Sunday Erin and I took the step over the brink. Yes, we officially crossed the line into hard-core parenting with the purchase of a minivan. However, we tried our best to hedge our position and we bought the smallest, swooftest-looking minivan we could find: the Mazda5. We found a certified used 2009 version on Autotrader for well below the Edmunds TMV, and braved the purchase process at a south-LA Mazda dealership. Fortunately we did plenty of research, had all our numbers and paperwork in order, and we closely followed the advice of the Motley Fool's guide car buying. Thanks Ben and Elisa for buying that book for us!
It has leather seating for 6, a sun roof, a CD changer, Blue Tooth so we can use our phones hands-free (omg!). Now we don't have to rent a car to take out-of-town visitors to the beach!