Welcome to the Wandering Drays!

Not all who wander are lost...

Welcome to my blog dedicated to my family and our crazy foreign service life. Never content with staying in one place, we are excited to share our journey. We've survived two unaccompanied tour (Baghdad 2010-2011 and Baghdad again in 2015-2016), multiple TDYs, and enjoyed a two-year family assignment in Cairo, Egypt. The fab hubby is currently learning Turkish for our next assignment...Istanbul, Turkey! We leave for Turkey sometime in summer 2017. I write about what I know. Which is mainly kids, tween drama, gross pets, dealing with lots of government info, our moving adventures, being a nurse, yoga, running, living on too-little sleep, and an addiction to coffee lattes. I hope you'll enjoy this glimpse into our lives.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Blog Has Not Gone Silent! A Catch-Up Since...well, December. And The Tween Turns ELEVEN!

Love wearing fun shirts with my uniforms when I work pediatrics!
I also have Batman and Captain America.

Last I wrote, I was in the middle of working the equivalent of two full-time RN gigs.  And it was Christmastime.  And oh, my.  How time has slipped by.

Too many shifts to keep track of; every kind of shift that you can think of.  Dayshift, afternoons, late afternoons, nights.  Rotating, days-to-nights, too little sleep and so many hours, so very many hours.  ER to pediatric office; pediatric office one day and the ER the next.  Repeat repeat repeat.  One day, I even worked at both facilities.  Of course, I love what I do, but those eight weeks were truly exhausting.  Completely rewarding professionally, but also completely exhausting.

Sure, I know it's my own fault.  Not sure of what kind of nursing I really wanted to do while we're here in the U.S. (two years? three years?  BIDDING NEXT SUMMER!), I've been dabbling here and there at a few different places:  ER, pediatrics, and post-op.  And then I accepted the pediatric office contract in late November that turned out to be awesome.  It was only eight weeks long, but it impacted me so much and really made me think that maybe it was time to move away from the ER.  At least for a bit.

Mercenary nurse; nurse for hire; contract nurse; travel nurse.  There's lots of fun terms to describe what I do.  But in a nutshell, my nursing specialty over the past year has really been to step into a facility that is short on nurses, whether for the day or longer term.  So I move from place to place to fill in those holes.  My preference is really for longer contracts (13 weeks or longer) at a single facility, as opposed to a daily fill-in.  But either way, it's the kind of nursing I like, at least right now.

Since last September, I've been contracting with a local nursing staffing agency who's been working to find me those 'just-right-fit' facilities I like to work at.  It was this agency that I contracted through for the 8-week pediatric assignment.  And in late January, this agency came through for me again, submitting my profile for an RN contract position at NIH (National Institutes of Health).  On a pediatric floor!  It's all gone so fast -- interview, contract offer, the difficult decision to leave my per diem position at the ER I've been working at since last October.

So here I am.  Two months since the last blog.  Starting a new field in a career I absolutely love.  Stepping outside of my comfort zone - leaving the ER for pediatric nursing and research.  And finally, I'm only working one job! [Well, actually I still dabble in the ER - I work the occasional shift at Georgetown University Hospital's ER through my staffing agency.  Can't help myself!]  And hoping to find that ever elusive family-work-life balance.  Right.  I know.  Impossible, but I'm always, always!, trying to find it. 

Of course, it's not been all work and no play!  As cray cray as these past few months have been, we've really enjoyed them.  Christmas; New Years; the fab hubby and I celebrated our 15th Year Wedding Anniversary!; I'm training for a March half marathon (and the snow is making it near impossible - I worry I'll be walking a good portion of that race); a trip to visit family and friends in Ohio; the fab hubby's forty-something-ish birthday and Owen (the tween!) turned eleven!  Whew.  As always, a whirlwind...

First time seeing Santa in the U.S! Last two years, Santa has arrived on a camel.

More Christmas.

Yup.  More Christmas fun!
Fifteen YEARS on January 2nd! Pictures from our first Chirstmas and our most recent.

My annual New Year's Day run; rocked it with the toddler.
The big kids had Parkour Camp over the winter break!
Working at the pediatric office.  Everyone loves a happy nurse!

Because no matter how busy you get, you should always enjoy the small moments.

Rare warm day! My running buddy; we're up to two miles!  Planning a summer 5K!

Sun.  Tank Top.  SNOW.  Can't wait until this stuff melts!
Another run with my fav girlie.
Owen's first concert!
It was an interactive concert and family members were invited to the stage.
Love.  And I'm so proud of him.
A visit from my friend and fellow blogger, Jen = a great day at Starbucks!

And speaking of lattes, I've been working on my latte art.
And then, the tween turned ELEVEN!  We celebrated for a week!
Trauma Nurse Core Certification done at the Ohio hospital where I worked my first ER job!

Continuing the celebration into Ohio, we celebrated Owen's birthday with a fiesta!
Because sombreros are fun!
Toddlers and sombreros are especially fun!
Snow in Ohio is considered just a part of winter, but in Virginia it's called "Snomageddon".
Spending Valentine's Day with the fab hubby and our BFF Fraps!
Love love love!

And one more.  The requisite trip down memory lane!
November 2009 in Malibu.  Owen was five years old.
I still can't wrap my head around how fast time goes!
I swear he was just a little boy.


  1. This just radiates happy. I think you have found your 'balance'. :)

  2. The good times continue! I'd say bid on Lima, but we'd be leaving as you get here probably… Oh, and the school situation in Lima… best not to talk about it.