I am so tickled! Today, I taught Kaleya how to do latch hook. Latch hooking was the origin of my craftiness – I learned how to do it when I was about her age and would do it for about 10 years. My sister gave Kaleya an old rug that she’d made, so when I saw it, I realized Kaleya was about the right age.
Kaleya holds her new latch hook kits
working the latch hook
more hook work
She got a little bored with it, but hopefully, as we make it an activity we do together, she will become more interested.
Kaleya’s school hosts a “museum night” four times a year and they are cool events. Last week, they held their third one of the year. The themes vary by grades and on Kaleya’s floor the theme was “Rainforests.” Here are some pictures of the evening.
The Lorax - preserving trees is what it's all about
What an amazing day we had on our day trip to Chattanooga today. In 13 years of living in Nashville, we have done little to explore our surrounding areas. I’m determined to change that and today we started with Chattanooga; I’ve been wanting to go to Lookout Mountain for awhile. So go we did.
I took many pictures, but here are some highlights.
Lookout Mountain – was our first destination. It is literally a small town up there, with churches, schools, and more. We drove up to the top to Point Park to look around. We went to the Eastern Overlook and looked out upon Chattanooga. It was really chilly up there so we didn’t stay long; didn’t even go over to Umbrella Rock, but next time. The National Park Service’s Visitor Center has a nice mural depicting the “Battle of the Clouds” that happened there, so it was informational.
a sign to go up the mountain
kids in front of Point Park gate
view from the Eastern Overlook
Lunchtime at Hill City Pizza – it was time for lunch by the time we finished looking around Point Park, so we found our way over to Hill Street Pizza. Lunch was GOOD!!!
Hill City Pizza
my lunch - burger and baked potato salad
Covenant College – I’d done some reading prior to our visit and learned of this campus on the mountain, so I wanted to drive and see it. So glad we did. It was absolutely idyllic. I could only imagine going to school in a setting like this – literally, perched on the mountaintop and tucked away. It is the beginning of Spring Break so there was hardly anyone on campus. The chapel was beautiful and the views amazing. What was really neat was that the main hall can be seen from the interstate below. Go to the picture album (link below) to see.
Carter Hall at Covenant College
the boys wave
beautiful scenery at the college
Covenant College chapel
Hunter Museum of American Art- after Covenant College, we descended the mountain. Since the weather was chilly, we thought it best to save Rock City & Ruby Falls for another day. The Incline Railway isn’t open for the season yet, so we couldn’t do that either. So down the mountain we went.
We were making our way to the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge and saw the museum was right next door. Free admission the 1st Sunday of each month meant we were going! It was 4:20 when we got there, so we only had about 30 minutes, but we made the most of it! The art we did see was nice; they had a great kids book for Kaleya, and I was even impressed by her interpretation of a piece of art (Elizabeth Murray’s “Rollin’ Stone” – while not what the artist says it is, I could see Kaleya’s point in that she thought it had something to do with the heart and the human body.)
the glass bridge
Kaleya's museum book
i don't think they wanted to take this picture
Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge – longest pedestrian bridge in the world. We walked across it and enjoyed the views. Afterwards, we had ice cream at a shop next to it, the Ice Cream Show. They offered more than 17,000 flavors of ice cream – what?!? I had the Winter Wonderland – vanilla with oreos and peppermint.
view from the pedestrian bridge
on the pedestrian bridge
view from bridge of Lookout Mountain
Then, we made our way back home. Incredible day!! I checked in so many times on FourSquare that I became #1 of all my FourSquare friends – a first for me!
my FourSquare status - oh yeah!
All of the pictures are online here, but here is a slideshow.
After a leisurely morning at home today, we ventured out for a few hours. First, going to Edwin Warner Park, then stopping at our favorite used bookstore in town, McKay’s.
At the park we first went to the Nature Center to see what they had. It was fun! Stuffed animals, dead snake skins, a geological exhibit, a “tree-trunk” interactive area, and more awaited us in there.
We then went outside to walk around the trails some. We didn’t stay long since it was more than a little chilly, but we’ll be back out there soon.
After the park we then went to the bookstore. Picked up a movie for Kaleya, and books for everyone else.
At the store there was a great book about comic-cons. Many, many pictures of the cosplay and one that had girls all dressed up like princesses.
Then, we picked up a fabulous book of New York Times newspaper covers spanning 1851-2009. The book itself has selected covers, but the DVDs that come with it have the full-text of ALL covers and the front page articles. This will make excellent educational fodder for the kiddos.
Last night, we attended an event hosted by the Autism Society of Middle Tennessee – their Summer Opportunities Fair. My youngest stepson, Q, is autistic and we are trying to make sure we stay aware of what resources are available for him. Though he does not live with us, we want to be prepared for summertime visits. Let me tell you, this fair was AMAZING! I’ve already known that we have access to a plethora of services for him, but to be able to personally interact with representatives from all the agencies, non-profits, services, etc. that attended last night was so incredibly valuable.
Being that it was at the Children’s Hospital, Kaleya couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play on their outside statues.
Kaleya and a family friend
The grand staircase in the hospital is lovely.
kids on the staircase
Kaleya also loves the Butterfly Garden
Kaleya at the Butterfly Garden
And, then we say a cool Gingerbread Town – a holiday initiative done at the hospital.
Kaleya kept saying she wanted to eat it.
The Fair itself was held in the Theatre Room in the Children’s Hospital and the event was hosted by the Autism Society of Middle Tennessee and the Junior League Family Resource Center of the Children’s Hospital. There were many, many places represented and I couldn’t even begin to list them all. Kalonji and I spoke to all but one of them I think! Among the attendees were representatives from camps, art programs, music therapy agencies, applied behavioral analysis therapies, various recreation activities, and research options. Kalonji collected every business card he could find – he is planning to volunteer with a few, and it is always good for him to have contact information for his work in our community.
not the best pic, but some of the material we picked up
Thank you to the hosts for a great & educational evening!
This weekend we’ve had some fun as a family – but not too much. There’s something said about just relaxing and enjoying peace and quiet at home.
On Saturday we went to a friend’s house for her annual holiday party for the families of kids she has kept over the years. She was Kaleya’s care provider for three years until Kaleya started school.
I have to say, she had the most awesome GingerBread House ever – they decorated up their TV cabinet
the most awesome Ginger Bread House
Kaleya & friend inside the Ginger Bread House
Orange candles we made before the party - that was fun!
with all her kiddos!
Then, today, we took a visit to the Frist Center for Visual Arts to see their Egyptian Treasures exhibit. The exhibit was well done too – lots of interesting artifacts from Egypt. There were some features I particularly liked – being able to download the audio tour, short movies throughout the gallery, and more — they helped give it a nice touch. The exhibit will be there until January 8th, so if you’re local to the area you still have time to visit.
outside the Frist
beautiful coffin on display
kiddos out back
Now, unfortunately, it’s time to wind down and prepare for the week. At least it is a short one.
Today the kids are off trunk-or-treating with a family friend. I am loving their outfits this year. Kaleya continues her Monster High obsession and is dressed up like the character Frankie Stein. Jihad is a Night Stalker and a very scary one at that! Their friend is Mario of Super Mario Brothers.
Today is Kaleya’s 7th birthday and we’ve had an incredible day of it. We are so thankful for our friends that came out today to help us celebrate and I know Kaleya thoroughly enjoyed it. The weather was absolutely beautiful and could not have been more perfect.
Kaleya has been into Monster High recently, so we had a Monster High themed bday party. Monster High is a collection of dolls with characters depicted as the children of famous monsters (e.g. Dracula, Frankenstein, etc.).
We let the kids play outside for about an hour before having food and cake. They blew bubbles, played jump rope, chased each other — all the things that kids do.
After playing, the kids came inside for some snacks and then cake & ice cream.
The cake itself was a Monster High cake and Kaleya specifically wanted the piece that had Frankie’s face. (Frankie is the daughter of Frankenstein and Kaleya is going to dress like her for Halloween this year).
We also had a piñata to open. Jihad was nice enough to stand on a chair and hold it while the kids took turn pulling one of the strings to see if they would get the one string that would open it. Kaleya went first, but she didn’t get the right string. Several kids later – it was found and boy did they scramble to get their treats.
Awesome does not even describe how much fun it was to watch them. Shortly after, the kids begin to leave. Thank you all so much for coming to spend the time with us and Kaleya. What a great birthday!
Of course I have even more pictures than what I’ve shared in this post. You can find them here.