New link

I have been having some problems with posts and format so I am trying a new home for the blog

shawnaandthecrew (dot) blogspot (dot) com

That is the new website.  Replace (dot) with a . when you type the address

This site won’t let me put the real address because it is their competition.  Let me know if you have problems accessing the new site.


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New Blog Home

New Blog Home 

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June 26, 2013 · 8:48 am

First Road Trip – Pisa

We decided we were ready for a road trip.  Heck we had been here over 2 weeks.   To be honest leaving the comfort of our surroundings was a little daunting but armed with our trusty GPS, my cell phone (texting questions about gas coupons to my friend) and a few wrong turns we headed out to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  D and I had a game plan.  We got on the road and to Pisa we went.  We arrived in town and looked for the elusive blue P signs for parking.  After looping around town more than once (and maybe a few short words said back and forth) we found a fabulous parking spot in a grocery store named Pam.  Free parking for an hour and half with a purchase – score.  A short walk (2-3 short blocks) from the parking lot we entered the walls of Pisa.  Almost immediately inside the walls there it is – the tower – leaning – alot.  I obviously knew it leaned (um Leaning Tower of Pisa and all) but it REALLY leans.  No matter how many times I have seen the picture I was not prepared for how much lean there was.  I am not sure I captured it in the pictures but maybe?  The other thing I was struck by was how this was it.  A lawn of beautiful buildings including the tower, a row of tourist shops and you are done.  Was it worth it – absolutely.  The girls loved it, D and I were in awe and of course we got fun pictures. The girls had been practicing their leaning poses for the last week.  We tried all different angles.

Skeeter was not so impressed.  On the way in and out of Pisa he peed on the wall to the city.  I guess maybe it is now Skeeter’s city?

Pisa and Family


Miss P loved the carved out details in all of the buildings.  I was surprised that this was the thing she was most taken by but I shouldn’t have been she has always been a detail kid.1985

The map – I took a picture to remember the lay out but also because it is hard to imagine what we are looking at was built in 1064!

1986 1993

Pizza in Pisa.


Do you see some silly girls who just spotted their daddy and dog?


Four of my favorite things.


Miss P showing her pose and ‘exhaustion’.  Skeeter is wondering when this can be over.


Miss K doing her pose.  2013

You can see the arch at the end of the street that is part of the wall surrounding the city.


The outside of the city.

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Two weeks

This morning I woke up to D handing me a cup of coffee (Heine Brothers – awww) and saying, “Kiddo you’ve been here two weeks.”  Really – two weeks.  I had two feelings immediately – proud “Hey I have got a lot done in 2 weeks” and panic “Two weeks are already gone we need a better plan to see Europe I must get on this culturing our family business today.  So I am sitting at the kitchen table, provided courtesy of the Army, with tour books surrounding me, the internet flooding me with details and options and I decided to go back to the first feeling I had – Hooray we have survived the move – we really really have and we are here.

This move seemed like it would never end.  If you followed the story from the beginning we found out in Feb 2012 we were coming to Italy only to find out that D was deploying immediately so the girls and I stayed in Kansas.  So in reality it seems like we have been planning this move for 15 months.  I was constantly thinking – should this come to Italy, should I buy that for Italy, we won’t need that in Italy, sure I should eat BBQ one more time this week because we won’t get that in Italy.  Those are some of the sounds of my brain but in my real world I was dealing with visa issues, deployment issues, visa issues, two surgeries, visa issues, school for the girls, visa issues, organizing the house for a move, did I mention visa issues?  It was a daunting year with the constant reminder that ‘we are moving to Italy soon’.  When the time actually came to pack up the house and the movers were there to take the first official load our household goods, the things we would be seeing (hopefully) again in Italy I began to panic.  Should I have packed this?  I can’t let them take that we won’t see it until maybe Sept.  This panic and rethinking of our ‘we will let them take this’ pile resulted in me having 12 suitcases – yes 12- some weighing over 60 lbs and mailing 14 flat rate boxes of things to Italy.  More on that later including them packing us in the snow and me moving out of the house in my flip flops in the snow and sleet 🙂  If you know me this will not surprise you at all.

So while I sit here and enjoy another 4 minutes of reflecting before I go play battleship in our taverna with the girls I am reminded again about how truly blessed I am to be here.  The support we received throughout this last year throughout our friends and family in the states and people who barely knew us here in Italy but put themselves out to make our move easier still overwhelms me.  These are the stories I need to remember that are going to enhance my life and shape my girls just as much as a trip through the Greek Isles or seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa.


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I-T-A-L-Y How sweet it is!

We have arrived.  The long anticipated trip that seemed to test every last second of my patience getting here happened and we are all happily together under one roof in our beautiful casa enjoying this beautiful view.Image

Now there are many posts about how we finally made it and how thankful I am that maintained my composure and did not get arrested for assaulting anyone in the transportation office at our last location but there are some much more fun stories to share that I don’t want to forget about our last few days in the states or our trip here and the adventures we have already had and the ones that are booked and on the calendar.  Hold on – grab a glass of wine (even though I guarantee that your wine will not be nearly as good OR cheap as our wine) and enjoy our travel log.

– One mom, one dad, two girls, and one fluffy dog


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Its been a month

You can take that two ways – it has been a month since I have blogged or man it has BEEN a month.  I went back and read the post from a month ago and I am so happy to see the progress we have made since that post.  I have so many more answers than before and I am finally able to make plans.

First we had Miss P’s 1st Communion and it was beautiful.  There was a serious threat of tornadoes and thankfully they went around us.  She was showered with love from near and far and had a fabulous time.  I was so happy to successfully cross that off my list.

Isn’t she beautiful?  Way too grown up!!!


So onto that impending move.  I have decided that I really do need to keep blogging just to keep myself accountable for all the little things that need to get done.  The girls and I are staying put.  D is going to be going to Italy but he will only be there about 10 days before heading off somewhere else – fill in the blank.  It was not an easy battle but we were granted an exception to policy for us to stay put and move over in a year when D gets back from his adventure.  So what does that do for my great big list?  Well we did get EFMP approval but we will have to get it again.  We did get our passports they will remain fine.  We did not apply for our visas so we are set on that.  Skeeter will need revaccinated but not rechipped.  I don’t have to sell the washer, dryer, etc.  I have another year to compile my list and decide what goes into long term storage and what we can’t live without.  It means we are getting a whole new set of stuff ready for D and trying to figure out what he needs and when.  There is a good chance he will be back in Italy about a month before we get over there so that Miss P can finish her school year here instead of having to move with 3 weeks left.  It means totally rethinking the news of Feb BUT finally having concrete answers that make my life much easier.  We knew almost immediately about the adventure but we just didn’t know if the girls and I were going to have our own crazy adventure.  I have been asked several times (sometimes several times a day) how I feel about this.  Well of course I would rather our family be together and I would LOVE for our family to be together in Italy but if we aren’t going to be together where we are now is fabulous.  I am thrilled with the school, our house is nice, the neighbors are great and I will very much enjoy the benefits of being on post (for example they already started cutting my grass inside my fence and weed eating!).  I feel like we are where we are suppose to be and that makes the rest easier to swallow.

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Happy Easter!

I know I owe an update and honestly it has been a roller coaster with no answers but I think we have an answer but I am waiting for it to change again so…..instead of an update how about some Easter shenanigans instead?

Miss K was truly amazed by the egg coloring.  She was in awe of how bright the colors were but she quickly took charge telling D EXACTLY where to put them, how to put them and how long to leave them in.  Then at the end she started negotiating about how many more eggs of her sisters she could color.  Tee hee.

Then it was P’s turn.  The old pro she let D do one and then she took control and made some gorgeous eggs.

Then this morning came and that crazy bunny hid the eggs outside.  Apparently he didn’t know it was going to be 39 degrees.


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