It's a long time, 13 hours. In a plane, we'd be in Australia by now. But in an overloaded Mitsubishi, containing a barely potty-trained pre-schooler, you can only get to central Michigan. The trip actually went as well as anyone could dare hope. Miss M went through her Bag O' New-Car-Approved Entertainment Devices pretty quickly, but stayed in pretty good spirits throughout the day. I have to thank the good people of Crayola for the truly wonderful Color Wonder collection of mysteriously appearing paint and marker products. I have no idea what sort of chemical magic makes those things work, but they kept M happy and the upholstery mess-free for much longer than any other art product could have done. My best investment, however, was the $2.89 pair of Fiskars for Kids and a $1.59 pad of construction paper. The scissors were sort of like pinking shears, and M spent hours carefully cutting tiny little lettuce-edged squares. I almost sprained something patting myself on the back for that one.
Other highlights of the trip included the vast and astounding array of trailer home Christmas decorating, the completely childish amusement caused by passing Big Bone Lick State Park, and the strangely satisfying sight of Beef Jerky Unlimited. Other than the concept of a full day drive itself, the only real lowlight was the unexpected return of my pregnancy sciatica, which struck about 15 minutes before we got in the car. I had a deep, throbbing pain from hip to knee and spent the entire drive trying to find a position that would allow me to sit without actually using my butt.
We're now at the Admiral's dad's farm, where Miss M is finding entertainment in the horses, tractors and seemingly endless supply of flashlights. We've been eating an unmentionable number of locally produced hot dogs and homemade chocolate malts, although I'm still crediting the fetus for that rapidly growing bump at my waistline. We'll be here tonight and will be expecting Santa's visit before morning, although we hear that he'll also be making at stop at Grammy's house, so we'll be heading that way sometime tomorrow afternoon. It's the first year that M is cognizant of the whole holiday, and on top of the usefulness of the Mighty Santa Threat, it's a pretty joyful thing to see her getting into the spirit. And of course, in her world, the spirit of Christmas means behaving just well enough that all her stuff doesn't get taken away. Which I guess is a start. She's got plenty of time to figure out the whole peace, hope and charity thing. Like the 13 hours it'll take to get home.