Category Archives: Family

Kaleya is 10

…and where does the time go!  This week, Kaleya turned 10 and we had quite a time celebrating.

Monster High, My Little Pony, drawing supplies and more among her presents. Kalonji took the Father-of-the-Year Award though with this present. He commissioned a painting for her that incorporates two of Kaleya’s favs – rainbows and Dr. Who (the blue box is his time travel machine, the TARDIS).

Then this weekend, we held a slumber party for her.  She’s been wanting a slumber party at a hotel for awhile now, so we finally did it. It was great! We played cards, played doll babies, watched TV, painted nails, played video games — all the things you expect from a group of kiddos.  And of course we had birthday cake.

Thanks everyone! It was fun!

Building A Library

Watch out world! Kaleya is a mini-librarian in training.  Well, at least for her school she is :-)

This weekend we spent time getting their library set up.  The school is building up a new space for the kids, so lots of sweat and tears are being expended these days as everything is nearing completion.  The library is no exception.  And, of course, I the librarian has to train my mini-me to help out.

We had a ball!

Requisite “before” picture

Getting books out of boxes

We are starting to see some organization..

Kaleya in her “library”

the textbooks & workbooks section looking good

showing off the fiction books, authors last names begin with O-Z. Tons of Magic Tree House series books!

Kaleya explaining how things are organized

And explaining how the check-out log will be kept

We certainly had a productive weekend. Though, we are not done, we had a great start!

Another Visit with Khalil G. Muhammad

Almost exactly two years ago, we had the pleasure of listening to a lecture by the Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture,   Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad.

This week, Dr. Muhammad did a visiting lecture on the campus of Tennessee State University and Kalonji had a chance to hear him again.

Dr. Khalil G. Muhammad, Kalonji, and some of Kalonji’s students

I’m sure the students got as much from hearing him speak as we did.

Family Fun Weekend

What a great weekend we’ve had!  

Thursday night I had an opportunity to go on the General Jackson Showboat.  I’ve only been one other time in all my time here in Nashville and Thursday night was fun.  The evening cruise show was called “The Heart of Tennessee: A Musical Journey.”  The performers covered a range of music – from bluegrass, soul, country of course, and some gospel.  I do have a favorite singer though – that would be Soren Wohlers by a longshot.  :-)

Fun on the General Jackson

Friday night, Kalonji held an event on behalf of one of the courses he is teaching. The course is called The Great Debate and students have to hold a public forum debate as part of their grade. The debate was held at Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church. This year, Kalonji chose as debate topics W.E.B. DuBois vs. Booker T. Washington.  Team Booker T. won the debate but both teams did a great job!   Kaleya’s and her classmates even had a role – reciting the poemBooker T. & W.E.B.by Dudley Randall. Many thanks to everyone that came out to support the students.  

Highlights from The Great Debate

Saturday we stopped by a fish fry Kaleya’s school was having. as a fundraiser. The food was good!

Fun at the Fish Fry

And Sunday, Kaleya and Q flew kites. The wind was perfect for it!

Hope you all had a good weekend too!

Black History Month Program

Friday night, we attended a Black History Month program at Masjid Al-Islam and it was great!  The program included short talks by several members in the community, including Thaxton Abshalom Watersan artist who’s recently opened an Art Lifestyle Lounge & Gallery, and Edward Kendall – a local lawyer and long-term school board member who’s written a book about historic Jefferson Street.

I wish the pictures I took came out better, but here is a group photo of all the speakers and several people officially recognized during the program.

Kaleya and her classmates put on a play based on the life of Malcolm X.  Kaleya had two roles – one as “Shorty” and one as Narrator at the end of the play. We are so proud of her and all her school mates.  :-)

 

Kalonji Speaks at Lake Providence Missionary Baptist Church

A few pictures from Sunday — Kalonji was invited to speak at Lake Providence Missionary Baptist Church to their youth groups for Black History Month.  

Kalonji_LakeProvidence_Collage_rev

We all attended with him and had a nice time.  Many thanks to the church for the invitation!

I was particularly impressed that the church has a library and have been documenting their history.  One of their former congregation members, Mrs. Sadie W. Overton,  even wrote a book covering the church history from 1866-1996.  I definitely plan to follow-up with more research about the church given my interest in genealogy and African-American history in Nashville. 

LakeProvidenceHistoryCollage

Yarn Braid Beauty

10 hours of braiding later, I have finally finished Kaleya’s yarn braids! This has been a long time coming. :-)

I first read about yarn braids around a year ago.  I liked the idea of doing her braids with yarn as it looks natural.  We have not used any chemicals in her hair ever (e.g. relaxers), and as challenging as it is to do her hair in its natural state, we are very committed to not putting a relaxer in her  hair.

This summer, I put twists in her hair and it’s pretty much been in that style since. I have loved the twists – they are a great protective hairstyle and she’s enjoyed having them. So, I began to really consider switching to yarn braids as not only is it also a protective style, but the yarn would add consistency to the dimension of each braid and the yarn adds weight. Many thanks to Rory of the Chocolate Hair/ Vanilla Care site for all the tips and info she’s posted about yarn braid extensions – it was all a great help!

Between 10 hours of braiding last night and today, we are now done! And, Kaleya loves them! I personally love how they look – they do indeed look natural, and I made the decision to just tie them in a knot at the end and cut off the excess. These should hopefully last around 6-8 weeks. I could get used to this :-)

loving her braids
back view
side view

SchoolHouse Rock Live

What a great afternoon we had yesterday! Thanks to free tickets from the Autism Society of Middle Tennessee we were able to see a sensory-sensitive performance of Schoolhouse Rock Live yesterday at Nashville Children’s Theatre.

It was actually our first time going to the Nashville Children’s Theatre, so we didn’t even know where it was located. Fortuantely, it was quite easy to find. And, it’s behind the Howard School Building, which is where Kalonji and I were married :-)

Nashville Children’s Theatre

We saw Schoolhouse Rock Live! (which, until the show actually started, I had in my mind we were going to see a live performance of School of Rock – shows how much I was paying attention! )  I’m not the biggest fan of Schoolhouse Rock, but Kalonji is, so it made total sense why he snatched up the tickets after getting the email about it.

It was great too! The performance included many Schoolhouse Rock songs – including a few that I even knew.   I think my favorite was 3 is a Magic Number. Just something about the music.  The sensory-sensitive aspects of the show were a great accommodation – they didn’t ask fussy children to leave the theater proper, loud or surprising moments in the performance were preceded by a red glow light.  At one point in the performance, they even threw balls into the audience for everyone to bounce around. I don’t know if that was specifically a sensory adaptation, but Q loved it! I almost got hit in the head with one of the balls :-)

Mr. Morton was the closing song and I’d say I may have to start liking that one too.

Kalonji’s favorite Schoolhouse Rock song is “I’m Just a Bill.” He loves that song.

It was a great show. And the cast signed autographs afterwards

pic is blurry, but Q waits for an autograph

I have to say, I may be a fan of Schoolhouse Rock now :-)  Many thanks to the Autism Society for providing the opportunity. We are so grateful for having them as a resource, not only for our serious needs, but for the fun ones too!