The Tonioli family is what I would call an overbooked incredibly busy bunch. Between sports, school, church volunteer service and work it’s rare that we have an open night at home.
Tyler is our oldest. He’s now 15 years old and has his learners permit. While I could make a joke and caution you to watch out on the road, he’s actually incredibly mature and a very good driver, so far. He’s a sophomore at Fremont High School and enjoying choir and computer programming classes. Last Spring he was one of the lead roles in the school play “Monty Python” and played “Patsy”, King Arthur’s coconut galloping right hand man. I would have never expected that he would be singing solos in the school play but he has an incredible wit and talent on the stage. He is also taking piano lessons but doing his best to convince his parents that he doesn’t want or need to take lessons. (Sounds like someone I knew growing up.) He’s a great kid and we love having him as part of our family. He’s also a huge help when it comes to babysitting and watching his younger siblings.
Kallie will turn 13 at the end of November and has the busiest schedule in the family. She has played soccer for years and I’ve been fortunate to be able to help coach her for most of these years. This past February her team won the President’s Cup in Mesquite, NV which meant that they moved on to a regional tournament in California during the summer. Her team didn’t move on to nationals but was advanced to the Premier league this Fall. She also made the Jr High Volleyball team as a 7th grader. As if that isn’t enough, she’s also playing on a comp basketball team and taking piano lessons. She has practices or games nearly every night of the week and loves it.
Ryan turned 9 in October and is at such a fun age. He is playing soccer on two teams, both of which I am coaching. (Yep, that means I have been coaching three teams this year.) He is playing regular AYSO soccer and also playing with the top kids in the Rec program that compete agains teams from the other AYSO regions. They finished the season having won all their games but one. Ryan is also taking piano and has really improved this past year. He loves playing Legos and Minecraft and loves spending time with Mom and Dad.
Linzie is our caboose and just turned 4 this September. She started Pre-School this Fall. She is at that fun age where you really get to see her personality coming into focus. She is sooo different than our other three kids were but is such a good sport about getting dragged to soccer games and sporting events for the other kids. She is always singing and entertaining those who are sitting near her. It isn’t always entertaining to her mom, but we love having her as part of our family.
Stacy started teaching for her 19th year this Fall. She has been at Hooper Elementary for 18 years, most of which has been teaching 6th grade. She’s been at it long enough now to have had a student tell her that she taught their parent in school. It has been interesting to watch the school system evolve over the years for better and worse. The stories she shares of bad behavior from parents, students and on some occasions the teachers makes me realize that I would never have the patience to work as a teacher. It amazes me how society in general has lost respect for our teachers and unreasonable and awful both parents and students can behave and what they think is OK. I’m astounded at the amount of excuses parents make for their students and lack of accountability many parents place on their kids. Unfortunately the administrators in many cases cave to unreasonable complaints that have lasting effects on good teachers and their students. Stacy is an incredible teacher, mom and has been and continues to be a huge support to me and our family.
This past year has flown by for me but I’m amazed at how much has been accomplished. My music continues to reach more and more people each day and at last count it was well over 100 millions song streams. Last year I printed my 9th piano solo book titled “Piano Reflections” and also released a matching album with the same title this Fall. I released several singles earlier in the year and have recorded another full album of piano hymns and two additional albums that I will be releasing next year.
When it comes to piano performances, this Fall I was able to do a fundraiser concert to support Operation Underground Railroad along with my friends, pianist Michele McLaughlin and violinist John Knudson. I also did several firesides, some with my friend Glenn Rawson and a few local charity events that are always fun.
This summer I started helping the founders of HistoryoftheSaints,org who have produced the popular documentary series that airs on Sundays right after the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. My music has been featured frequently on their TV shows which led to helping with their website.
Through that relationship this July I helped to launch a website called GlennRawsonStories.com. Glenn Rawson is the host and producer of History of the Saints and has been telling stories for over 20 years. His stories are shared weekly on over 50 radio stations. Many of these stories feature my music in the background. Through this new site, people can now join his weekly family email list and receive his uplifting stories.
As a Christmas present to you, I’d like to give you a 90 day subscription to Glenn’s stories for free. If you’d like to receive his email stories, just send me an email at [email protected] and I would be happy to add you to this special list.
In addition to my music, if you’ve noticed my Facebook feed this past year, you’ve probably noticed I’ve been traveling A LOT! In the past 12 months I’ve been to Costa Rica three times, San Diego, Disneyland, Legoland, Orlando, Vancouver, a Princess Cruise to Alaska, and Florida for a family Disney Cruise. Nearly all of these trips have been work related with two of my newest companies I’ve founded, Amazing Vacations USA and Costa Rica.
Nearly two years ago I sold the shares of my software company I had started and “retired”. On a whitewater kayaking trip with a friend to Costa Rica in 2018 I met an amazing group of guides. I felt like I was supposed to help them and what started as consulting to a friend, grew into a crazy idea that was the creation of two businesses that started with the goal of improving the lives of my friends and adopted family in Costa Rica.
AmazingVacationsCostaRica.com is a tour company run by our Costa Rica team that provides all inclusive custom Costa Rica trips and planning for Costa Rica vacations. They specialize in family, couples, and small group trip planning and are especially good at planning adventure trips, river trips and mom-cations. I’ve been back and forth working with our fast growing team that now includes more than a dozen people. The team has trips booked clear until May of 2020. We are in the final stages of putting together what will be High Adventure Humanitarian Youth Adventure Trips in Costa Rica this summer for youth ages 16-19 years of age. It will be be very similar to the popular EFY trips but will include activities with the local LDS youth in Costa Rica, river rafting, rappelling, English/Spanish teaching, Service, hikes, zip lines and lots of leadership and spiritual coaching that kids at that age need at that age. Email, text or call me if you’d like more info about any of our Costa Rica trips.
AmazingVacationsUSA.com was the result of needing a way to own a company in Costa Rica. It was originally started to help introduce travel agents to our Costa Rica tour company. In learning about the travel industry, we realized there was a huge opportunity to help people save money on their travel. Without advertising or even having a website, we booked more cruises than I would have ever dreamed of, Disney trips and other hotel and airfare for friends and family. We aligned our agency with a host agency that brings 1,900 small travel agencies together to combine buying power, giving us access to deals and promotions only provided to the 3 largest travel companies in the world.
With these special deals, I have learned that if you book directly through the cruise line or Disney website, or even many online cruise retailers, you pay more than you would had you booked through our agency. This has been an interesting mental shift for me because as a tech savvy person, I’ve always assumed that if I book the vacation myself online, I’m getting the best deal. I now know that booking a cruise on your own means you are paying more. When using our team, people can save between $50-$600 because of the buying power of our travel agency.
In addition to helping people get a great deal on their Disney trip, cruise or river cruise, we are also organizing several group cruises and trips for the coming year that will be announced soon. I am planning to do a group cruise to Alaska with several special piano performances on the ship for our guests. Please consider yourself invited to come with me to one of the most beautiful places in the world this coming summer! Let me know if you’d like more information.
I never expected that I would be making a living from my music and after working 18 years in the banking industry I would have laughed if you had told me I would own and be running a travel business.
The thing that I’ve enjoyed most from all my time working are the relationships that I have built and the friends that I have made along the way. I am so grateful for the amazing people I work with each day who make me a better person and are great examples to me.
Thank you for being part of my life. I hope the Lord blesses you in the coming year and I hope you take time this season to be with your family and friends and enjoy the time you have together.
The Tonioli Family