We headed out on our trip to Michigan & Ohio right after I got done with bereavement camp at the end of June. We drove to Effingham, IL, which is about the halfway mark, and stayed there overnight. Our room was on the 4th floor and looked out onto the parking lots for the hotel and the Wal-Mart right across the road. Little did we know how fascinating this would be for Ben! He stayed at the window pointing and saying, "car!" over and over again.
The next day we got back on the road to spend a few days with my college roommates and their families. Ben had a blast seeing the other kids and playing with the cool trucks that Gideon & Evelyn had gotten out for him. The weather was pretty toasty so Monday night they got out the Slip & Slide and the older kids played with squirt guns and sprinklers. Ben wasn't quite sure about the whole thing...
but loved going down the slide and tromping around in the grass.
We also finally got to meet beautiful baby Petra! She is such a cheerful and content little girl.
Special kudos go to Sarah's dog Soren, who is so sweet and tolerant with the kiddos. He patiently sat as Ben enthusiastically petted him and tried to point to Soren's teeth and point at (aka poke) his nose. We quickly redirected him to petting Soren's ears and back instead and tried to work on what it meant to be gentle.
The next day the other Sarah & I took the kids to walk around Dayton's campus for a little while. We stopped at the beautiful new bookstore and got new t-shirts for Ben & me and a new window sticker for Henry the Honda. Ben enjoyed watching the waterfall in the prayer garden while the bigger kids walked back and forth across the rocks.
And despite all the renovations and new building that's going on on campus, some things never change:
M&T - still just an ugly square brick building! It also looked like the band building, Reichard, had not changed either. We took a snack break in the echo point in front of the chapel before heading back to Sarah's. Ben didn't really seem to notice the cool echo when you yell at that specific point, but Dave and I think it's pretty neat.
Of course, while we were in the area, we also had to stop at Dorothy Lane Market. Not only do they have their Killer Brownies, they now also carry select varieties of Jeni's Ice Creams from Columbus. Expensive, but worth it! We chose one old favorite, the dark chocolate (my favorite ice cream!), and tried the Buttermint, which was also delicious.
On our last morning, we had breakfast with Heather, Jeremy & my goddaughter Elli, who had just returned from their vacation the night before. We were glad that we were able to squeeze in a visit with them before we left.