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.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Firing Up the Blog (Yup. I KNOW. It's Been a Ridiculously Long Time.)

16 Wonderful, Amazing Years.

The worst part about totally falling behind on blogging is that I start to lose perspective on where to start up again.  All I can think is:  "OMG!  I've got so much to write about.  Where do I begin?! How far back should I go?!"  Sometimes, I even start to wonder whether or not I should continue writing or if I should just take down the blog.

But no matter how I look at it, this blog is truly so much more than just the last five months of lost [well, fallen behind] writing.  And so even though I've been slacking, I love writing and keeping track of my family's crazy fun adventures.  When I'm old{er} and wise{r}, I'll be so glad that I DIDN'T take it down.

So I guess the best place to start is exactly where I am right now.

Wow. We adopted two kittens, Latte (L) and Chai (R).
So much can happen in just five short months!
This past week, the fab hubby and I celebrated our 16 YEAR ANNIVERSARY.  16 years.  That's a freaking long time, people!  I personally think we're a pretty awesome couple.  And this year, while we couldn't celebrate it with a nice little trip somewhere sans kids, we DID in fact celebrate it with carnitas tacos.  This is a big deal because honestly, the Mexican food in the NoVA area is generally disappointing.  We're picky, you know, having lived in the mecca of Mexican food.  [That would be SoCal, of course.]  And until recently, we'd found absolutely nothing that compares to the awesome food you find in SoCal.

Funny thing is, I never would have found this most amazing taco place if I hadn't started a new job in early December.  Yes, I know. I seem to change jobs frequently.  But when the opportunity to work with one of my bestest friends in the whole world presented itself, I absolutely couldn't turn it down.  Mel and I had worked together at the Embassy in Cairo (she's a kickass pediatrician) when both of our fab hubbies were posted there together.  When she and her hubby PCS'd [that's a Permanent Change of Station for you non-FS/non-military types] only one short year after our arrival, I was pretty heartbroken.  I looked back at that blog entry from April, 2012, forgetting that I had written this:

I think that at least for now, it's ok for me to mourn what I'm losing - my friend going to another post.  But I know I've made a life-long friend.  Who knows?  Maybe our husbands will get posted together someday?  Maybe it will even be in the U.S. where we can laugh and reminisce about all the crazy traffic in Cairo while we sip lattes in Starbucks.

That's me and Mel.  We're an awesome team.
And we love us some lattes!
Never would I have dreamt that this would be a reality so soon.  This past August, my awesome friend's hubby PCS'd to D.C., same as us!  They bought a house in NoVA (near where we live!) and she found a job quickly (like I said, she's a kickass pediatrician).  In November, her new office posted a position for a nurse.  Of course, I had to apply!  It was bittersweet leaving NIH - I had met so many amazing nurses and made lifelong friends.  And, I loved working with the children.  Honestly, those kids taught me so much about life and love and learning to live in the moment.  It was hard leaving, but this opportunity was simply one I couldn't turn down, especially since our lives are about to change crazily again next June.

It was recently bidding season for the fab hubby, and after much discussion [trust me; this is putting it mildly], he bid for an unaccompanied hardship assignment in Baghdad for summer 2015.  He was paneled for it and is set to PCS on June 1st, for one year.   During his tour in Baghdad, the kids and I will stay in Virginia.  Unfortunately, hospital shift work at NIH will simply not work for us once the fab hubby leaves for Baghdad.  I knew I'd have to leave next NIH next June, and I wasn't quite sure what I would do once he left -- work or stay home?  And so this new job with my awesome friend worked out for more reasons than just the greatness of working with her!  The pediatric office is in Arlington (closer to our home and the kids' school!), with 'normal' working hours (Monday - Friday!) that fit with our daycare for Kellen AND the kids' school.  No more weekends.  No more holidays.  And the chance for me to continue doing what I love --- being a nurse.  [Oh, and not to mention --- located right by the GREATEST TACO PLACE ON THE EAST COAST.]  Win. Win. WIN!

Other things that happened in the last five months?

We took a family road trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  Except for the **bleeping** 16 hour drive it took us to get there (and the drive back, of course), we had a fabulous time.  Sunshine.  Mickey Mouse.  Lots and lots of money blown on absolutely nothing of importance, except that we had a great time just being the normal American family.  Sweetness.

The Toddler officially moved into kidhood, turning four in October.  ::sigh:: He's getting so big, so fast.

Officially FOUR.

Never, ever get between a boy and his birthday cupcake.

And as if I couldn't feel old enough by my youngest baby becoming a child, I turned 29 for the TENTH TIME in November.  And well, you should celebrate a decade of 29 in style.  So the fab hubby got some friends of ours from Cairo together and we all went to Old Town Alexandria for a lovely lunch.  And cake.

Celebrating a decade of 29!

Christmastime came around and we had to put the entire household into quarantine.  I had some sort of disgusting upper respiratory infection [Yo! When you think about the number of kids who cough in my face on a daily basis, it's actually a wonder I'm ever NOT sick.]  Owen, The Tween, was miserably sick with BOTH flu and strep throat.  Gross.  The bummer of it though (besides being grossly sick) was that we had to cancel all plans with our family from Ohio for the holiday weekend.

On the bright side, we absolutely got our money's worth out of Amazon Prime and Netflix over the five days we spent in quarantine.  Owen and I watched all of the Resident Evil movies in the comfort of jammies, on our couch eating a heckuva lot of tacos.  Don't judge us.

This is pretty much our Christmas card for 2014!

Thankfully, by the following week, we were well enough to leave our house on New Year's Eve.  We headed over to our friends' home and enjoyed a night of food, gossip, and music.  Of course, we're all old, and so we were out the door, headed home by 9PM, and I was zonked-out asleep by 10PM.  It was pretty awesome.

New Year's Eve with awesome friends!

So welcome, 2015!  2014 was a great year of 'normal' for our family!

Here's to an awesome year of lattes!!

 And now for the requisite Orlando vacation pictures!!

As normal as normal gets!