Adventures in Cimorelli Land

April 30, 2017

The teenage years are for most people one big tumultuous hormonal roller coaster ride. Yikes! Add to that an enormous pressure to figure out what you want to do with your life, get high grades, get into a great university, and hang with the right crowd, plus a feeling that your every move is being judged, and at any given moment you could be rejected by everyone you thought was your friend. You now have a recipe for some massive stress and frustration. If you understand what's happening and employ a little strategy, you can get through the whole thing somewhat unscathed and set the course for a truly extraordinary life. If not, it can feel like one disaster after the next.

 One of Christina and Lauren's birthday parties with some of their friends in SoCal.

1. It's Not the End of the World

I know it might feel like it, but unless you see blazing chariots of angels tearing up the sky, it's not the end of the world. For some reason, and I remember this well, everything bad that hap...

April 26, 2017

One of my Facebook friends recently lamented that parenting was kicking her butt lately. If you're a parent, I'm sure you can empathize. It is without a doubt the most difficult undertaking any of us experience in a lifetime. It's also by far the most rewarding, and it will definitely show you what you're made of as it pushes you way past what you thought were your outer limits. 

 Here we are with the first six of our eleven kids. This was by far the hardest time for me, as they were all more inclined toward making messes than cleaning them up. You can probably imagine how stressful getting this picture taken was; it took a couple of hours to get everyone ready, this was supposed to be our Christmas card picture as well as the church directory picture, and poor little Amy wouldn't stop screaming the whole time. Picture me barking through gritted teeth, "Just keep smiling! Maybe she'll stop screaming, and we can get a good picture." Alas, that never happened, and this was both our Christ...

April 21, 2017

When I swim, I'm 16 again. Well, not really, but I feel like it. My mother taught me to swim when I was 3, and I loved it from Day 1. I've always been a water baby. If there is water nearby, I'm in it. When I was a kid, that meant falling in fountains and mud puddles, running through the sprinklers, swimming in pools, rivers, and oceans, and water-skiing in lakes. 

I started swimming competitively at six years old in the summers, and moved to year-round swimming when I was ten. I went on to swim in high school and college, culminating in All-American status and participating in some relays that stayed on the college record board for ten years. In high school, the practice schedule was swimming from 5:30-7am, lifting weights right after school from 2:15-3pm, and then swimming right after that until 5:30 or 6pm (depending on the season). My best friend was on the team with me, and we had a great time swimming together all through high school. 

After I made All-American durin...

April 21, 2017

Learn the Art of Mastery and you will learn the art of extraordinary living. If you can become a master at one thing, you can use that same process to become a master at anything. It requires interest, determination, discipline, perseverance, and lots of practice. 

 Christina taking her mastery of physical movement to a new level on a paddle board.

I have had the pleasure of witnessing mastery with my children multiple times, and I have seen them transfer the steps to multiple interests. My oldest son, Michael, started mastering things at 2 years old, purely by accident. He was an extremely curious and hyper little boy, but he had a fascination with two things at 2 years old: power tools and music. My husband Mike and I used to watch "New Yankee Workshop" and "This Old House" when Michael was little. He was obsessed with those shows, and couldn't wait until they came on every night. He would watch with rapt attention while the host would describe what he was going to do next and which po...

April 20, 2017

When my 15 year old daughter Christina announced she wanted to start a band, I never dreamed we would be touring the world a few years later. Getting from the dream to reality was not fulfilled overnight, and it took enormous persistence and hard work, but we proved that it was possible to start from nothing in a small town with no connections in the entertainment industry and make it.

Initially, Christina wanted to be in a band with her friends, but they had a hard time coordinating practices, none of them were particularly great at an instrument, and they didn't all sing in tune. Frustrated that she could rarely get them together to practice, she was ready to throw in the towel. I suggested she do something with her sisters, with whom she had been singing since she was a little kid. The advantages were clear: they all lived in the same house, so it's not like rehearsal would be hard to set up, they already sounded great when they sang together, and they had all been on stage performin...

April 20, 2017

I was pregnant with my first child in 1988, and I had never heard of homeschooling. One day when I was in my 9th month of pregnancy and in my usual spot lying on the couch, watching TV, and feeling like a beached whale, I was watching the precursor to Oprah, which was a popular talk show hosted by Phil Donahue. On that particular day, he had on the Colfax family from Northern California who had successfully homeschooled their four boys, two of whom were their own biological children, and the other two of whom were adopted and of different races. Clearly there was not a purely genetic edge with this family; they were doing something really interesting and, at that time, cutting edge. At the time of the show, their oldest three had gone on to Harvard on full-ride scholarships, with one becoming a doctor and the other two on their way to becoming lawyers. The fourth was interested in becoming a chef, so he was on a different path. 

1. Interest-led learning

The Colfax family h...

April 12, 2017

extraordinary |ikˈstrôrd(ə)nˌerēˌekstrəˈôrdnˌerē|


very unusual or remarkable

I never thought of myself as particularly extraordinary. That seems reserved for people like Steve Jobs or Richard Branson or Mother Teresa or people like that. But when I look at the definition of “extraordinary”, I can see that my life has been far from ordinary. Sometimes it seems that when I see something “ordinary”, I automatically run in the other direction. For instance, I have 11 kids, I homeschool, and I’ve been married for 30 years. Definitely out of the ordinary in this particular era. 

In addition, I’ve toured the world while managing my daughters’ band, worked with major record label heads, television and movie studios, and had some of the top music producers in the world over to my house. Sometimes it seems surreal that any of this would have happened to an ordinary girl from the central valley farmland of northern California, but as I tell my daughters, it has to happen to someone, so why...

April 12, 2017

...there was just Mike and me. We met in college in the early 80's and immediately became good friends. We had noticed each other on campus several times, and we both lived in the dorms. One day when I was in the dining commons talking to a mutual friend, Mike jumped in the middle of our conversation and said to my friend, "Do you know this girl? I need to meet her!" My friend gave me a quizzical look and said, "Do you want to meet this guy?? Are you sure?" Of course I said yes, and we ended up talking for hours. I had this feeling that we were going to be friends forever. I had no idea we would actually get married, but I knew he was someone very special.

Four years later, after developing a strong friendship that had seen us both through other relationships, graduation, moving out of state, and all the other interesting kinds of changes people go through in their early 20's, we decided to tie the knot on Valentine's Day of 1987. I was 23 and he was 25. I was in the middle of gra...

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