my thoughts on motherhood, kids, books and stuff

Smelly Car, Smelly Car, What Are They Feeding You, Smelly Car?

When Brett and I were first married he washed the car more often than we currently bathe our kids.  Now the car only gets cleaned out when it starts to smell like Taco Time.  And I don’t mean the, "I better open the windows to air out the car so Brett doesn’t know we stopped at Taco Time", kind of smell.  I mean the, "(sniff…sniff) What’s that smell?  I’m craving something…hmmm…how about Taco Time?", kind of smell. 

We have become really good at clearing everything out of the van every time we get out, so it isn’t cluttered.  The kids know that if they bring a toy with them they have to take it out when we get home.  If Anna packs a purse with 15 happy meal toys she has to crawl around on the floor until she repacks every one of them before she can go inside.   Luca likes to wear layers and when we get home it can take her ten minutes just to get redressed.  She often wears a turtle neck or long sleeved t-shirt under another shirt or sweater.  Then she wears a light jacket, a scarf, a heavy coat, and mittens.  She starts getting hot about two minutes after we pull out and she starts peeling layers off as she begs us to turn on the air-conditioner.  By the time we get home she is wearing her jeans, one shirt, and she has bare feet.  There is a hefty pile of clothing on the floor in front of her car seat.  Then we usually hear, "Why do I always have to carry everyone’s stuff in the house?!"  I think she thinks by the size of the pile it couldn’t possibly all be just hers.

So back to the smell problem.  Brett’s dad came to visit this week and we had to do some car seat rearranging so that we could all fit in the car.  When we pulled the car seats out we just looked at each other and there were no words, no blame, no accusations.  There was a pile of crumbs so thick under each seat it looked like the fabric was confetti colored instead of boring gray.  I prefer boring gray.  We don’t let our kids eat in the car really often.  Just often.  We have so ask ourselves "would we rather vacuum the car out once a week or listen to kids scream and fight EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. we go anywhere.  You can tell which we choose. 

We try to stick to easy things like Pirate’s Booty in a bag or apple slices.  But it only takes one trip to Taco Time to necessitate a good car cleaning.  The kids like crisp bean burritos and they just crumble the minute they take a bite.  They also like crustos, but we have to draw the line somewhere!

So we have the clutter problem solved in the car…now we just need a car version of the Roomba and we will be set!


  • This post cracked me up. Your car looks quite clean most of the time. I think it’s good how you are training your kids to keep it clean. Kids sure can make a lot of messes! You clean, start walking out of the room (or car), turn around to say something and WHOA … it’s all back. How do they do it so fast?

  • Maryanne

    Oh boy, this is a familiar story. We bought those all-season floor mats for our Odyssey and they are great! Spilled McDonald’s milk shake? Taco Bell refried bean drippings? Cup of hot chocolate HURLED across the seat by a 3-year-old (trying to hit his brother with it)? NO PROBLEM! Just pull those babies out, hose them down, and they’re good as new. At least the floors look clean :o)

  • whim

    Maryanne, we also drive a Odyssey and the all weather mats are the very first thing Brett bought after we got the van. They are GREAT for families with young kids. The other thing I have learned is to always keep a tub of wet wipes in the car. It is amazing the things that wipes can clean up!

  • Heya, sorry to hi-jack the comments of this blog post, but I wanted to let you know that you won the giveaway at my mom’s site – She tried to email you, but it came back to her for some reason. Could you send me an email or go to her site and send her one, so she can make arrangements to send you your prize? Thanks!! 🙂

  • Maryanne

    Oh yes, we can’t forget the wet wipes!

  • Hi Kim! I recently found your blog! I am so amazed at how many of the entries could have been written on my own family blog… seriously… it makes me happy to know I’m not the only one that finds “questionable” items under the car seats. But at my house I am to blame, my husband is way to freaky about the car… seriously he used to spend every weekend polishing the wheels…. ugh… glad those days are gone (at least for now). I love to read and keep up with your life. I look forward to more entries. Hugs from NY, your cousin Wendy

  • whim

    I am glad you found me! I had fun reading through your blogs. It has been too long! It was fun to see pictures of your cute family on your blog.

    It sounds like our husbands are a lot alike when it comes to cars. Brett tells me he is going to wash the car and I know it will be an hour until he is back and then another hour in the garage washing tires and glass and interior. He took my car to clean it when we were dating (not realizing I had just cleaned it a couple of days earlier…I THOUGHT it was clean enough) and he said he found 20 pens and pencils under my seat that he threw away. I didn’t even think that was strange enough to be embarrassed by it. I just said, “only 20?”