Buckle Up and Create Priceless Memories

From the minute I saw her, I knew we would be good friends.
‘She’ was my reliable daily companion never once complaining about the many errands she had to go each day- my shiny Toyota Sienna forest green minivan. Like most moms, I didn’t willingly switch from my snazzy compact car to a mom mobile.

Family Roadtrips-Buckle Up and Create Priceless Memories green toyota

I took my time.
But once my kids hit that pre-school age I knew I had to change my car.
I had more stuff to carry, more children to take on playmates and more places to go.

And that car took us everywhere!

Family Roadtrips-Buckle Up and Create Priceless Memories freeway

With our kids safely buckled in their spacious car seats -yes, I was pretty anal about checking them each time; we used to explore L.A ‘s attractions every weekend.
Many times I even volunteered to take some of my kids’ friends along on play dates as long as their parents would bring their car seat with them.
In those days, my van resembled a play house filled with stuffed animals, Legos, and happy meal figurines.

Then came the road trips.
Our kids were reasonably ok about sitting in their car seats for 20-30 minutes and playing with toys, but I needed a sure way to occupy them for longer periods of time.

I went out and bought each kid a video player and a Gameboy.

Yes, it was somewhat expensive in those days (got grandma to chip in and split the costs) but driving for a few hours without listening to whining and bickering was priceless.
Looking back, it was that year that helped us bond as a family and encouraged us to start our decade-long era of family travel. Talk about precious family moments!

Family Roadtrips-Buckle Up and Create Priceless Memories sunset

We ended up driving up and down the California Coast, visiting all twenty-one missions and exploring three of its magnificent national parks. As my kids grew older, we traveled with our Sienna to neighboring states and even across the country to Florida for my younger son’s college visits.

Last year I finally sold my Sienna to a young family that was planning its first road trip. After we signed the appropriate paperwork and gave them the car keys, I helped transfer their kids’ car seats to the van.

I know; old habits die-hard…


Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Toyota Buckle for Life baby

Want to learn about car seat safety -join #TMOM ‘s Monday, Sept 8th at 9 pm Eastern time Twitter Party or Wednesday, September 10th Google Plus Hangout at noon –2 pm   Eastern time where you can get your specific safety questions and concerns answered.

Do you pledge to buckle up for life? Great! We’re giving away a brand new car seat to one lucky reader! Just leave a comment on the post below or our autistic globetrotting Facebook page to be entered in our raffle. The seat you receive will be based on your child’s needs. U.S. Residents only. The contest ends on Wednesday, September 10th at midnight. Good luck!


Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Toyota Buckle Up for Life project


  1. Wonderful! I’m a huge fan of using electronics on long trips. Just to maintain MY sanity!

  2. Even though I am 22, electronics are a sanity saver for car trips.

  3. Angie Stow says:

    We are hunting up the best seats for our 4.5yo autistic girl and our 2.5yo boy who is outgrowing his current seat. We definitely want them harnessed as a long as possible and it’s hard to find something to move UP to they won’t outgrow in 5 minutes! We spend a lot of time in the car for errands, appointments and homeschool outings so finding good seats is a big deal for us– and our kindle fires save our lives lol 🙂

  4. Just bought a new (to me) van & made sure it had a dvd player in it. The peace & quiet is priceless. 🙂

  5. I loved all the road trips we took as kids! I think a few electronics would’ve helped prevent some bickering but we had a blast anyways. 🙂

  6. We have been trying to take longer and longer trips without electronics. It does NOT always work. We take the DVD player for the car and then plug it in when it really is the last option. Sigh. But, at least we have these types of things to help with those longer times in the car.

  7. My son loves the phone in the car. I try to last as long as possible though before give in and give it to him.

  8. We are planning on a road trip to TX (we live in NC) for my cousins retirement from the Air Force next year. That will be the longest trip we’ve taken. 🙂 We have an almost 5 year old who has sensory processing disorder. We struggle with whether he should be in a 5 point harness still or can be in a high backed booster with seat belt. He is currently in a high backed booster with seat belt because his 5 point harness seat expired and we haven’t been able to buy another one.

  9. My daughter is two so this would be awesome to have a new car seat! Thanks for the chance.

  10. Technology definitely keeps my sanity on road trips. Love my DVD player! 🙂

  11. Kristin Goodson says:

    Tech is a lifesaver when it comes to road trips! Definitely keeps my son calm and not so anxious. Love traveling so when we have a good trip I wanna take my son somewhere else. playing with toys can only last so long. Thanks for the article and I’m hopin to join the twitter party.

  12. Kristina Courter says:

    Some of my favorite memories were the road trips I took with my family when I was a kid. I hope my kids look back and have the same fond memories of our family trips! And yes technology definitely makes it easier these days!!

  13. Great giveaway! Our little guy is about to graduate from his bucket car seat to a convertible seat. Going to keep him rear facing as long as we can!

  14. My daughter is 9 months and my son entertains her so far. As she gets older though I’m sure she will need more!

  15. Great giveaway!

  16. I really need a car seat for my 2 year old, the one that I have is over 5 years old. Thanks for the giveaway!

  17. Stacey DeForest says:

    We have 2 boys with Autism, ages 5 and 15. Technology has definitely been a lifesaver on our road trips! This is a fantastic giveaway!

  18. I love our Toyota Minivan!!!

  19. With 8 kids in tow, we don’t leave home without our Kindle Fire!

  20. I have a 4 yo who needs a new seat, what a blessing it would be! 🙂

  21. We are expecting our first, so we would love to win. I agree with electronics on long road trips. Went with my niece who is 2.5yrs old and this saved us from lots of crying and fussy baby.

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