, if you please.

It’s a funny thing, paying off a car. When I submitted the final payment, I felt an awesome sense of victory. I felt like I was sticking it to the man.

We enjoyed a WHOLE year of no payments before the heat shield on my engine went kaput and we needed to sacrifice one child’s college fun to fix it.

(Sidenote – I actually have no idea if it was the heat shield that went bad. I can’t remember what happened. I just remember that when the mechanic told me the issue and how much it would cost, I felt like he was explaining the mechanical failure of a space shuttle – not my van. So I’m sticking with heat shield for the purposes of this blog post.)

That event began a slow descent into car maintenance hell. New tires. New belts. New this and that.

Shattered windshield.

A few months ago, the check engine light came on. I pretended I didn’t see it for awhile before finally taking it in only to find out the fuel level sensor was going bad. It didn’t take a $60 diagnostic test to figure that out given the fact that my fuel gauge is never accurate.

Then there was an oil leak.

Then they told us how much it would cost to fix the fuel sensor, and we’re thinking it would be more beneficial to just get a new car than sink that much into this current one.

That’s when it all hit the fan.


Lee came home and scoured the internet for new used cars. I peeked over his shoulders and do you know what he was looking at?



“You don’t really need a van anymore,” he tried to reason with me. “You could just get a 7-passengar SUV instead.”

The betrayal! For shame.

Of course, I did consider it briefly. I considered the cool points I’d get back if I got rid of the minivan and went back to traipsing around town in a slick SUV, no longer neutered by my four-wheel metal office.

But then practicality set in. I have three children, all of whom are on track to be rather tall. If Sloan doesn’t slow down, he could easily reach 6 feet by junior high.

I tried to envision him and his tall, lanky friends crawling into the back of a 7-passenger SUV, and all I saw were broken windows and a lot of inappropriate jokes.

Someday I’ll experience release from the confines of the minivan. Someday I will pull up to the curb in a saucy little car that screams “hip” and “cool.” I’ll probably be a grandma by that time, but whatever.

I’ll be one hip granny.

Until that time, however, I’m afraid the minivan is the practical choice for me. They even have vans with built in vacuum cleaners now. WHHHAAAAA?????

Ten-to-one a mom came up with that idea. I’m still waiting for minivan makers to adopt my brilliant idea. And when they do, I expect them to give me a free van for the duration of my minivan driving years.



So there you have it. I may be in the market for a new minivan in the coming months, and my husband is a traitor to the minivan community. I still love him, though. If for no other reason than for his brilliance in this movie.

Peace out.

Dear Minivan Makers Everywhere

I have titled this photo: Road Trip from the Back Seat

I have titled this photo: Road Trip from the Back Seat

There are five people in our family. I realize that in the grand scheme of familyhood this is not a significant number. Three children is less than four or five or six or twenty children. I wouldn’t classify us as a large family. We’re a regular-sized family of five…who love to travel.

Since gas prices have soared (Boo! Hiss!), airline prices have gone through the roof. This means that an average family of five cannot afford to fly anywhere without having to sacrifice a small puppy to the gods in hopes that money will start falling from the sky. And since I’m not generally in the habit of murdering puppies, this leaves me with no alternative but to teach my children the finer art of the road trip.

(Sidenote: Can we talk for a minute about the absurdity of the fact that it costs less for our family of five to fly from Florida to California than it does for us to fly to Little Rock? What the huh?!)

In the last two weeks, we spent about 43 hours driving as we visited family and friends in Missouri and Arkansas. So the equivalent of two days were spent inside our minivan, which, incidentally, currently SMELLS like a family of five spent two days cooped up inside. Excellent.

car2In general, my kids have become quite adept at traveling by car. We have a system. They play for a bit, look out the window, whine for good effect, then ask to watch a movie. But before they can watch a movie, they have to do two math sheets or a reading comprehension exercise. This is my barometer for how badly they want to utilize technology.

If they get hungry, I throw a bag of Cheez-its their way. Thirsty? A tiny little water bottle gets hurled at their heads. If and when all requirements are met, they are then allowed to shut their brains down and watch quality, educational movies such as Rookie of the Year and Teen Beach Movie.

Once upon a time I was staunchly opposed to the children ever watching TV in the car. When I was a kid, I read on road trips. I cozied up with The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins (Ah, Jessica and Elizabeth…I wonder what they’re up to these days?). I didn’t have the option of watching a movie back then.

I also laid out flat on the back seat with the seat belt juuuuust barely fastened around my waist and wasn’t stuck sitting straight up and down in an uncomfortable seat with the seat belt snugly tucked across my chest.

And I walked to school up hill both ways barefoot in the snow.


The point is, I quickly came to the conclusion that there is no reason to be a martyr for motherhood. If the kids wants to watch a movie, they can watch a movie and I will be thankful for the serenity of modern technology.

But 43 hours is a long time, which means there was a lot of time spent NOT glued to the tiny TV screens. Most of the time the kids do a pretty good job of playing quietly, drawing, listening to music or reading. But there are those long stretches of time when they ask every five minutes if we’re almost there, when they cry because a foot has fallen asleep or, my personal favorite, when they start car wrestling, an activity that always, without exception, ends with someone crying.

This is where I need the developers of minivans to step up their game. I’m here to offer a proposed to solution for parents everywhere who are relegated to cross country car trips inside the bowels of their minivans.


How about a partition between parents and kids? Just a thought…a mere suggestion! Think of it like a limousine, because we all know that a minivan is a limo for very small people. Limo drivers can raise a partition between themselves and their passengers allowing for some privacy. WHY HAS THIS NEVER BEEN DONE FOR MINIVANS?!

When the kids are getting particularly squirrely, parents could quietly and non-chalantly raise the thick, sound proof partition thereby cutting themselves off from the insanity. Of course, we would still need to be able to keep an eye on the monkeys in the back – safety first and all. A monitor on the dashboard would be connected to the camera inside the partition allowing the parents to keep an eye on the children.

You could even install a button that parents could push to hear what was going on in the back if they wanted. Or they could keep it muted and assume that everyone back there is just fine.

I see a number of benefits to this idea. First: SANITY! Kids could blast the soundtrack to Teen Beach Movie as loud as their little ears could stand it while Mom and Dad listen to music that doesn’t make their ears bleed. Kids could wrestle and cry and duke it out without giving Mom all that unnecessary grey hair.

Honestly, I’m not sure that I really need to list all the obvious benefits of this (brilliant) idea. It speaks for itself.

A rare moment alone in the minivan. Look how clean it is? This was taken BRT - Before Road Trip.

A rare moment alone in the minivan. Look how clean it is? This was taken BRT – Before Road Trip.

Now I realize that putting this out there means it could be stolen and someone else could make a lot of money off my idea. No worries. This one is for free internet! Someone, please, take this idea and run with it. When it comes time for us to buy a new van in a few years, if I find that they all come custom fit with a separating partition between front and back, I will consider that thanks enough.

You’re welcome, minivan drivers across the world.


You’re welcome. 

If I Say it Enough?



When my life looks like this:



And this:



And this:


One of many scratches down the side from wayward bikes.


And especially this:



Then I have to remind myself of this:



You think if I keep saying it, I’ll start to believe it?



On the road again

The kids and I are off on a grand, road-tripping adventure on Friday wherein they will gorge themselves on processed foods and movies (and, don’t tell them this yet, but they will be doing Math on the road…because I don’t feel like eighteen hours in the car together is torturous enough…)

If all goes according to plan (and by plan I mean if we all make it from Point A to Point B in one piece) we should be in St. Louis on Saturday night. My smokin’ hot husband and aging, sweet as pie dog will be holding down the fort here in the Sunshine State, luckies.

While I am away, I plan to post new content when I feel inspired and I will be re-running a few of my favorite posts in the interim as well. I’m always here for ya, sweet friends. Heaven knows I wouldn’t want you to start resenting your minivans or shopping for an SUV simply because I couldn’t give you the frequent reminders needed that you are good enough, you are hot enough and doggon it, your van’s smokin’.

We have to stick together, us minivan rockin’ moms and dads. And to those of you who don’t drive a van, but have found a haven here for your van-shunning ways – we welcome you with open arms. And when the day comes that you are ready to step into the glorious light of double sliding doors, french fry crusted seats and a sound system that would make Snoop Doggy Dog cry, just know that we’ll be here for you. We’ll pat your back and hold your hand as you step away from the glamour of the SUV and we will usher you into the sweet light of the minivan.

Smokin’ hot minivan.

Glory Hallelujah!


The Migraine

No post today. I’m recovering from a wicked headache that’s left me feeling sluggish, tired and a fuzzy-brained. So for fun I give you the video Lee and I made last year.

We are such dorks.

Happy Monday, everyone!

From our family to yours

I pray you all had a lovely, wonderful Christmas filled with joy, laughter and maybe even a bit of silliness. Thanks for taking a journey with me this last year. We’ve covered a lot of ground and so many of you have walked us through this season of change. Seriously…thank you.

I bid you all drive forward in your minivans, proudly entering this new year with your heads held high and your back seats clean.

Here’s to another year of crazy!

The Debate of our Generation

I try to keep things light around here.  I don’t like starting fights and I don’t like confrontation.  I tried all of that some in the past and, honestly, wasn’t crazy about the drama that followed.  So I stopped.

But this is not something that I can keep silent about any longer.  I think this is an important issue that we should be discussing.  I think it’s time we all took a deep breath and had a reasonable conversation like the grown ups that we are.  This issue is very sensitive to some and I’m not sure that there’s a right or wrong answer, but I do know we need to discuss.

Watch the video and then let me know YOUR thoughts.  How do you feel about this issue?  This may be the debate of our generation so I want to hear what you have to say. And remember, we are all entitled to our own opinions. Don’t be afraid to share how you really feel. This is a safe place…

The day I questioned everything I knew to be true

Saturday night found Lee and I in the minivan, kids in tow, heading out to the mattress store to purchase two new mattresses.  Never mind that the kids desperately needed them.  Never mind that Tia’s mattress was so cheap that is was literally falling apart and becoming a potential hazard.  Never mind  that both mattresses had been peed on so many times they could be deemed a health code violation.  Never mind any of those things.  The fact is simply this:

I went out on Saturday evening to buy mattresses and thought it was fun.

Hi, my name is Kelli and I am a  bona fide minivan mom.

Ah, but we haven’t even got to the best part of the story.  What?  Surely you know there would be more to this story than the fact that I had a hoot buying twin mattresses on a Saturday night, right?  A hoot!

It was the incident that occurred when we returned home that sent my world aspinnin’.  It started simple.  We came home so Lee could drop the kids and I off and return to the mattress store to pick up our most exciting purchases.  We had to remove the car seats and fold down the back seats and clean up a bit.  And it was during this event that I began to question my entire identity.

The title of my blog is Minivans Are Hot.  With the operative word being Hot.   I know, I know…Minivan and Hot together in a sentence is an oxymoron.  And most days I would beg to differ and would launch into a diatribe about how it’s sexy to be a mom and how minivan moms have it goin’ on and I would work my hardest to convince you that I was right.  Until Saturday night…

What I found in the back seat of my minivan was anything but Hot.  Let’s start with what I found under the seat, shall we?  It was sticky…it was brown…it had flecks of leaves and dirt stuck to it.  What was that?!

From there I removed the kids car seats to find enough dried, crumbled food to feed a small pack of wild baboons.  It was sealed into the lining of the seat fabric and had to be scraped out with my fingernail.  *heave*  Don’t even get me started on what  I found in their seats.

But the piece de resitance came when I crawled into the way back and looked inside the cup holder.  It is here that I gasped, looked at my husband and exclaimed, “Gross!  This is why minivans are NOT. HOT.”  Then I clutched my chest with the gravity of my statement and fell in dramatic Disney Princess fashion onto the seat, the back of my hand against my forehead…

No I didn’t.  That last part didn’t happen – mostly because I wouldn’t want to lay on those seats for $100.  Maybe for $1000, though.

In the cup holder sat dried, crusted, molded bread.  It appears my children are stock piling food in the back seat of our minivan in the event that a giant meteor should come crashing down to earth and we need to seek shelter inside the car for a significant amount of time.  It also appears that they have eaten portions of a sandwich and then shoved the remaining portion in the cup holder and have, every day for who knows how long, been looking at this rotting sandwich and ignoring it.

It’s like I’m raising little cave people!

I promptly dug out the rot and marched to the trash can.  My husband, sensing my impending melt down went dashing for the Shop Vac in the basement.  Being the super hero that he is, he spent the next half hour sucking the muck out of our minivan while I went inside and lectured my children on the importance of throwing away rotten food.  I also tried to talk myself out of changing my blog title from Minivans Are Hot to Minivans Are A Place Where Horrors grow Beneathe the Seats and in the Cupholders While You Yourself Obliviously Drive From Here to There Thinking You Are Looking Fine When Really You Are Controlling a Moving Science Experiment.

But in typical Hero fashion, my man came inside just as I was certain that my entire online identity was going to have to be realtered and yelled “Ta-Da!”  I walked outside to see the seats clean (hey look!  The fabric’s grey…) The cup holders clean…er.  They still have a sticky substance that I can only assume will need to be chisled out at some point (probably just before we decide to sell the car).  And it smelled much more pleasant too.  It was actually quite nice in there.

I smiled at him and jumped into his arms.  Small birds flitted about our heads as he spun me around and when we kissed little animated hearts floated up into the dusky sky. 

Alright…that last part didn’t happen either.  Sometimes I wish I lived in a cartoon.

Despite the cleanliness of my car, however, I couldn’t shake the fact that I had outwardly acknowledged the un-hotness of my minivan.  And so I’m here to retrain my mind.  And if any of you are having a hard time believeing that Minivans Are Hot like I am, then why don’t you join in with me as we repeat the mantra over and over.  

Minivans are hot, minivans are hot, minivans are hot, minivans are not, minivans are not…


Let’s try again.

Minivans are hot, minivans are hot, minivans are hot…

Do you believe it?

My Minivan is cooler than your Lexus!

Due to several car trips in the last few months, our minivan has taken a bit of a beating.  Covered in dead bugs, splattered with mud and sporting the drop marks accrued during our deluge of rain last week, her sleek black exterior has lost a little bit of it’s luster.

It’s not often that one reads the words “sleek” and “luster” in the context of a minivan, I know.

So yesterday afternoon, I took my rockin’ hot minivan through a specialty car wash.  You know, one of those car washes where actual humans scrub your car?

After pulling her loveliness into line, I got out and shopped around the convenience store for a few minutes before heading out to watch them remove the layers of dirt that had been holding her back all these weeks.  And what did I find when I came out?

I found my minivan sandwiched between two Lexus’s (is the plural Lexi?) who were also being scrubbed to shiney perfection.  Then a third Lexus pulled up, followed by a BMW and a fourth Lexus.

And finally, the Créme de la Créme – a gorgeous (and I’m not a car person) sports car pulled up and parked nose to nose with my van.  I have no idea what brand it was, but it was somthin’ fancy, let me tell ya!

And guys, I kid you not, my van blushed and giggled when that thing parked in front of her.

And so, there I stood, the girl who brought her hoopty van to a class act party.  I was the like the stray dog at a country club.  The sore thumb.  The minivan surrounded by Lexi!

I tried to play it all cool like this was only my day car, but you should see what I drive at night.  But my mom garb didn’t help the situation – that being my unwashed hair, jeans, tennis shoes and puffer vest.

Oh, then there was the fact that I forgot to bring cash to tip the boys washing my car and had to scrounge for enough change to make it worth their while.  I, my friends, am nothing if not classy.

The best part of the whole process, though, was watching the boys attempt to work my tricked out van.  What she lacks in style she makes up in sheer awesomeness!  I mean, hello!  She has an automatic back hatch and one automatic side door, which I have child proofed, so the poor guys kept getting stuck inside the car when vacuuming because they couldn’t figure out how to open the door and got confused as to which was automatic and which was manual.

Good times.

And then, of course, there are the multiple – and I mean mul.ti.ple – scratches on the car from the kids running their bikes down the sides.  Yep – that’s how I roll.

So when the guys finally finished her up and handed me the keys, I climbed inside my now sleek and lusterous minivan and started her up.  Next to the purring sports car, she sounded like some sort mammoth as she roared to life.

And with that I held my head high, looked down upon the lowly sports car and I pulled out of Lexusland, driving her hotness off into the horizen.  I hope everyone watching wasn’t too jealous…