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.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Whirlwind Weeks...California to Colorado!

These past three weeks have flown by and I'm just now [finally] catching my breath here in Colorado Springs, as I enter into my final week of Army Reserves Annual Training.

The thing is, these past three weeks have been AWESOME.  New friends, old friends, kids, family.  It's been one long celebration!

I'm too exhausted to write much, but there is so much to say.  Thankfully, I've taken a gazillion pictures.  (WARNING:  I REALLY DO MEAN A GAZILLION!) So here goes:

I said goodbye to Long Beach.  And my bike.  This sweet little beach cruiser
has never known anything but the ocean and it just felt wrong to take her
out of her comfort zone.  So...

I sold her!  To a really great friend!  I know she's in good hands.
(And don't worry, I've already purchased a new road bike for NoVA!
My dad is probably working diligently in his garage right now, putting
her together.  Thanks, Dad!)

Remember how my super awesome friend Krista (in Camp Pendleton) took
in the big kids for two weeks?  (I LOVE HER!) Well, I took all six (that's
her four plus my two!) out for a day so she could get some much needed R&R.
(You know, latte.  Sleep.  Another latte.  Dinner with her fab hubby.)
The kids obviously love the momvan.

I took the kids to Chuck E Cheese for lunch.  Don't judge me.

And then I took the kids to see Smurfs2 in 3D.  Except for Owen and his buddy,
Josh.  They're "tweens" (see picture above) and they wanted to see Wolverine.
Luckily both movies were playing at the same time!
I bought the kids sugary Icee drinks, candy, and popcorn.
I earned cool Mom points.
Don't judge me.

Classic Americana!  3D Glasses and a giant bucket o' popcorn!
Abby and her friend Alyssa prepare for the movie.

Since we were so close to the ocean, we headed there after the movies
were over.  And we ate ice cream.  Don't judge me.

Beautiful.  Just.  Beautiful.

Ice cream became dinner.
You know you'd do it, too.
Don't judge me!
(And this is the greatest bunch of kids ever!)

My awesome friend Barb introduced me to CHICKEN AND WAFFLES.
Don't judge us.
And then we spent the day in Long Beach at the
Museum of Latin American Art.  Oh, I'm going to miss her!!!

Then work surprised me with a goodbye potluck.
We ate for like two days straight.
Don't judge us.


...two days straight!  So much food!
This was my second time working at this hospital and it's hard to leave again.

And then!  A bunch of of the girlies and I went out for dinner.
I was leaving and so was another co-worker, so we took an
evening and gossiped and said our goodbyes.
And lied to the restaurant and said it was my birthday.
So the restaurant brought me a free dessert.

Hehe.  It felt like my birthday.  That HAS to count.
Don't judge me.

And then I helped my friend Shannon with her dessert.
Don't judge me.

Of course, I had to say goodbye to the ocean one more time.
So I biked to Huntington Beach (15 miles away!) and
met up with Shannon.  She's so very
California.  I keep trying to get my hair blondier like hers.
I fail.

Shannon took this picture for me.
And I filtered it to make my hair look blondier.

I met up with my friend Anne and her fab hubby Bryan.
Anne and I have 'known' each other for like four years.
Well, we've known each other virtually anyway, because she's
an FS blogger, too! She and her fab hubby were in Long Beach
for a couple of days and we got to meet up.
IN REAL LIFE!  Cool thing - they're assigned to DC, too!
We'll be seeing lots of each other.  Serious coolness.

And during all this awesomeness, my heart was still aching to see and hold
The Toddler. I FaceTime'd with the fab hubby one night
to tuck him in and he was just getting ready for bed.
Getting his chompers brushed.

Later that night, I FaceTime'd the fab hubby and he gave
me a sneak peek of The Toddler at his sweetest.
Soon I'll be snuggling with him myself.

The day came that I had to pick up the big kids from Camp Pendleton.
So I stopped in Oceanside on my way south first to say goodbye to the ocean.
One more time.  One more epic SoCal run.
My favoritist place in the whole world.

And Krista and I actually had like 30 minutes to ourselves
without six kids hanging all over us!
So we went to In and Out Burger for a Double-Double.
We'd talked about doing so when we were in Cairo together...
And we actually got to do it!  Score!

And then I picked up the kids at Surf Camp!
Greatest Summer EVER for them.
Owen's with the yellow board in the bottom left corner.
Abby's getting a face full of ocean with the pink board on the right.

Abz lazily hanging out on the boards.  She always been a Cali girl.

Abby gets her moment and rides a wave in!

Owen working his way onto the board with a new friend.

Owen's moment to shine!

One more time with Alyssa.
Beautiful girls, just like their Mommas!

Check out that awesome latte!
We hit the road after Surf Camp ended and started out on our
Great American road trip.  Our destination?
Ft. Carson, Colorado (Colorado Springs).
We made it Blythe, CA that night...SUPER HOT DESERT.
And the next morning drove through Phoenix.
This is just north of Phoenix on our way to Flagstaff.
Totally magnificent.

The next day we drove through Santa Fe, NM.
And found a Starbucks.
Sippyfaces!!  Yes, my kids love Starbucks.
Owen has a ice soy chai latte.
Abz has a vanilla frap.
Don't judge me.

Later that afternoon, we made it to Colorado Springs.
Where my parents were waiting for us!
They had driven out from Ohio to meet up with me and the kids.
Since the kiddos couldn't stay with me during training, they got to
finish up their Great American road trip with Grandma and PawPaw.
Love this.

But first!  We went to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
Owen got an *almost* kiss from a giraffe. 

And Abz *almost* worked up the courage to feed a giraffe.

And PawPaw gave her a lift in the budgie house so she could feed the birds.
I remember him doing the same kind of thing for me when I was a little girl.

And this right here?
My first ER shift with double bars.  I was promoted to Captain last
October and finally got to wear the rank I had earned.