After the last few days, I've decided that there are several things I'd rather do than travel with a toddler. Take going to the dentist to get cavities filled, for example. It's not that bad. Or cleaning up kitty barf off of the dining room rug. Yep. I'm sure.
The drive to Michigan is about 12 hours (not including traffic). With extra stops for food and gas it takes considerably longer and we decided about a year ago that we didn't want to do it all in one day anymore. On Christmas day we left our home at about 9am and made it up to Independance, Ohio, where stayed the night. We had Christmas dinner at Denny's (which my husband will tell you is about the most American thing you can do -- just like in the movies!) and we were all in bed by 8pm.
At 1:30am our daughter decided that the hotel was a scary place and that she didn't want to be there anymore. My husband and I took turns rocking, cuddling, watching TV, and soothing her but she wouldn't go back to sleep for anything. She wanted to leave or play... not sleep. At 5am I said let's just leave. We packed up the car, and our stinker little baby girl was asleep before we even hit the highway.
Needless to say, I'm still recovering. I am thankful though that we made the decision to purchase a car DVD system prior to this trip. I feel that it was a lifesaver. Yea, yea, go ahead and say I'm a bad parent for allowing my daughter to watch Disney movies all day -- I don't care. I'm happy that she didn't spend the day crying miserably trying to get out of her carseat. We only plan to use it on long trips anyways... and (I haven't told my husband this yet) once we move back to Michigan I don't think we'll be taking any car trips that are longer than 3-4 hours. I just can't handle it!
We purchases the Philips 7" Dual Screen DVD player (pictured below) for our car. I was super impressed with the high quality picture, sound, and accessibility of this product. When we first talked about buying one I was expecting to drop upwards of $300 on a DVD player, but this one is just over $100 - totally worth it. Besides DVDs, we also entertained AJ with little puzzles and books. For some reason though she didn't want to nap in the car during this trip (even though she falls asleep on most 5 minute drives to the grocery store!)