Hello! I really, really hope one of you has a good idea for me, as I'm fresh out of any ideas at all!
We are expecting #5 in early March. Currently we have two cars: an SUV that my husband drives, and a Toyota Sienna with captains' seats in the center row (so total seating for 7, not 8).
We live in an area where AWD or 4WD is a necessity; we would not consider a car without one or the other.
Our (tall and skinny) kids are as follows:
#1 - age 8.5y, 52" tall, 50#
#2 - age 7y, 50" tall, 43#
#3 (twin) - age 3y, not positive on height but 27#
#4 (twin) - age 3y, maybe 1" taller than his twin, 32#
#5 due 3/13/13
Twins ride in Britax Frontier 85s (not the SICTs, those were way too wide to fit anywhere) in my car, or Britax Marathons in the third row in DH's car. #1 rides in a booster - I prefer high-backed, but he can fit OK in a low-backed, esp around town vs on the interstate. #2 really still needs a HBB, as he is just so skinny that he slides "under" the seat belt without a high back keeping it all in place. We have a Chicco Key Fit 30 ready for the baby.
Long story short - I bought the two narrowest HBBs on the market - Harmony V6s - and we tried to install five car seats in ANY configuration in the van. We spent 2 hours on it yesterday, but never got anything to work. The closest to success was two low-backed boosters outbound in the third row with the infant bucket between them...except that I was physically UNABLE to get the infant bucket out of the base and into the house when empty. No way could I get it in or out with a baby in it. Gulp. Not to mention that I don't feel all that comfortable with my newborn baby in the third row when I am driving - call me neurotic, but there it is.
(Aside for those with husbands who aren't as "into" safety related topics like we are ... DH actually asked me when #1 could just ride in the front seat of the van...and offered that as an easy fix. Not so much. Then he wanted to know how soon #1 would be out of a booster; not soon. Then he wanted to know if the larger twin could ride in a LBB. Sigh.)
So ... we tried all five in DH's SUV, and the good news is that they do fit, comfortably, with a little room to spare. Whew. Panic averted; we can bring the baby home after all ;) ... Except that there is basically NO cargo room in DH's SUV - certainly not enough for more than a few grocery bags. No way would a jogging stroller fit ... not to mention a jogger + soccer gear + backpacks + cooler. Nor a trip to Costco (which becomes more frequent with each child we add). You get the picture.
DH's "solution" is to trade my minivan for (GULP) a Suburban or equivalent enormous SUV. This is my nightmare. I *love* my minivan! I am not a person who derives much personal identity from a car, but a big, gas-guzzling SUV really does not suit me or sit well. I have been depressed since he started talking about it. Not to mention the fact that I don't think we can fit two SUVs into our garage, nor maneuver a big SUV in our alley (we have an alley garage). So one of the two would most likely have to be parked out front.
Is there any other idea to try? Something simple that we didn't think to try? We tried these configurations without success in the van (second row // third row):
Frontier + infant // LBB + Frontier + HBB
Frontier + infant // LBB + Frontier + HBB
Frontier + Infant // HBB + Frontier + HBB
HBB + infant // Frontier + HBB + Frontier (this was my preferred configuration - what a joke! We needed 5" more inches!)
HBB + infant // Frontier + LBB + Frontier (second preference - again, no chance)
Frontier + Frontier // LBB + infant + LBB (the only one where we could actually buckle/LATCH all five seats into the car; but I could not get the infant seat out of the base)
Frontier + Frontier // HBB + infant + LBB (two big kids could not buckle their seats very well - could maybe be forced to work, but would have same problem as above, not able to remove infant seat from its base)
Currently I am trying to convince him that HE can drive the van when he is in town and does not bike to work (in warmer weather, he bikes most days, so this is not all that frequent a problem) and I will drive his SUV for now. If I need to go to Costco, we can trade or troubleshoot somehow. He simply says I am delaying the inevitable, that the kids are only getting bigger/schlepping larger "stuff," and that solely for emergencies (safety) we need to be able to transport our entire brood in either car we have.
Help! Any ideas? Different car? Different car seats/different configuration? Different husband? OK kidding on the last one, but you get the idea!
Thanks for reading!!
Editied to correct about 100 typos, sheesh!