Category Archives: Family

A Day Out

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.

What a great day we had!

Trip to the Children’s Hospital

But not for a medical emergency.  :-)

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.

GingerTown

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!

Pre-Christmas Weekend

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
Kaleya

Now, unfortunately, it’s time to wind down and prepare for the week. At least it is a short one. :-)

7th Birthday Party!

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.).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monster_High

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.

Feeding the Geese

Today, Kaleya wanted to go to Centennial Park to feed the geese, so of course I had to oblige! It’s my motherly duty. :-)

Just a couple of pictures from our outing. We had a nice visit.

Kaleya next to the water
I like the glow on her face on this one.

And, a short video clip of her feeding them.

Then, we were off to the playground.

Next to the slide.
on the playground apparatus
pretty among the flowers

Vanderbilt College Tour

I’ve gotten just a little behind in my family blog posting, but today we took the kids on a college tour of Vanderbilt! Much fun! Kamau and Miles need to start thinking about college and they’ve been getting their fill these past couple of weeks.  :-)

Last week, Kalonji took them to TSU’s College of Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science for a tour. Miles is expressing an interest in engineering, so they were able to get a tour and understanding of the field.  Kamau is involved in ROTC at school so Kalonji took him to speak with a Vanderbilt ROTC program.  They gave Kamau a VU ROTC t-shirt.

the VU ROTC shirt

Then today we participated in the Vanderbilt College Tour. Even though I’ve worked at the Eskind Biomedical Library for 12 years now, I had never spent much time on the undergraduate side so it was quite educational.   The Admissions staff gave an overview of the university, the opportunities available, and the applications process. Following the inside orientation, we took an extensive campus tour.

listening to the guide in the Heard library

We also went over to the Commons, ten houses of residential housing specifically for the Freshmen class and that was nice. I’d not been to that part of campus at all.  I like the idea of the Commons and think it would have been cool if I’d had that in college :-)

VU class of 2012 form their graduation year in the Commons. Photo from Vanderbilt Magazine.

As we were walking around, Jihad kept saying “This is heaven!” Yeah, at 13 years old years old you’d think he was ready to go to Vanderbilt tomorrow.  In any case, it doesn’t hurt to be thinking about colleges now.  Ah well, we’ll see what the cards may hold for all of them :-)