Chapter 10 ~ The Long Road Trip (Part 1)

"Auntie Annie, can you please put pigtails in my hair?" Abby asked, Thursday morning, as Annie helped her dry off from her morning bath.

Annie smiled as she hugged Abby and kissed her on the head. "Okay, Sweetheart."

After Abby was dry, dressed and the bathroom was cleaned up, Annie took a couple bright pink hair ties with Care Bears on them.

Abby smiled. "Are we having Egg McMuffin's again? I really like those."

"Yes, we are, Sweetie. Grandma is in the kitchen making them right now." Annie replied as she combed Abby's hair.

"When we leave, is Uncle Eric going to drive the van all day?" Abby asked.

Annie smiled. "Yes, he is, Honey ~ it takes at least two or three days to get from here to Michigan."

"WHOA! That's a long time!" Abby said. "I wish the van had a TV in it."

"Okay, let's go eat." Annie said a few minutes later as she finished putting Abby's hair in pigtails.

Abby smiled as she skipped ahead of Annie. "Okay!"

"The bathroom is free." Annie said on her way to the kitchen to help Jenny.

"Okay." Eric replied. "Matt and Mary look like they're almost done eating so they can brush their teeth first."

"My Daddy is here!" Abby announced as she ran into the kitchen from the living room.

"Okay, Sweetheart." Annie replied as she followed Abby into the living room.

"Here he comes!" Abby said, before opening the front door.

"Hi, John." Annie said.

Abby smiled. "Grandma is making Egg McMuffin's before we go to Michigan."

"Hi, Annie, Hi, Abby." John replied as he handed Annie a white envelope. "Here's some spending money for Abby when you're in Michigan."

"Okay." Annie replied as she took the envelope.

"Daddy, do you want some Egg McMuffin's?" Abby asked. "Grandma is making them ~ you can have some, too."

"Yeah, I'll take one, but I'll have to eat it on the way to work." John replied as he looked at the watch on his wrist, before following Annie and Abby into the kitchen.

After John had his sandwich and coffee, he hugged everyone before walking out the door.

"Do you want us to call you as soon as we get to Michigan?" Annie asked.

"Yeah ~ thanks." John replied as he looked back and then continued walking.

"Have fun at work!" Abby joked as she waved her hands.

"Okay, I will!" John laughed as he climbed up into his truck.

Annie smiled as she closed the front door. "Let's go eat, Sweet Baby, I think Grandma has your sandwich ready."

Abby giggled as she followed Annie to the kitchen table. "My Daddy just told me he would have fun at work!"

"Awe, your Daddy does like work, Sweetheart." Annie replied as she cut Abby's sandwich in half for her.

"He does?" Abby asked, confused. "I wouldn't like it."

Annie smiled. "Well, your Daddy loves his job. He likes going to business meetings and talking with people. That's why he took the job, Sweetie."

"Oh." Abby said, still confused, but decided to change the subject. "Where did my cousins go?"

Annie smiled. "Matt and Mary are brushing their teeth, Honey, and Uncle Eric is getting ready to put everything back in the van so we can leave soon."

"Oh." Abby said, before taking a bite of her sandwich. "Can I please, watch Sesame Street?"

"No, Sweetie, it's too early and we're going to leave as soon as we finish eating and packing." Annie replied as she put her arm around Abby and hugged her. "But you can watch it when we're in Michigan, okay?"

"I pack my pillow!" Abby announced a few minutes later as she watched Eric fold blankets and sleeping bags while she continued eating her sandwich.

"Okay." Eric said. "I'll leave it out for you."

Annie smiled. "You can leave all of her stuff there, Honey, I'll help her pack after we brush our teeth."

"Can I help, Dad?" Matt asked as he walked in the room.

After all the blankets and sleeping bags were folded and everyone was done eating, Annie, Abby, Lucy and Simon brushed their teeth while Eric, Matt and Mary started putting everything back into the van.

Abby smiled as she sat down on the couch, holding her pillow, blanket and bear. "I'm ready. Let's go to Michigan, Auntie Annie."

Annie smiled back as she finished packing the last of her and Abby's bags. "I'm almost done, Sweet Baby."

"And then we can go?" Abby asked.

"Yes we can, Baby." Annie replied as she put some of the bags by the door to be taken out to the van.

"Mom, can I please sit up front with Dad, again?" Matt asked as he walked in the room.

"That's fine, Honey, as long as you wear your seat belt." Annie said as she looked in Abby's bag to make sure she had everything.

"I know, Mom. You tell me that every time." Matt said as he started to pick up some of the bags.

Abby smiled. "Are you going to sit by me, again?"

"Yes, I am, Sweetheart." Annie said as she smiled back.

Abby was still smiling. "YES!"

"Do you want me to take these bags?" Matt asked.

"Yes, please ~ except for that really big one. I'll carry that." Annie replied as she closed Abby's bag.

"Okay." Matt said as he carried the bags out to the van.

"Okay, I think we're ready to go." Annie said as she looked around the room to make sure she wasn't forgetting anything.

"Okay. Let's go to Michigan!" Abby announced to anyone else who might be listening.

After everything was put back into the van, everyone exchanged hugs before leaving.

"See you when you come to Michigan!" Abby said, waving her hands.

"Okay." Jenny replied. "Did you remember your blanket, pillow and Teddy Baby?"

Abby smiled as she held everything up, one at a time. "Yeah."

"Here's an extra Egg McMuffin if you want to warm it up somewhere later and eat it." Jenny said as she handed it to Abby in a sandwich bag. "I cut it in half for you."

Abby smiled. "Is it a sausage one?"

"Yes, it is, Honey." Jenny said as she hugged Abby.

"See you later, Grandpa!" Abby said as she waved her hands.

"See you later, Abby." Charles replied as he helped Simon and Lucy into the van before hugging Abby.

Abby smiled as she rested her head on her pillow. "Auntie Annie, can we please make this seat into a bed, again like we did last time?"

"Yes we can, Sweet Baby." Annie replied as she hugged Jenny.

"I love you, Annie." Jenny said. "See you at the family reunion."

Annie smiled. "I love you, too, Mom."

"It was nice seeing you, again." Eric said as he hugged Charles.

"Eric, nice as always." Charles nodded before walking over to Annie and hugging her.

"Please call us when you get there." Jenny said as she hugged Eric.

"Okay." Eric said as he opened the door to the van.

"Let's go to Michigan!" Abby announced.

"I love you, Dad." Annie said as she hugged Charles.

Charles smiled. "I love you, too, Annie."

After Charles and Jenny helped Simon into his car seat and hugged all the children, Eric started the van.

Abby giggled as the back seat folded out into a bed. "This ride is fun!"

"I love you, Grandma and Grandpa!" Lucy yelled.

"See you at the family reunion." Mary added.

Everyone waved as Eric pulled out of the driveway and started the trip to Michigan.

"Auntie Annie, that sun is too bright." Abby said after Eric turned onto the road.

"Okay, Baby." Annie said as she closed the shade on the side window, where the sun was coming in.

Abby giggled as she put her blanket over her head. "It's dark in here!"

After driving for a few minutes, Eric stopped at a gas station to put some gas in the van.

Abby smiled as she watched Eric open the door. "Auntie Annie, can we please go in the store part and see what stuff they have?"

"Yes we can, Sweet Baby." Annie replied as she opened the door. "We'll be right back, Honey." She told Eric.

"Okay." Eric replied as he started pumping gas into the van.

Abby gagged and plugged her nose as Annie helped her out of the van. "Eeewww, that gas stinks!"

Annie smiled as she shut the door to the van, before they started walking. "Let's go fast."

"I hope they have fun stuff in there for me to do when I'm in the van." Abby said as they walked through the door.

"We have to get back before Uncle Eric comes in to pay for the gas, so your cousins won't be alone in the van, okay, Sweetie?" Annie said as she followed Abby to a shelf that had some toys and magazines.

"Look what I found!" Abby said as she ran over to a big box filled with Neon, rainbow colored, star shaped sunglasses with sparkles on them. "Can we please get some?"

"Yes, we can." Annie smiled as she hugged Abby and kissed her on the head. "They will look beautiful on you and keep the bright sun out of your eyes, Sweet Baby."

Abby smiled as she held out another pair for Annie. "You should get one, too ~ and then we'll match!"

Annie smiled back as she took the sunglasses from Abby. "Okay, Honey."

After Abby had her sunglasses, she picked out a Care Bears coloring book, and a Sesame Street magazine. "I have my fun stuff."

"Okay, Sweetheart." Annie replied as she picked out four juice drinks and seven small boxes of Barnum's Animal Crackers for everyone.

"Can I please, have some Rootbeer?" Abby asked.

Annie smiled as she took out three bottles of Rootbeer and handed one to Abby. "Yes you can, Honey."

"Are you going to buy sunglasses for my cousins, too?" Abby asked as she followed Annie to the counter, carrying her magazine, coloring book, Rootbeer and Animal Crackers.

"No, Baby, they already have some." Annie replied as she put the Animal Crackers, juice and Rootbeer on the counter to be paid for. "Put your stuff on the counter, Sweetie."

"Look, what Auntie Annie bought for me!" Abby announced a minute later as they walked up to the van, where Eric was standing.

"Kewl shades, kiddo." Eric said as he left to pay for the gas.

Abby giggled. "Now, Uncle Eric wants to buy some?"

Annie smiled as she helped Abby into the van. "No, Sweet Baby, he's going to pay for the gas he put in the van so we can leave."

"Auntie Annie, do we have crayons in here?" Abby asked as she sat down.

"Not in the van, Honey, but I'll buy you some at the next K~Mart." Annie said as she passed out Animal crackers and juice drinks. "Be careful, don't spill anything."

"We're going to Michigan...!" Abby sang a few minutes later as they pulled out of the gas station parking lot.

"Will you, please open this?" Simon asked as he held up his box of animal crackers.

After Annie opened the box of animal crackers, she took out her book and started to read, while Abby and Lucy fell asleep ~ After eating a few animal crackers, Simon fell asleep, too.

A few hours later, Eric pulled into the parking lot of a party store with a Deli where he stopped so everyone could take a lunch break.

"Where are we?" Abby asked a few minutes later as she rolled over on her back, rubbing her eyes.

"Sweetie, we stopped here for something to eat." Annie explained. "Uncle Eric just took your cousins inside to get some sandwiches."

Abby smiled. "I was sleeping like a baby. Can I please, eat my food in here?"

"Yes you can, Sweetheart." Annie replied as she kissed Abby on the head. "But first we have to go in so we can order our food."

"What kind of food do they have here?" Abby asked.

"I'm not sure, Honey." Annie said. "It's a deli, so they probably have cold meat sandwiches and chips."

Abby smiled. "I pick Bologna!"

Annie smiled back as she helped Abby sit up before hugging her and kissing her on the head. "Okay, Sweet Baby."

"All that sleeping made me hungry." Abby said. "Let's get some lunch."

"In a minute, Honey." Annie said as she took a comb from her purse and a squirt bottle from one of their bags.

After Annie wet Abby's hair and combed it, she helped her into a sweatshirt, before opening the door to the van.

"I'm so hungry, I want one of all the food they have." Abby said as Annie carried her inside.

Annie smiled. "You can't eat everything, you'll explode, Sweet Baby."

The Deli didn't have, Bologna, so Abby ordered a ham and cheese sandwich with Ketchup and Mayo, and some potato salad, a dill pickle and a ninety~nine cent bag of Doritos.

"I'll race you to the van!" Lucy said as she started to run ahead.

"I can't, Lucy, I'm carrying my lunch!" Mary said as she started to walk faster.

"Don't run ahead, Sweetie." Annie said as everyone continued walking.

"Auntie Annie, can I please have my Rootbeer?" Abby asked as she sat down and opened the take out container with her food in it.

"Here, Sweetheart." Annie replied as she took the Rootbeer out of the cooler and handed it to Abby.

"Auntie Annie, can I please get a Hot Fudge Thursday?" Abby asked a half~hour later after taking the last bite of her potato salad.

"What's a Hot Fudge Thursday?" Mary asked.

"It's just her way of saying Hot Fudge Sunday, Honey." Annie explained.

Abby giggled. "Today is Thursday, not Sunday!"

After everyone finished their lunch and had their ice cream, they continued the road trip with Abby looking at her Sesame Street magazine some of the time and sleeping other times.

"What is this place?" Lucy asked five hours later as Eric pulled into another parking lot.

Annie smiled. "We're going to stay here for the night, Sweetie."

"You're stopping before it gets dark?" Matt asked.

"Yes, Honey, Dad is tired of driving." Annie replied.

Abby smiled. "Are we going to eat here, too?"

"Yes we are, Baby Girl, as soon as we find a place to order our food from." Annie replied, as she started helping Abby put her stuff into a bag.

"Okay, we have our room." Eric said about ten minutes later as he opened the door to the van. "They also have a recreation center with a pool and gym."

Abby smiled. "AWESOME! Can I please go swimming, Auntie Annie?"

Annie smiled as she helped Abby out of the van. "Yes you can, Sweetheart, as soon as we have all of our stuff in the Hotel room."

"Are we going to sleep in someone's apartment?" Abby asked as soon as they walked in the room. "This looks like a living room."

"It kind of looks like one, doesn't it?" Annie said as she put the suitcases on the floor by the couch.

"Hey, there's a table, too!" Lucy said as she ran over by it.

Abby smiled. "Now, I can look out the window when I'm eating ~ Auntie Annie, what are we having?"

Annie looked at Eric. "Do you want to order a pizza from Little Caesars, Honey?"

"Sounds like a good plan." Eric replied as he put the last of the luggage on the floor.

Abby smiled as she started dancing. "But first, I want to go swimming!"

"I want to go to the gym." Mary said.

"Yeah." Matt agreed.

"I want to go swimming." Lucy said as she walked over to where Annie and Abby were standing.

"Okay." Eric said. "I'll take the boys and Mary to the gym, while you take Abby and Lucy swimming."

"Great idea." Annie replied as she looked at her watch. "Why don't we meet in the lobby at six~o~clock, so we can head back to the room for dinner."

"Sounds good." Eric agreed as Matt, Mary and Simon followed him out the door. "We'll see you there."

"How long is six~o~clock?" Abby asked as she followed Annie into the bathroom.

Annie smiled as she helped Abby put her bathing suit on. "It's about five~o~clock, Sweet Baby, so we'll have at least an hour."

Abby smiled as they left the Hotel room fifteen minutes later. "I can't wait to jump in."

"Me, too." Lucy said.

"I LOVE this room!" Abby said as soon as they walked in. "Look at all the colored lights, Auntie Annie!"

"I do, too, Sweetheart." Annie agreed as she looked around the room. "It will be even more colorful when it gets dark outside."

"We're going to be here that long?" Abby asked.

"We'll come back sometime after dinner." Annie said as she hugged Abby and kissed her on the head.

Abby smiled. "I get to swim two times? This is AWESOME!"

"Yeah." Lucy agreed as Annie kissed her on the head.

"I see Uncle Eric and my cousins!" Abby announced a few minutes later as she pointed across the room, to some glass windows where she could see inside the gym.

Annie smiled. "That's the gym, Honey."

As soon as Abby and Lucy were ready, they jumped in the water while Annie watched them.

"Come in, Auntie Annie, the water is really warm." Abby said as she moved herself along the edge of the pool, to where Annie was sitting with her feet in the water.

"I think I'll just watch you girls for now." Annie replied. "I'll swim after dinner, okay, Sweetie?"

"Okay." Abby giggled as she tickled Annie's feet.

Annie smiled. "You're full of giggles, aren't you?"

Abby continued to giggle as she splashed around in the pool with Lucy, until it was time to go back to the room for dinner.

"Daddy, where are you going?" Lucy asked after everyone was back in the Hotel room and had their dry clothes back on.

"I have to pick up the pizza, Sweetie." Eric replied as he waited for Annie to make a small list of what to get. "I'll be back soon."

Abby smiled. "Uncle Eric, I saw you when I was in the pool room. They have windows in there."

"I saw you, too, Honey." Eric said as Annie handed him the list.

"Matt, where are you going?" Mary asked as she watched him follow Eric out the door.

"He's going to help Dad carry our dinner into the Hotel." Annie replied.

"Are we going to have a case of food, this big?" Abby giggled as she held out her arms.

Annie smiled as she helped Abby up onto her lap. "We're going to have two pizza's and Matt will carry the Crazy Bread."

"And then I can go crazy!" Abby said as she continued to giggle.

Annie continued to smile as she hugged Abby and kissed her on the head.

"Is Dad getting the pizza from Little Caesars?" Mary asked as she sat down on the couch, next to Lucy.

"Yes, he is, Honey." Annie replied.

"Auntie Annie, do we have any crayons yet?" Abby asked.

"Uncle Eric is going to pick some up, while he waits for them to make our pizzas." Annie said as she held Abby.

"We're back." Matt said about twenty~five minutes later as he walked in, carrying some Crazy Bread, pizza sauce and a K~Mart bag with crayons, paper plates, paper cups, plastic forks, napkins and couple 2 Liter bottles of Rootbeer.

Abby smiled. "Did you buy some crayons, Uncle Eric?"

"Yes, he did, Sweet Baby." Annie replied after Matt handed her the bag. "But it's time to eat, now, okay?"

"We got our pizza from Little Sneezer's and their bread is crazy!" Abby giggled as she sat on Annie's lap and started making up silly songs.

Annie smiled as she hugged Abby and kissed her on the head. "I know who else is crazy."

"You don't like Little Caesar's?" Matt asked, confused.

"She does, she's just being silly." Annie replied as she took a slice of pizza from the box.

Abby giggled. "It's my favorite pizza place ~ but I like Auntie Annie's pizza even better."

"Thank you, Sweet Baby." Annie said as she cut Abby's crust off for her.

Abby continued to giggle throughout dinner and the whole time they were in the pool.

"Sshh..." Annie said as she wrapped Abby up in a towel, before picking her up.

"Is Simon still in the baby pool?" Abby asked.

Annie smiled. "Uncle Eric is getting him out, Honey."

After everyone was back in the room, Annie helped Abby put her pajamas on, while Eric blew up the air mattresses.

"Where am I going to sleep?" Abby asked.

"We're going to put your air mattress next to this bed, in case you need anything." Annie replied.

Abby smiled. "Awesome! Are my cousins going to sleep in here, too?"

"No, Baby, they're going to sleep in the living room part." Annie explained. "Uncle Eric is putting up their air mattress right now."

After all the beds were set up and everyone was ready, Abby was the first one to fall asleep.

"Abby must have tired herself out from giggling so much." Eric whispered as he turned over on his side.

"It's almost time to leave, Sweet Baby...." Annie whispered, the next morning as she kissed Abby on the head, trying to wake her up. "Baby Girl...."

"I'm cold." Abby finally said a few minutes later, only half awake as she covered her eyes from the light of the room.

After helping Abby into some warmer pajamas, Annie picked her up and put her on the bed that she and Eric slept in, while she let the air out of her air mattress.

"Can I please sleep in the van?" Abby asked as she watched Annie put the folded air mattress back in the box. "I'm still really tired."

"Yes you can, Sweetheart." Annie replied as she handed the air mattress box to Eric. "Are Lucy and Simon awake yet?"

Eric looked over to where Lucy and Simon were still sleeping. "Matt and Mary are trying to wake them up, now."

"Are you going to get our stuff ready to leave, now?" Abby asked as she rubbed her eyes.

"We just did, Sweetie." Annie replied as she picked Abby up. "We're going to leave as soon as we can get your cousins awake."

"Did you fold up their beds, too?" Abby asked as she rested her head on Annie's shoulder.

"Uncle Eric is going to do that, now." Annie explained, as she hugged Abby and kissed her on the head.

"Even with Simon and Lucy still sleeping on it?" Abby giggled.

Annie laughed a little as she continued to hold Abby. "No, Honey, he's probably going to pick them up and put them somewhere else while he does that."

"Oh." Abby said, before yawning.

After Eric had all the air mattresses taken care of and put back in the van, he carried Simon, while Annie carried Abby, who fell back asleep and the rest of the children followed them as they checked out.

"Can I please, sleep in the back, too?" Lucy asked as she rubbed her eyes. "It's still dark outside and too early for me to get up."

"Yes you can, Honey." Annie replied as she made up the bed in the back.

After everyone was settled in, Eric started the van and they continued their trip to Michigan.

Later that morning, about three hours after they left the Hotel, they ran into some hazy and humid weather, with temperatures already in the low 80's. Storm clouds were starting to develop across the sky, and it looked like it could start to rain any minute. The back seat of the van was still folded out into a bed, with Abby and Lucy sleeping on it. Eric was driving, Matt was sitting up front with Eric, Mary and Simon, were sitting in the seat behind Eric, and Annie was sitting in the back, with Abby and Lucy.

"Honey, I think we should start looking for a place to eat. Most of the children are awake, now, and they're probably hungry." Annie said, breaking the silence.

"Okay." Eric replied. "Do you want to get off at the next exit?"

Annie looked over at Abby and Lucy. "Yes ~ it looks like Lucy is starting to wake up, now."

"Okay." Eric said as he slowed down for the next exit.

"I'm hungry, Mommy." Lucy said as she rubbed her eyes.

"Okay, Sweetie." Annie replied. "We're looking for a place to eat, right now."

"Okay." Lucy said as she sat up.

After they got off at the exit, and have been looking for about a minute or two, Annie noticed a country style restaurant. "That looks like a good place to eat."

"Yeah, it does." Eric agreed as he slowed down. "We'll stop there."

"Mom, do we have to wait for Abby to wake up, before we can eat?" Mary asked.

Annie looked over at Abby and then at Mary. "No, Honey. I'll stay with her for a few minutes and you can go with your Dad when he goes in to get us on the list for a table."

"Can I go, too?" Lucy asked.

"Yes you can, Sweetie." Annie replied.

"I'll take Matt and Simon, too, and then you and Abby can meet us inside." Eric said as he pulled into a parking space.

Annie smiled. "Okay. Thanks, Honey."

"All of you, please stay with me and don't run off anywhere." Eric said as he opened the door.

"Okay." Matt said as Mary, Lucy and Simon followed him out of the van.

"We'll meet you in a few minutes." Annie said.

"Okay." Eric replied, before shutting the door.

"Where are we? That door woke me up." Abby said as she rubbed her eyes.

"We stopped here to get something to eat, Sweetie. Uncle Eric took your cousins inside and they're getting us on the list so we can be seated." Annie explained as she kissed Abby on the head.

Abby sat up. "I'm hot."

"It's a lot warmer outside, than it was when we left the Hotel this morning." Annie said as she helped Abby take off her sweatshirt. "Do you want me to help you into some cooler clothes, Honey?"

"Will it be cold inside?" Abby asked.

"I don't know, Sweet Baby." Annie said as she held up Abby's blanket and sweatshirt. "We can bring these inside in case you get cold."

Abby smiled. "Okay!"

After Annie helped Abby into some cooler clothes, she put her sweatshirt and blanket into a bag, and then grabbed a sweatshirt for herself, in case she got cold, too.

"Okay, let's go meet Uncle Eric and your cousins inside so we can have some breakfast." Annie said as she took Abby's hand and helped her out of the van.

"Okay." Abby said as she jumped down. "I hope it's not cold in there ~ I don't like air conditioning."

Annie picked Abby up and hugged her after shutting the door. "I know, Sweetheart." She carried Abby, who was still a little sleepy, into the restaurant, where she told the waitress who they came with.

"That was fast." Eric said as he watched the waitress lead Annie and Abby to their table.

"Yeah, you woke her up when you shut the door to the van." Annie said as she pulled out a chair before sitting down.

"That ceiling is too high." Abby said as she looked up and giggled. "And it has windows!"

"Sshh....Don't talk too loud, okay, Sweetie?" Annie said as she hugged Abby and kissed her on the head.

"We have to be quiet when other people are eating, too?" Abby asked. "I thought we only had to be quiet when they were sleeping."

"No, Honey, we can't be too loud in restaurants, either, okay?" Annie whispered.

"Why is the ceiling too high?" Matt asked.

"Really big rooms scare me." Abby said.

"Sometimes, Abby feels overwhelmed in wide open spaces." Annie explained.

"Do they have omelet's here?" Abby asked. "I really want one for my breakfast."

"I don't know, Baby Girl." Annie said as she picked up her menu.

"I want an omelet, too, Mommy." Lucy said.

Abby smiled. "On mine, I want sausage, eggs and cheese ~ and I want Tomato Juice for my drink."

"It looks like they make them, but we should ask the waitress how big they are, first ~ okay, Sweetie?" Annie said, still looking at the menu.

"Okay." Abby replied. "I hope it's not too big so I can have one."

"They have Tomato Juice." Annie said as she read the drink options.

"YES!" Abby said in a loud whisper, before giggling.

"Do they have any blueberry pancakes here?" Mary asked.

"I'm not sure, Honey." Annie said as she picked up the menu, again.

"I really like that Hotel we stayed at last night." Abby said. "Uncle Eric, can you please find us another one like it to stay at for tonight?"

"I could try, Honey, but I can't promise anything." Eric said as he looked at his menu.

Abby smiled. "Okay. I hope you can find one."

"Can I take your order?" The waitress asked as she walked over to the table.

"Can you, please tell me how big the Omelet's are?" Annie asked.

After the waitress showed Annie how big, they were, she decided she would split one with Abby and Lucy. "Could we please have three Hashbrown's and one Omelet with two extra plates?"

"Okay." The waitress replied as she wrote down the order.

"Are we going to split one?" Abby asked.

Annie smiled. "Yes we are, Sweetheart."

"YES!" Abby whispered, remembering not to talk too loud. "I want sausage, eggs and cheese on my part ~ and tomato juice for my drink."

"We should all go wash up before we eat." Annie suggested, after all the food was ordered. "I'll take Abby, Mary and Lucy first."

After everyone ate their breakfast, they continued the road trip, with Abby sleeping most of the day.

"Are we in Michigan, yet?" Abby asked as she rubbed her eyes.

"Almost, Baby." Annie replied as she helped Abby get ready to go in the restaurant. "After we eat, we're going to look for another Hotel and stay there for the night. We should be in Michigan, sometime tomorrow."

Abby smiled. "YES! Will the Hotel have a swimming pool like the other one?"

"I don't know, Honey." Annie replied. "It's getting kind of late, so we might not swim again until we get to Michigan."

"It's almost dark outside!" Abby said, surprised, as she looked up at the sky, through the back window of the van. "Did I sleep all day?"

Annie smiled. "Most of it, Sweetie. Are you hungry?"

"I don't know." Abby said, confused. "Are we at a restaurant?"

"Yes we are, Sweetheart. We're at the Cracker Barrel." Annie replied as she helped Abby sit up.

Abby giggled. "Every time I go to sleep and then wake up, we get to stop and eat! I should go to sleep all the time!"

Annie laughed as she hugged a very sleepy Abby. "You're a silly girl, but I love you, Sweet Baby."

Abby continued to giggle as she rested her head on Annie's shoulder. "I love you, too, Auntie Annie. What kind of food do they have and where is Uncle Eric and my cousins?"

"They went inside a few minutes ago, Honey. We're going to catch up with them as soon as I comb your hair." Annie replied as she took a comb from her purse and a spray bottle. "I don't know what kind of food they have here."

"What was the name of that restaurant when we had lunch?" Abby asked.

Annie smiled as she combed Abby's hair. "Shoney's?"

"Oh, yeah!" Abby giggled.

"Okay, let's go eat." Annie said, a few minutes later after putting the comb and spray bottle away.

"I don't know what I want." Abby said, after they went inside and found the table where Eric and the children were sitting.

"Do you want a cheeseburger with pickles, ketchup and mustard?" Annie suggested as she looked at the menu and then at Abby.

Abby smiled. "Okay. Do they have Rootbeer, too?"

After all the food was ordered, Abby, Lucy and Simon colored on a paper from the Children's Menu, while Matt and Mary did the crossword puzzles.

"I don't understand crossword puzzles." Abby said as she looked over at Mary's paper.

"Yeah, I would rather color." Lucy said as she picked up a red crayon.

Abby smiled. "I'm going to give mine to Auntie Annie."

"Here's our food." Annie said, about a half~hour later as she looked up and saw the waitress.

"Did they forget to cook my bun?" Abby asked, confused. "It looks funny and it smells funny, too."

"Is that sourdough bread?" Matt asked as he looked over at the cheeseburger on Abby's plate.

"Yes it is, Honey." Annie replied.

"Oh." Abby said as she looked down at her plate. "I thought they were going to give me a bun."

After the waitress brought a bun for Abby and everyone finished their dinner, Eric found another Hotel.

"Matt, Mary and Lucy, you'll need showers tonight." Annie announced as they walked in the room.

"Are we going swimming again?" Lucy asked.

Annie smiled. "Not tonight, Honey, it's getting late."

"Do Abby and Simon have to take showers, too?" Mary asked as she sat down.

"They'll have baths in the morning." Annie replied as she picked out some clean pajamas for Mary and Lucy.

Abby smiled. "This room has a really small kitchen, Auntie Annie!"

"Yes it does, Sweetheart." Annie agreed. "I'm going to help you get your pajamas on and then I'm going to help Mary and Lucy, okay?"

"Okay." Abby giggled. "Can I please, lay on your bed when you're helping Mary and Lucy?"

"Yes you can, Sweet Baby." Annie replied as she hugged Abby and kissed her on the head. "Let's go get your pajamas on."

"Okay!" Abby giggled as she skipped off to the small room where the bed was.

"Matt is going first." Eric said as he watched Annie and Abby leave the room.

"Okay, Honey." Annie said, before closing the door.

"BOO!" Abby giggled an hour later as she jumped up from the other side of the bed to surprise Annie. "Are you done helping everyone take a shower?"

"Yes, I am, Sweetheart." Annie replied as she folded Mary and Lucy's dirty clothes and put them in a plastic bag. "Uncle Eric is going to take one, now."

Abby continued to giggle as she crawled around on the bed. "When you were helping Mary and Lucy, Uncle Eric put my air mattress up and then he read a book."

Annie smiled at Abby as she sat down on the bed and then looked at Eric. "Honey, thanks for watching her for me."

"Any time, Honey." Eric said as he closed his suitcase and started walking to the bathroom.

Abby started to giggle even harder, as she rolled around on Annie's side of the bed. "Have fun, taking your shower, Uncle Eric!"

"Sweet Baby, I'm going to call your Daddy and then Grandpa and Grandma." Annie said as she picked up the phone. "Do you want to talk with them?"

Abby continued to giggle as she crawled under the covers, before pulling them over her head. "Okay!"

Annie smiled as she looked over at her side of the bed. "It's ringing."

"What's so funny?" Mary asked as she walked into the room.

"I'm in Auntie Annie's bed!" Abby giggled.

"Actually, it's the Hotel's bed." Matt said as Lucy and Simon followed him from the other room.

"So, what is Abby, doing?" John asked after they've been talking for a few minutes. "Is she having fun?"

Annie smiled. "She's laying here under the covers on my side of the bed, giggling."

"She sounds a lot happier than she was before Mom and Dad brought her to your house a few weeks ago." John replied. "I was getting worried about her when we kept getting reports from her teacher that she was sneaking off to hide somewhere and cry."

"I know, she really missed me." Annie replied sympathetically. "I should have taken the children for a ride down there on the weekends."

"I'm glad she's spending time with you, now." John said. "I can hear her giggling."

"Yeah." Annie smiled as she put her hand on Abby's back and kissed her on the head.

After Annie finished talking with John, Abby took her turn before they called Charles and Jenny. Matt, Mary, Lucy and Simon each took a turn talking with Charles and Jenny, while Annie helped Abby finish getting ready for bed.


Chapter 11

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