By Cheryl Van Tuyl Jividen :: Photography by Mark Humphries
The Turturro family or the “Turturro Tribe” as they see themselves, couldn’t wait to start enjoying the Cordillera Ranch lifestyle even before they made the move from Spring Branch. So while they joined The Club in 2009, it wasn’t until 2015 that they moved into their home. They credit their fellow members and friends Brian and Tobi Baize for introducing them to Cordillera Ranch. “The golf course was the initial draw. That and the Baize family. Once we started meeting other people, it was an easy decision,” says Philip Turturro. Location was important as well. “Our church is in Spring Branch and all our family is in Boerne so Cordillera Ranch was the perfect location to be close to everything.” Keeping family close was a priority. “When we built our home, we also built a Casita for Samantha’s mom, Debbie, to live,” says Philip Turturro.
Both San Antonio natives and married for 14 years, Philip and wife Samantha began dating when they were just 16 and 15 years old respectively. “We met through my dad, oddly enough. He was her physical therapist when she broke her ankle playing volleyball in high school. My dad was her older sister’s professor at the University of Texas Health and Science Center and one thing led to another. Although Samantha attended the largest high school in San Antonio and I attended the smallest private school in Texas, God found a way for us to meet,” says Philip.
Faith is integral in the Turturro’s lives. God’s guidance is most apparent in the formation of their family. Sons Tommy and Johnny, both six years old, and daughter Sophia, three years old, are adopted. “We met a couple when we were newly married that ran an international adoption organization. Their story convinced us that adoption was definitely something God was leading us into,” says Philip. Tommy, named after Philip’s father, was born in San Antonio on December 22 and came home joyously on Christmas Eve. A local Boerne doctor and his daughter found Johnny in a Haitian village when he was just three weeks old and in dire condition having not eaten in six days. They nursed him back to health and he went to an orphanage. Though they chose to adopt him before he was one year old, it required five years and five trips to Haiti before he came home. “God was good and faithful every step of the way.” Sophia was born prematurely in Colorado. After three weeks in Colorado, Samantha and Tommy brought her home the week of Thanksgiving in 2013. “The way God knew exactly what child was right for us AND the perfect timing He showed in every case, is nothing short of a miracle,” says Philip.
The fulfillment of being a mother resonates with gratitude for Samantha. “I LOVE everything about being a mother. For many, many years I prayed that God would grant me my prayer. My heart’s desire was to be a mommy. After years of waiting, God answered my prayer and then He chose to bless me (and Philip) two more times. Mothering is the most wonderfully and terrifyingly eye-opening blessing from God. God is refining me in ways that I did not know I needed. He has been with me every step of the way. I pray that my kiddos would love Him. I am so thankful for the husband I have and the incredibly different ways that HE brought my children to my husband and me. His fingerprints are all over these precious little lives.” It’s a belief the couple feel so strongly about that they cite a quote by Norma Scarlett on their correspondence, “No child is an accident, for every child is given to the mother God intended.”
Their faith also guides their community support. “We are very involved in our church and a ministry in San Antonio called SAHeals, a faith-based, non-profit. I also volunteer at the Kendall County Jail. I’ve been doing so for ten years. I teach Bible study for the inmates on Tuesday nights. Obviously, adoption has been a big part in our life. We are so incredibly thankful for how God has built our family. As adoptive parents, we have been down a long road and there have been a lot of highs and lows on this journey. We’ve supported a number of adoption agencies and orphanages overseas.”
Philip’s career has always been in the mobile home industry and is the General Manager for Titan Factory Direct with 11 locations in Texas and Oklahoma. Samantha, who was a realtor and still keeps her license active, has a teaching degree, and an L1 coaching certification and coaches CrossFit in Boerne. The boys attend a classical Christian university model school. Samantha says, “The classical Christian approach is a fantastic model that teaches children the ‘old school’ way.” Samantha shares the model’s three basic stages of learning:
1. Grammar (grades K-5), focuses on memorization and teaching as much foundational information as possible. It is absolutely amazing the information that children can retain.
2. Logic (grades 6-8), focuses mostly on the inquisitive side of children. At this phase of life, kids are asking lots of “how” and “why” questions. This teaching method is designed to nurture their forming minds to better reason and discern truth.
3. Rhetoric (grades 9-12), focuses on the idea that high-school students love to talk. So in this stage, it is all about teaching them how to present their beliefs and ideas well and persuasively.
While the building blocks are essential, it’s the university model aspect that thrills Samantha. “That is the super fun part for me. I graduated from UTSA with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. Our boys go to school two days a week at the actual school. Then two days a week, I am given the curriculum by the school teachers and I get to teach the boys at home. The lessons are already planned out for the entire year; I just get to co-teach. Our school is only a four-day week. A fifth day is optional through grammar school. We have chosen for the boys to take a music theory/choir class on Fridays.”
Teaching at home has required some unique adjustments. “We do have a school-room set up in our home. We converted the spare room. This whole set-up is fantastic for us. I love being a part of the ‘lightbulb’ moments… those moments when it clicks for them. It is super fun! Our motto is ‘Learning with Laughter.’ They get so excited and I get, maybe, even more excited for them.”
The experience has given Samantha an appreciation for the education process. “Our boys learn very differently. One is very math minded (like me) and can easily visualize information, where the other is much more artistic (not my strong suit). I continue to be grateful and amazed at the teachers who day-in-and-day-out have to figure out ways to teach 20-30 kids, five days a week!” She adds, “I also love that through all of our teaching and learning at home, I get to point them back to God. It is such a blessing.”
The couple, who remain best friends, make time together a priority maintaining a regular date night, going out for dinner and live music and traveling to favorite destinations like Italy and Maui. They also enjoy college football. “We love the Florida Gators and are huge college football fans. We travel to games every year. We have had a Gator/media room in our last few houses and it’s where we enjoy game day,” says Philip. Their extreme Gator devotion led them to name their one-year-old reverse brindle boxer, Albert, after the University of Florida’s mascot. The striking pet has very rare, dark markings that make him look black. “He is a very sweet dog who loves our children as much as they love him. He is gentle and enjoys bounding around our backyard with the boys,” says Samantha.
There are obviously many aspects of living in Cordillera Ranch that the Turturros enjoy. They couldn’t wait to become members! “Our favorite part of living at Cordillera Ranch is golfing with the family or golfing on a Friday afternoon with the fellas,” says Philip, an avid golfer who enjoys traveling on golf trips. In fact, he says the golf course is something between a passion and obsession. “Our boys both love to golf and love playing flag football. Sophia is the boy’s shadow. She adores them and wants to be wherever they are. Sophia already has clubs and goes to the range with the boys.”
Add kayaking on the river, taking walks on the nature trails and taking the kids to the see the horses at the Equestrian Center, and they have covered almost all of the amenities. “We’ve made great friends and love the family atmosphere at The Club and pool.”
Ultimately, home is where their hearts are. Philip says, “We absolutely love our four acres and eating dinner on the back patio or poolside in the summer. We feel like the only people on the planet living on a huge ranch. It’s very special. We never know what God’s plans are, but we hope to never leave Cordillera Ranch. This is home and we hope it’s home forever. I want to teach my grandchildren how to play golf at the same place I taught my kids.”