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, November 15, 2015

Three More Months...Done

Part of the fun of Foreign Service life is the daydreaming.  Most of us are constantly dreaming of the "what if's" and the "where to's."  What if we get assigned to (name your top or last choice)?  Where would we visit if we were in (name that country again)?  Maybe someday we'll get (name it)!

Turkey, baby!  We're Istanbul-bound, Summer 2017.
For us, our "what if?" is actually known; our bidding was done in September!  And we're excited to say we'll be moving to Istanbul, Turkey for three years, starting in summer 2017!  YES!!  It's always been a daydream assignment for us and we couldn't be more pleased.  I've already researched schools and housing and have looked at the potential job market for me because I just can't help myself.  If you're living this kind of nomadic life, you totally know what I mean.

But what absolutely sucks about this lifestyle is our inability to fully live in the moment.  And if you're trudging through an unaccompanied assignment (which, yeah, we're doing right now), it's all the harder.  For me, I'm currently planning things in increments of three months.  Each seems to be pegged around when the fab hubby is home on R&R.

My blog has, once again, taken the back burner.  Maybe it's because I'm honestly crazy busy.   I mean, come on!  Three kids, all in different schools, a full-time job, a dog, two cats, all the stuff of regular life.  And I'm flying solo.  Or maybe it's because time seems to tick by oh-so-slowly and blogging just reminds me of it.  Or maybe it's because I'm afraid of the emotional roller coaster writing seems to bring out in me.

But here we are again, three more months done.  We're pretty close to the half-way point of our Baghdad separation.  Because tonight, I'll be picking up the fab hubby at the airport for three weeks of R&R.  It's been a long, long three months.  But at the same time, it's weirdly been a blur.

Summer.  Big kids enjoyed a month of glorious sailing and surfing with their besties in California.  Friends since our Cairo days, the kids have managed to stay close, despite the miles separating them.  I was only super jealous since I couldn't go with them to catch up with our friends as well!

School started and The Tween is now in Middle School.  He's in all honors classes (except for English, which his says is his nemesis) at his own choosing.  He's also in Model U.N. and Band (trumpet).  This nerd mom couldn't be more proud.  Abby is now in 5th Grade, also in Band (flute) and she has started Irish Step Dancing.  {Again, nerd mom proudly pats self on back.}

Kellen turned FIVE and I suddenly feel old old OLD.  He's no longer a baby, and long past the toddler phase.  I have to watch my language around him because any time I swear, he's sure to point out my effing transgression.  Dinosaurs and super heroes are center stage, but he's still trotting right behind the big kids hoping they'll accept him and play with him, despite the age gap.

As for me, well.  Let's just say you don't gain 20 pounds in a year because you've been taking good care of yourself.  I like to portray myself as having it all together (because honestly, I usually feel like I mostly do), but when push came to shove, I was sadly willing to back off of the running to keep my sanity.  My work schedule and home stuff keep me crazy enough and trying to fit in running regularly is rough.  As injury upon injury piled up due to inconsistent running, I had to make a choice.  I'm really kinda ashamed that I made the wrong choice initially.  It was sooooo much easier to choose chocolate cake and the couch instead of a brisk walk after work, time and time again.  Next thing I knew, nothing fit, not even my scrubs.  It's bad when the elastic-waist scrubs are digging in.

I begrudgingly started with a walk at my lunch break at work.  I picked up a Fitbit (a high tech pedometer) thanks to a friend's recommendation {that would be the mom of the kiddos my kids flew out to Cali to see last summer -- dang I miss her!} and I just made the tiny commitment to walk most everyday.  Increasing my steps, decreasing the cake and couch time.  It honestly kinda sucks, only because it's never instantly gratifying.  But I've stuck with it, and added some running (slow) back into my days.  It takes months to lose fitness and it takes way more time to regain it.  It's incredibly frustrating.  But I signed up for the Army 10-Miler to keep myself on track.

In October, I ran that race.  Sluggy slow, but injury-free.  And 10-pounds lighter, which I'm thrilled with.  I'm still walking at work and running on the weekends and whenever I can sanely squeeze in a couple extra miles.  It feels good to be back on the road and taking care of myself again.

And of course.  The fab hubby returns tonight! All the usual prep work is complete.  A new pair of specs and a haircut for me.  I've splurged on bi-weekly housekeeping and oh my gawd is it completely and utterly worth it.  The house is spotless and I'm not yelling at kids to (halfheartedly) scrub toilets and vacuum the floors.  I've also written out a calendar so the fab hubby isn't at a loss of remembering when and where the kids are day-to-day, because although the weekly crazy is etched in my head permanently, he's been gone from the household crazy.  It's all gonna be fuzzy (and a blur for him).

Plans are made for the rest of month.  Every weekend is of course already booked and the fab hubby is home this R&R for Thanksgiving.  We're meeting up with family for turkey day, but the weekend after will be spent at Great Wolf Lodge with some friends.  Because dude.  I turn 40 that weekend and nothing says party like an indoor water park and bazillions of children running around.  We embrace the crazy.

Ack.  I just admitted I'm turning 40.  I'm considering just celebrating 39 again.

Here's a photo tour of the blur from end of summer until now:

Post-Surf Camp gang.  I'm pretty jealous, having missed out.

Abby, sailing!
Owen and his buddy Josh, sailing.

These girlies have known each other since Cairo.
Oh, and In-N-Out.  Again, jealous.

Geek squad and a bromance.

End of summer fun at our community pool.

Boys will be boys.

Middle School = Locker Time.

Socks and ghillies (dance shoes) are a must for Irish Step Dancing.

Weekend of the Army 10-Miler; I took the boys paddle boating in D.C.

Epic photobomb by the Washington Monument.

In case you're wondering what Five Years looks like.
Newborn on the left.
5yo who loves toy spiders on the right.

I adore him.

Requisite birthday party at Chuck E Cheese's.

Five burning candles.

Blow them out!

Getting my bib for the Army 10-Miler.
And my shirt says how I feel most days.

I was a slug but I did it.
And I'll do it again.

On the trail, taking care of myself with a good run.
And a sassy new haircut to boot.


  1. It is a sassy cut - looks greats!! Congratulations on the big 40 coming up and I am super jealous of ISTANBUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You will love love love love love it! Traffic is insane, but there is easy local transport and walking anywhere in the city is just amazing!

  2. Good Sharing. Nice pictures Thank you for sharing us.