A Family of Fun
Full-time jobs, a house filled with four lively children and schedules jam-packed with athletics, community events and volunteering. Vinnie and Kristy Moreschi compare their fun-filled lives to tagging up in a wrestling match. Having mastered the art of communication and involvement, these seasoned parents thrive amidst organized chaos.
Maintaining that chaos, however, takes hard work, sacrifice and compromise—concepts all too familiar to the couple that met 18 years ago in downtown Alexandria, Va. While Vinnie was out celebrating his brother’s birthday, a spunky, laid-back Kristy caught his attention.
Their first date was monumental— and not just for the reason that it sparked the beginning of their three-year courtship. Kristy took Vinnie to a professional baseball game in Baltimore, Md., in which the starting shortstop of the Baltimore Orioles, Cal Ripken Jr., tied Major League Baseball’s record for the most consecutive games played by a professional baseball player. Vinnie found himself in heaven, “It was the best first date I ever had.”
Soon after, they discovered just how much they had in common. Both Kristy, now a special education teacher at Hidden Oak Elementary, and Vinnie, now the Director of Healthcare Operations at Charles Perry Partners, Inc. (CPPI), found they were the youngest of four children, valued a healthy, active lifestyle (including an immense love for sports), wanted to have a large family and grew up in a faith-centered family. Their similarities, Kristy said, made it easy to create a foundation for their relationship and family. “We are similar in many aspects, as we don’t argue or disagree about many things. We respect each other’s opinion and voice in the family.”
When Vinnie, who at the time was working in Maryland building a state prison, received a job offer from CPPI to build a federal prison in Coleman, Fla., Kristy was completing her master’s degree in special education at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. When he moved to Florida to begin his new job, Kristy stayed behind in Virginia to teach. After a long distance relationship for almost two years, Kristy decided to make the plunge and move to Florida. “I remember my dad asking me if Vinnie was a keeper. Of course he is—why else would I move?”
Once in Gainesville, Vinnie began his master’s degree in Building Constructions from the University of Florida, while Kristy worked at A. Quinn Jones Center. Soon after, they got engaged and started looking for a place to build their first home. Under early development in the last 90s, Town of Tioga was a place that caught their eye.
After a period of months, scouring neighborhoods throughout the Gainesville area, they firmly agreed on the new development. The vast tree canopies, rolling pedestrian paths, diverse mix of homes and the quaint community feel are the many reasons that drew them to this thriving community.
“We knew we had to come back to the Town of Tioga, because we could easily imagine our home here,” Vinnie said. “We loved this community and the vision it held for the future. Every time we would visit another neighborhood, we simply felt Town of Tioga was the perfect place to begin our life together.”
The couple looked through piles of home magazines and books for inspiration, knowing they wanted a two-story home, a front porch with a garage set to the side and an overall Northern-style feel. After each of them selected their top three favorite home designs, they discovered one common pick among them. In 1999 they built a house that, at the time, they only expected to live in for a few years.
With the culmination of a great living experience, more young families moving in and the building of the recent town center, the family found they had grown lasting roots in Tioga. Almost a decade later, with three children and a baby on the way, they knew they had to find a place with greater living space to accommodate a larger family. When the housing market crashed in 2008, the cost of materials and labor declined and they decided it was the best decision for their family to add to their current house rather than to buy a larger home.
“It didn’t make sense financially to buy a larger home and move from our current location,” Kristy said. “The community is wonderful. We love being located near the entrance of the development—we’re in and out quickly. The kids can meet up with friends within the neighborhood and I feel safe knowing that they are not too far away.”
While Kristy cooked out of the garage for eight months, using only a hot plate and microwave, the kitchen and house expansion was underway. It took them more than a year to finish the new addition, where the couple and their four children (Olivia, 12, Michael, 9, Sophia, 6 and Dominic, 4) now spend the majority of their time, gathering with family and friends, cooking (which the children are eager to participate) and doing homework. They also expanded the living room, adding a vaulted ceiling and architectural beams. The family insists they “wouldn’t have done anything differently.”
“When we build the addition, we wanted to go with the great room look, while creating a coffered ceiling in the kitchen area,” Vinnie said. “We also know, having four young children, that the furnishings would wear over time, so the cabinets and the floors are strategically distressed.”
The importance of family is overwhelmingly apparent throughout the house. Amidst travel memorabilia, the kitchen table Vinnie used while growing up and the “me shelves” in the children’s rooms exposing their hobbies and achievements, the Moreschi’s home is filled with abundant love. Anything but “matchy-matchy,” the style of their home is balanced between casual and elegant, with a functional yet warm and cozy feel.
Each child has their own “locker” teeming with school materials, band equipment and sporting gear. “All the children play sports,” Vinnie said. “We stay fairly active, whether it is getting involved in a sporting event, volunteering at the finish line or watching people accomplish a difficult obstacle. We hope to inspire them to say active and to keep trying when life gets tough.”
“It’s more about having fun and enjoying the moment and to see it as something to keep you active, gather with friends and meet new people,” Kristy added.
Less frequent are the days of hitting the gym each day for these busy, working parents. “We like to say active together and participate in weekend races, but now training is done individually.” With Vinnie coaching sports like youth lacrosse and flag football, rather, fitness has become a beloved family activity—right behind academics.
“We try not to over-schedule our children,” Vinnie said. “There is a sport a season; we keep them busy but know that academics are very important. They miss practices or games if they don’t stay on top of their homework.”
Staying involved in the children’s schooling is a top priority, along with insuring they attend a faith-based school environment. “We’re blessed to be able to send our children to Queen of Peace Academy—a community we’ve been a part of since before we were married,” Vinnie said. “The faith-based school environment is very important to us because we want to give our children the same opportunity that was provided to us. Our parents sacrificed to provide us with a faith-based education, and we feel responsible to provide the same for our children.”
In addition to sports and academics, the family also enjoys volunteering together. Because CPPI is continually involved in community activities, it allows the Moreschis to show their children firsthand the importance of raising money for causes in need. “Gainesville is a very giving community, and it’s vital to expose the children to helping those in need,” Vinnie said. “We try to instill in our children to give back to the community, and to not just ‘want’ all of the time.”
“Time passes by so quickly and we try to take advantage of the moments we have with our children,” Kristy added. “Before we know it, they will be in college and we won’t be able to get back those years. Life can be crazy at times, but our home is where we always re-connect as a family again. It brings us back to the place that is most important to us.”