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Category: Italy

Before, During and After

Before, During and After

I know, I know!!!

I said I wasn’t mentioning Italy again…I accidentally misrepresented the truth.

But here’s the deal…it wasn’t on purpose.

My very computer literate cousin (whom I’ve told you about before and who has solved many a technical problem for me), flipped this picture I loved so much:

so that now it really is a before, during and after shot.


I LOVE IT! (and I have no idea why it’s posting a little smaller than the other pic…I tell you, I have virtually no technical skills!)

Maybe it’s just me, but I think the picture so cool. If you can think of a catchy, clever or cool saying or meaning for the pic, post it in the comments section so we can all see. I feel like there is a story there. I just don’t know what it is yet.

If you can’t think of one I’ll stick with before, during and after.

In closing, special thanks to my cousin who emailed me today that she has enjoyed the Italy stories and a precious friend who actually called me and said “keep blogging on Italy or otherwise.” You both made my day and gave me the freedom to add in just one last thing.

Just one little ole bitty thing.

My feet, my aching feet…

My feet, my aching feet…

We did a lot of walking in Italy.

And a lot of climbing.

Up stairs. To go to the top of towers.

Lots and lots of stairs.

At one point Tommy said…”I’m getting kind of tired of paying churches money to climb their stairs.” But we kept on anyway.

Because when in Italy…well, I guess you climb stairs as the Italians. Or something like that.

One great one was in Sienne when we climbed and climbed to get to the top of a tower and this older gentleman visited with us. He was a lifelong resident of Sienne and hadn’t climbed the tower in 40 or 50 years. He said he was waiting for a beautiful day.

And seeing how he went up the day we were there makes me think we picked a really, really good day to go.

And as we walked we saw:

Lots of churches.

Beautiful vineyards.

Beautiful scenery.

In big cities.

And smaller towns.

We went to famous museums.

And listened to Bill read from the tour guide book.
A lot.
A whole, whole lot.

But our feet really did hurt. Cindy’s the most because she opted for fashion over function and her sandals made big blisters on the bottoms of her feet. And I can’t imagine how much they hurt.

But then Tommy broke his toe. And that had to hurt a lot too.

I’m telling you, there were lots of aching feet.

Oh, and there is one more thing I should tell you.

On one set of those stairs we stopped and had a little “thank you Jesus” session because almost a year ago Cindy had a really bad injury while horseback riding. And her leg was in really bad shape. And at that time, barring a miracle, Cindy probably never could have climbed all those stairs.

But Cindy got a miracle … and although our feet hurt, our hearts were glad!!!

And we needed to thank Jesus for aching feet!

The only thing that could possibly save this post…

The only thing that could possibly save this post…

First, I have to apologize.

This post is probably going to bore you to tears.

But flower boxes were a big part of my trip to Italy.

Yes, I said “flower boxes.” Weird, I know. Like anytime I fell behind the group people looked back, there I was…taking a picture of more window boxes.

I became obsessed with window boxes.

Everywhere you looked people had such pretty flowers in their windows and I took lots and lots (and lots) of pictures of them.

I have no idea why.

I couldn’t stop myself.

I think the Italians take lots of pride in their windows.

And I noticed.

And I’m not a flower and garden kind of gal, but it’s just that these beautiful windows were everywhere.

This one below was my absolute favorite. I want to figure out how to reverse this picture (is that possible?) because I think it’s so cool. It’s like beginning, middle and end in the window box world.

Isn’t that so cool?

O.K., maybe it’s just me. And since I’m sure I have bored you to tears, I can only think of one thing that may or may not interest you.

The fact that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie went with us to Italy.

Or at least really, really good look a likes.

It was really Matthew and Lizie Bailey and I SWEAR Matthew is THE funniest person I think I have ever met. And that’s saying something because I think most people are funny.

And there is no way I could possibly describe how funny he is….although I will say that I think he should have his own show on the Comedy Channel. If you know him or ever meet him, ask him to do his imitation of the lady who gives directions on the GPS, or Mrs. Garmin as we liked to call her.

You will laugh until you cry.

And there is no telling what he’s going to say about my post about window boxes.

But whatever he says will be funny.

And him saying something funny could possibly be the only thing that can save a boring post about my window box obsession.

Sky Team Rolls … And so do the Baergs

Sky Team Rolls … And so do the Baergs

I’m about to give you a tip. A very, very important tip. A tip I wish I had paid attention to before embarking on a three flight trans-Atlantic journey.

Pack a spare pair of clothes in your carry on luggage.


Because otherwise you may end up with the same fate as five out of the six of us who unintentionally joined what from here to fore will be called…”The Sky Team”.

It’s not the kind of team for which you want to be picked.

Trust me, I know. I’m speaking from personal experience here.

We landed in Florence.

Our bags did not.

“No problem,” they said. “We’ll send them by courier when they arrive.”

Which just so happened to be three days later.

As a consolation prize they gave us a toiletries kit which included a white “Sky Team” t-shirt. Which we wore for two days.

Just please, never, ever travel without clothes in your carry on. Ever.

It was two very, very long days.

Until we called and they told us they would give us 100 Euros for some new duds.

By the time we found this information out, we had about an hour until the stores closed. And we found a store in a nearby town and raced in. Or as we said…”the sky team rolled.”

It was on the way in that we realized we (having not showered and looking oh so skanky in our matching white “sky team” t-shirts) looked like convicts. Escaped convicts.

And after we bought ourselves some Italian designer duds, I felt like Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman” who looks back at the store clerk and say
s “big mistake” when they didn’t help her. I actually almost ended up with no clothes because I couldn’t find anything and no one would help me, but with seconds to spare and the help of Bill and Cindy, I found something.

Here we are in our Euro duds:

In was hot in Sienne and Bill still had money on his Air France account so he stopped and bought these very cool Italian shorts. It was a long way from our “Sky Team” ensemble.

We raced back to the villa because we had hired a chef to come and cook our dinner. Natalie helped make it. It would have been fun to help make homemade pasta but not as fun as spending 100 Euro of Air France’s money to buy Italian clothes. I’m just saying.

Here was the appetizer spread – or the anti pasta portion as they like to call it:

And dessert:

It was all delicious.

We showered and wore our new duds the next day to Sienne. Every year this city is the site of a big horse race through the town plaza. Boys will be boys and our husbands decided to recreate this scene for us themselves. They had quite the footrace through the plaza.

And we wonder why they think Americans are crazy.

I do realize that in the last month we’ve been to Disney World and Italy, but the Baergs are rolling again and we are spending this week at Pine Cove/Crier Creek family camp. This will be our 4th year and we look forward to it every year. It’s a great time of recharging and renewal for our family.

With this trip we will have pretty much exhausted Bill’s vacation days as well as our budget so I think we’ll stay put for a while.

But you never know….cuz just like the “Sky Team”, the Baergs like to “roll.”

I’ve got some more Italy to share though so I’ve scheduled posts throughout the week.

But for now…Ciao!

Villa Sweet Villa

Villa Sweet Villa

It was amazing.

This was our room.

This is where I wanted to spend the next month. Or the whole summer.

This was where Bill wanted to spend the next..well, forever. There was a 3 hole golf course they enjoyed as much as I enjoyed the pool.

Unless he decided to ride bikes.

But he’d come cool off in the pool afterwards.
(He looks good, doesn’t he?)

And I loved when he came to the pool.
Please note: I have a very cute new bathing suit I bought just for the trip. I forgot the bottoms in Houston. I had to swim in ugly ole workout shorts
with the cute top. It wasn’t a good look. A definite Glamour Don’t.

I just remembered that I meant to play more ping pong at the villa. I did get in a few games though! It was hard to concentrate on the game when there were mountains all around.

This is Andrea (pronounced Ahndraya – but spelled Andrea….which turned out to be very funny when we were looking for a woman in the town square who was to take us to the villa.) Andrea is the owners son (Leeanna had only sent him emails so we didn’t know he was a man) and he came every morning to water the flowers and open the pool for us. And yes, I did keep asking myself if I was awake or dreaming. I really thought I was dreaming.

I mean, seriously….it didn’t seem real.

But then Leeanna would remind us that it was time to make lunch. And get this!!! Bill and Tommy would go to the garden and pick lettuce for our sandwiches. And then pride themselves on how they had “hunted and gathered.” Made me laugh.

Speaking of hunting and gathering…

This was my favorite thing I did on the entire trip. Well, that and swimming and laughing. I’m picking cherries for my breakfast. Delicious!!! And then I’d get raspberries…

They were like candy. I didn’t even wash them. I’d pick ’em and pop ’em in my mouth.

I thought they were beautiful.

And the strawberries…

best I’d ever tasted.

Sometimes we’d eat out here on the patio …

But most of the time …

here on the porch.

We rarely went in here …

because it was so nice out here …

Besides, Bill had to duck whenever he went inside…

We decided he was the tallest man in Italy.

But that will not keep us from going back.

I can’t wait!

Italy. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Italy. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

We are back.

Exhausted, but home.

Within 24 hours of coming home, we had unpacked (well Bill did anyway), driven 8 hours round trip to pick up the kids (I did that which is one reason I haven’t unpacked), made it to the final swim meet – with 22 minutes to spare, and tried to recover from jet lag.

We were so glad to see the kids swim in the last meet…even if we could barely keep our eyes open.

And this little guy was SO glad to see his daddy.

I still haven’t recovered because today included a grocery store trip, doctors appointment, end of the season swim team party, etc. and all I could think of was…”I sure miss Italy.” And Paris. And all the laughs and fun we had (except the part where our luggage was lost for 3 days).

There is lots to tell, but for now, here is a little of what I’m missing .

Looking out our bedroom window each morning…

And seeing this.

And this.

And going to restaurants where the view looked like this.

And having gelato every day. I really miss the gelato.

And I also really, really miss these people. Some of whom made me laugh so hard I thought I might hurt myself from laughing.

Tomorrow I’ll give you an insiders tour of our villa.

I really miss that too.