We ended up staying for two nights in Ann Arbor with our friends. They just finished med school in Cleveland and their youngest daughter is just a few weeks older than Julian so we never run out of things to talk about. We had a couple fun late nights with them talking and eating treats. While the kids were awake we got to explore the college-ey neighborhood around campus, campus itself with all the classic architecture and brick buildings and had a beautiful walk through the arboretum full of windy paths that I wanted to explore. I could imagine spending many a Sunday afternoon there.
Before leaving we went to, I am not exaggerating, the most amazing deli for sandwiches-Zingerman’s. I was just sad that we couldn’t try every salad, every type of dessert and every sandwich they had there. It was a wonderland of food. It was only about a three hour drive to Chicago and we listened to our audiobook while Julian took a short nap, then chattered in the back seat.
Somehow, the best deal on hotels we could find was for the Hard Rock Hotel on Michigan Ave. After we checked in we went to Millennium Park to see the Bean and stumbled into a magical free concert in the Jay Pritzger pavilion. We had some extra cheesy Chicago pizza for dinner and walked around a little more until we got to the Buckingham fountain, stopping at the coolest playground on the way. The next day we went out to Navy Pier and rode on the Ferris Wheel. We had the best lunch of tacos, chili cheese curds, and an horchata milkshake from Antique Taco, then drove on to Wisconsin.
I am so glad we got to stop in Wisconsin to see my aunt and uncle and cousins who we haven’t seen since our family reunion at the Oregon Coast right after we got married. It was Sydney’s birthday the day we arrived and we felt lucky to get to celebrate with them. I had never met my youngest cousin in their family, Harper, and she is so sweet and funny and Julian had such a good time playing with her. They live in “Lake Country” because they are surrounded by so many little lakes, and we got to go to one of the nearby lakes with them and splash around and some of them even polar bear plunged. I was really impressed at my brave cousins. One of the highlights for me was getting to cook dinner with Cameron who was such a fun and great helper in the kitchen.
The next day, I better write about quick, before I completely block it out of my memory. The best part of the day was getting to sing to Sydney for her birthday and eat her delicious birthday cake for breakfast. We made it to the end of a sacrament meeting then started driving. Julian fell asleep pretty early on in our drive but didn’t keep sleeping very long for some reason. After lots of stops to let Julian stretch his legs we made it to Des Moines where Ted’s cousin Christian is going to med school. We stopped just to say hi, but he was super busy studying so we moved along pretty quick. I drove the next leg and it was going well until we stopped for gas and Julian woke up. The next two hours until we made it to Kansas City, he was either whining or full-on screaming. It was so sad and we felt terrible for him but we also just really needed to get it over with.
We stayed with the parents of some of our friends from Rochester who grew up in Kansas City. It was nice-and kind of a relief-to see the place where we are going to live after next year. There is so much unknown in our lives right now so now at least I have been to one of the places where we will live for residency. And it actually seems pretty cool! We decided to make a last minute change of plans and use some flight credit we had to get Julian and I a flight to Salt Lake City while Ted drove the rest of the way on his own. It was kind of sad to break up the roadtrip crew, but after the awful day we had all had, we felt like it was the right decision.