On a Different Note

Today is Wednesday, which is music lesson day. I find myself sitting in the lobby of the Allegro School of Music here in Buda listening to Mona play the piano through the wall behind me. She is playing “Misty” so beautifully. I can also hear faintly down the hall, Georgia plucking at her make-shift left-handed guitar and hitting each note so perfectly. I am always amazed at her perseverance through her “hand” icap and how awesome and patient her teacher, Memorie Schultz is. Jackson is sitting beside me drawing with crayons as he waits patiently for his guitar lesson.

We love the Allegro School of Music. One, because its only a few blocks from our house. Second, all the teachers that have taught our children have been great.We have been with the school since Jonathan Jameson (keyboardist for the Derailers) and his wife Gina took over the place from Terry Capps (Mona’s very first teacher).

Mona has participated in Rock Camp with Thomas Mann for the past two summers and really enjoyed the experience. She enjoyed playing in a group, composing, recording and playing live. We are looking into expanding this experience by enrolling her in Band Aid as well as her lessons here at Allegro. She really likes her current teacher, Jordan Hemphill. Band Aid is a music school in Austin, taught by local musicians specifically focusing on group and live play. More about this as it transpires. Apparently they are going to build a band around Mona and a female singer.

Jackson is in his lesson now. I’m told he is really good at sight reading and is progressing really well. Louis may be ready to jump on the bandwagon and begin lessons himself. He has Ukelele that we bought for him that he loves to strum.

It fills me with joy that my kids are being taught music by others that enjoy teaching them. My part in all this is constant encouragement and subjecting them to all types of music. Oh, and passing on my own knowledge of musical history.

Try, Try Again

Last year about this time, I was all gung ho about filling this blog with my experiences as a father, husband, artist and all around guydom. Well, as you can see that didn’t pan out well. After being reminded by my awesome wife and fellow life adventurer that I should write about our somewhat complex, sometimes frustrating but always amazing life, here I go again.

Last night I was also reminded how amazing my life really is. After speaking with my longtime friend Bob Duncan, he concluded our conversation by telling me that I was so lucky to have my life full of joy, creativity and love. I would have to agree. More about Bob Duncan later.

I would like to finish my first entry by expressing my gratitude for all the amazing people in my life which I’m sure will be littered throughout this blog in the near future. I would like to express my extreme gratitude for and to Lin; through thick and thin, she has always been there for me. I can’t imagine my life without her. Lin and I have created four beautiful children which I also can’t imagine my life without. I truly believe they have more to teach me then I do them.

So, that concludes my first entry. I’m looking forward to writing more about our big adventure. See y’all soon!




Kick-off, Write on

I’ve been thinking about when to kick off the Big Nail blog and the beginning of Fall seemed like the perfect time. Since Lin and I have been together (23 years) every major thing we’ve done has either been planned or has happened during the Fall months. And as a bonus, football starts; hence the kick-off. The Fall is also the time when our holiday season starts and a lot of family activity and activities ensue. Our holiday season starts with The Moon Festival in late September and goes into January with The Epiphany ( Lin’s birthday).

I See a Holiday Moon Rising

So a few weeks ago we started our Fall festivities with the Autumnal Equinox and the Chinese Moon Festival and we also threw in Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19) for a bit of hardy banter. For the moon festival, Lin and the kids made traditional Chinese moon cakes with figs from our tree and they came out great as usual. And speaking of moon festivals, we just celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year which is based on the Jewish lunar calendar. According to the Jewish calendar it is the year 5777 and according to a meme on Facebook, the year is 4715 on the chinese calendar, which means Jews had to go 1,062 years without Chinese food, a period known to Jews as the “Dark Ages” (I didn’t make this up). I broke out my Grandmother’s recipe for honey cake ( a childhood comfort food) and proceeded to convert it  gluten-free. It came out great and my childhood craving was sated and so was the kids craving for sweets.

This Family was Made for Walking

We are looking forward to our annual participation in the Buddy Walk, An annual event put on by the Downes Syndrome Association of Central Texas or DSACT as we refer to it. This year it is on Sunday, October 23rd and we have been going to this event since Louis was born. He was just a few months old the first year we attended. I’ll write more about this event at the end of the month but we are gearing up for it now and it is always a day to remember and cherish.

Football is Upon Us

I have to say this is completely brought on by me. Major League Football is really the only spectator sport I actually watch (it’s only 20 days out of the year if I watch every Sunday which I don’t) and I got all my kids to watch with me. I don’t think they are so much into the game as much as they get to watch TV. Although Mona (now 11), has taken to it and pretty much understands the rules and how the game works and knows the different positions of the players. I find football is a great way to teach math without them knowing I’m doing it. We are divided as a family when it comes to which team we root for but it’s all good and makes for good competition. Being from New York originally, I’m a die-hard Jets fan and if you know anything about football this is not an easy thing to be. Mona likes the Houston Texans, Jackson likes the Dallas Cowboys and Georgia like the Denver Broncos (she loves horses). Louis still has no affiliation to a team, he just likes to watch the game and Lin just wants to see me happy and supports my love for the Jets (thanks Hun!).

Write on!

This the start of many blogs to come and the genesis of bignail.com which will be populated with all the stuff that we, the Chido-Gross family make, do, and experience.  Things that this site will be filled with include wholesome cooking, homemade products, living with children with special needs, homeopathy, Waldorf philosophies and education, homeschooling, art, music and a plethora of other stuff we experience on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Tune in next week for the next installment of the Big Nail blog.