The children and I have now been camping out at my parents' house for five weeks. After an initial round of despair about what I was going to do with my children for five and a half weeks, we've settled down to a routine. I am a person who can't function without a daily schedule that has all the slots filled with things, and so I had to make a schedule that was labeled in my brain as 'The Schedule for When We are Not in School But Still Need a Little Bit of Something to Keep Children Busy."
Because it turns out that I still have stuff to do and the children needed something to keep them busy while I was doing stuff that did not have me teaching them school. Six unoccupied children at my parents' house is way too much chaos for all adults who had to live with it. So I ordered some new math books (and accidentally had them shipped to Dushanbe. Oops), found a typing program, hauled them to the library, and found art tutorials. It is just enough school to keep them from getting into too much trouble but not enough that I have to chase them around to get it done.
We have also been spending a lot of money on medical care. I did something to my back while I was packing suitcases, and so have been visiting the chiropractor three times a week. Sophia has needed her adenoids removed, so she got those removed, in addition to her tonsils and inferior turbinates (I didn't know these were a thing until it cost $3600 to reduce them). Everyone of school age got their eyes checked, and Joseph joined the ranks of four-eyes in the family. Kathleen went back to just two when she got contacts. I got a yearly exam because hey, why not? We still have teeth to get done and I have to get my skin checked for anything suspicious. We will all head back to Central Asia tuned up and ready for another year away from decent medical care.
In between the medical appointments we have been partying with friends. My parents live in the same house that I grew up in, so a lot of friends from church and high school are still in the area. I've gone out to dinner multiple times (thanks, Mom!), we've had park play dates, and I even ran into a friend that I hadn't seen since my wedding while at my local elementary school playground with the children. I really love meeting back up with friends every year and catching up while staying out much, much too late.
The children have enjoyed being back in a real ward where they have things like Activity Days and Cub scouts. Kathleen keeps bemoaning the fact that she just missed being able to go to Young Women, and I am sympathetic to her. But, Brandon's still not going to quit his job so we can move back to America.
My parents are being great grandparents and taking the children shopping, bike riding, and to their cousins' house to visit. Their neighbor recently got rid of a swing set that had two slides attached to it, one being a large curly slide. My parents have their own swing set with one slide on it already, but my dad spent one afternoon attaching the two new slides and rechristened the whole affair the Monkey Palace. One warm afternoon the children tested out their functionality as water slides and declared it 'a very fast ride.'
But, just as we've settled into a routine, it's about to come to an end. Brandon oversaw the packout of all of our stuff last week, and despite his fears, we came out underweight - by 275 pounds. The house is now empty and he attended three farewell events in two days this weekend. He has three more days and then he will be on a plane heading our way.
And then the real party will begin!