Adventures in Cimorelli Land

June 23, 2017

True story. Call from our booking agent:

"I know you're set to leave for your month-long European tour with the band tomorrow, but we've just discovered there's a problem with your passport." 

What?!?!?! Not exactly what I wanted to hear 24 hours before I was supposed to board a plane for New York and then another one to Dublin. 

"Your passport expires ten days after you return, but the last country on your tour is Belgium, and they require your passport to be valid for at least three months after your date of departure."

Omg! How would I know that? I thought "expired" meant "expired", but apparently not. My mind was racing, and I'm sure my blood pressure and heart rate were off the charts. A new passport takes weeks to get, and I had 24 hours to get one...

"If you can get to Atlanta (which is 4 hours away!!) and they have any appointments available today or tomorrow, maybe you could get them to give you one over the counter. They don't do that very often, and the appointments are usually w...

June 20, 2017

Six of my children recently returned from a week of volunteering for Catholic Heart Work Camp in Memphis, TN. It would be tempting to think that you can't do much in a week, but when you have 300 young adults descend on an inner city area, divide into groups, and tackle 40 different projects, it's clear that Catholic Heart Work Camp makes a big impact wherever they go.

What's equally interesting to me is the impact the experience has on the volunteers. My kids came home with a brighter light in their eyes, a desire to volunteer more, a feeling of accomplishment, and a whole lot of new friends from churches all over the country. It's a great example of taking a perfectly ordinary experience, full of very unglamorous hard labor out in the hot sun in a poverty-stricken area, and turning it into an extraordinary experience for everyone involved. 

From the Catholic Heart Work Camp website, here's a description of how the week goes:

You will begin the day with breakfast at 6:45 a...

June 17, 2017

My dad has been gone for almost 28 years now, and yet there still isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about him. At only 60 years old, he died way too young, but his faith and love of family, as well as his humor and daredevil spirit, have proven to be a powerful and lasting influence in my life. I am particularly grateful for the fact that he chose a job that not only fulfilled his dream of how he wanted to earn his keep but also allowed him a great deal of free time, which fortunately for me, he chose to spend with his family. I remember being shocked as a teenager when he said, "What's so great about working, anyway?" What? My dad said this?? What he went on to explain was that the ideal thing was find a way to do something you love and figure out a way to make it pay well while working as few hours as possible instead of being a workaholic. Pretty idealistic, but he pulled it off, and we, his family, were the grateful beneficiaries!


June 13, 2017

Curious about homeschooling? How to get started? What's it like? Does it work? Will I ruin my kids? Can I handle it? So many questions, so let's get to it! I've been homeschooling for 22 years officially, 28 years unofficially. My oldest is 28; in California, you don't have to legally start until the child is 6 years old. However, like a lot of homeschoolers, I see homeschooling as an extension of what I was already doing as soon as each child was born.

One of my jobs as a mom is to teach my children all kinds of things. Or maybe a better way to look at that I introduce them to a lot of things and then facilitate their learning. I showed them how to eat, walk, talk, get dressed, clean up after themselves, along with a million other things; homeschooling is just continuing on that path. I taught them the names of things, shapes, colors, letters, numbers, how to count, how to add and subtract, how to sound out words, we read lots of great books together, and just generally learned how the...

June 2, 2017

One of the keys to having a strong family is to have strong family traditions. The rituals we develop together with our spouses, kids, and extended family become the anchors that keep us grounded through the storms of life. For example, Mike and I have moved six times since we started having children, but we have a certain rhythm to our life, which makes anywhere feel like "home".

I realized just how important this was when we moved 2000 miles from California to Tennessee a couple of years ago. We didn't know anyone, and we're not related to anyone in Tennessee, so all of a sudden, we were very alone (that is, as alone as a family with eleven kids can actually be). Suddenly, tradition became a very big deal as we all felt a little discombobulated from the move:

"You're making poppy seed cake for breakfast on Thanksgiving, right???"

"We're opening one present on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas Day, right???"

"You're making a flag cake this year for the 4th of July, right???"

"We're g...

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Ordinary People. Extraordinary Lives.

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