Yes, Dianna, it will be all four of us for this trip! Mark and I have always dreamed of going to Italy way before we ever had children. Since we have time to plan, he is going to figure out a way to save up enough vacation to go or possibly even see if he can tack a business trip at the beginning or end with some of the fellows he works with in Italy. Of course, the thought did cross my mind to leave the kids at home, but I figured that wouldn't be allowed since it is a homeschool trip.
I have no idea why the Orient Express is so pricey. I guess it is the whole luxury thing. I started checking out the Eurorail last night and it looks much more reasonable. We might try to do that and visit a few more sites after the group trip. We would love to hang out in Italy longer and possibly swing through France on the way home if we can work it out. It's great that we have time to work out lots of scenarios and dream a bunch!
Jamie, my two are close to your son's age. I have a boy and girl, twins, that are 11 now. They will be 2 months shy of 13 on the Italy trip. It would be great to get to meet you before the trip. We're here in Charleston now getting ready to go on the USS Yorktown tomorrow. We'll be attending the Flight Camp in January. We're planning on going to Washington next year and any more of the marine science type camps too. So hopefully somewhere along the way we can meet you.
We're planning on studying Italian as well. I already have several sources since my husband and I started a class years ago. I will be anxious to hear how you like the Rosetta stone. I have heard great things about it, but never used it. The price always scared me off.