Thursday, June 27, 2013

We Bought Our Car for a Once Future Baby

Once upon a time, we bought a Kia. It was right about the time we bought the Swan House, so there we were being grownups and spending cash money. This car was my first ever new car. Like 60 miles new, and then only because it was a floor model being used for the occasional test drive. I nicknamed it the Enterprise. We bought it because we could afford it. Because my dad was super happy with his Kia, which had at that point been around forever. Because we were homeowners now and needed to do things like bring home 15 bags of mulch along with a couple of blueberry bushes and a new trash can.

And we bought our car because we knew we were going to have kids.

I didn't know exactly what we'd be carting around when we'd become parents, but I knew from experience as a big sister with six younger siblings that kids come with plenty of accoutrements. I figured we'd need space. But I didn't want something huge, either. I'm not vain about my automobile, but I really didn't want something that screamed MOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMM ON BOOOOARD. The Kia Rondo, which was later replaced by the even cooler Soul (the car I would have bought if we'd been buying a couple years later), was just right. Not too small, not too big.

I'd like to tell you that I drove our car to the hospital when I went to labor with P., but I actually walked because it was a nice day. Tedd did drive me to the Birth Center when my water broke with Bo - I was sitting in the back seat on a whole mess of towels and still managed to make a mess. How gross is that?

Have a car long enough and things are gonna get real, I guess.

Anyway, that's my totally disgusting way of saying that I'm pretty grateful for our car, which has been with us through new home ownership, too many trips to New York to count, the birth of one baby, pregnancy loss and the many drives into Boston that followed, the birth of another baby, and now, life as a family of four.

What's it look like?

Here's baby P. back when she was just a wee thing. Notice how clean the interior is? You only get that kind of clean in a car that doesn't cart kids around. We were a little worried about installing her seat - since we had to do it quick because the NICU didn't warn us she'd be released - but the LATCH connectors made it easy.

best family car

A year and a half later, and P. finally outgrew her infant seat. Her big girl seat? Massive. Still fit just fine, though we were happy to eventually switch to a more streamlined toddler car seat. The interior? Not quite so clean with a toddler climbing around inside.

good family car

And this is now. Remember when we switched P. from rear facing to forward facing? She was four, which I understand is a lot older than most kids whose parents make the change. She was so excited to be able to stretch her legs out... and kick the driver's seat.You don't even want to see the upholstery at this point.

mid size family car

These days we're rocking the double car seats in the back and we bring a pretty massive double stroller everywhere we go, too. We still go to New York and then we're carting around luggage and a port-a-crib that feels anything but portable when you see how big it is. Five years into owning our Kia, our car has seen us through pretty much every transition a couple of adults can make in their 20s and 30s, more trips to the garden store for mulch than I care to mention, even more blueberry bushes, and my habit of picking up furniture and ladders from the side of the road. It may not be as clean as it once was...

But hey, we have kids. And for a family car, it still looks dang good.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


  1. Visiting for the first time from SITS... I just loved this post! I remember when I bought my first car, and then it was used to haul my brothers and sister to school, now the interior is a little embarrassing, yikes!

    1. I used to be super fussy about my car's upholstery, but I just kept reminding myself that it's a utility item. I mean, here in MA it's going to be muddy boots and road salt for so much of the year!

    2. I read that some people slip a pillow cover over their seats to protect them from little muddy feet...though I'm not sure where you'd find a pillow cover that large, seems like a pretty good idea?

  2. You went RF with P. until she was 4--that's awesome! We're going to have to size up pretty soon as C gets bigger and the pile of stuff we have to tote grows...good to know you're enjoying the Kia!

  3. So terrific that the car you started with is just the right size for your family! With Tyler being 6'4" and needing all the leg room available, we've had to upsize to allow everyone to fit in one vehicle.

  4. I wanted to buy a KIA back in my single years but it didn't happen. When I saw the Forte the other day I was like ZInG! It's the exact body type I've been looking at, large enough to fit 3 kids and 2 adults worth of stuff in it for a shorter travel trip - like visiting my parents in MD, and small enough we'd have a bit more room to maneuver around the growing collection of outdoor kid stuff in the garage. And I could put a canoe on it for weekend camping trips! I'm totally keeping it in my top three.

  5. Funny and touching. Thanks for sharing that!

  6. I think the KIA Soul is a pretty cute car. I bought a new car around the same time you did - I went with a Honda Fit because I have no human children and don't plan to anytime soon, but I wanted to be able to haul around stuff and the backseat was the right size for the dog. So I guess I was thinking about kids, just a different sort. Anyway, if the Soul had been on the market then it would have been a contender.

  7. (Um, I know you don't have a Soul. I was just sharing your interest in their entry into the market post our card purchases.)

  8. What Wade said. I'll never have to worry about fitting kids in a car, but you make it sound frighteningly fun. :)

  9. We considered the Rondo, but eventually went with the Mazda 5. We liked the sliding doors and the available manual transmission. It's a lot of fun.

  10. Cars with 4 doors and a hatch ftw!

    (I mean it's like a minivan but it's not a minivan...)

  11. Can't say I have much experience with a Kia but I do know someone from Slovakia that told me there's a manufacturing plant there. Apparently, on the approach to the plant, there's a sign that says "Welcome to SlovaKIA." I assume it's in Slovak, though.

  12. We're in NYC, so we don't have a car (and know very little about different brands), but we rent them fairly frequently. And we always run out of space when packing things to go! Usually, I just take whatever car they give me in the size range that they list (though the cars in that size range are quite varied), but now I may request a Kia. Especially now that we have two kids (and their respective "stuff") to lug around. Thanks for the post and the great pictures!

  13. I embrace my Honda minivan, and we bought it used (but in fantastic shape) on purpose because with a 7 year old and a newborn we knew it would get messed up. And fast.

    And of course there have been multiple vomitings and blood and such and I am ever so glad it wasn't new. I'll wait until they are older for a new one!

  14. We have a Kia Soul! it's perfect for parents with a little cool still left in their blood

  15. Family first before anything else. In purchasing a car, one important factor you need to consider is the size of your family. Though Kia may not be your dream car, still, you opted for this one for your family's sake. It was a great choice, Christa!

  16. A lot of people buy a car without thinking about the future. They consider car color, mileage and their current needs but often forget how their lives might change. I think it is fantastic that you were thinking ahead, and that you selected the right car from the start. I'm not too surprised though since Kia is a fantastic brand.

    Diana Hayes @ Baldwin Subaru


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