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A Simple Six: Three Week Review

Friday, July 22, 2011

Three Week Review

Brent left Huntington, WV for Elkins, WV on July 2, 2011. For 21 days and nights, I was the sole care taker of our four children. Admittedly, I was concerned about my level of patience for such a task. In addition, I was going to drive the van as little as possible. I have been trying to build my patience and independence in a healthy way. This was a challenge I needed. I also needed this time with my children.

From my journal entries, here is the tale of 21 days of flying solo:

Brent left today for Elkins, WV. He took the bike. The only adult working bike we had. His brother drove him over and came back. We didn't need to go anywhere after Brent drove to the bank for cash and a grocery run and to check the mail at a friend's house. What would have been a good bike ride was turned over to the van b/c of his departure time. 7-2-11

Another day at home. The children and I didn't have anything to do but muck around the house. I can't wait to hear about Brent's bike adventures. 7-3-11

A fourth of July a world apart from last year. We ate homemade meals and played around till bed time. The children did a Pirates of the Caribbean flick the I loaded them in the van for a 10pm, 3mile, 30minute tour looking for pyrotechnics. Oliver fell fast asleep and we ended up at the Ohio river for a few minutes looking at homemade displays and then home for bed. 7-4-11

This was going to be our car day, but it was a little more than five miles of driving for a couple hours of errands. The children were just uncooperative. I did manage to drop off my bike downtown for a repair tuneup and they call when I got home. It was done, and for less than $50. That's a good deal and good service. Perhaps we will retrieve it tomorrow and go for a test ride with the children. Fun times! 7-5-11

How fortunate are we? My dinner guests retrieved our bike for us. She even picked up milk for me at the store. We didn't need to go anywhere! 7-6-11

I really enjoy not driving anywhere right now. Getting ready to bike takes a lot more planning, but I can see the rhythm of it getting easier. I hitched up the trailer to my new tuned up bike and loaded the little boys. London rode independently. We went downtown to the library. They had a bike rack right outside the doors, but there were very unsavory and questionable people (they were talking about stealing bikes, smoking in front of the children and some had obvious mental impairments) there as well. I also don't know how to lock up my trailer, so I waited with it. Then we biked down to fencing at the church. Played a bit then biked home. The very slight grade can be felt going home. 7-7-11

Home day. The neighbor took three of the children to the movies. How wonderful! 7-8-11

Being without my husband has been the greatest excuse for not going anywhere, but my grocery supply is critical. I can make do without a lot, but I have done that since Wednesday, so we really need to go. We also had an opportunity to see Brent about an hour away, so we took it. I packed and planned yesterday and threw together a quick breakfast and set off early. We picked him at the Capitol and drove to the farmer's market. Drove downtown for lunch then back the Capitol. Put fuel in the van. First time since the Ohio trip on about June 26. Drove to Barboursville to let the children play at a friend's house while I got the vitals. Drove home. Stayed home, because we acquired two extra children. 7-9-11

Thanks to FB, I got wind of a meeting of hands and hearts at the community garden down the street. It approached 100 degrees today and I was determined not to go, but confirmation that the children were welcome to help strengthened my resolve and we loaded up the bikes and took off. Elliot still needs a lot of practice with biking. He had a hard time slowing down before Hal Greer and went about a foot into the road before stopping by throwing his feet out. He was more hurt in the area of confidence. Yet, he got back up, practiced in the parking lot across the way and rode the rest of the way there. We put in about an hour, nibbled our sandwiches and biked home for baths and bed. 7-10-11

Meal swap was meeting this morning at the park. London had already been picked up by her ride to art camp so the boys and I loaded the trailer. It was extra heavy b/c of the glass containers of food. I was concerned the brakes were going to fail coming down our drive way. Again, we made it. We played at the park, took a couple laps on bikes and headed home. It was hard work hauling that extra weight. I wanted to give up, but didn't. After we cooled down we needed to mail a cable to Brent. If he didn't need it over-nighted and had he not forgotten it, we could have mailed it from home. We drove to the PO. Elliot's just not ready for the distance. While we were out, we stopped at Jeff's and picked up a helmet for Oliver and a new flag for the trailer. I love local business, but my wallet cringes. 7-11-11

Today was our car day. First I had to take care of myself. I had fallen ill to a grave fever and sore throat. After my husband called in the cavalries, I walked to the hospital walk-in Dr's office and did my thing, then walked to the pharmacy and then home. We meddled around the house then a friend picked up a couple boys, Oliver and I napped. London was at camp. Then I set out to do my car things. Trendy tots, CSA, recycle, eggs, pick up boys, deliver diaper goods, home. We enjoyed a light dinner, a lot of A/C then headed out again for tennis. We did a stop at Baskin Robbins for some delicious treats then came home. Our neighbor needed a ride back from the dealership where he was getting car repairs so we did a west end drive. Finally home and ready to crash to get well. 7-12-11

Another wonderful day at home. We had a birth to three therapist over and not another thing on the calendar. I spent some time resting and cleaning up the chaos from being ill. 7-13-11

A second birth to three appointment in our home this morning. More cleaning and food prepping and no driving or biking anywhere. There was one last nap to work in. 7-14-11

We have our second anniversary Critical Mass ride tomorrow and I am not sure how Elliot is going to do. I thought it best to take him out for a test ride. London was still getting rides to and from art camp and today I had Joni bring her home so Amara could visit. Because London just got the new cruiser we had enough bikes and helmets to ride the friend home. This was perfect. We didn't need to get in the van and we could test Elliot's distance riding. I took five children out on the bike. Three independently riding and two in the trailer. The weather was mid 70s and partly sunny. Most perfect for us. Elliot rode the whole thing without complaining. We covered about seven miles in 90 minutes. We returned the friend and left the extra bike with the understanding we would pick it up on Tuesday when we were out in the van. Then we headed down the street to pick up an extra helmet from the Amsbary's for Etta. To add a little more distance and so Elliot could see the route, we rode down to the Memorial arch and back home. It was a great success. 7-15-11

It's Critical Mass day and I was so nervous and scared and excited. Ashley and Etta agreed to come with us and I was going to hook up the extra trailer to her bike. It turned out not to fit b/c of a kickstand issue and we used the toddler seat instead. We left the house with five minutes till ride time. Luckily we were not the only slow pokes and they hadn't left yet. Two adults, five children, four bikes. The best of times. We were gone for two hours and covered over 8 miles in all. Elliot was a champ. Everyone made the whole ride easily, except me. I couldn't get up the last ten feet of the 10th Street aqua-duct. Otherwise, we were glorious in our finish. 7-16-11

Saturday has fallen upon us once again. We drove to tennis, still haven't ironed out where to get on that #8 bus. Took London's cruiser in for a tune up, chain tightening and some oil. We vowed to pick it up on Tuesday when we knew we were out in the car again. While we were there we picked up a lime green flag for the trailer, chain oil, and grips for Elliot's bike handles. I called back to the shop latter to see if they could get a front toddler seat for Oliver. We will discuss this on Tuesday. I think I have narrowed it down to an iBert or Yepp Mini. We also had a Harry Potter party in the afternoon to attend followed presumably by biking and fencing in the park. We biked and scootered to all of it b/c London's bikes were out of commission. Then home again. I forgot, Charlie also biked home with us. Three days of evening biking! 7-17-11

A lazy Sunday? Hmm. Home all day till a more than needed grocery trip this evening. I am going to drive to lessen the burden on Melinda who is taking in all four of the rascals for me for about 90min. I haven't checked on how to lock up my bike yet either. Maybe that will be my mission tonight, to scope out the scene? 7-18-11

I didn't scope out the scene. I ended up at the Kroger I am unlikely to bike to. I also took note that a weeks worth of groceries will fit in the trailer, but not with the children in there. That will need to be a solo trip, or two trailers. Or panniers? Now that would fun.

Monday was interesting. I was baby sitting Etta again for most of the day and this time all the children were here. We didn't have anywhere to go, so we called it another home day. 7-18-11
Tuesday is car day. I blogged about all 15 stops we made and about our first bus ride. I think this journal is going to go live. 7-19-11

Woke up to get the eggs by bike. Quick and easy and fun. 7-20-11

Haven't gone anywhere all week. Everyone has come to us or taken the children were they need to go. London had fencing on Wednesday evening and she got a ride with a friend. Avery had a play date today and was picked up and dropped off because I had three extra girls here. We will be doing another van trip tomorrow and I am trying to plan everything to maximize my mileage to make it all work. 7-22-11

In summary, we drove more than I thought we would, but less than most. I also over came some personal hurdles and gave the children plenty of new experiences.

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