Thank you, everyone, for the welcoming and the advice.
Is this an appropriate place to ask questions? These may be better saved for a beekeepers' club meeting, but I'll ask away, anyhow.
In my head, I think I'd like to start with Langstroth hives. I would build four of them, but I would only use one or two initially. The extras would eventually be used for splits. I would also make these 8 frame mediums so that the kids wouldn't have too tough of a time with them once they're a little older. Really, it's because I don't want to do heavy lifting; the kids just happen to be a very convenient (and welcomed) excuse.
I think we'll begin with Italians. Carniolans sound better to me on paper, though, save for the swarming (but I imagine all bees do that to some extent). Is swarming something you can expect once per year? Or is it more often than that (or less)? I know that the information I'm reading online is generalized, and there are probably several factors that go into it. And is swarming something that the hobbyist wants to try and prevent? Is it viewed as negligent to allow bees to go when you're beekeeping in a suburban area? The answer may be to collect the swarm, transport them away from people, and release them; I'm not sure. I think that the answers to this set of questions will determine what kind of bees we end up starting with.