Monday, March 31, 2008

Depression Era Gems...

Monday mornings Lincoln has to be at work early, so I drive the kids to school. This morning dawned overcast with thunderstorms forecast in the afternoon. It's blustery and damp, like early spring days aften are. It's not quite raining, but mist wets the windshield and the air smells of wet earth. I dropped the girls off at the front door of the school and as I was pulling away, I saw an elderly woman crossing the drive in front of me. She was walking unevenly with a cane and wearing those gray, thick soled support shoes. She had a canvas rain jacket on and a scarf tied over her head. I wanted to jump out of my car and hug her. It seems the generation of women who wear scarves over their heads is almost gone. I was very close to my grandmother and although she's been gone nearly twenty years now, I still miss her terribly. I sometimes have a dream in which I find out that Grandma is still alive. It was all a big mistake, she didn't die afterall! We have a good laugh about it and spend a fun afternoon together. My grandmother had a rainbonnet, similar to the scarf, but made of plastic. It made a tent over her freshly set hair and protected her hairdo from the elements. I remember Grandma setting her hair in curlers, the plastic ones with a plastic sheath that snapped around the curl to hold it in place until it set. I especially enjoyed helping her take them out. I loved to pull out the curler and see the tight white curl bounce back against her head. I spent many hours at Grandma's house. I remember many times getting off the bus and walking immediately next door to Grandma's. She would often ask me to have dinner with her and my Uncle Paul, who had Down Syndrome. I would call Mom to ask permission. We were on a party line with Grandma and our neighbors the Propers. To call one another on the line we would dial 521 (I think it was) and hang up the phone. It would ring on both ends and you would know the person you were calling had answered when it stopped ringing. They would know it was a call from someone on the party line because no one would be on the other end yet. Almost always Mom would give me permission to stay. I'm so grateful she did. Grandma was a heavy smoker and she liked her soap operas, or stories, so I'm sure Mom had her reservations about me being there all the time, but she saw the importance of me being able to have that time with Grandma. I would help Grandma by getting canned goods out of the cabinet for her. She lived in a trailer with a small kitchen so most of her canned goods were stored in the bathroom in the cabinets under the vanity. It was hard for her to get down low to pull them out so I would dig out what she needed to prepare dinner. Grandma usually boiled chicken and to this day the smell of boiling chicken makes me think of her. Sometimes I would spend the night at Grandma's. This, I'm sure, really gave my parents cause for concern. You see Grandma would smoke in bed. She loved to read and she would lay in bed reading and smoking until her eyelids grew heavy. Most of her sheets had burn holes in them from her cigarettes. But they sometimes let me stay and I felt happy and comfortable tucked into the sheets with her. I don't know that she felt the same. She always accused me of thrashing around and kicking her in my sleep. In fact, I always thought Grandma was a really early riser because she would get up around 4:30am. But maybe it was just when I was there! I enjoyed breakfast at Grandma's. She usually had stale Cheerios and she would let me put as much sugar on them as I wanted. (That was a definate no-no at home). I remember eating scoops of sugar from the bottom of my bowl after the Cheerios were gone. Sometimes Grandma would take me to the Senior Citizen Housing for lunch. She would go there to have dinner with her friends and would bring me along. Everyone would make a fuss over me and she would proudly introduce me as "Grandma's Little Helper". Being with them really solidified my love for elderly people, and that generation in particular. People who had seen so much. People who had lived through the Depression and the War. People who had seen the world change so drastically. They witnessed the beginning of television, the invention of plastic, the switch to indoor plumbing and the implementaton of electricity. They saw the automobile replace the horse and heard their first soap operas on the radio. They knew what it was to go without. They knew what it was like to have a hard life. But they were sweet and happy. They also knew how to have fun. They knew that lightheartedness and dancing could ease the strain of the difficulties around them. That generation has almost entirely passed away in my family. My aunts and uncles are reaching the age that Grandma was when she died. I miss them. I miss Grandma. I think I will buy a rainbonnet in their memory.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

March- A rollercoaster ride...




Wednesday, March 26, 2008

One last thing...

Before I head off to bed can I just say I AM SO SICK- AND TIRED- OF CHANGING AND WASHING THE SHEETS ON DEVON'S BED! He was doing great staying dry at night until he started having these poop problems. Now he seems to be wetting the bed almost every single night. We seem to be stuck. Sometimes he will just go in by himself and poop in the potty. Other times he will hold it and hold it until he can hold it no longer, then he poops in his underwear. It's when he's in Hold It mode that he tends to wet the bed. I guess we could put him in a pull-up, but I'm afraid he'll NEVER poop in the potty if he knows he's getting a pull-up. I know it is not just a power struggle. He has legitimate bowel movement problems. I had the same thing as a child. I know what he's going through. The advantage with him is that he will take mineral oil to help the process go more smoothly, if you will. This is helping. In fact, it's been since we started the mineral oil that he has gone a few times on his own. So I will try to continue to be patient and wait it out. But DANG-the laundry is killing me!

Wasn't that a fun read? Never know what you'll get, do you?

Groggy thoughts...

As I was falling asleep last night I remember thinking about SOMETHING that I thought would be great material for a post today. Unfortunately it left my brain as I slept. But I'm sure I remember it being really interesting, clever, and witty. I'm absolutely positive you would be giggling and wiping tears from your eyes as you beckon to those around you to come partake of the enjoyment. You would be nodding in agreement at my thoughtful insight, amazed by my ability to somehow know exactly what you are thinking and feeling. It would leave you feeling nostalgic and sentimental, warm and rosy.
So imagine all those things because I can't seem to form a coherent thought. Maybe it has something to do with the 2 year old tugging on my arm begging for a ham samwich.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter!

We were slammed with that winter storm on Good Friday, so we went to church on Easter Sunday with turtlenecks under our Easter dresses. Not exactly what I had envisioned. This whole Easter in March thing is a bummer. Next year it would be nice if it was at the end of April. Does it ever happen that late?
Saturday night was rough. Julia was up at 2:30 crying. I went to her and she was burning up. I gave her some Motrin and went back to bed. About half an hour later Jesse was crying. I got up with him and laid on the couch with him for a while. I had just put him back in bed an hour and a half later and hadn't even made it back to my bed when Julia was crying again. She said she couldn't sleep so I brought her out to the couch with me. She kept wiggling around and it occurred to me that maybe she had to pee. I asked her and yes, indeed, she did. Why my six and a half year old couldn't tell me that in the first place, I have no idea. I took her to the bathroom and then we both climbed in my bed. It was 4:45. Lincoln and I have a full size bed, so we did not get the best sleep at this point with a 6 year old sharing our space. At some point Kennedy came and perched on the edge of the bed. She didn't sleep, she just kept messing with stuff on my bedside stand, making enough noise to disturb my attempts at sleep. At this point Lincoln woke me up to get ready for church. I should also mention that I didn't go to bed Saturday night until about midnight because I was getting stuff ready for Easter dinner. I thought I should stay home from church with Julia, but she insisted she was fine (I think she was excited to wear her new Easter dress) so we all got ready and went. We managed to be 15 minutes late, then 10 minutes later she was feverish and laying on my lap. I had intended to keep her out of primary and just take her to my class, but she was miserable enough that we decided to just take her home. Kennedy stayed at church with plans to ride home with friends, and the rest of us went home. So 40 minute drive there, 45 minutes of church (too late to take the sacrament) and 40 minutes back. That's a lot of gas for 45 minutes of church. But at least we got to hear great talks about the Savior on such a special day.
We finished getting dinner ready and our friends, Jim and Bethanie Dietrich and Bethanie's brother and sister-in-law, Jared and Amy, joined us for the meal, along with their kids. Jim and Bethanie have 2 girls and 1 boy and Jared and Amy have one little boy. We had ham and mashed potatoes, rolls, devilled eggs, fruity fluffy salad, steamed veggies, gravy, and chocolate pies. I also made Black Bottom Cupcakes from the Matthews Ward cookbook- yummy! We very much enjoyed our company and the good food. (Bethanie did one of the hams, the fluffy salad, and the rolls).
You may have noticed that there is no mention of the Easter Bunny in this post. In the tradition of my parents, we save that for another day, Spring Holiday. Easter Sunday is reserved for remembering the resurrection of our Savior. Later, after the snow is gone, for good, and the weather is nice, we celebrate Spring Holiday. At this point we have an egg hunt- with goodies purchased after Easter at a great discount!-and we cook out. We spend the day doing fun springtime activities. We might fly kites, play kickball or softball, make big bubbles, ride bikes, go for a hike, or anything else that is outdoors and fun that strikes our fancy. It's a great tradition which we have happily adopted. This year will be an adjustment for the kids, however. In Charlotte, the weather was always nice at Easter time so we often did Spring Holiday the Saturday after Easter. As a kid growing up in the north, I remember waiting for easily a month after Easter for the weather to be nice enough for Spring Holiday. Kennedy has already been telling people that we would have Spring Holiday on Saturday. Considering it snowed like crazy at times during our Easter dinner, I don't think that will happen. Especially with Easter this early.
Here are some pictures from the day. Lincoln and I have been devising a plan to get a new camera. Maybe a combo Molly's birthday, Mother's Day and Father's Day present? In the meantime, more dark pictures. And it's not that I didn't take a picture of Jesse, blogger won't let me download it for some reason.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Or must I?
We decided tonight would be a good night to take the kids to see Horton Hears a Who. We did not want to bring Jesse, however. Now that he's walking he's not too keen on sitting still for an hour and a half. I volunteered to stay home with Jesse because just think of all the cleaning I could get done with only one kid! Plus I could put him in bed early because he didn't have an afternoon nap. But they are gone now and Jesse is in bed and what am I doing? Sitting at the computer. Why? Turns out I'm exhausted from a week of kids home. I'm tired of breaking up fights, weary from thinking up craft projects, sick of cleaning up their messes. I just want ME time, and honestly, I think I deserve it. So I'm not doing anything productive. It doesn't help that today, the second day of spring, we were hammered with a winter storm. Doesn't that make it a spring storm? We were supposed to get 6-10 inches of snow, but I don't think we've gotten nearly that much, thank goodness. Yesterday was 40 degrees and sunny. I miss yesterday. I'm going to relax, enjoy the peace and quiet, maybe watch some HGTV, maybe take a long, hot shower, maybe fall asleep at 8:30. No, I won't do that. Friday nights we watch Lost online. I wouldn't miss that!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

St. Patty's Day

Here we are in our St. Patty's Day green, not that you can tell in this dark picture (my camera is making me increasingly annoyed). We don't do much for St. Patrick's Day, but we do dress in green so we won't get pinched! Our one tradition is to go to McDonalds for shamrock shakes. We went last night for Family Home Evening, but I managed to walk out the door without my camera, even though I remembered to grab the bag I thought it was in. (It wasn't.) So no photo documentation of that event, but I've got plenty of digestive documentation today if you doubt me. The best way to enjoy the tradition is with hot, salty McDonalds fries. I haven't had them in a while because I've been trying to eat healthier and apparently my body does not appreciate the relapse. I must admit, however, they were delicious at the time! I also went out on a limb and made clover-shaped sugar cookies. We brought a bunch to Devon's class today. Now we can focus on Easter. I saved half of the cookie dough to cut out in Easter shapes today. We need to something to entertain the restless natives over spring break! Decorating cookies and eggs should get us through a couple days. Lincoln is taking tomorrow off so we'll go do something fun after I go to the dentist (yikes!).

Monday, March 17, 2008

Header Picture

Ok, I know I'm cheating- that's a picture of spring in Charlotte. There is nothing remotely close to that in Wisconsin right now. But doesn't it make you feel good?

So sweet...

Devon just told me that "Julia is my favorite girl. And Kennedy's my favorite girl and Renie is my favorite girl." (He says girl with almost a Scottish brogue) He's such a sweet boy. He always gives me a kiss (lately it's been a long hard smacker with his arms tight around my neck) before he goes in for his bedtime story with Daddy. Then when I come in his room to put Jesse in bed when the story is over, he wants to give me more kisses. I say, "You kissed me already!" And he says, "I need to give you more kisses!" So I go over to his bed and lean over him and he gives me a bunch of soft pecks all over my cheek. I love it. I know the day will come that he won't want to kiss me anymore and his sisters might not be his favorite girls, so I'm trying to soak it up now, stockpile it in my memory. I want to memorize the feeling of his sweaty little boy hand in mine, and his soft kisses on my cheek. I even want to remember how I can always taste his toothpaste on my lips after he gives me his first goodnight kiss! I want to remember what it feels like to have him climb up on my bed and snuggle with me. With 2 younger siblings we're already nearing the end of him sitting on my lap. He likes to sit on my lap during church- as do the other 4- and I try to let him whenever he asks. Of course, Jesse is in a very posessive stage right now and will come from 3 rooms away shrieking and ready for a smackdown if he senses someone else on Mommy's lap. I'm so grateful for my kids and the individuals they are.
Devon just brought me his pirate ship so I could stand the captain on it. (He's very anal about the "Caftain" being attached to the ship in a standing position- I do that about 15 times a day.) He calls the Captain the Caftain and the rest of the "parates" are "maydays" (mateys).

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Dancing queen

Saturdays are no longer our own...

Today marked the first official day of Spring Break and the end of free Saturdays for some time. Devon started soccer today at Lands End. He was so cute with his new soccer ball and the excitement in his eyes.

Julia started dance at Lands End today too. She was nervous to go. A little background- I went to sign Kennedy and Julia up for dance and the class was already full. They put us on a waiting list. In the meantime, the deadline came for registering for soccer on the Dodgeville Recreation team. So since I hadn't heard anything about dance, I went ahead and signed the girls up for soccer and paid the $90 ($50 for the first child, $40 for an additional child). Then Julia told me she didn't want to play soccer in front of a bunch of people. Then I was told that they were going to open another dance class at Lands End for her age group because there had been so much interest. She was excited about that and I really wanted her to do it because she has been so shy about this sort of thing lately. I also really liked the idea of her doing it without Kennedy, just having something of her own to do. So she started talking about her stomach hurting and being nervous this morning. When we got there she stayed pretty close to my side for a few minutes, but she warmed up, as you'll see in the video. So Kennedy starts outdoor soccer in a couple weeks, overlapping with indoor soccer and dance. So from now until the end of the school year, we'll be busy on Saturday mornings. And actually, I've heard that they have week long camps all summer through the community parks department that only cost $10. So we'll probably do some of those- I'm thinking dance, gymnastics, baseball. But it's fun to see them involved in stuff and being active.

Friday, March 14, 2008

See, I did it.

My cheerful, springy flowers.

These are a few of my favorite things...

So want to see what food items I'm obsessed with lately?

Aquafina Flavorsplash Waters. Our favorite is grape. No calories or fat or sugar, but great taste so you get a yummy drink without the empty calories. A perfect alternative to the soda machine at Lincoln's work.

Not a very healthy choice, but it's just a few weeks each year, right? And they are the best candy ever.

As with the Mini Eggs, these are highly addictive. Best cheesy cracker out there, in my personal opinion. Only a slightly better choice then chips, but better tasting and more satisfying.

Not the best picture (who sells Trail Mix on ebay?) but the only one I could find. This is Sam's Choice Cajun Trail Mix. If you like trail mix and you like spicy sweet crunchiness, this is for you. Grab it at Walmart. SO GOOD.

Why fat free sour cream? I've been really trying to minimize the fat in our diet and fat free sour cream (usually just the Great Value brand) has popped up a lot lately. Mostly, though, this item represents any fat free alternative I can find- nonfat yogurt, fat free cream soups, fat free mayo, etc. If anyone has any low-fat, low-cholesterol recipes they'd like to share that would be great!
Now you know my food weaknesses. Don't use them against me.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The singing of birds...

Today it is 45 degrees and I can hear birds singing. I have missed birds. Behind the fitness facility at Lands' End there is now a big patch of bare ground. Today I saw about 7 robins hopping around there getting some grub. This nice weather (above freezing) is supposed to last through next week, which is nice since it will be spring break. You know, it's nice for spring break to be springy. Not that we have any fabulous plans. But if we're just going to be kicking around it would be nice to have some decent weather. So what is everyone else doing for spring break? What exciting plans do YOU have? If you say you're coming to Wisconsin to visit me you'll make my month! Which reminds me, as it stands it looks like my cousin Karen is going to win the contest. She'll be coming April 11th. Anyone going to try to edge her out? I LOVE having company and I am thrilled that Karen is getting a chance to take a break from her hectic life and come have fun with me. It really made my month-(don't worry, there are 9 more months to be made this year- and if we have to we can break it down to making my weeks!) Anyway- my original point, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the snow is melting- it's a glorious day!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Daylight savings...

Saving my sanity, that is. Granted, getting up has been a bit difficult, but it is sooooo wonderful to have the daylight longer in the evening. My kids were able to stay out playing last night until almost 7:00, and it wasn't dark yet when they came in. Lincoln can work until 7pm and it doesn't feel like it's the middle of the night when he gets home. I've noticed that winter is very quietly melting away. It's very subtle, there are no rushing streams of melting snow. It's been just a little bit above freezing, so the snow just seeps down into the earth and I look out and realize that I can see a little more of my flower bed. Won't the slow seeping help ward off drought this summer too? So no bursting blossoms or vibrant green grass, it'll be a while before that happens, but I'm enjoying the gradual emergence of bare ground. We also have a storm door on our house. I've never had a storm door but have always wanted one. It's so nice to be able to open the main door and let the warm sunshine flood our home. My kids enjoy it too. This is after school snack time.

When the kids come in from playing and they are chilled through, they, of course, like to have a cup of hot cocoa. Devon was so cute with his cocoa the other day that I snapped a few photos of him.

And Jenn-Lee, I've been fighting the urge to buy fresh flowers for a month and a half now, but after your post I've decided to go ahead and splurge tomorrow when I go to the store! Thanks! Fresh flowers are so springy and cheerful. (Plus this is an indulgence that would be beneficial to my body and state of mind, rather than the Cadbury Mini Eggs that call to me from around every corner in the store this time of year.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Outdoor Fun

For all of my whining about this long winter, I've got to say, we'll take it over the hot southern summers. My children truly have northern blood running in their veins. They have played outside more this winter than they did all year long in Charlotte. Seriously. They go outside every day after school. In fact, we've had neighbors tell us how grateful they are that our kids get THEIR kids to go outside and be active too. Kennedy occasionally goes door to door with the neighbor boy offering to remove snow or ice from people's driveway for $3 for each of them. (No takers yet.) They dig forts and clubhouses in the snowbanks, and they slide on the ice. This can be dangerous, however. Saturday Julia came in crying because the neighbor kid jumped on her while she was sliding and she banged her head on the ice. She had a big ol' purple golf ball on her forehead. I tried to take a picture of it but she wouldn't let me. (She's so vain!) Ice, ironically, did the trick and the swelling went down, but she still has a bit of a bruise. The little ones don't get out as often because I have to dress them and I'm lazy, but Devon, at least has been getting out more and more too. When we were in NC, they rarely went outside in the summer for any length of time, unless we were at the pool, and they had no snow to make winter outdoor time exciting so they didn't go out much then either. Anyway, I'm just happy to see them being active and getting fresh air. My memories of my own childhood are filled with stuff we did outside-playing in the haymow, walking the brook, playing in the tree house, catching crayfish, playing freeze-tag-under-the-legs, riding horses, sledding, skating, digging snowdrift tunnels, playing fox and geese, jumping in leaf piles, floating boats down swollen spring streams and ditches, playing in the meadow in the huge puddles in our swimsuits during a summer rain, riding on the hay wagon, inner tubing or swimming at the river, stacking up the inner tubes on the lawn under the maple tree and jumping on them, picking carrots and tomatoes from the garden and eating them on the go, climbing the apple tree, picking daisy's, playing at The Fallen Log, wandering in the woods, playing on the big rocks in the pasture, going to the barn with Dad to do the chores, always always always outside. I long for my children to have that. They are finally getting outside, but we just don't have the acreage here to let them really strike out on their own and discover the land like we did as kids. I would love to settle down on a piece of land with a brook running through it. I'd like a small barn where we could keep a couple horses. I'd like a big garden so I could preserve lots of my own food. But for now, we're enjoying being outside, taking advantage of the parks nearby, prepping for a decent garden this year, and making the most of what we DO have. And speaking of gardens and such, it's supposed to be 41 degrees tomorrow-and sunny! 5 days this week will be above freezing! Spring really IS coming! Hurray!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Spring is just around the corner? Really?

Look here and scroll down to our weather for the next few days.
Need I say more?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

It's Kennedy. Really.

So it's really not me commenting on my own blog all the time. It's Kennedy but I'm still the signed in user. I'm not just trying to look popular by increasing my number of comments. To one. 'Cause that would just make me look pathetic. Not popular.

The Latest

Jesse is walking! I wouldn't say he's a fulltime walker just yet, but he will be in a couple days. He's progressed very quickly from first steps a few days ago to walking 50% of the time now. He has kind of a sideways walk, so cute. If I could get video to work for me on here anymore I'd include one. So my baby is weaned and walking. Weaning was very bittersweet for me, knowing I would never nurse another baby. (No comments from the peanut gallery about never say never or wasn't RENIE your last one too? or any other smart-alec-y remark).
In other news, I thought it would be fun to post some photos of projects I've been working on.
A hat with a big flower for Renie

A sock monkey blanket and hat for my new niece or nephew. I don't think my brother reads my blog, but if he does, Surprise! It'll be in the mail soon!

I painted our light wood non-descript generic barstools in fun colors that match our decor. (That one isn't pink, it's terra cotta and the other one is yellow, not cream). I also screwed the tops on so they don't spin anymore- it was noisy and the kids would spin them all the way in one direction until they came off.

I painted the stairway and we hung a Sacred Grove print there. That was a challenge. We stacked books on the stairs and then stood a ladder with one leg on the stairs and one on the stack of books on the step below. Then Lincoln held the ladder while I inserted anchors and hung the artwork. It weighs a ton (it's a good thing I've been working out) but we both felt better about Lincoln being the ladder holder than the ladder climber. I also recently installed a banister guard to keep our children from plunging to their deaths down the stairs. It's clear plastic, look closely. We had baby gates there before so it looked cluttered and busy.

I hung curtain rods and curtains in the living room and dining room. They aren't the Pottery Barn dupioni silk ones I've had my eye on, but they add some color and a finishing touch to the spaces. (Look closely again and you'll see Jesse walking into the picture)

And finally, just some pictures of our exciting trip to Lowes I mentioned in a previous post.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Contest Announced!

I am announcing a contest. If you are my friend or family you are eligible for the contest. All you have to do is be the first person to come visit our family this year at Chez Tatro. The winner will receive free accommodations at Chez Tatro for an agreed upon length of stay. While staying at Chez Tatro you will enjoy complimentary meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, at Cafe Tatro. The majority of these meals will be home-cooked, prepared as you watch and visit with the chef. You will also receive free guided tours to area sights and attractions like Governor Dodge State Park, Historic Dubuque Iowa, Madison Zoo, *Yellowstone Lake State Park, historic Mineral Point (home of many art galleries and showrooms), Pecks Petting Farm, Tower Hill State Park, and hiking along the Wisconsin and/or Mississippi River. Your tour will include a drive by Frank Lloyd Wright's home, and to see the Wisconsin capitol building, if you desire. There are many other area attractions you may add to the package, but admission prices do apply. (Cave of the Mounds, Little Norway, Baraboo Circus Museum and Shows, The Children's Museum of Madison, American Players Theatre, The House on the Rock, The Wisconsin Dells). In the evenings you may participate in your choice of group activities like playing board games, watching movies, visiting until the wee hours of the morning, or playing HORSE in the driveway. You will have unlimited access to the Lands' End stae-of-the-art fitness facility including the pool, hot tub, gym, and indoor track. Daytime shopping excursions are available at the Lands' End Company store (sample products ar 75% off!) and our 40% off at the Lands' End retail store in downtown Dodgeville will be made available to you. You are welcome to bring your family with you to Chez Tatro to claim this fabulous prize.. (some pet restrictions apply). We look forward to seeing who the winner of this grand prize will be!

*Not to be confused with Yellowstone NATIONAL Park

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Dubuque, IA, fabulous really!

Yesterday we decided for our Saturday fun we would drive to Dubuque, IA, or as Devon used to call it, Puke City. Dubuque is about the same distance from Dodgeville as Madison. I took the kids to Dubuque in the fall (that's when Devon thought it was called Puke City) and we drove around a bit looking for the shopping locations that were supposed to be there but we never found them. Instead we had ice cream at Mickey D's and came home. We saw some of the city and realized what an old historic place it is. So yesterday we decided it was time for Lincoln to see Dubuque and for us to go to Lowes- we haven't been in a Lowes since we left Charlotte and poor Mommy is suffering severe withdrawal symptoms. So here's what you need to know about Dubuque.
It's a very very small port city on the banks of the Mississippi River. It's the kind of old industrial city that makes me think of Pennsylvania cities like Pittsburgh. There is a very lovely new section on the river where you'll find the Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, a casino, and The Grand Resort and Waterpark. From here you can hike a waterfront trail on the banks of the Great River or board a riverboat cruise. This is very nice and it's great to see progress in an old city. As you go into the city itself it's really a mixed bag of gorgeous old restored Victorian buildings, newer buildings, and dilapidated Victorian buildings begging to be restored to their former glory. When Lincoln and I go back without the kids I'll get photos of some of the places in the city. So the city lies between the river and the sharply rising hills and cliffs climbing from the river valley. The last row of buildings on that level is a stretch of mid-1800s rowhouses. This old section has stretches of brick streets, big old trees, and the rowhouses are backed right up to the cliffs of the dells behind. This section is the one most in need of restoration. The wealthy of the city live up in the hills above the city, gazing out at the Mighty Mississipi. It's hard to even find your way up to the homes atop the hill but once there, your efforts are rewarded with unbelievable views and spectacular Victorian homes. In places, the homes are almost terraced, the next house up rising from the same level where the lower house's chimney ends. The streets are tiny, wide enough for one car, winding along the hillside. I got a few pictures as we drove by some homes, but none of the views and really the pictures I got don't do them justice at all, but I'm including them any way. Lincoln and I look forward to returning in the spring or summer for a weekend get-away (read, no kids), and really getting to know the city and get great photos.

Here are some for sale.

The white one has additional pictures if you want to take a look.