{all photos in this post were taken with my phone camera}

Before I share anything I have to start here….

The fedora.

I have begged Kelly to wear hats for years.

I think he finally just felt sorry for me and how pathetic I look when I beg.

It only took going to Italy to convince him to trust me:-)

My mom came from Illinois to watch the kids for two weeks.

Two. Weeks.

She still was smiling when we came home but she did leave immediately to go back home.


I think not.

It was hard to leave.

It travel enough that short trips doesn’t effective us very much but big trips…

We are a group of bawling babies.

There are about 500 goodbyes.


Getting back out of the car to say goodbye one more time.

Secret notes left to each other.

Photos taken.

Drive away.

Must. Drive. Away.

If I could have my way we wouldn’t even fly on the same plane.

Over the ocean.

No way, Jose!

I would fly in two separate planes…just in case.

Weirdo alert.

I know it and embrace it.

My husband on the other hand will not indulge my two plane travel plan.


All of this to say here we were right before we boarded the flight from Denver to New York and then onto Milan.

I can never sleep very much on a plane so we were dragging when we landed in Italy.

After a crazy bus ride from Milan to Bellagio (I didn’t even watch the road) we settled into our apartment, took a quick nap and headed out to look around this new town.

Bellagio is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

The architecture, water, mountains, colors and the incredible smell of flowers everywhere was intoxicating.

The retreat began with a sweet welcome and a light dinner under the pergola overlooking Lake Como.

Let’s take a moment to look at my handsome husband wearing his fedora.

After dinner we joined the town in Bellagio for their annual Torchlight Festival.

This is with for real torches.

Like…you could burn yourself and others.

So we were sleep deprived carrying huge torches along the crowded cobblestone streets.

It was the freakiest looking crowd with a mob of people with torches.

All we were missing were some pitchforks and we looked like we could have been the group to storm the Bastille!

I was just as worried about the person behind me lighting my hair on fire, me lighting myself on fire or me lighting a stranger on fire.

Only in Europe could this happen.

In America this would be a huge lawsuit just waiting to happen.

I didn’t burn myself or others.


OK, moving on to day two.

We were still pretty tired when we work up but we went searching for some food and then headed out to hike.

We took the ferry from Bellagio to Varenna and hiked to the Castle of Vezio.

The views at the top were breathtaking and half of the fun is running into new people along the way.

Once we got back to Bellagio that afternoon we were exhausted and pretty much fell into bed.

It was the most wonderful 3 hour nap with the rain and the thunder as our background noise.

That evening we headed out to meet up with everyone for dinner.

After dinner we made our way to the classroom in the Villa Serbelloni where I was setting up my supplies/kits etc.

We finished a little after midnight and we were exhausted to put it mildly and we needed to head home because the next morning (at 9am I would like to add) I was teaching my first class.

The highlight of this night is that neither of us slept the whole night.

I think Kelly fell asleep around 5am and I fell asleep for only 30-45 minutes before it was time to wake up.

I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to teach the way I needed to teach on no sleep.

Many prayers were lifted up that morning.

{more to come}