August 14, 2015

Venice with a Friend!

After I got sick and had to sit out a day trip to Venice, Ted and my friend Carla hatched a scheme to get me to be able to experience this lovely city before our move back to the States. The weekend after Easter was really our only option when it came down to the wire, so we grabbed some cheap plane tickets and left Naples EARLY Sunday morning for a girls' trip to remember!

We arrived at our hotel around 9am, and the congenial proprietor allowed us to stash our stuff there early and gave us tips for navigating the city and finding his personal favorite restaurants. We had a full day of exploring, starting right after breakfast! Aaaaahhhhh....caffe e cornetti, how I will miss you!!!

We toured the Grand Canal listening to Rick Steves' audio guide, getting off to explore various places.

Inside the doge's palace. I believe they said this was the largest meeting room in Europe? It could hold 2600 people! Can you see Carla standing waaaaaaaaay over there?!

The palace is in the background to the left; this view is from St. Mark's Cathedral.

After an incredibly yummy dinner, we got to attend a Vivaldi concert with the musicians dressed in period costumes! It was fantastic!

Monday morning we went to the islands of Murano and Burano. I loved the colorful houses on Burano!

See my lovely glass necklace? One of my favorite finds! It came from Murano, famous for their glass-blowing techniques and products.
All too soon we had to head back home, but since our return date happened to be Tobin's 13th birthday, there was still a huge draw to get back to my family! I cherish the time I got to spend with Carla, talking and praying together as well as exploring this amazing, historical city. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to experience it for myself, not just vicariously through Ted's pictures!

August 13, 2015

Last Missoula Performance in Naples

Our kids loved the opportunity to be involved in the Missoula Children's Theater productions during our time in Italy. We had never heard of this group before, but it was a BIG DEAL whenever they came to town! Auditions are held on a Monday morning, with rehearsals running every day until show time, which was Friday night for us. The older 4 kids got to participate in several different shows each, and while sometimes they were disappointed with the roles they got (and occasionally with NOT getting roles), each show was fun and unique and always a good learning experience. The last performance for our crew was "Beauty and the Country Beast." Afterward, as usual, we went out to eat with several families involved in the performance. It was a bittersweet experience at Da Baffone, one of our favorite Italian pizzerias, knowing that we wouldn't be around for the summer performance!

The whole cast and crew! You can see what the directors have to work with! It's really quite amazing that they can coordinate this many kids in such a short time to be prepared for a production that includes singing, choreography, and memorized lines!

Kenna was one of the animals this time, third from the left.

Arden as a cowboy! He always seemed to get roles that included painted-on facial hair, lol.

Charis (in the blue dress) was one of the not-so-nice sisters, a rather out-of-character role for her, but she got to enjoy the rehearsals with several of her friends, which always made for good fun.

Tobin--the only boy not in costume--was an assistant director this time and enjoyed having a different role in the production.