Fred and Norma Crosetto grew up in large families. Their children have 28 first-cousins, and Norma has 11 brothers and sisters. For them, a large family is enjoyable, as there is always someone to talk to or play with. “My fondest memory is probably playing with my
sisters,” says Norma. That might be why, with six children, the Crosettos say, “It’s great.” Their kids range in age from 27 years to 18 months, and with children plus two careers,
the Crosettos lead a sometimes hectic lifestyle.
“We have a variety of challenges,” says Norma, “breakups with girlfriends and so forth ... we also have things like ‘I don’t want to go to preschool.’” But overall, she says, the children get along with each other and the family enjoys spending time together. “We are firm believers in activities for the children,” says Norma.
With the eldest three children on their own, most of Norma and Fred’s time is spent with the youngest three: Clemente, 4, Dante, 3, and Carmen, 18 months. At the Bellevue Club, Norma says, the children enjoy the pool and take swimming
lessons. They are also involved with dance and church activities, besides playing outside with mom and dad whenever they can. The family also enjoys traveling, and is planning a trip to China this summer. “They love the Asian culture and the Spanish culture because we encourage it a lot,” says Norma. “They are really looking forward to going to China. We hope to get them enrolled in school or some kind of
Carmen, Age 18 months
active participation in the language.” The Crosetto’s youngest children are bilingual, speaking
English and Spanish, and Clemente and Dante are attending the Asian Pacific Language School where they are learning Chinese. Norma only speaks Spanish to the children (Spanish is her primary language) and their books, movies and television programs are in Spanish.
Their children are “intrigued,” says Fred, about anything
Chinese or Spanish.
Dante, Age 3
Norma taught Spanish in the Bellevue School District for a number of years, and through that, saw how traditional American schools tend to place a low priority on learning a foreign language. “Our system just doesn’t allow it,” she says. “That’s why we’re going it ourselves.” The family places an emphasis on language and culture, and Fred and Norma want to take their children around the world and show them what else is out there. “They’ve been all over,” says Fred. “They’ve been around the United States, they’ve been to Asia, Mexico.” Although the children are too young to go certain places in the world, Fred and Norma hope to take them where they can, and visit new places when age-appropriate. Fred, who has visited around 70 countries for business and pleasure, would like to see Turkey, while Norma includes Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands on her list. In addition to traveling and family activities, the Crosettos enjoy spending time with the children’s great grandmother. It is tradition to have her over for dinner on major holidays. “The kids love having her around,”
says Norma. The family also attends opening day of the Mariner’s season—“If you’re alive, you go,” says Fred.
Through all of the demands of three young children and various family commitments, Norma and Fred each have a demanding, successful career. Fred is president of Ammex, a company that imports and distributes disposable medical supplies, such as bird flu prevention items. Norma is
a realtor with Brazen Real Estate in Bellevue. Fred has been in the business for 20 years, having started it while living in Taiwan after graduation from college. At the time, he says, he thought it could be a good business. Today, “it doubles in size about every two to three years.” Fred loves building the company, as he gets to do what he wants and gets to travel around the world. “He has friends all over the world,” says Norma. “We go to any part of the world and we have friends. It’s really fun.”
Norma says she enjoys talking to people and learning about different cultures. That is one of the reasons she went into real estate after Clemente was born. “I thought real estate would be fun because it’s also a public-type of business,” she says. She also likes the flexibility her job gives her, as she is able to spend time with her children and take family vacations. The couple doesn’t forget their roots, however. Fred grew up in the area and Norma has warm memories of growing up in the Yakima Valley. Fred enjoyed visiting the family’s cabin on Whidbey Island, a place he still spends time with his family. Norma still has some family left in the area, though many are spread
Clemente, Age 4
throughout the United States and El Salvador. She enjoys visiting family and letting her children play with their 28 cousins. The children also get to spend time with their paternal cousins. For Fred’s father’s 70th birthday, the entire family, including brothers, sisters and grandchildren, spend time in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. “We just had a good time,” says Norma. “The weather was just perfect there and it was freezing here. The children always say ‘let’s go back to Mexico.’” Even with the packed schedules and the demands of parenthood, the Crosettos still find time to laugh. A lot of times, the laughter comes from their children. “They do silly things or say silly things,” says Norma. “You can be in a really cranky mood and they’ll come up with some nonsense and you just have to laugh.”