I used to think in my early twenties that I would either make a go of the world, let go of my black and white, good vs. bad thinking, get elbow deep into the muck of the world, or move to Vermont... read more here

When You Take the Mini Out of Minivan, You Get a Van.

Our hopes were dashed a week and a half ago when the seemingly perfect used 12 passenger van we found at a local dealership fell from our grasp.  But thanks to many moving parts including the future sale of our minivan, we are up and running with this:

Ford Econoline 12 Passenger Van

Can you see how mini our minivan looks parked behind this 12 passenger van/wagon?

Yup, our circus just got a whole lot bigger.  I had to keep reminding myself about how in my early twenties I frequently drove not 12, but 15 passenger vans filled with 10-15 year old kids in and out of Beacon Hill in Boston (picking up equipment at the Appalachian Mountain Club), on our way mountain biking, or for week long trips camping in Acadia, Maine, Cape Cod, or New Hampshire when I worked for the YMCA.

A good friend who I was sharing this with yesterday said “Yeah you were pretty badass back then.”  and then followed it up with “Well you’re still badass, just in a totally different way.”  That made me laugh.

Badass as I may be, I was kind of afraid to get behind the wheel of this thing, partly because the van itself is so large and partly because it is such a declaration of the size of our family to the world.  Sure we look like a bunch of clowns getting out of the minivan at this point, but it’s a minivan, they are a dime a dozen around here.  But a full sized van…  now we are a school trip, a livery service, or one of those families (feel free to fill in whatever stereotype for larger families you would like here) .

When I did finally drive it for the first time, truly (do you hear this Jon? -my old YMCA boss and Lauren -my partner in Y all those years ago) it was like coming home.  I couldn’t help but shout out “Anyone want to go to Acadia?!”

Really it feels so great that Kevin, the kids, and I can all fit in one car/van now.  Heading to Massachusetts to visit family no longer requires a van rental and we can all go together to church and any other visits, trips, etc. we need or want to make.

I am utterly grateful.  A 12 passenger van is big, for sure, and like this over-sized in todays’ world family I’ve got, I’ve just got to own that this is where we are at.

Anyone looking for a minivan that seats eight?  We’ve outgrown ours and have one to sell!

What is your minivan to van conversion, that unexpected part of your life that you’ve learned to “own” instead of try to hide or diminish?

I’d love to hear about it.

Sending y’all love from the journey.



7 Quick Takes ~ Chicks, Painting When Not Pregnant, Etc.

1.  My husband brought these home yesterday:

Week Old Baby Chicks

Baby chicks hanging out in a recycling bin and keeping warm under a heat lamp.

We have 3 hens and one rooster and now apparently 5 baby chicks.  We had “talked” about possibly getting some chicks, but I didn’t really know it was imminent, till it was.

Watching baby chicks.

Some very happy boys, enthralled with little peeping balls of fluff.

2.  The NEED (my prerequisite) for these new chicks to have a home other than our bathroom (like the first time we raised chicks) was just the inspiration Kevin needed last night to finally finish the front doors to the sugar shack:

Front Doors to Sugar Shack

New door handle/latch and wood finishes covering all openings.  Chicky predators would have a hard time getting in here!

The chicks will be staying out there till they are big enough to be moved into the coop with the other chickens.

3.  Last week I painted two of our living room walls.  The thought of painting sounded so exhausting, but with so many other things up in the air in my life, I decided to just do it.  I discovered that painting walls when you are not pregnant is much easier (I always seem to paint walls when I am 8 or 9 months pregnant).  I was able to get both walls done in about a day and a half.

Here is what the main wall looked like before:

Peach livingroom

Peach living room wall and black picture frames.

The wall was a peach color. Notice the curtains and black picture frames. Oh and just ignore the mess!

and here it is after:

White Wall with New Curtains from Sheets

White wall with new curtains made from white twin sheets and painted white picture frames.

I made the white curtains this week (during the kids nap time) out of a couple of white twin sized bed sheets I bought.

4. This little guy:

Sliding on Little Tikes Slide

~G loves being able to climb and slide all on his own and I love watching him do it!

5. I went to Mass yesterday morning with the three little ones.  I have thought about trying to go during the week some time for a long while but wasn’t sure how to manage all of them.   I finally decided I would just try.

I wore 2 year old ~G in my ergo carrier on my back, carried 7 month old ~P in his car seat, and 3 year old ~O walked beside me.   I was quite a site, I know.  I have a friend with 8 children who attends daily Mass often, so she was sort of my inspiration for at least trying.  I left ~P in his seat in the aisle beside me and didn’t look at him for the whole Mass.  See when I look at him he wants out.  My plan worked and he didn’t fuss at all.  I took ~G out of the carrier and held him.  He was squirrely, but we managed. Besides ~O taking off all of the sticky cushioning that kept the bottom of the kneelers from making noise, he did pretty well.  Going up for communion was pretty clunky with ~G in one arm and carrying ~P in his car set, while nudging ~O along in front, but we made it.

It was a lot of work, but it was lovely to be there.  I had no idea if the boys would behave for me, but as is God’s way, he wanted me to step out in faith and at least try.  I figured if it was a total fail to all those around me, it would be a win to Him.

At the end of Mass a woman a few rows behind us, complimented me on bringing the kids and shared that she had 8 kids who are now all grown and that she was there because it was one of her children’s birthdays and on each childs’ birthday she goes to Mass to pray for them.  I thought that was such a great idea.  I like it so much I think I will be adopting it, even though the thought of my boys being all grown up seems so far off.

6. It’s dandelion season.  That time of year when the lawn is covered with yellow blossoms, then mowed clean, then the seed pods bolt up in a day or two making your lawn look like an eery seed pod graveyard:

Dandelion Seed Pods

“Tiger Flower” seed pods.

It always seems as though we have the most dandelions in spring.  Three year old ~O has been calling them Tiger flowers (presumably because he misremembered the lion part of dandi “lion”.  Too cute to correct.).  So lots of Tiger flowers and Tiger flower seed pods.

7. It is amazing what some rest will do.  I have been trying to get to bed before 9:30 all week.  It has been great.  Even if I am up some with ~P, I give myself more possible hours for sleep.  It has made a big difference, especially after a few late nights last week.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!


For other people’s quick takes, head on over to This Ain’t the Lyceum


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